The Secret Keeper

After the Fool studies under the tutelage of the magician or medium, they begin an apprenticeship in lore and knowledge and wisdom with the High Priestess. I’m trying to unthread some of these roles from the gender binary, so for now, I am calling this person the Secret Keeper. On any spiritual path, there are stages and steps in the journey toward wisdom and maturity, and the Secret Keeper represents that careful opening up of understanding as the Fool absorbs new things.

Why might it be important for the Fool to absorb knowledge and teaching slowly and carefully rather than dashing immediately into the inner sanctum? I think of the people I watch on the national scene, celebrity preachers who, heady with the sense of power they feel with their shallow understandings of biblical “truths,” begin to preach a gospel of prosperity or nationalism, people who develop immature and twisted ideas of purity based on rule-based dogma, and then try to pass off pat and glib salesmanship as faith. A surface glance at a holy text or a shallow absorption of a spiritual principle will not help the Fool to deepen and grow, and in order to face the coming challenges, the Fool needs to go deep.

To use the churchy word, the Fool needs discipleship, the careful study and application of spiritual disciplines, in order to be grounded in the power learned at the Medium’s knee, and the knowledge offered by the Secret Keeper.

What are your spiritual disciplines? Here are some of mine:
1. I love the Search for Beauty, or as Mary Oliver puts it: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
2. I find Gratitude Lists to be really helpful, especially when I find myself cycling into complaining and despair.
3. Writing poetry. Writing in general.
4. Trying to envision everyone as a beloved child of Godde or the Universe. I don’t do this lightly, and I would never require it of anyone else. In situations where I am trying to understand someone who hurts other people, I try to meditate on the fact that they, too, are beloved. It’s not about forgiveness or about tolerating injustice or evil, just about not losing sight of the other’s essential humanity.
5. Meditation with images, like a piece of art or a photograph or a tarot card.


Gratitude List:
1. Blue grosbeak
2. Cardinal
3. Goldfinch
4. The green flowery smell of mid-May
5. Always something new to learn.
May we walk in Beauty!


“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.” —Terry Pratchett


“Oh, God, make me a hollow reed, from which the pith of self hath been blown so that I may become as a clear channel through which Thy Love may flow to others. I have left behind me impatience and discontent. I will chafe no more at my lot. I commit myself wholly into thy hands, for thou are my Guide in the desert, the Teacher of my ignorance, the Physician of my sickness.” —attributed to Abdu’l-Bahá


“Truth is an agile cat. It has more than nine lives.” —Joy Harjo


Silence
by Hafiz

A day of Silence
can be a pilgrimage in itself.
A day of Silence
can help you listen
to the Soul play
in marvelous lute and drum.
Is not most talking
a crazed defense of a crumbling fort?
I thought we came her
to surrender in Silence,
to yield to Light and Happiness,
to Dance within
in celebration of Love’s Victory!

Parenting as a Spiritual Path

meow
I caught him in the middle of conversation. He always has quite a lot to say.

Remember that boy that I brought to tears the other day because of the homework? Last night he finished the project, and got most of the daily homework done, too. Trust the child to find his way, Mama.

It’s just that he reminds me so much of myself, I think. I have always struggled with deadlines, and the stress of the last minute. Still, it is partly the looming deadline itself that brings the fire of inspiration for me–why should it be different for him?

Parenting is a spiritual path, isn’t it? It requires self-awareness in spades.  Self-control. Patience. It brings deep love and gratitude at every step. I keep feeling like I am getting it wrong, begin to feel that shame of inadequacy (and what shame is worse than the shame of letting another human down?), and then suddenly grace appears, and mercy, and whole new rooms open up.

Gratitude List:
1. Pawpaws
2. Getting the work done
3. Last night was Back-to-School Night at school, where the parents walk through their students’ schedules. I think it was just too hot for lots of people, but I did get to have some wonderful conversations with many parents. I love to talk to the parents about their students.
4. The sunrises have been so beautiful. Magenta and violet, gentle and heart-opening.
5. Friday.

May we walk in Beauty!