Several trends that continue to gain momentum center around reconnecting with Spirit, wisdom and the Sacred. For some people, that means recommitting to a church, while others incorporate teachings from shamanism, aboriginal wisdom, Goddess-culture, Nature, or other spiritual pathways into their everyday routines. That interest in reconnecting with the Sacred has risen during the same period that brought us Enron, 9/11, war, thieving executives, and psychopath-corporations in which “nothing is sacred” is no coincidence.
This renewed seeking demonstrates the gap left open by too many centuries of “half-Spirit” practices that honored and over-emphasized the archetypal Masculine, or Divine Father, and essentially dishonored and vehemently suppressed the archetypal Feminine, or Divine Mother.
This lop-sided focus is not without its costs, not the least of which are cultures of extreme violence, cruelty, greed, striving, corporate dominance, environmental plunder, and radical imbalance that trickle down to infect people in the same way. Archetypal Father without Divine Mother is anti-Christ — power without mercy, with results far from the common good.
When we bring the two together — Divine Father reunited with Divine Mother — and allow “the two to become one”, our individual lives and our communal or cultural realities can come into a healthier, more balanced whole that honors and integrates the best traits of both our archetypal Masculine and Feminine. There are various practices that help to foster this Divine reunion in and through us.
Our wisest ancestors knew this, which is why you’ll find reference to this concept in all major faith and wisdom traditions (albeit more mischievously hidden in some), from the teachings of Jesus to those of the Buddha and the Sufis, to the wisdom of tribal shamans and medicine elders, and certainly in cultures that pre-dated all of these.
Unfortunately, perhaps one of the saddest and most harmful consequences of the dominating, separatist, Patriarchal approach to religion has been the forced detachment from Spirit and all that connected us with Divine wisdom — in which a few select persons (who often had less than admirable agendas) had to mediate for us, and all that connected us directly with Spirit and the Sacred was discouraged, shunned, destroyed, or murdered.
While our small minds might resist this in favor of staying rigidly protective of our dogmatic beliefs, our hearts and souls will yearn for unification between Father and Mother, because it is the state of our highest wisdom and greatest potential. God wants us to be whole.
We are grateful that our elders and ancestors left us such a rich legacy of wisdom teachings and resources to help us find our way back to wholeness. By tapping into the wisdom and practices that they have left for us, we can renew them, and become renewed by them.
Practices for Connecting with the Power of Sacred Wisdom
Ultimately, any menu of Sacred and Ancestor wisdom practices is very personal, based on one’s cultural traditions, faith and wisdom practices, preferences, and place at any given moment. Yet there are a few practices that are included in many cultures to foster a connection with the Divine and to discern the insight and wisdom we see reflected there, and then incorporate that in practical ways into our everyday lives. By doing so, we are able to think, speak and act more mindfully and skillfully, and have a more positive effect on those around us.
The Sacred-Wisdom practices reviewed in this article include:
- Sacred reading
- Journaling (sacred writing)
- Sacred space and ritual
- Ancestor wisdom
- Living prayer
Brain-stilling: meditation, prayer and reflection.
Meditation, prayer and reflection are cornerstones of just about every faith tradition and practice, whether organized or less formal. Just as we recognize the value of brainstorming when we want to explore ideas and evoke creativity, we must also allow time for brain-stilling.
Brain-stilling takes us out of “busy routine” mindset where we are inclined to react, and allows a spaciousness or quietness in which we can connect with the Divine or Sacred pulse — our archetypal wisdom that resides in the collective conscious and our very cellular memory — and the insight, intuition, wisdom, and discernment that Divine connection offers us.
The ancient Egyptians called it “ptah”, which was essentially the void or spaciousness from which all creativity emerges. Jesus spoke of Sophia, or Divine Mother Wisdom, and may have also been familiar with the concept of ptah. Meditation, prayer, and reflection allow you to connect with, be nourished by, and create from Sacred ptah and Sophia.
Many people find comfort in the sacred texts of their religious and wisdom traditions, and with more contemporary translations of these and other sacred writings. In some cultures, the teachings are passed along through oral stories and teachings, and would thus offer “sacred listening” or reflection on the lessons. The key is to allow for a whole mind-body-spirit connection to the texts or teachings, rather than just a mental or intellectual connection.
If you wish to allow time in the morning upon rising, and the evening before sleeping, or throughout the day as you feel the need for reconnection to Spirit, have a collection of sacred texts and favorite excerpts at arm’s reach (or ear’s reach). You can also, after your reading, allow for a few moments of reflection or meditation to “sit with” the sacred theme, and let it transform you.
Journaling (sacred writing).
Creativity has long been one avenue of both Divine connection and sacred expression, whether the creativity be expressed in writing, painting, dancing, etc. Journaling doesn’t require that you be a professional writer. Each person has a fountain of creativity flowing into and through them. The problem is that too many of us don’t allow the expression to flow from us.
By taking the time regularly to write about our experiences, insights, observations, questions, etc. in a journal, we consciously or unconsciously invite God or Spirit to bathe us with insight that guides us towards greater understanding and mindful action. A collage can be a form of visual journal, and can even be combined into your written journal.
The act of journaling or collaging can be unplanned — we write or collage intuitively, as inspired in the moment — or we can go into our journaling or collaging session with a specific question in mind for which we would like Divine guidance or Ancestor wisdom. This practice is sometimes seen as allowing Spirit to create through us, or “writing through.”
