The Jives of St. Ives

Be forewarned that I may be on the cusp of a shift in consciousness and, hence, preoccupation. I am in the process of having my mind blown and I am not sure where the pieces will land. Take everything I write–up to now but especially from now on–as descriptive, not prescriptive. Feel free to unfollow.

I am planning to attend one of Cynthia Bourgeault’s beginning wisdom schools. It will take place in November. I am halfway through the reading list. I read the first book, Bourgeault’s The Wisdom Way of Knowing, before signing on to the week-long workshop. Halfway through that book I decided that indeed the wisdom school was something I wanted to do. In the last few weeks I have read Bourgeault’s The Wisdom Jesus and Jim Marion’s Putting on the Mind of Christ. Both of them make almost more sense than I am ready to have them make. Things I have half-known and half-understood are becoming all too clear and where is this going to take me?

I’d love to hear from anybody who has read these books.

It is not fear that is being stirred. Rather, humble anticipation. Beginner’s mind. But I’m not sure what I will be able to say or write about what I am learning or where I am being led. I am leery of putting things in words in a way that makes them definitive. I admire writers who seem to know what they’re about and how things are. But I also know it is easier to put our faith in things that are in print and what someone else says with a certain authority than in what you sense in your own soul. So I will continue to write with humility and you will continue to read, or not read, according to the reverberations in your soul. OK?

Having perhaps whetted your curiosity without saying anything about what this is all about, I will just say this. During a dream retreat I led last weekend, which brought about the usual, miraculous personal revelations and cross-fertilization among the dreams of the participants, I captured only one image from my own dreams:

I have been following the activities of a mature and responsible woman, which I don’t remember. Only this: she has a book under her arm, which she says she has “on reserve for 10 years.” The title is The Jives of St. Ives.

I Google “St. Ives” and can’t find any saint by that name. It is the name of a town in Cornwall. I learn that the cathedral in the town is named for St. Ia, an Irish holy woman of the 5th or 6th century, who is buried there. The story is she was intending to sail from Ireland with a group of her fellow nuns but they left without her because they thought she was too young. She is grief-stricken when she goes to the shore and finds them gone. She prays. And then she idly strikes a leaf in the water with a stick. It grows into a boat. She steps onto it and sails across the Irish Sea to England, arriving before the others.

That’s apparently my guide, my reference book, for the next 10 years. Getting left behind. Praying. Striking the leaf. Setting sail. The title suggests dancing is involved.

From Celtic Saints of Western Britain By Nicolas Phillips. Used by permission.

“St. Ia,” by Nicholas Phillips, from his recently published, book, Celtic Saints of Western Britain . Used by permission.

3 thoughts on “The Jives of St. Ives

  1. Pingback: Shift happening | the practical mystic

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