Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Hawk and the Great Mother


by Erica Swadley

O Great Mother Goddess, we call on you now.

We invite your presence.
Surround and encompass us.
Rise up from your roots.
Hear us, our our voices of pathos.
See our dancing feet, how we beat out your rhythms. 

With our hearts, we drum you back.
We are staggering toward you.

Will you run one hundred steps to us?
Will you spread your mantle of peace?

This is the sack of our offerings:

We give up our greed to feed the needy.
Here is our lust to restore compassion.
We release our hatred to stop the killing.
We forego our vengeance to discover balance.
We scorn our fears, to rebirth love.
We tread softly to bring back forests. 

And Mother Answers:

No more no more no more!

I have sent you shining planets to help you remember.

Mars and Venus beg you to reconcile.
From the depths of space, Sedna appears,
a planetary avatar to stop you in your tracks.

Time is ended, truth be told.

Release, forgive, restore.
Remember Me in all of My forms.
I will bring light to your shadows 
and make you whole, 
if you will call on Me.

                   April, 2004

Yesterday I had a new picture windows put into the living room, and I sat admiring them this morning.  Then I found myself thinking about the poem above, and "Restoring the Balance", the performance shaman Erica Swadley wrote her Invocation for, almost 10 years ago, and decided I would offer it again with some new work on the Equinox. 

Then a very large bird flew, wham, into my new window.  Not just any bird, but a red wing hawk.  

Fortunately, it flew off again, hopefully not hurt.  But the "Message" is well taken.  Wake up!  Pay attention! See!  Get the Big Picture!    New windows give better vision, the ability to see through them more clearly.  And no creature sees better, and has a bigger view, than a hawk or an eagle. 

I know I often write about the Dark Goddess, the One who can help us to see, integrate, and understand our shadows, but I do this because I feel, personally and collectively (along with theologian Andrew Harvey and shaman Erica Swadley) it is so very important to invoke Her help now.

  "It's quite clear that humanity  can only be transfigured by a totally shocking revelation of its shadow side. And this is what we're living through, these shadow sides exploding in every direction because we have done nothing but betray the sacred in us."
........... Andrew Harvey

The "shadow side" Harvey speaks of is revealed in contradictions, in paradox often.  Just this morning I was also thinking about a personal revelation along these lines.   So much of the work I do, outside of my commercial masks, are really Shrines to Gaia. Over and over I feel compelled to make torsos and hands with roots and leaves.   My versions of the Black Madonna, of the creative, sacred Mother inside all  of nature's manifestations. And yet, as important as these images are to me, I tend to be apologetic about my work, not believing in myself often.

I recently had someone ask about purchasing a  "Gaia" piece,   someone I admire, who wanted to know if the humidity of a bathroom would affect it.  I had to wonder:  do I project so little sense of the worth of my  work that it has no more meaning than "bathroom decor"? Is that my shadow?  And if so, by failing to respect the impulses that become my art, am I disrespecting what is sacred to me?   What does this reveal about the loss of a sense of the sacred we're all, myself well included,  completely unconscious of?  

I think about my dismay this summer when I saw the porta potties lined up  just across from the entrance (and exit) to the Labyrinth and Ancestor Mound at Sirius Rising last year.  Leaving the Labyrinth (Center) ritual, it was what one saw coming out of the Labyrinth.  My  comments about it  got me in hot water with the community who put the ritual on, many of whom I otherwise admire.  But they did not see, or appreciate, my (quite literal)  point of view. .............What does it mean, viewed symbolically, about what me and my well meaning friends and colleagues are unconsciously responding to?
"I will bring light to your shadows
and make you whole 
if you call on me.
 The Dark Goddess, whether we call Her the Black Madonna, the hidden Magdalene, Kali, Black Tara,  or Sedna, is so much more than an idea, an archetype.  She is an active force in the world, an archetypal  intelligence working in the world through the minds of those who open to Her.   She can Restore the Balance, she can dance with us as we achieve an ever moving point of balance.

As my friend, Ann Weller, commented in 2000 after invoking the Dark Goddess for a healing ritual event for her community:

"The Dark Goddess serves the future. Her work is evolution in its fullest sense.
The Dark Goddess, who is found in many cultures by many names, is not aspected lightly.  Working with Her calls forth one's internal capacity for psychic empowerment, a transformative energy not easy to encompass. The work was larger than my concerns, and ultimately impersonal.  I was a brief vessel for an immense archetypal intelligence manifesting itself within the ritual drama we created."

So, I ponder all of this, this beautiful and important poem that Erica gifted us with 10 years ago, and share also an article by Andrew Harvey that is related.  As we move closer to the Equinox, may we find many ways and paths to Restoring the Balance.

