Tenacious Magic ~ Chapter 16
A dream...new confidence, new carriage * Libido is lost * H: "Time to begin your journey" * The MOON * The veil lifts, voices in the night * Back to H to learn
I am writing to you as the shadow of the earth moves across the surface of the full moon. We are in Taurus season and a full moon eclipse is happening in Scorpio. I couldn’t have planned this timing. Sacred timing always feels this way, doesn’t it?Precise, without effort.
Taurus rules desire and the body. It also has the staying power of the bull, which is necessary for staying with what is uncomfortable and even painful to feel and witness. Scorpio is, of course, the dive into the underworld, the watery depths, the ground where the disciple struggles with and has the potential to transmute sexuality, death, darkness, and poisons. Scorpio represents the very process of dying into the light, enlightenment—REBIRTH and the Phoenix rising from the ashes. This week’s chapter is full of these themes—life and death, the moon, the darkness, the journey into awareness of the priestess archetype, and the deep transmutation of our desire nature.
This week also comes with a mild ADULT CONTENT WARNING, maybe PG-13. There is talk of sex, talk of not having sex, and talk of group sex. I just want you, reader, to know before you dive in. It’s been a journey for me to bring this to you. It’s raw and vulnerable, personally. But, also touches universal pain and collective trauma around how our culture holds sex and sexuality. And how this really destroys us. What gets suppressed takes us down eventually. I think the stakes are highest for women in a patriarchal world-time, but no one is immune.
The sexuality that I write about in this story, in this context, is sacred sexuality. It is a different thing ALTOGETHER from what mainstream culture views as sexuality. What we are witnessing is the initiation of the priestess archetype, the priestess being the high feminine holder of the sexual/creative power of The Universe (Shakti, Eros…) in human form; capable of channeling it into creation and fertility in this earthly realm. She does this with her body, through her sexual and sensual subtle arts and ritual. She is a female magician of the highest order and sexual magic and initiation is her domain. The world ceases to exist, the balance is lost, when there are no priestesses.
And in a patriarchal time, which is what we’ve had for the last five thousand years, priestesses have been guardians of the female mysteries and wisdom traditions. They have maintained as much power as women can have within a patriarchy and they have done it in secrecy, on subtle planes, and sometimes at great cost to themselves. They have sacrificed themselves to keep The Feminine alive in the world. Thanks to these incarnations and faithful servants of the Goddess.
I want to give you this background because I didn’t have it when I entered the period of revelation you will see me enter here in Chapter 16. I had very little context for what was happening. Fortunately, I had H. He initiated me into my powers as a Priestess and he guided me skillfully through the very tricky process of coming into possession of those powers, but eventually he and I made a mistake. We misunderstood what was happening—got carried away by the strong archetypal energies we were conjuring.
As we will see over the next few chapters, without a sanctioned and transparent process for such initiations in our culture, things can get left out, left in the dark, or warped; shadow can become operational and even overtake the process. With a few exceptions—maybe in some eastern Tantric contexts or possibly in some special places like Tamera, Portugal—there’s really no good and beautiful way for this to happen without potential for collateral damage. I believe these practices and processes of sexual initiation need to be re-imagined and held safely within community where women and men can be supported through the process and our youth can come into their full expression of sexuality and self in a sacred and loving way.
When this all happened to me—the veil lifted and I was barraged/gifted with memories and archetypal imagery of the priestesses through time—I thought they were my own past lives. Now, I can see that what was happening was less personal and more universal/collective memory. What I have begun to see NOW as I write this story is that my natural channeling abilities, my gifts as an empath, made me OPEN to these currents that are alive and moving through us and through the culture constantly—if we are not aware of them, they even possess us, in a way. For a decade I inhabited this archetype. This story is just about the beginning. Now, I am moving into a new archetypal journey and I’m sure one day, I’ll probably be called to write about that, too.
Tenacious Magic has always been about the deep transmutation of the desire body and the cleaning up of the shadows in the archetypal relating of the masculine and feminine in the sacred marriage or sacred consort context. We’re getting into the meat of it now, the cauldron is on the alchemical fire—so to speak. I know it’s been cooking me (in good ways). We are starting to move into the parts of the process I can’t see as well…or didn’t then. I am seeing more and more every week that I write. I am understanding more about what happened and why. I hope you benefit from what is beautiful here and learn from my mistakes.
