Ephipany ||

They huddle in their temples with the doors closed tight
waiting for the wind to rush in
the tongues of fire to fall
the spirit to descend and burn up all their enemies
To make them kings and emperors
And show the world how good it is
To be a friend of god

But the Spirit is alive and moving
She seeks the heart that’s broken
The hands that are open
She seeks the place of healing
She chooses there to do her work
And bring revival

No crown or wall
Or name or tribe
can give the wounded soul
What life the Spirit can
She salves and soothes
She sews, she sings
And only those
Rent by grief, by pain
By loss, by death
By rejection, by abuse
By oppression
Can even recognise
Her most gentle touch

They said we would know the Spirit
Because she would come in the light
But those of us who dwelt in darkness
Who were made to live there
Who chose it
Who fell there
Who went there for the sake of another
Know, we know
The Spirit is found in the darkness
Close to the precipice of death itself
And once we have known her
We recognise her always

The Spirit is bringing
All that was in darkness into the light
She is exposing not the wounds, or the wounded
But those that wounded
She is flinging open the doors to the temples
Not to bring tongues of fire
But to bring the light of reckoning
Those who have kept the courts closed
To all except the judges and the scholars
Who swept the steps to remove the beggars and the broken
Will themselves be swept down
Their robes will not cover them
Their names will not excuse them
All will be seen and heard
As the Spirit begins to give witness

And there will be mercy
Always, mercy

The new spiritual emergence is upon us
And it is coming not from within temples with closed doors
But from the wilderness camps and gathering places
Christ walks out on the path
And those who walk
Those who wake
They will see the New Consciousness
And come home.

(Jo Hilder ©)
– image source: unknown

Epiphany

I have reason to believe
We are moving quickly at this moment
Into the next stage of the birth
Of the manifest Church on earth

And, as ever
It is being seen, experienced
And foretold
Through the broken hearts
Of women

As above, so below
On earth, as it is in heaven

Your birthing pains are not in vain
Your confinement is almost at an end
Epiphany approaches now
As quickly as the rising sun climbs
Towards the highest part of the sky

So do not let your sadness overtake you
Or let your memories steal your hope
You are the Mother of Christ
See now, the child of peace will soon lay in your arms
Take up your place, wise one
Gather the children around you, and whisper your words in their ears
Send them out to the furthest places in the earth
Let your love be the love of letting go
Of scattering seed to the winds, rather than building walls around gardens,
Of empire breaking, rather than empire building
Of making sisters and brothers, rather than making slaves and servants
The time of the Mother is upon us
And the new Church will indeed be birthed
And not built
For a house made by the hands of men is a no fitting home for the Spirit of God
Rather, She longs to dwell in the divine, transient ephemera of flesh
So She can live and move and have Her being

Behold, you are a holy place
Your heart, woman, is a receptacle of grace
It has been broken by the world, by grief, by death
But from it flows all things God would give
This broken world, this
Beautiful, perfect, magnificent world

It is you, woman
Chosen, known, seen
Anointed and appointed
Who will bear forth the coming
Of the new Christ
For your heart
Your broken, beautiful heart
Is that most Holy place
From which the New Church
Will be born.

(Jo Hilder ©)

Young Australian Parent, Don’t Let Them Scare You Into A No Vote.

Dear young Australian parent,

Here we are, all about to choose yes or no on a legislation which will impact our children’s generation in ways we can only begin to understand. For many of our generation, the idea that a great many of us are gay is still difficult to accept, let alone that our children may be as well. You may have deeply held convictions and beliefs about what homosexuality is and is not, and what ought to be done about it. We enjoy the privilege of living in a nation where we’re are free to have our beliefs, whatever they are. And I’m not going to try and change them, even if I disagree with them.

But as we move towards this plebiscite on marriage equality they say we must have, I feel as an older women and mother of four it’s my responsibility to drop some wisdom I’ve learned. And I’ll cut to the chase. Whatever your beliefs, dear one, your child may not grow up to share them. And if you love them, want them to be healthy and free, you’ll let them believe their own beliefs, and you won’t take it personally or as a sign of failure if they don’t share yours.

