Chalk drawing by Julia Krause, Rockets' Great Grandmother
STIGMATA The Great Work in Progress
We're not yet . . . all here! The great alchemical opus cycles through its stages repeatedly toward ever-more-inclusive union, understanding, acceptance, resolution, forgiveness —self-actualization —personally and collectively. Each of us is an unique expression of one Great Spirit, taking form through cycles of awakening, healing, cleansing, growing, remembering. Those who have liberated their beings from karmic cycles and mastered the illusions of earth shadows often choose to return, hold the light, and exemplify fulfilled human potential for the sake of us who aspire to that freedom —to becoming all that we are.
Until earth shadows no longer dim our light,we're not yet all here. Wherever we've taken on these shadows and lost our true identity, we need to bring in the light of truth and heal our souls. This is the natural progression of our personal alchemy whether we're conscious of it or not. As we come into alignment with truth, we gain more presence. More of our being comes into the eternal present moment, into our bodies, into awareness, connection and expression, through our myriad faculties of being. The heaviness, pain and struggles of the leaden states are relieved and cleared. "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30) The inner gold begins to manifest. We return to the Love we originally came from, that created our beings and gifted us with the divine Breath of Life, that our souls remember and long for ceaselessly, we return to it here and now. And as the Truth sets us free, the Kingdom gates open. Heaven and earth embrace within us.
What is Stigmata?
Most of us are aware that there are people who experience Easter and manifest the wounds of the Crucifixion of Yeshua (Yehoshua, a.k.a. Jesus Christ) on their bodies. Catholic church history tells us that beginning with St. Francis of Assisi, there have been many ecstatics who bear visible marks of the Passion of the Christ on their hands, feet, sides or brow. Others experience the sufferings without any marks which is called invisible stigmata.
The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia* states:
But this trial is far from being the only one which the saints have to endure: "The life of stigmatics," says Dr. Imbert, "is but a long series of sorrows which arise from the Divine malady of the stigmata and end only in death: (op. cit. infra, II, x). It seems historically certain that ecstatics alone bear the stigmata; moreover, they have visions which correspond to their role of co-sufferers, beholding from time to time the blood-stained scenes of the Passion.
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Good grief! The trial the saints have to endure . . . the ecstatics' lives are "a long series of sorrows ." . . . "Divine malady .." Is that an oxymoron? How can one be ecstatic and live a long series of sorrows? Sounds more like a curse than a blessing to me!
Well, what do I know? I can only speak for myself. I'm a stigmatic since 1984 with both visible and invisible stigmata. I'm not Catholic, I'm certainly not a saint. I’m sharing some of my story and observations on this subject in the interest of posting information for more awareness and dialogue. The way I see it, if I experience stigmata, other people must too. If you have stigmata experiences, I would like to hear from you. If enough interest is expressed to me I might develop a message board or dialogue forum about this subject.
My story with stigmata began in spring of 1984, two years after my spiritual awakening ( kundalini). I was alone at my office on a weekend, sitting in meditation and prayer. Suddenly I felt a strange feeling in my hands. I looked and saw two red marks exactly in the centers of the palms. They were accompanied by a deep piercing feeling but it wasn't very painful. I now believe this was the beginning of the opening of the chakras (energy centers) in my hands and feet.
As that spring progressed, an exceedingly strange experience developed for me. As Easter approached in America, I began to feel intense emotions and shock, about the same time every day (2:00 pm). My being would fill with an energy that was so much bigger than I knew myself to be. I had no control over it which was very disconcerting. One afternoon, as Easter approached, the energy filled my being at about 2:00 pm and I suddenly had visions of seeing Yeshua struggling to carry the cross amid a crowd of jeering people. I was standing on a hill observing this in great distress. I began shaking uncontrollably and couldn't stop my tears, though I was in an office with other people. A co-worker came up and put her arms around me, and she said that as she touched me she felt a strange shock sensation and chills.
