The Beginnings of Endings

 

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

The owl appeared as the resurrected phoenix during my last, formal meditation as a student of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness. At some point, the seeker becomes the seen as the threshold to the mysteries are opened. The wisdom that always lies in wait within is always just a conscious breath away, but humans can be shallow breathers. In my young adult novel The Labyrinth, which is due to be released in a month or so, the voice of an owl cuts through the darkness as teens search for what they cannot find.

“Whoooo Loooooks for Yooooou?” The owl calls out to them.

Ultimately, are we not all looking for our own selves? The truth of the soul that is often only allowed to exist fully in the false protection of the shadows. The eyes, therefore, must turn inward and grow accustomed to the dark, where eventually they learn to see the light held within.  We are all seekers of wisdom, but sometimes it is worth asking what is the wisdom we truly seek?

The crow was waiting at the top of the building when I stepped outside the door of my final day of yoga teacher training. She cawed loud and strong, least I miss her presence, looking down at me as her eyes followed me to my car. Don’t forget who brought you here, she seemed to be saying, along with, you know this is only a beginning.

I have learned, over the course of these last three years in particular, how much endings are really just beginnings. Once we have crossed that threshold that marks the completion of a road along our journey, another road awaits us. The road is often unmarked or vaguely marked at best. if we knew what was waiting, would we walk with the open heart that requires trust and surrender?

And so I find myself walking across the threshold with eyes that have learned to see in the dark. Fear has become a friend that sometimes takes my hand to remind me of courage and I have grown comfortable with what is waiting to be known. I have learned that within each moment I can find the presence of teachers surrounding me. They are the trees outside my window and the birds that pass by. They are the people I encounter on the streets, and the dogs who share the couch as I write. My computer is my teacher, with all its quirks and challenges. And there is always, that ever-guiding light within.

I have become also, a friend of wait. Patience provides a soft hand that is worth holding for as long as it is offered. Magic is, after all, held in the present moment and if one pushes against the ever-flowing current of time it is lost.

Sekhmet & The Gayatri​ Mantra

 

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Sekhmet holding the Key of Life

 

I started working with the Gayatri Mantra while I work with the transformation energy of Sekhmet. It is both strang and perfect how my yoga teacher training has aligned with my final year of instruction with the Silent Eye School of Consciousness. When we agree to walk the path, though, the roads we take converge to unite to the deeper awareness we seek.

I was introduced to the Gayatri Mantra by a dear friend who sent me a video of Deva Premal singing it several years ago. As I listened to Deva’s unparalleled voice, I felt as though my cells were being realigned to a deep memory of truth. I was hooked. Transfixed. I played the video for days, maybe even weeks, and each time I did I wept with the beauty of what it brought to me.

Now it has come back to me through yoga. Placed into my lap by one of my teachers at a time when it is needed both individually and collectively. After what has felt like hard work for the inner and outer voice with my earlier mantra practices, the Gayatri Mantra feels like a welcoming balm. It tempers the inner fire and soothes the wounds that were reopened for healing.

The Gayatri Mantra is ancient. It’s Sanskrit sounds work through each chakra in the body, releasing and realigning to the true self. The healing potential of the mantra is so powerful it appears in ancient texts of the Vedas and the Bhagavadgita. It is a dedication to the sun god Savitri, and calls us to awaken to the sun within that is also outside of us. It works to open us back to our deepest origin, the Light of the Divine Consciousness that resides in all of us.

I am using this mantra as a tool to balance the firey energy of Sekhmet whose claws are ripping through me in what sometimes feels like a brutal effort to expose all that is false both within and without. Her talons dig deep, piercing the deepest origins of fear as they open wider the path to Holy Truth. I feel her raging through me in a restless urgency that can leave me off-center and in need of a quieter peace. The Gayatri Mantra brings me this. The ancient notes digging deeper than Sekhmet’s claws to find the core of Love and peace that is ever-waiting to be present. It is a healing balm in these turbulent times. A gift that has come, like most unexpected gifts, at the perfect time.

