The title of this essay is in response to a long story written by the author some decades ago entitled The Way the Cosmos was for a Girl.
I am inspired in this writing by Jean Houston’s description of three layers/realms of the self. Her version is:
(i) historic, factual, biological – “This is Me“: small, local self.
(ii) mythic, symbolic – “We Are“: Larger Self.
(iii) the unitive – which exists both beyond & within the other two: “I Am“
For my purposes right now, I vary these layers only a little:
(i) This is Me – the biological, individual, small self.
(ii) We Are – the cultural, community, social context (which could be actually included in the first, leaving Jean Houston’s categories intact)
(iii) I Am – the unitive, sentient Cosmos in which ‘we are’ and ‘this is me’ are immersed, and to whom all (‘we are’ and ‘this is me’) returns. In later years of one’s small self, one’s individual life, one may sense heading back towards this larger realm, which is the source whence we/I emerged: individual identity will dissolve, and merge again with ‘I Am’.
Many ancient/indigenous cultures do not place much emphasis if any, on the “individual” realm: there is usually recognition of each small self’s uniqueness, name, totem, life purpose and story, but this understanding is not inflated as it has commonly become in Western culture in recent centuries. It is generally recognized as continuous with, and in relationship with the other two realms.
And with these layers of self in mind, I sit in the morning Sun, my toes in the lovely thick green grass, and I remember the girl in her early teens who sat on some verandah stairs not far from here in the morning Sun over five decades ago. It was a significant moment, because the girl experienced deep time as she became aware of the passing of Sun over this particular land for millions of years. And here she is/I am again – only the blink of an eye has passed; I have returned to this place and greet Sun again. And I recognize in this moment my ultimate return within Her larger creative cycle, my small self merging back into the unitive sentient Cosmos, in this autumn phase of my life. In the final phase, the individual melts back.
I have done my work, brought forth my saviour (saved myself and helped some others), created a world (with story and ceremony) within which I could be, as Eurynome did when She danced on the waters and created the whole Cosmos[i]. Like a good priestess, I emulated my Goddess as best I could. This makes me smile.
[i] I am thinking here of Chris Lavda’s poem “Eurynome – a Story of Creation”, which is the Prologue to Carol Christ’s book Rebirth of the Goddess (1997)
Christ, Carol. Rebirth of the Goddess. US: Addison-Wesley, 1997.
Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. NE: iUniverse, 2005.
Livingstone, Glenys. The Female Metaphor – Virgin, Mother, Crone – of the Dynamic Cosmological Unfolding: Her Embodiment in Seasonal Ritual as Catalyst for Personal and Cultural Change. Ph.D. thesis, University of Western Sydney, 2002. http://www.academia.edu/27860395/The_female_metaphor_-_virgin_mother_crone_-_of_the_dynamic_cosmological_unfolding_her_embodiment_in_seasonal_ritual_as_a_catalyst_for_personal_and_cultural_change
At more than eighty years of age in this world I feel the same longing to merge into that great ‘I AM’ that your 15-year-old bequeathed to her adult self. I have looked at the Universe through the lens of science all my adult life. The great Entity now is beginning to reveal Herself even in that powerful but narrowly focused lens. Science still can not define nor understand Consciousness, but that insistent I AM is beginning to appear as a basic property of the Cosmos or maybe even its Creator Mother.
I cannot think of it as male because I know my own gender all too well. The male can help, can supply energy, strength, confidence and variety but in the end can not be relied upon to create new life to nurture and love forever. I am reminded of the Harp Song of the Dane Women that goes as follows – . .
What is woman that you forsake her
Leaving the hearth and the home acre
To follow the old grey widow-maker
She has no bed for a guest to stretch in
But a cold grey grave for the dead to rest in
For the broken ships and the bergs to nest in.
thank you Aidan for your wisdom and for hearing me.