Dear Holy Mother of All That is Bright and Beautiful

In the Beginning Was the Word

Dear Holy Mother of All That is Bright and Beautiful,

Today I am with you in my spirit. Today I remember who you are for me. For all of us. Sometimes I wonder where you are…but in my heart, knowing you are always here. I need your presence. Your nurturing love in my body and soul and life!

I know there are many yet, who do not even believe there is a Great Mother of All, and so sometimes it can be challenging for those of us who have chosen you, to honor you. Some of us think of you as the Earth, some think of you as the Universe, and I don’t think you mind being called loving names like those. But some do not even think you exist, some think the Father reigns alone.  A long time ago – that is what I thought. And am I ever grateful to leave that motherless land, where only the male deity reigns alone.  I always wondered if He was lonely. Now I dream/feel/believe He is not alone. My mother raised me as a hopeful romantic and it comes out in places like these.

My mother told me that when I was a little girl I asked if Jesus came from a broken family. I asked where you were. It was many many many years before I would find you for myself. Hold you name on my lips and sing hymns of thanksgiving to you, and of course paint offerings to you. The sweetness, hope and creativity that has come to me, as a result of calling on you, is beyond what my heart can hold!  Even now tears come easily thinking of the first time I asked about you. And you came. In an instant. Thank you beyond measure. And it was not long after that – that  my art was born, and my heart was opened and compassion became my purpose here.  How can I say thank you in a language that sums up the great longing in my heart for you to know how I feel? But I know you already do. I rest in knowing you know me.

I want to say, again, how sorry I am for how we behave. It is a good thing that Mothers and Fathers are so forgiving of their children. We are kind of crazy here, acting out in unthinkable ways – I wonder how it will all be resolved, and when the suffering will end.  I am at once anxious for a resolution and a revolution, and then at the same time I have a wacky trust, ok, call it faith, that we are working something out here as humans that has not yet been resolved. Still I wonder, with all the pain, will the tears ever dry? I am sure you all have it figured out. At least I hope you do. I dry my own tears with the hem of your garment.

Even as I write these words, I feel a sort of strange fear, that those who might read this, will think I am blasphemous for honoring a Mother. I have gotten letters from them, and we converse a while, as careful as we can, about why they don’t think you are real/important/exist and why I believe in you and the profound importance of being a people with a mother and a father. Why this attachment to a single parent family? Oh sure, they say GOD is beyond labels like Mom and Dad, but I know Jesus called you Mother, and I know He called God: Father, Abba, Daddy. And so why can I not call you Mama? And so I do. Solomon refers to you as the Mother of all Good things – I like that.  If anyone is reading right now, and is in resistance, I pray they will open their hearts to you – and if not, perhaps leave me and the others alone so we can honor you in peace.  And quiet as it is kept – there is plenty of evidence in the Bible and in the history of the church the past 200o years for honoring the Mother of God. All the truth will be told, but not right now. And right now, I praise you Holy Mother, Theotokos, God Bearing Woman.

Sometimes, I think I want to make a big TO DO about you and let everyone know about you and who you are for us – I am grateful, for those who even call you a different name, because in loving the Mother we are not alone. Who knows how it all works? I sure don’t. And the point is, my art, and my writings to you, in their quiet and adoring way, will bear witness to you throughout my life. Thank you, Our Lady of the Red Thread, for the way you stitch together the work in this life of learning how to live in pain and chaos, and still find peace and compassion, and of course creativity. Have I told you, that I think that your presence in our lives brings about more creative expression, and beauty, than if you were not here. There is an aesthetic quality that comes to ones life when you are in it (hence Catholic an Orthodox Churches are decked out in red and gold and Lady Glam).

There have been so many miracles in connection with you in my life. And I must say, at times when I have let my dialogue with you diminish, I have felt it so tremendously that when I came back to you, I could not believe the flood of stored emotion. Thank you – Lady, beautiful compassionate Lady for directing my footsteps always towards life and creation. And thank you, for pointing me always toward a deeper relationship with your Son. Who on earth, experienced loving Him more than you?

I don’t have any idea how it all works – how all the Gods and Goddesses fit together in the whole story and I have actually given up even making a story about what it means, or apologizing for having chosen the Christian Orthodox view of you – combined with my own mystical lens – to create a living breathing experiential relationship with you whom I call: Mama. I do wish we knew. Many claim to know, but I don’t thank anyone knows. Long ago when I was teenager and my best friend was a Hare Krishna/Buddha girl, we used to have Jesus and Buddha converse from their respective clouds about what to do with us down here. My thoughts on the matter, I am afraid have not evolved that much.  I have spent many hours imagining you with a divine closet in which you change from one cloak and skin and glow to another – now the Black Madonna outfit, now Our Lady of Lourdes (love the gold rose shoes), now Our Lady of Guadalupe which comes with balancing on the crescent moon.  This only takes me so far…as when it comes time for you to have a conversation with Kali or Quan Yin I just don’t know where to take it. And frankly, I claim my artistic right not to. I don’t claim to have the truth, I claim to have chosen you, Mother Mary, as my own Divine and Holy Mother and for that reason I can call you, Mother of the Whole Wide World. And if anyone has a problem with it, let them take it up with their own Mother.

