The Heart of the Black Madonna

Monday, August 31, 2015

True Freedom

The Black Madonna of Orleans, France


May You Live in Interesting Times


So many times, I have heard and read this quote which I am told is an ancient Chinese blessing. According to this saying, in our current age we are obviously quite blessed. I for one would like to stop the "flow" for a few months, have some other sort of blessing so I can catch my breath. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the seasons are directly correlated with health and disease. In the Northern Hemisphere, we are in "late summer" or in what might me understood as the season bridging into the change of autumn. It is a heavy, dull season, one where the fruits and grains are finishing their last days of ripening before giving up their creations for all to enjoy. Where I live now, the harvest is imminent for the grapes, the days getting shorter but not at all cooler, and the air is still, moist and poised with anticipation.

In August, the news cycles are often a bit open. Congress is not in session, school is still out, many are trying to fit in the last bits of Summer vacation and people are preparing for the new year so to speak. We are told that the spirits which inhabit nature and the Earth have been traveling in the heavens, basking in the glow of the Angelic world as the planet "out breaths" in the Northern Hemisphere. Soon, as this hemisphere starts the "in breathing" process, the spirits will bring back with them their beautiful imaginations of the starry world to our soils, where we will dream with them during the Winter months. 

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In the waning days of Summer, 2015, we as a human culture are also reflecting back on a series of cycles in history; of the beginning of World War I, the end of World War II, the end of the American Civil War, and most recently the decade following the destruction of New Orleans in Louisiana.

I was reading an interesting blog on the On Being website this morning. I have listened to this podcast for years and appreciate the ecumenical, scientific and pop culture approach to life's great mysteries. The post was on forgiveness.

When I was in Naturopathic School, my counselling and psychology class was taught by a wonderful psychologist from Louisiana. Dr. Pat as we shall call her, taught us that all psychological issues stem from grief, and if a practitioner wanted any sort of progress for their client, dealing with grief was the first step in treatment. Grief, she taught us, could be over anything, death of a loved one, loss of health, loss of job or relationship. Processing the grief through letting go of the sorrow so the emotion was not so debilitating was the goal of therapy. It struck me then, how interesting it was that many of the Psalms and even an entire book of the Old Testament (Lamentations) were dedicated to grief.

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As I matured in my profession and faith journey, I started to realize that forgiveness was an integral aspect of grieving. Sergi Prokofieff in his book The Occult Significance of Forgiveness states that selective forgetting is an aspect of forgiveness. In my own life, I have had a decade long separation from a beloved sibling, with whom I used to be best friends. Over time he found me tedious and embarrassing, and wished no longer to be associated with me in any way. I endlessly mulled over the string of insults, outright rejections and harms he perpetrated towards me, in my own mind as well to my suffering friends. One older and wiser friend responded to me after my well rehearsed litany of infractions, "you really love your story don't you!" Taken aback, I replied that I hated my story. She then challenged me to not let my story define me, to change my story, to create my own identity so I can identify not as a victim, but as someone who thrives. 

I later, much later, realized that the key to this new story was forgiveness so that I could be free from the chains of the past, a past I could not ever change since time travel is limited to fiction. I could however, change my present and my future.

The blog post on the On Being Website was about a woman author forgiving a life long friend. This friend sent a blame filled cruel letter to the author after the latter's adult daughter committed suicide. For obvious reasons, the author chose not to associate with the "friend." A decade later, the "friend" sent another letter apologizing for the cruelty, said she missed their lifelong friendship and had loved the daughter as well. The author sent back a well meaning response that all was forgiven, and that she wished her friend well. While not choosing to reconcile, she did release the anger and sadness over the cruel insult during such a fragile time. The post went on to discuss the freedom that forgiveness brings, of severing ties and energy to the past so the present could be fully lived and the future forged in wholeness and hope.

I always enjoy the comments section to any article as much as the post. One in particular prompted me to respond. A quote was posted from an Israeli newspaper, with the preface of "a different look at forgiveness." The quote stated that certain actions not only do not require forgiveness, but that forgiveness was "not allowed." After a deep gasp, I immediately typed in the response box, "can you imagine the state of affairs in the Holy Land if all sides forgave?" Obviously it would be bad for the armaments industry on the whole.

Panagia Prousiotissa


The entire news cycle, political punditry and international diplomacy would be quite different indeed if people would simply forgive. Yes, forgiveness is never simple, but what would the opinion pages be filled with if people forgave gaffes and mis-speaks? In our own families and neighborhoods, what would it be like if forgiveness was the natural outcome of conflicts instead of endless lists and agendas?

During a particularly horrific and completely unjust aftermath of an action against my family resulting in loss of everything including family cohesion, I went to my priest because of the stone in my heart.  I said I wanted to be free from this person and her family who cause so much damage. I was angry at how they all thrive whilst they steal and harm, the hatred I felt was almost arousing. My priest said, "You can be free of them, never ever having to encounter them again, forgive them." I jested during a sacramental consultation; "Can I forgive her after I kill her?" The priest who knows me, laughed a quick "No!" "Does wishing her a peaceful death count?" "Not really." I sighed, was it a greater sin to lie or honestly want someone dead? 

We humans are always trying to get our way, even when the consequences are quite well known. Our situation is different, we think, afterwards it will all be better and we can go on. 

The consequences of true deep forgiveness, of letting go, of selective forgetting of infractions can be the most liberating of all experiences, one can almost be grateful for the situation. I for one, would like to not have such wisdom, but I have experienced the freedom that comes from letting go. It is almost like breathing laughing gas, the levity is amazing.

In this age of consciousness soul, we must do most of our spiritual work and maturation on our own. We have assistance when needed, but the deep hard work, we must do ourselves. Prokofieff says that the Angelic world has to work very hard to create opportunities for forgiveness, so that our slates can be clean so to speak. If we would forgive one another, like it says in the Lords Prayer, the Angelic world as well as humanity would have more time and energy to do the creative work of living and birthing the Christ within. We could actually evolve instead of repeating over and over the mistakes of the past. If we get bogged down on plotting revenge or listing endless infractions and wounds, blaming such things for our lack of "fill in the blank" we can not get on with the business of true freedom and life.

It is my belief that the Black Madonnas came when they did and are depicted as they are, to aid humanity in the preparation and execution of the Age of Consciousness Soul. I discuss this more fully in the soon, yes friends, September 2015, to be released book.  Each age has a soul lesson that humanity must master in order to progress. Our age demands that we be awake, be fully consciousness so that we can choose morality in full freedom. 

To be bogged down, sometimes in centuries old anger and hurt, distracts from the realities of our day. Our age demands full creativity, full attention, full freedom. We can only be free, truly free, if we let go of the old, realize we are capable of the most heinous acts ourselves and that other's weaknesses are simply that, weaknesses. When this is realized, we can start the journey towards wholeness. In essence, forgiveness allows for the most interesting of times, because the creativity that follows produces more harmony and prosperity than one can imagine. When we forgive, we do not have to live in the endless "groundhog day" scenario that the film portrays, living the same thing over and over and over until the lessons are learned. It is towards this freedom that I strive, for I am tired of the same old cycle, and wish to have a new story where I am thriving.

It is not an easy path, but the fruits of such actions are more delicious than any late summer bounty, and much more lasting, and in reality, really much more interesting.

Blessings of true freedom on your journey!

Late Summer Night Sky, Time Lapse showing a Star Spiral