Secondly, as much as this may alarm you, a good many of us are parenting children with a sexual identity we may not understand, like or even believe exists. As they grow, their explorations and questions about that sexual identity will confront us in many ways. And many parents whose own beliefs about sexual and gender identity are underpinned by fear or confusion may project this onto their children, and the child becomes just one more source of fear and confusion. And fear makes us do things often we later regret. Anger, denial and rejection are inevitably actions parents regret when directed towards their child, whatever their justification.

Thirdly, your love for your child is irreplaceable. It is everything in your child’s world, and will be always, no matter how flawed or fragile your attempts at it are. If you allow yourself to be forced into a position where you must choose between your beliefs about homosexuality and whether to show your child you love them no matter who they are, no matter what they do, your child learns something about themselves. And it is not a good something.

Any beliefs you hold so to which force you to reject your child, will not fly across the country to hold your hand in your last moments, will not look into your eyes and tell you they love you, will not name their children for you for the sake of your love. Your beliefs will be like empty chasms at the end, and you’ll see the folly of them. All those others with whom you comforted yourself when you put your child away will go away to their own families and homes, and you will be alone with your beliefs. And your child will be motherless, fatherless, but they will go on in the world they created without you, the world you made necessary for them.

Lastly, in the time leading up to this vote, don’t let them make you afraid. Don’t let them tell you a wave of sin and immorality is coming, and it will swamp your child and you won’t be able to save them, to reach them. Don’t let them frighten you with horror stories of sexual depravity passed off as education. You are and have always been your child’s first teacher. So stand confident in that. See your child as they are, and love them as that, and everything will be fine. Nobody is going to make your child gay. Nobody wants to. If they are, they already are. It may be neither of you know it yet. And that may be terrifying to you. But know this.

Whatever comes, you can handle it. You’re amazing at this parenting thing. You’re great, and your child loves and trusts you. They’re watching you. They’re watching for signs you’ll accept them no matter who they are, by seeing how you accept others. They are afraid they will disappoint you, displease you, disgust you. Make sure they know they can’t, no matter who they are. You can. You can do it.

Don’t let them scare you. Don’t let them belittle you into thinking your love isn’t enough. Don’t let them terrify you with stories about your lack of control over all this, over the future. The truth is, you don’t have it. Not over the future, not over your child. None of us did. Your child will be okay. It will all be okay. You can handle whatever comes. Love wins. Remember that. Love always wins.

Jo Hilder

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You may also like Why Christians Are Not The Boss Of Marriage

Out there.

Artists and the art they make are often criticised as being “out there”, as something too lofty and ephemeral for the regular human being, as if creating and creativity were some kind of abnormal activity and art itself a paranormal entity, understandable and achievable only by a select, peculiar few.
 
And you know what? Perhaps art and creativity is exactly that – out there. When you think about it, maybe we all need to spend a bit more time and energy “out there” wherever is it art is. All these things keeping us from our bliss, our joy, from making the stuff we love, going the places that energise and inspire us, from thinking about the wonder of ourselves and each other are actually very much “in there” – in our own heads.

Continue reading “Out there.”

The Rain Bird

I once lived in a house surrounded on three sides by beautiful Australian bush; silvery eucalyptus trees, wattle with fluffy yellow flower balls, wild redgums, stringy barks and she-oaks. And birds; rainforest varieties mostly, but the ubiquitous magpies and currawongs. Indian mynas, whipbirds and bellbirds too.

One morning, I was drawn outside by an unusual bird call. It sounded like a baby magpie, but something wasn’t quite right. The juvenile maggie is almost as big as the parents, and fully dependent for food until quite grown. As I scoured the treetops for signs of a nest, I could hear the familiar bossy calls of the young bird out there somewhere. But something seemed off. The call was louder than was typical, and way more insistent. Rather than issuing its demands in a phrase, with long pauses, this bird was relentless. Squwark, squwark, squwark it went, on and on and on. It sounded like it was close, and I should’ve been able to see the familiar grey and white head and shoulders peeking above a messy bundle of sticks in a nearby tree. I did find a nest, but all I could see inside it was a huge white bird I didn’t recognise; certainly not the baby I was looking for.

