What follows is an excerpt from a novel in progress. Enjoy!
"One more thing I want to add," Camille interjected, "it's not really about the sex. As I understood it from the panorama of experiences I've been shown on my journeys, when we were spirit beings in the very beginning of life on earth, there was nothing like what we experience as sex. It was not necessary. The flow of one into another on an energy level was an everyday occurrence, accomplished easily and naturally. Only when we became more thoroughly biological beings was that same communion only available to us through our sexual natures. We lost the ability or forgot how to flow into and out of each other as energy beings. We used to be more like electricity and less like biology. Now we word through our biology to achieve a facsimile of what used to be readily available to us."
"So why did we become biological beings?" Kathleen asked.
Camille looked at Nina, who picked up the thread based on numerous conversations they'd had over the years. Nina had heard so much about Camille's journeys, she often felt like she had been there. They had analyzed, reflected, and explored further. Sometimes Will had been part of the discussions, but he still had his regular teaching job at the high school. His historical insights were often differently illuminating of the themes. Nina, of course, had her spin on all that had evolved among the three of them. She looked around the room and her eyes rested on Kathleen before she spoke.
"It seems that our most ancient ancestors, the spirit-beings who began the population of earth had little, if any, experience of a biological reality. They had forms which easily shape-shifted so they could take on the essence and nature of the beings they observed, but could just as easily revert to their more fluid selves. Biology tends take on a specific form, to be more solid, to not as easily change form. That solidity has some advantages to the creation of certain experiences. The emotional intensity of mammalian existence held a particular fascination to these spirit-beings. It was outside their understanding. They found it fascinating and understandably, at times, a bit scary.
I think biology provided the means to tell a different story than what these beings had previously experienced. They tried to dabble in biology without experiencing the down side without getting caught in the compelling contingencies of biological existence. Ultimately some felt they had to take the plunge headlong into a biological reality.
"This decision might be what got mythologized as "The Fall" or the fall from grace. Indeed to not be able to retreat into a purely spiritual existence when the going gets tough, well, that wholeheartedly changes the game. That's the condition in which we find ourselves stuck centuries, well-nigh millennia, later. We still miss our intimate connection with the Mothers or whatever spiritual form we seek connection with, and we're struggling to resolve the enormous difficulties of a primary biological existence. It turns out that biological reality has a fascinating complexity. Science has led us on a merry escapade of exploration and discovery. For centuries shamans, druids and others moved in and out of the spirit world and evolved their own science of how that worked for what were now primarily biological beings. The most troubling aspect of biology was the existence of predators and the predatory orientation. The rule of the predatory or domineering male permeates the bio-world. This was and is in major conflict with the ways and teachings of the Ancient Harmonies. When men and some women latched on to the power achieved through domination, it was the most seductive of drugs. Eventually most of the world was addicted or suffering the effects of others' addictions to this selfish power.
"The competition for domination of land, resources, and other people was off and running. We know that our telling of history is largely the battles for hegemony of competing empires. The enclaves of the old ways shrank before the onslaught of the force of arms. Fairy realms and other parallel universes continued to play a role in human lore for a long time. Some peoples were able to hold out because of geographic isolation. High mountains, extensive deserts and isolated islands were the domiciles of a fortunate few, while the bulk of humanity was hell-bent to win the domination game. Yet it seems there must have been and still is some purpose in gaining such an intimate understanding of this carbon-based material reality. Despite the enormous suffering a captivating story continues to unfold. The test of all spiritual principles lies in our biological existence. When we are able to make the more spiritual choice in spite of the apparent dictates of biology, it is the reality of that mythological wrestling match with the devil.
"We seem to be reaching a point in the story where our biological existence will not continue unless we are able to reconnect with or reconstruct the Ancient Harmonies, the ways of the Mothers. We must relearn cooperation as our prime directive or the deadliness of the competition will surely kill us. In short, we must cooperate or die. We are part of the necessary revival of the Ancient Harmonies. We are relearning a cooperation that is based on a profound sense of love and connectedness. We are utilizing that mammalian ability to bond fiercely and protectively. We are reconstituting that through ceremony so that we may feel that ecstatic affectional attachment with our entire circle. I believe we are becoming that intensely loving extended family that may provide a basis for surviving the worst consequences of what has been done with our sojourn through the material world. If we are able through our ceremonial efforts to recreate an existence of deep intense loving connection, without fear, without competition, without domination, a world of inclusion where our prime directive is to take care of one another and to feel how good that feels, then I believe we have fulfilled our purpose in being here."
Nina finally sat back, pleased that she had been so articulate, as if she had preparing that declaration over months of discussions with Camille and Will. The circle of women exhaled almost in unison. Some smiled contentedly. Others clearly still had questions, whether they could formulate them at the moment or not. Camille caught Nina's eye and nodded in approval and admiration for the clarity of her visionary statement. Nina concluded, "You can call either of us at any time. We want to enter into this next stage of our being together with everyone feeling as relaxed and connected and optimistic as possibly can be."
The group of women were somewhat spellbound by what they had just heard. Soft voices expressed their wonder at the vision that had just been articulated. One voice, louder than the others, declared, "We have to do something radical. We've known that for at least thirty years already." The speaker was Elizabeth. "I began getting charged up when I heard the message of the Beatniks. I'd like to read some Diane di Prima to this group sometime. She was probably the most prominent Beat Generation female poet. She wrote an epic called Loba. It's all about the Wild Goddess. I memorized the first stanza. It's right up there or perhaps better than the first stanza of Ginsberg's Howl." My I recite it?"
