It is the first day of the Autumn Triduum, October 31st, All Saints' Eve or Halloween. As we join with one another in vigil across this passage way from death to life, it is important to recognize the main overarching theme of this type of passage which is, in the words of Cynthia Bourgeault, to taste that in ourselves which already lies beyond death in order that we might begin to live from that place now. Other mystics seems to speak of this place, Merton talked of it as a little kernel of gold which God is protecting, Richard Rohr as an immortal diamond, and perhaps this is what Saint Catherine of Genoa is referring to when she ran through the streets saying, "my deepest me is God."
This overarching theme is made all the more real as we work with our invitation for today: making space to acknowledge the unintegrated shadow parts of our self (both unpleasant and pleasant) and masks we have constructed for protection, allowing these parts to be seen and acknowledged by the deepest Self within. In order to do this, we must know there is something that can make space, acknowledge and allow these parts without being overcome by them. We must be sure to lean into God and remain connected to the “little kernel of gold which is the essence of you” and “will not be destroyed.”
If you are new to this practice, a breath prayer is simply a prayer that you pair with your natural breathing and is something you can do all day. It is meant to give your mind something to focus on, a feeling in connection to the words to arise, and a cellular knowing to take place in your body the more you breath it. Try these words, or make them your own by changing them to fit for you. If you change it, you will want to keep the prayer to around seven syllables so that it can easily pair with your breath.
Today try breathing in, saying inwardly “my deepest me” and breathing out, saying inwardly “is God.”
Read these several times paying attention to what draws you deeper into the invitation for today.
The Fire Of The Magdalene by Alfred K Lamotte
In the gaze of Mary Magdalene there is a certain severity, the searing power of her shakti, which we too often try to soften into a comforter. Yet there is naught so soft, so comforting, as the no-thingness that burns away all that we are not.
What is Mary Magdalene's mission? Is she just another archetype of "the divine feminine?" Are we called to abstract her, with all the other Gods and Goddesses, into the faceless hegemony of the One? Or does she, in Shakespeare's words, "give to airy nothing a local habitation, and a name"? Her feral astonishing bittersweet gaze, calling us toward some task quite unheard-of and outrageous?
Her darshan is a droplet of terrible fire that consumes us, burns us down and burns us up, in such accurate alchemy that our dross turns to gold, all that is not ourselves annihilated. No thing remains but the christ-all hologram of our uniqueness, irradiating every particle of the cosmos with the intimacy of our peculiar heart.
The eyes of the Magdalene behold us, and we are held. We are held in the most severe and lethal demand: the demand of bhakti. Her gaze is not the fire of anger or judgment, but passionate devotion.
Mary is devotion. That is what bhakti means. But devotion to what task? To loving Jesus? Attaining Gnosis? Embodying Sophia? Dear friend, she burns with an even deeper, purer bhakti: devotion to becoming herself.
When the drop merges with the ocean, it is our spiritual work. When the ocean merges with the drop, it is our spiritual play, our lila, our anointing.
Mary's olive-eyed glance pierces the heart, calling us to the work and play of the great transformation. She points to our becoming and whispers, "Be yourself!" She who refuses to be an archetype or a symbol, refuses to signify any truth other than her own jagged broken perfect wholeness, calls us to the ineluctable suchness of Personhood.
A Blessing for the Inward Way by Tracy Shaw
May you learn to dwell
Below the surface of the days
At home with the ebb and flow of
Your own heart’s tides.
May you find the womb space at the center of your Life,
There grow wise in the sacred rhythm
Of filling and emptying,
Emptying and filling.
There, held safe,
May you surrender to the unknown
As completely as the dark moon
Empties herself into the secret embrace of her Beloved, the Sun.
There may you cherish hope of renewal
As tenderly as the crescent moon
Cradles the dark in the curve of her arm,
Enfolding, quickening with life new born.
And may you always open to the flow of love
As voluptuously as the moon at full,
Until filled, overflowing, you pour
Love’s gifts out into the world.
So may you grow ever more intimate
With the inward way, the deepening way,
Where filling is emptying, emptying is filling ~
At one with the mystery, at one.
Questions for Pondering
This Halloween, what are the shadow or masked parts within you that are dressed up and ready to go out and about, perhaps waiting to be invited by your deeper Self to receive presence, kindness, being heard or to be simply witnessed or to be fiercely and lovingly told to scurry off as they are no longer needed? How might what you are seeing within your own self shed light on collective shadow parts? What may be needed in regard to the collective shadow parts?
May our collective presence in this way be salve for the world in some unseen and unknown way.
A blessed triduum passageway to you,