Please make comments or write me if this is speaking to you or you have questions, suggestions or insights. It really helps.
The sexuality of the priestess is without shame and so must her writing be without shame. For really, what’s the difference? Writing is sex when it’s done right. Dancing is sex (obviously). Painting is sex. Conversation can be sex! The Shakti fuels and travels through creativity, self-expression, and the transmission of the truths that are in accordance with the Laws of Nature. It was the patriarchy and organized religion that installed the shame mechanism in the human psyche. It is the re-embrace of our sacred sexual selves that will bring us back into touch with this most precious resource.
Note: If you are new to my Substack, Tenacious Magic is an emergent, serial novel about the teacher/student relationship, the masculine and feminine, Katherine Mansfield and Gurdjieff, power, sexuality, and time. I publish a chapter every Friday. Here is an introduction to the project. Here is Chapter 1. The chapters are free up to Chapter 7, at which point I took it behind the paywall. If you enjoy it, please subscribe and join the discussion. I incorporate reader comments and invite opinions and insights from readers to influence and inform where the story goes.
Now, back to the story…
For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter…
I am she whose wedding is great,
And I have not taken a husband…
I am shameless;
I am ashamed…
I am godless,
And I am one whose God is great.”
—The Thunder, Perfect Mind (from the Gnostic Gospels)
Brooklyn, March 2011
I dream that I am walking to the airport, holding my baby in my arms. With each step she’s getting heavier and heavier. I can see the buildings in the distance, though I’m not sure how to get there and as we walk it seems to be getting father away, not closer. I am calm considering the circumstances.
We cross a bridge and I look down into the deep waters below us. I say to the baby, “This is the site of the lost city of Atlantis.” We stand there for a minute looking over the edge, pondering the fate of that mythical land. But, we’ve got a flight to catch.
Next thing I know, we’re in a car and I’m driving us to catch the flight. The car is a junker and I wonder if we’re even going to make it. Paul is in the passenger seat looking at maps and very anxious about our route. In stark contrast, I am speeding along the highways…literally the car is hovering off the earth. I have decided to trust my intuition to get us there. I believe I can tap into a place inside me that knows the way. Intentionally, I am driving faster than my mind can think things through. I turn the wheel when my body feels an urge, keeping my foot heavy on the accelerator.
Quickly I take an exit and merge onto a new road, then another exit and another merge, and then I realize we’re on the airport property. We’ve made it! I am justified in my convictions and jubilant. I got us there! Paul is looking confused and irritated that my way worked. He’s still holding the maps.
We speed into a parking lot, stopping at the kiosk to take a ticket from the attendant. She is standing just outside the booth and takes a good look at our rusty old car. She walks slowly around the vehicle as we sit there awaiting approval for entry. It’s a situation that should be making me crazy with anxiety, but instead I am steady and contented. I’m ready to accept whatever happens.
She comes to the window. “You can’t come in here with that car in the state it’s in.” She says this in a way that makes it clear there’s no room for argument. Besides, I actually agree with her. I decide to go away and come back to the airport in a proper vehicle. This is no way to travel.
I have faith that I can catch another flight when the time comes, when I have the right conveyance for the approach. I make a u-turn and cruise home. The perception of small victories–now I know my way to the airport–gives me patience to persevere. I know for the first time I will make this flight.
S looks up from her journal—the baby is stirring. In a minute she will be crying for milk or mother…they are indistinguishable to the child and S is unsure herself whether the distinction is important. Her body has become the very “ground of being” for this baby, a source of nourishment and comfort. She is a MA now.
The first days and weeks were a blur. The birth was grueling. She was in active labor for 64 hours. Her water broke on Thursday morning at 2:00am and the baby was finally born—healthy, plump, and vital—at 6:13pm on Saturday. She managed to have the baby at home, though twice when the labor was progressing slowly they contemplated going to the hospital. They tried everything, including putting her in a car and taking her an acupuncturist mid-labor. That journey had challenged her physically beyond her limits, but it had helped the labor turn the corner.
