This work that we’ve been doing, Catherine, Agnes, Selma and I, has been spinning around some very focused themes.
In Rome, it centred mostly on our historical inheritance of violence and the complementary veneration of suffering. Churches, statues and piazzas at every turn engrave the memory and the example of Christian martyrs into the psyche of the people. Stern images of popes through the ages glare down at the Vatican faithful and curious – faces of the men who seeded with profligate inhumanity the Inquisition, the Crusades and centuries later, the Intifada.
In Paris, the martyrs are still everywhere, on plaques and in parks, in street names and museums, but it’s a different brand of self-sacrifice that is remembered here, of civil resistance to political and ideological domination. A park around the corner from where I am staying commemorates the lives of the Alexandres Dumas and the end of slavery – and taught me that the famous authors of The Three Musketeers and La Dame aux Camélias were descended from a Haitian slave…. Of course, counterbalancing this are the mammoth monuments to domination and subjugation, preserved by thousands of camera clicks per day and proudly transported around the globe.
On the Isola Martana, the ruins of the churches of San Valentino and San Stefano wrap around those of the tower where the Santa Cristina and twelve other young girls were incarcerated, and possibly the Eastgothic queen Amalasunta as well. On this same island, the remains of Mary Magdalene are said to have been sequestered for a time, to save them from the ravages of… one wave of barbarity or another – Saracens…Visigoths? – sweeping through their original resting place in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in the south of France.
The prayers and ceremony that we did on the island, at this site, were for the end of violence and the glorification of suffering, for the Feminine aspect of divinity to be able to take her place beside the divine Masculine so that the energies of their union – the Sacred Marriage: the non-duality, harmony and awareness of Oneness that we call Love or Peace – might spread as our human and planetary destiny throughout the Earth.
Divine Marriage. Twin flames. Soul mates. My dear sister Catherine and so much of the spiritual community believe in these possibilities as concrete, inevitable and imminent. I remember the feeling in my body – the absolute certainty that there was Someone out there for me…. When, I wondered, had I relinquished this?
Were there vestiges in me of that awkward sense of embarrassment at actually believing in Love…those same sensations that I consciously provoke in people when I ask them to read The Song of Solomon – The Song of Songs? That exercise where I show people that they really have not given up on Love – and that it’s a wonderful thing? Or, somewhere inside me did I really believe the archbishop and all the others who told me throughout the years that people like me – visionary, perhaps, and eccentric at the very least – were meant for a solitary life? Had I hidden the belief in a soul partner away for safe-keeping, so far inside me that I’d forgotten where I put it?
What I was conscious of was the deep certainty that we are complete as we are, and that looking for another person to fulfill one’s needs is a set-up for disappointment. We are all of us male and female in energy – and true freedom, it seems to me, is achieved in having free access to both aspects of ourselves , when we choose. When we polarise ourselves into just one half our beings, we alienate ourselves from a sense of wholeness and accentuate duality and dissonance. What I see in long-term traditional polarized relationships is that the partners tend to bounce back and forth in phases between masculine and feminine roles and qualities. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – one studies, the other works; one stays home with the kids, the other works; one makes the meals, the other buys the food – a simple division of labour, one would think.
Our values and our perceptions of the reasons for living have changed, though. How many people before the 60s really thought about having a Mission in life? The goal of self-realisation has spread from the monasteries, ashrams and convents and into to the inner city, off-grid and even the suburbs! We’re no longer as complacent about giving up who we (believe we) are in order to fit a social role; this looks to me as if it’s wreaking havoc in all strata of society – again, not a bad thing..!
Self-sufficiency sounds like freedom to many of us at this point…but I wonder whether it isn’t a bit like feminism became – do we really want to have to be strong, independent, self-sufficient…alone?
I recall what comes out of my mouth so often these days,” When you feel you have just two choices, don’t choose!” Having learned that “You can’t have it all”, we’re being tempted back into dualism at every turn, and choices like this tend to be a clear indication of the basic dualities that we’ve inherited and assimilated. Applied to relationship and love:
Alone = free + irresponsible In relationship= trapped + responsible
Does this sum it up?
But where’s the place of Love in all this? I realise that I’ve been thinking dualistically: either we balance our own internal male and female energies and become whole, complete and self-sufficient, or we polarise ourselves and find a partner upon whom we are dependent. What if, between these two extremes, we can choose from an infinite Pantone display of tints and hues – we can have it all?
The image of a fractal arises, and I am dancing, tiptoed and swirling, along the edge of the immensely complex and heart-splittingly beautiful form. I see my left side toward the inside of the fractal, toward interconnection and manifestation, and the right side of my body facing the outside of this image of existence, with the choice of flying off into other dimensions of being. I feel myself embracing All….
I see each human as a scale of a fractal – a microcosm of ever greater macrocosms – and it occurs to me that the Sacred Marriage within us must be replicated in ever widening ripples outward as well….
And I breathe a delicious sigh of relief and release….
Blessings and Love,