Heretic or obedient servant?
2022 the year we learn to listen to love
Week 28--in which we ask ourselves: Am I a heretic? Or obedient servant of domination?
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
First, let me say thank you for all the WOW emails after last Sunday's Notes from the Field. If you missed it, here are the blog post and YouTube recording links.
Many of you found me through my first book, Writing Down Your Soul. It came out in 2009, at the apex of a global financial meltdown. Maybe because of that frightening climate, the book touched a nerve. All I know is it surprised me and my publisher no end when it jumped to #1 in the journal writing category and stayed there for four years. Four years! It sold out its first printing in 8 months, is now in its 9th printing, and even came out with a new edition and cover last summer.
And, minor detail, that sweet book opened a path to six more books and a whole new life as a writer.
But in 2008 before the book came out, I couldn’t foresee any of that. I couldn’t even imagine a life of writing full time and being paid to do it.
I was scared and needed help. In an angel consultation, Archangel Michael scolded me for worrying about money. He even started shouting when I kept asking the same question over and over and over again: “How am I going to make a living?”
Michael's response to all my questions was the same: “You don’t understand how important this book is.”
I clearly didn’t. But oh, do I now!
I see now that that book was my life’s bifurcation point. I had one life before Writing Down Your Soul and a radically different life after.
My life before Writing Down Your Soul wasn’t pretty. You know this if you’ve read the book. My pre-Writing Down Your Soul life was one struggle after another, trying to figure out who I was and what I believed and how I wanted to live.
And how in the world I was going to make a living.
Then, after Writing Down Your Soul, a whole new life began to emerge. A life filled with mystical exploration, radical new possibilities, raw excitement, and honest-to-goodness joy.
Oh, and the ability to make a living. Doing something I love.
So, what was so special about that book? I didn’t realize it at the time, but Writing Down Your Soul was my initiation into the ancient and very holy calling to be a heretic.
Heretic? Bet you didn’t see that coming.
Well, neither did I. If you had told me I was a heretic back in 2009, or that Writing Down Your Soul was a heretical book, I would have scowled at you and walked away, thinking you were nuts.
The first time I realized deep soul writing was that radical, was when we met Marguerite Porete in The Return of the Witches pilgrimage last summer.
I knew a wee bit about her. I’d first stumbled upon Marguerite Porete while reading this in John O’Donohue’s radiant book Beauty:
“The soul that struggles for the emergence of beauty reaches toward God and labors on that threshold between visible and invisible, time and eternity. The possibility and promise of this threshold is caught wonderfully by Marguerite Porete, the twelfth-century mystic:
‘Such a Soul often hears what she hears not,
and often sees what she sees not,
and so often she is there where she is not,
and so often she feels what she feels not.’”
When I read that passage years ago, I literally leapt out of my chair. John and Marguerite were confirming my exact experience in what I have always called “the threshold between worlds.” Threshold is basically an evocative name for the more scientific-sounding mystical theta brainwave state.
All deep soul writing really does is drop you into mystical theta.
But once you know how to get there, you discover countless ways to drop into theta: prayer, meditation, staring off in space, taking a shower, listening to music, reading mystical poetry, walking in nature, knitting…any activity that lets you drop out of fast-paced, linear, conscious mind and into slow, spiral, mystical mind.
Sooner or later you find the magic well of theta as you slowly awaken. This is my secret sauce: I lie in bed in the morning without moving for at least a half hour, often more. And just lying there, doing nothing, I receive everything I could possibly want to write about. Including this Notes from the Field.
So why doesn’t everybody know this? Because our patriarchal education and performance systems are designed to prevent us from discovering this vast well of creativity. Patriarchal systems drive us to stay in that hyper-focused, performance-driven, state of doing doing doing.
So my little book turned out to be a radical invitation to, as the subtitle says, “activate and listen to the extraordinary voice within.”
Well, it turns out, not so very long ago, listening to that voice would get you burned at the stake.
That’s what happened to Marguerite Porete. She had the audacity to not only listen to her internal divine voice, but write a book teaching others how to connect with and listen to that glorious divine voice of Love.
This was a massive affront to the church authorities who demanded that god was available only through them. How dare anyone, especially a woman, teach others, especially other women, how to access the divine.
I should be ashamed to admit this, but I didn’t really get how radical Writing Down Your Soul was until I read Marguerite’s book, The Mirror of Simple Souls, and learned of her incredible courage. She was imprisoned by the Inquisition and ordered to renounce her book. The first thing they demanded she do was take an oath to the Inquisition. She refused to take the oath. For a year and a half. Of course, in the end, the church executed her.
As they did my queen: Joan of Arc. I love this mystic witch beyond all. But, as much research as I’ve done about Joan, I only this week learned that when Joan was sent to the stake, they put a placard around her neck that said:
“Relapsed, Heretic, Apostate, Idolator.”
I had to catch myself from crying when I read that. And then sit in stunned silence as I realized, wait a minute. Wait a minute.
Am I Relapsed?
