January 23, 2007

The Woman Clothed with the Sun

The Woman Clothed with the Sun

As I begin writing I light a candle to honor the Divine Mother. I invokeher presence, her inspiration and her wisdom as I
share my journey and my discovery of her and my connection to her as her child. I thank her for the Light of her healing fire and for her unconditional love. And I thank my dear friend Kathleen, now in spirit, for the role she played in opening my heart to the divine feminine.

Dear Children, I wish to tell you: Always pray before your work and end your work with prayer. If you do that, you and your work will be blessed.
Our Lady Medjugorge, 1984

It was exactly four years ago today that I traveled alone to Cabo San Lucas to rendezvous with my friend Karen who rather spontaneously invited me to vacation with her at her time-share condo. I was very excited to get some needed rest, to explore Cabo, and to spend time with my friend. Another part of me, however, felt that the timing for a vacation was all wrong. As I flew out of San Francisco International Airport, one of my closest women friends of my whole life, Kathleen, lay dying in bed from what was still undiagnosed lung cancer. Before I left town Kathleen's daughter flew up from San Diego area to take over what for me had been a four week stint of doctor's appointments, cooking, shopping and nursing Kathleen. Since I first got Kathleen's frightening call on New Year's day asking me to take her to the hospital because she had fallen, was dizzy, nauseated, and had double vision, I spent more time at her house that I had spent at home. I was even sleeping with Kathleen as she lived alone and really needed someone to walk her to the bathroom and to cook for her. I was really sad about Kathleen and on a deep level I had a knowing that she was dying even though she had an initial diagnosis of strokes.

I had a vivid dream about Kathleen several years before her illness. In the dream I was sitting at her bedside. She was dying and I was telling her it is okay to go....that there is nothing to fear and that I loved her. When her illness struck and I experienced how weak she was getting, I knew that Kathleen was getting ready to die.
So, as I was in flight to Cabo San Lucas I was feeling excited about a getaway which coincided with my forty-seventh birthday and at the same time feeling very sad and a little guilty for leaving Kathleen.

I had known Kathleen for fifteen years. She was a part of my family and a soul sister. She supported me through many life transitions and performed the wedding ceremony when Paul and I married in 1989. She was a graphic artist, a painter, a tarot reader and a visionary. Her main passion was sacred art. I own two of her most beautiful oil paintings of angels which were done in the authentic Russian Icon gold leaf style. I left for Cabo with Kathleen's blessings and I promised her that I would take photos of sacred art and icons on my trip to share with her upon my return. I had no idea what would blossom from my promise.

Karen was going to meet me two days after I arrived in Cabo. I had two days by myself to rest and explore. And, for the first time in my life I was alone on my birthday. On February 4, my birthday, in the early morning, I set out on foot with my backpack, bottled water and camera. I had a day to explore the town and I decided that I would walk...that I would make it a spiritual journey.... an experience of just being in the moment without a plan.....an experience of following my own inner nudgings and inner directions. I walked through residential areas, on small streets and back roads. I walked and walked. At one point I came upon a pink stucco building that was being renovated. The wall of the building was nearly adjacent to the sidewalk. I noticed a sculpture on the side of the building and moved towards it to look at the sculpture more closely.

He [Juan Diego} went to the top of the hill, and he saw a lady who was standing and who was calling him to come closer to her side. When he arrived in her presence, he marveled at her perfect beauty. Her clothing appeared like the sun and it gave forth rays. (Harvey, Son of Man, p. 81)

It was a beautiful relief built into the pink stucco wall of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Off came the backpack. I wanted a photo of her for Kathleen. Before I took the photo, I was moved pray to Guadalupe. I prayed to her to bring courage and healing to Kathleen. I prayed that her Divine energy and love be infused in the photo so her energy could be with Kathleen at her bedside. I prayed I would have strength and compassion in dealing with Kathleen and her illness. In my prayers my tears began to flow. I was overcome with sadness and grief. I somehow knew that my dream about Kathleen's death was a message of what was soon to come. I prayed for understanding. I prayed for healing.

You only need ask her. Just ask her.
The Cure of Ars

I am your merciful Mother and the Mother of all nations that live on this earth who would love me, who would speak with me, who would search for me, and who would place their confidence in me. There I will hear their laments and remedy and cure all their miseries, misfortunes, and sorrows. (Harvey, Son of Man, p.181)

I snapped the photo. Because it was still early morning the wall was partially shaded; I knew it was not the best lighting for a photo. I loved the sculpture. I really wanted to have a well-composed photo for Kathleen so I vowed I would return to photograph Guadalupe again in full sun. It was a shame to have a photo of the "Woman Clothed with the Sun" without light.

I am the Mother of everything created by God, the "woman clothed with the sun," the new Eve who will lead mankind to light, the one who will make it possible for beings to attain eternity.
Our Lady to Gladys Quiroga, Ecuador, 1988

The rest of my walking journey was uneventful. I returned to town, had lunch, shopped and went back to the condo. Karen arrived late that night.