The next day, at 2:00, I suddenly felt so distressed I pushed my chair back from my computer and couldn't suppress crying out in anguish. I felt surreal, like I had somehow shifted into another world. I noticed my left hand was bright red in the palm, and I thought I must have spilled red ink on it. A number of women led me from my chair into a room and helped me lie down on the floor. I was overcome with emotion, shock and distress. "They hurt the Lord!" I cried as they comforted me. Other women came and they all saw my hands appear to bleed. They did not actually bleed, bright redness emanated from their center, they appeared to be bleeding.
That was the first and only full-blown stigmata experience I've had. I have managed to arrange my life so I can stay away from groups of people in the afternoons before Easter ever since. There's an odd correlation with the stigmata I experience and being around other people. The more people I'm around when it comes, the more intense it is. It is just in the last three years I finally realized that I'm unconsciously conducting energy for the people around me when this occurs. I first realized this when someone walked up to me and stood beside me, and I felt the stigmata and energy movement until that person moved away.
The first years of stigmata were bizarre for me. I was very polarized against anything "Christian" from my childhood experiences in a fundamentalist Christian family, I felt betrayed by my own body. I feared and fought it for years. How would you feel if you experienced something very intense and you had no control over it? If you cried when it comes, whether you are in a shopping mall or on a city bus? If suddenly you couldn't walk or use your hands, or even, fell down on your face on the floor of an elevator in the downtown Government Center?
It was the elevator incident that was a turning point for me in my resistance. I realized there's a grace associated with it, that it wasn't out to mortify me. I was just able to get up on my feet before the elevator door opened with people standing there waiting to get on. The door didn't open when I was on my face on the floor, it didn't open as I was struggling to get up. It opened just as I was up on my feet. So I began to let go of my fear and resistance, but it has taken many years, and I have more letting go to do.
Easter Date Calendar Issue
Another characteristic about the stigmata I experience, I judged as completely irrational in the early years. The first year, my experience coincided with Easter as observed here, in America. In the years that followed, it did not. It would climax for me maybe days or even weeks later than Easter as defined by my calendar.When I became aware of Orthodox Easter, as observed by those churches that did not adopt the Gregorian calendar with the Roman Catholic church in 1582 to determine the date of Easter, suddenly my experience made sense. I had kept notes over the years, and I realized that I experience stigmata in accordance with Orthodox Easter. This was a great relief, as I realized that my body is attuned to a rhythm that is simply beyond the understanding and awareness of my limited American mind. It's noteworthy that the calculation of the date of Easter by Orthodox churches more closely aligns with Passover, and the Jewish, lunar-based calendar.
In taking a look at church history, in 1054 A.D. the Orthodox and Catholic churches split, after Rome added the Filioque clause to the Nicean Creed and began forbidding marriage for clergy, and set itself over the other churches as First among Equals in Jurisdiction (another oxymoron!). As the Roman Church became increasingly wealthy, corrupt, and powerful, the Orthodox church remained true to its own code of honor and would not condone the Inquisition, the witch trials of the Middle Ages, or the manner in which the Roman Church "converted" the Native Americans. Echoing Pope John Paul, the new Pope Benedict has stated his goal to reunite the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. A worthy aspiration, yet the rift runs deeper and is more uncompromising than most Americans understand.
There are years when the two Easters coincide, and are observed on the same date. These occur with varying intervals. I have noted that the healing and transformational power of Easter is especially amplified when this occurs.
Orthodox and Western Easters, Concurrent Dates
1984 The year of my first stigmata experience
2010 The next concurrent year
After 2698, the Easters will not coincide again as the calendars drift apart
Stigmata Changes as the Soul Heals
As years have passed, and I've progressed steadily in healing my soul, my stigmata experiences have changed. Often the life-line in my right hand becomes red and appears expanded which looks like a hyperactivation of energy conduction. Well before Lent I now get a small blister in the center of my left hand.
