It snowed today in St. Louis. We were expecting a few big flakes—the “size of hamsters,” according to one meteorologist—mixed with mostly rain. But it’s March in the Midwest, and cold air can be stubborn as it lurks at ground level.
And as this water first flowed and then drifted from the sky to cover the pioneering spring leaves, Water came with it. For the first time in weeks I awoke feeling love and gratitude flowing into me, out from me, and all around.
I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by large shifts these past several weeks. First the flames in the Middle East, then the fires of wrath in the Midwest. I watched brave, brave people marching for their freedom and fighting for their lives in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya and revealing the seething, restless heat beneath the calm crust of Bahrain, even Saudi Arabia and China. I prayed these fires would bring liberation through as peaceful means as possible.
And in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, normally placid Midwesterners took to the streets to protest what they saw as assaults on their livelihoods, civil rights and even the right to choose their local elected officials. These are my people not just by geography but by blood, by bonds of friendship, and by links forged in sacred circles. I prayed their peaceful resistance would prevail, and that they would have the strength to continue their struggle as long as necessary.
Then the earth tore apart off the shores of Asia. Japan leapt eight feet to the east and plunged two feet towards the earth’s center. The Pacific Ocean scoured the land. Volcanoes awoke on Asian islands and the Russian mainland. The planet’s very poles shivered. Small, man-made suns threaten further devastation.
I was busy with my own concerns Friday, and had seen little of the news when I wrote to some associates that I’d be unlikely to spare much money or attention for Japan when the Midwest seemed to be going up in flames. My own tribe came first. I reasoned that Japan would be fine, that Japan is a wealthy, well-prepared, first-world nation. And it is.
But as I learned more of the magnitude of this disaster, I felt small. Not just small in the sense of being only one creature in an infinite universe. Small as in stingy and dammed-off. I realized I had forgotten my connection to the larger energy of love that is infinite, and that springs from the universal Waters that are always available to us.
As I focused on the events of the larger world, I also had forgotten the activities that keep me centered. I had neglected my daily meditation and devotional practice. I had failed to breathe and ground myself in the present and the physical when feeling overwhelmed. With my core weakened, my energy spiraled outward. I created my own psychic and spiritual whirlpool, potentially just as damaging to my life as the ones that formed in the Pacific were to life on its shores.
On Sunday night, there was a healing ceremony linking Japan and Wisconsin. It was led by Circle Sanctuary’s Selena Fox in the Wisconsin woods and Japanese musician and healer Shibaten in Tokyo. They met when Shibaten performed at Circle’s Pagan Spirit Gathering last June. I am sure that many hundreds. if not thousands, prepared special altars and participated in their homes.
I believe that the healing energy created worked its magick for me as well. I awoke cleansed by it. I remembered a line from Shakespeare:
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”
That’s a line Juliet speaks to Romeo from her balcony. In the play it springs from youthful passion. I believe it also expresses what I had forgotten: that the Divine Love we tap into when we send compassion to those in need is infinite. And that like the quality of mercy Shakespeare wrote about in The Merchant of Venice, it blesses those who give it and those who receive it.
It’s true that we have limits on our time and on our physical resources as incarnate beings. Earth is not just the name of the planet that holds us; it’s the force that gives us boundaries. But the qualities of love, compassion and mercy that we can give and receive are infinite. They heal us as they flow through us to those we would assist.
Once again, I light the candles on my altar. I sit the Earthy form that is my body before it and breathe deep. I pray to Quan Yin, who hears all the cries of the world. I call the energies of Love and Compassion, and send them out through my heart to those in need.
And I remember that includes me. There is healing Water enough for all.
If you would like to perform the healing ritual for Japan that Selena Fox created, it’s available at the Circle Sanctuary Web site.