Mother mysteries – In Her Arms


Mother mysteries – In Her Arms

My dear sister in the Goddess,

Last night we celebrated the mystery of mother and child – picture the classic Madonna picture of the mother with the child in her arms and you are in the zone.

Took me a little bit of concentration to settle into the space, partly because of working in a new space – the newly created sanctuary at the back of Tamara’s shop – and partly because one of the two other women present was my oldest (ie. most longstanding) friend in the world who I’ve known since I was twelve. I’m pretty sure that last night is the first time she’s come to one of my ceremonies, certainly the first time she’s come to any of the Ishtar work, and it was hard not to feel a little self-conscious. For a little while it looked like it might just be her and me, but then Karuna-Noor arrived, Goddess be praised, and her familiar and supportive presence helped a lot.

I arrived at the shop early, and it took me the best part of an hour to re-organise the space and set up the four altars in the centre of the four walls. It is very cosy. A little small really for the greater mysteries, for which I prefer a more spacious feeling – there’s barely room to find spaces for ten chairs between the various altar places. But it felt like it was important to do this first ceremony in the new space in the shop, and as there were only three of us, it didn’t feel too crowded. (It’s the perfect space for my regular Monday night ceremony, which has a much more simple set up with a single round altar in the centre of the room and a circle of chairs around. That is coming along beautifully, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with more people soon).

One good thing about holding last night’s ceremony at the shop is that it gave me the necessary nudge to go in there ahead of time, on Friday morning, and do some energetic work to properly consecrate the space as an Ishtar temple for when I am working in there. Which feels good. Still haven’t done this properly in my new home, which is kind of weird, because normally it’s the first thing I do even before I move in, but perhaps there’s some internal resistance running at present, because I still haven’t…

Back to last night.

I opened the space/the ceremony by invoking the four guardians at the cross-quarters, and then the foundation practice to call in the energies of the four aspects of Ishtar and awaken the banners and altars.

Then the three of us did the waterlily meditation to centre and connect.

From there, we resumed our seats and I went into a deeper trance and spoke a little about the this particular mystery point… the babe birthed midwinter, having taken her first breath, and having taken in with her first breath her connection to the whole wide starry cosmos and the deep rich earth beneath and around her, continues the slow process of growing a self. Self-awareness dawns through the mirroring we find in our Divine Mother’s eyes – wherever we find her, whether in the eyes of our first mother or another someone who loves us, or out in nature, in a tree or a rock – wherever we find ourselves mirrored. (Something like that anyway, I was in a relatively deep trance and it was quite hard to keep speaking the words as they were given to me)

It is easy, at least for me at present, to feel somewhat embarrassed about making the invitation to allow ourselves to be little, to want and need to be held by something bigger than ourselves. And yet it is so essential too. It’s an important part of our truth. And this point in the cycle is about allowing ourselves to totally feel that, to experience that littleness, and to allow ourselves to fully trust again that we can and will be lifted up and held in Mother’s arms. And to know that the maternal energy, that unconditional maternal love is completely responsive. Responding to our cries. So that if we call out and ask, She will respond. But we have to begin by being willing to call out to Her.

So we each took a candle, and having contemplated that within us which is little and wants to be held, each lit our candle at the altar of Ishtar of the East, the stellar mother of light, as a prayer to be lifted up and held.

And then we moved our chairs closer in front of her altar, and I sang a spontaneous prayer.

It felt right to make a space for speaking what was in our hearts and minds, for asking for help with anything that was troubling us, and for lighting more candles. Which turned out to be very moving experience.

And when we had lit all the candles, the invitation was to place our hands on our own hearts, and allow ourselves to feel a loving presence around us, holding us in beautiful coloured light or warm nurturing darkness, whichever was exactly right for us. And then to become aware of the child, held in our hearts. And to allow the mother within us to arise and hold the divine child within. Holding and being held.

When it felt complete, it was time to bless and share the milk. I had a small jug of milk ready on the altar, and three tiny glasses on a shelf in the corner – so I went and got them and placed them in the big brown earthenware bowl which usually sits by the altar of Ishtar Embodied (south). The three of us stood, and held the jug between us. Visualising a beautiful, beautiful radiant star shining above our heads, we lifted our jug to catch some of the starlight – we were all very open and connected and so I felt this happen energetically almost instantly. Then I poured the milk into the glasses and we each had one to drink. I drank mine down in one big thirst gulp, but the others sipped theirs more slowly.

Almost complete, but not quite. We moved the chairs back out of the way, and stood in the centre of the space very close together, hands joined. Closing our eyes, we visualised the Earth, the whole beautiful round planet, floating at heart level in the space between us. Then we again connected with the Star above us, and saw her beautiful radiance flowing down and bathing the earth. To this we added the love from our own hearts, and then the milky light spurting from our own breasts… It was an exquisite energy, and I didn’t really want to bring it to an end. Karuna suggested we hold the energy and sing a song, so she started “We all come from the Goddess” and we sang together for a few moments.

Then it was time for me to do the closing honours – thanking the four guardian spirits, and offering a final prayer of thanks at each of the altars, and then sealing the ceremony with the final outward spiral of the foundation practice.

So there it is. Very simple, but so very entirely necessary. And such a good reminder to me that its okay to be small, and I don’t have to do it all on my own, because I am lifted up and carried by the Great Mother of us all.