Calypso to Hades to Hyssop

Sedona is a magical place. The red rocks of the ancient beaches of Pangaea blaze red in the sun. Creating vortexes of reflection and renewal. Grounding us to the earth and reminding us of the gift of our time alive. Anointing oils, sage smoke and ritual. Meditation, dance and the laughter of 17 wise women filled seven of my days.

Time with healers. Time to create the temple of our own bodies and nurture our selves with food, ideas and movement. Time in the sun and warmth after a long winter. Time to walk in the rain. See the stars.

Ulysses came with me and mashed the ideas of an Irish writer pushing against censorship in the early 1900’s to the ideas of now. Two similar times.

The debate for the right for women to vote and participate in government. And now the right of a woman’s autonomy over her body.

A wise and bold woman came to the aid of Joyce, and without her action, Ulysses would not have been published in America or Britain where it was banned. Sylvia Beach, the American owner of the Shakespeare Book Company in Paris, printed 1000 copies. The copies spread like wildfire, and the book burnings could not keep up. Ms. Beach gave America the most brilliant book written in the 20th century and saved us from repression and the prudish hate on the rise in the 1900’s. And later she stood up to the Nazis when they occupied Paris. A wise woman who used her life to the fullest. She left life yearning for nothing.

I was anointed with Hyssop oil on the top of my head in order to heal, to open to new ideas, and to ground with the rituals of the past. Hyssop was considered in ancient times to be the symbol of faith, physical purity and moral regeneration. For me this ritual and oil activated yearning for living fully. To completely use up this life and leave nothing when death comes.

Ulysses the Hades episode takes us to the cemetery – the parallel of Hades. Mr. Leopold Bloom goes to the funeral of a friend at 11:00. The priest says the same words over and over over the dead. The undertakers hmm along and run their profitable business. Death is and decomposition is simply a process. Money to be made.

In a horse drawn carriage, dressed in black Bloom passes by the grave of his son who died in childbirth. Bloom thinks how much he would have loved his son Rusty and shown him the world. He thinks about his father’s suicide and how the only way to replace the pain of that death was to be a father to a son. But he will never be a father to a son. Imagined future of the past. He imagined his son’s eyes as his eyes.

He contemplates the banality of how life begins and ends and how Rusty was conceived in cream and “the tear that is never mended.” Death is an endless cycle. But so is life. Bloom is yearning for a son — a great importance missing in his life. Reconciling the yearning for a complete life with his reality by practicing irony. Irony does not heal this pain.

In Sedona we 17 wise women reconciled our yearning to live fully with reality with ancient practices of forgiveness. We grounded to the earth and forgave wrapped in the ancient scent of hyssop. Miserere Mei anointing with hyssop for self forgiveness, purification and renewal. Cycles of life and death. Cycles of the war of ideas. Go on.

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