Excerpt from a letter to Mariam Baker – November 2006

Dear Mariam..

 

I wanted to say thank you to you, for the grace of your being, for the very loving and spirit-filled space that you created with us and for us.  In the three days I was at Birragai, it was a pleasure and privilege for me to witness a sister priestess at work, with such consummate attunement to the Feminine Divine.  I know that it was a special experience for all who were present.  But I especially want to share with you something of my own three day journey, which culminated in a very strong initiatory experience taking me even deeper into Her ways.

At the outset of the weekend, when you invited us all to take an intention for our time on retreat, the words that came to me were “me fulfilled”.  Meaning the whole of me, all of my small self and everything beyond.  A sense of wanting to be fully me, fully here, embodying the fullness of my soul resonances.  I wrote in my journal that night:

Emerging intentions: the fulfilment of me, light of the chalice, the light of Ishtar, the light of the Goddess.  Removal of all impediments to the free flow of Goddess through me and my life.  I want to fulfil the Lover within and the Beloved within me.

Invited to co-create an aspect of the universal worship service, through the symbolism of the water, I flowed easily into the wishes of my small group that we should create an honouring of the Great Mother.  I have spoken many invocations in my life to this point, composed and spontaneous, but the one that came through as I sought the particular right words for the occasion was especially beautiful to me.

Come Monday morning, I was uncertain how I would go with the Sufi seshin (sp?).  Sitting still and quiet is something I have struggled with – hence the appeal of the Dances!   However, the strongest experience of my retreat time was yet to come. As I sat with my breath, I decided to simply allow whatever my experience would be, and not give myself a hard time about ‘not doing it right’.  Instead I focussed on my intention: to bring in more parts of myself that didn’t make it into embodiment at the different evolutionary thresholds in my life-journey.  To bring my full soul resonances into embodiment.  Particularly through using the name “Ishara” . This is a name which I had received in meditation some years ago, and finally begun to use within my dance circle earlier last year, after one of those prods from spirit that come in the form of suddenly seeing the obvious – in this case, that the point of having a spiritual name is that when I use it, and when others speak it too, it reminds me who I truly am.

I have for the last three or four years been working with the intention to join with my sisters in restoring the knowledge and practice of the Goddess mysteries within my community.  And I already had some rudimentary understanding of the framework of the women’s mystery system which was then emerging (or re-emerging) into my consciousness.

But I was in no way prepared for what then followed.  It was as though I began to retrace my own life journey around the Ishtar wheel, from quickening, through birth, to first breath, to suckling, to first blood, to womanhood, to my first experience with a lover, and on round to conception again.  At each point inwardly chanting Ishara, and calling in those resonances which had for whatever reason not fully embodied at each of these points.  All along the way I was being guided. It was like a lightening tour of the Ishtar mysteries, giving me glimpses of how each of these thresholds of mystery in a woman’s life might be honoured and celebrated.  Breathing and breathing. So much energy filling my body.  And then another dance would come, taking me onward to the next part of my journey.  Each time I thought perhaps I would be unable to stand, but somehow did. Each dance seemed exactly fitted to the inner experience that was unfolding in my awareness.

By the end I felt myself more surrendered than I have ever been before (or so far since).

I wrote in my journal:-

I have the image of the open and flowing vulva.  Staying open so that the Beloveds can come drink.  So much opening created by the soul yearning.  So much internal space created.  Here inside my vagina/womb.  So much vastness of space, so much receptivity.  Embodying Rahima… “There is a secret one inside…”

So I become the Surrendered One, in whom the Transformer can work.  I embody the Surrendered One and Ishtar Transformer works inside me.  I feel myself guarded and protected by the Ishtar guardians at the cross-quarters and encircled by my guides.

Throughout the experience, at intervals, chanting “Ishara, Ishara”.   Breathing, breathing the energy through.  Calling into embodiment more and more of the full resonances of who I am.  My body is full of energy.  My whole lower body from the waist down is just completely vibrating with it.  I have tasted the Goddess with the insides of my vagina and womb.

As the ‘Surrendered One’ I am lifted up and carried by the four guardians.  In the physical plane I sit through the tea break with this intense energy flowing and all this sensation – unable, unready to move.

People return.  I decide that I can stand.  I do.  My whole body feels strange to me.  I walk without falling over across the room and go to the toilet.  I somehow walk back in.  In trance.  To join hands in the circle.

And the first thing that happens is this:  Mariam invites me into the centre for what sounds like a ‘birthing practice’ or was that ‘breathing practice’.  Light and manifest light.  As one in a dream – so totally open and receptive still – I move to stand over the star in the centre.  The chalice of light upon the earth.  Receiving, still, open.  And then, just before the end, the Chalice disappears and there is only Light pouring into the Earth.

For this I was born.

Ishara.

Later in the dining room with Sitara, a brief reprise.  The unseen guides coach me – Breath into the waves of energy – use it for opening.  Contracting against it in anticipation of grief is what hurts.  Like birth. Like a new chance to build on that learning.  Absolutely it is a tantric path.

A couple of hours later, still in this state, overflowing with light, with the bliss of the Goddess, I stepped into Talibah’s car and was transported to the airport and from there on home to Perth.

For days afterwards I could feel myself so expanded and light.  Knowing that it would gradually fade, as it did, but looking to hold at least a little of that expansion as I moved forward into the rest of my journey.  As I did.

So thank you.  For the sacred atmosphere that you created and held for us …  And for being open to whatever it was that prompted you to offer me that particular seal upon the grace of that particular inward initiation, that indescribably awesome gift of Goddess.

I know that its energy has been part of what has enabled my onward journey to this point.

 

May the Goddess bless you and keep you,

With much love,
Ishara

20 November 2006

ishara