Written by and copyright to Jennifer McCormack, firstname.lastname@example.org, 2011
The sensation of earthly weight grows stronger as I slip back into my body after a night’s journey through the stars. Before my eyes open I become accustomed to the feel of the sheets on my body. I become aware of my fingers and toes, my arms and legs, my breath rising and falling in my chest. My stomach wishes me good morning and makes its first demands of the day. Not wishing the day to come rushing too quickly upon me, I do not yet open my eyes, but linger a moment more in my bed and cast my mind over the coming day. Knowing that my tasks are plenty I greet the Mother from where I lie, promising to spend a few moments more in grateful silence at Her altar when the time presents itself. When I feel fully returned to my earthly body once more I half open my eyes and see the light gray morning sky. It is early dawn and soon my tasks will begin –my day always begins and ends with the sun’s light. Before rising I summon Mother Mary to help prepare myself for the day ahead:
Into my Will, let there pour strength
Into my Feeling, let there flow warmth.
In the my Thinking, let there shine light,
That I may nurture this child
With enlightened purpose,
Caring with Heart’s love
And bringing Wisdom into all things.*
The verse is more for myself then for the children: that I may look after my own needs in order to look after others. To find the strength, love and wisdom to make the right decisions throughout the day. I am not ready to rise yet – just a few moments more (please!) to think about what the day will bring:
My daily responsibilities in the temple predominantly involve the nurturing of the children and care of the hearth. My day flows in a simple way – simplicity is best with children, but the skills and strengths I need to move us from sun-up to sun-down are many. I call upon Artemis and her ability to set and reach her goals. I call upon Athena for her wisdom and skill. I call Mother Mary and her nurturing, encompassing love and patience. I call Demeter and her lesson of learning how to love and let go. I call Hestia and her love and respect for the home and hearth. I call Quan Yin for her endless compassion. Among others, I also call Aphrodite for her self-love and sense of play. I learned early that giving of myself to others is very wearying if I can’t renew the well-spring of love within me.
My day with the children moves in a series of flowing rhythms. Food, activity, rest. Joy, interest, tiredness. Blessings, bliss, frustration. Laughter and tears come and go in rhythmic, almost predictable cycles – and that is not just the children!
I try to involve the children in as many of the hearth-tending tasks as I can. Together we’ll (but mostly it is just I) rush about the house making beds, sweeping, washing and hanging out clothes, cleaning things that need to be cleaned and folding things that need to be folded. I sometimes see these tasks and other simple experiences repeated again in play and conversation with the children, and feel warmth in my heart to see our daily life unfold from the view of the child. At other times these simple tasks are like the torture of Prometheus.
At times I do feel so trapped in an endless cycle of caring, cooking, eating and cleaning, and I spare a thought for my own mother, who doubtless felt the same when I was small. But when I remember to, in the quiet moments I can relive the joy of the day, and revel in a moment paused. Grab the moment for myself and savour every bit of it – squeeze every drop of creative pleasure and allow the moment to transform me. I can find my centre and reconnect with myself in a day of giving to others. Not every day is joyful but without the sad days, the angry days and the frustrated days how would we truly appreciate the joyful ones? This is something I have learned since I began my journey with children, and my awakening as a priestess in the temple. The best lesson yet: to be grateful and patient. To live and love the moment I am in now, and know that nothing stays the same, even if it feels that way at times. Our lives move in spirals – we must always replay the experiences we have had before – but what do we take from the experience this time, and how do we move forward with it?
I try often to share my experiences with other priestesses in my position. We gather together and talk and work and play. A woman’s experience must be shared and understood by another woman! The tiniest hindrance to a free-flowing day, the tears that arise over the simplest of problems, the joy that comes with witnessing the smallest of achievements – these are the things that can only be fully understood and valued by another who knows! This tie with other women and children is invaluable.
At the close of the day, with children asleep I’ll be tired too, but then I’ll have time to connect with my life partner and love, the one who walks with me hand in hand, to share stories of our day and to share time with each other; to support one another, to plan and create and love. The one who makes my day possible and is the light I seek at the end of it. It is time now to leave Mother Mary’s mantle of protection as a veil over the children in their beds. Time now to let myself expand in womanhood, to enjoy the company, conversation and touch of another adult. Time to let myself be and forgive myself the day’s frustrations.
And so I spend my days in service: I cook and I clean, I hug and grumble. I laugh, and – yes I do often cry. I consider my task to be of very high importance, but at times it is so hard: I try to remain conscious of my moods, as children as so connected to their carer’s ups and downs. My responsibilities mean that I must be true to myself and care for myself before I care for anyone else. This is not easy! I thank the Mother Goddess every day for Her strength and Her Guidance and while our home is not the picture of compassion, or devotion to details every day, I do my best as I am able. I am a Mother and my home is my temple.
With these musings finished I summon my body to move from my bed. I can hear the children waking up – always at the same time! With one last snuggle up to the reassuring, sleepy, loving, warmth beside me I open my eyes – and like magic they are instantly at my side – one searching for milk, the other standing by the bedside: “Mumma, I’m SO hungry!” How DO they know when we are awake? Daylight barely peeps through the bedroom windows. My day in the temple begins.