Mystery cycle – The Gate of Desire

My dearest Sister,

Time to tell about last night’s ceremony: approaching the threshold of Desire and awakening the Lover within… the eighth point on the Ishtar wheel, and the final ceremony for me before returning to the place where we began – around the autumn equinox last year (before we met, I think).

I did have difficulty creating enough clear space in my life in the days leading up to the ceremony… But woke early on Thursday morning with a memory of reading a passage in a book on tantra that I was browsing in a bookshop one day last year, about a visit the author made to a Tantra temple in India where she described a yoni fountain, with the water pouring in an endless stream out of the wall… So that day and the next I rushed around buying bits and putting together a small fountain of my own – no time to craft the image out of my sleep, but instead a small version of the large overflowing urns they had in my local water features  shop….   The pot I bought was charcoal grey on the outside, and I tried painting the inside purple, but the acrylic paint just bubbled off as soon as I put water in… However, the overall effect was good.

The ceremony itself turned out to be very simple.

Before we began, I chalked a simple labyrinth on the floor, with the entrance/exit in the northwest, in front of the evening’s altar  (representing the Gate of Desire) with the overflowing water pot, a candle, and one or two other bits and pieces.

It was a very warm night, so we began by purifying/cleansing ourselves with cold lavender-water cloths  (I froze them by accident, but they soon melted again).  The cold refreshing feeling on face, neck and arms was really lovely.

Then we moved into the sacred space and the women sat on chairs around the circle, whilst I invoked the energies/presence of the Guardians, energetically opened the Gate of Desire, and awoke the Ishtar currents at each of the altars in the usual way.  We then moved into the waterlily/open heart meditation – standing and holding hands together in the centre of the space.

Sitting down again, for some quiet meditation, (whilst Ishara desperately sought guidance on what needed to be happening now?!)… Hand on heart, connecting with own heart beat, hearing/echoing its speaking “Ish-Tar  Ish-Tar” etc…  for some moments…   Gathering up my drum I began a simple heart beat.

…and (attempting to keep the rhythm going) voiced the words that began to flow into my head (a bit like being an interpreter  – hearing and then voicing).  Wish I knew exactly what those words were. Some kind of attunement to this mystery of desire’s threshold.  Calling on the Goddess, calling her forth into this space… asking to encounter – and be shown – something – anything really – to take each of us more deeply into this mystery… There was something in there about oneness, becoming one.. I remember there was something about our desires leading us to where we need to be, even when it seems to us that we are wandering in a confused muddle, wandering around in circles.. Something about surrendering, which is about melting into the Goddess, which is not about putting ourselves beneath or less than, which is not about submitting or sacrificing ourselves. The drum did something interesting like changing rhythm, building to a crescendo and then slowing again.  Towards the end I remember voicing something about desire coming in continuing waves – whether we be waiting for the wave to come, riding high on the crest of the wave, or feeling like we are crashing down / the wave breaking over us, still always and ever connected to and a part of the wave, a part of the great ocean of desire….

With which the drum & words abruptly ceased.  I stood up, went across to the red altar in the north (our focus from the previous mystery) and, gathering up the tray of frangipani flowers, offered them around the circle to all my sisters.

We then spent a few moments connecting with our flowers, and then there were more words coming… about the flower being a product of whatever growth of self/selfhood/sense of power and autonomy we have accomplished in this past bit of time..  Reflecting on this, contemplating our flower.  About every flower being the product of a seed which sprouted and grew into a plant, more or less easily, through whatever challenges it encountered… a plant which put forth flowers/a flower.  And that this growth, this maturation which is the flower, is in some way an invitation, some kind of invitation to the world…

A space, in which each woman as she felt ready, approached the Altar of the Gate of Desire, prayerfully, with her flower in hand.  Very luckily I had exactly the right cd on hand, with a gentle song sung by women’s voices with a refrain that goes “So give yourself to love, if love is what you’re after, open up your heart to tears and all the laughter…” which I left on repeat for the duration…  Some of the women chose to offer their flowers first, before walking the labyrinth, some carried their flower with them and offered it up as they came back out.  The chalk lines on the floor didn’t exactly stand out, and some women did an interesting little dance with finding the way back out from the centre, but the energy was lovely, and it worked just right with the seven of us who were there.

When all were done, we stood again, joining hands  in the centre of the space, while I jumped forward to another track on the cd “We are opening up in sweet surrender to the luminous love-light of the One”… again just right.  And when we had been singing and swaying and opening up a little, I retrieved the dish of freshly cut mango and peace pieces from the altar – and moved around the inside of the circle feeding everyone, whilst they continued holding hands and singing and generally getting into the energy of the moment.  Then we passed the dish around the circle, each woman feeding the woman next to her, and then back the other way.. and then making eye contact with the woman opposite, and crossing the circle to feed her, and part way through I realised that we were tracing a seven pointed star, which was just so perfect I could hardly believe it… and there was still plenty of sticky juicy fruit in the dish, so then we passed it around and fed ourselves!! …. By this time we were all pretty juicy and sticky and happy… and as I said to the woman next to me as we reached out to join hands again – “May I join my stickiness to yours?”     Then taking up the chalice of liqueur mead, I called Ishtar again (“Now that you have us exactly as you like us!…”), to bless this chalice with her juicy bliss essence, that it might awaken the Lover in each of us… And then partake of Her goodness – dipping my fingers in and sucking them, and passing the chalice to the woman sunwise from me to partake by her own preferred method…

A closing prayer circle – for voicing/affirming/asking whatever was there in each of us to voice/affirm/ask… I felt such gratitude to have been given such a space, and such a beautiful circle of women to share it with.

I can’t quite describe to you the energy that we shared together  – but it was light, and happy, and words like open and juicy tend to spring to mind… and everyone was smiling.

I am sure when I do this ceremony again it will come out differently, because the way that it unfolds is so dependant on where I am at, and who is with me, and on the inspiration that flows on the night…

And I definitely felt challenged in the anticipation – to be able to embrace and embody and voice these resonant qualities of the Divine Feminine which are so juicy and abundant and explicitly erotic… so I can see why I needed to come to it last. And expect that its expression in the mysteries will continue to deepen and change as my capacity to hold it deepens and evolves…   As you can imagine, it stirred up the memory of that inward mystery I experienced  at Mariam’s retreat last year – and my own yearning/fear to return to that expanded state of being.

I hope these simple words and your own deep connection to the Star Goddess will have awakened some of the resonances of this mystery in your own being, because it was so simple and so delightful.

So there we are, becoming Lover-ly, awakening and embracing our capacity for desire, our capacity to become juicy and melt into the Beloved… as the wheel turns again towards the great mystery of conception, in which we shall once again be transformed from within by Love, so that something new can in due course be birthed into the world.

 

2006

ishara