The Song of Songs
I am burnt, and burning still
Living in the Fire
What did You expect?
Turn your face away
If the sun is too much for you:
Blinded: my eyes are open still.
You've seen me somewhere before:
I am the ghost of whispered possibilities,
I am the voice of wonder still.
Winter is nearly gone!
I am the secret You tried to forget,
I am the lover who left himself still.
For You: this homelessness.
For You: this crash through time.
For You: this longing still.
We loved once, we loved twice.
We knew the night would end,
Still, we knew the ravishing...
Who is this coming from the mountain?
Who is this Flaming Red?
This heart is breaking still.
Shall I remember my words of praise?
Shall I remember my head between your breasts?
Shall I remember how I love You still?
My lover, my bride!
Say I am Your companion still!
I have followed Your scent on the wild wind.
My lover, my bride!
Say I am Your cup and drink!
Still, I have lost hope far too many times.
If I ever see You on the street
I will stand tall and still,
If You notice me again, I will die or not!
Love is the Flame calling us Home.
Love is the Burning that is our Home.
When I am ashes, I will love You still.
Sacred Scripture to be sure! A delight for lovers and for mystics both! You know, many modern mystics tend to indicate that the One is not a "Father-Judge", but a "Mother-Love": this sacred encounter of soul with the Divine is essentially free from all theology and attachments: there is Only One... perhaps like a mountain stream from which there is an abundance of every nourishment, as well as a welcoming plunge... Through the centuries, many have argued for removing the Song from the "official" Sacred Scriptures (much less so from Jewish readers, while much more so from conservative Christian readers who find it's delightedly sexual references as "unholy"). Nevertheless, this Song continues its magically mystical presence in Scripture... Why, you perhaps wonder? There are many reasons, but above all, the Song of Songs is about the Sacred Unity of the Divine Feminine with the Sacred Masculine: perhaps best exemplified by the Marriage of Yeshua, the Poet of Nazareth with his Beloved, Mary Magdalene...
It is additionally interesting that this Song facilitated the mystic journey of St. John of the Cross -- in an Order that was noted for its penitential requirements and lifestyle (the Discalced Carmelites). John of the Cross re-wrote the Song as a Spanish poem which -- on the surface -- follows orthodox tradition in teaching that the Song ultimately refers to the relationship of the Soul with the Bridegroom Jesus... and by extension, of the Church with the Glorified Christ. The richness of the Song lies in its ability to transcend any particular interpretation of any particular moment in time. That it also reads as a lovers'-letter-conversation is quite delightful: and much closer to the Jewish idea of the meaning...
As John of the Cross re-worked the Song for his and his students edification, I had long desired to do the same, but felt overwhelmed by the thought: while still hungering with the desire. Eventually, my readings of John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, Rumi of Konya, Hafiz, and then considering the love "affairs" of Yeshua and Mary Magdalene and St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, I felt compelled / inspired to give it a go... and adopting something of the style of the Persian ghazal (with the, perhaps, weird addition of using the word "still" in each stanza)... What are the core elements of mystical poetry / literature / and practice? First, there is of course an initial intoxicating encounter: as in any pairing of potential lovers...
This initial encounter, with some sort of mutual exchange (like that of phone numbers), is the fertile field of imagination: of "what if?" is the motif of infinite possibilities... If "what if?" yields to the actualization of desire, then the "next step" of the "delirium" of finding, losing, and then an ardent pursuit of one's beloved becomes the very "stuff" of one's life: everything provokes remembrance as everything becomes a mirror of the beloved: in mysticism, this is not confined to the individual person, but is also the essential longing of the Holy One for that particular person: it is not to be understood as some sort of "test" of "true love", but rather as the vivification of "why not?" transfiguring "what if?" into a Oneness that is experienced simultaneously by the Holy One and the person as Bliss... even in the midst of the daily-ness of living and dying...
In addition to the mystical reading / understanding of the Song of Songs, there is also the plainly erotic: but more, this Sacred Song elevates every sexual encounter into the realm of the Divine (with the obvious exceptions of adult / child, rape, coercion, drugs, etc.). And since the brain cannot differentiate between real experience and imagination, included into the realm of the Divine is self-pleasure. In other words, sexual eroticism, desire, pleasure, and practice are intimately Divine. For too long, the sacred has been separated from the sensual: desire has been ostracized from our cultural / spiritual awareness as Divinely Good. The resurgence of interest in the Divine Feminine is steadily liberating our collective consciousness into the creation of new stories, or revelations, of our origins in the Divine Consciousness and the practical divinity of Earth and all the elements thereof, of female / male in gender reconciliation, of the unity of sexual and spiritual, and of our divine right to explore the fullness of our human possibilities. "Gender fluidity", bisexuality, homosexuality, transgender identification, along with an honest nonviolent attitude and practice of "whatever", is increasingly understood as lacking any serious threat to any of us as individuals or as societies. In all things, to the degree that we practice the kindness and harmlessness of "love one another as I have loved you", revelation opens upon revelation, mystery upon mystery, into the Surprise of the Holy One: we are all good enough when we simply love!
Finally, the real test of our humanity, of all religion, mystical or otherwise, is all about "the other / Other". Delirium, at least the kind that is "of God" is always -- Always -- about compassion, mercy, and kindness. There is nothing "of God" that is cruel or harmful or hateful. It is absurd to think that the Mystery of the Divine Consciousness creating, sustaining, expanding, and "infiltrating" the Universe is anything other than Beautiful and Expansive far beyond our abilities as believers, theologians, Scriptural scholars, or simple lovers... Any genuine experience of this Expansive Beauty is an exercise in humility: the Buddha sat, walked, smiled, begged, laughed, and served. The Christ sat, walked, smiled, begged, laughed, and served. The followers of any and every holy Prophet are known only by how they love one another: by how they sit, walk, smile, work, laugh, play, sex, and serve: it is not by judgment, hate, prejudice, oppression, profit, or violence that the followers of any and every holy Prophet are known: so lay down your opinions, judgments, and guns: lay them all down, and turn and begin to live again in pursuit of the Divine Beloved and see that very same Beloved in every face and life with whom you share breath on this very precious blue Planet...
Read: The Woman with the Alabaster Jar... and... Mary Magdalene, Bride in Exile, both by Margaret Starbird!
Read: Sacred Pleasure by Riane Eisler, Creation Spirituality, by Matthew Fox, and Quantum Creativity, by Amit Goswami