Reaching for the Ineffable

3-2 FishEye

The inhalation begins, as the eye unfolds, opening, a lifting of the lid, and the winged fish emerges from the ocean’s depths with the rising sun. The winged fish reaches its apex, it turns to begin its descent, as the eyelid slides down across the eye, the exhalation releases, and a gentle splash is heard as the winged fish leads the sun into the still, silent depths of the Unknown.

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Reaching for the Ineffable

This post is a duplicate because I could not get the photo in this one to post when the blog was shared….

3-2 FishEye

The inhalation begins, as the eye unfolds, opening, a lifting of the lid, and the winged fish emerges from the ocean’s depths with the rising sun. The winged fish reaches its apex, it turns to begin its descent, as the eyelid slides down across the eye, the exhalation releases, and a gentle splash is heard as the winged fish leads the sun into the still, silent depths of the Unknown.

The Poetic Language of the Soul

Bird-Egg-Fish

I had the following dream in my twenties:

A group of us are being held hostage by several men. We all lay on the deck at the front of a cottage in the middle of a field. The men sit inside watching us. We have to jump up and catch a transistor flying through the air when no one is looking to gain our freedom. I do this and am released. I walk toward the woods.

Dreams come for the benefit of the soul, not the mind. They speak in the soul’s symbolic language and not the mind’s literal language. This is also true for myth, fairy tales, stories, and the things related to the life of the soul.

There is usually one literal meaning to something, but several possible meanings when symbolism is involved.

One possible meaning of the above dream is that the mind was holding me hostage. That I needed to be still until I received information that wasn’t coming from a material source to win my freedom. I had to catch the information floating on the airwaves, which could mean intuition. The masculine says, “This is what you need to do to win your freedom,” be still, wait until the right time, listen, and make your move. Listen for the still, quiet voice to learn something essential to our freedom.

What appears on the surface as being held hostage by someone or something, can take on a deeper meaning when we see that what seems to be one thing is something else entirely. More specifically, we interpret the situation as being held against my will, but in the end I win my freedom. If I hadn’t been held, I might not have opened myself to intuition and won my freedom from the patriarchy, mind, or however it might be interpreted.

Dreams are like fairy tales. This dream theme appears repeatedly in fairy tales. Dorothy is held hostage by the Wicked Witch, Cinderella by her Stepmother, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty by the Beast, Rapunzel by the Old Woman, the mythic Psyche by Eros (then Venus) and Persephone by Hades, Hansel and Gretel by the Witch. None of these characters are free at some point in their story.

When we look at stories literally, we miss the deeper meaning. If the stories were about young women who were in these situations, then we would say this is about the poor heroine as a victim who waits for the prince (in some stories) to set her free. As you may have noticed by the range of stories I have included, they aren’t all rescued by a prince. If we look at them symbolically, none are.

If we read about Dorothy talking to the Tin Man, we don’t say, “She’s psychotic.” We often say it’s pretend, a story, entertainment. What if this is Dorothy conversing with the part of herself that has lost touch with her heart? The part of her that says, “Work, work, work, more, harder, faster, to get what you want.” In the process, she got stuck, and lost contact with her own heart, love, and her soul.

What if the stories weren’t meant to be taken literally? What if they were not intended for the mind but for the soul? What if the stories, like dreams, were in the language of the soul and were about the soul’s freedom from the conditioning of the patriarchal culture?

The soul thrives on depth. Deeper meaning, being, interaction with nature that comes from open and aware engagement. It is nourished by poetry, beauty, and love. Not superficial beauty, love, and stories, but stories, love, and beauty that does not conform to the culture’s ideas of what has value. They reach through the doorway of symbolic language to a deeper truth and meaning to nourish and assist in the growth of the soul.