One afternoon I tried to return to the pink stucco wall to show Karen the sculpture and to re photograph Guadalupe. Strangely, I couldn't find it. I meandered around trying to retrace my steps from my previous birthday journey but never found the street, the wall or Guadalupe. "It must not have been meant to be", I thought. Karen and I played tourists for the rest of the vacation.

I returned home to find that Kathleen had been diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. Since she was self-employed as an artist, single, and living by herself there was work to do to make sure her basic needs were met and her bills could be paid. I organized a gathering of 50 people at my office: friends, her children, her clients and people in our extended community. Another of Kathleen's friend, Georgia, and I asked for money, help cooking, cleaning and nursing support, for Kathleen.

Help one another and I will help you.
Our Lady Medjugorge, 1084

As I spoke to everyone about Kathleen's diagnosis and her daily needs, my heart felt like it exploded in grief and pain. I felt like something was being ripped away from me that was an integral part of myself. I was losing my soul sister. In spite of my pain, I was compelled to be there in what ever way I could for Kathleen. We coordinated her care, meals, bill paying and travel to the hospital for doctors visits. Kathleen's daughter and son moved into her home and they became her primary caretakers. We engaged the help of Home Healthcare and Hospice. It was a whirlwind of dealing with the reality of Kathleen's physical needs and the rawness of all of our emotions. In the chaos I had forgotten about the whole experience of photographing Guadalupe until I got my Cabo vacation photos back two weeks later. I was SHOCKED when I saw the photo. A rainbow of colored light was emanating from the figure of Guadalupe.

We see the Holy Virgin as a flaming torch appearing to those in darkness. For having kindled the Immaterial Light, she leads all to divine knowledge; she illumines our minds with radiance....( Harvey, The Teachings of the Mystics, p. 110)

The "arrows of light" that shoot out from her divine beauty penetrate and transfigure all of nature; the earth glowed with splendors of the rainbow ...... (Harvey, Son of Man, p. 82)

When I took the photo to Kathleen's bedside I shared the story of my birthday journey, my intentions and the prayers I said before I took the photo for her. We cried. We hugged. We felt that the photo, whether an Emanation of the Divine Mother or a freak accident on the film, was a synchronistic sign. We knew without a doubt that Kathleen was being held, supported and healed by the Divine Mother. I also knew that having taken the photo that the Divine Mother was with me, too. My love for Kathleen, my intentions and my prayers had resulted in an experience which opened my heart and mind to a direct communication with the Mother. My fears about death and losing Kathleen began to subside. As Kathleen grew weaker and weaker and more dependent on us for everything, she began to transform. She became childlike. Her skin became translucent and there was an energy around her and in her room that vibrated like light. The day Kathleen died several people who were standing by her body saw light emanating from her lifeless form. And the night after she died when I sat in her kitchen with her children and a few friends, the lights flickered like fireflies and there was a feeling of electricity in the air. I felt a profound love and calming presence of the Divine Mother. I knew that Kathleen was with her and that she and we were in the grace of her love.

On another [occasion] the Good Lord said, "You will see for yourself that every sort of thing will be all right." (Harvey Teaching of the Christian Mystics, p. 110)

The love I felt was so strong that for the most part I felt no grief. Through Kathleen's illness I was initiated into a direct relationship with The Woman Clothed with the Sun, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Divine Mother, a relationship that continues to deepen and grow. A relationship that supports me on my path to my own emergence as a feminine expression of the divine. The photograph of The Woman Clothed with the Sun is my reminder of her responsiveness when called.

The apparitions of the Virgin at Guadalupe, then, not only unveil the splendor of the divine Mother in "the woman clothed with the sun"; they reveal with intricate beauty and tenderness how the power of the divine feminine works through encouragement, healing, and miracle to bring everyone to a higher awareness of their divine identity, equality, and of the possibilities for radical transformation that it awakens. (Andrew Harvey, Son of Man, p.185)

Tomorrow is my fifty-first birthday and the fourth anniversary of my encounter with the Woman Clothed with the Sun. I blow out the candle and make a wish. I wish that the Divine Mother in all of her radiance is revealed and recognized by humanity and that her presence in us and through us will bring peace, justice, balance, harmony. love and equality to us all.

My children, pray, so that in the whole world the Kingdom of Love can come. How happy humankind will be then.
Our Lady Fatima, 1917

O Blessed Mother of God
Open to us the gate of mercy:
For you are the salvation of the
human race.

Saint John Damascene

February 3, 2002


Mary's Vinyard: Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut. Illinois: Theosophical Publishing House, 1996.

The Return of the Mother: Andrew Harvey. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam Inc., 1995.

The Road to Guadalupe: Eryk Hanut. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2001.

Son of Man: Andrew Harvey. New York: Jeremy P, Tarcher/Putnam Inc., 1998.

Teachings of the Christian Mystics: Andrew Harvey. Massachusetts: Shambala, 1998.

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