February 23, 2013
Go to the lake, the seashore, the mountain top, a room lit only with firelight.
A gull dropping a mussel on the rock to open it and then flying on without tasting even a morsel of that soft flesh. The tide coming in and going out at the same time (I've seen it!). Crying and laughing.
Write a poem about paradoxes. Anyone can do it. Here's one:
The wind carries the night in on a cloud,
the moon falling between mountain peaks,
behind leaves twirling, twisting, shining.
The midnight half-moon reaches up
through the ice on the lake,
like a whale breeching,
carving circles and lines across,
to meet the stillness of
one hundred million stars
spinning around the universe
and into the vast space between my eyes
where I see nothing
but sunlight washing me clean.
December 22, 2012
Looking deep into the waters at the magic of every day, you can uncover all manner of secrets.
For clues to such real life secrets, and discovering your own, please do visit my blog, "Crossing the Tidal River: My Life as an Elder:" http://www.spirittapestries.com/blog.htm
October 28, 2012
For many days you’ve been making your way through the forest brambles, following the stream as it flows gently downwards. Now the trees thin out and you can see grassy green hills dotted with oak trees, not far away. With the sun high in the sky, you emerge out of the forest into a little valley.
In the distance you see a boy with a staff and goats all around, some goats drinking from the stream, some eating grass, some just wandering around. The boy’s black and white dog spots you and comes running in leaps and bounds. The boy calls the dog and the dog immediately lies down in the grass, not far from you. Wagging his tail and smiling the way dogs can smile.
You and the boy offer to share food. Sitting under a broad old oak tree, you pull dried rabbit and mushrooms out of your pouch, and he goat cheese and flat bread, tastes that delight your senses.
After an afternoon of getting to know each other, you accept when he asks for your help for the next weeks. His sister has had to return to their village to help their mother who is pregnant again. You’re not sure what kind of help he needs, but you are willing.
Over the last year, you’d not seen much of the stars, only a few shining through the forest canopy. Now on your first night out in the open, on a hill above the valley, you are filled with awe as the stars begin to come out, your whole being tingling at the sight, the vastness of it.
As the campfire dims into coals, the boy tells you stories about the beings in the sky. Over the next several days you learn to recognize their shapes and the ways they move across the sky during the night and how each being is connected to the others. He also tells you about the celestial beings you cannot see and outlines them for you during the day, using a stick and drawing their star maps in the dirt.
While you'd had some inkling about this, but mostly had thought it bunk, you are astonished to learn the depth with which you can know the character and destiny of a person by the positions of the beings in the sky at the time of your birth. And you can know something of the past and future as well. The boy teaches you about all of these wonders.
After a few weeks pass, you take note that the sister has not returned. Two full moons have come and gone. The boy one day admits that she will not return for several months. He'd like you to stay. You are thrilled to spend more time with this boy who has taught you all about goats, all about the weather and how to predict it, all about the wild animals who live nearby, and all about the black and white dog that keeps the humans company and helps keep the goats safe.
You are excited beyond measure to learn more star wisdom from this boy.
“Evening Star who gathers everything
Shining dawn scattered—
You bring the sheep and the goats,
You bring the child back to its mother.”
October 12, 2012
Your forest retreat is now surrounded with creations put together from objects you’ve found in nature. You’ve made instruments out of stone and wood. You’ve learned to snare rabbits and have made garments for yourself out of the skins and eaten the meat cooked over your outdoor fire. You’ve also used the skins to create a comfortable bed inside your tree shelter.
You’ve spent a year in the woods and have a notebook full of dreams and entries about your experiences and new understandings about yourself. Say nothing of knowledge about plants and herbs that you gathered, a knowledge gained by meditating on them and receiving messages concerning their use.
You feel satisfied and full, with a positive sense of yourself and a feeling of empowerment that you’d never known before.
It’s time to leave, to continue your journey.
Since you do not know the way out of the woods, you will follow the stream, knowing that it is bound to reach a lake or a village, or discover more mysteries.
“My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one ….”
October 2, 2012
Look back at the previous secrets to find the secret within the secret.
Tell me what you find.
“Spirit has two aspects: measurable, immeasurable; mortal, immortal; stable, unstable; graspable, ungraspable.”
--Famous Debates in the Forest (Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad)
September 25, 2012
Now come the visits. You don’t know how to get out of the woods. You are getting along with water and fish and some foraging of berries. It’s not your usual diet. Therefore, it’s almost like a fast. Your body is cleaning itself out, and so is your mind. There may be some days when you feel sick and you can barely move about for your survival.
You are having unusual dreams, almost like visitations. You don’t know exactly what to make of them. But you happen to have a little notebook in your jacket pocket, and a pen, too. You write down the dreams and whatever meanings you think they might have. You begin to notice patterns that relate to your life, patterns that had not served you well.
You really want to get out of the woods, but you haven’t a clue how to do that. You decide, rather than trying to leave, you are better off near the stream and the fish and the hole in the tree. You have shelter and food and water. And the silence of nature.
Because of all the cleansing of your body and mind, you begin to experience visions, not unlike those of Anne Demaree in The Sophia Secrets. Only you, unlike Anne, don’t know how to get home, nor do you have the equivalent to the old woman in Anne’s story who seems to be guiding her.
