Parts and Polytheism

My spirituality and religious allegiances have wavered and evolved through the decades. Often this has bothered me. I feel as though I should settle for one path, whether broadly Pagan, Christian, or any other path. Yet I cant.

Christ calls me. Brighid calls me. The path of the Sufi, the mystical paths of Islam, call me. The way of the Druid calls me. Other Gods and Goddesses call to me.

Now I have a different light on this. It is the light shed by a deeper understanding of the various parts within, parts previously completely dissociated by trauma who are now emerging from the shadows. They have their trauma stories to tell. They also have their own religious/spiritual paths.

To force myself into one path is to deny the myriad paths formed within at different times. To deny those parts of me their own unique voice, their own unique relationship with the Divine. In a sense, to follow one path, worship one deity, is to deny the other parts of me their existence.  They have been ignored by me for decades. A way of survival maybe, but to the detriment of the whole.

Dissociation is a brilliant survival tool. A survival tool of the whole being, body, mind and soul. When those parts come together a beautiful – albeit highly complex – mosaic is formed. I will honour myself. I will honour the mosaic of deities that have made themselves known to me.

Blessed Be.

A Carmelite Soul

Tomorrow my stay in a Carmelite convent for this week comes to a close.  In some ways these few days have been an abbreviated version of my five years living as a Carmelite. First, something of Carmel.

Carmel is a desert landscape, yet a desert that blossoms.

Carmel is a mountain to be climbed, yet full of ravines, crevices, overhanging rock. The path is never straight, and rarely can you see the summit. For those who do reach it, the vista (I am told) surpasses all words.

Carmel is of Elijah, that fiery prophet, yet who prayed for G-d to end his life. Instead he woke up the next morning, and the ravens came to feed him, ready for his journey to Horeb. Being a fiery soul, he waited for G-d to come in the dramatic natural events. Instead He came in a whisper, that still, small voice. Carmelites of today trace their spiritual origin to him. I chose the reading of this event in his life for my first profession.

Teresa of Avila followed in the uncompromising footsteps of Elijah. In the times of the inquisition (1500s), she dared teach that women were perfectly capable of mental prayer, capable of a personal relationship with God. A heretic of her times. She reformed the Carmelite nuns. She also had the audacity to take Jesus to task, saying that she was not surprised he had so few friends when he treated them so badly. Somehow she escaped punishment in prison, escaped the inquisitors. She had no time for gloomy saints. Quite a character.

John of the Cross, who reformed the friars, was less lucky – except it was his own friars who beat him up for asking so much of them. He escaped, and his escape gave rise to some of his greatest spiritual poetry. He it is who wrote of the Dark Night of the Soul. An image which continues to speak deeply to me.

So Carmel is uncompromising. It asks everything, because God asks everything. Therein lies the paradox. We can only give ourselves (to anyone) if we first possess ourselves. We cannot give what we do not own. If we do not own all the mucky bits, the dissociated fragments, we can only give a part of ourselves.

Another paradox: Carmel is both utterly safe and utterly terrifying to be in, whether literally or figuratively. Tomorrow I must leave here, traverse 2.5 hours of holiday traffic to get home. I am screaming inside: because leaving Carmel 25 years ago was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life – along with living as a Carmelite for 5 years. Why? Because Carmel is a place which tears down every last fibre of false or incomplete self. It asks everything. There is truly nowhere to hide from that abiding Presence. Yet it is also utterly safe to be stripped spiritually naked here.

Prayer is complex for me. I am a spiritual wanderer, meandering down various spiritual paths. Yet yesterday and today I decided to take every one of the inner child parts of me which are slowly coming out of hiding and present them to Jesus – the image of him welcoming little children prompted that. They were two terrifying prayer times – yet it also felt completely safe to do that.

In Carmel all those years ago my sisters saw all the triggered parts of me in action, I suspect. Somehow I was still loved. I know I was very challenging to live with at times, especially for my fellow novices…

Tomorrow I must leave….Then I remember the note that the lay extern (outside the enclosure) passed in to me the night before I left, in which she said ‘you can take the girl out of Carmel, but you cant take Carmel out of the girl’. I guess that is still true, 25 years later, although generally expressed in more diverse ways. The language of the desert, the dark night, Presence in Silence, still speaks so deeply to me.

