The metaphor of dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants (Latin: nanos gigantum humeris insidentes) expresses the meaning of “discovering truth by building on previous discoveries”. While it can be traced to at least the 12th century, attributed to Bernard of Chartres, its most familiar expression in English is found in a 1676 letter of Isaac Newton:
In ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ Clarissa Pinkola Estes shares a numinous dream in which she finds ‘someone patting (her) foot in encouragement’. When she looked down she saw that she was “standing on the shoulders of an old woman who was steadying her ankles and smiling up” at her. In the dream Estes protested that it was her who should support the older woman on her shoulders but the old woman insisted that this was “how it is meant to be”. It turned out that the old woman was standing on the shoulders of an even older woman who was standing on the shoulders of… and so the line continued.
Modern story tellers are, as recent articles about the long history of Fairy Tales testify, “descendants of a very long line of people, troubadours, bards, griots, cantors, traveling poets, bums, hags and crazy people.”
Story is very old art. It is good to stop and do a stock take of just whose shoulders you are standing upon, to take the time to express gratitude to those who have, through their work, nurtured your creativity.
The priestess is the direct representative of the goddess on earth. She has direct responsibility for functions that ensure fertility and ongoing creation. Priestesses often were responsible for ensuring rain, for the goddess was the giver of dew and of rain. They often tended a sacred flame, the embodiment of the creative spark of life.
The High Priestess is the Great Goddess herself, a universal figure found in such diverse guises as Isis in Egypt, Kuan Yin throughout all of Asia, Athena in Greece, and Rhiannon among the Celts. This goddess is all-knowing and all-wise; she creates life out of herself and bestows lifegiving waters. At the proper time she takes life away so that the divine spark in each person may be freed to continue on its journey. The High Priestess is a reminder of the innate wisdom in each of us. She demands that we connect to the divine spark within and manifest it in the world.
For now it is enough to attend to the sacred flame that Baba Yaga gave me, to connect with the divine spark within.
This is a card I created some time ago for my SoulCollage deck. It is my Source card which is one of three transpersonal cards in the SoulCollage deck. The other 2 are known as the SoulEssence card and the Witness card. I have yet to create them, although I expect to do so in the coming days.
These 3 transpersonal cards all refer to the Source of All, or the Oneness, or Spirit. When doing a reading based on SoulCollage these transpersonal cards are always situated in the middle of the layout.
I am a very long way off from having a full deck, but some day I hope to have one.
This song came on my car radio this afternoon and the lyrics were like a light shining down on me.
I sang my heart out, alone in my car, but I don’t think I really was.
After the song ended, I knew everything is going to be alright….
All those years I wandered over our 25 acres in the Ozarks, I carried a medicine bag with me. It was more practical than esoteric. The outside material was made of bleached and faded out old denim, in a pattern of light and dark blues. It was about 10 inches square, with a flap of the same material secured by Velcro to keep out bugs and leaves that might otherwise fall into in. There was also a long strap made from the same material so it could be slung over one shoulder, thus allowing my arms free range to move bushes aside, or to pick some delectable wild green.
Within was a material divider: on one side were various sizes of plastic bags to use for placing various foraging items I would come across. On the other side were a small knife to cut off leaves or flowers suitable for eating and a small field identifier book for those items I found that I still did not know.
I would spend hours foraging through the woods and the meadow looking for tasty possibilities for supper salad: various greens, perhaps a mushroom or some wild persimmons, or violets growing by the stream for putting into cookies or scones. In the fall there were also plentiful persimmons, only to be collected after the first frost so they wouldn’t sour your mouth and before the turtles and other critters got to them, wild passion fruit and wild grapes. In the spring were new sprouts of poke, cardoon, dock, chickweed and dandelion greens, as well as mulberries and wild strawberries. And in the summer prickly pear cactus were to be found and the more mature greens like sorrel and even dandelion flowers and rosehips. Winter might find nuts or acorns for the deer but also great for making muffins or cakes after rinsing off all the tannin and then drying them out to make into flour.
Those were my practical years, when we were attempting to live off the land as much as possible and be self-sufficient. Hard years, but with many wonderful encounters with the natural wildness of the land and its inhabitants.
