by Lynn Creighton
I’m not sure what the ultimate truth is. New truths continue to reveal themselves. It seems to me that this is the process of living life into understanding. Recently, facing the South in my morning ritual, I experienced a new level of understanding about the truth of TRUST.
Most of my life, TRUST has meant being able to “trust’ another. This trust was very unsafe and caused terrible emotional turmoil when the truth of that trust became known. I am thinking here of parental and filial love; I’m thinking of marriage and other close and intimate relationships; I’m thinking of jealous graduate advisors and other women who have not set themselves firmly enough on their own paths to know where they are or trust where they are going. Pursuing this form of trust has kept me in a state of perplexed distraction, my energy continually directed toward forces outside of me which absorbed my v vitality force without furthering my evolution toward wholeness at all.
As I have evolved, gradually letting go of old constraints, I’ve agreed to allow more and more of myself to emerge. TRUST has became “trusting myself.” I am in the process of trusting what I see, what I know, what I feel, how I am, what is here now, what will come next, who the players are, why Life has become a process of discovering form (you may guess here that I am a sculptor) through which we search for the most beautiful aspects and the way that they are joined together to make a whole that is transformed into the perfection that was there always.
In the High Sierras at my favorite tree my truth regarding TRUST recently became clearer. I glimpsed in myself a trust that there is a divine wisdom of which I am part gradually making itself known to me. Here is a trust that is both inside and outside of me. I experienced a great relief. This trust makes it possible to be in life without struggle, without aspiration, without failure, without jealousy and envy, without guilt, without blame and resentment, without comparison, without expectation. What is, is. It is not I who am , but IT, the Great Mystery which enacts itself through me. Many sages have expressed this idea in profoundly beautiful ways. Here, I am trying to say that I had a clear understanding of this reality and it felt like a new level of TRUST.
I am an artist who decided early in my career to attempt to become informed so that my work would have something to say. It is through the gathering of insights, first as an apprentice to a Native American Twisted Hair teacher , and then as a Ceremonial leader myself that I have come to TRUST the work I now do under the title “Reclaiming the Sacred Source.” I am exploring in form women’s ecstatic nature and their right to fully own and experience it. I want to share with you the journey toward the possibility of trusting the emergence of these forms as I learned to TRUST the energy of the divine that expresses itself through me.
It has been during journeys to sacred places that I have made the highest leaps toward understanding myself in the process of life. Away from my familiar environment, I expected the unexpected. I learned that there was an immense reality outside the safe and comfortable sphere I had occupied for forty years. I learned how important it was to extend myself, to take the risk of visiting the unknown. I learned that, if I was willing to face my fear, to follow the impulse and begin exploring a broader spectrum, I became available to more of the gifts of the Great Spirit.
Two or three years after I wrestled myself free of the protective constraints of marriage I took a brave step into a Medicine Journey to Palenque in the Yucatan of Mexico. We stopped on the way at Villahermosa where the Olmec’s are honored in an archeological park called “La Venta”. Huge heads of volcanic rock representing these earliest known inhabitants of the Americas. There is a man in the poise of prayer with his head held parallel to the heavens; and there is a shaman seated at the opening of a cave which is encircled by the knotted rope which records all that has occurred. At La Venta I looked for the first time into the green pools of infinite knowledge that are the eyes of a living black panther who paced her enclosure. The most salient event at La Venta was the invitation by a living crocodile who lay across the her mound of earth separated from me by a moat and a fence to go beyond the veil into the hidden and mysterious realms. She sat with her jaws separated exposing the barrier to her inner realm at the back of her throat inviting me to go past the limits of visual perception into the unknown. I stayed with her an hour or so. She never moved, nor did I. She was my mother and she was calling to me to go within. Finally, she winked one eye and the “spell” was broken. I don’t know now what caused me to stop long enough to notice this communication or to trust it. I do know that it was the beginning of my awakening which has been a journey into trusting the wisdom and leadership of the Great Spirit.
A few days later, I was in Palenque (an ancient temple of the Mayan thought to have been a center for spiritual education and training) going through that barrier that the crocodile mother had beckoned me toward. It was a trap-door opening at the top of the Temple of Inscriptions which gave access to a staircase leading into the center of the Temple. Descending the steps, the segmented arches overhead became the vertebrae of the crocodile. I was moving in the inner-realm she had enticed me to enter. The gate at the bottom of the stairs and the sarcophagus beyond it were guarding the entrance to an inverted pyramid which mirrored the Temple itself. As I stood there recognizing that I was positioned at the juncture between the upper and lower worlds, I heard a rumbling sound coming up from deep in the earth. The vibration of that sound shook the gate and it shook me. The crocodile had brought pre-knowledge of this event so that I would be awake and aware in the Temple and I heard the Mother calling me. She was calling me to a special mission having to do with the awakening of intrinsic feminine energy, not of women taking the roles of men to find their power, but of women returning to an understanding and knowledge and practice of the creative force that they are. The journey of my life was given a new focus and direction.
It is much easier to see the track I have been on from where I am now then to see it from any of the stops along the way. Each stop has contributed a gem of knowledge and guidance toward awareness.
The third significant event of that journey to Palenque occurred on the unexcevated pyramid on which the small Temple to the Corn Goddess is perched. I climbed to the top through tangles of ancient roots. Where the flat building rocks of the Temple’s summit were evident, I put my pipe together. The pipe ceremony spoke. I heard that this was a Temple to feminine energy and that the Goddess who slumbered there was waiting for women to awaken. Coming out of complete absorption with children and growth as an artist, I had not identified with feminism. Now, I was being called to pay attention to the condition of women and how they use their energy.