Defy the Authorities and Follow Your Heart

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I dreamt of my stepmother a few nights ago. She was sleeping in the dream, but then awoke, and threw a bunch of shotguns on the floor. It was unusual for her to appear in my dream, but she often shows up when I am pondering the role of the so-called “evil” Witch and Stepmother characters in fairy tales, which I was doing the day before the dream. The Witch and the Stepmother in fairy tales are the shadow feminine.

The shadow feminine is the unconscious aspect of the heroine. The part of herself that she projects onto those around her and they are to blame for her lack of progress. The Witch and Stepmother initially served a purpose. They are the part of us that learned the rules in childhood in order to protect us. When you were ten and languishing in front of the television, they sounded the alarm, “Mom will be home soon. You better get up and finish your chores before she gets back or she is going to be angry.” They were your protectors.

The Wicked Witch was a Warrior in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy saw herself as a helpless Victim when her house landed on the first Wicked Witch and killed her. Then, later in the story, she was devastated when the Wizard told her she had to kill the second Wicked Witch in order to get home. How could she, a helpless little girl, kill anyone? She couldn’t even imagine it.

As Dorothy and her friends approached the Witch’s castle, the Witch in defend and protect mode, repeatedly tried to stop them. Finally, the Witch took Dorothy and the Lion hostage, had the stuffing pulled from the Scarecrow, and damaged the Tinman by having him dropped from high in the sky.

The Witch made Dorothy work in the kitchen and caged the Lion. She repeatedly tried to steal Dorothy’s silver shoes, which eventually made Dorothy so angry she threw water on the Witch, which melted her. This is symbolic of the emotions that can melt the defensiveness and protection we have utilized throughout life. Acceptance of the difficult feelings as they arise will melt the inner Witch. This also moved Dorothy out of the Victim role as she integrated the anger the Witch carried and accepted it as a part of herself. This empowered her to act on her own behalf.

Cinderella played the Victim role with her Stepmother and Stepsisters who endlessly taunted her. They constantly created extra work for her, so she could never rest. They ridiculed her and made her feel as though she was never enough. She would never meet her Stepmother’s expectations in order to be free to do as she pleased.

These women are the inner voices that tell us there is always more work to be done. They are the beliefs we carry regarding inadequacy. They are what keeps us from living the life we desire as our true selves. Those ideas prevent us from following our hearts.

The Witch, Stepmother, and Stepsisters in the fairy tales are the inner voices that keep us from stepping into the fullness of our being. They keep us playing Victim roles and interpreting what happens through that lens. They mire us in giving and receiving blame and guilt, which keeps us under their ever watchful eyes to do more and try harder to be enough.

The roles the Stepmother and Witch played in childhood are not necessary as an adult. Cinderella defied her Stepmother when she went to the balls. The Prince challenged her parents when he insisted she try on the slipper. The Stepmother was the voice that said she had to play smaller the first two times she tried to leave home. The parents continued to ridicule her the third time as the Prince took her away from the home in which she wasn’t seen or valued for who she was.

Dorothy discovered at the end of her journey that she had the power to go home inside her all along. We also have the strength to face our inner critics in whatever form they take. We have the ability to step out of Victim and Warrior roles and into a new story. The power to live the life we long for, following our hearts, and sharing our gifts, is and has been inside of us all along. All we have to do is click our heels together and we are at home in our true self.

Trees: Rooted in the Unseen

tree

Trees live in a world of change, while remaining rooted in the deep darkness. They stand bare in the cold blustery winter storms. Their leaves and buds sprout with the onset of spring rains. The sun and heat of summer entices the flowers to bloom and the fruit to ripen.  As the days get cooler and the winds blow, the leaves and fruit drop from the branches and then winter returns. Once again, the tree stands bare and exposed to the elements.

The life of the tree is similar to ours.

We can go through the smaller cycles of the seasons and weather changes many times during one life. Then, in a larger sense, as one lifetime, the spring can be youth, summer is adulthood, fall represents midlife, and the winter as the elder years.