Eventually, the moment she knew must inevitably come, had come…She got to the place Ina May described—the surrender. She gave herself up; handed over control; gave up her small will to a higher power. It happened on Saturday afternoon when she was on the floor of the bedroom pushing with each contraction. She saw the afternoon light getting long and her heart sank. She knew she couldn’t face another sunset or make it through another night. In that moment she gave herself over to the Universe and said, “I will die for this baby to live. I will do whatever it takes, including giving my own life, to bring this baby into the world alive and well.” Great strength entered her body in the moment after that submission and a new energy entered the space. Within a few hours, she had a newborn baby girl on her chest.
She remembers laying in the bed broken and exhausted—spiritually and physically. It had been a shamanic dismemberment. She was swollen, numb, flushed, empty, exhausted. The acupuncture needles were still taped to her legs and belly. She was bleeding and producing milk; barely able to walk. And yet, she didn’t care about the body at all. Her spirit was soaring. She’d made it. And more importantly, she had a daughter.
Now, she has been a mother for three months. She looks at the baby with wonder…What a miracle this life, this death, this re-birth! The veils between the worlds are so thin. I want to live in a world where the boundaries between worlds are not so separate. This is what’s actually real. Fuck what Empire tells me. Women know. Babies know. We know. We are birthed into death and we die into life. This life-death-life cycle is now my rudder, this is how I will sail my small ship across the great ocean.
She watches the tiny child try to bring her own fist to her mouth; she’s kicking and grunting. Before she can shed a tear, S takes the baby into her arms and cradles her. As she sits in the rocking chair and begins to nurse, the baby’s body relaxes completely. She looks up at S, smiling and cooing like a small dove. S marvels at the wide-open innocence in her eyes, the trust. Nothing has ever moved her like this, or destroyed her like this. She has been broken, but she is happy and rebuilding herself from scratch without a blueprint. So, this is what it’s like to become a mother…
Even as life and spring begin to blossom, S is finding it difficult to inhabit her own sexuality again. The lack of libido made sense right after the birth, but it lingers, and begins to feel like maybe that phase of her life is done? She feels undesirable and therefore, lacks desire. She begins to pray for a guide to lead her out of this arid landscape…she can’t imagine finding her own way. There is some solace in the shared experience when she finds women who will talk about it.
One warm day, she runs into her old friend, Cleo, the make-up artist, in Prospect Park. They are both pushing strollers. Cleo’s baby is a month older than hers. They hug and cry and share birth stories. Cleo is characteristically dry, blunt, and funny about how awful her birth was. Now, S understands the telling of the horror stories and she can handle it. S shares her own woes and they commiserate as they also celebrate the miracle of it all and how wonderful motherhood is in unexpected ways.
Cleo has always been a knock-out. She’s tall and blonde with green cat-like eyes and tattoos. In her late 30s now and a mother, she still looks like the punk rock star he once was. She confides in S that she’s been invited to perform again, but she feels afraid that she won’t be able to pull it off.
“I don’t know, man. I feel so different now. I can’t imagine feeling…sexy…again. Or being that rock goddess on stage.”
“I know! I feel the same way. It’s completely depleted that part of me.”
“Do you think it’s even possible? I mean…I see sexy moms. Maybe it’s a stupid question…But, it’s like my sexuality is across this huge chasm. My husband is dying for me to retrieve it. He’s like, ‘Hey babe…how big is that chasm? Maybe I can cross it for you and get your groove back. Maybe I can do that for you while you’re putting the kid down?’ And I’m like, ‘If you put your hands on me like that again, you will be sleeping on the couch. I will throw you into the chasm.’” They laugh and she goes on, “But, he can’t do it for me. I have to find that shit myself. I’m just too tired to do anything.”
“I know. I am giving my body to another being all day and night—literally as food—I even sleep with her. I hate to say it, but I don’t need more touch…You once gave me some great advice. Maybe we need it now,” S says thoughtfully.
Cleo is intrigued, “Please, I’m desperate.”
“When I couldn’t find my sexual power once you told me, and I quote, ‘to channel my inner cunt.’”
Cleo looks shocked and then rolls her eyes, “Yeah. That sounds like me…or the old me, anyway.” She rocks the stroller back and forth as the baby stirs. S sees Cleo on stage again. She can see this is where she belongs—not pushing a stroller through Brooklyn day in and day out.
“There must be a way. You will be a rock star again. We will want sex again. This is temporary—a liminal space. We have to be patient and gentle with ourselves.” They stand there in silence for a moment, “It’s really, really nice to talk to you about this. I was feeling like something was wrong with me. If it’s any consolation…I think you’re still incredibly sexy. Maybe even sexier!”
