January 18, 2022
I am but a finger pointing to the moon.
Don’t look at me; look at the moon.
This quote is commonly attributed to Gautama Buddha, an attribution that is also commonly challenged. Regardless, I offer that this counsel is essential guidance on any spiritual path or journey.
As I’ve mentioned, getting to stillpoint can be challenging. Finding the quiet space for that to happen is important and some find that working with sacred objects can help. They can absolutely help us focus our attention and intention. Sacred objects and rituals can assist us but if we are seeking sacred communion, those objects and actions won’t get us there. They are only fingers pointing at the moon and it’s easy to get stuck on the fingers and lose site of the greater objective of sacred communion. When we focus on our rituals and objects we, as they say in Ireland, lose the plot entirely.
That’s not to say that I don’t work with both. I have an altar that seems to accumulate objects of sacred significance to me and I have my rituals. However they don’t hold power. They are tools. They don’t have agency beyond what comes from my relationship with them. Yes, there are exceptions and I’m thinking here of crystals that are themselves incredibly powerful but in working with them it’s still all about the relationship.
For example, I have a couple of rocks with holes in them on my altar. At least that’s what they would look like to the casual observer. But these are hag stones. Their power for me comes through the memory of sacred encounters and intentions. They take me back to those moments but they are not those moments.
Interesting that a synonym for ritual is rigmarole, a lengthy and complicated procedure. And we can indeed focus so much on the procedure that we make sacred communion very complex and complicated. In this, rituals and objects can become obstacles to communion and the moon, metaphorically, can become elusive and unattainable.
Sacred communion is a direct relationship with sacred energies. We may feel we need rituals and objects to commune with those energies but those energies need no tools to commune with us. If we are open. If we listen. If we stop looking at the pointing fingers.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org