Then, to my surprise, two adult magpies rushed down in a swoop to the nest. I realised the strange creature sitting in the magpie nest was actually issuing the baby magpie sound from it’s big, grey beak. The parents were almost falling over themselves to cram great beakfuls of whatever magpies eat into the throat of this huge thing as fast as they could. The big, greedy, white, non-magpie gulped down the offerings, and immediately started up its squwarking again. And off the two harried parents went, presumably to find more of whatever it is magpies eat to feed the large creature sitting in their next, pretending to be their offspring.

I was horrified. And fascinated. What the hell was going on here? Where was the real baby magpie? What was that big white bird in the nest doing, pretending to be their baby? Was this a thing? Or was I watching some kind of weird evolutionary abomination occurring in my back yard?

I was shaken. And angry. I felt for those magpie parents, clearly tricked into thinking they were obliged to run themselves ragged for this big, fat non-magpie intruder.

I went and did some research, and this is what I found.

Channel-billed cuckoos – or Rain Birds – are what’s know as parasitic birds. Parent cuckoos will actively seek the occupied nests of magpies or currawongs, ejecting any eggs they find there, and laying their own in their stead.

They then fly off and abandon the cuckoo eggs to the unwitting nest owners, who care for them and hatch them as if they were their own. The two currawongs are thusly fooled into believing the Rain Bird is it’s baby. They are instinctively obliged to raise the chick, feeding it and protecting it, slaves to its demands, never ever suspecting their charge, which eventually grows to twice the size of the “parents”, is an imposter.

And all the time it pretends to be a vulnerable youngster, evoking the protective, nurturing instinct deep in the parent, sounding for all the world like a hapless baby. By supplanting the original and rightful occupant of the family nest by force and imposing itself and its constant needs onto it’s unknowing hosts, the Rain Bird gets its needs met, grows and prospers. Without conscience. Without qualms. Until the cycle begins again.
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Do you know a Rain Bird?

I suspect we all may know one. In fact, perhaps you think you are one?

Rain birds are people who are broken just like everyone, but are stronger, more capable and more awesome than they choose to believe, and project themselves to be. They know they’re flawed and imperfect, as we all are, but they tell anyone who will listen they’re more helpless and bereft than anyone else, projecting an especially broken brokenness. They are the most poor, hopeless and badly done by of everyone in their world, they insist. But they are not merely complaining. Their brokenness is a device for attracting favour and support; emotional, certainly, and any other kind you might happen to have on offer as well.

Thing is, Rain Birds are clever and intelligent. They are smart, funny and good at what they love to do. But their gifts are inverted. They use their considerable abilities not to move themselves ahead in the world, but to posture themselves as weak and needy, so others will give them out of pity or compassion what they could easily attain for themselves.

We all have stuff to deal with, and most of us feel less than or too much from time to time. Sharing our stories and our feelings is generally a healthy thing to do. But what makes a Rain Bird’s story-telling unique is their seeking to gain advantage over others via their stories. For them, their brokenness is evidence they deserve to be given concession or advantage. The advantage Rain Birds seek could be success or promotion to a much-wanted position. It could be inclusion in a group or access to a product or service. It could be personal or professional support, or it could simply be care and nurture. Chronic Rain Birds know no other way to get what they want than to plead their sad, hopeless plight, hoping to attract benefit. They will often move from “nest” to “nest” looking to install themselves under the brooding care of a rescuer, teacher or carer who will “understand” them. They easily lose interest in people or groups who do not affirm and support their belief no one is worse off than they are. Their behaviour will often cause interpersonal and group dynamics to become uneven, and just like the unwitting foster parents of the real Rain Bird, they may burn – or burn out – their rescuer, by continually and relentlessly demanding more than they contribute.

It’s safer for the Rain Bird to ask for concession and charity, because if they lose it, they’ve lost nothing of true worth or value, to them anyway. What they gained cost them nothing, so they’ve lost nothing if it doesn’t work, or ceases to be provided. They know there’s plenty more nests where this one came from.

There are many reasons people become Rain Birds. Rain Birds often come from families where the only way to have needs met, or attract attention or affection was to be hurt, injured or sick.  They may be unrealised or oppressed creatives, or tightly budded spiritually or emotionally for a long time. Rain Birds are frequently unhealed victims of abuse. Influences such as addiction can also cloud a Rain Birds insights into just how capable and resources they are. If someone you’ve met, live or work is evoking a sense of pity or compassion in your heart, but with it seems deeply entrenched in self-deprecation, co-dependency or a victim mentality, you can probably assume a Rain Bird is circling in your neighbourhood..