Or do you? Are you receiving guidance in the dreams and visions?
You begin to gather objects in the woods and put them together into expressive creations.
“Truth is the appearance of the Supreme; Truth is the most excellent of all spiritual austerities; every act is rooted in truth.”
—adapted from the Tantra of the Great Liberation
September 18, 2012
Put your ear to the ground and listen.
Lick your finger, hold it up high. What’s the direction of the wind?
Lift your head up to the wind and smell.
Climb a tree to get a view of the land.
Now you you’re pretty sure there is a nearby stream not far away. Go find it.
Create a fish-catching device.
Catch a fish.
Collect some tinder and some dry wood.
Spin a stick on a rock to create sparks.
Make a little fire and cook the fish.
Count your blessings.
Eat sacramentally. as Anne Demaree does inThe Sophia Secrets, in the fish-catching part of her story.
September 11, 2012
Here you are, walking down the trail in the woods, a trail that is no longer a trail. No signs of it. The birds have eaten your bread crumbs. You are lost. The sun is going down. The sky is overcast with dark clouds.
You grope along through the wooded forest, thick with ferns, Spanish moss hanging down from the branches. An owl hoots. Yes, it’s an owl. You’re quite sure of that.
Tired and hungry you sit down and lean against a huge tree. You remember that you’d wrapped up your muffin from Starbucks after your morning coffee. In much the same way Anne Demaree does in The Sophia Secrets. Only this is your story. You reach into your fanny pack, hoping that’s where you’d stored the muffin. Yes. There it is. You pull it out, unwrap the napkin, and eat the yummy—albeit squashed—muffin, crumb by crumb.
You feel drops of rain. Searching around you discover your tree has a hollowed out space. You climb into it. While it does have an animal-mixed-with-wood smell, it seems to be yours for the night. At least you hope so.
A coyote howls. “Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my.” You remember the adventures of Dorothy and her three friends in the “Wizard of Oz.” But this is real. And you are alone. The hairs on your neck are standing on end.
You curl into a ball, pull your jacket closely around you, and try to sleep. Now many coyotes are yipping nearby. All at once you remember the vesica piscis on the gold chain that you bought when you visited the Tor, the site of the mystical and legendary Avalon.
You reach inside your shirt and pull the vesica piscis out, and begin to rub it with your fingers. You'd never given it much thought before now. However, now you remember what it means. “Bladder of a fish,” two circles overlapping, creating the shape of a fish or yoni, the symbol of the Divine Feminine, the symbol often used for Christianity. The Age of Pisces, and the birth of Christ. The symbol of Pisces is a fish. The ancient Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom and Christ all in one.
You rub the vesica piscis while holding it over your heart, and fall asleep.
September 4, 2012
Take action. Set sail. Embark. Break the bottle of champagne onto the hull of your boat. By land or by sea. Swing onto your horse and and off you go. Or maybe you fly. Whatever. Launch the beginning of your journey.
Enter the forest and follow the trail, visible or invisible. In The Sophia Secrets, protagonist Anne Demaree, takes off on a trip to India, to a Kali temple, to visit the very goddess who appeared in her dreams. Her trip is crucial for the next stages of her journey.
Taking action has many possibilities, though rarely does it have assurances. That’s the beauty of such a journey into the forest of your dreams. You don’t know what you will find there, but you know you must do it. And you feel certain you will uncover secrets, about yourself and about the world.
To launch your journey, you might be drawn to take a trip you’ve always wanted to take. The Appalacian Trail. A pilgrimage to the Holy Land. El Camino Santiago, from France to Spain. Biking across Canada. Traveling to a sacred place, such as Assisi, Italy, to feel the energy of St. Francis, to contemplate there for a long time.
Perhaps your dream has to do with going back to school, to study what you’ve always wanted to study, so that you can do what you always wanted to do, or what was waiting for you to do when the time was right. Or writing your first book, perhaps a memoir, or maybe a novel. Or beginning to paint with oils or watercolors.
Maybe you always wanted to enter a monastery or ashram, and so you leave for several months to live the monastic life of retreat, contemplation, and meditation.
When you embark on your journey, let your heart take it all in. Leave your analytical mind behind. Let go of all you think you know. Stay open for the unexpected and the unusual. Pray for guidance. Watch for signs and synchronicities.
August 28, 2012
The first secret lies in the dream. It can be any kind of dream—day or night, mental or visual or auditory. For Anne Demaree, the protagonist in The Sophia Secrets, it is a night dream of a dark woman with tangled black hair, dancing, terrifying. Over and over again Anne wakes up with this dream.
When a dream persists, you know it’s important.
Or, when a single dream is so numinous you can never forget it, you know it has a life-changing message you will not be able to ignore. In either case, you know you must unlock its key. You know you must give up everything to follow it. Each step along the way is its treasure.
The dream delivers the first secret on the journey. A passionate search, with many fascinating and exciting riddles to solve. Only you will know how to unlock the secret of the dream. No one else can tell you what it means. At the same time, others you love and respect can help you decipher it. But only you will know its deepest meaning, in a full body hum of knowing.
Draw it. Paint it. Dance it. Walk it. Talk to it. Write to it. Love it. Believe in it. Follow it. Put a painting of it on your altar. Let the message come to you.