Aham Prema & the Inner Fugitive

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My journey with the mantra Aham Prema, “I Am Divine Love,” continues, pulling me deeper within to examine the origins of fears that hold back the full light of the divine self. Love’s opposite is not hate, but fear. Hate and all its friends are byproducts of fear.

In the first post I wrote about working with the mantra Aham Prema, I talked about the constriction I felt in my throat. The journey through this pathway to the voice of inner truth continues. Almost every night I note in my journal some point of evidence about my throat being worked like a muscle. I also make note of the sensations felt in my heart and third eye chakras. The heart feels as though it wants to be free of another barrier, while the brow seeks the expansion of the inner Light.

In my Silent Eye School of Consciousness studies, I am working with the energy of the inner fugitive, an aspect of the self that can reside in a habitual state of fear and hiding. The mantra Aham Prema adds to the intensity of the work, pulling me into depths I have, I realize, avoided exploring. I will call this place terror; that aspect of extreme fear that holds the tightest binds around the true-self. Irrational terror, if one considers only this lifetime, but I cannot.

The signs are too many. They appear everywhere. While I walk, I see the number 6, where the inner fugitive likes to reside on the Enneagram, in a murder of crows one day, in another, a bevy of doves. My dreams at night bring me deeper, pulling me to places of extremes to test the reins of fear binding the fugitive-self. One night, while I am on a ship of sorts being pulled underwater, I realize I am no longer afraid of “drowning.” Yet, in the same night, I find myself cowering away from an archway of the gods filling the sky with its awesome presence. One glance tells me I haven’t reached Faith without doubt of the Divine.

Aham Prema. “I Am Divine Love.” To open the light within, one must also surrender to the light without, knowing that when the reins of fear are broken there is no division.

When I go to sleep after day 7 of working with the mantra, I dream of artichokes in muffins presented by Sue Vincent, my mentor, and later my animal totem Eagle appears. Eagle has been a faithful guide for a while, and years ago brought me the vision of a past life that is significant to this journey.

By day 10 I start to succumb to a cold virus, which, it will be no surprise, begins with a sore throat before it works its way to the sinuses, causing pain from the pressure built up in my temples and forehead. From here it travels down the channel of the throat into the heart chakra where the lungs start to fill with fluid residue.

During the day I see 6 crows in the sky, circling and calling out.

Later in the evening I go into a meditation and find I am pulled into the forest nearby my house, to a place I have not walked in years. A forest path lined with evergreens. Years ago, when I first walked there with my dog Daisy, when she was still alive, my mind brought me to a reoccurring nightmare from childhood. The dream was of sheer terror, and each night it would wake me at the same moment when the voice of my fear tried to escape from my throat. It was a dream of fleeing through a forest of pines which, I later discovered through meditation and healing work, held the imprint of terror from a past life when I tried to flee from the Nazis through an evergreen woods. During my meditation, waves of healing pass through me as my body begins to release the binds of its terror.

When I fall into sleep later, Daisy visits me during dream time. My beloved companion who taught me that forests are places of magic and elemental love, and not to be feared.

On day 11 I cannot practice the 54 repetitions I have been chanting every night.  My throat is too sore, and my body is beyond fatigued. I need to rest.

And so I find myself at the edge of faith, and my soul asking me, Will you release the residue of fear that remains to open fully to the Light? Will you stand naked to Love in the arms of Faith?

 

The Climb of Life

I thought, naively, that it would get easier once I reached the teachings of the third-degree, but that of course was the wish of the fool. The path back to self is not for the faint of heart. One must sign-up for the long haul over treacherous terrain. The stumbles speak of resistance to the fall, yet who doesn’t stumble? This is not a dive off a cliff into icy waters to over-come fear in one brave leap. No, this is the walk of the conscious placement of feet while knowing that the ground may give way at any moment to quicksand. That at every bend in the road, one might find a monster from the past, reminding you of what you have not let go.

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The Fool card in The Rider Tarot Deck

We are birthed to experience separation, but life is not actually about the survival of the fittest. No, Darwin had it wrong. This is not about whose genes are superior, for no one is selected out. We can pretend we are immune to the darkness that haunts us as we walk through life. We can pretend we have control over our steps, which are always one step ahead of our shadows, but that too is the walk of the fool.