I have never looked for or noticed marks on my feet. I feel deep, piercing pain in the center of the foot chakras. I've occasionally felt piercing pain in my right side at Easter. I've never felt any discomfort in my head with the stigmata. I often feel it after conducting healing sessions. I probably feel the stigmata in varying degrees during two-thirds of a year. Interestingly, it always goes away on Friday eves (advent of the Sabbath) and returns Saturday evening around 10:30 pm. At this time I feel like I'm back 'on duty.'
As my soul-healing path progressed, I grew out of the deep, intense sadness, emotional heaviness, sense of outrage and perception of Yeshua as a victim in the crucifixion. As I healed and reoriented my life perspective, I began to see his great act of courage, faith, and surrender as an ultimate demonstration of forging one's pure and true identity. I began to see it as an act of self-actualization so profound, that it broke the power of all the negative authorities, shadows, illusions, mindsets, and bondages of all ages on earth!
Yeshua demonstrated total commitment to his mission, his heart, his truth, his passion, even when there wasn't one other person who understood him. He showed us the way home, through the cross of polarities, to liberation and whole presence. And he remains with us and in us as the great work continues, "to reconcile all things." (Colossians 1:20)
Our Passion is Our Healing Power!
Stigmata (as I experience it) is a paradox. It is painful as it simultaneously heals. The pain is deep in the soul and surfaces in its time. There are three causal factors in stigmata for me: Easter, healing work, and cycles of healing and deepening as fueled by my soul-passion. When healing passion amplifies within me, the residue of illusion, engagement in loss, pain, separation is pushed on sharply by the light, which is like an inner laser beam. It is through the heart, the core, that this polarization is most keenly felt. Thus, deep pain results in the center of hands and feet (path of heart). These cycles often occur near eclipses and during earthquakes. And sometimes (not often) I experience it when large numbers of people die in natural disasters and war.
I'll share an example of soul-passion healing: I had broken my right little finger and it didn't heal well. It was slightly crooked, it hurt when I played the piano and was frustratingly slow in that activity. One day I was working at a computer. Suddenly, my soul-passion began to move from the depths of my being and I felt the stigmata. Soon I was overcome with passion, love and desire for the man I was in the love for at that time. I could only breathe deeply and call his name. Suddenly, my right little finger turned bright red and I felt it heal from the inside out, in perfection, as if it had never been broken! It straightened, there was never any more pain or slowness. I experience such healings fairly often. The energy naturally seeks out any blockage or obstruction, and works to clear it. It is amazing and wonderful!
Passion is a key ingredient in healing work. We may remember that Yeshua wept and was troubled when he saw the people mourning for Lazarus. And when he called Lazarus out of the grave, he "called with a loud voice." Passion creates movement and attraction, when people pray with passion, forces are set in motion. The Kabbalah teaches that passion for God expressed by the earth and her people draws down a response from on high. And so it is.
Embrace your passion, honor it, express it! It will heal and renew you continually! It will lead you home.
Chiron and the Wounded Healer
Many healers note energy moving through their hands and feet when they do their sacred work, and I have noted the stigmata is associated with my own heart-healing. The pathway of the heart runs through the centers of the hands and feet. The planet(oid) that signifies and resonates with this phenomena is Chiron. Chiron is also a root word that forms words referring to the hands and healing. Chiral means the polarization of light from one hand to the other. Chiromancy is palm reading and tarot. Chirothesia is energy in the hands during sacred rites. Chiropracty is the healing of the joints and bones by manipulation. Chirurgy is an ancient word from which we get the word surgery.
An ancient Native American prophecy states that when the planet of healing is discovered in the sky, the sacred warrior teachings will return to earth. Chiron was discovered in 1977 and could be the fulfillment of this prophecy. When we study the mythology of Chiron, we find he was a centaur and wounded healer, half human, half animal; born of earth and ocean. Studying Chiron's placement in astrology charts reveals information about the soul wound, which everyone on earth has, and which is experienced uniquely by each individual. From years of studying Chiron and the soul-wound, I believe the wound originates from the initial traumatic separation from Spirit in taking form on earth.
