The Transit of Venus is a Heavenly Menage a trois
The most important communal shamanic act an Integrative Medicine Practitioner may perform is as a Celebrant of ceremony, ritual, rites of passage and lifestage transition/changes. As a compassionate representative of the community, this act is a most meaningful Conduction of the energies, yearnings, seasonal- and life-passages of one's extended family and spiritual group.
Because many of us have been raised in formal religious tradtions we have a number of fears and pre-conceived notions about celebrating ritual as the officiant or guide. We have been lead to believe, whether through general societal propaganda or specific traditions, that there is only one "right" way to lead ceremony, and that all others are wrong, and somehow "dangerous." We have been made to feel that only the ordained practitioners of particular rites of passage and ritual can be allowed to lead the ceremonies and celebrations of our lives. These practitioners have various titles in a religious context, and many are dedicated and devoted bearers of their chosen traditions. However, through centuries of patriarchal and cultural programming we have accepted
that only a rarified and very limited priesthood may practice these important communal rituals.
Since the first moment woman and man felt the upwelling of profound emotions--awe, gratitude, sorrow, anticipation, hope, fear--the urge to celebrate and Make Sacred has been a part of all human life-events. It is very probable that our most ancient forbearers practiced numerous kinds of rituals throughout each day, and every individual both lead, and followed shared ritual with the other tribe members. Mircae Eliade, in his seminal book THE SACRED AND THE PROFANE speaks directly to the importance of immediate and situationally-created ritual. He distinguishes between "the immediate apprehension of the mystery"--or what I call SPIRITUAL IMPROVISATION--and the repetition of ritual drawn from an event 100's, even 1,000's of years in the distant past. He speaks of the disparity between being in the moment of the "apprehension or discovery of the mystery" in all its magnificient and awe-inspiring immediacy, and the loss of this direct ecstatic experience in standardized, conventional rituals.
In these standardized religious ceremonies we may experience a personal or communal epiphany or insight which connects us with the Sacred Other. However, to be separated from the original source of the ceremony by time, physical distance and possible loss of meaning, and to feel that one is "not allowed" to guide one's self, or one's identified spiritual community in celebration, can limit the fullness and potency of many sacred experiences.
Psychology and anthropology speak of the "religious function" which resides in every individual. Here, the word "religion" can be defined in its original Greek meaning: "To re-link, forge anew or connect." This does not refer only to organized religions, but to every urge in the individual which seeks to make meaningful the stunning, life-altering, seasonal, and transformational moments in Nature and human experience. This urge to connect to the "immediate mystery" and to celebrate, share witness and mark the fleeting moment of "non-ordinary reality" makes us very unique creatures of this Earth.
By the first week in May, in Colorado, we are awaiting the return of the hummingbirds, the redwing blackbirds and the mating robin couples. Or this is what we tell ourselves. Deep under our layers of clothing and winter wonderland weariness, we are awaiting another voice, another calling.
We want to scratch our backs on supple aspen trees just like the grumpy awakening bears. We want to shed fur and skin and old habits from the months of snow. We begin listening for something mysterious on the wind. We have almost forgotten how sweet the sound of pan-pipes are as they whisper to us from the forest and fields.
We can't stop yawning. We want to play hookey from responsibilities. We feel drawn to contact old sweethearts. We want to throw all our clothes off on bluesky Spring Days. We put up the hammock, drag out the lawnchairs and hang our laundry on the clothesline. We almost faint at the pure clean smell of it in the sun.
After a fierce winter and great deal of praying for Spring we almost can't believe our luck! The return of the Sacred Masculine at Beltaine, the old European celebration of May Day, is like welcoming a long-lost lover back into our arms. This is the Priest of Spring. The sweet youthful urgency of this energy makes itself present in the rising sap, the snow-swollen rivers and our own heightened sense of anticipation.
HE IS PAN, THE LIFE-FORCE AND THE FORCE OF LIFE! Ignore Him at your own peril. His call will be heard, or Pan-ic will occur!
He is also a reminder of our own inner relationship to the Sacred Masculine within ourselves. Whether we are women or men, we cannot help but be drawn to His joyous delight in simply BE-ing. He shows us that nothing is lost--we can always reclaim the Spirit of Youth--If we choose to. Robustness and wild, wonderful expectations are absolutely age-free.
