At many times during life, we find ourselves at crossroads and pathways and uncertain of what’s the best move forward. It’s hard to know whether to move or stay put.
As a priestess of Isis, I can’t help think about Herodotus who said the sistrum, sacred instrument of Isis, Bast and Hathor, was shaken and kept the energies of the universe moving. I like to imagine these Goddesses dancing so the cosmos would not become mired down, immovable, stuck – dead.
In more practical terms, water teaches us the same life lesson. If water isn’t moving, it becomes stagnant, unhealthy, and dead.
However, that said, let’s not dismiss the idea of marinating a bit at the crossroads. Taking a deep breath before we step forward, this way or that. Grounding ourselves, getting our bearings, carefully considering before we begin to move ourselves, our life, our family and commit to a specific direction or goal. You don’t want to leap out of the frying pan, into the fire. You don’t want to be running willy-nilly, here and there without a plan or focus for the sake of just doing something.
Only you can check in with yourself and decide if you’re stuck there though. If you’re being too complacent. If you’re tolerating a situation that’s not working. If you’re perhaps in denial about the circumstances. Or not noticing and paying attention.
This means bad habits too. Are we stuck in the habit of not exercising? Eating too much sugar? Not eating our brocoli? Hanging around with toxic people who don’t support and nurture us, helping us become the best we can be? Filling our heads with crap?
Are we stuck in a rut when it comes to our thinking and never evolve when new information comes our way to help us change? Some of us joke about that when it comes to the Right Wing bubble. Facts don’t penetrate the bubble so they live in their own reality. We went to see the Book of Mormon recently and one of the versus referred to the absurdity of some of their beliefs, but proudly, as the characters said, “Mormons just believe.”
Dare I say we have to be careful of the same thing? Yes, we are the cognitive minority. The ones blazing the trail of new thought (or old thought that’s resurfaced and is new again) with our pink handled machetes, but sometimes we might get stuck in patterns of thinking too.
Maybe it’s about how our body looks. How we see our selves in the world. If we have healthy self esteem. How we react to life’s challenges. How we deal with our parents or siblings. How we respond when we’re questioned or judged.
A sister priestess taught me a saying – What we resist – persists. I immediately related to that. About 15 years ago I had self esteem issues. I was told by a certain set of women in the community that I didn’t stack up to them as a priestess. For a time I let them define me. They beat me down so bad I was afraid of my own voice to even call in a corner during a ritual – if they let me even facilitate. It seemed like everything that kept happening for a couple years kept being related to issues of self esteem. Did I know who I was? Wanted to be? Was I going to stand up and find my backbone and realize that I had something to say, something to offer, be Her Sacred Roar? Was I going to take the challenge? Or fade into the corner? What path was I going to take? Would I conform to who they wanted me to be or find who I really was, who I might be, how I might serve?
It wasn’t easy. It didn’t happen all at once. It was a process of pathways and holding patterns. Of course, there was the fear and pain of uncertainty at times. But these women gave me a glimpse of who I didn’t want to be, what kind of a community I didn’t want. I look back now and I can see Goddess’ hand in those women, forcing me to find myself, my life’s path, to not stay stuck, wasting myself and my potential. Sometimes we have to take a risk even if it’s uncomfortable. Because the devil we know is not always better than the devil we don’t.
Risk and choices. With my husband I took a risk moving from New Orleans, leaving everything we knew – our friends, our jobs, the neighborhoods we knew and grew up in – for the hope of something better. But you have to calculate your risks because your choices shape your outcomes and chances. Obviously your choices have consequences – no matter what we’re talking about……partners, spirituality, where you go on vacation, your diet, the job you take, your friends. Maybe you know someone full of fear and disappointed because they never challenge themselves and always play it safe. Most of the people I grew up with are like that. They live and die never going beyond 50 miles of where they life. If it were up to my mother, I would never have left New Orleans and never traveled outside of the United States. For some that might be living. For me, that would be a sure death by stagnation.
You really stand at a crossroads of sorts everyday. In some aspect of your life you’ll sit and marinate in one spot because it works perfectly for you. That might represent itself in a long-term marriage or partnership or city where you choose to live. It might represent a commitment to being in school and studying for awhile to change careers. And that’s okay if it’s nourishing you. I’ve had the same job for over 20 years but it suits my purposes. I could make more money, have more status doing something else but I choose to do what I do so I can also be a priestess and write books and have a radio show. I’ve chosen the path I recognize as a quality of life over a path that might have provided more financial reward. We make these kinds of choices throughout our lives.
Just be sure to take stock periodically. Do uncomfortable patterns keep repeating themselves calling for you to look at them and do something different? What’s that saying – about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is insanity? See if you’ve become mired down in something that is not good for you and it’s time to take a leap of faith. Remember the Indiana Jones movie when he’s standing before the chasm and he’s afraid as he’s about to step across into the emptiness and suddenly a path presents itself. It might feel like that sometimes. New things always do. So when you feel stuck. When you feel shoved. When you know something is not working. Look for that beam of light Hecate is shining before you. You will find your way.
Excerpted from Goddess Calling: Inspirational Messages & Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy by Karen Tate
For an audio version of this go to —
CROSSROADS & PATHWAYS
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