During this changing of the seasons, I thought it appropriate to share a letter from long ago, from a sannyasin or monk of the Ramakrishna Order to a student in California.
Letter excerpted from the book, Spiritual Treasures: Letters of Swami Turiyananda (edited by Swami Chetanananda).
I hope you enjoy, and enjoy the season.
17 February 1914
The life of renunciation is the only life that can make us truly happy. No other life can ever do so. It is certain that one day we shall have to give up everything whether we want to or not. It is much better to give it up gladly and freely before we are compelled to do so. But if one cannot do that, the next best course is to turn everything over to Mother and abide by her decree. Know her to be the only guide in life under all conditions. Pleasure and pain pass away. They do not last long. We gather knowledge through experience; and by not identifying ourselves with pain or pleasure we gain freedom. Be always content with what Mother ordains. She knows what is best for us. Such a life also brings peace and consolation; and then the world can do us no harm.
You are Mother's children; you need not be afraid of the world. Be devoted to her and she will take care of you. She alone is Real. All else is vanity and vexation. Did not Jesus say, 'What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose is own soul?' Mother is the Soul of our souls. If we have her we no longer care much for the things of this world.
The world goes on its way and will continue to do so for all eternity. But he who sees Mother in everything and knows for certain that it is all her play will have rest for his soul and peace within. May we see her hand and guidance in everything. May she bless us.
Yours in the Mother,
The subject of this post, I find this to be so important for living, to not try, to not try as we might normally do, to be able to surrender to these moments, for it is in them we find renewal from the efforts we would normally expend, from whatever we have set out trying to do, to spend perhaps wasted energy on moments better spent in this mystery.
We are renewed and made whole in these moments.
We may find answers we were not expecting or awaiting.
We cannot carry on in life without this mystery or what it represents.
Why not honor that which we do not know, or partially know, as if hidden in veils, rather than struggle with the shock of ignorance or cluelessness that continues and always surfaces as a part of life?
Surrender, and honor this mystery.
We may give it names, but the mystery remains, and so shall we, in more peace, in more alignment with our path as we give mystery its proper place and due.
(In the spirit of mystery, I have simplified this site once again, hiding a few menu items, but keeping their references, or at least the elements of their spirit, in these posts.)
I think wherever we are in life, we are on the right path, because it is ours. However, I do feel like more guidance can be given, more help can come our way. With this post and its accompanying link and resource, I am happy and perhaps more than a little excited to share this guiding help with you.
(Please feel free to skip four paragraphs down to get right to the information on the resource.)
I have recently embraced the idea, understanding, concept, and reality of magick, whatever that may or may not mean to you.
Along with the intricacies of the term itself comes its connection with the sacred feminine. I think of it as a way to actively be with and work with the all-embracing nature of the sacred feminine. There is a reverence and an active agency, both at play, when working with magick, to my understanding.
Along with this comes the idea of divination, again, a surrendering to the mystery of the sacred feminine, but also an element of understanding or suggestion of wisdom for active implementation of the knowledge gained.
Here is where the resource comes in which I am truly happy about. I have developed an online approximation of a divination tool. It pulls from a story archetype which I have been using to inform my practice since its beginning. The archetype can be arguably found in the stories of all cultures of all time periods, and you may call it a way of living which honors the sacred feminine and ourselves.
Time and again I have seen how my own life follows this mapped out way of living, this pattern that author Kim Hudson identified in her own life and in the stories of cultures across time.
When I work with anyone, this universal story, this timeless way to go about being truly happy and fulfilled in life, guides me in the background, for all I do, because it resonates in a way a universal piece of wisdom should. It seems to continue to speak to those who encounter it and take the time to investigate it.
Without further explanation, please enjoy reading about and comparing your own life to this archetypal story, this guiding pattern which I feel helps us on the way to a fulfilling life.
The Virgin's Promise: A Path for Life
(Click on the words to divine the path.)
[Update: I have come back from vacation since first posting this.]
I wanted to share what you may have already come across before, but I am just about to head on vacation and want to share this here.
Many of the lines and lyrics speak to me personally, and I hope they do for you.
Thankful this is out there to share.
Please enjoy . . .
Music video by Katy Perry performing Daisies.
(c) 2020 Capitol Records, LLC
When I heard this piece of music again after some time of not having heard it, it struck me on a deeper level than perhaps it had before.
If you feel like the universe, your version of a high power, even yourself, has let you down, if you have felt like something has been missing, something has not been there for you, or your very self even, the best of you, has been absent, perhaps it is not so hard to hear the call to healing and help being offered to you from this place, through the lyrics and this song.
Sacred, beautiful, feminine.
Hearing the call....
Hello by Adele
(P) 2015 XL Recordings Ltd., under exclusive license to Columbia Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment
I have been debating about adding a section on resources to the site, so I am doing it in the form of blog posts entitled with the first word "Resources" followed by the type of resources. They will be collected together in the Resources category on the side of the blog page, or at the bottom of the page if you are viewing the mobile device version of this page. [Update: I may just tag other posts with the Resources category that contain a resource, so they will show up when clicking on the Resources category. They may not contain the actual title "Resources" in the post title.]
Sacred Feminine Resources
Sacred Feminine Awakening: The Emergence of Compassion by Misa Hopkins
She has four books now beginning with the same first words for the title; however, this one in particular beautifully expresses perhaps what has been a lost understanding of the sacred feminine, in a way that attempts to speak to anyone, regardless of what faith or spiritual path one has.
