By Wendy Sarno, published in the Winter 2007 issue of woman’Spirit
The wonderful thing about the Labyrinth is the way the path meanders like a river following the mysterious patterns of Sacred Geometry. The path circles around the center and then turns back the way it came, then turns again. As we walk a Labyrinth with others sometimes the path swings us far apart to opposite sides, we seem to move in opposite directions, then side-by-side in parallel, then we are moved apart again. So it is in life. Our paths bring us together then send us apart. This year we have experienced this profoundly among the woman’Space Associates. First, Jeri Malone found her path leading her away from involvement as an Associate with woman’Space even as she will contiinue to serve in assisting us with our mailing lists.
This past summer Rose Dowling was elected President of her Community of Franciscan Sisters of Mary, a role that will demand a shift in her commitments in all areas of her life. Rose intends to remain fully involved with woman’Space even as she leads the FSMs into a new vision for their community.
Mary continues to deepen her work with Interplay and do the leadership training she has been involved with for the last few years. Marilyn continues to offer massage and Rosen Method treatments. I, Wendy, have been exploring the work of Soulcraft with Animas Valley Institute as this group weaves together wilderness experiences with depth psychology taking me to Tennessee and twice to the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. I continue to offer spiritual direction and to facilitate groups using writing as a vehicle for spiritual discovery.
One day this summer I found myself alone and lost in the rain in a clearing surrounded by the dense forest of Wyoming. Narrow wild animal trails led off in all directions and I had no sense of which one I needed to lead me home. Blindly I turned to retrace my steps thinking I was headed back the way I’d come. Suddenly I found myself not back but onward to my goal. The path had mysteriously found me and led me where I needed to be. And so the Labyrinth leads us together for a time, then apart again, all the while we move in our own sacred circuits toward the Divine Center that draws us to Itself. Trust the Path, the Labryinth seems to say to us. Trust the Path.
By Mary Jordan, published in the Fall 2005 issue of woman'Spirit
I am very drawn to the mysticism of Mechtild of Magdeburg, the 13th Century noble woman who grew up in Germany in privileged surroundings, and at age 23 joined an extraordinary group of women known as the Beguines. This was not a religious order but a lay movement of women from among the common folk , who cared for the sick and the poor. It is out of this experience that she writes:
For compassion comforts the sad
Heals the wounded
And gladdens the hearts
Of all who come to her.
Each of us who seeks compassion
And calls upon compassion resolutely
Conquers the sorrow and depression
That lie in our heart.
Even though Mechtild ministered to the sick and the needy amid the harsh realities of medieval poverty, there is nothing morbid or depressing about her spirituality. On the contrary, her writings are full of light, love and joy. In fact the title she gives her mystical work is: THE FLOWING LIGHT OF THE GODHEAD. Her description of the spiritual journey is not about climbing the spiritual ladder but rather it is a movement of sinking, circling and flowing.
Do you wish to know my meaning?
Then lie down in the Fire
See and taste the Flowing Godhead
Through your being.
Feel the Holy Spirit moving and compelling you
Within the flowing Fire and Light of God.
As someone who loves to dance, I am touched by the way she draws on her experience of dancing to reveal some dynamic and delightful images of her relationship with God.
I cannot dance, O Lord unless you lead me.
If you will , that I leap joyfully;
Then you must be the first to dance and to sing!
Then, only then will I leap for love.
Then will I soar from love to knowledge;
From knowledge to fruition;
From fruition to beyond all human sense
And there I will remain and circle for evermore.
When God leads, then and only then can she leap and soar and circle in that dance of love. This 13th Century woman even dares to describe God as her 'playmate'
"I, God am your playmate!
I will lead the child in you
In wonderful ways
For I have chosen you."