Category Archives: Politics

Between the Worlds

Now is it 18 days before I begin my next odyssey to England, France, Poland and Wales.   I still feel the vast expanse of Argentina in my heart, the dear friends of the Quest in Santa Fe whispering in my ear, and the profound experience of playing Mother Mary in my friend Kayleen Asbo’s  Passion Play, The Passion of Mary Magdalene.  For me, Mary is the embodiment of mercy, grace and love.  For years I have prayed to her, visited her in her many manifestations, particularly at Chartres, sung her praises.  To don a blue veil woven of silk, cotton and linen created by my great friend Kay,  and to be her, was to enter into a communion and a responsibility.  I know that it is she who will accompany me on this next part of my journey….  she always has.

I look forward to Avalon and to being in the Chalice Well Garden Retreat House.  The group of women coming are lovely and seeking.  I will feel the familiar homecoming and delight in the high vibration of green and beautiful Glastonbury.  I look forward to being in Chartres as well ,first teaching a daylong class on Mary and then being on staff for a week with John Phillip Newell.  We will walk the candlelit labyrinth in familiar wonder.

It is the next part of the journey that makes me feel like a pilgrim.  I will go to Warsaw and present the Women’s Dream Quest–WIELKIE ŚNIENIE KOBIET– in Polish– or literally, the Big Dreaming of Women.  Many women have signed up and my host has done an amazing job of calling the circle.  I am so moved that my work will be translated and that women the world over  are called to the Heroine’s Journey.

After the Quest, my hosts will accompany me to Krakow and to  Czestochowa to see the Black Madonna.  I will also visit Auschwitz.  I will go to bear witness, to stand in the place that has come to symbolize evil, to experience what is there for me to experience.  I have read a lot about Poland’s  history in the last while – the ravages of empires, the senseless slaughter of unthinkable numbers of human beings.  I can only imagine what it will feel like.  It is then that I will call on the vast expanse of Argentina- where ironically so many fled.  I will call on the love of circles upon circles that I belong to.  I will call on Mary, simple, kind and brave.

And by our hands…. The La Falda Labyrinth

 

The sacred mountain, Uritorco, guards the valley where we built the La Falda, Argentina labyrinth in the week of the Equinox this year. It is a lush valley, green and full of vegetation, trees unfamiliar to northern eyes and full of a small tumbleweed- like plant that arrives on the wind and adheres to telephone lines and branches. The sky is delicately lit by the receding sun of this time of year– very blue and at night clear and full of the Southern stars.

Fourteen of us – Veriditas board members, friends and spouses, our designer John and his labyrinth painting partner — have left our usual lives to become workers for a week – to lay pavers in the sand, to design the patterns of the path, and to level it all. A professional mason will come along after our work and cement it all in place. This is a legacy labyrinth, funded by a foundation associated with the Alla Arriba Retreat Center in La Falda in cooperation with the local municipality. We have been given a large area of the town square to create this camino of meditation and peace.

We all came with sense of mission. Chris Katzenmeyer, Veriditas Board member and project manager, followed her intuition to the idea of a Legacy Labyrinth- built by those of us closely associated with the labyrinth and continued to follow her excitement when the request for such a labyrinth came from Argentina. The beauty of her vision lighted the way for us all.

Some of us had been captivated by the idea that this town had once had its share of Nazi refugees seeking the new world after WWII. We hoped that our labyrinth would be useful in helping people come together, reconciling old hatreds, bringing healing. Others of us were excited to bring the labyrinth to South America. We all sensed a new direction for Veriditas. This would be a project of service and new people would learn to use our beloved path.

What we accomplished in our week of work was manifold. Certainly we created a stunning labyrinth that radiates peace and love. We worked hard and were observed by hundreds of townsfolk over the course of the week. They were moved by our efforts and showed up at the inauguration curious and grateful. And other things happened:.

We created community among ourselves. Many of us have know each other for years and have worked in producing programs in the states and in Chartres where we connect with our minds and spirits. Here we worked with our hands- everyone according to their ability. There were no slackers among us and seeing each other on the ground, carrying heavy stones, sandy, wet, sore brought us all to a very simple, humble and human state.

