Interspiritual Invocation by Mirabai Starr

    —
August 26, 2013

I wanted to share with you the invocation given by our dear friend and author Mirabai Starr at the recent Wake Up Festival. Invoking the great wisdom traditions throughout our world, Mirabai led the community in prayer and gratitude as we opened this year’s event. Several of you mentioned that you were really moved by Mirabai’s words; we wanted make make a copy available here. May you drink deeply.

Beloved One,
Living Light,
Spirit of All That Is,
we give thanks.
Thank you for welcoming us
to this sacred circle.

We come from everywhere,
and we find you wherever we are:
inside the holy houses of each of the world’s faiths,
and out in the wild places of the earth;
shoulder to shoulder in the mosque,
bending to press our hearts to the ground in surrender;
in the haunting Hebrew melodies of our ancestors
as we call on the Shekinah to infuse us
with her indwelling feminine spirit;
in the communion bread and wine,
which we take in remembrance
of the Prince of Peace.
We hear your voice joining with ours when we chant the Divine Names
in Sanskrit and Tibetan, Tiwa and Maya and Maori.

We meet you high on alpine trails,
where we stop to rest among fragrant wild herbs,
beside a stream rushing with melted snow.
We feel you holding us when we float in the arms of the ocean
and she sways us with her breath.
We kiss you when we are making love;
we mourn you when an elder releases her final exhalation;
we soothe you when we rock a tired child in our arms.

We look for you in the pulsating emptiness,
search for your true form in the heart of formlessness,
unexpectedly recognize you when we give up and turn away.

You shine through the ecstatic stanzas of the poets and mystics,
each one singing your praises in a different language.
You well up in our aching hearts
when we cry out for the pain of the world.
You are the call to justice,
and the answering response of mercy.
You are in the wounding of the earth
and you are the only hope for mending her.

Oh Great Spirit,
Father-Mother God,
True Self and No-Self,
Invisible animating energy of Life:
We claim our place at your table
and find ourselves home at last.
Here may we eat and be filled,
drink and become unbridled,
lay down our burdens and take refuge,
drop into your sacred silence and remember.

And let us take this remembrance back out into our lives,
That we may truly be of service
in this broken and beautiful world.

AMEN.

-Mirabai Starr

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Mirabai Starr

Mirabai Starr teaches philosophy and world religions at the University of New Mexico, and is the author of new translations of Dark Night of the Soul by John of the Cross and The Interior Castle and The Book of My Life by Teresa of Avila. She lives in Taos.

Author photo © ZoeZimmerman2021

Also By Author

3 Ways to Welcome the Sacred Feminine This Holiday Sea...

3 Ways to Welcome the Sacred Feminine This Holiday Season (2)

If you are anything like me (and almost everyone I encounter these days), you are growing bored with the patriarchy and eager to reclaim feminine wisdom across the spectrum of human community: politics, academia, pop culture, and religion and spirituality. It’s not a matter of personal preference. The well-being of our Mother the Earth is inextricably entwined with our choice to either lift up and center the feminine or continue to bury Her. Here are a few ways for you to welcome the sacred feminine this season. 

Reclaim Mother Mary

With so much of the attention of the Western world focused on the legendary birth of a boy baby, we sometimes forget he had a badass mom. Mother Mary was anything but meek and mild. She was a powerful prophet, an unconditionally loving force, a broken-open heart on fire. She offered her divine YES (Hineyni, in Hebrew) and spoke truth to power with love. How can you soften and step up to the resounding call to be the instrument of peace you were born to be? Look to Mary as a guide.

Read Women’s Poetry

There are a host of truth-tellers in the form of contemporary women poets & they are brimming with mystical treasures. Back away from the news for a moment and pick up a poem. Read it three times. The first time, you are knocking on the door of the poem. The second time, the door opens. And the third time, you are invited all the way in. Here are some recommendations: Marie Howe; Ellen Bass; Lyla June; Hashem Beck; Lynn Unger; Naomi Shihab Nye; Jane Hirshfield; Linda Pastan; Mohja Kafh.

