CONGREGATING, CONSECRATING, CELEBRATING, (AND MY BIRTHDAY)
We met in our living room at White Feather Ranch, bedecked with two grand vases of ruby red roses, a birthday gift from my three daughters. The comforting scent of beeswax candles wafted from the long festive table set for twenty two amazing women who came from far and wide for a three day retreat that included my birthday. Many had been here before. The vast majority are therapists or teachers who are raying their healing gifts out into this needing world in their professional lives, some close to retirement age, some mothers of young children, some standing like pillars in the midst of life stretching nurturing arms to aging elders and their growing children as well.
We ate the abundant goodness of food home cooked by Gina. She is one of a large, food loving Italian family and knows how to give healthy vibrant flavor to all her creations. She was aided by ‘crowd experienced’ mother, Cathy, who has adopted many foster children, in addition to her own.
We talked about it all, being a mother, the anguish of grief and loss, the privilege and responsibility of being a woman in America today, the challenge and great nurturing needed for a healthy Self and a healthy planet, imperatives especially in a female life now. We looked to my friend Anna who sent us pearls of wisdom via email from her woman’s life in Ghana where she cares for food resources there. We looked to ‘true’ patriotism of Granny “D” and the inspired leadership Peace Pilgrim and to Amma, the great saint in our time, hugging despairing millions to help heal the world.
We listened, we wept, laughed with abandon and circled up in group hugs. Through the life stories and current challenges that were shared, the mother wit and wisdom flowed, flowed into a community vessel of safety, confidence, respect and loving protection. And we sang, oh, how this group could sing! With sweet harmonies blended as though from a chorus that had long practiced together.
There were quiet and peaceful morning walks the natural pine and oak surroundings here at the ranch. In an evening of celebration, we lit candles in ceremony for loved ones across the threshold, the honored ancestors and inspirers of our lives. Relaxed faces shone and sighs of respite and contentment pooled and flowed as we washed and massaged one another’s feet, our precious feet that have carried us through every step on the path of our life destiny.
Then with guitar and flute roundly and sweetly played we danced. Oh, yes, we danced! Lifted by the power of our mutual women’s vibrant joy, I danced too, my aged knees made light and supple with celebration. Noting it was only fifteen minutes more till midnight I declared I thought I could dance in the 84th year. And so we did, twirling and whirling, arm in arm and then they put a necklace of white feathers around my neck! Celebration!
But most of all we took the creation of our common women’s striving lives and holding all in reverence, like each one holding an edge of a parachute filled with this offering, we lifted it up and up and up to Sophia, Maria, Guadalupe, The Black Madonna and all the great embracing Feminine compassionate vitality of the universe in a devoted prayer to hold us in Her starry embrace. Our joy, sorrow tears and striving offered up to the fountain of our highest giving, the Spiritual Sources of Universal Love and Wisdom. Our Congregation, Consecration, Celebration made full and whole and offered to the universe.
May healing stardust, healing sun warmth, gently fall and bless many with goodness and hope from this mutual creation of earnest caring souls! What a birthday gift for me and all that will be touched through these who shared this special time together.