a community of lovers
We had a phenomenal gathering last weekend in Kendal honouring the Sacred Feminine. We will be sharing photos, video and audio from the gathering, also reflections from attendees and how to take the work forward. We begin with some thoughts from Fatimah and Saimma.
I was not quite sure exactly what the weekend would bring. I felt certain however that if we held a sincere intention, and the space in a sacred and inclusive way as possible, this would create something very special. I knew that any expectations which I had worked to disassociate from would only be exceeded. Such is the generosity of the Divine!
Throughout the course of the weekend our speakers shared their experiences and insights on various matters such as the significance of dreams and stories, family and intergenerational relationships, serving communities and moving them toward an inclusive vision, connecting with important female spiritual figures as embodiments of divine qualities, healing self and community through creativity. Their sharings touched hearts and triggered personal unveilings for us all. There were also reflections on scripture, and an invitation to connect to our ancestors. As well as the opportunity for some to connect their inner and outer experiences through a movement workshop.
I feel a very deep gratitude to all our attendees and speakers and of course, Beth Hin, who gave so much of herself during the course of the weekend. I found myself being tuned by her words. She spoke so eloquently from a deep wisdom. It was like being directly tuned into Truth. The image she shared of the rosary of conscious human beings: women and men supporting each other in the uncovering of the Divine Feminine – bringing into balance of the masculine and feminine – is one I hold firmly in my heart.
I was deeply touched by the sharings of all the participants on the Sunday morning including the sharing of some of our brothers. Like others who attended the retreat, it was filled for me with subtle realisations about myself which continue to unfold and powerful confirmations of things deeply felt. In particular, about the importance of this work in addressing felt injustices in our world.
Throughout the whole gathering there was a feeling of love. It brings to heart the saying of Jesus: Wherever two or more of you gather in my name, I am there. In the Islamic tradition, it is held that where people gather to remember God, the angels gather too. I know that much of this experience of love and holiness is due to the sincere hearts who joined us, and also to Shaikha Camille Helminski, who is a teacher to many of us. I believe firmly that her prayers for us in this work have played a part, along with Beth’s, in the creation of a sacred space and time in which we could experience so much blessing.
Ideas for how the work might be taken forward in a holistic manner are brewing.
The image of roses is strong and prevails.
~ Fatimah Mohammed-Ashrif
She is not that kind of beloved most imagine;
she is a ray of God.
She is not just a created, she is creative.
[Mathnawi I, 2437]
These lines from Mevlana have held me this last year as the work towards the Unveiling the Divine gathering gained momentum. As guest speakers fell into place and the programme materialised, the current of creative power was palpable and, when I allowed myself a brief moment to step back, awe-inspiring to behold. As Fatimah has already mentioned so beautifully, we felt certain that whatever was created would be beyond our expectations. Our supportive friends have been these rays of God. And it was no coincidence that the venue for our gathering was a Quaker Meeting House – a home of Divine Light.
Gathering means to bring together: and we had a wonderful range of women and men from across the globe, physically, and others messaging to ask if they could access the talks later. Attendees came from a variety of backgrounds, all speaking about their personal connection to the Feminine.
Gathering also means to gain, increase: and we all received nourishment from each speaker and attendee present, as everyone shared from their heart, scars, new wounds and old, with courage and courtesy. We also gained from the sharing of different traditions: Hindu, Christian, Brahma Kumari, Native American, Muslim, and more.
One new friend has shared since the weekend:
I felt very humbled by all the lovely people there. It was so nice to just ‘be’ and feel so relaxed in what was technically a group of strangers. It certainly didn’t feel that way and I left feeling that I was parting from friends. The evening of music and prayer was sublime and has penetrated deep into my heart. It will never leave.
There is much that is still percolating for this one, but the things that stand out for me right now are the love that brought us all together, the strength of our teacher, Shaikha Camille Helminski, the grace of Beth Hin, the courage of the hearts that shared so deeply. And, most especially, the support of our brothers. It brought to mind these lines from Mevlana:
Heaven and Earth do intelligent work.
Why else would these two nestle like lovers
if they did not taste delight in each other?
The desire in the female for the male
is so that they might perfect each other’s work,
and the world is preserved by this union.
[Mathnawi III, 4413–4415]
As we shared in our closing email to attendees, while there are many themes that have come out of the gathering, one that we would like to highlight is the importance of men supporting the work of the Divine Feminine. We are grateful to our brothers who attended. We would also like to mention that while it is easy to joke about ‘what’s a man doing at a Sacred Feminine event’, unconsciously it can feed into the damaging existing paradigm of the Divine Masculine being the norm, and the Divine Feminine being only for women. As Beth and other speakers highlighted many times during our gathering, it is the combined efforts of women and men that will lead to real change – for the Divine Masculine and Feminine both.
This work is a continuous process and recognising our interdependency is, for Rumi’s Circle, a key part of our journey together. We look forward to sharing this space for the mutual benefit and growth of each other.
See more pictures from the gathering.
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