“Dude…you, too. You’re a hot mama. I think it’s really about getting back on the horse, so to speak. I’m thinking of taking the gig just to have a reason to put on make-up again.”
As Cleo walks off, S feels hope. She will also find a way to get back on stage.
On a Monday morning, after getting the baby settled with the nanny, she takes the subway to the Upper East Side. She is struck by how different she feels walking these familiar streets. She puts her finger on it as she approaches the stately building where H’s office is, I feel fearless. This baby’s first gift to me is that she’s made me fearless.
She takes this confidence into his office with her. It feels wonderful to be back after four months and a massive initiation into motherhood. She has dressed for the occasion and he notices. As they sit down, he hands her a beautifully-wrapped white box with a blue ribbon. She opens it and inside are two cotton onesies for the baby from a luxurious French baby store on Madison Avenue.
“Only the finest for the little princess,” he says with a genuine smile and a wink at the reference to her own as-of-yet-unclaimed royalty. He’s asking if she has finally left the maid behind. She realizes this is the first time they are meeting—both as parents.
They talk a little about the baby and her transition. She enjoys how talking about children softens him. H is a father to two kids. She marvels how this hadn’t factored in before; she hadn’t considered it. Now she sees how she was missing a big facet of who he is.
He asks, “And Paul? He must be thrilled? How is he handling the changes?”
She flinches. She knows she cannot lie to him, but she hasn’t even admitted the full truth to herself, “I wish I could say it’s all perfect. It’s not. He loves the baby, of course. But, he’s been working so much and I sometimes wonder if he isn’t quite sure what his place is in all of this. He can’t feed her and doesn’t quite know how to comfort her and she’s not yet playing…”
“That can be the experience of men at this stage. It’s not unusual. How are you helping him with that?”
She hesitates. His question brings an uncomfortable awareness. She hasn’t been, “I haven’t. I guess I’m mostly resentful.”
He gives her an admonishing look. She reacts, “But, I’m doing so much. I can’t take care of two children!”
His stare is steely, “You need to stop blaming and judging Paul for his nature. He’s a turtle and you keep wishing he was an antelope. It’s not fair to the turtle.”
“What about me? I am taking care of the baby, working, arranging the nanny, the doctors visits, buying the groceries, the clothes…” She is spinning into her overwhelmed state.
“Stop.” As he says this, she freezes. “No complaining. No poor me. No victim…Your problem is that you don’t know how to accept help and you don’t know how to surrender. So, you’re stuck.”
“Surrender? To Paul?” She can’t imagine it.
“To the situation,” he says firmly. And then, “And yes, to Paul. I think you must learn to surrender and Paul is your partner, so…to Paul. Be soft. Be feminine. Be gentle. You will be shocked how this can change things. Can you do this?”
“I honestly, don’t think so.” The answer is based on the way she feels in her body, the way her whole being seems to reject it.
“Start by appreciating him for who he is.” He shifts in his seat and studies her, then continues, “The problem is not Paul. You’d be the same way with any man after the first six months…until you learn to surrender, you will not be in your essence. You will not be a woman in full. You will not even be happy.”
She picks up her things to leave. She has never left halfway through a session. She feels angry and doesn’t want to explode here in his office. Just as she gets to the door, he calls her name. His voice is gentle. She turns. He gestures to her empty chair, “Please, have a seat. Let’s just enjoy our reunion. Let’s meditate.”
Something within her tells her to stay. She is not doing it for him, but for herself.
She sits and they begin to meditate together. Almost immediately, she senses that something is different between them, more potent. She feels more “a match” for him. The light between them is brilliant.
He surprises her when he asks, “What are you suppressing? What is your subconscious afraid to face?” Their eyes are locked and she allows herself to go under the spell he has cast. Her whole body relaxes and she looks. She really looks for the answer.
She expects to feel fear, but she realizes she isn’t feeling anything. She tells him this. He gives instruction: “Imagine your mind is the world. You haven’t been to China or to India so for you, those places are ‘subconscious.’ They exist, but you don’t know them at all…maybe as ideas, images…they are vague and mostly, you sit in Brooklyn and make decisions from Brooklyn without thinking about them. This is fine for a while, but one day you need the bigger picture and your small view gets a little tricky. Your decisions are not so good. To make the best decisions, you need the whole picture.”
