In the arms of the Mother – Spring Equinox Ponderings 2010

The flowering of spring and all its babies and fresh beginnings leads me to contemplate the Mother of us all – She Who Responds to All our Cries – and our own very real need to find what will feed the urgent hunger of that within us which is small and growing.

There are times when love comes to us directly through the body of the Earth.

Two days ago I gave in to the feeling of heaviness in my body which had me dragging my feet along the pavement.  In the middle of the big sports ground near our home I stopped my morning walk and simply lay down.  As I leaned back onto the grassy earth I heard some joints in my spine clunk back into alignment, felt the solidity of the ground under me.  The ground was surprisingly dry – no dewy moisture sneaking up through my clothing to touch my skin.  The spring sun above was warm and friendly – no bite as yet. As I lay there I felt a strong tingling sensation begin in my feet and in my arms and in every part of my back that was in direct contact with the ground. I felt life waking up in places within me that had been feeling numb and leaden as I lay and contemplated the wide blue expanse of the sky above me.  In those minutes as I lay there, I felt like a newborn child who, after the disorienting, dizzy moment of hitting the air, is lifted up through empty space to rest upon her mother’s living breathing chest.  In that moment, just for that moment, I was home. Coming home to myself, to my body, to the possibility of happiness.

And then there are times when love seems to come to us from beyond this world.

These are the precious moments when we know and feel ourselves to be lifted up and carried by a spacious nurturing presence as vast and ancient as the night sky.

To me there is something very uplifting about entering a ritual space and coming to stand before a beautifully adorned altar.  I’m thinking of an altar lovingly decorated with luscious colours and beautiful symbols. An altar expressly designed to evoke one of the many faces of the eternal and ever-changing Goddess.  The primary altar for the Spring Equinox in the Ishtar Mysteries is dressed in blue velvet with a white overcloth with gold edging.  Upon it you will find a chalice of milk  – these days it is usually rice milk  (in deference to Miriam’s lactose-intolerence ) which has a look akin to the translucency of human milk than the thick white of cow’s milk.  Behind the altar stands the banner of the east, depicting the nurturing breast of the Cosmic Mother, milk spurting in an arc across the starry sky.  Our eye follows this arc down to the bottom of the banner and then is drawn sideways to where the dawn light of the sun begins its slow rise into full awareness.

What I love about the spaces we create for our Goddess mysteries ceremonies is the complete permission to feel all of my feelings.  Most especially, I love the freedom to feel and express that intrinsic deep sense of devotion which is such a core part of me. I treasure these moments because in my day to day life that sense of devotion and connection is all too readily eclipsed by the loud anxieties of my mind and the pressing practical considerations of the material world.

I recognise that each woman has her own unique sense of what feeds her spirit, yet there are strong themes that we hold in common. Because we are dynamic beings, so our experience of what nurtures our soul-beings changes with the cycles and seasons of our lives.   At some times discovering and cherishing the very tangible gifts of being born female – of living life in a woman’s body with all that this entails – truly is the gate that leads me and others straight to the heart of the mysteries.  At other times it doesn’t so much matter whether I have ever had the physical experience of, for example, bearing a baby in my body.  Instead it is the yearning that I feel to be lifted up and cherished, to know myself held and loved by a mystery greater than myself, which opens the door to a direct personal experience of the presence of Goddess in my life.  Prayer is a natural outflow of that yearning.

What I have so far learned about prayer is that I very often resist creating spaces in my life for this kind of connection. When I finally give up resisting, I fall into a prayer state so easily and naturally that I can effortlessly spend up to an hour of clock time resting in this timeless space.  So what is the key?  For me it’s about stopping. It’s about putting myself in a setting that moves my spirit.  It’s about dropping the agendas of my mind and allowing myself to adopt the body posture, to fall into the gesture, the movement or the stillness that emerges from inside me.  Because I’m a very auditory person, I find it really helps when I give myself the freedom to speak aloud or sing the words or sounds that are in my heart, and let the vibration open my heart further.  Speaking or chanting can take me deeper into an altered state of consciousness, heighten my sense of communion. When I do these things I forget myself and am transported into a more expanded state of being.  And from this bigger place I have so much more to offer to myself and others.  I am so much more available to the invitation, the constantly evolving relationship, which is my personal love-affair with Goddess.

Enough pondering! It is time I turned my attention to practical preparations for our Equinox mystery ceremony tomorrow.

I sincerely hope that these musings have shed some light on your own quest for what will nourish your growing being.
In the meantime, may you know yourself held and nurtured in the arms of the Star Goddess. And may the Mother’s love flower in each of us under the beautiful blue spring sky.

Many blessings,
Ishara

first published online September 22, 2010

ishara