"Writing is no answer but when you feel deeply there is little else to do." -- James Baker Hall

Saturday, January 29, 2011

When Isis Wept for Egypt

How is it that I have no words to speak of the trouble in Egypt? I look for a healing light within me to cast as a balm upon the open wounds I see. I look to my Isis statue (black basalt) and, oddly tonight, I see it. Running like a gash across her forehead, dried white salt falls as if it were blood or tears of the goddess. In truth, the marks may have been made by holy water, during the last 30 days; but the symbol strikes me with its poignancy now.

On December 21, prior to my meditation with Isis (lunar eclipse at winter solstice, if you recall), I went to my altar to work with an Isis crystal and found it had broken, resting as it was all by itself in the case. I put the broken wand upon the altar and left the room to find matches for the candle. I did not intend to use the wand. When I returned the wand moved by itself, rolled off the altar and the other half of the crystal broke. It occurred to me that that something was afoot, that a life I had known had just been irrevocably broken.

Two weeks later on the day of the solar eclipse in January, during the Coptic Christian celebrations of Christmas, we learned of attacks against the Alexandrian congregation. And now 30 days later at the full moon in January, these shadows that passed over Egypt are passing again across the hearts of every one of us as we watch the demonstrations in Cairo. Much larger darkness looming over Egypt, but it breaks my heart to be its witness. 

Inside my head, I hear the keening of Isis, the wail for the shattered body of her husband, the wail for the brother who takes arms against another brother, the calling down of some good to come from out of all this sorrow.  And in that moment, while Isis grieves, Horus is conceived. He is the healing to come.

I believe that healing is coming to Egypt, and I believe that change will accompany it. We are watching an aeon turning. The divine exists in all things, even in the broken crystal, a broken body, a broken country, a broken heart.

Imagine. A new constellation has arrived, Ophiuchus, the wounded healer who holds the head and the tail of the serpent in his two hands even as the snake encircles his waist. He is the Islamic snake charmer Al Hawaa, the Greek father of medicine Asclepius and the Egyptian god of healing Thoth.  Wisdom comes from the hero's battle with Apophis and Set. We must pass through the trial that eventually leads to a new understanding and brotherhood.  

How can we respond to the change? Stand still in the midst of its challenge. Hold out your hands and fill them with light. Know that truth is always more than one thing. Hold the opposition while you stand in balance. Bless what your heart tells you and what you do not yet know. And with your light-filled hands offer the highest and best to the Creator of All, who in Infinite Wisdom already knows the prayer in your heart and will answer it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

May the Words of My Mouth & the Meditation of My Heart Be Acceptable in Thy Sight

Aside from a bit of distressing personal news about a delayed project, a few things happened in recent weeks  around the world that set me back on my heels.  First, the disturbing news of Coptic and Muslim distress in Alexandria, then the horrific news of a young, disturbed American gunman incited by a politician to gun down Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and taking the lives of others in the process.

Please! Stop the hate rhetoric.

I am a journalist and a writer. I live by language. And I understand that freedom of expression is a vital and inalienable right. But I must remind myself that speech is never truly free, as we have certainly seen in the recent murder of federal judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, C.J. Karamargin, Christina Greene, Dorothy Murray, Dorwin Stoddard, and Phyllis Scheck. Those who incite others to commit crimes--whether through purchase of weapons or through spoken permission--are accomplices to the fact. 

All of us bear a responsibility for the words we put into the minds and hearts of others. It is a sacred trust. 

Obviously, those like Sarah Palin do not hold the power of language in that same regard. Palin does not understand that her vitrolic thoughts are as deadly as bullets. Had she been aware, she might have found a way to communicate a message of change that did not imply that change requires the use of guns. Sarah Palin would not have published on her Facebook page a list of Democrats whose names and office locations were targeted by her and marked by crosshairs - a symbol that clearly refers to target practice and violence. These targeted politicians received death threats. Congresswoman Giffords was one of them.

You and I, as intelligent, literate and compassionate people know that our words hold persuasion. Our speech carries effects.  We do not have to uphold free speech by supporting those who offer hate speech. This has nothing to do with the first amendment right to express opinion.  It has everything to do with inciting murder and mayhem. As writers, publishers, readers, and decent human beings, we must decline to support incendiary speech and the violence it begets.

I am encouraged by the solidarity now being expressed by Muslim brothers who act as human shields for Coptic worshipppers. We are one people, they have said.  I think it's time for our American politicians to think and act in similar solidarity. We've something to learn from the events in Alexandria that occurred at the end of the last decade and the beginning of this one.