Women can become maidens again. Men can feel their boyhood returning. Believing is Seeing! We can allow ourselves to be caught up in the sound of His compelling music, the irresistable call of Pandemonium--literally, "the Music of the god Pan!" We begin to embody, with All of our human bodies, His gratitude for existence, His sense of playfulness, his willingness to be gob-smacked with delight, and his glowing, healthy sensuality.
He is health: the health of our fearless curiosity, our unself-conscious appreciation of our own Creature-ness.
THE CEREMONIAL WELCOMING OF BELTAINE ENVISIONING
On May 1, as the members of the Earth Wisdom Mystery School celebrated the Bringing in of the May, we practiced an ancient Scrying tradition of our forebearers, the European and Celtic shamans. It is well-known, in our Medicine-ways, that this lunar celebration is also an opportunity to GO BETWEEN THE WORLDS. For European and Northern Tradition shamans, this is a fire celebration which enhances sacred Vision and expands perception so that we might beckon particular guidance on our spiritual paths--both for ourselves and for the healing of others.
Instead of making a traditional wicker offering for the Fires of Beltaine, we designed a Wicker Envisioning Sphere which had first appeared in some of our nighttime dreams. We followed the Sacred Dream-Fabricating Ritual of many indigenous shamanic journeyers and created a spiritual contraption which we had co-created, first in DreamTime undertakings. That is, we had dreamed the parts of the structure together, through individual, conscious dream narratives. We agreed that this Wicker Man Sphere, as it named itself, was a symbol of the search for the Sacred Masculine and our desire to go Between the Worlds on that quest. Our entrance to the Sacred was through the Sphere. Inside this magical sphere we would be able to "Scry," or seek Visionary and Intuitive Awareness.
Within this small circumference created of woven willow, fabric, twine, vines and leaves we set the ancestral crystal ball from my maternal lineage and various totems and invested objects to ground us in our developing Conduction skills and intentions. We placed the Sphere next to a small, secluded stream at my riverside retreat, WiseAcre. Through the Sphere we were able to conduct the guidance of Allies, Ancestors and Nature Spirits or
Divas and Wights.
As we knelt just inside the opening of the Sphere, we were enveloped in a small, quiet sanctuary in the middle of Nature. Even though the woven wicker sides were not solid, their enfolding curves held each Querant, or Re-Questor in a microcosmic, sacred space. Here we entered through the portal, transiting from Ordinary Reality, and the noisy celebration around us, to Other Worlds and Realms of the Guides and Ancestors. As it grew darker, a lantern inside the sphere suffused the circle with an orb of flickering light.
Gazing "strange-eyed" into the Circle-Within-A-Circle of the antique crystal ball, each Questor was able to Conduct, or draw shamanic impressions and direct Ally and Spirit Guidance from the experience. Four of the Mystery School interns reported similar "images which slowly appeared in a deep part of my mind," while another reported seeing a silhouette in the crystal ball which revealed itself as "my past and future Wise Self."
Through my scrying, and as the Shamanic Officiant for the May Day ritual, I was made aware of a very ancient Naming Ceremony. I saw in my peripheral vision, and through the crystal ball, some of the rites of the ceremony through which the original source of the sacred name by which I know myself, was revealed. I had not made a specific request for guidance. Rather, I opened myself up to the experiment of using this dream-designed shamanic divining process, and whatever might come through or from it.
Our Rites of Spring brought us ever closer to the Shamanic practitioner's goal of the embodiment of the Sacred Marriage, the conjunctio of harmony and balance between the Sacred Inner Masculine and Inner Feminine, Above and Below, Without and Within, Past Life and Present Incarnation, Physical Body and Subtle Body.
This recognition of harmony is also the celebration of the outer, Natural bond and courtship dance being enacted, through the cycles of the seasons, between the Earth Mother in all her Goddess Forms and Her maturing Sacred Child, maturing Apprentice and future Consort, THE GREEN MAN.
Marcie is a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist and has been in private practice for 40 years. Marcie is an experienced, highly intuitive guide who weaves together ancient knowledge with contemporary wisdom. She is a mediatrix who connects the realms of current psycho-social concerns and timeless spiritual teachings and practice.