The Feminine Grail

Magdalene 6 edited

Vézelay- Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene. 

In 2009 I set out from Glastonbury, England to travel to Saint John Pied-De-Port in south-west France, to begin a 500 miles pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, and onto Cape Finisterre (end of the Earth) on the west coast of Galicia. Looking back, I see that the pilgrimage was part of a much bigger story of inner and outer journeying, rooted in some indefinable origin of the past, and an unrealized impulse towards future integration and wholeness. I was searching for the feminine divine in myself and was called to Her ancient sites- places where She lay waiting to be awakened. Although I did not know it at the time, I was awakening Her in myself through connecting with Her in the earth.

The journey, as I see it now, is to reawaken the ‘feminine divine’ in myself and to be an anchor for that in the world. A sacred power almost forgotten, the feminine divine, or a feminine inclusive spirituality, is returning and rekindling an ancient wisdom in our modern consciousness. Disconnection from the Moon Mother and her ways of renewal and rebirth have been sorely missed in a culture that, for whatever reason has chosen to reject Her. But this journey is also for the Sun, the spiritual Sun, that crowning luminosity of consciousness expressed in the co-creation of human and divine. It is the sacred marriage of heaven & earth, sun & moon, spirit & matter, male &  female, man & woman, dark & light. 

Mine is the path of the Grail, and yet it is a distinctly Feminine Grail, and it is not necessarily rooted in the Christian tradition. 

For the Knights of the old Romances, an outer journey mirroring inner experience eventually led to the discovery of a feminine principle, and a sacred marriage. For modern-day women, the marriage is consummated not in seeking outside of herself but in realizing that she is already that which she seeks. The inner lives of many modern women lay barren and neglected in the spiritual wasteland of contemporary culture and decline of a church that for many is distant and remote.

Without a spiritual connection many woman have lost themselves to situations and conditions that perpetuate the split between the physical and spiritual experience. It may be argued that many aspects of our culture, such as ever-increasing dependency on technology, and the projections of the ‘image makers’, encourages, and even depends on this split.

The feminine Grail is the work of reweaving the soul and the inner life. To fill the cup of the womb, the sacred crucible of transformation and renewal, and to connect with the Great Mother, or non-artificial matrix of life. By nature, woman is founded on an inclusive, erotic, and embodied experience that embraces and seeks connection with whatever it encounters, not only as an abstract entity of ‘otherness’ but as a living, immediate, and non fixed reality. Woman is in her natural condition is open to receiving the power that rises from the earth and joins with the divine in an eternal cycle of renewal and transformation. She is also deeply attuned to the rhythms and cycles of nature- to Gaia, or Pachamama. It is a relationship of reciprocity and mutuality.

As my own relationship with both my true feminine and masculine, as well as with myself, my family, my community and my ancestors hung tenuously in the wasteland, the pulse at the centre of it all, quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, insisted that I heal these fractures – to remember who I AM, and to BE that. This ‘Being’, I came to realize has ramifications not just in present time and space, nor only on the physical plane – it ripples and spirals out, changing, transforming, and re-setting the imbalances that have occurred throughout time. It is a big work and yet I cannot not do it.

The call to walk the Camino came in a dream in 2003, in what I have come to know as ‘circle-dreams’ – initiatory dreams that penetrate my consciousness, directing me to places, people, experiences, realizations, and insights. Advocates of Carl Jung’s theories of the unconscious may refer to this entity as the ‘daimon’, a force of power existing outside  the restrictive confines of the ego. “A creative person”, says Jung, “has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and drawn by his daimon”. Perhaps. But what has transpired for me over the years is that the feminine path of the grail has not yet been elucidated either in depth psychology or religion. Her story has not been told.

While the giant chroniclers of the Soul such as Jung and Joseph Campbell have, to a marked degree, charted the inner life of modern men and women, it has often been expressed in androcentric, that is to say, male-centred terms. Feminine consciousness and experiences are emerging and finding a place within the collective matrix, yet communication of these experiences often depend on language and codes that have not yet embraced the depths and heights of the feminine soul.

This raises the question: Is the Grail Path, that is the journey towards an integrated and holistic, or cosmic consciousness, different for men and women? Maybe, maybe not, but until the feminine experience has been integrated into our collective experience, we don’t know. We can look to the ancient mysteries for clues about initiation and rites of passage on the journey through life and death, though ultimately the key to self-realization lies within.

Connecting to my inner experience and truth has in itself been an epic pilgrimage – a living Myth. In opening to the energy of the earth, the serpent energy, natural places, sacred sites and temples, I have been guided toward deeper Self connection. Many of these places lie in ruins or have been built over by religions whose intention is to suppress or control powerful telluric and cthonic energies –  powerful precisely because they activate the life principle, the kundalini. I seek to connect with and integrate what has been hidden and buried in myself. There is also much that has been hidden and buried in our culture… it is certainly likely that one will encounter aspects of the occult on such a journey.

In ancient times it was known that to commune with holy places had a profound effect on human consciousness. Uncovering this knowledge has led me to the follow a path of awakening and a ‘home-coming’ that I was unable to realize through a ‘god-out-there’, religion that venerates a separate, often misogynist, and judging sky deity.

My intention is to write a book about my experiences, and ‘the feminine grail journey’, sharing stories of pilgrimage such as following the ancient Druidic seven planetary oracles from Compostela to Rosslyn, womb activation and teaching on the Island of the Moon, Lake Titicaca, the creative opening and remembrance I received on the island of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, and much more. I also connect these experiences to my inner unfolding and healing, as the outer informs the inner and vice versa, and the spirit of place and memory is a powerful gateway.

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