The Sacred Woman
I’ve travelled the world, searching for items for my sacred altar,
A slab of worn wood,
paint peeled back, placed in the corner of the room.
A reminder to pray,
A mirror to my soul,
Take me back home to God.
Meticulously placed beeswax candles resting in the four corners
A scattering of Turkish rose petals
An English yew tree branch
And an autumnal cluster of leaves;
Our Lady, calmly standing amidst the chaos,
Arms outstretched in surrender.
Yes, here was my holy altar.
But then I fell in love and I discovered my moon-like heart,
Which waxed and waned
And when I experienced the dark,
prayer was my light
palms touching was my way back home
the bow of my head was my surrender
my knees on the ground,
And so all the candles
Fell away until it was just me kneeling there
And it was then I learnt that my heart is my altar.
And in my search for God, I looked for sacred space.
A place where the Divine speaks its drop-to-your-knees, throw-your-hands-up truth.
Where I could dance between ancient oaks
And pray on mountaintops
And draw the Goddess down.
But then my niece was born into this world
And her holiness was evident in her every breath
Her divinity pervading her every glance
Her Godliness, still in her touch and her smell.
She had been created in sacredness,
A literal sanctity that is the womb.
I knew I had found my sacred space within me.
So then I searched for The Word.
A snippet of wisdom that would remind me of home,
A map that would guide me back to where I had come from,
A holy story to connect me to God.
Until one day I decided to read my heart
And listen to the rush of the blood through my veins.
Sometimes, I was soaring over ancient Palmyra
and breathing in the fresh scent of Damascene jasmine.
Sometimes I was underground, so alone with what I had done that my memories seeped into my flesh,
And my regrets burned into my muscle,
Until I realized my story had been written on my bones,
And it is this story that is now my holy book,
Its words, The Words of wisdom I spent so long looking for.
I have given my whole life to my search for the sacred,
And discovered myself instead.
My body is the temple in which my altar stands
And my womb is my sacred space.
The words on my bones are the words of God
And the wisdom they contain is my own.
Here is the sacred woman and this is the truth of her.
So to you sister, I bow.