"Black Madonna" by Therese Desjardin

Andrew Harvey

The entire world is now going through a massive crucifixion on all levels.  It's going through an environmental crucifixion. Hundreds of species are vanishing every month. It's going through a personal crucifixion. There are two billion people living on less than a dollar a day. It's going through a crucifixion of all the patriarchal systems. Look at Enron and what it has
shown us about Corporate America. Look at the Catholic Church's scandals of pedophilia and what it shows us about authority. Look at the growing disillusionment with politicians of all kinds. All of the systems are  being exposed as illusory and fantasy-ridden, as deeply corrupt and exploitative.

There's another kind of crucifixion going on: crucifixion of purpose and hope. Everybody is totally bewildered. They know that the world is potentially on the brink of  apocalypse. There's a tremendous danger that as people wake up to the horror of what is going on, they will run into political extremism or into fundamentalism of one kind or another.

So it's extremely important that the wisdom of the 'dark night of the soul' gets across, because if people understand the necessity for this crucifixion, and understand that it's preparing a resurrection and empowerment, then they will be prepared to go through it without too much fear, trusting in the logic of the divine transformation.

The Benedictine monk Bede Griffiths shared with me his experience of the dark night of the soul. He said he was sitting outside his hut one day when he felt as if a hand hit him on the right side of his being. He had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed what he described as his patriarchal mind and gave him access to a much deeper elaboration of
Oneness with all things.  

 He said, "It's a very strange thing, but when I thought of surrendering to the Mother I of course thought of Mary--I often say the 'Hail Mary'--but it was Mary as the Black Madonna that came into my mind. She is the mother of the earth as well as heaven, of the body as well as the soul, the mother of the subconscious, the hidden, of all those powers that the
'masculine' mind represses; the Mother of the sacred darkness. In Her the Western Christian vision of the Divine Mother and the Eastern one merge and meet; you can think of her as both Mary and Kali, both preserver and destroyer. From that time on, I have turned to Her again and again.  

Invoking Her strength and grace, I find, makes the 'birth' go so much faster and more cleanly."

The power that is doing this to us is coming towards us simultaneously with terrifying destruction and extreme grace and prosperity. The destruction is, in fact, a form of that extreme grace. It's quite clear that humanity is now terminally ill, and can only be transfigured by a totally shocking revelation of its shadow side. And this is what we're living
through, these shadow sides exploding in every direction because we have done nothing but betray the sacred in us.

We have lacerated the sacred in others. We have betrayed the sacred in an orgy of fundamentalism. We have brutalized the sacred in nature. We are now terminally destructive.

So only an almost terminal destruction that reveals to us the full extent of our responsibility in this destruction can wake us up. And that is what is happening, and it will get worse. It's bound to get worse. But it is only being done to us for our own redemption.

Those who turn to the Mother in total faith, those who turn to the Black Madonna in total admiration, those who realize the mercy behind the violence will be given extraordinary protection, strength, and revelation. They will be empowered in the core of themselves to become what everybody who has a heart and a mind must now become--a spiritual
revolutionary devoting their entire life and all their resources to the preservation of the planet.

Finding the Black Madonna, in whatever form you want to find her, realizing the massive task that she's doing and turning to her for protection is now crucial to the preservation of the planet. It's extremely important that people really come to understand the feminine and turn towards it, because it's our betrayal of the feminine in ourselves and in the divine that has led to this crisis.

Copyright Andrew Harvey 2004--All Rights Reserved


I've found it interesting that one of the most consistently read of my blog posts has to do with "Black Tara" (2010).  Truly a Tibetan manifestation of the Dark Goddess, I often wonder why so many are curious or responsive to this Goddess.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Lauren! I had hoped for such revealing and deepening wisdom for "us all" - and myself - at this time, thank you!!!

I admired your description of the new picture windows, as we had talked of them so many times recently. What a metaphor for seeing as well.

It is almost equinox, with the hope of spring and the dear rains that have given us renewed faith to clear and plant our gardens even in this drought here.

My community work of helping to midwife the earth changes continues...a film based discussion of Fukushima, an expert panel on this year's dry farming in California, plus other events that my talents will help conceive and present, my work offered to the world. Thank you for acknowledging those of us who have given ourselves fully into service to the Mother and the work.

The Black Madonna (mask) overlooks my Goddess Room from Her place high on the wall, Her companion is Sophia and between them Her Mirror with which we can see ourselves - light and dark - to come full circle in this time of Restoring the Balance. So Mote it be for All Beings at this precarious time.

Sheila Joshi said...

This is a very helpful post for me, Lauren. I see my recovery from neurological damage from prescription antidepressants as a transformative Descent Experience, and I see many people around me going through one form or another of a Descent Experience or shamanic initiatory illness or rough Kundalini awakening. It’s hard to keep the faith in the ultimate, super-healing purpose when it goes on and on, so it’s helpful to find validation from others of the same general vision. Things are desperate in so many ways on the planet, and therefore many, many of us are being called….frog-marched is more like it!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Wow, what a synchro with the hawk! Glad the windows didn't break and that the hawk flew off. Quite a powerful message!