"What are the risks of seeking face-to-face communion with Divine Intelligence? What treasured illusions must be sacrificed? What part of me has to die?
All the best teachings I'd encountered agreed that in order for one's Higher Self to be born -- and it was only the Higher Self that could endure direct communication with the Creator -- the little self had to die. Hermetic philosophy asserted that there is an immortal part of each of us, an adamantine uniqueness that was never born and will never die; but our awareness can't inhabit that immortal part until we dissolve our attachments to the hodgepodge of conditioning that most of us mistake as our precious, fascinating, unique self.
And that dissolution can be excrutiating, especially if a slew of attachments expire in one sudden swoop.
There, in the Nevada desert, I was as scared as I had ever been. What if I opened myself so completely to the sun's raging blessings that I would be transformed into something I no longer recognized as me?"
In a way, it's a typically male way to describe a mystical experience: it must involve death. Only the Higher Self can endure direct communication with the Creator. We have to dissolve our attachments to this world. Blah, blah, blah, dualism, blah blah blah, patriarchy, blah, blah, Zoraster.
I think that may be wrong. I think to even conceive of our "self" as higher or lower is wrong and puts a barrier between us and -- the ineffable, Divinity, the Creator, the World, Life, the Mother, my cat, the worms that are crawling right now in my garden, the spider that right now is spinning a web in my sweet woodruff, the Stars that are, right this minute, having star sex and making baby stars.
And, yet, in some of the shadow work I'm doing, I've come to realize that completely embracing my shadow will mean a change to what I now recognize as "me". So is this "just" semantics? I don't think so. I think that the use of dualistic language to describe mystical experience has as damaging an effect as almost anything else that I can think of. And, yet, I do think that, at some level below the Hermetical level that Brezsney describes, we are talking about the same thing. I suppose that part of the problem comes form trying to describe something that's almost impossible to describe.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."