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Nurturing the Feminine Soul in Mother Earth

posted 20 Jun 2017, 16:41 by Peter Harney

This weekend experience evolved out of Tony Hempenstall’s desire for a Women Space at The Archer. Tony floated this idea at one of our monthly Agape gatherings and so a small group of women met in October, 2016 to plan a weekend experience – Nurturing the Feminine Soul in Mother Earth. On Saturday 17 June, 2017, nine women gathered in The Potter’s House to connect with one another in this beautiful lush setting of The Archer.

 

As we entered The Potter’s House, we were drawn to the figure of Mother Earth on the central table, welcoming us to this sacred space. Colourful scarves gleamed at us from the floor and soon we were participating in the Cosmic Dance of The Archer. Zoe led us gracefully as we moved with delight, twirling and lifting our scarves, our faces beamed with joy. Clutching our symbols, which represented where we felt we were at this point in our life, we shared our reason for bringing this symbol and soon the table was beautifully bedecked with all our symbols.

 

Holding in our hearts the sacred story of each woman present, we moved quietly outside to lie on the ground, sit in the Thomas Berry Sanctuary, admire the Autumn colours of a deciduous tree, walk amongst the lush vegetable gardens, sit on the swing or the verandah to take in the beauty of the surrounding Stanley River valley – to just “be” in the silence.

 

On our return to the Potter’s House, we were invited to participate in the Earth Mandala. Four different spaces had been created around our Mother Earth figure, the Cosmic Dance of The Archer, Home - Our Place, Awe and Wonder, Mother Earth’s Pain.

 

Respectfully and with reverence, we listened to one another as we stood in the space or spaces that spoke to our heart centre. Emotions of joy and delight, pain and deep sadness, vulnerability and yearning, mirth, questioning, gratitude and the desire to walk gently with bare feet upon our Earth and really connect, touched our hearts deeply. Holding all this sacred sharing in our midst we danced again, reverencing the depth of compassion that manifest itself in this connecting of our heart centres. The afternoon light held us all in its tender glow.

 

“The first chirps of the waking birds mark the ‘point verge’

of the dawn

under as a sky as yet without real light,

a moment of awe and inexpressible innocence,

when Sophia wisdom in perfect silence opens their eyes.

They speak to her, not with fluent song,

but with an awakening question

that is their dawn state, their state at the ‘point verge’.

Their condition asks if it is time for them to ‘be’?

She answers ‘Yes’.

Then they one by one wake up, and become birds.

They manifest themselves as birds, beginning to sing.

Presently they will be fully themselves, and will even fly”.

                 adapted from “Psalm” p.45 Thomas Merton, “A Book of Hours” edited by Kathleen Deignan

 

So they wake - the Kookaburras singing from one ridge to the next and to the next. Their joyful singing, piercing the dark morning sky. Roosters, ducks, horses and dogs each greeting the dawn.

 It is time to be!

 

The first rays of light appear as our Mother Earth moves towards the Sun. The Glass House Mountains emerge from the dark and the valley is shrouded in mist.

 

“Today, Sophia, this blue sky lauds you.

The bright red flowers, of the poinsettia bush praise you.

The Autumn colours of the Liquid Amber tree praise you,

the distant blue hills praise you, together with

the sweet – smelling air that is full of brilliant light.

The galahs and cockatoos, praise you,

with the grazing goats

and the finches which dart to and fro.

I too, Sophia, praise you, with all these my sisters,

and they give voice to my own heart and my own silence.

We are all one silence and a diversity of voices”.

                  adapted from “Psalm” p.47 Thomas Merton, “A Book of Hours” edited by Kathleen Deignan

 

A single candle flickers in the dark of the Thomas Berry Sanctuary.

“I beg you to keep me in this silence so that I may learn

from it

the word of your peace

and the work of your mercy

and the word of your gentleness to the world”:

                  from “Psalm Prayer” p.48 Thomas Merton, “A Book of Hours” edited by Kathleen Deignan

 

“Contemplation is the response to a call:  a call from Sophia Who has no voice and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being”.

                  from “Reading” p.48 Thomas Merton, “A Book of Hours” edited by Kathleen Deignan

 

The pebbles on which we walked to reach the Sanctuary, cried,

“Welcome –

rest in this stillness,

this silence,

this beauty of the new morning”.

Gently we removed our shoes.

Lavender, mint, rose petals, nasturtiums and the exquisite beauty of the silk cloth, dazzled our senses and beckoned us enter. Some tears flowed as the lilting voice of Caroline McDade’s, “As we so love”, filled the space.

 

Where in me does Viriditas/Wisdom need to come, to moisten, to make green, to add humidity to, and to make fertile? Hildegard of Bingen calls us to look for fecundity in barren places.

 

Zoe led us in a final, joyful dance of Viriditas energy, greening our lives.

 

Mary Nelson and friends

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