The Virgin's Promise: Writing Stories of Feminine Creative, Spiritual, and Sexual Awakening by Kim Hudson
I am always charged with inspiration and motivation when I pick up this book. Although it has been written for screenwriters, the universal story the author has discovered about the fulfillment of life truly resonates on a fundamental level, as it no doubt should based on the author's research that went into discovering this story. The theories of Carl Jung, a therapist inspirational to me who informs my work, helped guide her in the process. He put forth the idea that we have within us universal archetypes, or patterns of potential or behavior which we can follow, which show up in stories from around the world as characters. Kim discovered these universal characters and their life paths in stories across such a diversity of cultures. What she writes about represents living a sacred feminine way of life.
Into a quieter time of year, the potential is there, where you will not have to do what you think you need to do, where you can simply be, and that is enough.
To this time of year I add and am inspired by the words of author Ursula K. Le Guin, speaking of a feminine way of being, spoken as part of a commencement address she gave over thirty years ago.
See how it shines now:
(Full speech here: A Left-Handed Commencement Address)
"In our society, women have lived, and have been despised for living, the whole side of life that includes and takes responsibility for helplessness, weakness, and illness, for the irrational and the irreparable, for all that is obscure, passive, uncontrolled, animal, unclean — the valley of the shadow, the deep, the depths of life. All that the Warrior denies and refuses is left to us and the men who share it with us and therefore, like us, can’t play doctor, only nurse, can’t be warriors, only civilians, can’t be chiefs, only indians. Well so that is our country. The night side of our country. If there is a day side to it, high sierras, prairies of bright grass, we only know pioneers’ tales about it, we haven’t got there yet. We’re never going to get there by imitating Machoman. We are only going to get there by going our own way, by living there, by living through the night in our own country.
So what I hope for you is that you live there not as prisoners, ashamed of being women, consenting captives of a psychopathic social system, but as natives. That you will be at home there, keep house there, be your own mistress, with a room of your own. That you will do your work there, whatever you’re good at, art or science or tech or running a company or sweeping under the beds, and when they tell you that it’s second-class work because a woman is doing it, I hope you tell them to go to hell and while they’re going, to give you equal pay for equal time. I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated. I hope you are never victims, but I hope you have no power over other people. And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country, where you live, where no wars are fought and no wars are won, but where the future is. Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing — instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls."
Sharing a place which alters lives, reveals them, shows us where we already are, where we might be headed, and how we are never really distant from what means so much--these are the kind of understandings I find so precious to share.
Whatever words one may use to communicate this place, I know where that is, I live from there, and try to know and allow it each second and moment, to the point where time becomes an unnecessary idea, and the concepts are lost in the experiencing.
Living life, alive.
I want this for anyone who might be led for me to be there to help out and guide them.
Contemporaries who nurture and live from this place include the teacher and author from my previous posting, "Summer, Tigers", as well as Anam Thubten, and Daniel Odier.
A truly sacred feminine teacher can be found in Mukti as well.
Please feel free to click on any of the names above to go to their websites.
With summer approaching soon, I feel an ability to be more at ease, natural and energized as a person this time of year. Obstacles, whether they be of people or situations, can be a challenge and a drain on energy during this otherwise rewarding time. Here are some words of wisdom which speak to my heart, which perhaps can be a source of inspiration for you to live your life past and around any "tigers" this coming summer.
From spiritual teacher Shambhavi Sarasvati:
"Resistance for me has most often meant going around rather than fighting the tigers head on.
I’ve tried not to struggle with other people’s fears, projections or demands that I take up a leading role in their karmic patterns. And I respect that people have the right to be however they are. I sometimes want to fight—to prove something or make people I’ve cared about understand me—but this rarely works. It most often gets me more entangled.
Going around and continuing on my way, or engaging in a softer mode, have worked better. These strategies have been my teachers. They have taught me a lot about aggression and have required developing some serious patience and fortitude. I’m definitely still working on it.
But I’ve learned, through sometimes painful trial and error, that the use of more forceful means is only rarely necessary. In fact, I’ve found that in simply continuing on my path and letting other people be, the intelligent and compassionate patterns of nature are revealed. Nature is generally playing a longer game than us impatient humans."
I am a woman, more than I am a man, in how I feel in gender. I feel called to help women on their journeys in life, being male-bodied, relating more to women. I feel the exquisite beauty and divinity of each woman's truth as I come to talk to and know each one.
I have always been on a spiritual journey, knowingly, more than most, and I have found that we all will break through gender definitions, that they don't matter, and the form coming closest to this on departure from gender is the female form of spirit.
In a loving way, this human way, this is the path.
I do not think the self-sacrificing male energies are the loving way to travel a spiritual path.
The sacred feminine means then, all the ways I have been touched by the spirit of my womanhood throughout my life, and perhaps even girlhood in my more playful moments.
I have gotten the greatest wisdom and inspiration and advice from fellow women, and that spirit of woman within me.
It may seem strange to me at times, and disconcerting, this disconnect from how my body is and what others might expect, but I cannot deny that I have a true female spirit, that I do not need to do anything, but just be me, and she comes out.
Thank God/dess! She comes out.
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
Sites of Interest