We have been conditioned to look at the seasons and weather we experience in life with judgment. Positive things happen during the sunny days, and rainy days are identified as when negative things happen. Strong winds that break off a limb might be perceived as tragic. The seasons, as related to the deterioration that is a part of the ageing process, is generally presented in our culture as the older one gets the worse it is.

Change is sometimes perceived as difficult. Letting go as a challenge. And life, it has been said, is for the young.

The part of the tree that remains unaffected by the weather and seasons is the part of the tree that is not visible. The roots are in the dark silent stillness, while above ground the trunk may sway in the wind, as the leaves are blown from the branches, and the tree is  pelted with rain.

When we root our awareness in the stillness and silence of ourselves, that which is unseen to the world, we remain undaunted. Seasons come and go. The weather changes. We age. Still we remain rooted in that which is changeless. If we base our sense of selves on that which is seen, that which is impermanent, we can be battered by the natural cyclical ebb and flow of life. When we stand in that which is permanent, we remain immune to what happens in the outer world. We are fully engaged as we witness life with our sense of self based in what is eternal. That is the ever-present Source, which is the deeper root of our being.

Deep in the Heart of the Cocoon.

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Where do we get the visions with which to shape our lives?

DREAM: Deep in the heart of the cocoon.

I awoke from the dream with the sense that I was in a space of deep transformation. Eventually, I had another related dream in which I followed a yellow and black butterfly as it flew through the house.

These dreams caused me to ponder…

What if you were a caterpillar and spent your days crawling on the tree you were born on eating green leaves? That would be the extent of your world and life. If you saw a butterfly, would you know that was your future? Do caterpillars dream of being butterflies? Do butterflies communicate with caterpillars? Would a caterpillar even believe the butterfly? Do caterpillars hear stories from other caterpillars? And what about us?

If we’re caterpillars, living with other caterpillars, then is it possible to know we can become butterflies? What is the human equivalent of the butterfly? The picture of what is possible may elude us. Some of us do have visions for our future, but often they have emerged from the ego.

Dreams reveal visions of what is possible for our lives that are far beyond the conception of the ego. Dreams break down limitations that inhibit our embodiment of a greater reality. They expand our sense of who we are and what we may become. They reveal what is keeping us from realizing our true nature. They assist us in every conceivable way and address all aspects of our lives.

The dream source has the visions necessary to awaken us to life as a butterfly and guides us toward that destination. If we are willing to listen and follow the dreams, we can raise our conscious awareness of our own transformation.

Visits from Sophia: A divine feminine presence.

sophia

I took a trip to Istanbul soon after I finished my coursework for grad school. The first thing on my list of things to do was to visit Hagia Sophia. All I knew about it was that it was that it was a church. I was thrilled that I was going to see a historical building associated with Sophia, who was a main character in my dissertation. I couldn’t wait to get inside the church to see all the symbolism around Her. Much to my surprise when the country was invaded they installed Islamic images, the Christian ones were minimal. Sophia wasn’t there the way I thought she would be.

Last winter we visited the San Antonio missions in Texas. We walked into the church across from the Alamo on the eve of Christmas Eve and the pipe organist was playing a soul-stirring version of Christ is Born that made my hair stand on end. We sat for a while listening to the music and watching the steady stream of people exploring the church with all of its holiday decorations. Eventually we got up to leave and exited through a side door. We walked toward the road that went behind the church and just as we prepared to cross the street I heard a man call from behind us, “Senorita, Senorita! Wait!” I turned around as he steered the woman behind me toward an opening in a high wall behind the church.

Something compelled me to follow them into the garden and without a thought I did. There on the outside of the church, concealed behind high walls, was a towering statue of what the Mexicans call the Virgin of Guadalupe.

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I was astonished to see this huge statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe hidden behind the high walls of the garden and tucked away behind the church. Then I had another synchronistic experience with her the very next day.

