The Womb of Creation
“In the beginning, there is darkness. It is the womb out of which we are born. Darkness may be a blessed dimming of our ego-driven striving, a destination, and condition of safety and repose. In this state of trusting refuge, the light of divine revelation, which pierces but does not castigate darkness, may finally be seen. This is a mothering darkness, that nurses its offspring.”
I sit here in the wild garden at Chateaux Malerargue in southern France, miles away from my home and life in Canada, yet so intimately connected to the world in a deeper, more expansive way. This wild permaculture garden sits in front of the old chateaux, on a gentle slope towards the valley and hills beyond. I have offered to help water and care for this garden while I am staying here, and it feels like it is really a way of tending to my own inner garden, the rich soil holding both seeds of potential and weeds that need to be removed.
The dream catchers suspended from some of the trees gently swing in the breeze, ready to catch whatever images and thoughts arise in my mind so I can take my time to explore more deeply. There is a hammock, suspended in the top of one tree and open to the sky above. It is an invitation to relax and take it slowly, and simply watch the clouds as they form and dissolve in an endless array of shapes. I smile as I think how much Coley would have loved this garden and these trees, and how they would love her right back. Coley was the daughter of my dear friend Lanette. She died of cancer the same year my own mother did. I send off a prayer for Lanette, as it floats off and dissolves like the clouds in the sky. I trust somehow it will reach its destination.
In one corner of the garden is a small meditation hut, a collection of thick bamboo stalks that arch together to form a dome shaped top. Sunlight and shadow dance together in perfect harmony to reveal the sacred space within. Two large rocks sit at the entranceway, like silent sentinels guarding this invisible threshold between the seen and the unseen. Perfectly suspended from the center beam formed from a sturdy tree at the back, is a hammock chair, gently swaying in the breeze. I hear it whisper “Come and sit awhile with me.” I sense that a vibrant inner world awaits. ”
And so with a long slow breath, I sit down, allowing the weight of my body to settle into the canvas swing. At first I keep my feet on the ground, wondering if this bamboo structure can truly support the full weight of my body. I sit still for a moment, feeling both the support of the earth under my feet and the tree the swing hangs from. Then slowly, I lift my feet up off the ground, and fold my legs into the traditional cross-legged meditation position. The canvas sides of the hammock swing instantly hugs in tightly to shoulders and hips, and the swing begins to spin in a spiraling motion. The image of being held securely in the womb of creation comes to me, ripe and full of endless possibilities. Here in this moment I am suspended effortlessly between heaven and earth, visible and invisible, form and formless, this moment and all moments.
This image of the womb of creation is a powerful symbol of where I feel I am in my life right now. All the experiences of my life, all my relationships, all my longing, all my practice, are like seeds of wisdom slowly ripening and sprouting, full of endless possibility, ready to be birthed in me. It is a fertile time of watching and waiting in the darkness of “not knowing” as my mind and heart slowly opens.
It feels like I am in a time of simplifying and shedding, letting go of that which I no longer need. Like a woman who is almost ready to give birth, there is that natural feeling of slowing down, of nesting and going inwards in preparation for the actual birth. I feel resistance to reading and consuming any more information whether books or online courses or live workshops. I’ve begun to avoid large social gatherings. There is simply a longing for silence and solitude. The message seems to be to let go of outer maps and teachers, and find and trust my own way, my own wisdom, my own knowing.
“There is a sacred opening in the soul that cannot be filled by anything external. The time comes when you know you can no longer wallpaper this void. If you are outside yourself, always reaching beyond yourself, you avoid the call of your own Mystery.”
John O’Donohue, Anam Cara
Vickie MacArthur, July 2018
Chateaux Malerargues, Southern France