I have ten million more things to say – but right now I am going to call my mother. Also, please bless my family this year, and bless me to become a mother myself.

One last thing though – thank you, thank you for making my life into a ministry to serve others. Please show me the way to do this in accordance with your highest purpose for me.

Say Hi to Dad for me. And thank you, one more time, for giving birth to Jesus.

Happy happy happy Mother’s Day. I hope the Angels are serving you tea and crumpets.

Thank you for bringing forth in us, in our very sacred hearts, that which is bright and beautiful, because you are the Mother of those things.

Love, Shiloh Sophia

Your Devoted Daughter

Here is a word about the

Holy Mother from St. Romanos the Melodist from the year 556.

Kontakion 1

Choir: To Thee, the Champion Leader, we Thy servants dedicate a feast of victory and of thanksgiving as ones rescued out of sufferings, O Theotokos: but as Thou art one with might which is invincible, from all dangers that can be do Thou deliver us, that we may cry to Thee: Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride!

Ikos 1

Priest: An archangel was sent from Heaven to say to the Theotokos: Rejoice! And beholding Thee, O Lord, taking bodily form, he was amazed and with his bodiless voice he stood crying to Her such things as these:

Rejoice, Thou through whom joy will shine forth:

Rejoice, Thou through whom the curse will cease!

Rejoice, recall of fallen Adam:

Rejoice, redemption of the tears of Eve!

Rejoice, height inaccessible to human thoughts:

Rejoice, depth undiscernible even for the eyes of angels!

Rejoice, for Thou art the throne of the King:

Rejoice, for Thou bearest Him Who beareth all!

Rejoice, star that causest the Sun to appear:

Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation!

Rejoice, Thou through whom creation is renewed:

Rejoice, Thou through whom we worship the Creator!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 2

Priest: Seeing herself to be chaste, the holy one said boldly to Gabriel: The marvel of thy speech is difficult for my soul to accept. How canst thou speak of a birth from a seedless conception? And She cried: Alleluia!

Ikos 2

Priest: Seeking to know knowledge that cannot be known, the Virgin cried to the ministering one: Tell me, how can a son be born from a chaste womb? Then he spake to Her in fear, only crying aloud thus:

Rejoice, initiate of God’s ineffable will:

Rejoice, assurance of those who pray in silence!

Rejoice, beginning of Christ’s miracles:

Rejoice, crown of His dogmas!

Rejoice, heavenly ladder by which God came down:

Rejoice, bridge that conveyest us from earth to Heaven!

Rejoice, wonder of angels sounded abroad:

Rejoice, wound of demons bewailed afar!

Rejoice, Thou Who ineffably gavest birth to the Light:

Rejoice, Thou Who didst reveal Thy secret to none!

Rejoice, Thou Who surpassest the knowledge of the wise:

Rejoice, Thou Who givest light to the minds of the faithful!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 3

Priest: The power of the Most High then overshadowed the Virgin for conception, and showed Her fruitful womb as a sweet meadow to all who wish to reap salvation, as they sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 3

Priest: Having received God into Her womb, the Virgin hastened to Elizabeth whose unborn babe at once recognized Her embrace, rejoiced, and with leaps of joy as songs, cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, branch of an Unfading Sprout:

Rejoice, acquisition of Immortal Fruit!

Rejoice, laborer that laborest for the Lover of mankind:

Rejoice, Thou Who givest birth to the Planter of our life!

Rejoice, cornland yielding a rich crop of mercies:

Rejoice, table bearing a wealth of forgiveness!

Rejoice, Thou Who makest to bloom the garden of delight:

Rejoice, Thou Who preparest a haven for souls!

Rejoice, acceptable incense of intercession:

Rejoice, propitiation of all the world!

Rejoice, good will of God to mortals:

Rejoice, boldness of mortals before God!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 4

Priest: Having within a tempest of doubting thoughts, the chaste Joseph was troubled. For knowing Thee to have no husband, he suspected a secret union, O blameless one. But having learned that Thy conception was of the Holy Spirit, he said: Alleluia!

Ikos 4

Priest: While the angels were chanting, the shepherds heard of Christ’s coming in the flesh, and having run to the Shepherd, they beheld Him as a blameless Lamb that had been pastured in Mary’s womb, and singing to Her, they cried:

Rejoice, Mother of the Lamb and the Shepherd:

Rejoice, fold of rational sheep!

