Why did the hawk scream on Yom Kippur (again)?
2022 the year we learn to listen to love
Week 41--in which I was given a strange gift indeed
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
Thank you for your kind concern and prayers last week when there was no Notes from the Field. You probably assumed it was the hurricane. It wasn’t.
It’s true Ian was aiming at the Tampa Bay area. The computer models looked ominous. But hurricanes don’t pay a lot of attention to human predictions. I know this because I live in Florida. I’ve been here since January 1984 when my husband and I left CNN.
On Labor Day 1985, we got to experience our first hurricane. Elena was headed for Tampa. We lived on the water, so we evacuated to a friend who lived slightly inland. And waited. And waited. Glued to the television, watching spaghetti models, listening to meteorologists pontificate. And fretting. I had no prayer or soul writing practices at the time, so fretting was the order of the day.
And then the strangest thing happened.
Elena suddenly turned 180 degrees and headed west. We breathed a sigh of relief. But then she stopped. Mid Gulf. And headed back toward us. Then stopped once more. It was if she were thinking, hmmm, where shall I go, where shall I go. She went back and forth, up and down, then WHAM headed to Mississippi. We drove home happy we had a home to come home to, but also flummoxed by the vagaries of these wild beings called hurricanes.
Scroll ahead these 38 years living on the West Coast of Florida and I’ve been through 6 more named hurricanes including the wildest one of all—the 1993 “No Name Storm.” She had no name because she came in March before the official hurricane season opened in June. Clearly “No Name” wasn’t reading the papers.
There was no warning, but my husband, who was a sailor and boatbuilder in addition to a news guy, woke in the night sensing something was wrong. He went outside and the half dozen boats tied to the pilings behind our house were straining their lines. He spent the night tying and retying lines as the water crept up the seawall, overtook the docks, flooded the yard, and finally came to a halt just as it was lapping at the back door.
Then came 2004. A wild summer with five hurricanes one right after another. Once again, a big one—Charley—was looking right at us, then suddenly turned south. Charley got my attention. Although I couldn’t afford it, I purchased hurricane window protection and a steel accordion door for the sliding glass doors.
Then, in 2017, I had to evacuate for Irma. It’s a strange feeling to take one last look at your home, not knowing if it will be there when you return. I hunkered down with friends and prayed. And prayed. And prayed. Irma was headed straight up the coast, but at the last minute, she veered slightly inland, leaving my village with a few downed trees, lots of debris, and a week without power, but no real damage.
So, in preparation for Ian, I put up my window protection, closed the steel doors, and prepared to evacuate. On Tuesday, the day before Ian’s expected arrival, my neighbors were in the street talking about where they were going, when one woman came outside to say Ian was turning south. I came inside to turn on the computer to look at Ian’s track.
I was greeted with a white screen that screamed: Fatal Disc Error.
I called my computer guru. John has taken care of my computers since 1996. But John was boarding up his house and making the decision to stay or go. He called late in the afternoon and told me the computer probably would not recover. That evening he ordered a new one. That was the good news. The not so good news was it wouldn’t arrive for almost two weeks.
Two weeks without a computer.
This is a problem. I write on the computer. I communicate with members of my intensives on the computer. I teach on Zoom. I plan events on Zoom. I write these Notes from the Field on the computer. I attend rosary circles on Zoom. I wouldn’t even be able to lead my own A Witches Rosary Circle.
I resigned myself to being offline. Ready or not, I was having a totally unexpected “vacation.”
Sort of like the “No Name Storm,” I was about to have a “No Name Vacation” with No plans and No place to go.
My one contact with the world was my phone. I could text my son. I texted Marcia Wade and asked her to let everyone in Goddess of the Edge intensive know that we wouldn’t meet the next two Goddesses until I had a computer.
Then I settled into the silence. Silence that turned out to be an unexpected and sacred gift.
For nine days, I did nothing. Nothing that is, but read and soul write.
I read Rebirth of the Goddess by Carol P Christ. Slowly. Very slowly. I stopped every few pages to stare out the window and let the truth of what I was reading enter my body. With each page, I felt myself moving closer and closer to the horror of what the lies of patriarchy have done.
And the strangest thing happened. As the lies that have poisoned our world became clearer and clearer, I found myself praying the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary in a whole new way.
When I first began to pray the rosary in December 2019, I was happy to pray the joyful and glorious mysteries, even if I didn’t understand them. But I couldn’t bear the sorrowful mysteries. From the very first day I stood in the living room trying to pray the rosary, I could not—absolutely could not—pray the sorrowful mysteries. I refuse to revisit the horror of what empire did to one man.
Yet, I wanted to pray the rosary.
So I asked the rosary itself to show me how to pray the real sorrowful mysteries.
They came quickly. All I had to do was pull the camera back from one appalling story of abuse 2,000 years ago to 6,000 years of suffering under the brutal lies of patriarchy.
The five sorrowful mysteries, the five crimes against the feminine and all of humanity, the five sins of our fathers are:
Three years later, these still feel like the sorrowful mysteries. I name them whenever I pray the sorrowful mysteries. But I never quite had the words.
Thanks to my 9-day “No Name Vacation,” I received a gift of time to feel my way into the wording of the prayers of the sorrowful mysteries, not just stating the five crimes, but claiming and naming the path of the return of the sacred feminine.
I said the sorrowful mysteries every day, taking an hour or more to play with the wording a little bit more each time. Finally, on what turned out to be the last day of my vacation, the mysteries felt complete.
I know this sounds strange, but I now love the sorrowful mysteries. And can’t wait to share them with you. I’m going to focus on the joyful and glorious in the next few months until they too feel like they name and claim the return of the Sacred Feminine.
On Wednesday, John called to say the computer came earlier than expected and he’d bring it on Thursday morning.
On Wednesday, I went for a rosary walk to ground my new sorrowful mystery prayers and to honor the 19th anniversary of my ex-husband’s death.
Wednesday was Yom Kippur. He died on Yom Kippur in 2003. I don’t think that was an accident.
When he died I began to pray: “You can do for us there what you couldn’t do here.” And he did. He so did. He became the king of atonement. First with the gift of the life insurance miracle. (You can read that wild story in Writing Down Your Soul.) Then with social security. He has showered our son and me with gifts for 19 years. I thank him often, but especially on Yom Kippur.
On Yom Kippur he shows up as a hawk. A screaming hawk.
He first came as a screaming hawk at the top of a pine tree the day after he died. And he has let me know he’s present and listening and protecting us ever since by flying across my path as a hawk.
I set out at 4pm on Wednesday knowing he would appear. Sure enough, just as I was praying the 3rd sorrowful mystery of rape, a hawk came SCREAMING across my path, circled overhead three times, then flew off to a tree and looked back at me.
I thanked him for taking such sweet care of us and asked if he also liked my new sorrowful mysteries. The hawk SCREAMED.
And I smiled.
Thanks to my No Name Vacation, Goddesses of the Edge is not over! We gather this coming Tuesday to meet Haumea the mother of all Goddesses, and on the 18th we meet Mbabanwarawanesa, who invites us into the sheer joy of living.
What a sweet antidote these two are to sorrow and lies and pain of patriarchy.
So you are welcome to still join us.
to the mystery and magic of the totally unexpected!
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