(This blog is brought to you by Sefora, a founder and priestess in residence.)
This is not the first blog I’ve written, just the first that’s made it to the computer, there’s been about 30 that I’ve written in my head. But this time I have forced myself to sit, and write it down.
There are so many things I could say about this Dream/Reality that is Terra’s Temple.
When it came to me that my dream was to create a Temple Dedicated to the Mother Earth, I was inspired to be an actualized priestess in the world. See, to me, being a priestess is attached to having a place to priestess out of, a place to tend and work out of. There was no temple (that I knew of at the time) that I could train out of and be in service to the world the way I wanted to be. I could train at a university, become a healer of some sort, or a therapist, but no physical school existed that I knew of where I could train to be a priestess of Mother Earth. And so even though I felt like I really was at an age and time where I needed to be training and mentoring, I decided to work on creating a modern-day temple.
Now, one thing you should know about me is that I’m a pretty practical person. And even though I grew up in the bay area, and was surrounded with hundreds of people who fantasize about “intentional community” and creating ‘retreat centers” and the sort, I didn’t want to be another person who just talks about making something and not actually do it.
So, one day I was sitting at my computer a little depressed. What I would do at that time when feeling depressed was to search the Craigslist ads for work/live buildings for rent and sale. Well, that particular day I found a 10 room building in Piedmont Oakland for rent. And even though I had no capital, and no particular plan, I went for it.
There’s something about going for a dream that challenges you like nothing else can. I think when you try something big, you are demanded to get bigger. Your shadows also get bigger, you can see your faults in ways you never have before. And BOY, have I seen my faults!
In the beginning, it felt like I was playing house. Pretending that I was creating a temple, when really it was just a large building with some pretty curtains and altars. I think this is a pretty common thing though. There’s even a psychological term for it–“imposters syndrome” I think. But partially I think I felt like an imposter because the reality of something can be so different from the fantasy sometimes.
For example: One of the things I’ve learned is that one of the biggest roles of a priestess in a modern temple is stocking the toilet paper and vacuuming. Now, it’s likely that priestesses of old had to deal with all kinds of cleaning and tending to their buildings that we don’t know about. But that’s not the image I had of them in my head. I imagined them healing people, creating and facilitating rituals for large groups of villagers in their towns and cities. I did not imagine the stocking toilet paper (or whatever they used, water? leaves? hay? Anyone know?) But now I imagine it. And I tell myself when I’m stocking the toilet paper “this is me being a priestess in a temple”.
Another reality of the modern-day priestess tending a temple: Sending out newsletters, posting events to the website and online calendar. Yes, in this modern age of communication typing on the computer is a major task of the modern priestess tending a temple. And there are days where I just DONT want to email. I DONT want to respond to the really nice/amazing/shamaness/healer/tantric/counselor/workshop leader. And if you are out there and you are reading this, please know that it IS NOT personal. It’s just that some days I don’t want to be in front of a screen. But most days I do it, and I remind myself “this is me being a priestess in a temple”.
But there are some other things that I’ve learned that are so precious, so wonderful, that I would not take back following this dream for anything. I have learned that the physical building of a temple, consecrated as such, can act as a conduit for spirit. I have learned that each one of us is this temple, the bridge between spirit and matter. But the beauty of having a building dedicated to a spirit/entity/divinity is that the building itself is space for spirit to manifest.
And my relationship to Terra/Mother Earth has grown immensely. I have learned to hear her speaking, to stop and listen to her quiet guidance and comfort. In the beginning, I wondered if I was just making this dialogue up completely. Is it just me talking to myself? Am I just telling myself what I want to hear? Who is Terra anyway? But I am learning, and continue to learn, that it doesn’t matter. The part of me that is Terra, or possibly more correctly, the part of Terra that is me continually shows me things that the limited identity that I generally listen to does not. And I am more and more convinced of the Divinity that lives inside of us all.
I hope to continue to share this unfolding process of following a dream. But for now I will say: Yes, the reality is so different from the dream. But follow it anyway. Follow it anyway.