Good evening, everyone. As we come down the home stretch of our book club time (a metaphor influenced, I admit, from the world series in baseball), I am filled with gratitude for our nourishing time together. I am also aware that we have a new member who joined just a few days ago. I invite all of you to jump in to any of the previous discussions, as I offer a final topic for our last few days together:

What Jung called the "connuntio", the union of the masculine and feminine in the psyche which gives birth to psychologoical wholeness, is referred to in two places in "Doorstep."

On page 50-51, when Teresa is imprisoned by the Inquisition, she is gifted with a rapture, a vision of "A most beautiful crystal globe in the shape of the castle. The nearer I get to the center, the stronger the light...In the innermost chamber, I have no 'I.' No Mother Teresa of the Melon-head...'I' and 'You' are One."

Then, in the last moments of the play, Alma speaks of her marriage to Eli,"After we are wed beneath a canopy of stars, we will walk out into the meadow, to welcome the return of the exiled Shekhinah, the bride of God. A place will be set for her at the wedding feast. On this night, the human and the divine become one."

Have any of you experienced a day, a moment, a dream, where you have felt this spiritual marriage? If you feel comfortable doing so, share your experience, or simply respond to the two passages cited above, with your feelings, questions, aspirations or longings.

I will offer a dream that had me waking with tears of wonder and joy: In the dream I see a beautiful green plant, like none I have seen in waking life, rounded leaves, a deep rich color. Out of the center of the plant, as from a source deep within, a fountain or water bubbles up, gently watering the lovely bowing leaves. Then, the scene is bathed in a brilliant white light. It gets brighter and brighter, until the self-watering plant fades and all I see is a blinding white light.

I woke and thought, "Is this the White Light? Am I dead??...I realize no, I am vibrantly alive. The plant is the life force. the Self, and it lives within me...And when I die, I will live in IT.

Many blessings and love to you all, Elizabeth

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  • Thank you, Elizabeth, for leading this group with such passion and heart, and for leaving us with an incredible image of the self-watering plant and white light. Much gratitude as well for each of you who contributed both here and in the live webinar.

    I wish we all had a few more weeks to bask in the presence of Teresa and Alma—-but wanted to remind everyone that even though the Book Club has formally ended, you can each feel free to continue to post here in the group if something strikes you.

    I, for one, feel so nourished and enriched from our time together. Blessings to all!

    • Dear Bonnie, and everyone, I am filled with gratitude, and so nourished and enriched by all of the sharing form each of you. Lyn, your mating butterflies, and the beautiful poem that we are the hands and feet of Christ in the world. ---Bonnie, thank you so much for providing this forum, and a great depth of gratitude to each of you for entering the world of my characters so completely. It is a very rare opportunity, for an author to experience such deep reflection, leading us all again and again, to the complexity of the human psyche, the beauty and wonder of divine love. May this love thrive in each of you, always!

  • 9142863066?profile=originalElizabeth,

    The first thing that came to mind when I read your post was when I was preparing for my dissertation defense and needed a butterfly photo.  I was graced with a pair of mating butterflies in my yard and I was able to get a photo. My dissertation felt complete.

    Thank you for sharing your work and time with us - I will miss the bookclub.  I end with a writing for all of us - when attending a retreat this weekend a writing attributed to Teresa of Avila made an appearance:


    Christ has no body now on earth but yours,

    no hands but yours, no feet but yours.

    Yours are the eyes through which

    Christ's compassion looks out on the world,

    yours are the feet with which

    he is to go about doing good

    and  yours are the hands with which

    he is to bless us now.

    Christ has no body now on earth but yours.



    • Deep gratitude for your sharing here, Lynn. What stunning words that land so much in the "earth" of my own body, and the butterfly image that so embodies the journey....

  • OCT 29/15   The New MAN + Woman in the CASTLE: 

    According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Jerome Gratian was the spiritual director of St. Teresa and first Provincial of the Discalced Carmelites.  The descriptors in his life’s work, story I find interesting is he went under the name of Jerome of the Mother of God, and is said to have been “the soul” of St. Theresa’s reform.