Well, if relapsed means “to slip back into a former state or practice” then yes I am proud to say I am slipping back into the Goddess-centric life and practices of the world before the dominator religions.
And everything I offer invites you to slip back too!
How about Heretic?
Now here’s a word to strike terror in the heart of anyone who dares question the church. Indeed, the dictionary definition is “a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.” Good heavens, any article of faith? If that’s the definition, then even the people in the pews are heretics. I wonder if anyone will tell them.
Just because you’re not catholic, doesn’t mean heretic doesn’t apply to you. The definition includes any “professed believer” who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her religion.
Looks like the world is full of heretics.
Next up, Apostate.
Dictionary says it’s “anyone who forsakes his (sic) religion, cause or party.” Well, I’ve forsaken not just christianity, but the political party my radical John Birch right wing parents expected me to fall right into. When I refused to join the Young Republicans and Young American for Freedom in college, they were appalled. Appalled.
So maybe I have a long history of being an apostate. Maybe you do, too!
This is not a word we hear very often. It means a person who worships idols. Hmm. So the dictionary definition of idol is “an image or other material object representing a deity to which worship is addressed.” Does that mean all those statues of saints in the churches of my youth are idols? How about the cross itself? By that definition every christian is an idolator.
But of course that’s not what they mean when they say “idolator.”
Oh no, they’re pointing to the countless figurines and hand-sized statues of the Goddess and all Her most sacred symbols like the serpent and the tree—symbols that have been revered for millennia.
As I look around my writing office, I see an idol or twelve. Let’s see. I’ve got a life size cut out of Joan, the magnificent painting Lori Sweet made of Joan for the pilgrimage, an antique French medal of Joan, a dozen rosaries and chaplets, a statue of Mary Magdalene, one of a Madonna from Oaxaca, a statue of Medusa that I particularly like, two wooden labyrinths, a Greek icon painting of Archangels Michael and Gabriel…gee, lots of idols. What about Hyldemoer of Wyrd. She’s a needlefelt witch doll from England. I don’t worship her but I’m pretty sure the inquisition would condemn me if they saw her on my altar.
So am I an Idolator? Thank you, Goddess, yes! And I can guarantee you are too.
All of this came to mind today reading The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler. Midway through the book, she starts talking about bifurcation points in history. Moments when the opportunity arises amid a world of chaos, when a small group has the opportunity to shift the culture.
We are in that bifurcation moment. And we have a choice. To be one of the creators or align with the destroyers.
It's that simple. And that terrifying.
Eisler points out time after time in history when violence, war, and domination were on the ascendant under the banner of “real” masculinity.
She writes, “one of the most telltale signs that the pendulum is about to swing back is the revival of misogynist dogmas.” And “more repressive attitudes toward women are predictors of periods of aggressive warfare.”
Well now. This is exactly where we are, isn’t it? In the United States. In Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Everywhere we look, we see this wrestling match between patriarchy on steroids and nascent movements of the rise of the sacred feminine.
We may be few, but we are mighty.
We are mighty because we know things the hyper-false-masculine dominator culture does not want us to remember.
We know that:
- Humanity lived in peace and prosperity in a Goddess worshipping, matrilineal way of life for tens of thousands of years.
- Graves from the pre-patriarchal period show no weapons or accumulation of wealth. Therefore, weapons and wealth are not natural or essential to life.
- Hierarchy isn’t natural; it can only be perpetuated through abuse.
- Dominator culture has not only ruined women’s lives, it’s ruined men’s, and is destroying our planet.
- Dominator culture is an aberration in history and its time is ending.
- The dominator story of woman being the source of sin is a lie; and we won’t be lied to anymore
- Women have natural and easy access to intuition, creativity, wisdom, and grace.
- We are wired to activate and listen to the extraordinary voices of love and life.
- When women wake up to our innate capabilities and sovereign powers, we can and we will create a world that is safe for all.
- We are here to create not destroy; love not kill; encourage not oppress.
- We are magic.
- And the world needs more magic.
I dare say I could go on for pages with this list. The more I write, the more excited I get about the life ahead. The life that is possible.
We truly ARE at a life-changing bifurcation point. And I for one, choose to create not destroy.
I am calling all heretics, apostates, and idolators to join me and Joan of Arc as we commit to create a world we actually want to live in. A world we want our children to inherit. A world where we remember who we really are. A world where we sing the sacred songlines of the heavens and the earth.
Re-membering the Songlines of the Witches opened on the summer solstice with a profound ceremony conducted by the great seer Sabin Bailey. On the Cancer dark moon, we met our first witch and received his sacred medicine: Speak Truth and Speak Now!
On July 23, we will meet our second witch, a radical feminist artist and best-selling author and receive her medicine to become the artist we came here to be.
These seed medicines are just the food we need to do the holy heretical work of creating a new kind of life.
Registration is still open, but must close at the end of July. I will not offer this mystery school again.
The time of remembering is now.
Re-membering the Songlines of the Witches
to honoring our calling to be proud heretics!
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