2023 the year we learn to listen to life
Week 41--in which we ask, voices breaking: what can we do, what can we do, what can we do?
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
Last Sunday, I promised that in today’s Notes from the Field, I would open registration for the upcoming The Lotus and the Lily year-ending, year-beginning prayer intensive to my full subscriber list. And I am. BUT not in any way I anticipated. I simply cannot, and should not, begin talking about The Lotus and the Lily without acknowledging everything that is happening.
Astrologers have been saying for months that this week would be the most intense of the entire year culminating in the massive Solar Eclipse that just happened. (Saturday 1:55 pm Eastern)
But no one could have predicted the horror that is unfolding in front of our eyes all week in Palestine/Israel—land that is already seeped in thousands of years of hatred and blood. And no one seems to know what to do.
I certainly don’t, so all week I read article after article by journalists and historians who know the story of that land really well. Against the response of escalated violence, none of them seem to know how to find a path to peace and safety for all who live there. I listened to peace activists and artists and writers. And still it appeared there was no way through.
So, I turned to two rabbis I trust: Rabbi Tirzah Firestone and Rabbi Rami Shapiro. They both spoke of family. Rabbi Tirzah posted a prayer along with a picture of visiting her precious granddaughter. Rabbi Rami was asked by Spirituality and Health magazine to write something. Instead of talking about any aspects of history or religion, he wrote simply and briefly from his grandfather heart.
He wrote that he had watched videos of mothers under attack rushing to protect their babies in Israel. And videos of mothers rushing to protect their babies in Gaza. If it weren’t for the locations written at the bottom of the screen, Rami said, he would not have known the difference.
One mother protecting her baby with her body as she runs for shelter looks exactly like another mother protecting her baby with her body.
My body knows this feeling. And I bet yours does too.
So what do we do? I had no idea. Then on Friday morning, Friday the 13th a sacred day for me, as I rested in morning theta, that liminal space when what wants to be heard can be heard, and what wants to be seen can be seen, I suddenly knew what to do. And what to ask you to do with me.
Did you read last Sunday’s letter? If not, you can read it here.
And let me say now, before I go on, how precious all your emails in response to last Sunday’s letter are to me. I agree, we are stumbling into something very important about the miraculous healing power of prayer, love, and forgiveness.
Last Sunday, I shared the magical prayer that opened a door to atonement and peace between my ex-husband and me. A prayer, by the way, that is directly tied to the Jewish High Holy Day, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
The prayer is so simple:
You can do for us there
what you couldn’t do here.
And he did. Over and over and over again, my ex-husband atoned for all the harm he had done to me, our relationship, our home, our finances, and our precious son.
On the pillow Friday morning, that prayer came back to me, not as a prayer between one living and one dead person, but as a prayer between millions of living and millions of dead.
A prayer to invite millennia of dead to atone for the harm they have done to one another. And heal the space between them.
I think this idea came to me because in A Witches Rosary Circle that Cathy Pratt and I lead on Mondays at 2 eastern, we always add a “Decade for the Dead” after we complete a rosary of our beloved Joan of Arc. All the prayer circles in The Way of the Rose include a decade for the dead. Before we say that decade, we speak aloud the names of the dead we wish to invite into our circle. Then someone leads us in ten prayers for the dead. It’s often the most powerful part of the entire rosary.
Last Monday, without really thinking about it, I invited the dead Jewish mothers and fathers and the dead Muslim mothers and fathers to please please guide the living to find a way to live together in peace. It felt like the most powerful decade for the dead we’d ever prayed.
But I didn’t connect the dots back to my prayer for my ex-husband until Friday morning on the pillow.
Oh! Oh! I see!
So, if you have been wondering how to pray for the people of Palestine and Israel and these words resonate with you, please join me in asking the dead going all the way back to thousands of years of Goddess worship, through the rich and complex Jewish story up to being crushed by the Roman Empire and the diaspora. And on into Islamic rule, the blood bath of repeated Christian crusades, and the more recent history of the Holocaust, the return of Jewish people, and the forced removal of Palestinian families from their ancestral homes.
I wonder: is any other place on earth so utterly seeped in blood? Is any other spot of land more in need of atonement, prayer, harmony, kindness, reverence for life?
This is what I am going to do.
Every day, as part of my deep soul writing practice, I will call upon the dead of this ancient Goddess-God land saying:
- You can do for us now what you couldn’t do when you were here
- Please protect all the mothers, all the fathers, all the children
- Please hold everyone to your bosom and carry us all safely home
In deep soul writing as the Solar Eclipse passed over and through all of us, I wondered if my prayer to the dead has anything to do with this eclipse and with the opening of the 13th edition of The Lotus and the Lily.
The answer, I sensed, might be somewhere in the mystical Chandra for the moment of the Solar Eclipse at Libra 21° 07’
The symbol for Libra 22 is:
An ancient glass vial perfectly preserved.
It’s rather long, but here are a few key sentences. You can find the entire Chandra in Ellias Lonsdale’s Inside Degrees. Chandras are like oracles, so they’re difficult to decipher. But as I read it over and over I began to sense a three-part movement.
- Part 1 tune into the dead
Soul-memory. Intensively held to ancient faculties. A stunning quality of still feeling the way people felt a very long time ago.
- Part 2 tap into the possible
A repository of timeless knowledge to draw from, yet it is self-replenishing—the bottomless well of source knowingness, unaffected by time, by circumstance, or by any changes you go through.
- Part 3 heal the wasteland
It is all inside, and it is complete, and it is so very true.
I have no idea why this violence is happening now at the time of this potent eclipse, but it does feel like we are all called to protect and preserve this ancient glass vial, this ancient land, this ancient knowing of the deep communion of the living and the dead.
We must heal the wasteland or the glass will break.
In odd yet perfect synchronicity, we are about to step into the 13th gathering of my annual year-ending intensive.
In our patriarchal, goal-oriented world that constantly exhorts us to keep going, stay busy, and always look forward to acquiring the next shiny thing, it’s a radical thing to pause. Be still. Be silent.
And look back. Not forward. Look back at 2023 slowly and thoroughly until we can hear her song. Hear what she has really been about. And then, only then, turn our faces toward the year coming and listen for the whispers from the life that wants to be lived.
When prayer artist came in 2018, I wrote a newsletter, announcing that I would no longer be teaching courses related to my books in order to create room for prayer intensives. Instantly, dozens and dozens of you wrote saying that although you were excited about prayer intensives, there was one course I must not ever stop offering: The Lotus and the Lily! I laughed. And promised to always offer this event. I didn’t do that just because you wanted it. I love this intensive as much or even more than you do.
I have now made 13 mandalas and am as stunned as anyone by how miraculous they are. They really do evoke the life that wants to be lived.
We gather for 5 Tuesdays from November 14 to December 12 at 6-8:15pm Eastern, then take three weeks off so everyone can enjoy the winter solstice holidays, and then reconvene on Sunday, January 7 at 2p eastern to celebrate and bless our 2024 mandalas.
All the details, dates, and registration options are on this page at my site.
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