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The Five of Pentacles card in The Rider Tarot Deck

Shadows lurk until we shine the light of awareness upon them. They feed on our thoughts and our dreams, draining the light within until the darkness dims the soul’s truth. Eventually we must surrender.

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The Nine of Swords in The Rider Tarot Deck

The demon is always within. All else is an illusion. You can pretend it wears the face of the other, but you can only lie to the soul for so long. Growth withers in darkness, yet somehow most of us learn to shun the light. We forget that the light without is also within. That there is, in fact, no separation. After we are birthed into the world we fall prey to pride, telling ourselves, “Ahaha, I can do this alone. Look at me!”

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The Five of Swords in The Rider Tarot Deck

We look at each other and say, “Look at me. Look at you. We are not the same.” Inside our minds we draw up comparisons and place ranks. Yet the soul knows no division. It knows only unity.

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The Sun card in The Rider Tarot Deck

You’d think it would be easy, this coming back home to the core. To the truth. Who doesn’t want to experience the harmonious state of oneness. Of a state that is of joy, peace, and grace? Yet we cling to the past. To what we have learned through separation. We cling to the hurts and the perceived injustices. To the what-ifs and have-nots. We cling to the not-good-enough and the I-want-more. We believe life is a struggle for survival, a constant climb to get to the top, not realizing that once we get to the “top,” we must fall back down.

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The Tower card in The Rider Tarot Deck

Finding Magic in the Land: Mt. Cardigan

At the ancient stone circles in the United Kingdom, the shape of the stones often mirrors the surrounding land. It’s both awe-inspiring and eerie. The magic held inside the sacred structures, which extend far, far beyond the more widely visited circles, is quite something to behold. I have written of this before in posts that speak of the magic, and also of the deep longing and sense of home I feel in these sacred places. Living in New Hampshire, where the land, itself, is no less ancient, but the magic has always felt more illusive and gentle, at best, I have recently made a vow with myself to find it. It seems necessary, vital almost.

A couple of weeks ago, I hiked Mt. Cardigan with a friend of mine. Being a long distance runner, who regularly runs 50 miles through mountainous terrain for pleasure, she does not adhere to a leisurely walking pace. Not that walking up a mountain is all that leisurely, but you can understand that it would not be particularly easy to pause and look. To really take in the surroundings, and the feel of land. Not that I had told her I wanted to. We were here to hike, and so we did. Besides, it was a beautiful day and the mountain trail was filled with people.

I would have to wait until we reached the summit to stop and take note. Although it was a beautiful, partly sunny day, it was very windy on the top of the mountain, whose granite peak is exposed to the element in a way that leads one feeling uncomfortable and a bit raw. Like you could blow over the edge if you didn’t watch your step. There is also nowhere to really sit, comfortably. But we made do, finding a fairly sheltered cove where we could eat our sandwiches and chat while our behinds gradually went numb against the granite ledge.

I noticed the tiny bird from the corner of my eye almost immediately. It looked like a junco, with its white breast and gray-black over-coat, but I could not be sure. It stayed just far enough away so that it could be sure I was aware. Looking over at us often. It was the only bird, as far as I could tell, on the mountaintop, and its attention was clearly focused our way.

Because I do not see this particular friend often, and we always have a lot of catching up to do, I tried to devote my focus primarily on her, and our conversation, but the bird kept its watch, and I noted its presence from the corner of my eye. When we rose to prepare our descent, I took a photograph of our winged friend, and noted only later, what the image exposed.

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Our winged friend looks out from the edge of the heart-shaped stone

A few more photographs were snapped as I tried to get a panoramic copy of the landscape around the mountain without, once again, really knowing what the images might later reveal.

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The heart-stone (to the left) mirrors a heart-lake in the land below (to the right)

The truth is, it took me a couple of flips through the uploaded photographs later, to realize I had captured an image of the heart-stone with a heart-shaped lake in the distance. They are almost mirror images. The bird, it seemed from the earlier photograph, had been pointing the way. If you read any of the posts by the directors of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, this phenomenon of birds at sacred sites in the United Kingdom is not uncommon.