    Is he not a perfect example of a “Yin Masculine and Yang Feminine” – the union of the best of the blend of both mother and son…I wish we could simply move beyond and put the whole opposites, polarity “gender” differences aside and simply accept that God’s spirit dwells within each of us… that we have the best of potentiality of the man in the woman and the woman in the man…we can be internally bound. in the gift of breath, life and love…united…and when I think of anyone arising out of one’s dark night of the soul…the song by Phil Collins comes to heart and I hear it…I recall my brother’s last vacation…to Castle Falls…us lying on smooth rocks above the rocky gorge at Castle Falls – both of us star gazing…him feeling like he was in a planetarium….the stars were so magnificent that night…as we listened deeply to Mama…Phil Collin’s recounts the story about playing the song for the first time for the band's manager, who thought the narrator was… the voice of the fetus pleading with the pregnant woman…the Madonna and Child in the streets…


    For those who are interested, here is Jerome Gratian’s story:


    Born at Valladolid, 6 June 1545 and died at Brussels, 21 September 1614.  The son of Diego Gracian de Alderete, secretary to Charles V and Philip II, and of Jane de Antisco, daughter of the Polish ambassador at the Spanish, he received his early education in his native town and at the Jesuit College in Madrid. He afterwards studied philosophy and theology at Alcalá where he took his degrees and was ordained priest in 1569. The position of his family, his talents and virtues would have opened for him the door to the highest dignities, but, having become acquainted with some Teresian nuns, he took the habit of the Discalced Carmelites at Pastrana, 25 March, 1572, under the name of Jerome of the Mother of God. Even during his novitiate he was employed in the direction of souls and the administration of the convent, and, almost immediately after his profession (28 March, 1573), was nominated pro-vicar apostolic of the Calced Carmelites of the Province of Andalusia. This province, which for many years had given trouble, resented the nomination of one who had only just entered the order, and offered a stubborn resistance to his regulations, even after his faculties had been confirmed and extended by the Nuncio Hormaneto.  In virtue of these same faculties Gratian founded a convent of Discalced Carmelites at Seville, of which he became prior, and approved of the establishment of several other convents of friars as well as of nuns.

    Hormaneto was succeeded by Sega (June, 1577), and prejudiced by false rumors, turned against the followers of St. Teresa.  Gratian was censured and relegated to the convent of Alcalá, and the other leading members of the reform suffered similar punishments, until at length Philip II intervened. The next chapter granted the Discalced Carmelites canonical approbation, and Gratian became their superior. Ever since he had first met St. Teresa (1575), he had remained her director, to whom, at the command of Our Lord, she made a personal vow of obedience, while Gratian in all his works guided himself by the lights of the saint. In her books and in numerous letters she bears testimony to their agreement in spiritual as well as administrative matters; they were also at one in favoring the active life, the care of souls, and missionary work. After St. Teresa's death a party, calling themselves zelanti, came into prominence, Nicholas Doria at their head, whose ideal of religious life consisted in a rigid observance of the rule to the exclusion of exterior activity. Although St. John of the Cross and other prominent men were on Gratian's side, the opposite party came into office in 1585, and Gratian was charged with having introduced mitigations and novelties. In order to give effect to his views Doria introduced a new kind of government, which concentrated all power, even in details, in the hands of a committee under his own presidency (Summa Fathers).

    Great was the consternation among the moderate party, greater still that of the nuns, who resented any interference in their affairs. Through the instrumentality of St. John of the Cross and Father Gratian, the nuns obtained from Rome approval of St. Teresa's constitutions, whereupon Doria resolved to exclude the nuns from the order. He also understood that so long as the opposition was being led by Gratian (St. John of the Cross having meanwhile died), the new government could never come into force. On pretext, therefore, that his writings reflected unfavorably on the superiors, Gratian was summoned to Madrid, and, the information’s taken against him having been materially altered by a personal enemy, he — the director and right hand of St. Teresa, the soul of her reform, and for ten years its superior — was expelled from the order on 17 February, 1592. This sentence, based on falsified evidence, was confirmed by the king, the nuncio, and even by the authorities at Rome, who commanded Gratian to enter some other order.

    The Carthusians, Capuchins, and the Dominicans would not receive him, but the Augustinian consented to employ him in the foundation of some reformed convents. However, the ship suppose to carry him from Gaeta to Rome, was taken by pirates and he was made prisoner. Working among the Christian slaves in the bagnio at Tunis, he strengthened those who were wavering, reconciled apostates at the risk of his life, and liberated many with the alms he succeeded in collecting. After eighteen months' captivity he obtained his freedom and returned to Rome. Clement VIII, to whom on a former occasion he had revealed secrets made known to him in prayer, hearing of his works and sufferings, exclaimed: "This man is a saint”, and caused the process of expulsion to be reexamined and the sentence to be rescinded (6 March 1596). But, as his return to the Discalced Carmelites would have revived the former dissensions, Gratian was affiliated to the Calced Friars with all the honors and privileges, and the right to practice the Rule of the Reform. He was sent to Ceuta and Tetuan to preach the Jubilee (1600-1605), proceeded afterwards to Valladolid to assist his dying mother, and was finally called to Brussels by his friend and protector, Archduke Albers (1606). There he continued a life of self-abnegation and apostolic zeal. Buried in the chapter-house of the Calced Carmelites at Brussels, his remains were repeatedly transferred, but finally lost during the Revolution.

