Winter Solstice Newsletter
GRACE UNDER FIRE
The darkness is upon us. Winter Solstice, the darkest point of the year, arrives in the Northern Hemisphere on Wednesday, December 21st at 5:45 am EST. It certainly appears that the darkness is more palpable
in these times in which we live and is rising up
among us as great long-denied shadows. Here at
Soul Source, in the company of many other groups across the world, we have been teaching to these times for several years now. We have been the voice
of the harbinger, inviting awakening to our own dark and painful parts, as well as, awakening to our collective looming shadows. Our intention has been
to prepare the way and strengthen and build a collective inner pathway to Source from which we could all draw sustenance and inspiration as challenges arise. Many are frightened and lost, some are angry and lashing out. We are unsettled, unsure and facing the unknown together, even as we appear so intensely divided. We are learning to embrace the darkness, to look into the eyes of our collective shadow and to find our way through. We are not
sure what we will find or what we will be when we come to the other side, but there are prophesies, there are visions. AND, we cannot escape this
difficult passage. So we are invited to trust and to access deeper wellsprings within ourselves, so that
we may know and embody Grace under Fire.
The capacity to maintain grace under fire is one of
the finest measures of the human soul. To sustain strength, a sense of purpose and the ability to stand still and deep in the fire of chaos, evil, fear, greed
and destruction, surely this is our current sacred calling. It requires a generous and attentive heart
and mind. It requires our full-embodied Presence.
And as Clarissa Pinkola Estes says so eloquently,
"we were made for these times."
Richard Rudd in his inspired book, Gene Keys,
teaches about Grace in Gene Key 22. He states, "Although Grace is a word that is often used in
spiritual circles these days, it should not be used lightly. Rather it needs to be treated with the utmost respect. We have learned that Grace has to be
earned through graciousness. To find graciousness in the face of suffering, and perhaps even to find something more -holiness itself wearing a disguise,
we must not turn our face away from the pain life offers us. We are all here to be tested, over and over, until we show that our faith in nature herself can never again be lost. Grace is a presence that descends on humanity, and like all Divine gifts, it requires that we meet it halfway, which for us humans may seem a very long way. This is, after all, a perfected state in which everything about us and our lives will be changed permanently.
When true Grace descends, it wipes out the past in
a flash. Grace softens our rough edges, puts a permanent end to our fear and leaves us in no doubt whatsoever about our divinity. It also ensures that
we never again forget. It is impossible to measure in words the sheer number of blessings that Grace can bestow when it alights upon us. Grace is the very breath of the Divine. Wherever there is oppression, there is the possibility of Grace. If we can face oppression with a gracious spirit and a forgiving
heart, Grace will come sooner or later. Grace is a feminine spirit, and she cannot resist giving herself
to those who smile in the face of adversity.
We are learning that there is nowhere we can hide
in this universe. Everything is heard and recorded. Neither can we hide from Grace. Grace is our true nature. It is our inheritance. It is the soul of the
world. It is also a state that is beyond the laws of our world. If Grace touches us, we no longer have our
own personal destiny, but we become an instrument tuned and played by the Divine. With Grace, all
human emotion is instantly transformed into love.
It is not a state with which most human beings are very familiar. As a species however, we are moving
into a new epoch that will be marked by Grace and
the world we have become used to will begin to
drop away. In its place will rise, shining and resplendent as the summer sun, the new heaven
and the new earth that St. John talked about in his great revelation. "
This new heaven and new earth does not just "poof" appear, however. As said, we must meet it halfway.
We must tune ourselves as the instruments of Grace. We must listen and be moved into action, into
service, into creative work, so that we become the builders of the good, the true and the beautiful. We must self-reflect and self-refine so that we bring
forth a purer note and divinely inspired design that facilitates a softer and more compassionate creation. We must stand for love. We must stand for the
whole. We must not divide or in any way limit the
full expression of Oneness on this earth.
David Whyte, the poet, once told the story of reading a Rilke poem, The Swan, and how Rilke beautifully expresses the awkwardness of the swan when on
land, but how graceful the swan becomes when it enters smoothly into water. Whyte says that he
always understood the poem in a more superficial
way, but once when reading it aloud to an audience, he had the revelation that the swan becomes grace-full when it simply moved towards its own natural element.
So these times invite us to do just that. To find the simplicity, where we are simply able to exude and embody grace, to be grace-full. We must listen in the midst of the clamor and pay attention to and feel
that which lights us up, what passionately moves us, what change WE are meant to be in the world. As
we each gravitate to our own inner calling and find
our most unique, precious and most inspired ways to serve, not out of duty or fear, or guilt, or shame, but out of Love for ourselves, for humanity and the
earth, we will be a collective force so strong, so
united in purpose, that the gap between heaven and earth will be at last bridged. We will have met Grace half way and then what will flood the earth through
us will appear as magic, but will have been eons in
So please do choose Grace, invoke Grace, pray for Grace, trust in Grace, lend us Grace in these times,
so we might hold the space and BE the amazing
Grace under fire through this dark passage. We invite you to ponder these Solstice offerings as a sacred service. We ask you to put aside some time to read and study and allow your self the overview and the deeper understanding of this dark passage we are undergoing together. Make a pot of tea, light a
candle. Breathe and be nourished and strengthened
by what some of the great minds and souls of our
time are sharing. And notice what is calling you, inspiring you forward as part of the invisible magic that is being woven through us. Do ponder and for
the Grace of the Divine, DO act. And remember,
Love is patient, Love is kind. And Love is in charge,
so trust in That.