These events were unfamiliar and not predicted by my previous experiences. I did not know exactly what they portend for me in the actions of my life every day. I had asked to be informed in order to empower my work as a sculptor. Now, I see that I was being empowered. Events were shaping me into the person I am meant to be and I was gradually recognizing the forms I am to create.
To Agua Azul
A few years later during another trip to Mexico, I found myself at the turquoise waters of Agua Azul. This is where the child in me learned to play. Floating with the billowing batiste of my wrap surrounding me, I slid head-first down the curved white scalloped shelves over which the water rolled, from one to the next until I could go not farther, then, back to the top. On one cycle, near the top, I discovered a fallen tree which served as a bridge to the middle of the river. Nestling in the root encircled by wildflowers in several colors, I turned and faced up-river seeing for the first time two glassy-blue sheets of falling water where two rivers came together to form the broader, turquoise plain I had been playing in. As I stood to honor the convergence, a song came. I sang to the waterfalls, to myself, to the gathering storm clouds in a strong and vibrant voice that I did not recognize as my own voice. I sang a song I had not heard for thirty years and had never really known: “Bali High”. Ten years later, when I finally followed the impulse to journey to Bali, I learned why that song had sung me at Aqua Azul.
I am not going to tell you here the story of the re-birth I experienced at the birthplace of the People in Havasupi Canyon; nor the powerful connection to Earth magic that Inca’a marked with the erection of Machu Piccu ; nor Avebury, nor Glastonbury, nor Malta. Each of us has our own itinerary required to fully expose our intrinsic nature. I do want to tell you about the journeys to Greece and to Bali because both were demanded from somewhere deep inside of me. They were insistent calls.
I was called to Greece by discontent. The Euripides play I saw gave Dionysus the role of activating the energies of the Furies. I was suspicious. What need would the Furies have to be activated. Surly they have sufficient energy of their own. As I thought more deeply about the birth-place of Western civilization, I saw Zeus also as a usurper. What gave the most powerful symbol of male energy the right to rape the women? Why were the women of Athens slaves? Why were the female infants thrown on the garbage heap? What happened to the Goddess worshipers? Why has so little been said of those cultures? In Greece, I searched for indications of the Goddess energy that had lived there before the arrival of Zeus and his pantheon. I found the pediment of the Parthenon depicting the killing of the snake, the original source of feminine power emerging from the earth. The Classical Greeks celebrated the demise of feminine energy on one of their most prominent monuments. I found a Neolithic temple to Hera on the monument island of Delos. I found the cave on Crete where Zeus is said to have been born and learned that pre-dating the birth of Zeus, Hera had been born in the same place. I found the classical Greek sculptures built either to beseech the gods for information on how to wage winning wars or as payment for information that had led to victory.
At Eleusis, near Athens, I felt the celebration of the Goddess. I believe that in the ancient tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which lasted past the birth of Christ, worship of the Goddess through sexual rites was secretly kept alive. In Goddess worshipping cultures, sexual activity in the temples had been a means of celebrating the divine in each person and bring forth the creative force which would make both the women and the fields fertile. My attention was drawn to the parallels among the decline of women’s availability to their own sexual nature, the advent and continued cultural bias and reward to the accomplishments of men, and the ugly blemish in our ways of incest, rape, sexual-harassment, and molestation. I saw that since orgasm as a means of approaching divine energy in ourselves was contemned and made evil, women have lost access to the core of who they are and what their life-force energy is meant to do. I saw that imbalance in sexual activity and the disruption it causes in the use of life-force energy is meant to call our attention to sexuality as a sacred gift not to be squandered in mediocre or perverse episodes. Trusting what I saw, a new paradigm opened before me, a new certainty to my life as I focused my attention on the re-awakening of women through ownership of the sacredness of their own sexuality.
Bali called to me for many years before I finally gave myself permission to go. I was tugged by the allure in the Balinese myth of people living in the balance of their creative, spiritual, and sensual beings. The actual story unfolded in spite of the near death of the myth under the assault of tourism which transforms everything it touches into commerce. The journey had a lesson I had not anticipated.
I was directed to go by cab to Ubud in order avoid being swallowed by sprawling capitol of Denpasar. This was my first visit to the South Pacific and the surroundings seemed strange and aggressively active. Also, I was fatigued from two days of travel. So, when I recognized the name of the Hotel Tjampuhan the cab dropped me near, I took a room. As I gradually awakened to the situation, I learned that tjampuhan means two rivers and that somewhere nearby two rivers joined. It had been ten years since my journey to Agua Azul and the paradox did not reveal itself until the day of the Winter Solstice. My decision to finally satisfy my desire to go to Bali was partially stimulated by the need to heal from a relationship in which I had once again given away too much without knowing that I was lapsing once again into the belief pattern requiring me to give(up) in order to get. For the first time in four years, I was celebrating the Winter Solstice alone. On that day , I discovered the place where the two rivers joined. As I approached the place of convergence, “Bali High” sung me once again. At that moment I was aware that ten years earlier I had been called to Bali by that song. Why? The pipe and tarot reading that were my celebration provided the answer. I was ready to heal and balance the masculine and feminine aspects of my own being. Kneeling between the merging waters, I threw a bright red hibiscus into each stream. As they joined in front of me, a new song emerged: “Morning has Broken” now guides my journey and I trust that I am being guided
I believe we don’t know where we are going. The destination and the stops along the way are beyond our ability to apprehend. Getting into the trust that we are being guided allows us to relax and enjoy the journey. This is what the Great Spirit intends: that life for each one of us will be a journey of discovery that celebrates the gift of life itself, not stressing or pushing but opening to all that is possible.