Our hosts at Alla Arriba generously gifted us with experiences of music, Tango lessons and a temescal- a South American version of the Sweat Lodge. For me, this experience anchored our work in the indigenous world. As a sweat is designed to do, it installed in us the elements of earth, fire, water and air, taking us subliminally to the basis of our connection to Life. Singing songs from the local Mapuche people as well as songs in Lakota, Spanish and English, we were invited into a world without borders where our unvoiced longings could be sung into the womb of Pachamama, our Earth mother.

I sensed the vast expanse of the South American continent less touched by the hand of Western Civilization—wild and free. In my imaginal world, I honed in on a place north west of where we were in the Southern Andes and sensed a call to explore there. This dream like experience beyond my reasonable mind has stayed with me and calls to me. It also installed a sense of the mystical Mother of all things in her Andean guise. She became present for me and it became clear that She wanted this labyrinth here is this heartland.

In my spiritual life, I have explored many paths of heart. In my youth, I was captured by the Plains Indians’ stories and in years of wilderness exploration, grew to know the indigenous world in my bones. Since the early 1990’s my focus has been on my ancestral lands, pilgrimages to the celtic world. The labyrinth came into my mind and heart around this time and with it a path into the beauties of the mystical Christian story. I have always known the labyrinth to be an archetype of integration. It is my dependable companion on the journey to the land of the soul. But this trip has bought the labyrinth full circle into the realm of the four directions. As I walked into each quadrant on stones I had helped to lay, I sensed a weaving of the qualities of the North, South, East and West. In that inherently integrative experience, the labyrinth marks a portal into the mystery. It prepares us for a consciousness of wholeness that opens us to healing.

I stood on the La Falda labyrinth on the Equinox. John, her designer, stood in the center. He stretched his arms out and the setting moon and rising sun landed in each palm, equidistant from the horizon. I sent my prayers northward to the Deer Heart Labyrinth in Petaluma, California, sensing the bridge between the North and South, strong and clear– praying for the connections between the continents to be equally strong and clear, imagining the bridge over the seas to the north and east, to Chartres and the thousands of bridges linking labyrinths the world over; the web of connections between these portals of integration and wholeness—the web of connections between us all.

 

One Billion Rising

imagesI got caught up in the excitement over the One Billion Rising movement on Valentine’s Day. When I heard that Grace Cathedral would be hosting one of the flash mobs I could think of no place  I would rather be. I told friends to come and dutifully practiced the hip-hop routine that appeared on YouTube. I listened carefully to the words of the song, Breaking the Chain and marveled at their clear and tough message. Women were rising to say: “Enough is Enough”.   I looked forward to dancing on the labyrinth in one of the places I find most holy. What I received was a lesson in expectation and disappointment.

I arrived early and had time to dance through the labyrinth. Memories of 25 years of Dream Quests flooded me. I remembered when we chanted the names of 108 goddesses. I remembered when we declared that the time had come for the sacred feminine to be honored in the cathedral. I remembered how comfortable we have begun to feel in this space. And now, I thought, we would be rising, sanctioned, celebrating strong women breaking the chain of violence and abuse!

In the center of the labyrinth, I stopped to imagine the other labyrinths I know around the world; Chartres, Glastonbury High St, Charlottesville, Trinity in Portland, Menucha, Kay’s meadow, my driveway. I saw them linked in a vast underground network of energy.   I warned the labyrinth that it was about to be used to amplify our collective action. I felt empowered and exhilarated.

Then, a band of North Indian dancers arrived with a drummer. They were beautiful women- of all races. They executed their moves skillfully and entertained us. They even taught us some of the traditional steps in the dance. Then the drummer played- sound reverberating crazily as it does in the cathedral–and everyone moved. But where was the Breaking the Chain dance? Where was the political power evidenced in the movement? How had the planners missed the idea that women and men all over the world would be joined in a particular set of movements with a particular message?

Disheartened, I gathered up several friends went outside to dance what we remembered of the YouTube moves on the outdoor labyrinth. We stood in the center of the labyrinth and declared that we were breaking the chain of violence and abuse and that we stood in solidarity with women and men the world over.

Everyone inside was having a blast. It was very important that dancing was occurring on the labyrinth with approval from the cathedral. The dancers were wonderful and I got to reflect on my desire for things to be the way I had imagined them. I watched the argument between my disappointed self and my more pragmatic self celebrating what was actually happening.

Next year at Dreaming Gratitude,  We will rise.  We will dance!!                          

– Judith