Here are some quotes from Melanie Reinhart's book, "Chiron and the Healing Journey" that articulate the Chironic association with the wounded healer very well:
. . . We see this wherever the planet Chiron is in the [astrology] chart: often it represents things we can do well for others, but cannot do for ourselves, qualities which others perceive strongly in us but which we do not see. Often these are the very things which we urgently need for our own growth and healing, but they 'slip through,' and are passed on to others.
Chiron's myth tells us that he was accidentally wounded by an arrow poisoned with the blood of the Hydra, that he had made for a pupil he was teaching the skills of war. The wound would not heal. He spent his long life becoming very accomplished in healing with herbs, and other methods, very skilled and wise, a great teacher and mentor. But he could not cure his own wound nor could he die because he was immortal.
Photo of Chiron by Denis Bergeron.
Ironically, Chiron's ability to help others was increased by his continual search for relief from his own unhealable wound. This painful and humiliating situation is frequently met by people who work in the healing profession, whether orthodox or alternative. It also describes the repeating patterns which never seem to resolve, although one continually tries to 'make it better' and to search for healing and change, where one continues doggedly along a path leading to progressively worse disasters (repetition compulsion). At these times, the wisdom of the instincts could redirect us; if we could but listen, we would know immediately that we are on the wrong track. Yet, sadly, once that connection is broken, like Chiron, it may almost cost us our lives to learn humbly to listen again. Our righteous 'top halves' are only too eager to turn our dissociation into a philosophy, and even try and convince others of the rightness of it. This is one expression of the missionary zeal that is associated with Chiron. Where Chiron is in the chart, people are in danger of becoming 'possessed' -- taken over by some belief, idea, purpose, which perpetuates their own wounding, and leads them to try and convince others of this 'truth,' which may be no more than a desperate defense against their own inner pain.
This is not to diminish the immense contributions to humanity that have been made by people motivated by their own wounds, but it does serve as a sobering image for our times, when a plethora of cures, philosophies and methods of growth continually seduce us into the sneaking feeling that 'If I could only just (scream it out, analyse it away, discover the meaning of it, understand the astrology of it,. . .) then everything would be alright.'
Chiron's story underlines the need for acceptance of our woundedness as a precondition for any healing that may follow; it also shows how the wisdom of our own psyche may bring us healing in ways that we have difficulty receiving. (Emphasis mine.)
From Marie Louise Von Franz, " Puer Aeternus," p. 114:
That is why in seeking for the meaning of your suffering you seek for the meaning of your life. You are searching for the greater pattern of your own life, which indicates why the wounded healer is the archetype of the Self -- one of its most widespread features -- and is at the bottom of all genuine healing procedures.
Chiron mentoring Achilles.
Chiron finally found relief through a destiny exchange with Prometheus (the dude who stole fire for us humans from the gods). Prometheus was chained to a rock in punishment by Zeus, and every day a griffon would come and tear out his liver. Each night his liver would regenerate. Prometheus was in a state of eternal torture. Zeus had decreed that Prometheus could only be released if an immortal agreed to go to Tartarus in Prometheus' stead, thus giving up his immortality. And with the added condition that Prometheus must wear a crown of willow leaves on his head and a ring on his finger.
Prometheus' ring and crown of willow leaves could serve as symbols of humility (ring as reminder), and surrender to the death-crone, Hecate (willow tree), thus an acceptance of mortality. As Chiron gave up his immortality and died in Prometheus' place, he was freed of the wound, healed, and honored by the gods.
Again, from Melanie Reinhart:
Hence, the surrender and freeing of Prometheus and the death and resurrection of Chiron carry the same essential meaning. Prometheus regains his freedom, and Chiron finds his long-sought healing. In this exchange both are released from their eternal suffering.
