Fire and Faith
The white hands tell us that women mystics were helpers. They were similar to social activists today. They helped those less fortunate, the poor and the sick.
Hands also represent prayer. Most women mystics had a passionate relationship with Jesus through prayer. Fire ignited out from their hands, and goes up out of the circle. The mystics, in their joy, felt a warmth like fire. They were filled with light.
The centre is where they felt the union with Christ, at one with the Divine.
The cross is a symbol for the church. They all believed strongly in their faith, but often went against the hierarchy of Pope, bishops and priests, not using mediators to reach God. Many got involved in politics, which was not what females did in those times.
The feather represents the quill so many mystics used to record their inner experiences and vision.
Flower of Faith
I became focused by playing a CD titled Seasons of Faith by M. Rife. During my meditation a large flower emerged. It represents what Christianity can become.
Christianity must change. There are weeping leaves falling down because many people are leaving. The bright shoots growing up are the vibrant ones that are going outside the lines of traditional religion. They will survive.
There are seeds. Seeds have life inside them. The seeds inside the flower represent the children who go to church and are fed and nurtured by the love of God. The seeds on the ground are not involved with the church but they have potential, because God is with them too.
The roots represent the past two thousand years where our spirituality is firmly planted. We must keep some of our past, but at the same time we must grow and change. This is the rich legacy of the women mystics.
Freedom and Faith, A dialogue
Carolyn: Hi, mandala! You look like freedom.
Mandala: I just transformed into a butterfly and I am free to fly. Wow! What fun!
Carolyn: What are you telling me?
Mandala: You can learn from the mystics. They were all exuberant, confident, secure in their faith.
Carolyn: You certainly show my feelings. You are bright, energetic and playful. Tell me, what are you trying to say? What is that bright yellow ball you are lighted on?
Mandala: Remember Lindberg's book Gift from the Sea? She compared the stages in life to a seashell. There are stages in a spiritual journey. Slow down and enjoy the tranquility that comes from drawing a mandala. Remember, Hildegard of Bingen drew her visions as mandalas.
What else can you tell me about the women mystics?
Mandala: You draw mandalas, a mystical experience connecting you to your soul. You build and walk the labyrinth at your church. The clockwise and counter-clockwise walking is a left/right side of the brain motion which puts you in a meditative state where you can feel God's presence. You do yoga, even though you cannot yet feel the spiritual aspect of it. It will come. All these activities are the first stage of contemplation that the mystics used.
Carolyn: What else can you tell me?
Mandala: The women mystics were confident and compassionate in their faith. They did what women were not allowed to do. They wrote against injustices in the church and state. I am celebrating. You too should celebrate your joys in life and in your church. The mystics were optimistic and celebrated their womanhood through their actions.
Carolyn: Everything appears to be moving out in the mandala. What does that signify?
Mandala: The mystics wrote letters, books, poems, and songs that have spread out across the centuries. You can share their message with others. Take up the offer from the United Church Women to talk to their group. Include music, candles and running water to give atmosphere.
Carolyn: I feel vulnerable when I do that. People think I am being New Age.
Mandala: That is all right. Mysticism has been part of Christianity since the first decade. Labyrinths have been around for four thousand years.
Carolyn: I see black in this mandala. Why?
Mandala: This is the unknown. It goes with transformation. You are drawn to the mysterious and this mandala shows that you find the unknown exciting. Seeking the immanence of God, whether it is with fire and faith, silent prayer, or drawing mandalas, will allow you to find inner peace. The ancient words from Luke 17:21 will keep you company on your faith journey: "The kingdom of God is within you."
Carolyn Cournoyea is a masters theological student at St. Stephens College and teaches at Grant MacEwen College. Carolyn does mandala workshops for church groups. For more information you can contact her at 780-986-5906.
Newsletter Vol. 8 No. 3. April 2002
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