Before you read this Notes from the Field, stop for a second and notice how you are breathing. Smooth and gentle? Fast and thin? Perhaps a bit short or rough around the edges?
Until someone calls us to notice our breath, we’re pretty oblivious. In addition to being oblivious to our personal breath, we tend to think that how we breathe is an individual thing. My breath is my breath. If it’s tight and short, it’s because I’m tight and feeling short-tempered. If it’s smooth and deep, it’s because I’m relaxed.
But what if breath is not an individual thing. Or not only an individual thing. What if it’s a shared experience.
This idea first showed up in a rather radical prayer I received in the wee hours last December 26. The prayer is called The Queen’s Love.
As I took dictation in the dark, I sucked in my breath. I knew I was being handed the replacement for a prayer called the Apostle’s Creed that the church tagged onto the front of the rosary.
That creed drains away the magical, mystical juice of the rosary by insisting that we start the rosary with a heavy dose of dogma and theology. Dogma and theology have nothing to do with this pre-patriarchal Goddess prayer practice. The creed was consciously added to prevent the release of mystical power into women’s bodies as they caressed their beloved beads.
I’ve shared a few stories in these Notes from the Field about the mystical power of the rosary freed from patriarchy. Perhaps you remember the time my rosary exploded after two days of intense prayer to support my son as he took the bar exam in New York this fall.
Well, guess what. It happened again.
This Thursday, as I was completing a particularly lovely rosary walk, my mother’s 70-year-old chain-link rosary broke in my pocket, just as I finished the decade honoring the crowning of the Goddess as the Queen of Earth.
At first, I was shocked that it broke. Do you have any idea how many rosaries my mother said on those clear crystal beads? Let us just say “gazillions.” And the rosary never broke.
So why did that link break at that particular moment?
The timing was not an accident. As I was walk-praying, I received the final jigsaw puzzle piece for a deep mystically healing prayer practice that I think will be called A Novena for Witches.
Ever since “mystic witch” arrived this August, I’ve been reading and researching about witches across time, but especially during the 300-year patriarchy-on-steroids insanity we call the witch hunts.
The more I learn, the more I know that it is my role as a prayer artist and mystic witch to transmute the word witch from something that strikes terror in a woman and stops her breath cold, to an epithet that invokes honor and reverence.
Over the last few weeks, the elements of this unusual novena began to reveal themselves. The last piece arrived on the trail as I was wrapping up saying all three mysteries on my mother’s rosary.
A rosary that she always began with The Apostle’s Creed. And which I now begin with The Queen’s Love.
That break in the chain felt like a Goddess kiss, affirming that prayer freed from its chains can, and will, and must break the 5,000-year chain of suffering that patriarchal religions have inflicted on witches, women, indigenous peoples, and on Mother Earth Herself.
The line about breath comes in the third line of The Queen’s Love:
I believe in One Mother
Infinite Faces, Infinite Love
The Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Earth, the Seas
Hawk above, Fox beside, Worm below
We are One Body, One Breath, One Love
Her Body, Her Breath, Her Love
If we are One Breath, Her Breath, then our breathing isn’t uniquely ours. It’s a shared in-breath and out-breath.
You’ve heard me so often say, “you are not praying, you are being prayed.” Well…, if that is true, then isn’t it also true that “you are not breathing, you are being breathed.”
And speaking more universally, we are not breathing, we are being breathed. And if that’s true for humans, it’s true for all mammals, all birds, all trees. We are all being breathed by this one most precious and sacred body, Her Body—Mother Earth.
It’s been hard to breathe on Mother Earth this year, hasn’t it?
Covid has taken the breath away from hundreds of thousands of people. And left millions more with diseased lungs. And those of us who are healthy still suffer shortened breath watching others suffer.
We all stopped breathing as we watched George Floyd stop breathing with a cop’s knee on his neck. And endless other blatant expressions of racist violence. And then we held our breath as America voted. And held it. And held it. And held it.
And then, at last, we took a collective exhale!
And in that moment, Rabbi Tirzah Firestone and I realized that the only way to complete this year of suffering and fractured breathing, is to take a glorious healing exhale in community.
My last intensive of the year has always been The Lotus and The Lily. But this year, I’m doing something special. It probably won’t happen again.
This year, Rabbi Tirzah and I invite you to join a global soul community for a two-evening winter gathering on Wednesday, December 16 and 23— two dates that are brackets around the Winter Solstice.
We will release 2020 in prayer and invite the Winter Solstice to awaken joy and new beginnings in our individual and collective hearts.
And we will breathe. Together. As One Body, One Breath. One Love. Her Body. Her Breath. Her Love.
And because Exhale! is such an unusual event, we thought the registration should be too. Read the description on the page.
It’s all based on the Hebrew numeric vibration of the word LIFE—the number 18. And you get to choose your contribution.
How perfect that it’s based on the word Life. Don’t we say "Breath is Life." And didn’t we see that so clearly this year. Breath IS Life. Come to Exhale! and relish the breath of life.
Exhale! A Sacred Pause to Release the Year and Seed Your Dreams
to taking a blessed and holy Exhale...together!