Visions of Mary? What Are You Talking About, Woman?

In yesterday’s post about the way I have come to understand the connections between Christmas and the Winter Solstice, I mentioned that I have been having visions of Mary lately.

There was no simpler way to talk about how, while I am in meditation, I see images of an every changing woman who is named Mary and who gave birth to the child we have come to call Christ.dsc00983

Who do I think I am and when did I start having visions?

If I were better schooled in mysticism, I might have a better vocabulary for these exchanges that take place within my heart and head. Anything I have read has always applied to spiritual masters like Teresa Avila who levitated and could say without hesitation that they had been touched by the Divine. I am certainly not to be counted amongst such company.

In my healing artists’ classes we have talked about the images one receives when working on a client or just walking down the street. They seem unbidden these colors and pictures and emotions. They are bits of consciousness so foreign to our own way of knowing the world and so seem like they must come from an external source. Our intuitive centers must be so open that we are receiving messages from new sources all the time.

Or, these visions seem like such intimate extensions of our own souls that we are ecstatic to realize we are stepping deeper into our true selves. Such breakthroughs seem Heaven sent, such understanding a gift from God.

Either way, my classmates and I wondered about where these ideas came from. We worried that while in guided meditation we were just inventing our experiences, walking through the heady terrain our imagination rather than through the secret vaults of the soul. We were concerned that any guidance we received during a healing session was just judgment twisted into a therapeutic shape.

“I don’t have any intuitive power. I just make this stuff up!” we all feared.

And then our teacher offered a revolutionary idea: it doesn’t matter where any thing that dances through our minds actually comes from. If it was put into our heads, we must have been meant to notice it and experience it.

I see lots of holes in this theory. There are entire sections of the Vatican dedicated to determining whether people have had authentic experiences of the Virgin or whether they are charlatans with a crafty streak. The entire realm of faith is a dangerous dance between true relationship with God and the clouds of overactive cerebral cortices. Seers and liars – I think the two have become inextricably tangled in all too many ways.

dsc00637And yet, this explanation is most comforting to me as I try to describe my new understanding of the intimate relationship between the rhythm of nature and the traditions of Christianity. I am not begging for attention by talking about this new way that I see Mary. I am not hoping to be canonized and make New Paltz the next Lourdes.

I have been envisioning Mary and gaining new wisdom from these phenomenal moments. Am I placing a sacred face on recycled bits of knowledge I have gathered along my way? Perhaps. But, if in this dialog between Self and Soul one of the players is going to wear a beautiful mask, I couldn’t ask for more than to have her wear the sweet, complicated face of the Great Mother gliding across my inner landscape in shining blue robes.

What would it be like if we took our intuition and the images that appear to us a little more seriously? What if we stopped denigrating these experiences as mere trifles of the overindulged imagination?

How much could we learn – from ourselves, from the world around us, and, yes, even from God – if we close our eyes and allow ourselves to have a dialog with whichever wisdom bearers come to call?

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8 thoughts on “Visions of Mary? What Are You Talking About, Woman?

  1. blisschick December 22, 2008 / 11:15 pm

    So beautiful…

    And, yes, so intimate as to almost feel…embarrassing…I KNOW.

    Years ago, I was visiting the monks at St. John’s in Minnesota. I was walking by myself and came across their cemetery, where there are three GIANT marble crosses (or was it one, ah…memory). It was hot; it was summer in Minnesota. And suddenly, I had such a vision, such a deep understanding, such a visceral understanding of being human and in pain, covered in the salt of sweat and blood…and attracting flies.

    Flies? Flies!? Yes, flies. This small detail, this small and very human detail connected me to that cross in a way that no talk, no story ever could have. Flies…and the inability to swat them away or scratch. The sheer torture of that.

    Not a pretty thought but for some reason, it comforted me. I can’t explain it.

    • girlwhocriedepiphany December 28, 2008 / 8:36 pm

      Dear Bliss, What an amazing, visceral vision. I only hope that if I am visited with something so powerful I can find the strength to locate comfort in the tumult of emotions that must accompany such an experience.

      Dear Brandi, I think this is the second time you’ve mentioned that what I have written has reminded you of Conversations with God. I wonders if this means I should actually read that? Oh, and so during your guest appearance on Oprah, what would you talk about?

      Dear Barbara, Thank you so much for this bit of Teresa’s wisdom. I really like this as a litmus test. Mary been coming back in the week since I wrote this post, so I am thinking she is proving persistent enough to believe!

      Dear Graciel, “Mary is recruiting.” I LOVE that. Have you ever heard Andrew Harvey speak or read his book The Return of the Mother? He talks so much about Mary and the divine feminine generally coming to us now to awaken us from our stupor. She needs us to be her hands in this world.

      Dear Tess, Smug smiles welcome when I offer up an epiphany that is so naively obvious. Of course we have to experience the lens of the divine through the imagination. It is one of the few tools that we have that is strong enough and flexible enough to understand the power of God. Logic certainly is of no help!

      Dear Mary Grace, Thank you for your kindness and your sweetness and reminding me to step away from the swirling stuff in my head.

      Thanks and blessings to all.
      Marisa

  2. brandi December 23, 2008 / 9:31 am

    I have been re-reading conversations with god and at one point, the author asks god ‘what if I’m making this all up, what if this is all in my imagination?’

    and god answers (I’m paraphrasing here) ‘would it matter? Do you think that I can’t speak to there as well??’

    I feel it when something is deeper than daydreaming about winning the lottery or being on oprah. I think you do too. 🙂

  3. Barbara December 23, 2008 / 5:13 pm

    Brandi is correct. God will not be confined in our categories. I also recall something I read in Teresa of Avila a long time ago. She used the following tool to discern the origin of her (or her sisters’) inspirations: if its memory persists in you, then you were meant to experience it; if you cannot remember clearly, forget it. We all fly by night.

  4. Barbara December 23, 2008 / 5:14 pm

    The last sentence is my own comment, not part of what I recall from Teresa.

  5. Graciel December 23, 2008 / 8:53 pm

    Mary is the only “western Goddess” we have. She is what anyone needs her to be. Me, non-Catholic, and very vaguely Christian, I have an intimate relationship with Mary. She speaks to me and sends messages. She is one of my teachers of compassion and healing. I have a wall in my home dedicated to altered images of her.

    So, of course, you have visions of Mary. It is the rise of the feminine energy that will balance the earth plane. All willing souls are needed for the shift. Mary is recruiting. It is surely not your imagination. We know what we know.

    Blessings to you. 🙂

  6. Tess December 26, 2008 / 10:34 am

    I admit smiling with a certain smugness when I got to the part where your teacher offers the revolutionary idea, because I as I read I was framing the thought “It doesn’t matter…”.

  7. Mary Grace December 28, 2008 / 10:53 am

    I remember how unworthy I felt when Mother Mary started coming to me. I felt as you that it must be something I am making up. Time is on your side and time will prove that what you feel is definitely the Divine Feminine, Mother Mary.

    Remember it is not the thought that proves you right, it is the “feeling” because that is how She communicates with us the most. Our human selves like the inside voice or the outside vision but the real proof is what you feel.

    Thank you all for sharing.

    Love and light

    Mary Grace

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