As she listens, she begins to feel hot and uncomfortable. She is getting nervous, agitated. His words are taking her places in the body she hasn’t known before.
“Suppressing has its own effects. Whatever you are holding down needs to come up.”
This sentence acts like a key in the lock of a door she doesn’t even know exists deep within. She wants to run rather than see what is behind it. Her mouth is dry and she can’t speak. Images start to flash in her mind’s eye—bodies, skin. She feels heat, power. Her ego struggles to suppress the information, her mind begins making excuses. She is fighting herself.
H prods, “What are you seeing?”
She shakes her head and keeps her mouth closed. She cannot answer. The vision is becoming more clear. She sees herself standing in the middle of a circle of men. She sees herself writhing with other bodies on a packed dirt floor. She sees nakedness and sex. It looks like what she would imagine to be an orgy. She feels shame.
“Is it sexual?” he asks gently. This gives her the freedom to begin expressing the images aloud. As she does, they become more and more clear. As the scene is spoken the pressure is dropping away…
“It’s an orgy. But, not…in a dirty sense. It’s somehow…sacred…I am standing in the middle of a circle.”
“Are there other women or just men?”
“Just men,” she can see this clearly. She can even see some of their faces, the sweat on their brows—brown skin, black hair, angular features, simple headbands, “They are sitting cross-legged…and now crawling on hands-and-knees in a circle around me. They are chanting, meditating, praying, in trance…a ceremony of some sort?” She asks the last part as a question.
She keeps looking into the scene, searching for details that might help her place it. “Egyptian?” She feels this is not quite right, but close. It feels even older than Ancient Egypt, “Mesopotamia?”
“What are you doing?” H asks.
“I am looking up through an oculus in the ceiling of the temple…at the full moon. It’s huge and bright. I am moving slowly and freely, swaying my hips. I have so much confidence. I know this dance, know the effect each move will have on them. I seem to be quite expert at this…job? I am a priestess.”
She is enjoying the feelings moving freely now through her body. It is erotic now, but not sexual. Blissful, ecstatic, powerful…She jumps.
She is flooded with energy that makes it hard to speak, “The men are sitting back on their heels, they are all directing their arms towards me, sending me an energy that fills my body, completely electrifying me. Ah, the moon. It’s now dead center in the oculus.”
“Move how you feel to move,” H guides.
She lifts her arms straight up to the ceiling in the vision and on Madison Avenue. She speaks with some effort, “I am sending their prayers straight into the moon. I am making an offering of my body to the moon.” She is silent for a moment while she feels and then describes the incredible sensations, “My body is disappearing in light. I am a circuit, a channel, for the energy and light these men are sending to the moon. Their movements—our movements—were synchronized perfectly, perfectly. We all did our jobs exactly and the timing was just right…the combustion was jolting. For a few minutes we were all one beam of light, the men, me, and the moon.”
The scene changes, as in a dream. She describes now without shame, more in a state of wonder, “Now, we are all making love. It is a celebration…and a confirmation…the ritual succeeded…the union of opposites...a harvest is certain…We have restored harmony.” She is watching the sexual dynamics with interest, “There is no individual identity, no preference, no seeking a specific partner, just a movement of energies between bodies.”
The scene changes abruptly.
“Now, I am walking between two giant rocks…It is dry and hot, dusty, sandy. The wind is hot. I feel my feet in sandals on the earth and a long, flowing gown and head cover. I feel a sense of duty, of seriousness. I am on my way to the Oracle…I am the Oracle…”
“It is Delphi?” H asks.
She nods, but is watching closely because she is now seeing a new scene…from this same life or one close in time?
“I am older now…beautiful, with gray hair. Maybe in my 60s. I am standing on a hillside surrounded by men, the only woman. Down the hill and far into the field in front of us, troops of soldiers are waiting in line to receive my blessing.” The scene is so vivid she has the awareness that this cannot be her imagination. She continues to narrate, “Flags are flying, the troops are holding staffs, they have helmets on.”
“Who are they? What do the flags look like?”
“They have a sun…just a sun…it seems…Roman.”
“Sol Invictus…” he says. He is there, too.
“They are about to head into battle,” she feels sadness well up from within. Tears begin to roll down her cheeks, “Many, many of these young men will die in this battle.”