On the way down from Mt. Cardigan, my eye caught upon a large round boulder. “I need to take a picture,” I told my friend so she would pause.  I was pretty sure I had found the guardian of the mountain. A guardian, apparently, with a sense of humor.

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The guardian? 

Although I did not get a chance to do a thorough search of the mountaintop, this boulder appeared noticeably to stand alone amid the curved, flat surface of the peak. Upon closer study of the non-cropped photograph, I noticed it had some surrounding friends.

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The Guardian and Friends

They’re a little more challenging to see here, but one can make out faces in the raised stones, particularly the two in the foreground.

And, so it seems, I had found a bit of magic during my hike on Mt. Cardigan. To be continued, I hope…

The Journey of the Feathered Seer Part 4: The Magic of Arbor Low

IMG_1528I never made it to Peter’s Rock, although we passed close by it in the car, and as we did I made a vow to visit in a future trip. It is said to be a place of initiation, where one must face fear to move beyond the veil of illusion into the Light of Truth. The shaman took us there during ritual 4, and I felt I knew this place, at least in essence. But to feel its actual presence would have to wait.

During the week, I thought often of the snake I had found coiled like a sacrifice in the middle of my basement floor before I left for England. A symbol of the cycle of life that moves through birth into death in an endless repeat. I knew before I left my home that I would be going through an important phase in this cycle during my journey in England. The stones had whispered this in my dreams, and they did not disappoint.

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After visiting the site where Bratha lived out her life as a Seer, the five of us refueled at a lovely pub, then made our way to the Serpent Stones. It was time to feel the enchantment of the land. Although I had heard Sue, Stuart and some of the others hint about the secrets of these stones, I was not wholly prepared for what I would encounter among them. Which is, I believe, just the way it should be. I had already discovered that stones hold the memory of the land and its children, but I had yet to experience the awesome force of their enchantment. This site, as I soon saw, is not asleep. The serpent stones are more alive than those who walk among them. It is like nothing else I have experienced before. It is, quite simply, magical.

The path to the stones, like all journeys, can be taken more than one way. The land surrounding and containing them is, without a doubt, holy ground. Here one walks the body of the goddess in all her power and glory to rebirth anew in the continual cycle of life. The guardian of Arbor Low takes the form of the living. It resides in the balancing energies of cows, chickens and the humans how tend to them below the mounded earth. Here the magic of the stones is settled into the grounding energies of daily life, neutralizing their force. The mundane nature of these seems necessary once one experiences the effects of the stones.

At Arbor Low, I discovered that when you are open to the magic of the Land, it does not disappoint. The memory of it makes me smile with shear joy, just as I did when I walked among its stones. Here is where the Light of Hope is very much alive, and has been for thousands of years. The land here is in control, protected by a force much larger than the Earth itself. Here, the sacred is not broken by human hands (at least not enough to break its magic).

There is a point, when approaching the circle from the head of the goddess-like form of mounded earth (for more on this, read the words of Sue Vincent here, as well as her piece, The Serpent Stones), when you feel as though you are reaching the threshold of something sacred. I felt the impulse to pause. To pay respect. To ask permission to go forth and enter the body of the Mother.

If you read Sue’s accounts, you will discover that many who visit feel and see the serpent energy of these recumbent stones. They face outward, but they also face inward, and their clock-like appearance tells of a time that is not linear, but cyclical. There are two stones in the center, also lying flat. “These two may have been standing at one time,” Sue told us, and I nodded my head. My inner eye saw them as two pillars pointed to the Light as it was brought down to Earth. I couldn’t help but wonder at the magnitude of the energy that must have been felt in a place that still held such power to awe and transform.