May Grace be with you one and all,
Solstice and all holy day Blessings,
The Election: Of Hate, Grief, and a New Story
An essay by Charles Eisenstein
Normal is coming unhinged. For the last eight years it has been possible for most people (at least in the relatively privileged classes) to believe that society is sound,
that the system, though creaky, basically works, and that the progressive
deterioration of everything from ecology to economy is a temporary deviation
from the evolutionary imperative of progress.
A Clinton Presidency would have offered four more years of that pretense. A woman President following a black President would have meant to many that things are
getting better. It would have obscured the reality of continued neo-liberal
economics, imperial wars, and resource extraction behind a veil of faux-progressive feminism. Now that we have, in the words of my friend Kelly Brogan, rejected a wolf
in sheep's clothing in favor of a wolf in wolf's clothing, that illusion will be
impossible to maintain.
The wolf, Donald Trump (and I'm not sure he'd be offended by that moniker) will not provide the usual sugarcoating on the poison pills the policy elites have foisted on us for the last forty years. The prison-industrial complex, the endless wars, the surveillance state, the pipelines, the nuclear weapons expansion were easier for
liberals to swallow when they came with a dose, albeit grudging, of LGBTQ rights
under an African-American President.
I am willing to suspend my judgement of Trump and (very skeptically) hold the possibility that he will disrupt the elite policy consensus of free trade and military confrontation - major themes of his campaign. One might always hope for miracles. However, because he apparently lacks any robust political ideology of his own, it is more likely that he will fill his cabinet with neocon war hawks, Wall Street insiders,
and corporate reavers, trampling the wellbeing of the working class whites who
him while providing them their own sugar-coating of social conservatism.
The social and environmental horrors likely to be committed under President Trump
are likely to incite massive civil disobedience and possibly disorder. For Clinton supporters, many of whom were halfhearted to begin with, the Trump
administration could mark the end of their loyalty to our present institutions of government. For Trump supporters, the initial celebration will collide with gritty
reality when Trump proves as unable or unwilling as his predecessors to challenge
the entrenched systems that continually degrade their lives: global finance capital,
the deep state, and their programming ideologies. Add to this the likelihood of a
major economic crisis, and the public's frayed loyalty to the existing
system could snap.
We are entering a time of great uncertainty. Institutions so enduring as to seem identical to reality itself may lose their legitimacy and dissolve. It may seem that the world is falling apart. For many, that process started on election night, when Trump's victory provoked incredulity, shock, even vertigo. "I can't believe this is happening!"
At such moments, it is a normal response to find someone to blame, as if identifying fault could restore the lost normality, and to lash out in anger. Hate and blame are convenient ways of making meaning out of a bewildering situation. Anyone who disputes the blame narrative may receive more hostility than the opponents themselves, as in wartime when pacifists are more reviled than the enemy.
Grace is constantly available; it is our openness to it that comes
and goes. Grace is the experience of being gifted with an insight, understanding,
or awakening. By using the word 'gifted' I do not mean to imply a divine entity that gives grace to some and not to others. Rather, I mean the experience of sudden understanding and insight that reveals itself when we access transcendental
wisdom. This is a wisdom that exists within everyone as a potential, but only
becomes manifest when we go beyond the limitations of the conditioned mind.
The phrase 'All is well' is certainly worthy of contemplation. It pertains to the
direct experience of Reality. It is not a philosophical statement; it is an existential experience of the ground of being. It could also be stated that, 'All is well even
when it isn't.' By contemplating it you may elicit its reality within your
- Adyashanti, The Way of Liberation
The Return of the Black Madonna: A Sign of Our Times or How the Black Madonna Is Shaking Us Up for the Twenty-First Century
by Matthew Fox
Every archetype has its seasons. They come and go according to the deepest, often unconscious, needs of the psyche both personal and collective. Today the Black Madonna is returning. She is coming, not going, and she is calling us to something new (and very ancient as well). The last time the Black Madonna played a major role
in western culture and psyche was the twelfth century renaissance, a renaissance
that the great historian M.D. Chenu said was the "only renaissance that worked in
the West."  It worked because it was grass roots. And from this renaissance was birthed the University, the Cathedral, the city itself. She brought with her a resacralization of culture and a vision that awakened the young. In short, it was the
last time the goddess entered western culture in a major way. In this essay I want to address what the Black Madonna archetype awakens in us and why she is so
important for the twenty-first century. But before I do that, I want to tell a personal story of my first encounter with the Black Madonna. That encounter occurred in the Spring of 1968 when I was a student in Paris and took a brief trip-my first-to Chartres Cathedral located about thirty five miles from Paris. While all of Chartres was an amazing eye-opener for me, its sense of cosmology and humor and human dignity
and inclusion of all of life, I stood before the statue of the black Madonna and was quite mesmerized. "What is this? Who is this?" I asked myself. A French woman
came by and I quizzed her about it. The answer was as follows. "Oh, this is a statue
that turned black over the years because of the number of candles burning around
it," she declared. I didn't believe her. It made no sense. I looked carefully and saw no excessive candle power around the statue. The story is an old one, one of ignorance and of racism. Even the French, at their most central holy spot, have lost the meaning and the story of the Black Madonna. And racism has contributed to this neglect. The Black Madonna is found all over Europe-in Sicily, Spain, Switzerland, France, Poland, Chechoslavakia-as well as in Turkey and in Africa and in Asia as Tara in China and as
Kali in India. She is also named by Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. (Sometimes
called the "brown Madonna.") What is she about and why is interest returning in her today? An archetype by definition is not about just one thing. No metaphor, no
symbol, is a literal mathematical formula. The Black Madonna meant different things
in different historical periods and different cultural settings. What I want to explore is why she is re-emerging in our time and what powers she brings with her. Why do we need the Black Madonna today? I detect twelve gifts that the Black Madonna archetype brings to our time. They are more than gifts, they are challenges. She
comes to shake us up which, as we shall see, is an ancient work of Isis, the Black Madonna.