The group urged her on. Perhaps they were mostly glad that someone initiated some movement beyond what Nina had just told them, which felt earth-shattering to some of them, provocative and challenging to all. To have their elder speak so forth-rightly in support of what Nina and Camille had presented was comforting to those who felt anxious about the direction of their discussions and plans. Elizabeth proceeded:
O lost moon sisters
crescent in hair, sea underfoot do you wander
in blue veil, in green leaf, in tattered shawl do you wander
with gold leaf skin, with flaming hair do you wander
on Avenue A, on Bleecker Street do you wander
on Rampart Street, on Fillmore Street do you wander
with flower great, with jeweled breath do you wander
A collective sigh escaped the lips of this circle of radical and radicalizing women. They felt the power of the elders, the elder mothers, flowing through them, a force so sustaining it gave new meaning to the new colloquialism, "May the Force be with you." The Force was with them. They knew it. They felt it. They felt the presence of every woman who had ever been, the noble ladies and priestesses of ancient times as well as those who had suffered and endured in more recent centuries, never totally losing their connection to the deep well of the Great Mothers, as much as their survival required total concealment of that core essential set of truths and understandings.
"Do you sail to sea on an ice floe howling sacred songs?" Cybele added from the same source. There was ferment in the group, a sense that they been touched or even permeated by the quintessential Feminine, Spider Woman at the center of the spider web emanating infinite spiritual ionic connection with all Creation.
After a pause during which the reflection of all that had been said sank deeper into the psyches of the women, Camille said, "There's one more thing I've been sitting with that feels so very important. Then perhaps we should wander off into the night let the magic do its work." She looked around the large living room. Women were nodded vigorously and expectantly. All eyes were on her. "Okay, I've been trying to distill what are the themes or core messages of the journeys I have been invited to take. It seems that I've discussed these things endlessly with Nina and Will. Maybe at this point I have a tentative conclusion. I thinks it's important to what we are creating together. So here goes.
"What brought our ancient ancestors, these spirit-beings to come to earth and ultimately engage in this carbon-based biological process. What was in it for them? I think it was the spirit of adventure, that same spirit that invests scientists to experiment and explorers to travel into the unknown. You know the statement, 'Let's see what happens if we _______ .' Biological creation, which must have preceded the arrival of our ancient ancestors, had already evolved from the Age of Reptiles to the Age of Mammals. Mammals have a certain fascination. Most of us have experienced that deep emotional connectedness with a dog or cat or horse. It's in the nature of mammals, and we gravitate toward that feeling.
"At first our ancestors could move in and out of biological creation at will. They could shape-shift. When biological existence got to be too much they could return to their spiritual essence: rest, relax, recharge, and reflect on their experiences. Over time that particular ability diminished as the biological experience became more compelling, more all-encompassing. There was probably even a desire to experience biological existence on its own terms, more like the other animals. There was still a desire to maintain, to not lose that profoundly intimate connection with one another that I have described and I experienced in several of my journeys. It seems that the women acted out this connectedness in ceremonies. The medium of connection in the biological world was and is a sexual/sensual bodily pleasure that is enhanced in relationship with others. It is the foundation of spiritual love in the biological world.
"Women, our ancient ancestors, the Mothers recreated the matrix, which was and is implicit to our spiritual foundation. Utilizing what was available to them in these marvelous flesh and body bodies, they manifested in ceremonies a combination of spirituality, pleasure, and fertility. Thus the matrix of spiritual existence, the matrix of Spider Woman, was not lost. These ceremonies were done with a great sense of joy, but also responsibility. They affirmed the inner connection of all life, especially all human life, a star see inhabiting human bodies on a planet of their choice. No doubt, the invention of the male, which we have heard about this evening necessitated the full inclusion of the male in these core ceremonies. The whole male thing came much later in the story, and the male affirmed the primacy of the female and stayed in right relationship with the female for many centuries or even millennia. When some males lost that core connection, the troubles began.
"We all know how dangerous the male can be without the guidance of the female. The male-dominated world is on the brink of massive destruction. The domination games have steadily become uglier and more destructive, destroying women, children, other species, and Earth Herself. I have been shown, and I believe with every fiber of my being that Goddess Revival is absolutely necessary, This is the path of survival for all of us, for life on earth. We may be able to keep some of the fantastical inventions, the toys and technological means of making life easier and more interesting, ONLY if we can bring the guidance of Goddess back into the equation. It is not just a concept or a nice idea. The problem with patriarchal religion is that it's mostly words and concepts. It's not about experiences that awaken us in our bodies and beings. We cannot just talk about being interconnected. We have to have the experience. It's just like maternal-infant bonding. Talking about it doesn't make it happen. It happens through the moment to moment active love and care of mother for child.
"We need a form of that bonding among one another. We need to be in love with one another as deeply and intimately and intensively as any mother for her infant child. It starts with us women recreating that matrix among our circle. At some point we will find a way to bring the men in. We must. They are more bereft than we are, more at odds with the Ancient Harmonies, more lost than the moon sisters in that nurturing poem Elizabeth recited. Men fight the wars and wander around lost. They need our love desperately. How we can do that in a way that works, I don't yet know. I feel very clear about what we can do woman to woman. It begins with us. When we become strong, when what we are doing has become solidly transformative, then we can contemplate how to transform the men."
Camille stopped and looked around. The women spontaneously burst into cheers. They clapped and yelled words like "bravo" and "bravissima." Camille took it all in. She knew that she needed to be a stable center for what lay ahead. They all did, but she had been chosen to journey into other realms of time and place. She felt a powerful sense of support from her numerous spirit-helpers.