January 2002 Mystery School

So, the opening weekend of Mystery School… I’m thinking of it in sensory images now, mostly of a brilliant silvery moon glinting off billions and billions of frost faeries, of a thread leading me into the labyrinth, the lamenting of 45 heroes beginning their journey. The earth is still holding me as my foundations rumble… shake and settle. The days were beautifully warm and sunny — the sky was as blue as I’ve seen it. Our cabin didn’t have electricity — we were in the campground cabin — but it was lit by candles and warm enough. The dogs were friendly, as usual, except for Spot, whose memory was as short as any two-year-old’s in a candy shop. The food was excellent as always — we had Greek fare on Saturday night. The great house has been redecorated… lots of Cretan touches. The hallway is a beautiful deep blue underground grotto and the great room a peach marble-y temple.

Friday:

3:00 – Arrival – We had a meeting of all on the Priestess path (it seemed like most everyone at this weekend was in a path) and then separated into our respective paths. I chose the Ritual Arts path, led by Jane and Canyon, two of my favorite Diana’s Grove people. We talked about the focus of our path and agreed to be observational, active participants in the evening’s ritual — Friday night we watched so that Saturday night we could create. Toffee-covered cookies… mmmmmmmmm And lots of familiar faces happy to see me. I felt welcomed, warm and included.

5:00 – Myth & Ritual – Cynthia spoke to us about the evening’s ritual, with a few opening remarks about Mystery School. We heard some of the story… we were given some things to think about. We learned our chants for the evening — The Hero’s Lament and Secrets. We talked about secrets… shadows… and promises.

6:30 – Dinner – The food at Diana’s Grove… mmmmmmmmmmm… it’s a good thing our cabin was down the hill — we needed to work off all those calories anyway. Pasta, olive bread, salad… Good stuff!

After dinner we settled in… unpacked in our cabin and got ready for the night’s ritual. I had my first run in with not listening to my Self… I wanted to dress up for ritual, but no one else in the cabin was and I didn’t want to be the only one “dressed up.” As soon as we walked into the Great Room, I regretted it — but it ended up being for the best as I was able to loan the clothes I’d brought for that night’s ritual to Rowan the next night.

8:30 – Ritual – The ritual was REALLY trancy and I was REALLY tired… so I kept nodding off and then, when we had to jump up and sing, I couldn’t remember the words! They did this cool thing with thread, grabbing the thread to head into the labyrinth on the hero’s journey. We sang the chants we’d learned earlier and had a special welcome for new Mysteries — even if I didn’t have the “Mystical, Magical Experience” I did have a good time and I did take the time to observe what was going on around me — and I did feel that wonderful connected feeling. I went to bed happy and with much to think about — as usual.

Saturday:

6:00 AM – Waking – Some ungodly thing made me wake up at 6:00 — I think it was the pager alarm I optimistically set the night before. It seemed like a good idea at the time and I did get to see the sun rise, but it was cold and I was still sleepy. I knew immediately a nap was going to be in the schedule of my day or I’d never make it to the night. Everything was covered in gray frost… the same frost that was so magically glittery the night before turned to stone in the pale morning light. I slowly worked my way into the morning, journaling in the silence of the Great Room and generally taking it easy till the morning session.

10:30 – Morning Session – we were introduced to so many things in a two hour span. The Small Group Facilitation Priestess Path gave a GREAT presentation of the cornerstones of community (see the Bones book in our shared files to read more about this) and Caelestis had a key role in that. We’re hoping to have the cornerstones in our presentation for February’s packet. We talked about the four levels of reality (in the Bones book and also in the Group Leaders book). We talked about being an island and the “forces of nature” that wash on our shores — forces of fear, of confusion, of challenges. I missed my second chance to listen to my Self — I wanted to be the force of Self Doubt, but I waited too long and lost my chance — ironic, isn’t it?

12:30 – Lunch – yummy sandwiches and soup, a discussion about what makes good ritual, and then off to the cabin for a nap. I knew I’d never make it through the night if I didn’t. The weather was beautiful — warm enough to be without a jacket, sunny, bug-less… it was a lovely day.