Now, my medicine bag would contain different items, many of which would be hidden from the physical eye. I use this medicine bag when I am with people who are sick or dying, sad or depressed. It is partially the aura or soul cape that has developed around me. Just the other day the hospice chaplain came in and asked if he could “set a spell” – he needed “some serenity.” I know from people’s reactions and comments there is something carried around that others find healing.
Another item in my medicine bag is a listening ear (which conjures up an interesting picture.) Most people do not have people in their lives to listen to them. If we all did, we would not need any psychiatrists. Listening is a gift I received from my mother that I can pass on to those who need someone to do nothing more than to let them know they are important enough to be listened to, who takes the time to listen. With everyone in a rush, no one wants to take the time to listen. And with everyone so into voicing their opinions as if it is “The Truth” – no one wants to listen, all want to talk. So a listening ear is a very important item.
Hands that comfort are another part of the healer’s medicine bag. Touch is so important for everyone, but permission does need to be asked for first. You can’t assume everyone will benefit from a hug since so many people have been abused in their lifetimes. Yet we all need touch, particularly when we are sick or dying. So many people back away at those times that a person can feel very isolated, maybe even shunned. A touch, a hug, a hand relaying concern, hands massaging another’s under the guise of putting lotion on dry hands and feet, a pat on the back, rubbing someone’s neck and shoulders – all are ways of using touch to communicate connection.
Also, vitally important is a compassionate heart: a heart that has known sadness and abuse, joy and love, frustrations and disappointments as well as fulfillment and success. A heart that appreciates the differences in people and yet connects to the similarities. A heart that finds patterns in life that transcend the individual manifestations of chaos. A heart open to give as well as receive, for one must renew oneself if one is to keep on giving. We can only give what we have: if we have money we can give money to others, if we have compassion we can give compassion, if we have time we can give time to others, if we have peace within we can give peace.
This medicine bag holds many other items that are available when needed. But one of the most important is intuition, of coming from the heart. We never know what may be pulled from us by someone’s need, but we should be open to the moment and trust in the process, and what might be contained in our subtle-medicine bag.
My soul cape…mmm…what would it be? Would it be heavy as earth with the accumulation of so many life memories or light as air with memories that lift me and inspire me? Perhaps flowing like water as one memory blends into another like a great majestic river? Or the bursting warmth of fire from the emotions that range over time? So many possible ways of looking at it.
And I realize that I don’t look as if I wear a soul cape at all, or any other kind of cape. I look like any other overweight middle-aged or crone woman with a variety of ailments: increasing knee problems, a quick-to-ache back whether from gardening or walking, a lack of energy to build houses or run with grandchildren, a person who would prefer to be at home reading or writing while looking out window at garden and tomatoes growing as clouds drift by. A quick glance will not reveal anything of interest to anyone passing by. A longer observation, particularly at a hospice talk or training or an engaging in-depth conversation, will reveal an intense passion for and about hospice and any of its related topics including its benefits, philosophy and services, as well as passion in processing one’s growth and spiritual transformation, and of delighting in the differences as we all travel, together yet apart.
Then I realize that I carry my soul cape around with me at all times, aware of it even as I am aware of the soul capes of others. It is my aura and the auras of others that shows how much of us is heavy and dragged down, or is flowing smoothly, vibrant and alive, free floating, ascending and transforming. Our auras tell the real story of who we are and where we are. Our actions, thoughts, and emotions change the story our auras tell, from moment to moment. Each action, thought and emotion is the down-payment for our overall soul cape. Things happen to us, but our attitude about those things creates our soul cape. On-going and ever-changing but overall – beautiful – each and every one!
What soul cape are we creating today?
Cosmic Energy, Creative Fertility Forces
by Heather Blakey August 2009
After reading The Faithful Gardener I have been left pondering upon the creative energy forces that are at work in the vast universe that surrounds us, of which we are a cog in the wheel of life. Life is given, life is taken, the cycle continues as it has continued for billions of years. In uncertain times change is the only certainty. Be it Viriditas, Duende, Tao, Qi, there is a cosmic force that is available which drives creativity. For some, it is the Red Serpent. For others it is something else.