Life remains a desert. Life remains the challenge of climbing that mountain, falling down crevices, navigating overhangs. Somehow all this happens without crampons either. I guess I will just keep climbing (I hate heights and climbing…), with a Presence who is beyond all names, indeed is unnameable, but who reveals themselves in different, ever unexpected ways.

 

 

Ogham-Tinne (Holly)

Harvesting the essence from my Tinne ogham stave earlier was a powerful experience. Tinne is Unconditional Love, Balance.

Tinne  can be experienced as the love of a mother, or a very masculine love. For me today, it was a strong masculine love which came through, a warm and all-enveloping love.

The Holly King of the darker half of the year, but also the love of Jesus came through as well, totally unexpectedly. This love brooks no compromise. This love is pure. This love will strip away all that poses as pseudo love. Pretend love. Sugary love. This love is raw, is real.

As soon as I held my ogham stave for harvesting, I knew this was an essence I stand greatly in need of right now. Gaslighting from one direction as to the ‘happy times’ we had on holiday when I was growing up; another person betraying my trust in other ways, yet who would claim love for me; these are not love. Not the Love the Holly King and the Christ bring us.

Abuse can pose as love. The Holly King and the Christ offer true love, unconditional love – and ask that we grow in this in how we in turn love.

Tonight I send this essence out to all those who need this Love, and who are tired of behaviour posing as love.

Blessed Be. 

‘When the masks fall’ – sharing a powerful offering from Northerntamarisk

This is a truly powerful piece from Northerntamarisk which fully deserves a wider sharing. She draws deeply from the well of a tradition not her own, the wellsprings of the Carmelite path of the Dark Night of the Soul and the desert which blossoms, to reach deeper into the heart of her own path of devotion.

I am struck once again by how, in deep contemplation, the path to interfaith dialogue can be forged, and how, at the heart of all, there is a true sense of Oneness expressed through rich diversity.

 

Source: When the masks fall we meet Them as we Are

Sacred Space Interfaith Healing Ritual

Yesterday I shared a powerful healing Sacred Meal with an Interfaith Minister friend of mine.

It was largely to share within ritual space some of my journey with emerging memories of MDSA as a child. To share healing. To place this trauma in the hands of the One who is my Source, the One to whom I will return, and the One who is my Light along the way.

We blessed each others bodies with salt water. Blessed my lovely Brighid statue, which I surrounded with my Northern Tamarisk beads and gems sacred to Brighid.  

I shared my emerging memories in the form of a litany of grief: grief for the girl raped by her adoptive mother; grief for the girl who was made to experience oral sex at such a young age; grief for the girl who nearly died at her mothers hands; grief as well for a father unwittingly coerced into more covert sexual abuse.

These memories, written on a piece of paper, were placed along with my vows made into the hands of Brighid at Imbolc under her statue.

I am grateful for the sacred friendship offered. For a true Anam Cara. For the possibility of healing.

 

Brighid-Luis

Today I harvested an essence from my Luis (Rowan) ogham stave.

As I held my Brighid’s Flame prayer beads from Northern Tamarisk in my right hand, and my ogham in my left hand, they fused into an essence of a gentle Fire, of Protection. The flame beads merging with the berries of Luis as I welcome the new moon in the Celtic month of Rowan.

I send this healing essence out now to those in need of the gentle flame of Brighid-Luis at this time. May she bring you the Protection you need, and her Fire to take out into the world.

Available now from my Etsy store: Nine-Flame Prayer Beads + P&P update

These beads are lovely to be with. They carry with them the presence of Brighid, of Fire, Hope, Passion. As we approach Imbolc these will be very much present as I honour Her.

Northern Tamarisk

These beautiful Nine-Flame Prayer Beads are available now from my Etsy store!

whole-strand_02_nt
closeup_nt

The Nine-Flame strand is based on a Brighid’s Flame set I made for a friend. They  are perfect for connecting with Deities associated with fire and smithcraft, the blazing sun, or of the burning heat of the desert. Could also be used to connect with volcanic Deities, primal forces, or to act as a representative of the element of Fire.
Fire can burn away the old to make way for the new, so these prayer beads could be used in releasing ceremonies, as well as for renewal. After the dust has settled from the ashes of the old the new is born.
For writers and creators they could also be used to channel the flame of inspiration

Made of nine glass flame twist beads, 4mm glass beads and glass seed beads. Length: approximately 48cm. Weight: Approximately 45g

View original post 126 more words