Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Maggie Hamilton on connecting with the mist

Author and teacher Maggie Hamilton (pic from wewisewomen.com)
Author Maggie Hamilton shares with us two of her most special books. Maggie has inspired many of her friends to read so many wonderful books over the years, so we are delighted that she has shared two of the best with us.
I don’t know about you, but I love mist. It’s utterly enchanting. As the everyday world softens and disappears I often experience a huge sense of relief. For me it’s a bit like wiping the slate clean. Naturally everyone has their own responses to the mist. One of the most profound observations of mist is Frank MacEowen’s The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers and Seekers. As you read Frank MacEowen’s exquisite book suddenly life is imbued with a whole new set of possibilities. You glimpse another way of being. At the heart of this book is a strong sense of how many of us in the west live in a permanent state of exile – or as Frank puts it ‘they become exiled from the holy realm of the inner worlds’.

As Frank MacEowen explores the Celts’ connection with nature, he reminds of the very shape and feel of the contemporary sense of exile. ‘I sometimes think that when we experience soul loss or soul exile it is as if we have had our ancient citizenry revoked,’ he reflects. ‘We no longer have diplomatic status to travel freely in the inner sanctum of our deepest levels of knowing about the world around us.’ How then do we rekindle the fire of our spirit?

So what does the mist offer us? According to Frank MacEowen the mist is ‘the threshold, the guardian of the in-between where vision is received. Within the mist of liminal time and space we are able to planet the seeds of a new life’. One of the bridges to this sacred experience of life is through our deepest longings. According to Frank MacEowen, our longing is something to trust, as it takes us to a far more profound space than can be accessed by our desires. Longing, he explains, has ‘an ancient allegiance to the evolution of our souls’. There are so many wonderful insights in this book, it’s not one you want to hurry, because you don’t want to miss a single observation. Some books we read once. Others we return to again and again, and this is true of The Mist-Filled Path.

While we’re on the subject of special books, I must also mention Carol Schaeffer’s Grandmothers Counsel The World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision For the Planet. This book landed in my lap left of field, and it too touched my soul. Here thirteen indigenous women elders from five continents tackle the big issues the planet is facing. While this may sound a bit depressing, reading the book is a deep human experience, imbued with a great deal of wisdom. In my experience there are too few women who inhabit a place of genuine power. In reading the lives and observations of each of these remarkable women, I was struck by the often very painful lives these women elders have had. All to frequently they have suffered a lot of abuse and deprivation. Their personal accounts are worlds way from the neatly polished images we’re constantly presented with of how successful women are ‘meant to be’. What sets these women apart is that they’re not defined by their past wounds, their souls have been fertilised by them. The Grandmother's Council will be in Byron just before Christmas and in New Zealand in February.

Writer and social researcher Maggie Hamilton gives regular talks and workshops; writes for magazines; is a keen observer of social trends; and an outspoken critic of the commercialisation of childhood and teen life. Her books have been published in Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Italy, the Arab States, Lithuania, Korea, China and Brazil, and include What's Happening to Our Girls? and  What's Happening to Our Boys? Her latest book, Secret Girls’ Business, is a fun, funky empowering book for teenage girls.
See Walter Mason making one of the recipes from Secret Girls' Business here.

Frank MacEowen, The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers and Seekers, New World Library, Novato California, 2002. ISBN 1-57731-211-2

Carol Schaeffer, Grandmothers Counsel The World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision For the Planet, Trumpeter, Boston 2006. ISBN 978-1-59030-293-4

1 comment:

  1. I found myself really in tune with this celebration of mists and mysteries. Since moving to Toowoomba six years ago, I have been living much of the time with my head literally in the clouds, and have become convinced that mists have quite a profound effect on us. There's something strangely calming about the uncertainty of the visual world.