As you know, I have been weaving my way through Zati: The Art of Weaving a Life for the second time, in a joyous celebration of all the positive things that have come into my life. The work is both a spiritual inquiry and a chance to create a set of seven meaningful artifacts, called keyforms, that represent each step of the journey.
Although I am currently weaving the Belt of Power, the keyform of Choice, I am sharing the journey with a few weavers who are now starting to weave their Masks, the keyform of Identity.
Through my work as a priestess, I know that we have to be very supportive of ourselves and others when we undertake the inner journeys. Identity is fundamental to our existence as conscious and living beings. As a witch, yogini and Buddhist, I have chosen a path that encourages me to dig deeply and ask hard questions of my inner self. Why am I like this? How can I transform some of the murky and unpleasant aspects of my Self into something more shining and loving? What can I do to ease the suffering in the world? As I find my bliss, how can I help others find theirs? Can I do this from my solitary mountaintop? It’s hard but beautiful work, and it takes determination and it also requires being very grounded. Most of all, it takes love.
Putting a ritual structure around an inner journey provides a safe container, and makes it easier to stay grounded. If I have a broad outline of a script, I have a path to follow as I go inwards and return back to everyday consciousness. I know I will be weaving my Mask soon, and when it is done and I am ready to put on the mask, this is the ritual of exploration I will use to create a safe and productive exploration of my true self.
I chose the theme of a date because I was thinking of the focus and fascination that you bring to spending time in the company of your potential beloved. Each word is precious. The silences, eyes meeting eyes, speak volumes.
So, I will prepare for this masked date much like I would for a real-world date.
I’ll prepare a special place for the ritual. I want a view of the stars, a comfortable space to sit, flowers, the all-important mirror, and candles for light. I plan to spend around 20 minutes softly gazing in the mirror and journeying deeply into my identity through the portals of my gaze. I will use music to time the journey, but I give myself permission to return sooner if I need to.
I will have a pitcher of lemon lavender water available to drink, and a warm shawl and a piece of chocolate to help me come back into focus after the journey. My journal and pen will be at hand.
Before the ritual, I promise to be well rested and to have eaten lightly but healthfully throughout the day.
I will prepare myself by having a ritual bath in herb scented water. I don’t know yet what I’m going to wear on my ‘date’ but I can be as fanciful and beautiful as I desire.
Before I put on the mask, I’ll take some time to get really grounded, feeling my roots go deep within the earth. I’ll ask the Lady’s protection and blessing.
I will go wherever the journey takes me, down the 13 steps to the place that is deep within my heart. No one can do me harm in this space. Guides may accompany me on the journey, but if this makes me uncomfortable, they will leave if I ask them to.
I do not know what I will discover, but I know that I am fully prepared for the experience and I know that my beloved self cannot harm me. I am ready to put on the mask and gaze into the mirror and greet myself as I truly am. Who is this person here? How do I differ from the self I generally perceive? From the self that I project to others? How am I the legacy of all my ancestors? What legacy do I give to the future? How does it feel when I give myself a hug? When I accept myself with humility and love? I can ask any question and if the answer is ready, it will come.
I know that I can return at any time simply by taking off the mask, walking back up the steps, clapping my hands three times and saying my name aloud. This brings me back to the present moment.
When I return, I will touch the earth to release the energy that is swirling inside me. I may wrap up in the shawl, nibble chocolate, and drink water to help myself come back into focus. If I have not yet written in my journal, I will take time to do it now. Finally, I will thank the Lady for standing as a sentry and witness to my journey, and for the insight which She gave me.
There are many ways to go deep within on a journey. I have recorded a pair of guided meditations, The Journey In and The Journey Home, that you may use to start and end your journey. Select at least 10 minutes of instrumental music to play between these two tracks. This will be the background to your personal journey with your mask and mirror. You can download the meditations as MP3 files below
Don’t be afraid to go deep, because you know how to find your way home. If your journey leaves you feeling unsettled, spend more time touching the earth. Eat more chocolate. Hug someone. Hug yourself. Do what you do when you have trouble shaking of a dream. Most of all, be gentle with yourself and know that one journey will not answer all the questions you have. Plan another ‘date’ with your beloved self.