Cultivate a Sabbath Practice

The tyranny of tasks that bosses us around most of the year can intensify around the holidays. Even as the mystical traditions invite us to turn inward & rest in stillness during this season, the larger culture demands that we engage in an endless array of duties and expenditures. In the Jewish tradition, a weekly observance of Shabbat, infused with the Feminine Presence (the Shekinah), is not only a requirement of the faith, but the sweetest blessing. Find your way to keep the Sabbath holy.

Mirabai Starr writes creative non-fiction and contemporary translations of sacred literature. She taught Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years and now teaches and speaks internationally on contemplative practice and inter-spiritual dialog. A certified bereavement counselor, Mirabai helps mourners harness the transformational power of loss. She has received critical acclaim for her revolutionary new translations of the mystics, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich. She is the award-winning author of GOD OF LOVE: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and CARAVAN OF NO DESPAIR: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation, and Mother of God Similar to Fire, a collaboration with iconographer, William Hart McNichols.  Her latest book is Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics. She lives with her extended family in the mountains of northern New Mexico.

The community here at Sounds True wishes you a lovely holiday season! We are happy to collaborate with some of our Sounds True authors to offer you wisdom and practices as we move into this time together; please enjoy this blog series for your holiday season. 

To help encourage you and your loved ones to explore new possibilities this holiday season, we’re offering 40% off nearly all of our programs, books, and courses sitewide. May you find the wisdom to light your way. Use promo code HOLIDAY10 and receive an additional 10% off your order.

EXPLORE NOW

 

The Way of the Feminine to Save the World

You feel special. Sometimes this feels like a curse. Like no one will understand you. Ever. Like you will always be an alien walking among regular humans, pretending to blend in. You have learned to live with this gulf, but what you really crave is community. You long to belong to the human family. To Mother Earth.

Participating in the human condition can be bewildering. It is just not always cozy and easy—rather, it’s humbling at best, downright humiliating when it is not flowing. It can seem so much simpler to ride solo, slaying your own dragons and singing the ballads you wrote about yourself. Collaboration can be tedious, and the prevailing masculine value system may have conditioned you to feel like you are giving away your power when you share it with others.

So what? Give it away. The time of the singular sage bestowing his unique wisdom is over. That was a method devised by the men in charge who sought to regulate wisdom. They taught us to suffer alone in the desert for forty years, collecting our insights in a secret box called “Esoteric Knowledge.” Then, we were supposed to dispense those insights stingily to those who proved themselves worthy by also suffering alone for the requisite forty years in the desert.

It turns out that the world is filled with special beings, grappling our way through the anxiety of solitary conundrums and tasting the occasional reprieve of connection. When you realize this, your body lets out its breath and relaxes. The curse lifts. You come in from the cold. You hold out your cup, and some other special being fills it with sweet, milky tea spiced with fragrant herbs. You drink.

Our way, the way of the feminine, is to find out what everyone is good at and praise them for it and get them to teach it to one another. Maybe you know something about the hidden meaning of the Hebrew letters, or how to build a sustainable home from recycled tires and rammed soil, or loving-kindness meditation. You, the one who knows the Islamic call to prayer, climb this minaret and call us all to prayer. You, the one who knows how to sit quietly at the bedside of the dying, show us the way to bear witness. You, the one who knows how to get us to wake up to the shadow of privilege, please wake us the #*#@ up. It will be chaotic, all this community building, but your cooperation will save the world.

Besides, it will be fun.

Mirabai Starr: Wild Mercy

Mirabai Starr is a writer and modern mystic whose books include God of Love and Caravan of No Despair. Most recently, she has published Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics with Sounds True. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Mirabai about her approach to feminine mysticism and what brought her to write Wild Mercy. Mirabai explains women mystics’ emphasis on interbeing as well as the innate connection between spiritual seeking and the fate of the earth. Tami and Mirabai talk about the potential forms that spiritual communities may take in the future and how we can navigate the death throes of patriarchal religious structures. Finally, they discuss the reunion of masculine and feminine perspectives, as well as why loss opens us to immense compassion. (60 minutes)

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Trigger Warning: In this episode, we discuss suicide.

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  • Paula Quigley says:

    A beautiful prayer at a time when our broken world needs it the most.

  • Peggy says:

    This is really beautiful! Thank you for sharing, Matt and Mirabai!

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