“What is your role?”
“I am here to bless them, to…clear them of any heaviness…before they go into battle,” she watches as the line of men winds up the hill towards where she is standing with the generals. She describes the scene to H, “As each soldier approaches he kneels in front of me and I hold his head and look him in the eye. It’s a private moment between us…intimate. He gives me all of his fears, his insecurities, his pain…and I absorb it all and…destroy it. Without words. I can feel all of this, everything he fears leaving behind. Almost like a confessional, but completely without guilt, shame or judgment. This is the real thing. I absolve them…take it all off their shoulders, and dissolve it for them. Then we touch foreheads and smile at each other and he moves on. The next young man kneels and looks up at me expectantly…”
S is now absorbed completely in the scene, the memory. She feels the grace and maturity of herself as an older woman, a feeling of powerful lightness…She looks at H with the same energy the woman in the vision is using with the men.
H asks, “What are you giving these men?”
“Love,” she says this without hesitation. It is exactly the word to describe the energy passing between them.
“Are you giving me Love right now?” he asks. She is sending him waves of this light energy as she had been doing with the soldiers in the vision. She has an endless supply.
“Yes,” she says, smiling. She feels a recovered power has been unlocked.
The visions start to fade. She keeps searching and sees fragments from other places and times: on a ship sailing across choppy waters, in a castle in Old Europe... But, she can no longer hold them. She gets very quiet and the energy in the room settles. She feels peaceful and sits staring across the room again at H. She feels a light, a wave, a halo coming from him…he seems to be placing a laurel of light over her head, a mantle. It comes three times, maybe more, and she receives it as a gift. She feels such gratitude. She feels so close to him. Have they always been together…
“Share with me,” he says.
“I’m looking for you,” she answers, her mind still scanning the memories, trying to return to the visions to find someone who looks or feels like him.
He smiles with infinite kindness. He knows she means in these lives, but he says, “You’ll find me in your consciousness.”
As he says this, his voice is crystal clear—as if it is coming from within her own consciousness. As she understands what he is saying, she feels happiness and at the same time, a deep aloneness. She feels for the first time how individual, personal, her path will be. He may be here now, but he will not always be here. She cannot rely on him…but, she can call on him.
“It’s time to begin your journey,” he announces. “Man becomes divine through suffering. The journey is internal…” They sit in silence for a moment then he continues, “Move. Allow your body to make the movements you feel. They have meaning and they will reveal things to you. Do it in private…while the baby sleeps…Do the movements you feel. If you just sit like this,” he sat small, tight and rigid in the chair, “it won’t come.”
He studies her as she fidgets, “Why the tension in your thighs?”
She answers honestly, “Because I’m trying to keep them closed.”
“Open. Learn to open. Not in a sexual way but as a creative act. This is the seat of creativity. Learn to open from now on when you come here.” Then he adds almost accusingly—referring to her past, “You were once great. You don’t let anyone dominate you now.”
She relaxes her thighs and her whole posture changes. She feels open to the world. What does he mean…dominate? This is a hard word for a modern woman to hear.
Five nights after the revelation with H, she is walking home through the streets of Brooklyn when she gasps at the sight of something miraculous: the moon…as big as a house, hovering just above the apartment buildings. She’s never seen a moon so big.
She goes home and to the internet…NASA confirms:
“The moon will come closer to the Earth tonight than it has in almost 20 years; appearing 14% bigger and 30% brighter than more frequent full moons…”
Around eight, after putting the baby to bed, she steps out onto the street and gazes at the enormous ball of light hovering overhead. The streetlights are no match for this moon. She remembers the full moon in the oculus overhead in her vision…she remembers all of the full moon nights…She texts H:
S: Check out the moon!
H: It’s in the air can you feel
S: I think so
H: I ask if you FEEL
The text seems to catalyze a process. She shifts her attention from her head into her body. She tries now to feel the feminine face of the moon, the moon as mother, goddess. She feels the luminous light charging something within her…a power source she is still only remotely aware of.
