The beauty of this place is bewitching. I wander down the narrow alleyways of Sante Fe, New Mexico, stroller in hands, paying homage to the Basilica of St. Francis and the myriad of shrines dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. The dive into more colors, more zest, more art, more movement of hips, Latin and Spanish music, deep cello chords and jazzy street saxophones renders me nourished. Between live music, the varied life of street markets, strings of marigolds strung in gestures of devotion, I somehow turn the corner into a restful marvel even in the shadow of tiredness. Life happens around me in swirling hips and spicy red chilis (some hanging from rafters), and Rowan takes a bite of salty sweet corn and I know that I’ve landed at a true crossroads of culture and tradition.
Everywhere I go, She follows. Our Lady of Guadalupe: emblazened in minds and hearts, stamped on walls, murals and art – she dances through the city holding the solid ground of equanimity and compassionate presence. She presides like the Queen she is – casting the town in a blue star spangled light. Her image is in alleyways, restaurants, shops, churches, shrines. She is virtually on every corner. Artists here pay homage to her a thousand times over, with seemingly every artisan stall hosting a personal rendition of her graceful stature: arms folded, eyes ever so slightly cast downwards, fiery light of realization emanating from her whole body.
Just when I was feeling like a fish out of water in my relatively new station of Motherhood, there is the quintessential Divine Mother, the Sacred Feminine, the Goddess – in one of her many faces, bestowing her calm, quiet authority on all who gather here. She casts an aura of equanimity that I could certainly bear to heed.
What does it mean to be a Divine Mother? Patient, graceful, accepting… (Bla, blah, blah: the usual list of virtues strings along in my mind’s eye). For me it means to be real. To show up amidst chaos (or not) and hold the ground of love and compassion, even when it doesn’t look or feel ‘perfect.’ Even when it is a mess. Even when I lose my composure. Our Lady presides over my self-forgiveness for the moments I fuzz out, succumb to exhaustion or frustration. She reminds me of the power of silently witnessing, quietly supporting. She is the backdrop for every life emerging: Woman. Mother. Caregiver. She who births in miraculous ways.
“Hello, Mother of Child,” the man at the Espresso joint says to me as I order my latte. Yes, archtypally, that is what I am now. Mother of Child. It does me well to be surrounded by images and culture of devotion to a Mother – a reminder of the sacredness of this station of life – and an image to hold space for Divine Awareness, a glowing presence of inspired revelation, wearing a cloak of stars. Our Lady of Guadalupe (her name means “Wolf River”) is profoundly of this Earth as well as she transcends. She calls me to my feet – solid on the ground, while also reminding me of the great mysteries beyond. She points me around every corner towards the recognition of the exquisite Beauty that the feminine form is privy to, and whispers to me that the realm of the Divine is also right here.