I am deeply curious about the possibility that metamorphosis in the soul of one woman can bring unpredicted profound change two thousand years later . What if the transformation in Myriam of Magdala is only beginning to be played out ? What if the effect of her singular acts of keeping watch at a cruel execution and returning to the place of trauma is actually intensifying in this day and age?

One place where I find this to be so is in the increasingly widespread turn toward contemplative practices for healing memories of painful events. All of us have painful memories - but sometimes we intuitively know that it is no longer necessary or helpful to repeatedly tell the story of ‘what’ we remember .

In a contemplative way of remembering we choose to bring awareness gently, simply, directly and repeatedly to the inner place of where we experience that whole painful event. We ‘touch’ into this place where we remember often and reverently - each time approaching it as an entry point in our own soul that connects us to hidden healing grace. We approach that place as our own particular dark tomb place that is also like a cave thick with intimate presences. We approach it as a womb place which in its own time will open and new life will rise. Like it did for Myriam both then and now.

Find your tomb

and enter it

wait in the dark

speak to angels

see through demons

hide in rock clefts

hear doves

strip naked

fold clothes

breath from source

lick wet rocks

follow gold seams

do not be afraid

incubate dreams

fall through the navel of the world


Then stand up and walk

leave the darkness

heavily pregnant

with a new name.


This prayer has become for me not so much a plea for forgiveness in the heavenly courts but a vital practice drawing me into the dark wisdom of the divine feminine. Looking back on the past year from this perspective it seems quite possible to say that I have been unexpectedly ‘gifted’ with very painful ‘reasons’ needing forgiveness. So no wonder I have been gripped by the prayer.

Throughout this time I have had a sense of sacred midwifery taking place to carefully bring to term a merciful state of soul - a state of soul utterly inconceivable to my ego mind. And from where I am standing I know that nothing comes easy in difficult and dangerous pregnancies such as these – but Her urgings and wise remedies are so distinctly there.

Take care to guard your heart in the early days

tend the pain body that flies off leaving you

beside yourself as it gathers force out there.

Bring that poor thing home to your soft body.


Take care to watch the depth charge of thoughts

feeding shame and blame and fear to sicken

even abort what is just beginning to show.

Bring your hurt mind home to your soft body.


Take care to practice the slow exhale out

of the clean cool air you just breathed in.

Trust your soft body to rehearse forgivings

one forgoing, one dying and rising at a time.


Feed your soft body with fertility songs

remind your cells of unimaginable conceptions

of Sarah who laughed, Elizabeth who blessed

Mary who said yes, be it unto me and it is still.


And when the merciful water breaks

labour will still take as long as it needs

even a thousand thousand bearings down

and a hundred crowning moments.


But stay, stay in the body of hope, trust us!

In blood and mess forgiveness always streams

from between our thighs and from here

peace beyond understanding is born again.

Ask for bread already received.

More than before I am reluctant to speculate on what kind of nourishment my own soul needs. Let alone what anyone else needs! 

More than ever before when I reach this juncture of the prayer I go towards the ‘how’ of contemplative asking that simply waits to be fed from the Heart. It is a manner of asking for nourishment that waits to receive even the desire to be nourished by goodness, beauty and truth. 

More than before I get drawn in by a hidden possibility in these over familiar words when they are seen in the light of what Christian mysticism calls spiritual recollection – namely all the faculties of the whole person gathered and collected up in prayer.

So I wonder - what might be happening in utterly whole-hearted, utterly dependent praying for our daily bread?

Ask with the whole sum of your self!

Ask with all the might of deep soul longings

singing in harmony with your highest thoughts

already quivering in every cell of your body.


Ask for your bread with care!

Know that words such as these

are heard in the furthest galaxy;

know that this spare phrase

can rupture and re-orders time itself

and the very sounding of it can

bring awesome things into form.


Ask for bread fervently!

Ask with the fiercest heat

of longing you can muster;

give thanks for each portion of grace

as it is remembered from its origin,

fetched out from future fullness

into what is sufficient for today.


Ask with a quiet heart!

Keep vigil for a whole purifying night

waiting for the Beloved to drip feed

your desire for truth-telling

infusing the acts and words

that will speak to this day’s need.


Then petition boldly for loves sake.

Ask for the yeast of forgiveness.

for ingredients of healing,

for the rising of justice

for the taste of wisdom

that will suffice for this day.

Thy Will be Done

Thy Will be Done

"It was, and is, an opening up of dark chasms and hidden caverns where the prayer ‘may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ echoes off surfaces so newly exposed. Thy will be done on earth – yes, in this too! And so it is with greater need and urgency that I have reflected on some of the spiritual writings."

Daring to Pray

Daring to Pray

How do I dare to pray ‘The Lords Prayer’? Very hesitantly, I will describe ways that this very distilled teaching on prayer has gradually changed from being a formula of petitions to a living process and a means of making transforming soul journeys.