1. The Black Madonna is Dark and calls us to the darkness.. Darkness is something
we need to get used to again-the "Enlightenment" has deceived us into being afraid
of the dark and distant from it. Light switches are illusory. They feed the notion that
we can "master nature" (Descartes' false promise) and overcome all darkness with a flick of our finger. Meister Eckhart observes that "the ground of the soul is dark." Thus to avoid the darkness is to live superficially, cut off from one's ground, one's depth. The Black Madonna invites us into the dark and therefore into our depths.
This is what the mystics call the "inside" of things, the essence of things. This is
where Divinity lies. It is where the true self lies. It is where illusions are broken
apart and the truth lies. Andrew Harvey puts it this way: "The Black Madonna is the transcendent Kali-Mother, the black womb of light out of which all of the worlds are always arising and into which they fall, the presence behind all things, the darkness
of love and the loving unknowing into which the child of the Mother goes when his
or her illumination is perfect."  She calls us to that darkness which is mystery
itself. She encourages us to be at home there, in the presence of deep, black, unsolveable mystery. She is, in Harvey's words, "the blackness of divine mystery,
that mystery celebrated by the great Aphophatic mystics, such as Dionysisus Areopagite, who see the divine as forever unknowable, mysterious, beyond all our concepts, hidden from all our senses in a light so dazzling it registers on them as darkness."  Eckhart calls God's darkness a "superessential darkness, a mystery behind mystery, a mystery within mystery that no light has penetrated." To honor darkness is to honor the experience of people of color.  Its opposite is racism. The Black Madonna invites us to get over racial stereotypes and racial fears and
projections and to go for the dark.
It hurts to live any story less than love.
The Serpent and the Dove: Wisdom for Navigating the Future
by Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker
At this moment, much of the America and the world finds itself in a profound state of shock and even disbelief as a result of the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States. Few would conclude that this has been a 'normal' election or
that Trump is a 'normal' President Elect. In fact, 'normal' is precisely what Trump abhors and what he was determined to eradicate by running for the office and
winning. Unequivocally, we recognize that millions of people in the United States
were hurting on a variety of levels and ached for change. They have been
disenchanted with, and often devastated by, the old guard-neoliberal, globalist
policies that shafted them and declared the wellbeing of corporations sacrosanct.
Thus a candidate who promised that he would make the demise of that system his personal mission in life was deliciously irresistible.
We also understand that due to the protracted dumbing down of the culture, that is, the deconstruction of education in the United States, a clear analysis of issues was
not within the grasp of the average American unless they exerted an effort to
educate themselves accordingly. And even if they were to do so, what would be in
it for them? As Gary Younge notes in his "How Trump Took Middle America" article, "When people feel the system is broken, they vote for whoever promises to smash it." Their vote for Trump was a cry for help, but at the same time, similar to the frantic tantruming of a toddler, flailing with rage.
Sadly, it is just a matter of time until the disaffected wake up and realize the extent to which they have been conned. As Paul Waldman's Washington Post article states,
"The greatest trick Donald Trump pulled was convincing voters he'd be 'anti-establishment.' Well, maybe not the greatest trick. But in a campaign full of cons,
it has to rank close to the top. This was near the heart of Trump's appeal to the disaffected and disempowered: Send me to Washington, and that 'establishment' you've been hearing so much about? We'll blow it up, send it packing, punch it right
in the face, and when it's over the government will finally be working for you again. And the people who voted for Trump bought it. After all, he's no politician, right?
He's an outsider, a glass-breaker, a guy who can cut out the bull and get things
done. Right? But the idea that he would do this was based on a profound misunderstanding of what the establishment actually is, and who Donald
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
translated by Robert Bly and David Whyte
Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm water of love-nights,
where you w
ere begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love making
sweeps you forward.
Distance does not make you falter
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.
Solstice Blessings Everyone!