I was awakened in the wee hours last Sunday morning and clearly heard: “What was done to women is what was done to prayer.”
I thought I understood—at least a little—what that meant. Because I’ve been studying what was done to women under patriarchy, and, as a prayer artist, exploring how gorgeous prayer was before patriarchy took away all its juice.
But hearing this in such a tight concise powerful statement, I knew it was a big deal, a profound truth, and possibly an important crack in the relentless grip of patriarchy. So I repeated it a couple times in my head.
But I don’t think my feminine divine voice trusted me to remember it as it was given because I heard it again. And again. And again.
This repetition was a new experience for me. She REALLY wanted me to remember this and remember it as it was given to me. So I rolled over and wrote on the yellow pad next to me:
"What was done to women is what was done to prayer."
The next morning, I stared at the scribble on my pad and read it aloud. Then I said it looking in the mirror for my anointing. I said it walking downstairs. I said it as I made my coffee.
Finally, I took that sentence into deep soul writing. And after an hour of writing and pondering and staring off in space, I felt a nudge to pick up the Chakravuhya wooden finger labyrinth my son gave me for my birthday, and carry that sentence into the center of the labyrinth.
A finger labyrinth, I am discovering, is a very evocative experience. It’s the same yet radically different from walking a labyrinth.
- On a finger labyrinth you get to close your eyes and just feel your way into and out of the center.
- Plus talking out loud throughout my “walk” transforms the labyrinth into a deep soul talking practice.
- Much like deep soul writing, the voice on the page becomes the voice in my mouth.
- It’s great fun. I’m having a conversation with my Feminine Divine Voice through my feminine human voice.
And sure enough, the labyrinth—the mysterious mystical energetic field of the labyrinth—did its magic.
When I reached the center, I paused for a moment and heard (if heard is even the right term):
“What was done to women is what was done to prayer is what was done to Her.”
Ouch. That really hurt.
That really brought home the core evil intent of patriarchy.
We can see that purpose laid out before us in 5,000 years of brutal history. The point from the beginning has been to silence women’s voices, control women’s bodies, and strip us of all our resources, especially our innate ability to access the mystical realms.
It’s raw reading, reading that often leaves me sick to my stomach, but for the last two years I’ve felt that I have to learn what happened to us and why.
Not because I want to wallow in anger and pain over the sins of patriarchy, but because, as a Prayer Artist, I am called to remember and restore prayer to her original joy-filled, mystically powerful forms.
And for the last two years, Original Prayer has taken me by the hand and gently walked me—just like walking me through a labyrinth—into deeper and deeper truths.
Maybe Prayer felt I was ready to see glimmers of the vast timeless story of real prayer—prayer before patriarchy and prayer after patriarchy.
Each day this week, I’ve returned to the sentence I heard in the night in soul writing and carried it with me into daily labyrinth finger walks. And each day, something happens at the center of the labyrinth that surprises me. Immensely.
On Wednesday, which just so happened to be Mary Magdalene’s feast day—something huge happened. I don’t think the date was an accident.
- If ever there was a mystical magical powerful woman of prayer, it was The Magdalene.
- And if ever there was a woman consciously and purposefully written out of the story, it was The Magdalene.
- She is a tower of prayer. (that's what Magdala means)
- A goddess in sandals.
- She is the only person who understood what Jesus taught. (captured in the Gnostic gospels of Philip and of Mary)
So maybe it was the Magdalene pushing me from behind as I set out on my labyrinth walk on her feast day.
As I stepped onto the labyrinth with the ring finger of my non-dominant hand, I said aloud: What was done to women is what was done to prayer. What was done to women is what was done to prayer is what was done to Her, to the Feminine Divine—to Inanna, to Isis, to Our Lady, to Shechinah—to the Goddess by all her names.
I found myself at the center, still with my eyes closed, and heard:
"Women are prayers.
Women are the Goddess praying."
I had to pause there, at the center, for a long time.
I know there is a historical record of “what was done to women is what was done to prayer.” A deeply buried historical record, but it is there.
The patriarchal religions did everything in their power to remove all mystical juice from prayer—especially the prayers beloved of women.
- Like building the sacred fire.
- Like ecstatic dancing.
- Like seeing the mystical Tree of Life rooted deeply into the feminine ground of the body.
- Like chanting the ancient Goddess Rosary.
- And like being reborn by Feminine Divine in the archetypal pattern of her womb, the labyrinth.
But this. This. Is beyond history. Beyond anything written. This is a mystery. A mystical mystery. And maybe this is the heart of the irrational anger against women:
Women are the Goddess praying.
That means I, a woman, am the Goddess praying.
When I pray, She is praying.
My life is Her prayer.
I may, just may, be beginning to understand my own theme song: you are not praying, you are being prayed.
Through me--and through you--She is praying Herself back into Her original and natural place of honor at the center of the world.
Next week, I’ll share what happened on the labyrinth this morning, Saturday, July 25, that connects the dots between “What was done to women is what was done to prayer” and the hidden sorrowful mysteries of the rosary that were given to me when I first began to pray the rosary. I didn't understand them at the time, but I think I do now.
But I think this is quite enough for one Notes from the Field, don't you!
Please take these patriarchy-shattering statements into your own heart and your own prayers and your own deep soul writing. And, oh yes, onto the labyrinth.
to discovering and exploring and embracing Her truth no matter where She leads,
PS: Want to join the labyrinth intensive? We just started last Tuesday--and oh is this ever divine fun. the 2nd session is this Tuesday. When you register I'll send you the recording of the first session.