Around three in the morning, she is awakened by the baby’s crying. She goes into the nursery, picks her up from the crib, and walks to the window. She notices the rich shadows and shimmering silver of the neighborhood bathed in a holy light. She feeds the baby lovingly, smiling and cooing with her, and then puts her back down. S lays on the bed in the nursery in the moonlight. Like a moonbather, she opens herself completely—asking the moonlight to enter her, to teach her. She receives the energy, thinking of past lives when she knew the moon as a deity, a goddess—it was not a metaphor. She looks out the window and can only see the very top of the building next door. Everything looks so timeless! It could be hundreds, thousands of years ago. Somewhere far away…a desert, a temple.
She opens her eyes and the moon is shining, rays and all. She has never seen this. She counts the rays…eight. She suddenly remembers the Star of Ishtar, Star of Venus…She realizes the sacred is right here, right now. It’s not distant, not from another place and time. It’s not relegated to ancient symbols, myths, and rituals. It’s here and now and all around, as strong as ever.
Her heart opens and suddenly she knows what she is…a vessel. She realizes she must become a channel for the Divine…a connector, a receiver, a transmitter. The words are awkward, but the imperative is strong. She finds her journal and writes to capture the moment:
“I am a mystic and it’s time to lose the shame I’ve felt and the doubt that’s colored my life so far. I have power that I must step into. It is my sacred role to embody the feminine. Now. Here. In this time.”
For the next ten days she is besieged by visions and messages from the beyond, from the past…maybe even the future. She didn’t know what she was invoking.
Names and dates come to her in the night…or early in the morning before waking. Breastfeeding seems to aid the process in that she is up and down several times a night, never really falling into the deepest state of rest. Despite the whirlwind of activity, she feels vital and energetic through the day.
Katherine, dies in 1923…Was I there? What was her relationship to G?
Paris…Nazi occupation…is it 1941? Am I still with G?
Temple priestess, Enhedduana, Sumer 4000 BCE…the first poetess…writer of the Temple Hymns
Rome — Sol Invictus
I see an oracle…Delphi? Delos?
A dream of the crone. I am in a castle tower. I wake. Far in the distance, in another tower, I hear her cackling like a witch. I feel afraid, but my feet hit the ground and without thinking, I am running towards the sound. I climb into the other tower and meet her there in the moonlight. Her back is to me. I see that she is horrible, hideous and deformed. She turns around drooling and leering. She is trying to scare me, but I feel her and I love her. I go to her and embrace her fully. Our bodies merge and I feel her bestow her wisened power into me. She is me.
H texts: “Why did the men come to the temple? They could get sex anywhere. What where they giving you? What did you give them? This is the question.”
She writes back…
“I am giving them Love…unconditional love as energy to heal their wounds and purify them. They give me their doubts and sadness and shame and anger and I make it pure with the vessel of my body. In the light of the body’s wisdom, the glare of that Love, the whole charade disappears.”
She is reading the Gnostic Gospels on the subway on the way to work. She is suddenly filled with tension. Her heart tightens. Grief. Unreal grief. She stumbles up the stairs and into the park. It is raining lightly. She grabs the fence, clinging to it, crying, mourning. She feels the presence of Mary Magdalene. She is filled with the Magdalene’s experience of Christ’s death. She puts her hand to a wet tree trunk to steady herself and then brings it to her mouth…she wants to eat, to eat the body of Christ, to take him into herself, forever. Mary speaks to her.
Jesus - I was the favorite. I was the wife. I was the woman who knows all. I was there when he died. I wept. My heart broke.
And then, we banded together to keep the knowledge alive. We took an oath. We ate the body and drank the blood.
We were walking around with secrets and we lost.
But, we’re still here. By staying underground. By perfecting the art of being actors, hiding in plain sight. We have managed to still be here…carrying the keys, the knowledge, the only truth that will set us all free.
It’s been an epic struggle. Oh, the conspiracy. The conspiracies to hide his truth, his legacy. Like angels cast out of heaven.
It’s not a game. It is a battle. I must be armed. I must strengthen myself. There is so far to go. But this, this feeling, this LOVE, this is it. This is the reason I exist. To re-find the knowledge I hold within.
Salome accompanied me to the tomb. We were sisters in the mysteries.
“Now, I understand,” S says as she receives the message.
A voice in the night, in her sleep says clearly, distinctly… “Ara Pacis.”
She wakes dutifully and looks it up online. She has never heard these words, as far as she knows. She is stunned to find a monument, a great altar. On it, are the Vestal Virgins. She remembers.