    There are so many threads, leading into so many places, spaces as I read the above Goggle search…opening into this holy man life: a barefoot, Spanish writer, spiritual director of St. Theresa…who had his own explanatory works “Dilucidario,” treaties “The Endida Lamp, And now, I want to read up on what he has to say about the lamp...

    His works also includes, The Brief Art of Loving God and The Pilgrimage of Anastasio. I am now in absolute awe and wonder…and simply recall my own path… not barefoot but wearing sandals and/or white leather nursing shoes…the phenomenal experiences with my spiritual director, Father Bernard Black…my brother Vance’s last day on earth… falling to my knees in a pew in the hospital Chapel and beholding the stained glass window with the image of Jesus holding out His lamp…and I cried out to Him…begging for my brother to be allowed to die in peace…going back to his bedside…the unforgettable image I saw within my brother’s eyes…and all the phenomenal experiences that have manifested, sometimes surrounding us [me and my loved ones]…the agony…and then, the peace…as my petitions, prayers…definitely heard and sometimes granted…I promised God that I would work with His children for the remainder of my days [1992]…but before my brother slipped into his 9th and final coma state [in Palliative care]…all the mysteries…and the only thing I can think of…in this moment…is that it is time for me to finish reading The Spiritual Life – A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology by The Very Reverend Adolphe Tanquerey, S.S., D.D. [1930] gifted to me by my spiritual director…around 1990…reconnect with him, once more – God willing.  And I simply notice where my book marker is…on Chapter 1V – Counter-Attack by the Enemy and low and behold Tanquerey is referencing St. John Judes, St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila…How powerful is this full moon – All Saints Day…Thank you for leading us with your play Elizabeth…I shall be forever grateful for now I can enter deeper into the living waters and mansion.  

    And what of King Phillip – the only other male I have not commented upon...we are out of time...I am simply not moved to delve into his life story and leave the morsels about him as shared by Elizabeth and Kevin stand.

    And so, I take leave from all the mysteries embedded in the inspired and instrumental work of our beloved playwright, Elizabeth that facilitated our second DPA – virtual Book Club sojourn…to reflect upon aspects across my lifespan...recall a deep friendship with my one and only Jewish girlfriend, Bev…all those life-near-death and death trajectories shared, our formation of our survival "The Turkey Club"…the deep soul-searching as women... our ancestral roots…and I am stuck by this truth…the hidden forces and nature of…her being Jewish and me being Gentile…Her faith…travels with Yahweh [Old Testament] and mine Christ and Mary [New Testament]…just noticing…neither has spoken…never-mind broach…this word – “Shekhinah” [the main thrust [at the core] of our present book club inquiry]…the “feminine face of God” …during our near-50 years of being sisters in nursing, life-time friends and we have never had this discussion...Bev + I...her being Jewish and me being Gentile never got in the way...

    This takes me to Elizabeth’s’ second last post [noticing that time [which waits for no one]…has lapsed and the “Numinous in the Castle” shall remain with no “other” comments, perhaps…remains the missing piece of castle in the sky stories...however, Elizabeth does take us onward to …”Unity in the Castle” with her quote, “Then, in the last moments of the play, Alma speaks of her marriage to Eli, "After we are wed beneath a canopy of stars, we will walk out into the meadow, to welcome the return of the exiled Shekhinah, the bride of God. A place will be set for her at the wedding feast. On this night, the human and the divine become one"…and again, I am taken away…reflecting upon the last Psalm about righteous women…and in the now, I am simply noticing…

    OMG – Be with me…the full moon, All Saints Day and Halloween – come together tomorrow.  Peace + Love Linda

    • Oh, Linda, my goodness. What a finale!! I was thrilled to read of your own experiences, and the depth of your information about Jeronimo Gracian. It would make a great movie! I am nurtured and delighted, and wish you all the very best in your amazing embodiment of soul in the world!

      TO ALL OF YOU: Happy All Hallows Eve (We call it Halloween; in past lore, it was the night when they let "all the women out" -- presumably to run wild - they certainly did this with many women who were later burned as witches for the horrible crime of growing herbs and predicting the future!!)And happy All Saints Day on Sunday. In my imagination, Teresa, and her sister-saint, Edith Stein (the real life inspiration for Alma), are smiling at us from their private dimension, proud and happy to have shared the journey of our book club! Love, Elizabeth

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