God is the madwoman in the attic.
I'm camped out on the threshold with my journal, camera, and plenty of snacks.

Monday, October 09, 2006

the Hypogeum

We gathered for the full moon on Friday (10/6) at D's house. She had just returned from Malta a few days before. She composed the ritual to give us an experience of entering the Hypogeum there. An ancient underground necropolis and the way she told it a temple of sorts to the earth mother goddess.

D led us in a meditation leading us down the steps into a warm underground room carved out of the rock. Then she played a cd, Returning, by Jennifer Berezan, that was recorded in part in the Hypogeum. It worked and it didn't for me. The breath sounds, toning, and rhythm were effective. The singing of words and especially in English were kind of distracting. (A recurring phrase "returning, returning, to the mother of all.) Then there was a "ding" a chime in the music and everything opened up inside of me.

The Madwoman, the metaphor and story through which I meet the Divine. Returning to the Madwoman, to the balancing of masculine and feminine, order and mystery. Returning to fear that is awe and desire to know, to be near to, to touch God, to be known by God, to perceive as much as and as close as I may, to be with and in what is true rather than or beyond what I have been told.

Returning to live in that metaphor, that story.

To return to that presence and primary awareness in my life. In prayer, in daily gratitude and need, in my first recourse and conversation. To return to my path, and perhaps that place where I can live, learn, synthesize, create with pagan and Christian.

The story so far has been a journey up to the attic. And it is a story about knowing the Madwoman via being denied her - by the men in the main room where they tell us what is, by the walls through which her roiling sounds permeate, by the door under which her light emanates. I know her at all, I desire her, I can know some part of her - as she is too awesome to be seen and known - by her concealment. The burning bush, the veil in the temple, a human form.

Return to dwell in the house
as she does, through the whole house
journey to the basement
what is in the walls
is she even in the main room? even in the men who preach?

My thesis is in the Madwoman's house. The emerging church is largely a men's or masculine phenomena. Socially and culturally aware they ask, "Where are the women?" And rather than call the women to join the men's conversation, I would follow the women.

The women are under the stairwell
they are in the basement
they are in the upper room
in the walls
resting in the threshold
digging in the garden

They are rooting their faith in the principles of Christ's teaching. They draw on the biographies, writings, and practice of premodern teachers - women who went before and claimed faith in Christ in times more explicitly oppressive to women than these. They hold fast to the teachings that are unique to evangelicalism - the power of prayer; the experience of scripture; revelation in the world in daily lives today; the dynamic and imprecise(ly interpreted or perceived) relationship of tradition, scripture, & nature mediated and mitigated by humans; the challenge of transforming culture, even in the church as so-called secular culture has influenced the church - shaping theology, influencing emphasis on the individual on reason on emotion in pendulum swings that continue reverberate, on rules for holiness or grace and acceptance.

the women are at the foot of the cross
they are outside the tomb
they are ready with myrrh
they are the first to see the resurrected Jesus

They are leaving the evangelical church, some, not all. They are delving into the old ways, into mystics, even into Catholicism with its tradition and its unity even in conflict, & its social action in the world, its long history of art, of struggle, & of ritual. They are forming small communities of friends, of survival. They create ritual together. They are wiccan and pagan for ritual, for ministering to each other, for community, for care of the natural world, for including their bodies and the feminine, for support and flexibility of protean identities.

Much of what I'm listing here is also noted in the emerging church. One element that seems largely absent is the feminine. Would women come back for an emerging community? Local, cultivating faith, together. Could it include the feminine, a dynamic equilibrium of male and female, and be Christian? And the other others?

for more information about the Hypogeum & from the perspective that D shared with us try this http://www.awakenedwoman.com/malta.htm and this http://www.indigoguide.com/malta/hypogeum.htm.

you can learn about Jennifer Berezan here http://www.edgeofwonder.com/ and hear samples of the cd we listened to here http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/2013051/a/Returning.htm

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