Friday, February 6, 2015

Day 5 of Art Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes

Day 5 of Novena : 

 Initiation into the four elements :  The Rite of Baptism by water

The first night of the novena I had a powerful and vivid
vision-dream of Our Lady's cloak covering the entire earth
and all her creatures and of the rain of Grace pouring down
on everyone.  I woke up once again filled with bliss and great peace,
and a deep sense of renewal in the world.
In the meantime, Mary, at the other side of the world, received
the message that it will rain or snow lightly on the
feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The initiations of Earth, Water, Fire and Air are well-known in metaphysical
and esoteric circles.  The names of the four elements were part of the
earliest Mysteries.  In the Mysteries, the four elements
describe the processes through which the pilgrim and seeker
come to know him and herself in the effort to become closer
to that which she seeks.

Lourdes is famous for the miraculous healing properties of the waters
uncovered by Bernadette.  That spring still rushes strongly and
pilgrims fill their bottles with the water which they use
for drinking and bathing.  It is a powerful ritual to behold at
the sanctuary of Lourdes :  the thousands of pilgrims that bend
over the taps, silently saying a prayer or a sign of devotion
or respect, then washing their hands, followed by washing the face
and finally sprinkling the water over the crown of their heads.
A personal baptism.

A big part of the visit to the sacred waters of Lourdes are
the healing baths.  These baths take place in an
atmosphere of sanctity. Each pilgrim undresses or is helped by a volunteer
and then wrapped in a plain white sheet.  This reminds one strongly
of a burial cloth and the implied rebirth and resurrection which is sought
by those visiting sacred places.
The pilgrim faces a statue of Mary as his or her head is submerged under the water.
And then the amazement as you emerge from the waters and the bath,
to discover that your skin is dry.  The water does not remain wet on your skin.

Entering the healing waters of Lourdes is an initiation of oneself
 into the baptismal waters of the nature of the Feminine,
 the Soul and the World Soul that we know as Mary.
As you are lowered into the bath, you are metaphorically returned
to the waters of the Cosmic Womb of the Mother.
And as you emerge dry to the touch, it is a profound statement that
that which you have left behind, has truly been purified and removed
from your physical and psychological self.

This mystical ritual has a very strong foundation in the
practical everyday life.  Emotions and feelings can be
a confusing and overwhelming area of our inner lives.
At times we suppress our feelings which lead to an inner revolt
and an outburst of emotion.  We can so easily get trapped
in the quagmire of suppressed unexpressed emotions.
Depression is just that :  the suppression of our emotions.
It is important to distinguish between emotions and feelings.
Emotions are the tags and labels that we add to our feelings, whereas
feelings are like water, pure and clear.  When they are not
being judged and analysed, but allowed to flow up, they
bring up all the old debris from the subconscious mind and
they will be taken down to the ocean of unified consciousness,
leaving your mind cleared and purified.

Water is a powerful symbol of the clear and pure emotions 
or feelings.   Purifying the emotions enables one to
experience the living waters that flows eternally from the
Divine Mother. As the mind is cleared
of the turbulent emotions,
great stillness settles in the heart and the
integral heart can be opened.
We then begin to see and hear with the heart
instead of the mind.

In contemplation today we immerse ourselves in the healing waters
of the Blessed Mother's accepting and unconditionally loving gaze.
Unconditional love means that there is nothing to be forgiven -
it is as though it never existed.  It is gone.  You are renewed and
reborn over and over.

Hettienne and Mary

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