4:00 – Circles of Support – The idea behind circles of support is to separate you a bit from the folks you came with and give you a chance to “check-in” with how the weekend is going for you. I had a great session and made a promise to myself and my circle that the next time I had a chance to listen to my Self, I would.

5:00 – Myth & Ritual/Ritual Conspiracy – We met to talk about the coming ritual — to discuss the myth — and afterwards, my Priestess path — Ritual Arts — met to decide how we were going to invoke the elements and a deity/archetype. We started with Earth, because it’s generally perceived as the hardest element to invoke. I’d had a pull towards Earth — unusual for me — since Friday. When Jane asked who wanted to invoke Earth, I almost did it again — I almost didn’t listen to my Self — but I caught myself and volunteered. I’m so glad I did. I worked with Janet and Canyon and we decided to be the rumbling Earth… more on that with the ritual part of Saturday. We were inspired to invoke the Storyteller archetype rather than a particular god or goddess.

6:30 – Dinner – We had a WONDERFUL Greek dinner with spanakopita, tabouli, hummus & pitas, olives… it was so good, I think I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. I *love* Greek food. Need I say more? I was having oral-gasms.

8:30 – Ritual – This was very possibly in the top three rituals I’ve ever attended — I loved it! I know that’s at least partially because I was able to participate in creating it, but really, it was amazing. All our elemental invocations were kinesthetic. Our goal had been to help the community feel the elements, and I’m pretty sure we did. I know I did. The archetype invocation was cool — we played on secrets and storytellers. People were really involved in these things — if our goal was to help them feel the elements and the archetype, it sure felt like we succeeded. In this ritual, we were introduced to all the characters in the Minotaur myth. The Priestesses who played their parts were really inspired, but the really amazing part of the whole night was our chant — it was very simple, but very effective. We raised an amazing amount of energy — twice. I’ve never experienced anything like the cone of power — I’m always awed at the palpable feel of it. When I devoked Earth, I was inspired. I said, “Thank you Earth, for holding us even as you rock our foundations.” Later a woman approached me and said she was going to make it her motto. I felt really good about that. I spent a short time in the hot tub under the moon, then went to bed. My mind was racing with everything — the four realities, the cornerstones of community. Then Caelestis shared her epiphanies from the labyrinth. I was humbled and happy for her… she was inspiring to watch over the weekend.

Sunday:

I rose at a more human (for me) hour – 8:30. Breakfast and some quiet time in the Great Room beckoned.

10:30 – Closing Meeting – As with all the meetings, we were in the Great Room. Cynthia walked us through the Nautilus chambers. We did a check-in and another Mystery pretty much summed it up for me: “La la la la la EPIPHANY! La la la la la EPIPHANY!! La la la la la EPIPHANY!!!”

12:30 – Lunch – mmmmm leftovers from all the meals, including desserts. I ate outside and enjoyed the sun — something I rarely do (enjoy the sun, that is).

1:00 – Closing Meeting for Ritual Arts – I had an interesting moment at our last meeting of the Ritual Arts path. As we were gathering, Canyon and Jane sat down next to me and said they wanted to talk to me about how the path was working for me and what my thoughts were about it. I immediately thought, “Oh no… I must be in the wrong place! I wasn’t ready for this, I did a terrible job last night and they’re trying to find a nice way to ask me to go to another path.” Then I realized I was NOT thinking well of myself (one of the cornerstones from the Bones book). The next thing I thought was that maybe they picked me because I give good feedback. So I shared my thought process with them, and sure enough, it was the second, not the first. Included, valued, welcome… the community at Diana’s Grove moves me deeply. The last thing Canyon said to me as I was leaving was “Welcome home…” Mm! Welcome home indeed…

I read over this and think maybe I might be giving the impression this weekend was “light” or “just” fun… it was really deep for me. I’m still processing. All those things we’ve been talking about with the packet? The cloaks? The shame at someone else’s excellence? They were part of it too. More reflections on that are forthcoming…

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