January 27, 2021
“Stand at the crossroads and look; and ask for the ancient paths where the good ways lies and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” Jer. 6:16
I enrolled in an online course this past fall that explored the interplay between contemplative practices, such as meditation and prayer, and the creative arts. We spent a good deal of time discussing ancient wisdom that comes from those who walked these life-journeys before us, and at one point in the course, each participant was invited to imagine a personal guide or guides. Having a past guide is no stranger than believing in angels or totem animals, after all. As Hamlet phrased it so well to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophies,” as well as in mine, so I opened myself to who might appear.
At first, however, I struggled with who I would like to guide me on my spiritual and creative writing journey. Certain friends and relatives, now deceased, who had influenced me in some way came to mind, but I wanted to “save” them for something else. It wasn’t until I stopped to sit on a boulder in the woods that two guides came to me; and then, from them, two more appeared.
Sitting in the woods, I can’t say I was surprised that Mother Earth and Stillness showed up to offer themselves. Nature has been my lifeline during this pandemic. I have noticed the trees in each season more than I have ever noticed them before, along with the distinct spiritual lessons they offer. Stillness has often been my companion, and again, sitting in quiet, in the heart of God (however we envision or call God), has been another anchor. So I quickly and gratefully embraced them both.
Over the next several weeks, Sophia knocked on my heart’s door. Who doesn’t need Wisdom in these trying and uncertain times? The Book of Proverbs, an ancient text, is filled with the steadfastness that Wisdom offers, including the request to seek guidance. And then Ruach, the Spirit of Creation, the Spirit of God, the Ancient Wind that has blown for eternity, reminded me that it has been with me since a very distinct occurrence in my adolescence. Of course, I have often relied on Ruach spiritually, and now I open to its presence creatively, as well.
Each guide in my circle holds deep, deep experience and prudence, along with constancy and grounding, and open-handed steadfast connection. Each understands with a special reverence all that this journey requires, and so I am grateful. Who might your personal guides might be? Stand at the crossroads and ask. Blessings to you ~ Rosemary
Stand at the crossroads and look; and ask for the ancient paths. Jer. 6:16
Stand at the crossroads and ask,
says the prophet, and so I do
calling on Sophia clothed
in sun to guide me
with ageless wisdom, illuminating
my crowded mind, bringing
to light the myriad memories
hidden within my heart
with her golden whisper.
I invite Gaia, Mother Earth,
arrayed in verdant garments
stitched with woodlands
from Eden’s landscape
to instruct me
in gentle acceptance,
grounding and courage
that the constancy of oak and hickory
reveal. I ask Ruach
ancient silver breath to blow
invisible across my soul, my senses
and hover over my chaos
in blessing, while I beseech
Stillness, swathed in the blue of sea,
to embrace me in the wind
to point direction
in the nodding of each wildflower
so that each step I take is not
just another step toward
life’s ending, but part of
the journey to
© Rosemary McMahan