Yoga Wicca Buddha

Exploring a personal, eclectic path by looking at the intersection of three great traditions.

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Archer

Archer

 
Archer has been trying to make sense of religion since her parents first abandoned her at Sunday School in the 60s. She’s a mom, yoga teacher and repository of useless bits of information on ancient religion, spiritual practices and English grammar. Check out her column “Connections” in Witches and Pagans.
 

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Oedipus Complex

I snap to attention as I approach the customs booth at the border. As I roll down the window and proffer my passport, the officer asks if I’ve “ever been inside.” It’s a nerve-wracking moment. “Inside?” as in jail? Finally I realize I’m being asked to pull over for a search. I’m so freaked out that I run up over the curb and strip a tire.

 

Basically, I turn into a puddle of worry when faced with any kind of official authority. I have this vague but powerful feeling that I am about to be found out and apprehended for some unknown, unintentional or overlooked shortcoming. And I don’t think I’m alone. Perhaps that’s why the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus is still so powerful.

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Tragedy, Magic and Grammar

The calls for magical intervention kept coming, interspersed with medical updates that were presented as progress, despite all evidence to the contrary. There’d been a tragic accident, and a young person was on life support, unresponsive. Emotional emails flew back and forth, many filled with hope and confidence in the power of magic and affirmation.

I participated at first. But when we were asked to use a spell formula affirming the miracle of a complete recovery, I stepped away. I worried that we were asking too much, that this person's nearest and dearest were going to be either devastated or exhausted by their hope against hope. Energy was being expended at a rate that would inevitably demand a crash. Perhaps even a soul was being held to earth when it was time for it to fly free.

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My Distant Gods

At the healing ritual, held one night in a mountainside lodge, scores of people paced, swayed, chanted, lay on the floor, laid their hands on others. I too paced and swayed, watched and lay down. It was overwhelming to see so many vulnerable, so many moved to a caring beyond words. Filled to overflowing, I walked out to the open lawn, leaving the longing and tears behind me.

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Lost Horizon

 

It’s easy to lose the horizon in my city life. Surrounded by tall buildings, staring down into the phone, I’m preoccupied and contracted. So every now and then, especially when I’m stressed, I think of Scarborough Beach, Maine. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Archer, Don't be sorry! I always love reading your stuff. It's gold.
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Thanks, Jamie--sorry I'm so late to reply! I loved your Marcus Aurelius quote, and it reminded me of an old hymn lyric: "Time like
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Archer, As usual, great stuff! Maine is one of our favorite places to vacation, and I have also pondered eternity at the seashor

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Taking Refuge in Reality

Five of us, variously exhausted or uplifted, sat distributed on couches in the interview room. Our meditation teacher was checking in with us in the midst of a week-long silent retreat. One by one we responded. As usual, there were the usual happy yogis who had reached new heights of concentration, complete with interesting spiritual effects. The rest of us were detailing our rather more mundane struggles with the practice: distractions, obsessive thoughts, doubts. I had just finished adding my troubles to the pile when the teacher sent me a level look and said: “This is how it is right now.”

 

This is how it is right now. The whole of the Dharma in seven words.

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Offer It Up

I stood on a subway platform as trains roared by, oblivious, paralyzed. I had been frozen by a brief, polite encounter with a former co-worker, a few weeks after I’d been laid off from my very first job, as a community college English teacher. My last set of students—young men in practical disciplines — had filled their evaluations with comments on my dress and appearance: “She should wear shorter skirts.” “She should wear more make-up.” It was decided my relationship with them had been “too personal", and my contract was not extended. Standing on the platform, remembering all this, a renewed sense of shame burned in my heart.

 

Over the years I would understand what happened better, with a more sophisticated eye. But at the time I was looking for emergency first aid. And I found it in the practice of “offering it up.”

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  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    loved that
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Thank you. That's high praise from someone I so admire.

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Looking to the Stars

It was a silent, windless night far north, beyond the harsh lights of city and suburb. I was lying belly down on a dock, staring into utterly still water. The diamond splash of stars above was reflected perfectly beneath me.

 

I was rapt, drawn out of myself by the strangeness of finding stars above and below. With a slight shift in perception, suddenly all was space and points of light. I was falling, floating in this wondrous, mesmerizingly unfamiliar space. I was suspended, lost in an ocean of stars. 

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  • Kari
    Kari says #
    Loved it! Brilliant as usual.
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    You are too kind! Thank you!

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