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It happened on an overcast March morning, usual in every respect, save reports of some infectious disease, distant from us. Not our concern, we said, getting the kids readied for school and shoving off to work. Little did we suspect…

 

Like the galloping invasion of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, pestilence, war, famine, and death have trounced our land and drastically altered our usual manner of functioning. At first, denial and rationalization softened the blow until weeks mushroomed into months, with rising numbers of those infected and dying from Covid-19.

As if the pandemic was not enough—Like a flashpoint, the George Floyd killing ignited demonstrations for police reform, both peaceful and violent, morphing into deeper mayhem, confusion, and polarization of our country. Meanwhile, exhaustion seeps into psyches, waters down problem solving, and thins endurance—A deadly scenario that cries for radical change, one found in the Gospels.

In my perception, the will to embrace the radical change that Jesus taught appears thin. Few care about cultivating humility, honesty, and love; it’s too costly—Easier to resolve problems with compromise.

Only such change of heart will bring about the longed-for restoration of our country that may or may not come in our lifetime. Besides, the work of the Four Horsemen is not finished—evil, far worse than the virus, still has us in its sway.

So what to do in the interim? From parched hearts, we pray for deep watering, one that cleanses and restores, despite the continuing tumult crashing around us. Protection does comes.

 

At midnight I awoke with this dream:

The Eyes of Isis has just been published and drawn rave reviews. I’m eager to buy my own copy.

 For the remainder of the night, sleep came in fits and starts, given my body’s memory of touring the Egyptian Temple of Isis with a Jungian study group in 1996. It was the last temple built in the classical Egyptian style, with construction beginning around 690 BCE.

 

 

Overwhelmed then and now by the Sacred Feminine, my psyche thrummed with energies opening onto vast realms beyond imagining. Who would have thought I would revisit this sacred site of Isis in my dream? Would find such nurturing as I await my transition? Would again feel at home within Isis’s protective arms?—No matter the centuries that separate us, Isis first mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, c. 2350–c. 2100 BCE. The priests of Heliopolis developed her myth that spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, its mysteries practiced in her Temples.

 

 

Isis’s devotees yearned for spiritual growth in this life and a high place in the afterlife. In this striving, they leaned into her motherly wisdom and compassion, sought the succor of her healing, and welcomed her presence at the weighing of heart ceremony in the underground Hall of Osiris. I share their yearning.

The dream seems to invite deeper penetration within the eyes of Isis opening out upon bliss, and not lose heart with the rigors of my transition. This is working out.

 

I still remember last spring’s epiphany. It was bone silent, mysterious. Outside my opened window, night’s remnants slicked the fresh-leaved redbud tree with Van- Gogh-like brush strokes.

A solitary chirp nudged the stillness. It was beginning. More chirps swelled the darkness, intermingled by piercing trills; then warbles; then whistles; then pipes; then chucks; then full-throated songs colored the tracings of light in the sky. The chorus became unbearable until it subsided into isolated sighs. Then, stillness returned like a brooding mother upon her clutch.

With the stillness came the imprint of having been touched, deeply; in its wake, an impetus to prayer, in any expression: contemplation, dance, words, or painting—Whatever it took to honor the experience and share it with others before being lost in busyness: anathema to the spiritual.

In other centuries, birds were revered for their supernatural powers as co-creators and messengers of the gods. The Raven was one of these; it was venerated by natives along the Pacific Northwest for bringing light to humans, lost in impenetrable darkness. Closer to our time, the Brothers Grimm’s discovery of two folk tales, “The Raven,” and “The Seven Ravens,” nuanced the folklorists’ imaginative handling of this image as it evolved through time.

The seasonal presence of birds, especially at dawn, speaks of a Divine order at work, now as well as in the past. We have only to be still and listen and allow their color-sounds to swell us with hope.

 

 

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