Neva Howell

THE VOID: JOURNEY TO THE DIVINE FEMININE

Excerpted from "Moon Lodge Visions: A Sacred Journey" by Neva Howell

A book of visionary information received from Moontime Isolation. Visit her at: http://www.angelfire.com/tn/moonlodge/index.html or
http:home.switchboard.com/herbalspirit. You can also E-mail her at heartplace@jellico.com

      "The energies of this time are so incredibly intense that I can hardly contain them. It feels as if my physical frame will blast apart--into a million molecules--into space itself . . . intense emotional outpouring. So many tears. So much suffering. God, I don't understand all of this but I know that, somehow, the female body serves as a vessel for release. Through me, came the pain and sorrow of many others. I saw faces . . . I suppose this is the part I've been resisting, this overwhelming flood of pure, channelled emotion: raw; agonizing; necessary. It is why I have come to this room. It is my part--what I can give. I give up my body for a time each month, to help others release. The unconditional love of the Mother--how can it be understood? How can it even be comprehended? How have we, as a society, survived with so little of it? I know that being a woman is a Universal Force." Moon Lodge Journal

      The above words, written in Moontime Isolation, are shared because I know that, at some point, each woman who undertakes this discipline will find herself in that place of empathy with the suffering of others--not in a mental or imaginary way, but as an actual, physical experience within her body and within her heart. It is a natural outcome of the Moon Lodge process. Mothers have always been the best healers, simply by the outpouring of their love. In connecting with that nurturing female energy, on a spiritual level, it is automatic that it expand--particularly if you work as a healer or counselor--to include others and, finally, everyone. Every One. It is a tremendous load.

      For those who may not be familiar with the term "Moon Lodge", it speaks of a time of isolation for renewal, prayer, and visioning that has origins in the Native-American and other cultures. It is believe that the time of a woman's cycle is when she is most receptive to visioning, and most powerful as a vessel of both transmission and receiving on a spiritual level. My own experience with this practice has proven the truth of those words. It is probably the single-most influential tool for healing, acceleration and increasing connection to Source that I have ever experienced.

      Though it is powerful in all areas of a woman's spiritual growth, it will also present an increase openness which leads to the experience I wrote about it the Lodge above. This is one reason I share my experiences with other women. It is a form of support and confirmation for women who may be desiring a stronger Divine Feminine presence within but unsure of what to expect. I can share what has happened in my own experience. When you choose to do nothing but pray, rest and wait upon the voice of Godforce, you are forced to travel the path of the ego death, to the point of rebirth of the elevated ego self.

      One aspect of that journey deals with facing your own death, as I faced mine in the aftermath of my realization of the suffering of my Relatives. As my connection with the suffering of others increased, I began to think more and more of the prospect of my own demise. The energy seemed too overwhelming for my physical body to survive, for one thing. I felt fear, anger, disappointment, and loneliness. Then, I reached acceptance. I've reached this point of imminent death at least four times in my life--a point where there was no decision to be made but to surrender and wait. All four times, I entered a space of no-thing-ness, a blackness, a void.

      This mysterious space has been, at different times, gloriously full of creative potential and reeking of putrid, horrible thoughtforms. These thoughtform energies were all mine, no matter how terribly lecherous or incredibly brilliant they were. This place of all potential is known, in Native-American tradition, as "The Void". The Void is where we send our thoughts of fear, resentment, guilt and shame; it is also where we create our most important life works andgenerate the knowing of our greatest joys. "The Void" reminds me of a story I read, called "The Portrait of Dorian Gray". I don't know who wrote it but give full credit to whoever the genius author may have been. This man, Dorian, purchases a magic portrait (which he keeps hidden in the attic) that absorbs all the abuse of his party life, late hours, and evil living, so that the man himself appears to be ever young and unblemished. The years pass. One day Dorian decides to check on the picture. He is appalled and disgusted at what he sees. The portrait, as youthful and fresh when originally painted as Dorian still appeared to be, now reflected an old, withered, exceedingly evil-looking man. As Dorian had gone his way, with no thought of how his choices were being stored in the magic portrait, every excess of appetite, every cruel deed and every instance of abuse were being meticulously imprinted on the canvas. When Dorian finally went to the attic, he had to face all that he had become. Like the portrait of Dorian Gray, our day-to-day lives may reflect an illusion of reality but the truth of all our choices remain to be owned--in the attic, in The Void.

      I believe The Void is within us (others perceive it as somewhere outside ourselves) and that it is part of our job to clean the soul's house whenever needed, as well as to honor the genius residing there. Whatever is in our little corner of the inner world is our responsibility. It may be full of negative feelings we thought we had sent away forever, or bursting with creative genius we've yet to call into reality on the physical plane. The Void is the home of unconquered demons and unrealized dreams.

      When you begin to follow the Moon Lodge path, you absolutely will be called into The Void. Many have written of this experience. My account can be added to theirs but, until it happens to you, you will not understand the way it can make your entire life seem like an illusion. You may suddenly be unable to know what is real, and what you have only been imagining. The keen level of self-awareness this experience generates calls you severely to task--spiritual integrity is required to make the journey, though spiritual strength and integrity may both seem to be lacking at the time you are asked to enter.

      I have been in The Void many times on my path. I stayed there for two years once, wandering and lost--I am a stubborn little cuss, sometimes, and resisted it mightily. Now, I respect it and (mostly) embrace it. It has been a experience of depression, wandering, confusion, startling clarity, multi-dimensional awareness, elation, high spiritual acceleration, physical illness from resistance, kundalini fire, self-love, self-loathing, unmitigated terror, blandness (that may have been the worst--when nothing seemed to matter), heart-stopping fear, self-revulsion, and incredible creativity.

      The Void is our journey of remembering who we are (embracing all aspects, even those that seem dark or negative, as part of what makes us Divinely Human) and reclaiming our spiritual heritage. It is a willingness to walk into the darkness, meet our own self-created demons and take responsibility for their existence. It is our choice to bring forth that light shoved away, into darkness, because we did not feel worthy or capable enough to let it shine in us. The Void calls us all, to face our biggest fears and to recognize our greatest potential. As with all other aspects of spiritual awakening, this experience has been, and will continue to be, accelerated. Those who never wondered about their choices, or felt the need to confront old demons, will have to do so now. Continued resistance will result in actual insanity, by the beginning of 1999, among those unwilling to make the journey.

      A journey to The Void, though trying, will always result in new awareness and breakthrough experience. You won't be left in the valley of the shadow. You will be lifted up. Refusing the journey cripples, spiritually. Going into The Void is critically important for women, both individually, and as a planetary force for healing. Woman has a built-in timer, the monthly menstrual cycle--a reminder to retreat. Yet, the majority of us still turn off that physical alarm clock each month, with no conscious thought to the consequences. We not only hurt our bodies but also our capacity to help others, on a spiritual level. If we continue to deny our body impulses toward isolation, renewal, and visionary prayer every month, think of the vast amount of buried information that will accumulate. What kind of portraits are we painting in our spiritual attic?

      If you are a woman and you care about the planet, begin Moontime Isolation this month! If you are a man and you care about this planet, begin immediately to support any woman in your life (at home or in the work place), who follows the Moon Lodge tradition. Offer to fill in at work or at home. If you are in a supervisory position, work with women who need time off for this important process. It is unwise for male resistance to continue in this regard. Do what you can tofacilitate. If you are interested in finding out more about some of the Native-American Moon Lodge traditions, I recommend the writings of Brooke Medicine Eagle. If you would like to know more about how I have integrated this practice into my own blend of spirituality, I'll be glad to email introductory information at your request.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

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