Rejoice, torment of invisible enemies:

Rejoice, opening of the gates of Paradise!

Rejoice, for the things of Heaven rejoice with the earth:

Rejoice, for the things of earth join chorus with the heavens!

Rejoice, never-silent mouth of the Apostles:

Rejoice, invincible courage of the passion-bearers!

Rejoice, firm support of faith:

Rejoice, radiant token of Grace!

Rejoice, Thou through whom hades was stripped bare:

Rejoice, Thou through whom we are clothed with glory!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 5

Priest: Having sighted the divinely-moving star, the Magi followed its radiance; and holding it as a lamp, by it they sought a powerful King; and having reached the Unreachable One, they rejoiced, shouting to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 5

Priest: The sons of the Chaldees saw in the hands of the Virgin Him Who with His hand made man. And knowing Him to be the Master, even though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened to serve Him with gifts, and to cry to Her Who is blessed:

Rejoice, Mother of the Unsetting Star:

Rejoice, dawn of the mystic day!

Rejoice, Thou Who didst extinguish the furnace of error:

Rejoice, Thou Who didst enlighten the initiates of the Trinity!

Rejoice, Thou Who didst banish from power the inhuman tyrant:

Rejoice, Thou Who didst show us Christ the Lord, the Lover of mankind!

Rejoice, Thou Who redeemest from pagan worship:

Rejoice, Thou Who dost drag us from the works of mire!

Rejoice, Thou Who didst quench the worship of fire:

Rejoice, Thou Who rescuest from the flame of the passions!

Rejoice, guide of the faithful to chastity:

Rejoice, gladness of all generations!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 6

Priest: Having become God-bearing heralds, the Magi returned to Babylon, having fulfilled Thy prophecy; and having preached Thee to all as the Christ, they left Herod as a babbler who knew not how to sing: Alleluia!

Ikos 6

Priest: By shining in Egypt the light of truth, Thou didst dispel the darkness of falsehood; for its idols fell, O Saviour, unable to endure Thy strength; and those who were delivered from them cried to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, uplifting of men:

Rejoice, downfall of demons!

Rejoice, Thou who didst trample down the dominion of delusion:

Rejoice, Thou who didst unmask the fraud of idols!

Rejoice, sea that didst drown the Pharaoh of the mind:

Rejoice, rock that doth refresh those thirsting for life!

Rejoice, pillar of fire that guideth those in darkness:

Rejoice, shelter of the world broader than a cloud!

Rejoice, sustenance replacing manna:

Rejoice, minister of holy delight!

Rejoice, land of promise:

Rejoice, Thou from whom floweth milk and honey!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 7

Priest: When Symeon was about to depart this age of delusion, Thou wast brought as a Babe to him, but Thou was recognized by him as perfect God also; wherefore, marveling at Thine ineffable wisdom, he cried: Alleluia!

Ikos 7

Priest: The Creator showed us a new creation when He appeared to us who came from Him. For He sprang from a seedless womb, and kept it incorrupt as it was, that seeing the miracle we might sing to Her, crying out:

Rejoice, flower of incorruptibility:

Rejoice, crown of continence!

Rejoice, Thou from whom shineth the Archetype of the Resurrection:

Rejoice, Thou Who revealest the life of the angels!

Rejoice, tree of shining fruit, whereby the faithful are nourished:

Rejoice, tree of goodly shade by which many are sheltered!

Rejoice, Thou that has carried in Thy womb the Redeemer of captives:

Rejoice, Thou that gavest birth to the Guide of those astray!

Rejoice, supplication before the Righteous Judge:

Rejoice, forgiveness of many sins!

Rejoice, robe of boldness for the naked:

Rejoice, love that doth vanquish all desire!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 8

Priest: Having beheld a strange nativity, let us estrange ourselves from the world and transport our minds to Heaven; for the Most High God appeared on earth as a lowly man, because He wished to draw to the heights them that cry to Him: Alleluia!

Ikos 8

Priest: Wholly present was the Inexpressible Word among those here below, yet in no way absent from those on high; for this was a divine condescension and not a change of place, and His birth was from a God-receiving Virgin Who heard these things:

Rejoice, container of the Uncontainable God:

Rejoice, door of solemn mystery!

Rejoice, report doubtful to unbelievers:

Rejoice, undoubted boast of the faithful!

Rejoice, all-holy chariot of Him Who sitteth upon the Cherubim:

Rejoice, all-glorious temple of Him Who is above the Seraphim!

Rejoice, Thou Who hast united opposites:

Rejoice, Thou Who hast joined virginity and motherhood!

