A philosophical cliché, the most requested of magicks, some chemical reactions in the human body… my search for Love has propelled me through many lifetimes. This has been the year of exploring Love. I’ve had issues with the acceptance of Love and giving unconditionally; I always wait for the rug to be pulled from under me. I didn’t really know the depth it could go until I had a child, the connection went beyond anything I could even imagine. I sometimes fantasize about the Gods having this kind of love for us, the humans and other creatures who can express adoration for the Divine. I am IN LOVE with my deities… there is no question of that, but is this Love reciprocal?
Earlier this year I attended a more private gnostic mass, as practiced by the Ordo Templi Orientis. It was a very intimate gathering with no one I really knew. The only light was from the roaring fireplace I sat in front of, and the illumination from a high altar, which the priestess later sat upon. She transformed from Nuit wrapped in the veils of night, to the naked Babalon. I approached Her, took the cake of light into my body and drank from Her cup. The Scarlet Woman offered Her arms to me and I accepted the embraced. The feeling of Love divinely flowed through my body, carried by the rotten, red blood of earthly fruits. Her nude skin, wide hips and face disappeared into the mantle of Nuit and it fell about my shoulders very gently, enrapturing me in a self-love I had never knew was there. I remembered what it was like to be a woman, not the wife or mother or sister or any other mask I wear. Underneath the raw part of me quickened, awakening a primal energy which I did not realize had fallen asleep. My arms tightened around Her as I buried my head in Her lap, and felt as a lover in afterglow.
Last weekend I embraced Mata Amritanandamayi, also known as Amma; a simple woman who has taken on the role of Mother to the world. She is something of a phenomenon: has hugged something like 32 million people, donated time and money to several charitable/humanitarian issues, and is someone I have wanted to meet for many, many years. I went to Her ashram center, located less than 20 miles from home I discovered. I arrived at 4:15 pm and left around 2 am; most of that time was spent waiting to see Amma. It was a carnival atmosphere with people queuing up nicely and leaving their shoes neatly outside the temple. Large television screens all over the grounds allowed everyone a chance to shop for Amma memorabilia, food, clothing, massage… it was a marketplace with all proceeds going to Amma’s Ashram and charity works. I was ‘adopted’ by an older Indian couple who wanted to show me the ropes; they also told me how they had once waited 7 hours to just enter an Indian temple for an Amma event. I was becoming steadily nervous as I anxiously sat through the seating sequence, Her procession in, and the talk She gave (Amma is actually a VERY funny lady). We were all given blessed water as well.
After She changed clothes, from a simple white cotton sari of purity to the red/gold cloth of a Goddess, that She was ready to gift the world Her unconditional Love. Under an elaborate umbrella and flower petals thrown in blessing, She commenced the hugging which sometimes can last 14 hours solid. I just sat there watching Her for a good hour or so, in awe. She embraced whole families, played with and kissed little children, hugged humbled business men who knelt crying, new age ladies in flowing white dresses and henna adorning their hands wrapped around Her in a familiar manner. There were all kinds of people, from many different walks of life, all wanting to hug Amma.
When my turn came up it was around midnight. I sat in anticipation, moving up the line which fast approached the dais She was seated on. I watched as Amma held the people before me, all I had spoken with earlier who were so surprised I was there alone, never having attended an event like this before, nor the ashram, and also that I had volunteered during my wait (called Seva, it was service helping in the bathrooms… appropriate considering my IBS issues I thought). Amma received them sweetly, gently, and with the grace of a mother fitting snugly against Her child. I longed for that type of embrace, secure and loving in an unconditional way, bridging across dimensions in the arms of a Goddess… for She was no longer jolly Amma, but a bigger than life presence, a Be-ing of light which radiated throughout the interior of the Ashram. I felt intimidated and unsure as I approached Her, on my knees. I crawled and wanted to bow in reverence, but was forcefully brought up by Her attendants. They pushed on my back, grabbed the back of my neck, and gave me just enough time to look in Her eyes and say “mantra Amma” before they plunged my face straight into Her bosom, which was full of fresh flowers. She smelled of rose and sandalwood, it permeated my mind sending a piercing sting to my heart. She gripped my head, hugging me fiercely She placed Her lips against my right ear and said something I still have no clue of (which made me nervous). Then She did something I did not expect… She kissed me on the forehead, roughly and then released me just as quickly, ready to accept the next devotee.
I was handed a special card and given instructions if I wanted to come back and wait to receive a mantra. So whilst I was waiting, it finally settled on me… and I began to weep not tears of joy, but tears of disillusionment. She wasn’t at all gentle and nurturing with me… I could feel Her fierce Love bubbling beneath the surface of an otherwise joyful face. Her compassion was intense, something I have only felt in sexual union or with divinity… She expressed it to EVERYONE. I was jealous in a way… that someone could have that capacity and really, genuinely LOVE us all! She was like Babalon… a cup that runs over, which I could dissolve myself into and forget who I am, where my past lies and why I wanted this. Just Be-ing in Her presence I could continue to feel the Love spreading infectiously… no wonder so many people waited for hours on end!
I received my mantra and promised never to tell it to anyone. Today I was praying with it and my four year old came in… she started immediately saying the words I was struggling with. I knew then, my little guru was the living embodiment of my Love, that was initiated by my husband, and created in my body. The mantra brought the simplest awareness of presence back, I reconnected with Babalon as priestess and mother Goddess as Amma, realizing I contain part of them inside, mixing with the stardust and DNA which already makes up ‘me’. Upon the path of Love, none is mundane or profane… Love is sacred and the universal Law.