2023 the year we learn to listen to life
Week 35--in which we ponder what it means to be safe
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
It’s been quite the week! A hurricane, Idalia, came for a visit. As I said last Sunday, I’ve experienced a few hurricanes in my 4 decades in Florida, so I know the drill. Store lots of water, make blocks of ice, gather documents, cover windows and doors, fill the gas tank, get cash, collect food that doesn’t need refrigeration, move the yard furniture, have an evacuation plan, notify family…. And for heaven’s sake make sure the phone is charged!
Done. Done. And done.
And then you wait. Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s more like: and then you wait—GLUED to the meteorologist’s updates!
There’s a local meteorologist, Denis Phillips, who holds live updates throughout storms. I don’t think he sleeps. I, and a few hundred thousand other Floridians, follow him because he doesn’t spew fear. He constantly reminds us of the actual science. Now, when you’re in the path of a hurricane, a few reassuring facts don’t do the job. They don’t stick. Or at least, they don’t stick with me. I need to hear over and over and over again that the wind strength the news reports—it’s a category 3 with 125 mile winds!!—is only true for a tiny span around the eye of the hurricane.
And then, because I’m a prayer artist, I also cast a few prayer spells over my house.
I called in the dragons, the witches, Joan of course, Our Lady Queen of Magicians—a wild and powerful consortium—to protect my house, my block, my town, my county. With reassuring facts from the weather guy and the protection of my Mystic Team, I went to sleep feeling pretty safe.
To be sure, there was wind all night, and the windows rattled me awake, but I knew we weren’t being battered by hurricane force winds. And I knew my Mystic Family was keeping watch. I felt assured my town and I would make it through the storm.
Sure enough, come morning, the skies cleared and I spent the day cleaning up storm debris and pulling weeds loosened by the rain.
After that, I sat down for some deep soul writing about the storm. On the page, I found myself pondering the word SAFE.
What does it mean to be safe? To feel safe? What contributes to feeling safe? Is there really anything that creates SAFETY?
After pondering what it means to be safe and why I felt safe in the storm, I took this question into the 7-circuit ancient feminine labyrinth. The labyrinth that is the womb of the Sacred Feminine. I know I am always safe in the center of Her original labyrinth.
I began by drawing the labyrinth by hand.
In our current The A.R.T. of Becoming a Witch prayer intensive to awaken, remember, and trust our innate ability to cross the threshold between worlds, we are making a 7-circuit labyrinth by hand every day. Something happens when you make this ancient symbol by hand. Just as deep soul writing by hand creates new neural pathways (detailed in Writing Down Your Soul), drawing a labyrinth by hand rearranges your brain. I didn’t realize when we started making labyrinths that these two mystical practices of soul writing and labyrinth drawing are mystic twins. When you do both, big magic ensues.
Now, when I sit down to soul write, I ponder whatever wants to be explored in dialogue with my Sacred Feminine Voice and then carry that thought or question or unknowing onto the labyrinth to see what wants to be revealed. And something always wants to be revealed.
On Friday, I did some soul writing about safety, made my paper labyrinth, and took a moment to simply look at this ancient mystical pathway, letting its mysteries seep into my eyes and through my being. Then, I put my finger on the entrance, took a breath, and waited. This is what surfaced:
“Teach me what it means to feel safe, to be safe.”
I entered the labyrinth. By the second turn, I became aware that I was no longer tracing a flat piece of paper; I was walking down a 7-story stone stairway. As I walked deeper and deeper into the cavern, I suddenly remembered being in a cave in Montana that had been carved out of the rock during the last ice age.
I had this experience in 2012 when I brought a group of soul writers to Blacktail Ranch. We had every delicious mystical experience you could hope for: fly fishing, floating down the Missouri under the watchful eye of an eagle, Cree sweat lodge, praying on a massive hillside Blackfeet medicine wheel, riding horses, and practicing yoga in a Hogan. On top of all that, we got to sleep in log cabins!
But the most profound experience turned out to be the opportunity to walk in a recently discovered cave system that is not open to the public.
We entered through this narrow opening, looked up to see petroglyph markings, then climbed backwards down a rickety 25-foot ladder. At the bottom, we slid on our bums through a cold, wet, narrow opening.
When we stood up, we were in a massive cave system, much of it unexplored. We walked around for an hour or so and finally reached a large open cavern where we all sat down on a wall that seemed to be almost tiered, like a Goddess-carved amphitheater. We asked our guide to turn off the lights and leave us in the dark for ten minutes.
My senses came alive in the dark. I smelled the rocks, felt their breath, heard water trickling in unseen rivulets. And in the silence—which was alive with sound—I asked the rocks: “Do you have a message for me?”
I don’t know why I did that. I hadn’t planned it or suggested that any of us ask a question. It just bubbled up from nowhere.
Immediately, I heard the rocks say: “I am old; you are old.”
Clearly, they were mistaken. After all, I was 66 (at the time) and that cave system was carved over 100,000 years ago. And the rocks themselves? They might be several million years old. But I kept my thoughts to myself and continued to listen.
The rocks repeated: I am old; you are old.”
Their voice was clear but it was not in my ears, or outside my head, or anywhere I’d heard a sacred voice before. I was “hearing” their voice inside my chest, just behind my breastbone. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s where your thymus is. The gland that keeps your safe. Your thymus produces immune cells that protect your body from foreign antigens.
Many years later, I learned that tapping or thumping your thymus neutralizes negative energy and supports vibrant health and healing. If you were raised catholic, you undoubtedly remember making a fist in mass, and thumping your breastbone as you said, “Lord, I am not worthy” three times. Oh My Goddess! Just think of the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and biological harm done by drilling this soul-curdling lie into your thymus and your body’s defenses.
But hearing the rocks speak was just the opener. As I sat in the dark listening, I suddenly realized they were no longer speaking, I was! I was saying to them, “I am old; you are old.” This shocked me. And split me wide open.
This was the moment I understood I am a soul. An eternal being. A fractal of divinity.
In that instant, being a soul stopped being an idea. Or a teaching. It was a reality. It was, and is, who I am and who I will ever be. I am actually older than an ice age cave. This was such an intense experience that when the lights came back on, I couldn’t walk. I had to crawl out of the cave. At the entrance, my friends had to prop me up in front of the ladder, place my hands on the rails, and slowly move my feet up rung by rung.
All these memories came flooding back to me at the center of the “paper” labyrinth. And just like the actual stone cave, I felt myself needing to crawl out of the labyrinth. With my finger back at the entrance of the paper labyrinth, I realized I had received a profound and perfect answer to my request.
I asked to be shown what it means to be safe. And I was shown that ultimate safety isn’t anything physical.
Safety—real 22/4 foundational safety—is knowing that life will dissolve into death and death will be reanimated into life, over and over, the endless dance of life, death, and rebirth.
Safety is knowing you never die.
When we know that, really know that, not as an idea but as a bone-deep reality, we know from our first breath to our last breath, that we are safe.
On this beautiful Sunday morning, with new hurricanes forming in the Atlantic, the sweetest gift I can give you is to invite you to ponder these questions for yourself:
What is safety?