Rejoice, Thou through whom transgression hath been absolved:

Rejoice, Thou through whom Paradise is opened!

Rejoice, key to the kingdom of Christ:

Rejoice, hope of eternal good things!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 9

Priest: All the angels were amazed at the great act of Thine incarnation; for they saw the Unapproachable God as a man approachable to all, abiding with us, and hearing from all: Alleluia!

Ikos 9

Priest: We see most eloquent orators mute as fish before Thee, O Theotokos; for they are at a loss to tell how Thou remainest a Virgin and could bear a child. But we, marveling at this mystery, cry out faithfully:

Rejoice, receptacle of the Wisdom of God:

Rejoice, treasury of His Providence!

Rejoice, Thou Who showest philosophers to be fools:

Rejoice, Thou Who exposest the learned as irrational!

Rejoice, for the clever critics have become foolish:

Rejoice, for the writers of myths have faded away!

Rejoice, Thou Who didst rend the webs of the Athenians:

Rejoice, Thou Who didst fill the nets of the fishermen!

Rejoice, Thou Who drawest us from the depths of ignorance:

Rejoice, Thou Who enlightenest many with knowledge!

Rejoice, ship for those who wish to be saved:

Rejoice, harbor for sailors on the sea of life!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 10

Priest: Desiring to save the world, He that is the Creator of all came to it according to His Own promise, and He that, as God, is the Shepherd, for our sake appeared unto us as a man; for like calling unto like, as God He heareth: Alleluia!

Ikos 10

Priest: A bulwark art Thou to virgins, and to all that flee unto Thee, O Virgin Theotokos; for the Maker of Heaven and earth prepared Thee, O Most-pure one, dwelt in Thy womb, and taught all to call to Thee:

Rejoice, pillar of virginity:

Rejoice, gate of salvation!

Rejoice, leader of mental formation:

Rejoice, bestower of divine good!

Rejoice, for Thou didst renew those conceived in shame:

Rejoice, for Thou gavest wisdom to those robbed of their minds!

Rejoice, Thou Who didst foil the corrupter of minds:

Rejoice, Thou Who gavest birth to the Sower of purity!

Rejoice, bridechamber of a seedless marriage:

Rejoice, Thou Who dost wed the faithful to the Lord!

Rejoice, good nourisher of virgins:

Rejoice, adorner of holy souls as for marriage!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 11

Priest: Every hymn is defeated that trieth to encompass the multitude of Thy many compassions; for if we offer to Thee, O Holy King, songs equal in number to the sand, nothing have we done worthy of that which Thou hast given us who shout to Thee: Alleluia!

Ikos 11

Priest: We behold the holy Virgin, a shining lamp appearing to those in darkness; for, kindling the Immaterial Light, She guideth all to divine knowledge, She illumineth minds with radiance, and is honored by our shouting these things:

Rejoice, ray of the noetic Sun:

Rejoice, radiance of the Unsetting Light!

Rejoice, lightning that enlightenest our souls:

Rejoice, thunder that terrifiest our enemies!

Rejoice, for Thou didst cause the refulgent Light to dawn:

Rejoice, for Thou didst cause the river of many streams to gush forth!

Rejoice, Thou Who paintest the image of the font:

Rejoice, Thou Who blottest out the stain of sin!

Rejoice, laver that washest the conscience clean:

Rejoice, cup that drawest up joy!

Rejoice, aroma of the sweet fragrance of Christ:

Rejoice, life of mystical gladness!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 12

Priest: When the Absolver of all mankind desired to blot out ancient debts, of His Own will He came to dwell among those who had fallen from His Grace; and having torn up the handwriting of their sins, He heareth this from all: Alleluia!

Ikos 12

Priest: While singing to Thine Offspring, we all praise Thee as a living temple, O Theotokos; for the Lord Who holdeth all things in His hand dwelt in Thy womb, and He sanctified and glorified Thee, and taught all to cry to Thee:

Rejoice, tabernacle of God the Word:

Rejoice, saint greater than the saints!

Rejoice, ark gilded by the Spirit:

Rejoice, inexhaustible treasury of life!

Rejoice, precious diadem of pious kings:

Rejoice, venerable boast of reverent priests!

Rejoice, unshakable fortress of the Church:

Rejoice, inviolable wall of the kingdom!

Rejoice, Thou through whom victories are obtained:

Rejoice, Thou through whom foes fall prostrate!

Rejoice, healing of my flesh:

Rejoice, salvation of my soul!

Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Kontakion 13

Priest: O all-praised Mother Who didst bear the Word, holiest of all the saints, accept now our offering, and deliver us from all misfortune, and rescue from the torment to come those that cry to Thee: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! (This Kontakion is sung three times)