“To bring about a paradigm shift in the culture that will change assumptions and attitudes, a critical number of us have to tell the stories of our personal revelations and transformations.”
Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen
The Latin term,” lectura divina” means the daily search through reading for spiritual growth. My spiritual evolution and the journey I take with words are intertwined. Over the years I have been guided along my path by reading and when I write from my own experience I gain insight and perspective. Like many seekers during the late 60’s and early 70’s I was curious about beliefs and religions other than what I had been taught as a child. I read books by Alan Watts, Ram Dass, and the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramanahsa Yogananda.
My seven year marriage was a disaster, complicated by the physical abuse I suffered at the hands of my first husband who also, with the help of the courts, separated me from two of my children. In 1974, now divorced, I joined a religious commune that was based on the New Testament of the Bible. During the first several years the Bible was the only book we were allowed to read. This wasn’t an issue for me at the time because I was busy taking care of my one remaining child and fulfilling my duties as a member of the community
The community was structured and focused on serving the whole. Within the group we had prayer meetings and meditation, but I was not fulfilled. There was not much emphasis on the individual and at that point in my life developing my individuality was what I needed most. As the years passed I became more and more dissatisfied with the structure of the patriarchal mini culture. I kept intensely self- revelatory journals and realized that it was time for me to claim my place in my life. Thirsting for personal growth I turned to what I knew best and enrolled in a correspondence course in English composition through a university. I didn’t have a computer or electricity in my home so I acquired a battery run word processor and set myself up in a little corner of the world, determined to carve out something that was my own. Writing is a meditation. In time, I was able to go within, quiet my mind and open my heart to reflection, healing and discovery of my purpose. “To thine own self be true” became my mantra. This self-education was a huge step towards independent thought and the eventual separation from the group.
The first year of the course focused on basic writing skills. The second year I was required to choose a thesis so I chose The Sacred Feminine. I was unable to do online research so I made countless trips to the local library and chose books that had anything to do with women and spirituality. Through this doorway I discovered a new reality; a world that resonated with my soul.
to be continued