Entering the Cave of Devotion / by Heather Neary

Saludos amigos!

Although it has only been a moon since I last wrote, it feels like a lifetime. Whenever we 'step outside' of our day to day routine and into retreat, there can be a profound experience of timelessness, in which tremendous shifts can occur within a brief amount of linear time. This certainly rings true for me as I continue to integrate the experiences of my journey into the Maya mysteries that live within the land and the people of Chiapas, Mexico. Before we left for our pilgrimage, Carla Woody (our fearless leader), encouraged us to set an intent for our travels-a way to be purposeful in how we show-up for ourSelves during this time. In knowing that this journey was Divinely led for me, I set the intent to fully surrender into living from the heart, which is certainly a place I prefer to live, yet am in an ongoing process of releasing barriers that prevent me from taking up residence there. Of course, my mind had an idea of how this grand shift would occur-perhaps I would have this huge epiphany during the reading with the Mayan Day Keeper or the Curandera would remove any energetic blocks in my heart chakra. Maybe I would be standing on one of the pyramids in Palenque' and would feel all the burdens of my humanness being lifted right up and out of me. While I got to have all of those experiences and I am sure they did contribute to the shifts within my Being, the most expansive, heart-chakra opening moments I had were within a Mayan church. Yes- a church and yes it surprised me, too! I knew that Catholicism is as wide-spread among the Maya people as it is in most parts of the world, yet what I didn't know is how the Maya people have united their ancient rituals and traditions with those of the Catholic church. You see, when you enter a Maya church, you are entering a cave, the womb of the Mother. The floors are covered with pine needles, symbolizing walking through a forest and the smoke from the copal incense is the mist. The Saints are dressed just like the natives and are friends and allies rather than punitive judges. It is a place of empowerment and grace. A place where the energy of devotion permeates every cell of every Being that comes to pray there. They come to light candles, to sing, and to chant. They come to offer gratitude for the gift of life. They come to ask for guidance through the darkest of times, never seeming to lose hope, for they know that there is always someone listening. I found myself weeping for the sheer vulnerability these sacred Beings mirrored to me. And now I continue to find myself in awe of bearing witness to how expansive this intent of mine truly is, remembering that I always have the choice to rest in the place of devotion that resides within the heart.

At the heart of A Path to Gnosis is the vision that as each Seeker 'remembers' their Divinity and connection to all of creation, we are co-creating peace and harmony on our beloved Mother Earth. The paradox of our world at this moment is that the very beliefs that are creating the most suffering and unrest are interconnected with the very thing that is a key to joy and peace. For we know that the illusion of separation and duality lies on the same pole as the choice to embrace the reality of polarities while maintaining oneness consciousness. What it boils down to is taking responsibility, or 'ability to respond',  for each of our parts in envisioning a world in which we recognize and honor our differences while knowing that underneath it all we are connected by the same thread of light that weaves throughout all of creation. I am honored to have been invited by fellow Seeker and dear compadre, Alisa Carr, to join her in offering circles dedicated to the uniting of mystical Christianity, the voice of the Sacred Feminine, and Shamanism. It has been beautiful and profound to share in the birth of these circles with Alisa through her Sacred 13 Journey, which is a 13 month program I offer Seekers who feel called to incorporate the Dreamspell lineage into their path in a very conscious and dedicated way. Please read the letter below from Alisa about the upcoming circles: 


On the evening of Monday, February 23, from 7:30-9:30pm we will gather at my home in SE Austin for A Healing Circle with Teresa of Avila, with a focus on Healing the Sexual/Sensual.  This is the first of three evenings of ceremony, meditation, and working consciously with aspects of self during the season of Lent.  Working with my Sister, Heather Neary of A Path to Gnosis, we will acknowledge the roots of our Feminine experience both in the mystical tradition of the Church and in the  Mystery School/Divine Feminine wisdom stream.  Each evening will be guided by sacred wisdom from a Saint considered to be a mystic of the Church, as well as by Shamanic healing practices, and other archetypal feminine energies known throughout the ages. 

On this evening of healing, it is my desire to allow the mystical experiences of Teresa of Avila, a Christian Mystic of the 16th Century, with her very intimate and sensual relationship with her Lord, Jesus, to envelop and permeate us as we bring to the surface the wounded sexual and sensual of our personal and collective experience.  This essential and beautiful aspect of our human nature has most often been denied, repressed, ignored, and abused.  At times, our sexuality has even been demonized!  The effects of this destructive energy, surely borne out of fear and desire for power, are vast and layered.  At the milder end of the spectrum, we experience shame around our bodies, shut downour natural desires, and struggle to have emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy in our relationships.  At the most devastating, we experience child sexual abuse, rape, and Sex Trafficking, personally and collectively.   With music, meditation, teachings, and ritual, we will offer up our individual and collective wounds for healing and transformation in sacramental space.

"In as much as the whole person is an embodiment of love's desire for fulfillment, each aspect of the person, each sense and faculty, is also filled with desire...thus, every part of us is, at its core, a desire for love's fulfillment..." This description of Teresa's theology of honoring and embracing desire, written by physician, Gerald May, sets the stage for not only healing what has been wounded, but stepping into a new way of living life.  It is my hope that this night of healing will be just the salve that is needed as we, in whatever phase of transformation each of us is in, turn towards embracing relationship with body, with intimate others, and with God, bursting with desire and new life!

Please RSVP by email, text, or phone call to Alisa at (512) 297-8717 or alisacarrcc@aol.com. The suggested donation for the evening is between $15-25.  I look forward to sharing this wisdom and experience with each of you as you feel called!

Remember to save the following dates:

Monday, March 23, 7:30-9:30pm                    Healing Circle with St Julian or Norwich, Healing the Shadow

Monday, March 30, 7:30-9:30pm                    Healing Circle with St Mary Magdalene, Feminine and Masculine Coming Together

Saturday, April 4, 10am-5pm                          Into the Cave of the Heart:  A Dream Retreat

With Love and Peace and Healing! Alisa

Sending love and gratitude to all as we journey this path of awakening together!

In ONE Love,