Wading into Wisdom’s Water

I awakened this morning, and I was re-minded.

 I’d made a new commitment yesterday, to a dear soul-sister, to sit with her in silence upon arising each morning. This renewal of morning practice is something I’ve been so needful of.  I’ve been too easily drawn away from Spirit and into distractions as soon as my feet hit the floor each morning, the invitation to set my intention to move gently and gracefully into (and so through) my day left lying on the bedside table.  The promise to Her of my presence with her was in truth a promise to myself.

And so we settled in – me in my bentwood rocker, overlooking the golden hue of autumn’s transition,  bathed in dawn here in my Pennsylvania garden; she in her meditation chair overlooking the quiet morning lake in her Mississippi backyard – responding to the invitation.

As I set my intention to be with the Indwelling Presence whom I’ve known as Divine Love, I was surprised to hear the name, Wise Woman, bubble up as the name of the One to whom I’d promised myself in prayer. Wise Woman, Wisdom – a new series of letters forming a new set of words, a new symbol of the same Sacred Presence that continues to invite me. This morning, at long last, I open myself fully to Her.

I notice a sense of departure in this, and it saddens me somewhat, leaving that shore-line behind, as any leave-taking will do, for it seems I am being drawn ever further from the religion of my childhood where, though I’ve searched, I haven’t been able to find such a place of belonging as this. But  I can no longer deny Her and my need for Her. Perhaps this was behind my recent foot-in-my-mouth, but undeniable, confession–I am feeling  ‘dis-eased’ with Christian male-god language.  (I mean Jesus, its necessary central figure, was a man, a son who spoke of his Father, and after all is said and done, no creative re-imaging him as Sophia can change this).  I wonder if my declaration, as uncomfortable as it felt, was my way of not denying Her ‘thrice before the cock crowed’ (ok, so the symbols of the religion of my childhood aren’t completely gone). Wise Woman has perhaps just been waiting for me!… to invite, to embrace,  to claim Her.

There is no wise woman in the Christian tradition for me to grow with. I once had Mary, Oh, I’ve had Mary with me since I lay in my childhood bed and she came, whispering blessing to me . I’ve had Mary as maiden, and Mary as mother— though snippets of Her from scripture at best, which I could enflesh with my own experience and imagination. And while there are other Wise Women—Sarah, Miriam, Elizabeth, Anna – their Presences are peripheral somehow, when She is central to who I am called as a woman to Be. There is no crone-Mary, other than perhaps Mary at the cross, Mary at the tomb, a silent presence, mourning the loss of her God, and then she is gone, lost to me.  

This morning’s prayer felt like a call to a new way of imagining Her. It was a short portage really, but it is clear I am paddling in a new body of water.  All that it took was my willingness to carry my own canoe across. The vast body of water I left so recently behind was Lovely, but large. Though I’d found friendly coves in which I could swim, and secluded lagunes formed by fallen trees, I felt insignificant and alone in its center, the buffeting winds, wearying.  

The water that lies before me sparkles like so many gems, waiting to be discovered.  ‘Ready?’, She whispers, and as I outer my ‘yes’, She climbs forthright into the bow, the invitation clear for me to follow. I push Her in the canoe, away from the edge, wading in water up to my shins. I step over the gunnel, center myself – settle, balance, breathe—and we’re off, gliding at a gentle pace.  She, at the bow, instructs, but allows me to steer, entrusting me…. Empowering me.

As we paddle away from shore, I immediately sense the intimacy of this lake. The pines kissing its edges are sheltering, close, encircling this place like a prayer. A loon surfaces next to the boat, a fish in its mouth, the one I’d heard calling early this morning, no doubt.

It feels tender here, and I hear myself sighing, ‘ahh’.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. emmaatlast
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 08:36:26

    So, last night i poured over the map of the waters in which i had paddled…. the larger lake, the smaller more intimate one. What i noticed was the organic movement from the secluded, protected cove of the larger one, through some marshy narrows, to the opening waters of the smaller, more intimate lake. The passage was very much like that of any other birth, from womb through narrow passage to awaiting arms.

    I also noted that this was not a separate body of water into which i’d portaged, but indeed the two were connected by a wild river, the native waters flowing naturally from one into the other, but with shallow rapids impossible to traverse in a canoe. In truth, the smaller lake in which She and i now paddle is an opening from, an appendage of, the same larger body of water. Interestingly, the water from this higher, smaller lake flows downstream into the larger one, feeding it. It is primordial.

    I have perhaps been like the salmon, swimming upstream to spawn.

    A remembrance came to me this morning of Sue Monk Kidd’s journey with her daughter, as told in the book, Traveling with Pomegranates, in which she discovered the home in which Mary is said to have lived into her old age. Like so much of women’s herstory, the details are sketchy and her story is silent. I’d like to believe that she did not live our her days a silenced, broken woman, but rather embodied Wisdom in that place for others.

    I’ve also thought of Celtic Christianity and the way it grew into its own after having been separated from the Roman Empire. The persons there, when hearing the first teachings of Jesus and tellings of his story (before it bacame laden with doctrine) simply integrated them (with an ‘of course’) as one more example of what they already knew of the nature of Life, the nature of God…. the God they experienced and witnessed manifest in the book of creation in which they dwelt. How difficult it was for them then, centuries later, when, the 2nd wave of Roman Catholicism came to ‘convert’ them into ‘right’ belief. The bulldozing almost completely annihilated their spirit…save the hidden scraps of the heart, kept alive for generations, which have resurfaced today.

    My journey is not unlike theirs, for i also in these 30 long years of departure between my early introduction to Christianity and my 2nd return to the church, have grown strong in my experience of the Holy. I too had integrated what made sense for me from the religion of my youth into what became a deeper, experienced knowing of the Beauty and Goodness of Life and the presence of the Sacred deep within it. And so when ‘right’ beliefs, language, and understandings came back to indoctrinate, I am baffled and lost in that worldview.

    But i am home, of course….and always….. for, like the turtle, i carry the Sacred One within me.



  2. Carolyn
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 13:26:27

    Vicki, Wise Women, Wisdom,

    I awoke this morning too early for meditation and yet I was strangely energized to remain awake until I welcomed you to sit with me at our appointed time, though our rockers are miles and environments apart. I remember when I needed someone to sit with me during the early days of our spiritual direction sessions and you offered to get me started on a series of daily meditations using the book on Lovingkindness Meditation. To return the favor seems a great honor.

    How life giving will our time together be this month as we tap into the power and authority of Divine Mother from whom we draw our deepest identity. Since starting this practice about three weeks ago, I have felt a new sense(presence) of myself as woman. All of the parts of myself which you know I have rejected for so long are invited within the temple that is me. My intention during our time together is to trust Her to lead us tenderly and respectfully into those unknown wild places that still await understanding, acceptance and integration.

    Thanks so much for being with me and showing me how Wise Woman, Wisdom looks and loves.



  3. Trackback: the midwifery « Emmaatlast’s Weblog

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