Lemurian City of Ladies

A Lemurian City Built in Memory of Christine de Pizan

Posts Tagged ‘hospice

Tholos Forgiveness

with 6 comments

The sounds of bubbling water enhanced her awareness.  She felt serene in all aspects of herself.  This is a good space in which to live, where one is totally at peace.  And what a wonderful place in which to die—in a hammock in water—not drowning, but just floating in water in the ocean or a lake or, even a pool such as this.  She lay still, attempting to remember her dream, or was it an experience?  So wonderful, but what was wonderful?  Oh, yes.  I was told to prepare to leave at any moment.  Made total sense at the time, but what did it really mean?  That I’ll die so I need to be unattached to the world and centered, or a crisis is coming and so I’ll need to be prepared to leave the house?  The water sounds so happy…bubbling and frolicking in the pool.  Does the water carry the fumes of the oracle to me?


I remember reading in the American Book of Dying: Lesson in Healing Spiritual Pain where the authors Gross and Klauser talked of a medieval l’Hotel-Dieu–God’s Hotel–in Burgundy, France.  In the 15th century A.D., this hospice served the social outcasts and was built over a river with a glass floor underneath the beds of the patients.  This way they could hear the soothing sounds of the moving water, as I am now.   I can tell this must be a special place, because I’m not aching from lying on the mossy ground.  This hospice had clean linens, also, almost unheard of in that time, even for the wealthy. 


Now I remember, another dream or experience, where someone in high authority asked if I wanted to go back and redo or eliminate some difficult times in my past. My parents were there, too, even though both are deceased for many years.  No, I said to all of them.  I wouldn’t change anything, as difficult as some things were at the time.  For then I wouldn’t be who I am today.  I wouldn’t have grown into the life I have, but still be stuck in the mundane, never having to be forced to have the opportunity to forgive both myself and another I deeply trusted, never having understood the great gift it is to be placed in a situation where one had to learn to forgive a deep wound.


The deeper the bond of trust with the person,

 the deeper the hurt and wounding,

the harder it is  to forgive,

 the more precious the gift of forgiveness

for oneself and for the other.


 May all  people who have been so hurt

 come to this gift of forgiveness

in the time that is right for them.




Written by thalia

July 18, 2008 at 10:49 pm

The Hall of Remembrances

with 5 comments

Come, m’lady.  The child took a step, pulling on Thalia’s hand as the others started moving further within the catacombs.  Thalia stood up, grasped the torch and followed, being led by the child who pulled ahead yet glanced back at her shyly.


She sent out her thought to the child.  What is your name?  A mumbled something touched her awareness.  The woman’s thought was clearer:  Later.  Just come.  We’ve waited a long time.


They walked in physical and mental silence, turning down one tunnel after another.  After a while, as the darkness deepened, she couldn’t help but wonder how she would return to the entrance, but figured it would happen naturally.  She thought of the stories she encouraged from hospice patients, volunteers and staff.  Of how patient memoirs were so treasured by their loved ones after the patient died, sometimes even revealing stories the loved ones didn’t know about.  She thought of how her own memoir process unearthed the web of patterns that helped clear misconceptions and resentments she had carried. 


Yes, we saw that in you, that which Is what we need done for us.  The man’s thought broke through her own.  Some of us have been waiting a long time to understand what happened in our lives and sometimes even in our dying.


Thalia felt momentarily confused.  But I record their stories before they die, not after. 


The woman stopped and turned around.  But you told the stories of your ancestors after they were dead.  And you’ve written poems and stories about when your loved ones appeared in a so-called “dream” and shared with you.  What is so different? 


Nothing, I guess.  I just never thought of this aspect until now that you mentioned it.  And never thought a walking tour in the City of Ladies would lead to this deep part of the catacombs.   I remember being intrigued by Orson Scott Card’s book Speaker for the Dead.  What a great book.


The woman resumed walking forward.  Just come.  You’ll see.


After a few more twists and turns they entered a large cavern with many, mostly marble, sarcophagus’ and statues along the walls and throughout the room.  Marble benches were scattered around.  No one else was in the place.  The trio escorted her to a bench in front of a large, ornate statue of a weeping angel. 



The little girl’s hand started trembling.  Thalia looked from the statue to the child still clinging to her hand.  Looking back at the engraving, she read: 

                                       MARIA ESTAL…   (part was missing) 

                                            9 YEARS OLD  

                                 MUCH BELOVED DAUGHTER


Is this your tombstone?