I now that I did not take a few moments to photograph the circle once inside of it, but I spent my time absorbing and witnessing the site. You can, though, find images of Arbor Low in Sue’s posts and online. Even in photographs, the images in the stones are quite clear, but they too are subject to the observer. I saw serpents in some, but I also saw other forms as I walked the stones. Sometimes they told me who they were before I could guess. “I am the face of the west wind,” the stone, which I later discovered was in fact facing west, whispered to me as I passed. It’s outward face was chiseled with strength, harnessing the force of endings. It pulled me to the center, and I walked beside it and the stone that looked like a coffin, to shed what I was ready to leave behind. I reached the center to be reborn, over and over again, as I walked their gateways. Each stone seemed to channel a different energy, which was equally transformative and magical. It was wildly exhilarating, and my smile grew with each step. Although, there was a point when  my body stopped me in warning, Be careful you don’t over-do it. 

Where some of the stones spoke of endings, others spoke of strength and new beginnings. Because I walked the stones as gates, I saw them as having two faces. There is an outer face to most stones (some are sunk into the ground at their ends), which is easily seen from the mound of earth surrounding the circle, and tells of the outer forces of life, which can be used to go inward. Once inside the “womb,” you can view the smaller circle of the inner world, which is akin to the soul. Here you can make out different faces of the stones,  if they have faces. Again, some of the stones slope into the earth, which adds to the effect of being pulled inward when you are standing in the center. Others rear up at you, as though challenging you to rebirth yourself anew.  Standing in the center of the womb, closing your eyes, you can image the light harnessed from two pillars once, drawing its energy into the Mother. Here is where the Divine Masculine joins into the womb of the Goddess. It is a site to behold and to feel. I can only imagine what it once was…and maybe still is, but I couldn’t help feeling like those center stones needed to be standing…

This was my experience as I walked the stones. A fitting end to the path I had walked through Bratha during the weekend’s workshop, which extended out to the physical body of the Land that she loved. Although I touched the stones at Arbor Low, I did not meditate upon them to learn more of their secrets. This will have to wait for another time. The storms were beginning to roll in and it was time to make our way back to the cars. We arrived at our vehicles mere moments before the storm rolled in, bringing a mix of wind, rain and snow with it. Apparently a not uncommon occurrence here, and I was not altogether surprised. Energies can’t help but be stirred when this circle is walked.

The End. For now.

Words from the other Players from The Feathered Seer Workshop with the Silent Eye School of Consciousness

There will be more, I am sure, but I wanted to create a space to share the words from the other participants in this year’s annual Silent Eye School of Consciousness Workshop, The Feathered Seer.  It really was a beautiful event, filled with the weaving of the Light and much Joy and Hope emerged from the joining of souls. Here are the postings from others:

The Directors of the School:

Aligned with the Raven by Sue Vincent

The Feathered Seer: Planting the Seeds of Light by Sue Vincent

The Landscape of the Feathered Seer by Sue Vincent

Beyond Time… by Sue Vincent (where she talks about the origins of the story)

The Feathered Seer – Fear by Sue Vincent

The Feathered Seer – The Observer by Sue Vincent

The Feathered Seer – Divining Meaning by Sue Vincent

The Feathered Seer – The Bitter Drop by Sue Vincent

The Feathered Seer -Patterns of Enchantment by Sue Vincent

A Day of Gifts by Sue Vincent

Snow and Serpent Stones by Sue Vincent

Flight of the Seer by Stuart France

Flight of the Seer II by Stuart France

Flight of the Seer III by Stuart France

Flight of the Seer IV by Stuart France

Flight of the Seer V by Stuart France

Flight of the Seer VI by Stuart France

Flight of the Seer VII by Stuart France

Flight of the Seer VIII by Stuart France

The Divine Light of Truth:  Jan Malique played the role of the Divine Light of Truth at the workshop. Watching her and the other Points of Light weave their lights through the sacred grid was incredibly beautiful and moving. Here, in Whispers of Ancestral Voices, Jan shares her experience at the workshop.

The Lore Spinner: Alienora played the role of the Lowe Spinner and Keeper, and with her counter-part, Dean, the Lore Weaver, created a brilliant story the encompassed the full spectrum of human emotions and experiences. You can read her accounts here in her posts The Lore-Spinner’s Saga and Musical Root’s: The Drum’s Song

From the Shaman: The Feathered Seer: Song of the Raven Clan 

Also from the Shaman: The Feathered Seer – Part 3 (No. Really. The Feathered Seer!)