It was Christmas Eve when we went to the Mission of the Immaculate Conception. The curator and park ranger walked up to us as we sat outside looking at the map to see how far the next mission was. They asked if we needed any help. We chatted amicably for a few moments and then I asked, “Who do you think the woman is on the altar?” It wasn’t the traditional Virgin Mary we see in typical Christian depictions, but the Virgin of Guadalupe image. The Mexican-American ranger responded, the Virgin of Guadalupe is the Virgin Mary.

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I explained to them how Sophia was an aspect of my dissertation, but they had not heard of her. I shared how Sophia is Wisdom and that’s who I thought may be portrayed in the Virgin of Guadalupe image. The woman in Revelation is described in the way the Virgin of Guadalupe is shown. They were intrigued by the possibility.

In Revelation 12:2 it says, “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth. In anguish for the delivery.”

The woman in Revelation was pursued by a red dragon and God prepared a place for her in the wilderness and gave her wings to fly away from the dragon. She is to be nourished in the wilderness for a “time, and times, and half a time.” (Rev. 12:13)

A young girl of about eight walked up to us as I spoke with the curator and park ranger at the Concepcion Mission. She placed her hand on the curator’s back, moved her to the side, and walked right through the center of our group. We were standing outside and there wasn’t anyone else on the grounds except for us, this girl, and her family. As she walked through the center of our small circle, her mother called out to her, “Sophia! What are you doing?” Her mother walked up apologizing, until I explained to her that we had been talking about Sophia at the exact moment her daughter walked up. She was astonished to say the least. We all were.

The latest was the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, which is the Mother church of the archdiocese of Philadelphia. A nun was inspired to have bronze statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe made as a site for prayer. It is located in the front of the church to the left of the altar.

I have typically seen these Virgin of Guadalupe statues in areas saturated with those of Mexican descent. This is the first time I have seen this statue in the northeast, which seems unusual. This is the prayer that is near the statue:

Know for certain that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God. …Here I will show and offer all my life, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping and their sorrows and will remedy and alleviate their suffering, necessities and misfortunes. …Listen and let it penetrate into your heart. …Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? What else do you need?

You cannot see the word “Mary” in the photo I took because it is where the camera flash reflected. This divine feminine asks in the prayer, “Am I not your fountain of life?” She is the source and all we need.

These types of experiences with Sophia, a divine feminine, have been in dreams and the world. She is and has been opening my awareness to her presence in many ways. I had a dream during the course of my dissertation that revealed a spiritual experience twenty years ago was an encounter with Jesus and her. Through the course of my studies I began to see her on-going re-appearances as an indication of her presence.

I was planning to write a paper in grad school on a common theme in fairy tales which was the sacrifice of the daughter by the father. Before I started writing, I received an intuitive message that it wasn’t a sacrifice by the father, but an initiation by the Mother. I realized in Amor and Psyche that’s exactly what happens. Aphrodite, the goddess of Love, initiates Psyche (Soul) to help her move from being a victim to knowing the divinity in herself. I saw that in subsequent fairy tales, which appeared to be retellings of that myth, that the goddesses had disappeared from the stories.

This is true of the Bible as well. The books not included in the Bible are found in the Nag Hammadi, which has stories of enlightened women, Sophia being one, who are strong and empowered. The women in the Bible are not often powerful in their own right and can be interpreted in a negative light losing the true meaning of their stories.

The manner in which the powerful divine feminine presence is no longer seen in the fairy tales or religion, is also true in my own life. I remember asking years ago where the divine feminine images were? Where the divine female presence was? And I now am left wondering how many times I didn’t see her trying to get my attention because I wasn’t looking, listening, or aware.

After writing my paper, I thought of going back and rewriting my own history to put the goddess back in it. The one who was taken out of the fairy tales, religion, and subsequently my own story. The thing is, once I knew she was taken out of the fairy tales, I could see little signs of her. The helpful animals and the fairy godmothers were a few of the vestiges of her presence. How would rewriting my story change my perception of my life knowing that a divine feminine presence has been with me all along? How would it change your story if you knew she had been there with you all along and you just didn’t see it?