The child bobbed her head.  She seemed small for her age.  Thalia sat down on the bench and drew Maria close.  What would you like to share with me?


With tears running down her face, Maria’s thoughts gushed forth.  It says my papa loved me but how could that be?  When he did those things to me?  The priest said it was wrong and papa was bad.  He couldn’t have loved me.  Her weeping escalated into sobbing, so holding her and waiting was appropriate.  Finally the sobs subsided.  Then the sickness came for mamma and me.  They all said it was because papa was bad but he cried when we were sick on the bed.  Then mamma died of fever and I got worse.  Papa said he loved me but the priest said he was bad and didn’t love me.  Was I bad?  Is that why papa did bad things to me?  Is that why I died?


No, you were good.  Your papa did things he shouldn’t have but you were good.  It wasn’t your fault he did those things to you or that you and your mama died.  Tell me more about your papa.


Maria wiped her sleeve across her nose and continued.  Mama said papa had been in a war, fighting far away.  When he came home he was different.  Then there was another baby coming and papa started touching me.  Mama was busy with the baby and didn’t see.  They argued about things that happened during the war, but I didn’t understand.  There was a long pause.  Are you sure I am good and not bad?


Yes, I am sure.  And even though your father did some bad things doesn’t make him all bad.  His actions were bad but he could have also loved you.  And sometimes war changes people and makes them act bad.  After being away in a war you might have looked so clean and fresh that he just was glad to be home, and he wanted to be part of your innocence and freshness.  What he did was very bad, but he could still love you.  Maybe he was sorry about what he did.  Look at the weeping angel—maybe he picked it out because  it represents him weeping for what he had done.  Can you understand that?  Thalia thought of all the adults who could only see the world in black or white, and couldn’t understand shades of gray in people or allow for forgiveness.  Their anger festered for years, or even for their whole lifetime, and made their lives bitter and the lives of the people around them miserable.  They couldn’t separate the action from the person.  If adults couldn’t understand, how could a child?


I think so… maybe.  I’ll try.  I always thought the angel was weeping because I was so bad. 


No, that’s not why the angel is weeping.  We grow when we can learn to forgive.  It’s hard, but important.  Forgiveness heals us and is more important for us than for the person we forgive, but both are important.


Maria moved to gently touch the weeping angel and the engraving of her name and where it said she was the beloved daughter.  As she sighed, she smiled.  Thank you, m’lady.


No, I am not a “m’lady.”  I am just a woman on a walking tour of the City of Ladies.  Now I am not sure where I am.


A new-energy thought chimed in.  We will call this place the Hall of Remembrances.  Will you come back and help us tell our stories?  There are many stories here needing to be told.


She looked up to see many other pale figures emerging from the walls and statues, clustering around this latest thought-speaker.   He appeared to be the one with authority.  In his outstretched hand was a coin that seemed to have real substance.   Remember us! 


The coin was suddenly in her hand, solid and heavy.   A male head on one side and a woman standing on the other side. 



She looked at him, as he stood there with more physical essence than the others.  That’s Apollo on the one side; the muse Thaleia, as I know her, on the other.  Take this coin and remember us.  We await your return.  Others like yourself are welcome, also.       


I will return now and again, and perhaps others will also come to help you.  Thank you all for sharing with me and inviting me.  For now I need to return and continue the tour.  But I will be back to the Hall of Remembrances for more of your stories. 


And suddenly she was back at the entrance to the catacombs, coin in hand, ready for the next adventure, even as she wondered why Apollo and Thalia were on the same coin.

Written by thalia

June 25, 2008 at 1:27 am

Posted in Catacombs, Walking Tour

Tagged with ,

Arrival at the Villa

with 6 comments


“Lemuria”     Thank goodness she saw that sign posted on the tree before shape shifting into a young girl and blundering into the circus world.  If she hadn’t, she might not have been so open to listening to the bearded lady when she relayed a story she once heard of a special city in Lemuria.


At first, everything was going well with her circus adventure.  Getting a job as a stand-in horseback rider, she was able to ride every day on different horses and ponies.  And she got to know many new people, finding them to be quite a diverse group, as one would expect. 