Not giving in to a Rain Bird’s manipulations isn’t about not hearing their story, or  withholding compassion, patience or kindness. There is some truth in all the Rain Bird’s cries for help. But whilst they play from this particular section of the orchestra, they ignore and withhold an equally significant truth. They are a survivor, and they know how to take care of themselves. They often have more resources than you do. If you weren’t around to rescue them, they would be perfectly fine.

The moment you begin to instate boundaries with a Rain Bird, that’ll be the end of that. When you say “that’s enough”, you’re dropped.  And by the time you realise you didn’t help, fix them or make their lives better despite everything you did or offered to do, they’ll have moved on to the next person or place, and because you genuinely believed it was a real relationship, it’ll break your heart.

The way to love a Rain Bird is with you in your nest, and they in theirs. Be their friend, but empower them to live from their own capacity, resources, strengths and wisdom. Support them to take responsibility for their actions, and the impacts they have on you and others. When situations and opportunities arise, remind them about their intrinsic intelligence, courage and insights. Do not be tempted to rescue them, or be positioned into becoming a foster parent or unwitting carer.

The Rain Bird needs constant reinforcement from you their feelings and beliefs of helplessness and hopelessness aren’t special or unique – we all feel too much and not enough at times.  Set firm and clear boundaries between what they say they need, and everything you love and value, because they will have no qualms about eliminating threats from the “nest” in vying for your attention. Don’t allow solving their their problems – real, or imagined – to become a source of self-confidence or ego-building for you. Love a Rain Bird best by speaking consistently to their capacity, reminding them – and yourself – about their track record of survival so far without you.
……….
(c) Jo Hilder 2015

Invisible.

I’ve picked up this peculiar habit lately here on the farm. I’ve become addicted to wandering around the old, abandoned houses and cottages, scouring the paddocks and the sheep ruts, my eyes fixed on the dirt and silvery stubble and grass, looking for – well – stuff.

It started a couple of weeks ago when I noticed a few pieces of broken pottery in the field next to our cottage. Blue and white china, the edge of a smashed plate. And glass; thousands of pieces of broken bottles, glasses and other household sundries. Blue, green, brown, clear, and some the tint of amethyst.

We’ve lived here almost a year, and I’ve never seen it before. But now, I see it everywhere.

Every little fragment speaks to me. They are like treasures. They hold the story of the whole they once were. A piece of plate, once part of a valuable dinner set stacked in a cupboard. Probably saved up for, in pennies and pounds. Carted out in a crate, out back of a horse. Brought out for guests and washed with care, lest it be chipped or broken. Now laying in a million pieces in the dirt. Forgotten.

Invisible.

I shard of broken glass, half an inch thick, the same minty colour of the sea. Once a bottle? Medicine? Wine? Champagne? Some tincture, ointment, perfume? A vessel discarded once the contents were emptied? Or did it spend months, years on a shelf, guarding whatever was once within, keeping it safe, suspended in time? How did the beautiful whole come to be smashed in the grass, it’s fragments frosted by weather and years? How was it shifted from the gaze of a proud owner to the grasp of the slow, reclaiming earth?

Invisible.

Wine glasses for joy, for celebrations. Dinner plates for family reunions and end-of-day meals by fireside. Medicine bottles for fervent prayers at a beside. Liquor vessels and beer bottles for raucousness, ignorance, addictions and violence, sorrow, loss, stoic perseverance, repentance, forgiveness. Scent and cosmetic for luxury. Milk bottles for sustenance. Coffee and teacups for conversation. Sit a while. Pass the cup. Share with me.

They think it’s funny, my family. Whatcha want with all that busted stuff? I brought my treasures home in bags and the apron of my shirt front, and washed them carefully in the kitchen sink. Scrubbed off the dirt and washed out the pond scum. I held each one up to the light and enjoyed it, gave it a story, blessed it, placed it with all the others.

I put them all in bowls and sat them where I can see them. Owned.

