Last week I attended a lecture given by the radical theologian, Marcus Borg. Here’s a glimpse of this marvelous being’s work:
“Mystics have, to use the broad traditional definition, an ‘experiential knowledge of God.’ Mystics also know something more; namely, they know the immediacy of access to God. Not immediacy in the sense of ‘ease,’ as if access to God is easy, but that God is accessible to experience apart from mediators, that is, apart from institution and tradition. Mystics stand in an unbrokered relationship with God. They do not intrinsically become anti-institution or anti-tradition— but they know that no institution or tradition has a monopoly on access to the sacred. For this reason, mystics have often been distrusted and sometimes persecuted by the official representatives of the religious traditions in which they have lived. (Marcus Borg, Jesus: Uncovering the Life Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary)
But as soon as I entered the Church where Borg was speaking, familiar feelings arose in my body – anger, grief, betrayal, frustration, feeling left out, unseen, unknown. They derive from when I was a little girl and being told my “Call” to be a priest wasn’t real because I was female. They derive from my fast and furious academic studies in feminist theology. They derive from the atrocities the Church has committed against all “Others.” And they derive from something
Now, you would think (or maybe have hoped) that I would have, er, what’s the most spiritually-typical word to use here, oh yeah, “transcended” this popular patriarchal sob story, but when honest human feelings arise and are acknowledged and honored (and not immediately transcended), they become potent messengers. And there was a message my soul needed to receive that day.
Soon my feelings fell into sentences:
Goddamn it’s f-king intense to be part of a discredited spiritual lineage!
A lineage that most view as pure fiction (best-selling of course, thanks Dan Brown), wishful thinking, blood-line elitism, a creative construct, a conspiracy theory, a New Age niche, a pop-cultural fantasy, a feminist re-imagining, a psychological projection, not too mention theologically improbable and historically improvable…
and a lineage that happens to be my soul’s spiritual home.
I’m talking about the lineage created by the reality and the metaphor of Jesus, Magdalene, and their virtually unheard of daughter, Sarah.
For me, this lineage that has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with love.
It’s a lineage (like other lineages) that reflects a universal perspective: the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine coming together in love, for love, and as love in order to create new Life.
Although this particular lineage excludes no one, it appears like it has been excluded by almost everyone.
That said, I’m well aware of the myriad alternative books, workshops, websites, channelings, visitations, past-life stories, psychic phenomenon, ascended masters, occult/gnostic/tantric/sacred sex/twin flame/secret society depictions of this lineage, and I respect (most of) them.
However, I know this lineage only from my own experiences, my own body, my soul’s memories, and most importantly, my wildly beating red heart.
And it is from that, and only that, which I speak.
You see, as much as I’ve longed for solid proof of my lineage – sacred texts, time-honored practices, respected teachers, something stable to place my inner knowing upon, something that doesn’t make me sound (to my ego) like a nutty fruitcake – over the years, I’ve come to learn that when it comes to this lineage, if I search outside, I stay outside. I come to know and trust my divine human heritage as I come to know and trust my Self.
While it’s been fine not to mention my lineage in most of my public work, lately it has begun to feel, well, not so fine. It has begun to feel like I’m hiding that which gives me the grace, fire and ability to not just share what I share, but to be who I am.
If I throw the covers back: every book, article or blog post I write, every talk, soul fire session, or interview I give, every spiritual move I make stems not just from my soul, but also from my soul’s unique transmission of this lineage.
What else stems from my relationship with this lineage? Most of my psychological issues, spiritual shadows, and greatest fears. In fact, everything I have done and been on this planet – the good, the bad, and the downright nasty – relates to this lineage.
So yeah, my karma with this lineage is thick. My dharma with this lineage is distinct. My resistance to my role in this lineage is impressive. My fear of publicly linking myself to this lineage is classic. My rage at what the Church has done to this lineage is massive. My ego’s attempts to protect and “fight for” this lineage are futile. My grief around what has happened to this lineage shatters my human heart into 2000 years of jagged pieces.
Do I think I’m the only one experiencing All This? The only one having a crazy closeted cosmic connection with this unrecognized lineage?
Sometimes. When my wounds have covered my eyes and I stop seeing you.
Most of the time I know I’m not alone with All This. (I see you)
Does my loyalty to this lineage and admitting its influence on my public work and private life make me feel special? Superior? Unique? Chosen?
It makes me be real.
Because my soul’s longing to serve “her lineage” is the most honest thing about me.
But as you can read (and probably sense), my confusion about what to “do” about my lineage crashes against every word I write.
Luckily, my love for this lineage is bigger than my confusion, fear, rage, and grief…as is their love for me (and for us all).
As I felt all this banging against my bones in that church last week, I soon began to feel my lineage gently pressing into my awareness with their familiar presence. I looked down at the ground and saw a red cushion directly under my pew hosting an image of a red butterfly fluttering below the word “Resurrection.” I looked up and met a magnificent red-winged Seraphim shimmering in the stained glass window directly above the crucifix hanging over the altar. I gasped and looked to my left and found another stained glass image of a woman with a child wrapped in scarlet by her side. The little girl was leaning her head against her mama and staring straight into my eyes.
My soul received her Teaching.
This lineage resurrects as we do. It comes back to life as we Come Back to Life. It has been cocooned for 2000 years for sacred reasons that find no relief in the mind, only the heart. Our metamorphosis has been mandatory. We needed to grow up. And now, the cocoon is tearing us open. How we choose to unfold our colorful wings and fly with our feet firmly planted on
the ground is entirely up to us.
It always has been.