This week found Fern and I immersed in mystery, symbols, spirals and labyrinths. Spontaneously following a curiosity that engaged both of us as it emerged, we steeped ourselves in universal language, communications from the unconscious and messages of the soul. We played with tarot cards (one of her favorite “games” since she was itty bitty) and even began a relationship with a new deck. As the moon has grown lush and full, I have allowed both of us to buck routine and let our wild, feral selves out of their cage.
And we decided to do it with lots of fun. So Fern went on her very first cable car ride, satisfying another curiosity that came to her through this book.
Given that we were feeling beckoned by sacred mysteries all week, what better destination than the top of California Street, and the shining castle on the hill…
It hadn’t been an easy journey. We got off to a slow start and the whole day began to feel very circuitous and I realized this was not going to be a quick trip. The only way to stay sane was to be up for the ride, so I mustered my sense of adventure and kept the hounds of impatience at bay. It was a relief when we stepped onto the street a block away from Grace, approaching slowly and with reverence. Fern kept looking up with wide eyes at the cassedial and I unwound by taking note of the beauty close at hand.
Two rose bushes invited us to come close as Fern shouted Pink! Pink! and then I laughed as my eyes focused on the obvious offering…
Rosehips. A transitional seasonal medicine extraordinaire. Ripening at the same time as Elderberries, they offer one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C if made as a syrup. Once picked and dried, they rapidly lose their potency, but processed fresh, they are unparalleled.
As soon as I began plucking, Fern was eager to help. Between the two of us we picked a nice sackfull, and still the bushes were loaded. As we gathered, I couldn’t help but utter sincere and heartfelt thanks for such good fortune that I had not even sought out. As the rose window of the Cathedral shone in the sun, I thought of the Queen of Heaven and her connection to this flower, and I felt the warm arms of synchronicity replacing the frazzle from our hectic schlepp.
Happy now and feeling blessed, Fern said Bye bye Rosehips! and we scampered up the steps to the castle.
I have had a deep love affair with Grace Cathedral ever since I moved to San Francisco 16 years ago. Modeled after the Chartres Cathedral in France, and incorporating the same labyrinths, this gorgeous sacred space is a delicious blend of Episcopalian faith and ancient symbolism. With rose windows and roses in the center of the twining paths, stunning stained glass and a mission of openness to all people and their lifestyles, this is the one and only church that helped me reconcile with Christianity and allowed me to hear the truth of Jesus’s teachings…the open hearted, rose-in-bloom quality of compassion.
This was not her first visit (click on that for an adorable, scrawny, 9mos old Fern) to this labyrinth or others, but it was the first time she really got into walking the paths…or perhaps I should say skipping and leaping about.
Below the stained glass are frescos with bible stories and the history of bringing christianity to the new world. They are awe inspiring.
Both Anne and Brigit have written about their connection to Mary, mother of Jesus, and I love her too (being her namesake and all). But there is another Mary that I have a deeper relationship with, and she was known as the Beloved Disciple.
When I first moved to the city in 1996, I had a very powerful dream. I was in a little grove of walnut trees, and on the outside I was surrounded by 7 brahman cows, all a different color of the rainbow. Standing in a circle of people singing and clapping, I watched as a woman moved out into the center and danced to each particpant. When she got to me, she told me her name, and said I am just like you.
At the time I knew nothing about her (this was before The Davinci Code), other than historically she had, at times, been regarded as a whore. A few days after this dream I visited Grace Cathedral for the first time and saw this painting. Beneath is the church’s reclamation of Magdalene, putting her in her proper position as a Saint, and as the keeper of the teachings of Jesus.
For you, Anne. 🙂
We lit a prayer candle at Saint Magdalene’s shrine, and also here at the Blessed Mother (and said a prayer for you, Dad).
Fern was really into lighting the candles and said, “Let’s go light another one, at the guy.”
“The guy on the stick”.
Out of the mouth of babes, folks.
Also…thanks to your encouraging and positive feedback I am feeling less bashful…this is what I wore.
Yeah, whatever owl, you’re cool I guess.
Happy Full Moon weekend friends. Enjoy the intensity and tell me folks…what mysteries are intriguing you right now?