A continuation of my exploration of the past six months.The goddess who consumes all exhausts herself I myself have witnessed the esoteric language of one under the influence of the goddess This state is profound The release intense
— Taupouri Tangoro Lele Kawa: Fire rituals of Pele
The smoke and steam of Kilauea rise from a crater held within a vast caldera many miles across. You can approach the rim of this caldera in various places and see the crater containing lava a few hundred yards away. At night, the steam and smoke glows from the fire within. When we hosted out gathering in Hawai’i we did it with the goddess 300 yards away. The power and origin of the impulse of creation lay beside us, washing us in steam, rain and sun.
For me Kilauea was one of the most divinely feminine places I have ever been. The container within the container, that which holds the primal origins of earth itself, a vessel for the creation of everything. It is difficult, or maybe impossible, for me to speak of insights that arose from being there. Instead what I experienced was a jolt, a crack in my consciousness that led to tremendous grief, perhaps a mourning of the missed chances I have had in my life to balance feminine and masculine, perhaps a keen awareness of the cost of not being able to do so. Something intuitive and emotional; the only way to write it would be to employ the esoteric language of the spirit, disjointed images.
Music always travels with me. Snippets of song, melody, poetry and words crowd my head and heart, and flow freely when I am moved, when there is an opening to the outside world. I daresay if you followed my internal soundtrack and charted the songs I sing at certain times and place, you could chart the liturgy of my life. On the volcano that morning, my mind was filled at times with the line from U2’s With or Without You: “And you give yourself away, and you give, and you give, and you give yourself away.” The goddess consumes herself, gives herself away to the flow of life itself. Forms and reforms the container to hold life itself. The sacrifice, the most sacred gift, is to give oneself away. Totally. For me, the moment on the crater when I cracked open felt like a flow was moving through me. When I told my colleague that “defense” had left me, I was saying that the shell that I used to guard myself from the flow of life moving through me was gone. There was no way to defend my tender and open heart, to stop it from breaking, from the heart emerging. To this day, six months later, it feels bruised somehow, as if the forceful cracking through of all I had been holding back had torn and ripped its way to freedom. Belvie at one point took me aside and said “thank you for facilitating us.” She had seen what was coming through me as bigger than myself.
My shadow is narcissism. A self centered reflection, on who I am, who I want to be, how I want you to see me, how I want to be loved and appreciated. This narcissism comes through in my writing, my speech, my embodied actions. It is most alive when I teach. I struggle at times with the sound of my own voice. But on the edge of the volcano I learned that to be full of oneself is not to be full at all. That is an easy kind of fullness, one which fits with the smallest possible container. I can create a container that can hold myself and be small. On the edge of Kilauea, I discovered that this container is so small and weak, that it crumbles the minute it grows to hold other than me. It shatters. It is arrogant to stand beside Kilauea and believe that you can hold big things. The volcano herself trembles and roars and renews herself every day, for the work of TRULY HOLDING is dynamic, difficult, and requires us to die in every moment. Any rigidity in the container causes it to be brittle.
My out of whack masculine impulse strengthens the container, believes the hubris of the story that it is my job to do the holding. When I was filled with the power of what was passing through me, that impulse died. I felt truly in that moment the integration of masculine and feminine: that one co-creates the other. There is no container without fire and no fire without the container.
For six months, I have run into myself. I am at sea in this respect. I am a poor student of the feminine, of the integration between the masculine and the feminine. I have been taught a lesson and I have spent six months trying to understand it, trying to see the way it shows up in daily life, in my work, in my family, with my friends and colleagues. I have met or re-met women like Luana, Ria, Ginny, Mary, Christina, Teresa and my dearly beloved Caitlin who are causing me to re-think and re-feel this edge.
But I am a baby. I sit silently in the forest watching small patterns, seeing the way douglas-fir trunks mimic my life’s journey, watching ravens sing to their futures and their pasts, studying the flow of water around the moss beds and over rocks, listening to the sea washing the island I live upon. I know nothing of this new world. It is a monumental shift to the way I am seeing things, and it has tipped me off my keel. I feel like I am in some form of limbo, like in Hexagram 12 (Pi – Obstruction) of the I Ching, where heaven and earth are moving apart from each other. The masculine and feminine are separated in my mind and my heart seeks their reintegration, hexagram 11 (Tai – Peace). What lies in the way of these two finding one another is my self.
The transformation that happened at Beyond Sustainability was one of seeing anew, and is one that requires much time to properly understand, integrate and embody. My hope for this lifetime is that it will happen. My modality right now is resting in it, letting the feminine teach me in the rare moments when I can be open to her.
I build fires, sit in the woods and hum.
Long, long have I tarried with love In the uplands of KoholÃ¡-lele, The wildwood above Ka-papala. To enter, permit me to enter, I pray; Refuse me not recognition; I am he, A traveler offering mead of praise, Just a voice, Only a human voice. Oh, what I suffer out here, Rain, storm, cold, and wet. O sweetheart of mine, Let me come in to you.