Wednesday, October 28, 2020

I Can Hear Her Breathing by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” 

-Arundhati Roy

When I read that quote for the first time, the breath caught in my throat and the hair stood up on the back of my neck as I remembered...

I had been invited to Wisconsin to present at a weekend workshop which turned out to be a more than wonderful experience. I went thinking I was just going up there to teach these women the workshop material, but the sharing and activities I participated in were a beautifully reciprocal dance. Besides the bonding and the fun, issues I had never quite been able to banish from my psyche had dispersed in the safety of the ritual the night before and I was feeling light and open and gloriously happy and fulfilled.

As the weekend came to a close and the time to drive back to the airport was drawing near, I grabbed a few moments of solitary time behind the dormitory where we were staying located about 100 yards off a serene and shining lake. Between the lake and the dorm, trees had been planted in a circle, with barely two to three feet of space between their trunks, and inside the circle was a bench. I was drawn within the circle desiring a few moments of quiet contemplation in what felt like Nature’s embrace.

As I sat there, enjoying a cool breeze on my cheeks, glimpsing the reflection of the sun on the lake between the tree trunks before me, I suddenly realized I heard a rhythmic breathing. In and out. In and out. Where was it coming from? In my mind, I began a process of elimination. I held my own breath for a few moments thinking perhaps here in this small space among this odd configuration of trees I was hearing the echo of my own breath, but no, it wasn’t me. I looked around to make sure there was no one else there, perhaps just beyond my initial line of light. No. I wasn’t hearing the incoming tide of the lake. I sat there mesmerized as I listened. No, this sound was coming from this very spot where I sat. Dare I ever utter the next thoughts that crossed my mind? It was as if I were sitting within the body of Goddess and I was hearing Her breathing. This was incredulous, but I was going to go with it and just listen, feel, and receive. I soaked in the magic of this sacred place. The hair stood up on the back of my neck and arms. I felt that familiar cold chill up my spine and my tears turned into sobs of joy. What an emotional experience!

In hindsight, many of us might speak in metaphor, as perhaps the novelist and activist Arundhati Roy is speaking above, about Gaia or the coming new paradigm of the Sacred Feminine, but this was different. This experience went beyond metaphor or even feeling inspired in some natural landscape. This wasn’t merely equating the ebb and flow of the ocean tides with Her breath as we attempt to personify Her and embrace Her mysteries. This felt as if it were another phenomena of a dimension I had yet to experience. Was I crazy to even contemplate hearing the inhaling and exhaling... of our Mother? Well, sometimes we just have to shut off that left-brain and just feel Her incredible gifts! Those few minutes sitting in that sacred grove in Wisconsin will no doubt be some of the most profound and magickal minutes of my life. Thank you, Mother. Thank you for that precious gift. I can hear you breathing!

An excerpt from the introduction to our upcoming anthology, On the Wings of Isis: Reclaiming the Sovereignty of Auset.

Rev. Dr. Karen Tate, speaker, author, workshop presenter, and social justice activist, is the radio show hostess of the long-running internet podcast, Voices of the Sacred Feminine on Blog Talk Radio. She has been invited to speak at prestigious events such as the Council for the Parliament of World Religions, American Academy of Religion, CIIS, and other colleges and private institutions. She can be seen in the film, Femme: Women Healing the World. Karen has authored three books and curated three anthologies, referred to as the “manifesting a new normal trilogy.” Tate is a certified Caring Economy Conversation Leader and Power of Partnership Practitioner with Riane Eisler’s Center for Partnership Studies. She has a certification from Smith College in the Psychology of Political Activism: Women Changing the World and she’s been named one of the Thirteen Most Influential Women in Goddess Spirituality and a Wisdom Keeper of the Goddess Spirituality Movement. She lives high atop a mountain these days with her husband of 36 years, Roy, and their feline daughter, Lilly, named for the Goddess. You can find her at, on Facebook or at her website, 

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