The rewilding of Metta

- through Francois Leclercq

Published on

Welcome, dear readers, to a new month of taking put from the meditation cushion and into the world.

In November, I felt like all ages were learning from a new mother Metta's fourth trimesterwhile December brought me to contemplate another season of female life: single life.

Regular readers may remember Sow the seeds of Metta, which described an outdoor summer solstice ceremony celebrating the longest day of the year in June, hosted by a local goddess temple. This same group held an indoor winter solstice ceremony celebrating the shortest day of the year in December. After several weeks of hibernation as a result of workplace policies at the organic regenerative farm I have lived and worked on since April, an invitation to help welcome the light back seemed like a good reason to venture out from my makeshift mama bear's cave.

After the summer solstice, I befriended the temple mother – a term used for the woman who oversees the temple's volunteer stewards (known as Melissas) – who introduced me for the first time to Cuda, the local Earth Mother Goddess in the Cotswolds, and taught me how to invoke her while gardening. We would meet up occasionally at the temple, farm, or weekend farmers' market stand, where I helped sell organic produce, and then, after she broke her foot a few years ago month, in his apartment. Covered in goddess artwork, crystals and even a purple patchwork sofa nestled in the ancient fireplace, it's as inspiring to visit as the temple itself.

Our conversations are my favorite, covering every topic under the sun, uncensored, over tea, laughter and the occasional biscuit. Before joining the temple and moving to the area after retiring from care work, she had done a lot of spiritual exploration in various Christian denominations and was interested in hearing what had drawn me to Buddhist meditation.

Confined at home until she could safely walk again, she spoke about the spiritual politics she had encountered over the years, which echoed my own political experience on organic farms where I have been volunteering for the last year and a half. Although it was sweet to discover a kindred spirit, it was also bittersweet to discover how feminine shadows seemed to pop up everywhere.

She shared her personal observation that much of the political fallout we had both experienced was due to an imbalance between feminine and masculine energies, particularly the suppression of the feminine. Thinking back on the domestic violence, animal cruelty, frustration, playfulness, bitterness and exhaustion I had witnessed among the women on this farming trip, I was all totally agree and wondered if this was an embodiment of a more universal imbalance in the way agriculture has evolved. treated the Earth over time.

When I asked her what her favorite blessing or ceremony to perform as temple mother was, the answer surprised me: purple tents! Apparently, welcoming women into their single lives was both extremely satisfying for her and especially helpful to women after menopause.

Although I had heard the term old woman before, it was generally derogatory, so I asked what it meant to her. She read me a touching poem she had written about reaching the point where she no longer feared emptiness or what was expected of her, whether it was an empty nest , bad behavior or even death.

Listening to her poem triggered a happy personal revelation while reading the wonderful book by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (Ballantine Books 1996) for the first time when I was 21, and made me reconsider what she had said about old women:

Clarissa Pinkola Estes suggests that the word crone may derive from the word corona (or la corona). While a crown is known as a circle that goes around the head and establishes a person's authority as a leader, "before this understanding, the crown, the corona, meant the halo of light around the body of somebody. The crown was considered to shine brightest when a person was clear, filled with love and justice. Thus, Estes suggests, the Crone is one that reflects this increased degree of clarity and vision.


In our respective ways, we were both stepping back from our daily realities to gain perspective and consider next steps when faced with unexpected voids: the temple mother wondering “what next?” if the temple premises were to close in the new year due to financial pressures, and I was wondering “what next?” after realizing that this organic farming chapter of my life was coming to an end and I no longer wanted to start my own small farm.

And so attending the winter solstice ceremony proved to be an ideal opportunity to generate put for any imbalance of light and shadow, give and take, masculine and feminine energies; yin and yang of all kinds.

Arriving at the temple on the shortest day of the year, it was heartening to see that so many women had made the effort to attend, given how busy the run-up to Christmas and New Years can be. be frantic for many. The youngest was six years old and the eldest was 80 years old.

During the ceremony, each woman present was invited to light a candle in an effort to welcome light back to the world. As I silently reflected on all that I had recently learned from sitting with a new mother, a new old woman, and my own new emptiness, my intention was summed up as “that all receive what they have most needed to grow.”

Afterwards, over a private cup of tea with the temple mother, she asked me if I had any idea of ​​the next steps yet. I confessed that I felt frustrated, still in the dark about it. She then wisely reassured me: “If you really didn’t know what the next step would be, you would be curious. However, feeling frustrated tells me that you are close, that part of you already knows but doesn't remember yet.

Last month, a new mother inviting me to think about myself giving birth was precisely the put-phore I needed to let go of other people's drama and create a cave moment for myself. And this month, a new old lady reminding me that an older, wiser me already knew what my next step was. put-phor that I needed to hear to feel at peace with my personal rewilding.

One of the celebrants, a practicing witch whose former job was delivering online grocery orders, mentioned that the next morning a local church would open its doors for people to follow a pagan solstice spiral .

Intrigued, I arrived first thing and unexpectedly had the church to myself. I grabbed an unlit tea light to take with me on the 2023 outing, walked the giant spiral on the ground made of evergreen tree branches clockwise toward a center candle, I lit the tea light, took it out counterclockwise to welcome 2024 and placed it. around a terrestrial globe.

As the sun slowly rose through the stained glass windows all around, I welcomed the new light with each next step.

So, dear readers, whatever inner and outer imbalances we all face now, remember to nourish yourself with the tenderness of a new mother and walk with the sovereignty of a new old woman as we enter all in the desert which is 2024.

Or for put-morphs lyrics from “Step By Step:” by Annie Lennox

Step by step
Day after day
Kilometer per kilometer
go your way

Like a new excursion
(I know you're hurting)
On an open road
(I know you do)
I have the
put To take me
(I know you're hurting)
Just where I want to go
(don't let the bad thing get to you)

Come on baby, keep moving
Come on baby, keep going
Continue. . .

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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