Many cultures see dream time as more than just ‘sleep’. While our bodies are resting and recuperating from our daily active state, our spirits or souls are in connection with our Divine elders and guides who are but aspects of the One Great Spirit. There are some people who would say, “I don’t have dreams,” but they are probably just not remembering their dreams. Some people seem to have dream-communication as a more prominent “communication pathway”, and either reflect on or write down (or both) the messages they receive in their dreamtime.
Shamans and medicine elders from indigenous tribes, for example, are known for their ability to move into the Spirit world, often using dreamtime, to communicate and bring back wisdom and healing-insight for use in the everyday matters of the tribe or an individual in the tribe who is in need of guidance or healing.
Even though it may seem easier for some, it is also often a matter of clear, humble intention and practice. Most people can access this particular wisdom-space for Divine connection, insight, or healing. Robert Moss’s book, Conscious Dreaming, is one excellent source, as are Hank Wesselman’s books (Journey to the Sacred Garden, etc.) And there are others. Books about dream symbols and animal totems may be helpful, but always trust your own intuition with regards to what a particular symbol might mean for you.
Ask friends and mentors for reading recommendations, or trust your own intuition in looking for resources, and always ask, “What wisdom is this dream trying to convey to me” before allowing someone else’s interpretation to become “gospel” for you. (Daydreams can also be very telling, so pay attention to what your daydreams might be revealing to you.)
All of us have a rich ancestry from which to draw strength and wisdom, whether we know it or not. In the most literal sense, we think of our ancestors as those from whom we descend biologically. But our ancestors are really all who have gone before us, and all who exist outside of or beyond us in the dimensions of Spirit.
There have been cultures through the ages that didn’t perceive a great distance between the material and spiritual world. Indigenous cultures, Celtic culture, and others perceived that the “veil” separating matter and Spirit worlds was thinner in certain places and at certain times. Being connected with Spirit was assumed, rather than rejected, and thus drawing wisdom from ancestors both biological and Spiritual was a more routine part of life. Even now, people and cultures who haven’t abdicated the connection with Spirit continue to enjoy the solace, wisdom, and groundedness that comes from this connection.
Though we’ve lived in a culture that has too often encouraged us to forget our connection to Spirit and Ancestors, we can easily cultivate it, and gain strength and insight. We can collect the stories of our own elders and Ancestors, read the stories and wisdom passed down by others, savor the Sacred wisdom left for us in scriptures, or include our Ancestors in our prayers, meditations, dreamtime journeys, and sacred spaces.
We might even research the origins of our names and those of our biological ancestors, learn our genealogy and gain a deeper understanding about the historical time that certain of our forebears lived, and journal or collage the gifts we receive from connecting with and honoring the wisdom of our ancestors in these ways. We may intuitively feel called to the wisdom practices of certain ancestor-cultures.
We gain a sense of rooted strength from remembering them and reflecting on the qualities that come to mind, and we can inquire for guidance and insight. Ultimately, our rich ancestry is yet another reflection of the Great One that creates and flows through all, and thus the wisdom that we gain from our ancestors is but the wisdom that passes through them from the One (God, Spirit).
Sacred space and sacred ritual.
Another practice that has existed through the ages, and one that our Ancestors recent and ancient most likely included, is the creation of sacred space and sacred ritual to keep us connected to the Sacred and Divine spirit within and around us.
Some churches have long exhibited a mastery at creating sacred space, and people go to church to bask in the sacredness conveyed by stained glass, chanting, incense, quietness, etc. And many people — past and present — have created sacred spaces in their homes and workplaces, so that there is always a reminder that they are part of a Grand Unity, a great and Divine design, and are thus inspired to think, act, speak and feel accordingly towards themselves and all others who are threads in the Divine fabric.
Creating sacred space may include creating a prayer shrine or table, or an “Ancestor” shelf (or, as I was inspired to create, an Ancestor mantle), that convey a sense of sacred connection to the strength and wisdom of our Ancestors and of Divine Spirit: candles, photos, religious reminders, incense, stones, textiles, prayer beads, feathers, etc.
Creating sacred rituals often is a way of committing a specific time or practice that helps us to enter into a sort of communion with the Divine, through reflection, prayer and meditation. Sacred ritual, as in the case of church, can also be a communal effort, in which we share Divine inspiration with others in our community.
Each approach is a work of personal inspiration, and such places offer an excellent opportunity for us to slow down, appreciate our Ancestors and all that they’ve given to us, and feel for a moment our connection with the Divine Mother and Father in whom all live.
Living sacred values, or “living prayer”.
All spiritual and philosophical traditions include “codes to live by”, and it’s often remarkable how similar these core values are. Most include some form of what the Buddhists’ call right view, right speech, right action, right livelihood, etc.
In Christianity, as well as other traditions, traits such as patience, kindness, loving compassion, and forgiveness are to be cultivated through sacred ritual, reading, and the other types of practices shared above (and others). You may have read or heard someone say, “My life is a prayer,” or “to work is to pray,” for example.
All of the sacred or spiritual practices are geared towards helping people to foster these traits or ways of seeing within them so that their thoughts, words, and actions reflect loving kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and other traits associated with Divine wisdom. Such Sacred or spiritual practices are designed to help us walk our talk, and live in alignment with the sacred tenets.
There are other ways to practice Sacred connection, to honor and unify Divine Mother and Father, and enrich ourselves and our world as a result. The world as it currently stands so desperately needs the loving, compassionate, and wise action fostered by unified Divine inspiration.
This article was originally featured at Ivy Sea Online and is reprinted with permission.
© 2006 – 2014, Jamie Walters. All rights reserved.