I am writing this post on the Christian Feast of Annunciation celebrating the moment the Archangel Gabriel told the young Mary she was favored by God and would bear his son, Jesus, who was to be the Savior of the world.
Whether you hold this as doctrine, fiction, or never think about it, I want to share with you my explorations of the Annunciation as an inner and personal experience.
Two years ago I wrote some thoughts on the presence of an archangel and the meaning of virgin.
THOUGHTS ON ANNUNCIATION 2013
In contemplating the annunciation over the last week, my thoughts kept returning to the inner feeling of being different from all others and the bearing of god within.
It is my own experience and the experience of many I have shared intimate and vulnerable conversations with that each of us struggles with wanting to belong, be connected to others through a sameness. This sameness may be the experience of true empathy, that I am felt unconditionally, without separation, but also without losing distinction, by you, and that you are felt by me in kind. There is nothing I experience, that you would not or could not share with deep grace.
But what if something is conceived by you that cannot be conceived by any other? Suddenly, you are different. No one can share this experience with you, no matter how much they would choose to. There is a part of you that cannot belong or be shared even with true empathy.
For many of us, we struggle to define and name this piece of ourselves that cannot be shared, that fills us with difference. When we feel our difference we often land on one far side or the other of the pole of difference. We go into feelings of shame or pride.
With the Annunciation image we are invited to experience difference from the centered intertwining of humility and nobility. Humility has no shame. Nobility has no pride. We are also given the chance to imagine humility and nobility as feminine and maternal gestures reflecting receptivity and the ability to bear the growing and unknown future and to give birth.
Do you feel you have received and bear something special that when born out of you will change humankind in some small, essential way or even in some great essential way?
This feeling is the experience of Inner Annunciation.
There is a Greek term, Theotokos, that Eastern Orthodox religions use when referring to Mary. I feel this word, so strange to the English ear and so powerful with its T and K sounds, describes this inner feminine experience. Theo means god. Tokos means childbirth. The word means God-bearer. For me Theotokos describes the powerful (god) gesture, deed, or destiny so many women, primarily older women, feel growing in their soul.
I want to ask you…does the difference you bear within, the divine impulse you feel in your soul that longs to be born into our shared world of time, space and consciousness, feel as if it was divinely conceived, carried into your being by the Holy Spirit, and announced to you by the Archangel Gabriel? I imagine you didn’t seek it out, but your virginal receptivity is so powerful it drew the impulse in. Now that this deed for the future is within the wise you, you want so much to give it to the world.
I will be writing more about this feminine experience of Inner Annunciation in the next few posts. I invite you to share your feelings, your needs, your dreams as a Theotokos in the comments on the blog.
Last year I began working with the Inner Easter experience by looking at the first gesture of each of the four days/nights. This year I will be working with the second gesture living in Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday unfolding.