I’m not sure when it started, but it feels as if it’s been every year of my conscious life that I’ve tried to have as much time as possible to be alone during Holy Week and Pesach…. Though at first I was not very aware of the historically intertwined stories of Easter and Passover, a portrait sketched of intense emotions, images and concretely physical sensations has emerged for me over the years. Foreboding, pain, doubt and resignation; gratitude, compassion, ecstasy and transcendence – all these have cycled through me, weaving an ever clearer portrait of the events commemorated by so many of our human family each year….
Here in Italy, the imprint of Easter is worn like the via cava and the lined faces of the Tuscan peasant people, deep into the flesh of the land and its people. We begin our work in the pulsing heart, Roma, where we are blessed to have rooms in the haven of a convent on the Via Sistina. The churches of San Stefano and Sant’Agnese are monuments to Christian suffering and sacrifice, celebrating in pornographic detail the horrors experienced by multitudes of martyrs and serving no other possible purpose than to instil guilt, to fan the flames of righteous outrage and to instigate the eye-for-an-eye retribution that has polluted human history for far too long…. I can feel within myself how these ornate, gilded images of barbarism, exquisitely rendered in monumental proportion – this juxtaposition of the heinous and the heavenly – has the capacity to create the kind of personality fragmentation that has been so efficiently and frequently deployed to manipulate the masses into hatred and inhumanity. … Unless one reads between the lines….
Amidst the horrors of the church of San Stefano Rotondo, winged dragons appear, symbols of the life currents flowing though the land, to guide one’s attention to an image, partially hidden by an altar, of a pregnant Magdalene standing beside Yeshua. The sacred feminine abides, hidden within the Earth and the Blood, while civilization rages its way into exhaustion or extinction.
In the church of Sant’ Agnese fuori la mura, where rest the bodies of the martyred Stes. Agnes and her ‘milk-sister’, Emerentiana, Templar/ Gnostic images can be seen at every turn, and on the floor tiles before the altar is again a winged dragon, inspiring one to see the humiliation and attempted defilement of these young girls as allegorical: one may attempt, but will never truly succeed, in debasing the sacred feminine. When we try to, we only succeed in making ourselves smaller….
That night, acid started pouring out of my body, burning, itching memories releasing from and through me.
The next day we gravitated to the Pantheon…As we approached, it felt as if a huge magnet or black hole was pulling us toward it. It rose before us as we rounded a corner, indescribably immense with the energy of the Earth, practically humming with power. Agnes and I both immediately felt these to be the same ancient potencies as at the temple complexes of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra that we remembered from Malta. I couldn’t hold back tears and felt as if my legs were crumbling under me before we steadied ourselves, combining our energies for whatever lay ahead. In simple ceremony within and outside the Pantheon, my experience was that we connected with and helped release trapped energies from deep within the earth. I saw them burst forth, freed from long imprisonment.
The weather was wonderful, so we walked …and walked…and walked.
We walked to the Forum, did ceremony to help dissolve the cycle of fear, violence and retribution – of domination and subjugation – ingrained there, and discovered a church right next to it, full of sculptures of bees….In its crypt, life-size sculptures of four women martyrs stood at each corner of a square just beside a bas-relief of the most moving image I have ever seen of the preparation of the body of Yeshua for resurrection…. I saw bees enter from the four directions, becoming a swirling hive in the centre of the square as we hummed clear light and sound to fill the church.
Circling around an extremely chic wedding party that was exiting the Capitoline Museum (the bride, elegant and startling in a form-fitting gown of red satin with a matching train), we had coffee and cookies and then did sound ceremony on the museum rooftop, above the Lux in Arcana exhibit of the Vatican’s secret archives and with a view straight through to the Vatican itself. The prayers were that the Light of Truth and the True Light be freed to illuminate the world…
The last work of the day was at the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone (where the skull of St. Agnes is kept) that sits amidst the “sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” energies of the Piazza Navona. The statues in the fountains, the drug dealers and their clients, the artists poisoning themselves with spray-paint – all held the energy of the distorted masculine. It was so appropriate that this church be dedicated to the patron saint of rape victims…. Standing at the foot of the aisle in front of the officiating priest who was reading the gospel account of Easter, I reached with my mind into his heart and saw that he needed to believe the edited version of the truth that he was reading to the devoted few in the church pews. As the celebration of the mass continued, we left and went around to the back of the church, where one often can find an energetic entrance or portal. We were not disappointed. As darkness fell, we did ritual for the sacred, whole and empowered feminine to enter this church and all churches – through the back door perhaps for now, but soon to take her place – the Bride, returned. I saw a golden light rise from ancient passageways under the Church to illuminate the altar and then swirl outward to fill the church and radiate to the world.
That night, acid again poured out of my body. My scalp burned – the skin peeled and wept so much I could not lay my head down….
The next day, Palm Sunday, we stood on a hill overlooking the “back door” of the Vatican and did a similar ceremony, as four white birds flew by in a squared formation, and sheep nibbled on the grass. We knew that a group of Dutch men was going to be working with the same purpose from within the walls of Vatican City within the next few days, so we felt we were preparing their way.
The words that came in prayer were that when Yeshua entered the gates of Jerusalem on a donkey, to the singing of Hosanna and the waving of palm branches, the Temple was unprepared for his arrival. Now, in these awaited and prophesied times, the Temple – the Earth, the human body, the material world – is ready to be infused with Spirit – with what much of the world understands as the Christ Consciousness.
Rome was expensive and exciting, awe-inspiring and horrifying; it was Civilisation personified. Within the name ROMA, we find AMOR: the life force – the passion – coursing through this city manifests every imaginable tint and shade of the human understanding of this one most challenging of words: LOVE.