Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lindisfarne to Whitby

Dear Kendra~

I’m so sorry I dropped our writing correspondence when all this happened with Sophie. I suspect with your Moon in Cancer, squaring Pluto, you might be sensitive to anything that feels like abandonment or neglect. If I hadn’t finally phoned you from Lindisfarne to catch up on my “disappearance” I would have felt very guilty! But here we are again, and I will get over my private feelings of needing to keep up any appearances –-even in the holding of the teacher/mentor persona….that ‘persona’ part of me that likes having it “all together” just because I’m teaching astrological correspondences. As you know, a persona is a mask, and astrologically we see it described in the Rising Sign, but even with my courageous Aries rising, I feel that I am as much a “Foolish Warrior” as a “Wise Woman.”

Since we last spoke, Sophie got out of the hospital and joined Alistair and I for a few days at Lindisfarne. The first night she was back, the Christian ‘retreatants’ did a healing prayer circle for her that touched my heart, and seemed to do wonders for Sophie. As we stood in a circle with our arms and hands touching each other, it felt as if there was such a connecting energy with spirit, that I must admit--- it just about undid my old religious skepticism, and even my ideas about “how it all is and how it’s always going to be” between us as a family. I guess you could say I felt hope. I know now I want to be reconnected with Alistair and Sophie again— in a different way. I see now how much I need to deepen my sense of faith in “Spirit”—perhaps that’s why I’ve been a bit of a reluctant astrologer…

Today I was thinking how astrologers come from all religious traditions…yet astrologers have always been the “black sheep” in any religious or political systems, yet we seem to enjoy our position as “honored outsiders” and have managed not to be slaughtered too often…except with the great holocaust of the witches and midwives! In other eras, we’d be kept in a “private position” by Kings and Popes and Statesmen, but people usually prefer to keep their private astrologers to themselves. We’re a bit taboo….

Anyway, Alistair and I spent a lot of time walking around this “holy isle” yesterday and soaking in all its sunlit quaintness. There are monastery ruins here that go back to the 7th century, founded by St Aidan, and we learned about the hermit and healer, St Cuthbert, and how he used solitude as his way of connecting to Christ. And…I heard Alistair muttering at some point (quoting Krishnamurti,) about how “Truth is a pathless land” when an over-zealous pilgrim was showing us a sacred site.

You know, I actually like Alistair’s blend of Buddhist philosophy and Krishnamurti (you remember him?--the anti-guru Guru who was so popular in the sixties and seventies?). Alistair’s beliefs move him out of religion into “spirituality” anchor him in the present moment. Being aware and awake in the NOW is what’s so important for him, and I like that. But he doesn’t allow himself to “get astrology” and I don’t think Sophie quite understands either of us. As you know, astrology is about the ability to think symbolically and to make connections between different levels of consciousness—between the inner and the outer life. Synchronistic connections. And maybe it’s up to me to find the connecting threads between Alistair, Sophie and me. And for me to pay more attention to what Jung called “the Self”—the inner Self.

Anyway, as the day was winding down, around sunset, the wind picked up into quite a howl, so we found refuge in a little pub in town—and that’s when Alistair told me that he’s leaving for Zurich, Switzerland tomorrow! For a Krishnamurti gathering…a conference.

“So where does that leave us?” I asked him, astonished by this unexpected news.

“It’s up to you….I don’t know. Would you and Sophie like to go there?” He seemed a little nervous.

“Of course, that would be nice, but why would Sophie want to go there? And do you really want me there?” Some of my skepticism returned. He nodded yes, but I could feel a reluctance there.

“Or…” I began, “Maybe Sophie and I could go south to Whitby first, and then make our way slowly to you…. do you remember our trip there when we were first married? Do you remember St Hilda’s monastery on those cliffs towering above the ocean? Whitby was where the Christian Celts and the Roman Catholics had their big “show-down”–the Synod of Whitby-- where the pagan-Christian Celts lost “philosophically” to the Roman Catholics. There’s such a numinous feeling in the monastery ruins there—how they sit so high on the cliffs overlooking the sea. What do you think?”

Alistair nodded his head thoughtfully. We smiled like we were cooking up a scheme or a broth of spiritual treats for Sophie. “Women were such a big part of the Celtic Christianity then, and maybe the romance of Whitby could create a bridge…maybe Sophie and I could go there first, and then…..” I trailed off trying to imagine into the future and stared up at another Celtic Cross on the far wall—even in the dark pub—(!) and thought how much it looked like Jung’s mandalas. “Maybe we could go from there to visit you….and see Jung’s house outside of Zurich?”

“Maybe….! But take it slowly, Isabelle, see how it goes…. I’ve planned to be there for awhile. You know how those gatherings are….but, yes, I’d love to have you both come….”

And so, I turned to Alistair and gave his hand a squeeze. All I could think of at that moment, was Thoreau’s words: “We are constantly invited to be who we are.” And who would that be now?

So, dear Kendra, that’s how it’s been going! Send me news of you~



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