She reads somewhere on the internet:
“It was said that they could absolve a criminal on the way to death with one glance. If a criminal on the road to death chanced to come into contact with the Vestal Virgin, and he could meet her gaze, he must be set free. It was Roman law.”
She knows why…she knows the power of this gaze: the absolution possible in it. If he could meet it, his soul must be taintless.
“The use of secret names became central in late Egyptian magic spells, and Isis is often implored to ‘use’ the true name of Ra in the performance of rituals…”
What is his true name? What is mine?
“UR,” a voice says it clearly and then spells it, “U-R.”
“Egypt, the King’s Chamber”
Indistinguishable Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew and older languages. She cannot always understand the voices.
“Lizzie Siddal…the Pre-Rapaelites. She sees them by the fire, looking at the work of William Blake. Dante Gabrielle Rosetti says, “He’s like a father to us. He’s our father.”
She is back in H’s office and relieved to be there. She senses she needs grounding—help understanding. Nothing she shares surprises him. As usual, he is a rock. He takes it all in…listening deeply. Slowly she regains confidence that she is not losing her mind, but finding herself.
He is enjoying her attempts to put the puzzle together, “You have insight. Trust it.”
He studies her and then says, “Remember our texts about the men? I asked you what they gave you and you said something like anger…shame…sadness?”
“This is a mistake. There is no sadness. It’s only what they perceive as sadness. You have to recognize this or you will suffer…” He let this sink in and then continued, “You will become diseased. Does a doctor take on the sickness of every patient who walks in the room? Think of me. If I absorbed all the weight people brought in here…” He sank in his seat and pretended to be laboring under a heavy load. “You have to understand the illusion. You have to allow them to give it all to you–to be completely submissive–but then be clear afterwards,” he waved his hand in front of his face as if brushing away a fly.
“You have to be a giant.” As he says this, she experiences a physical sensation in her body of hugeness. She feels about nine feet tall and is towering over him in the room. She actually feels what it is like to be a giant among men.
“Was I right about what I am giving them?…Love?” She is reflecting on her memory of the temple priestess, the virgins, the oracle…”People need love, so much love. I felt it then—I feel it now. Men, especially. I see it in their faces.”
“They’re not getting it at home from their wives,” his response has a tinge of bitterness. She wonders if he is speaking from his own experience.
“In order to be your archetype and operate in that manner you have to be at a very high level…Can you have these visions and insights and still operate in life? Still carry on as a human being? A mother?”
“That’s the role of the actor, right?” She responds and the look he gives her tells her he needs a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ She closes her eyes, imagines her baby, “Yes, I can.”
He nods. Satisfied.
“Let’s do an exercise. I want you to feel me. Not see me or think about me, but feel me. We’ve done this before, but you weren’t so open. Let’s try again. You and I are bound together so this should be easy…feel. I want to teach you.”
He sits still and upright with his hands planted firmly on his thighs. They stare into each others eyes. He begins to change appearance. So many beings, faces, times fly through him. She is watching and thinks with wonder as she feels it, “Eons are passing.” He says aloud in response to her silent observation, “Yes, I’ve been around a long time.”
She sees more faces and then the dark faces she has seen before. One in particular looks like it has horns, then like a skull, then like an alien, then horns…she feels afraid as “Devil,” comes to mind. She is reluctant to speak the name. He senses this and says, “You need to get comfortable with black…the Black Madonna. Black Kali. Black Bhairava. Black is night…it is not bad.”
He comes out of the trance and they sit, relaxed.
“What you just did is what I do when someone comes in here. I feel through them, see through them. I see all of their incarnations and then I can see their role. I also see the misery they are experiencing being so far from their true purpose.”
“And then you help them get back on track?”
“In a sense…I envision a different future for them and lead them to envision this future for themselves—something that will help them live more aligned with their destiny. It’s easiest to do with people you are bound to.”
“How can I help people?” She asks.
“That comes later. Help yourself first. Then you’ll be able to help others.”
“I feel like I can help men. I want to heal men.”
He looks at her directly, “If you want to help men, you must help women…You said it yourself…the women you have been…these priestesses…they are masters of surrender…complete submission without judgment. Teach women this and you will help a lot of men…Complete submission. Not partial, not conditional. The moon doesn’t kind of, sort of accept the light of the sun. If it refused the sun, it would be the end of the world. Help women be women…”
It’s a long time before she understands the wisdom in this answer.