Journey: A Cycle of Sacred Time
by Jan Boddie, Ph.D. & Marystella Church CHT
This article first appeared in Share Guide, Spring 1995
In the English language we sometimes interchange the words journey, trip and travel. There is, however, a quantum difference between taking a trip and being on a journey. We've all done some traveling, perhaps at times alone and at other times with a friend. Be it a commute to work, a weekend getaway, or a vacation in Hawaii, it's an American tradition to take trips. Even to go abroad and play at being a tourist is a familiar way to travel for many Americans.
being on a journey is quite different from traveling or being
on a trip. It's as different as taking a picture of the ocean
is from jumping in and experiencing it. For starters, traveling
can be exhausting because there is so much to figure out:
where to stay; how much to pay for a meal; how to find the
cathedral you came to visit; fussing about the clothes you
or did not bring.
probes deeper than these thoughts that consume us. Being on
a journey is going beyond what is on our mind and connecting
with what is in it. Imagine the difference: You are on a tour
of the Acropolis in Athens, overwhelmed with the magnificence
of history and art and natural beauty, while also being concerned
about time and your schedule for the rest of the day. Now
imagine being at the Acropolis and following your inclination
to stop on Mars hill where Socrates sat with his students,
and taking the time to engage in a deep and meaningful dialogue
with like-spirited companions.
a difference between keeping busy with seeing sights and taking
pictures, and actually being present with what you are experiencing.
Although each requires form and purpose, traveling gives a
focus to the doing-ness, while a journey is balanced with
actual being-ness. Journey goes beyond the restraints of physical
time and space. Journey feeds the soul.
word "travel" came from "travail," which
originally meant an instrument of torture, while "journey"
is rooted in the name of the Goddess Diana and is related
to both "deity" and "Day." One might loosely
translate this as meaning "a cycle of holy time."
In other words, to journey is to make a pilgrimage. People
used to make pilgrimages to foreign and holy places, which
were symbolic for reconnecting with the hidden and holy places
But physical travel is not a prerequisite for journeying.
We journey every night in our dreams, for example, during
which a rich symbolism helps us to remember and even heal
aspects of ourselves that have been buried below waking consciousness.
We journey during guided meditations. Even daydreaming is
a form of journey.
we travel, we literally carry baggage. Typically, we also
carry the symbolic baggage of expectations and belief systems,
of judgments and assumptions. In fact, we set ourselves up
for disappointment and frustration by closing ourselves off
from the adventure of discovery. It's impossible to be present
in the unfoldment of each new moment when we've locked ourselves
into the past or projected ourselves into the future by having
a fixed agenda.
Embarking on a journey, be it in the dream world or the physical
world, is like stepping out of the grid lines that limit our
concept of reality. Patterns in daily life vanish as we step
into the spaces between the dots, into the "places"
where possibility and probability live.
we open ourselves to experiences that are not dictated by
logic and reason, and that are not structured by belief and
judgment, we become aligned with what was always before us
and what was always within us. This is a journey or pilgrimage.
It is a movement toward wholeness or holiness, a cycle of
time for entering the sacred. It is a time of expanded awareness,
or as T.S. Eliot phrased it, a time "...to arrive where
you started and know it for the first time."
with more of who we really are - that is, experiencing more
of our innate wholeness - is also an opening for connecting
more fully with others and with the earth. When we journey,
we waken to the knowing of our inter-connectedness.
journey, then, cannot happen in isolation. It is a contradiction
in terms to set ourselves apart - whether out of fear or arrogance
or unconscious beliefs - when the essence of journey is inter-relatedness.
By remaining connected to ourselves, others and the earth,
our daily travels, our trips to foreign places, our dreams
and flights of imagination are transformed into wondrous cycles
of sacred time.
journey can be experienced in as many forms as there are personalities
on this planet, we are all on the same journey. This is the
new paradigm struggling to be birthed - a collective realization
of our inter-relatedness in sacred time - and a remembering
of our connection to things we do not yet know.
Crones In Training
BY JAN BODDIE
This article first appeared in Open Exchange, Oct.-Dec. 2011
Jan Boddie, PhD, stewards a parcel of land with newly awakened vortices in the North Bay with her partner, Marystella. They have eighteen years experience in co-facilitating spiritually-based gatherings and will initiate their seventh Crones in Training circle in January. The circle is for women in their fifties and older who yearn to live as Crones in Action. See their listing Beyond Beliefs at Vortex Journeys under OPEN EXCHANGE's Spirit & Soul.
We Need our Crones
Where are the Crones? Where are the women with years of wisdom stored in their bones, the women who wear badges of honor and courage in their wrinkled skin and slowed down steps? Where are the models for the aging women who stand behind them? Where is the guidance Crones have to offer Maidens in the process of discovering themselves and the Mothers who search to find their place inthe world?
Of course some families seek the wisdom of their Crone members, and some Crones are visible to the masses through their inspirational poetry and other mediums. Crones join with elder male residents who live at The Redwoods in Mill Valley on Friday afternoons. As Seniors for Peace they stand up and speak out with passion on their street corner opposite Tamalpais High School. Yet despite the fact that seniors constitute the largest portion of U.S. citizens, and women elders outnumber the men, most Crones are invisible and their gifts remain hidden even from themselves. The premise of Crones in Training is that the entire culture needs its Crones. The absence of their truth and humor is every person's loss.
