The Virgin and the Baths

by Sue Oxley

Lourdes grotto © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia CommonsLourdes is a very complicated place. In many ways it is the Glastonbury of France, in that the veils are so thin there that it's not surprising it's the most famous visionary town in the world. In Lourdes, when you close your eyes, the ease of meditation or prayer is startling. It is like jumping down into a river to reach the Goddess and being carried along towards her on a fast tide. In fact the element of water and its corresponding attributes of love, emotion, healing and rebirth flow through both the story of the visions and the experiences of people today. It allowed me on one special day to feel a really strong confirmation of my priestess role through the element of water, and the healing power of the Virgin.

Lourdes is, in fact, three different places. On the top of the hill above the River Gave is a very smart French town, with a Black Madonna in its spare and beautiful church and a really good market. Between the town and the Domaine – the Virgin's place – is a steep hill which is full of images of the Virgin from the heartbreakingly beautiful to the most dreadful sparkly tat, and lots of other stuff for pilgrims. The hill also has restaurants and bars where the food is shockingly bad for France, except, surprisingly, for the English-run cafe, where lovely pastries and really good tea is served. It always amazes me that the French - people who can produce wonderfully delicious and complicated food - can't make a decent cup of tea. Continue reading "The Virgin and the Baths"

The Goddesses of Time

by Sue Oxley

sweet peaThe beauty of nature is in the circles She creates, the spinning of the galaxies and the twining of the sweet pea, the turning of the seasons and the circle of our lives.  'Nature hates a straight line' my grandmother used to say, 'probably even more than a full-stop'.

Let's dance and move through the Circle of the Goddesses of Time, thinking about the shining reality of each while leaving behind Her clothes, sorting out what is real and valid and what is shimmering mist, as the circle twirls around us.

Persephone, the Child that sings in the meadow, that rolls down the hills through the flowers, that leaves behind the Mother and yet comes back at night when the dark is frightening.  Remember the wonder of moving so easily that it is like jumping on the moon, think of the loveliness of no worry, no knowledge of evil and hate, with just the dark to fear.

We pick up the Joy and leave behind the carelessness as we move to Artemis, while shouldering our fear of being alone, of having no apron to hide behind.

Continue reading "The Goddesses of Time"