2023 the year we learn to listen to life
Week 30--in which the ancient labyrinth starts whispering clues to the pre-patriarchal past
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
When the word witch arrives, things change. I don’t know anyone who has welcomed that word, even reluctantly, who has not experienced alchemical shifts in their life. Their body. Their creativity. Their relationships. Their devotion. Their purpose. Shifts they relish, but shifts nonetheless.
Everything changes because suddenly everything looks different. You can no longer pretend that you do not see what is in front of you—and always has been. When witch asks for your attention, you can no longer gloss over what was done to women labeled witches. Not just in the horror of the Burning Times (residues of which still permeate our world) but before. Long before. All the way back to the beginning of patriarchy.
When witch came for me, I needed to know her story. I started with history books. They weren’t satisfying from a mystical standpoint, but they felt necessary. I kept reading. I found that all the books, whether written by spiritual teachers, anthropologists, historians, or archeologists, painted a picture of the denigration of the Goddess, Her symbols, and Her embodiment on earth—women.
The painful reality is that patriarchy was, and still is, a conscious decision to elevate a select few male roles (like the father in a family) and give them complete power over women and their bodies, children especially daughters, inheritance and name down male lineage, resources and wealth—even dominion of the land itself.
And the result? We can see it and literally feel it as we sweat through the hottest temperatures on record: We are living in a wasteland.
If this is a wasteland, what has been wasted?
I didn’t see it at first, but now I see that Witches and Wasteland are intertwined.
The denigration of the feminine and the once-sacred title of witch produced a wasteland. So, it must follow that restoring honor to the feminine and the beautiful title of witch can heal the wasteland.
As I came to this awareness, I dove back into books to try to find what life was like pre-patriarchy. Pre-Wasteland.
Here’s what I found.
It’s easy to track the story of patriarchy as long as there is something written. In the written record, it’s clear there was another way of life before patriarchal tribes and religions arrived. The clues are hiding in plain sight in the bible verses that command men to cut down sacred groves where the Goddess is worshiped and then murder every man, woman, and child in any town that persists in worshipping the Goddess.
Awful as it is to read, it is proof that there was a before. A before when humanity worshipped a feminine power and worshiped Her outside.
But when the written record ends, what do we do? Without anything written, how can we know what life was like before?
I was given a massive clue in July 2018 during my second intensive hosting Kahu Lahela Johnson on the ancient tradition of the Hawaiian shamanic prayer of forgiveness, Ho‘oponopono. During that intensive, women began to tell their stories of sexual abuse. As the stories piled up, my anger piled up, until I felt myself sinking in a sea of anger.
Clearly, I needed help. Help came. I was awakened, as I often am between 3 and 4am, and heard a female voice in my left ear:
This was startling news. So, the answer isn’t shifting power to women. It isn’t matriarchy vs patriarchy. That world before the distortion of gender roles wasn’t a matriarchy. It was a reverence structure.
None of my books said a word about reverence.
But I want to know. Gosh, don’t we all want to know: What does a reverence structure look like or feel like?
The written record isn’t going to tell us. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t information. There’s a wealth of information. It comes not in words, which we must remember were written by victorious men to brag about or vindicate their power.
It comes in much more ancient symbols, stone carvings and stone circles, massive earthworks and mysterious earth art. It comes in spirals, double spirals, triple spirals. It comes in pottery shards, tombs, burial goods, countless figurines of feminine bodies, petroglyphs, caves….
The land is covered in the symbolic stories of the reverence structure. We just have to know how to listen.
And perhaps the most evocative and most mysterious of all the symbols is the original 7-circuit labyrinth. The symbol of the feminine mystery of life, death, and rebirth.
These ancient labyrinths are found everywhere. They are alive and they are talking. When we step onto, or place our hand on, this symbol that predates patriarchy by thousands of years, we touch—and are touched by—the consciousness that made it. The hands that carved it. The bodies that carried the stones and placed them in this sacred form. The feet that walked it. The hearts that mourned or celebrated there. The people who prayed there.
The labyrinth holds a long long memory. Memory that predates patriarchy.
And, as Rupert Sheldrake (The Presence of the Past) so elegantly reminds us, memory never dies. In decades of groundbreaking research, he has demonstrated that bodies die, but collective memory lives on as morphic resonance. Resonance we can tune into to pick up perceptions and information about the habits and ways of living of the past.
I’ve become obsessed with Rupert Sheldrake, reading his books and listening to his videos. In a recent talk on Holy Places, he talks about the morphic resonance of places. Everyone who has ever walked a pilgrim path or visited a sacred site has left an imprint of their presence in that place.
That means that everyone who has ever created a labyrinth, walked a labyrinth, touched a labyrinth is present in a vibratory way in the labyrinth itself.
And the antennae for that vibration, that resonance, is the body. Your body. Your body that came from and will return to the earth. Your body that is connected genetically, epigenetically, biologically, and energetically with all other bodies. The human species as a whole has morphic resonance. And specific cultures and locations within our species have unique morphic memories.
When I look at or touch or lie on the 7-circuit labyrinth Cathy Pratt and I created for The Witch Sequence, the witches of the past are present.
The witches who suffered under patriarchy are there. But so are the original witches. The witches who were leaders of their communities. Witches who were revered for their intuition, divination, and devotion. Witches who crossed the thresholds between worlds to retrieve the wisdom of the dead and of the land. Did those witches walk on labyrinths and feel and hear the women before them? I think so. And did they, in turn, infuse the labyrinths they created with their own prayers and wisdom to be held in the land until we arrive ready to tune into their voices whispering, “It wasn’t a power structure, it was a reverence structure.”
On June 5, I was awakened around 4am with these words. I didn’t understand it at the time. Now I see it is a prayer. A song. It is the cherished memory of a reverence culture that once was and now returns in the hope that we will heed the call to heal the wasteland.
Look at The Witch Sequence labyrinth as you read this prayer.
Then, I hope you’ll register for the 2nd prayer intensive on the labyrinth to awaken, remember, and trust your own ability to cross the threshold between worlds.
An international community is gathering. We open in sacred ceremony next Sunday, August 6.
All the details are on the page on my site.
The Labyrinth Speaks
You are the labyrinth
You are on the labyrinth, in the labyrinth,
You are the secret of the mound
You are the stones talking
The labyrinth is a prayer
You are the dream of the dreaming dragon
There is a lot of information on:
Watch the video and peruse all this alchemical adventure can bring you.
But please don't wait long to register. We open in sacred ceremony next Sunday, August 6 at 2pm eastern. Everything is recorded, so don't be concerned if you can't be with us live.
The A.R.T. of Becoming a Witch
2nd Mystica Inner-Versity intensive
to listening to the voices of the ancients on the labyrinth
PS: If you've missed any of the last four Notes from the Field about this intensive, you can read them all as blogs on my site
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