This is the key to the healing we need so desperately. (The symbol for Chiron resembles a key.) This is what restores our centered wholeness. LETTING GO. Surrender, acceptance, release of fantasies and myths about ourselves (especially hero myths), humility, learning to listen to our instincts again and honor their value, as the wild animals are guided aright by their senses. They have no ego or sense distortions to interfere with their perception.
Labradorite Feldspar, also known as Spectrolite. This stone resonates with Chiron, and with healing energies that flow through the heart, hands and feet.
Chiron is associated with homeopathy, and healing that comes through that which wounds/afflicts. As long as we are innerly polarized about a disease -- efforting, conflicting with it, wounded that we have it -- we are supporting and perpetuating it. Not consciously, of course. Our ego is doing everything it knows to help ourselves. We can use our wills to fight long, hard, and well. Yet, coming home to self, releasing the mode of being continually driven outside of ourselves in seeking relief is what heals this profound soul wound. We have to rebuild and restore our inner circuitry, and this requires a complete letting-go of what is intensely, sometimes addictively craved.
In studying Chiron, we find three scenarios are defined that we may play out with our soul wounds: The wounder (striking out from one's inner pain, wounding first), the healer/savior, or the victim/wounded one. All three of these perpetuate the condition. This is why healers often attract clients who reflect their own healing process back to them. The healer is the most constructive mode because we are developing skill and understanding. And we find that assisting others does relieve our pain. But it doesn't cure it. Acceptance, surrender and humility do. Coming home to the present moment like a contented child. Completely accepting oneself just as one is, with all perceived imperfections and woundedness.
When inner soul pain manifests as a physical 'dis-ease,' it presents a vital message for our consciousness. This message needs to be heard, taken in, honored, and given its due. When we stop avoidance, resistance, conflict and denial, when we hear the message and take steps to correct the cause of the disease in loving ourselves more fully, there is no more need for it to exist. Eventually, as we strengthen in the knowledge of the healing that is available to every sincere seeker, we can see every disease as a manifestation of love for us; loving correction and education. How would we know when we are out of alignment with our good if our bodies didn't tell us? What a wonderful touchstone our bodies are! What an amazing guidance system we live and move in!
The mythology of Chiron also helps us discern quality of spiritual paths and their proponents. Chiron, as half human and half animal, suffered from his perceived stigma as being less than the gods. So too, any spiritual path that perpetuates inner and outer polarity cannot lead to peace, healing and wellness. Any path that is escapist -- that doesn't promote and honor being fully present on earth in a body -- will perpetuate division and woundedness in the human condition. Spiritual teachings of 'rapture,' where the righteous expect to be spirited off the planet as the evil are left behind to burn; and classical eastern teachings of getting out of the cycles of birth and death as soon as possible to escape to higher realms of being; keep their subscribers less than fully present. Millennia of patriarchal social conditioning has perpetuated this mode in what has by now become a largely unconscious disrespect and devaluing of earth, body, feminine, feelings, instincts, animals, and sexuality -- an arrogance of mind.
Having been rejected by his father at birth, Chiron believed he was imperfect and flawed. In correlation with this myth, spiritual teachings that demonize the dark side, project the dark 'out there' onto some group of people, or keep their subscribers in self-perception of sinful unworthiness are driven by their proponents' inner woundedness and lack of peace. This exacerbates the division between animal, human, and divine aspects of being; in this condition one can never be good enough, or accept and love self or others fully. Again, the story of Chiron reminds us of the magic, relief, and healing that occur when we fully accept, honor, and engage with who, what and where we are, and become a potentially dynamic convergence point of spirit and form.
A stone associated with Chiron is spectrolite/labradorite. This stone was virtually unheard of until about 1987. And now -- wonder of wonders -- it is everywhere in the sphere of healers! I associate this with the growing trend of people called to serve as catalysts (priests), working directly with Spirit through their sacred centers of consciousness. So if you have some spectrolite in your jewelry collection, it's part of the team vibration, that's linked to the healing flow through heart, hands and feet!