HOLY WISDOM

by contemplativeinquiry

The reed beds are flanking in silence the islands

Where meditates Wisdom as she waits and waits;

‘I have kept her secret’, says the Green Man,

‘I have kept her secret’, says he. [1]

This is a dawn image for me, cool, misty, expectant, liminal.  I’m on a lake shore looking out.  I can see the reed beds and an outline of wooded islands.  It’s probably late November or early December, an in-between time, a period of latency between dissolution and awakening.  Not quite the still point at the turning of the world, yet leaning into it.  I don’t see the Holy Wisdom, and so am free of any fixed and limiting image of her.  She may manifest as she wills.  Yet even at a distance, I am aware of her presence.  Holy Wisdom is more than simple sagacity.  She is the fruit of spiritual insight and loving-kindness.  She belongs here as everywhere, connecting to this landscape with a simple English name. Holy has morphed somewhat, over time, from hāliġ or hāleġ; Wisdom has remained the same.

The reed bed image is what remains from my OBOD ‘sacred grove’ work, an active imagination practice in which I would build the core image of the grove and then develop a free-form narrative, often encountering inner world beings and/or moving out into other landscapes and connecting with them.  I began my personal contemplative inquiry when the practice lost its power as a working method for me.  What didn’t lose power was my strong felt sense of contact and guidance from a feminine higher power.  This contact had been initiated in one of the major rituals of my original Ovate grade work – though not planned for in the script.  At times I have thought of her as Sophia, but in the end this hasn’t quite felt authentic for me while practising.  I don’t feel fully engaged in the Gnostic theology and metaphysics which goes with that name.

My contact with Holy Wisdom feels simpler and She asks for a single-pointed clarity of working method – which, paradoxically, I can then relax into.  I’ve adopted an eyes open, real time form of sitting meditation, going to other traditions to get the form, yet always with Holy Wisdom as my ultimate guide.  I dedicate the whole of my morning practice to Her – body/light body work, walking, sitting, and blessing.  But my sense of connection with Her is strongest on entry into sitting meditation, where I feel supported in accessing the presence and attention I need for a free flowing communion with what is.  The reed bed image doesn’t play a direct part in this process.  Yet William Anderson’s quatrain reminds of what my practice is about, and I can slip into this imagery at any time.

[1] Green Man: the archetype of our oneness with the Earth, William Anderson HarperCollins, 1990

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