Remembering Old Wounds
Many women in their fifties, sixties and older wish for a teacher or guide, look for a model or mirror to explain a dissonance and a yearning in their lives. Some grew up with wounded mothers who were lost in the limitations of their era, wounds that many daughters continue to carry but do not understand. In their formative years the daughters collected new wounds from well-intentioned mothers who wanted their children to be accepted in the societal structure at the time, from teachers and religious leaders who had their own agenda. Now there are countless women entering and in their elder years who live as less than their whole selves. Their spontaneity and intuition, imagination and creativity, passion and power are hidden deep, beyond their reach.
Crones in Training is not group therapy, but it is therapeutic. The Crones gather together in sacred space. They create ritual through symbolic action, use photographs and song, connect with earth and nature. They recall the old stories that burden and diminish, old wounds that rule their lives. In the process, they discover that recognition is a portal for release.
Releasing the Old Story
The Crone sisters support each other as courage is gathered, strength found and vulnerability embraced rather than shunned. Connection with the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual bodies grow as personal yet parallel stories are recalled and shared. The human story of fear and shame, lack of self worth, self-judgment and scarcity, to name a few, are released in the community of others, witnessed with respect.
The process of identifying the old story brings other extraordinary gifts. There is a remembering of a greater self, the authentic self that was present before the wounds pierced the skin and nestled in, made a home in mind and body. There also is a recognition that the wounds were held to assure survival through every youngster's need for acceptance from the adults that surrounded them. The Crones understand there is no need to feel guilt or blame or shame. Quite the opposite, for this is a new era. The old paradigm is dying and a new one is being birthed.
Reclaiming what Sustains
Crones in Training offers support in a community of kindred spirits to be serious, silly and spiritual. Without "shoulds" about thoughts or emotions, there is encouragement to embrace a new learning curve, explore how to be more authentic with less self-judgment, more confidence and self-trust. As the Crones free themselves from the past, there is a realization that they do not need to "figure out" anything and there is no need to "do it all" or "do it" alone.
Excitement grows as the spaces emptied from release fill with the magnificence of true essence. Reclaiming the authentic self includes identifying gifts to be shared and purpose to be fulfilled. These are honored and declared in the ninth circle as a rite of passage. In the final, tenth circle, the community meets to connect as Crones in Action.
Crones in Action
As Crones heal the past and carry their gifts into the present, their healing energy spirals out to ignite healing in others. Crones in Training is a symbol of all the great and small transitions that are part of being human.
Margaret summed up her experience: "With the process, shared intention and love in this circle (my personal philosopher's stone), the 'failure' and 'mess' have begun to alchemically transform into wisdom, acceptance and knowing. Lead is gradually turning into gold!" Dawn named the gifts she embraced: "I have received and reclaimed my giving heart, my integrity, my ability to listen, my loyalty, and my leadership. I am a powerful, fierce woman and can carry that gently into the world."
The Spirit of Crone is rising.
Connecting the Dots
with Jan & Marystella
This article first appeared in The Upbeat Times, April 2005
you have a desire to change something about your self - to
eliminate an old behavior, reduce the effects of stress, reconnect
with your spiritual practice - Spring is a great guide. Spring
is the season of excitement. Spring awakens a natural desire
to burst out of the restraints of Winter and into the spontaneous
blooming of new growth.
Spring is a great guide for change because she doesn't work
at being rational or exercising will power. She's a model
of playfulness and spontaneity. Her specialty is birth and
renewal. Her children know how to dance with the wind, soak
up the rain and lean into the sun. They celebrate every moment.
cycle for reflection has passed. This is the season for action,
and taking action to create change is easier than you think.
Underline the word "think!"
that you're reading these words in The Upbeat Times.
There's "no bad news" and that feels good. Triple
underline the words "feels good." Human emotions
affect attitude, behavior and physical functioning. "Upbeat"
emotions create "upbeat" responses.
people claim they would like to improve or change something
in their lives, but are discouraged from taking action by
their belief systems. For example, a common belief is that
making a change takes extraordinary will power. Another belief
is that change requires giving something up.
our Hypnosis and Self Hypnosis classes we explain how to easily
dispel these types of beliefs. Basically, will power is a
process of using thoughts to force a change, which creates
resistance. When focus shifts from mental commands to feelings
of positive emotions, the resistance subsides. The effect
is similar when thoughts about giving up this or that are
redirected into feeling the excitement of being that which
is desired. Beliefs can block change. Positive feelings invite
the Five Steps to Freedom process we developed for our Hypnosis
courses, there are three simple concepts that can be practiced
to initiate change:
Choose a change that you truly desire.
2. Allow yourself to relax by imagining yourself in a safe,
comfortable, pleasant place.
3. Once relaxed, see yourself in the changed state and,
using present tense language, talk to yourself with word
choices that express all the wonderful, positive feelings
connected with the new you.
Does such a simple approach really work? Milton Erickson,
one of the founders of hypnosis, was struck down with polio
at age 17. He literally talked to the muscles and neurons
and tendons in his legs, acknowledging their health and vitality.
In every moment he saw himself walking easily, effortlessly
and with great joy. He did this for hours, every day, for
over a year. Ultimately, the physiological components rerouted
themselves. With new pathways in place, Erickson did indeed
walk again. At age 57 he was struck down with polio a second
yes, he was successful in reversing it.
you feel inspired, remember that Spring is a great guide for
growing new and positive pathways. Just follow the excitement
of what you desire.