Ranging from the ringmaster, who thought himself ‘high class’ and ‘hot stuff,’ to the men setting up the tents and caring for the animals, to the performers who had the necessary skills of juggling, tight-rope walking, lion taming, etc.  And the lowest on the social order—the ‘freaks’ or ‘strange’ folk that the others looked down on and avoided.



But her time in hospice had further shown her the importance of accepting each person right where they are and who they are—accepting unconditionally—and being compassionate and supportive since they, too, are doing the best they could on their journey.  As her teacher said, “We are all struggling souls.”


Hospice also addressed the whole person, not just the physical.  So one went beyond appearance to the inner being.  To look at what was beyond a wasted body due to cancer eating it away; to a tube-filled body as muscles lose control of bladder and bowel; to a body with radiation burns or surgery scars or chemo baldness; to a body with no seeming memory so it wanders off and repeats stories incessantly; to a body literally rotting from wounds needing chlorophyll dressings to tamp down the odors?  She had found so much is underneath all that: a real life filled with joy and love, magic and disappointments, all the things that make up the lives of all seemingly healthy people.  A beautiful person within struggling to get through life and to do it well, to pass on to the children his or her values and legacies.  A beautiful soul…


There was no doubt the appearances of these circus folk could put one off… But what was underneath?  Nothing worth investigating, according to the general circus population.  But she had found much to admire: courage in the face of ridicule, honor even as they were treated dishonorably, and marvelous stories.    What a wealth of stories she heard. 


It was only after being backed into a corner by the so-called ‘high class’ ringmaster that she realized it was time to leave.  He threatened her against telling anyone and even that he would prevent her leaving.


It was only after he was distracted by an accident with the flame-thrower that she could grab her satchel, change into a black circus-show panther and escape.  As she slipped into the forest and wondered where to go, she thought back to the story told by Quinda, the bearded woman.


“Many years ago, when I was a child traveling with my mother and the circus, I remember being asleep and waking up to see a beautiful lady in our tent talking to my mother.  I moved close to lean into Mamam’s skirt, smelling the familiar lavender herbs she stored her clothes in.  The Lady took my hand and looked directly into my eyes, not at my chin.  She said she had seen me with my family and wanted me to know of possibilities other than being with the circus.  I was young enough then that my beard was just starting to show.  Mamam had always told me that one day I could be in the sideshow with her when my beard was full and thick like hers.  I couldn’t wait to earn my own money!  Now here was someone talking of how I could leave the circus and find the Lemurian City of Ladies where I wouldn’t have people staring at me and calling me ‘strange.’  I had heard folk say those things to my mother, but never, so far, to me.


“My mother put her arm around me and drew me away from the Lady as she said, ‘Family stays together—no matter what!  Thank you, kind Lady, but my daughter stays with me.’


“The Lady sighed.  ‘I understand,’ she said to Mamam.  Then she looked at me again—directly—and said, ‘’There is a home for anyone at the City of Ladies, where you will be respected and allowed to follow your creativity and educational dreams.  Don’t forget the Lemurian City of Ladies.  Go to le Enchanteur’s Villa where you will find refuge.’”     


She thought of those words of Quinda’s as the she-as-panther streaked through the forest with her satchel bouncing along her side.  After much traveling, she came to the crest of a cleared hill and could see into the distance.  A beautiful city shimmered in the mist.  Could that be the City of Ladies?  She headed in that direction.


When she finally came to a road, she changed into her normal body.  What is normal?  I guess most would consider me  one of the ‘strange’ folk.  She found a branched twig and sort-of combed her hair.  She got our her alcohol-gel from her satchel and cleansed her hands.  Feeling better, she stepped onto the road.


She approached the city and caught up to a group of women, and after asking if anyone knew where le Enchanteur’s villa was.  She was bombarded with an outburst of replies: “Oh, another one.”  “Yeh, you can’t miss it.”  Are you sure you really want to go there?”  There’s talk of odd things happening in that place.”  And each one quickly turned into one of the shops and disappeared before she could question them further.


Slinking into an alley, she hid her satchel behind some broken pottery.  Maybe she should see what was there first.  Who were these people at the Villa?  She shifted into a moth since dusk was approaching—no one noticed a moth—and flitted along looking for the Villa.  There was the sign.


She waited until another woman entered and flew in with her.  Quickly finding a spot with good vantage view on a wall shelf in the foyer, she landed and looked around.  She would stay like this until she knew more.  No one notices a moth.

Written by thalia

June 18, 2008 at 8:57 am