No longer invisible.
………..
Went out again yesterday and walked in the pre-twilight across the dirty common where the sheep scour the ground like a shallow plough on their way down to the creek. And there was more again. Bits of plates and bowls and bottles. Every little piece a postage stamp sized snapshot of an era in human taste and fashion. The leaf-shaped scallop of a plate edge. The crazed blue and white brushstrokes on a teacup fragment. The smooth, clear bevel of a bottle base. The story of us, and the story of the ones who lived here. Stories; love, loss, joy, growth, riches, poverty, prosperity, lack, life, death. Owned, they were once. Whole they were once. Like us.

Like me.

Treasures, they are. Treasures to me.

Once invisible. I see, I see.
……….
I lay last night in a half sleep, after two weeks of increasing low, grey skies and cold winds both out there on the farm, and in my head. We haven’t had a summer, and I feel trapped by seasons that refuse to turn, refuse to give. It’s too long we’ve been not knowing. And I’ve felt stuck here; not home, and not travelling, just biding our time in three month increments of wait-and-see. I love the farm, but this is not my home, and may never be. I am ready to move on. I feel like I’m slipping into obscurity here. Like the world is forgetting about me. I write my stories and think my thoughts, and wonder if a person exists of nobody is there to see them, hear them. If a tree falls, and all that. Day after day, out here miles away from anyone, surrounded by a hundred and fifty years of attempts people made not to be forgotten. And yet, here I am, and I know them only by the broken things they’ve left behind.

I shiver.

I closed my eyes and thought about how a thousand years ago all I wanted in this world was to be famous. Known. Seen. I taught myself to sing because people see you when you do that. But I don’t sing any more. I am too honest for that any more. I write instead, which is like drawing a different naked picture of yourself from different angles every day and posting it on a telegraph pole. And yet, even though I get out the paste and post my bill as a habit, I feel unseen, unknown.

I wanted for so long to be free. I did not want to be owned by others, to need to sell what I could do for money and approval. I wanted to be allowed to be broken. Because I was, and I couldn’t help it. And I wanted to tell my story, to anyone, everyone, and not care what they thought.

And I was broken, and was not owned, and told my story. I was free.

And something happened, so slow I didn’t see it. I found out what happens to things that get broken, to things that are disowned and unowned, to things that get themselves lost or misplaces, things that are allowed to fall back into the earth, that have nothing left to prove, that are unfashioned from their utility, allowed to chip, to break, to fall into the ground, to be honest, to be untied from their apportioned function. I felt in me the process of what a piece of earth endures when it stops being a thing of value to people because of it’s use, it’s beauty, it’s colour, it’s use, it’s imbued value, it’s transferable status.

They end up in a thousand pieces in a sheep paddock. Forgotten. Untied. Free.

Invisible.

Then God said something to me.

“Are you willing to be invisible?”

Me? No! Who would want to be invisible?

“Are you willing?”

Is that even a question? Seriously?

“What if this is what it takes for the ones who need you, who need what you are, to find you?

“For you to be hidden?

“For you to be secreted away?

“For you to be needing to be found?

“You go seeking treasures in the field. You want them because they are hidden, unseen, unknown, forgotten, rejected, abandoned, unwanted.

“But you want them.

“Those who need what you have are also seeking a treasure in a field.

“Think on this; they seek what they themselves are, not what they are not.

“Are you willing to allow yourself to be what it is they seek?

“Are you willing to be invisible?

“Are you willing?

“You need only let go. Like those broken pieces in the field, you must yield.

“Yield to the brokenness, to the breaking.

“Yield to the rejection, to being abandoned.

“Yield to being and becoming forgotten.

“Yield to being covered, subject to the seasons, trampled into the ground.

“Yield to rain, to feet, yield to weight, to dirt. Yield to becoming a part of where you fell.

“Yield to anonymity, invisibility.

“Yield to the discovery. Because they will find you.

“If you wish to be treasured, you must be willing to be lost, then discovered.

“Your work is to be the treasure.

“You are already worthy. Worthy is who and what you are.

“The losing is not for you. It’s not because of you, or anything you’ve done. The losing is because seekers need to seek.

“Seekers need the seeking.

“Let it all be broken, lost and forgotten.

“Let it be and become invisible.

“Let the treasure be buried out there in the field.

“Your your treasure be buried in the field.

“Seekers need to seek, and they need to find.”

……………..

I trust you may also find a comfort in the season you’re in at the moment. A rest, and a letting go. God bless.

Selah.

Jo xxxx
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– (c) Jo Hilder 2015