Terribilis est locus iste.
We had just finished climbing the steep steps up the side of the mountain and had walked down the cobblestone steps of the town to stand in front of this church. We were out of breath.
But there it was, right on the temple door.
Terribilis est locus iste.
I felt a chill run down my spine. Whenever I read that phrase, I feel the way people must have felt in the Bible when archangels appeared before them. In a terrible kind of awe. Fear and elation coursing through me all at once.
The last time I was here, with another group of women I brought on this retreat, a man had appeared out of nowhere to ask, Do you know what that means?, Do you know about this place?, as he saw me staring in awe at the saying above the church doors.
Terribilis est locus means literally “this place is terrifying.”
But when you look at the other meaning of terribilis it also means “this place is considerable.”
So basically scholars translate it to:
This is the house of God and the door of Heaven.
He was smiling at me, wearing a flower shirt and a yellow skirt. His eyes twinkled like those of a forest nymph as he walked us through the entire church and showed us the weird numerical codes which led to other sections of the church, the anomalies in each statue, and the stations of the cross. Things scholars have been writing about for centuries that have spawned a thousand conspiracy theories in books and movies. A place that has been denounced by some and revered by others.
Always remember, things are not what they appear. Look beyond the surface! Good bye!
He said this and then ran away and disappeared into an alleyway never to be seen again. Like some sort of fairy-angel that showed up right when we needed him.
And now here we were again, a year later.
This time the man was not there. But I prepared myself for an hour at the church. Every time we come here, once the women enter the church, they cry, they kneel, they have powerful transformations. The energy is strong inside of this little building. Whatever happened here, it is significant.
This place is considerable.
After an hour, the women are complete, we decide to check out some of the shops on the ancient streets and then leave. We pass a sacred geometry store with a huge archangel statue in front of it.
Come inside and get me, a voice inside of me said.
What? I thought to myself. That statue is kind of tacky and it doesn’t fit in with the decor in my home. I don’t have room for this in my suitcase, I reasoned.
Come inside and get me. The voice insisted.
I walked inside and immediately my eyes connected with another pair of eyes. A woman standing in the middle of the shop. It was an instant knowing, like we had known each other for lifetimes and I was meeting her again after a long time apart. Her eyes pierced my heart and looked right through me.
I looked away, a little thrown off, and went to the cashier to ask about the angel in the window.
Who was it? What was the price?
The woman with whom I had made eye contact, watched me, and the women I had brought on this retreat, as they perused the books about spirituality, healing, Reiki, and Mary Magdalene.
She struck up a conversation with a few of the women, offering reviews of the books they were purchasing. But all along, she kept bringing her eyes back to me, knowingly.
As we walked out of the shop, lugging this big box with the Archangel statue in my arms, wondering why the heck my soul had told me to purchase this thing, I felt a light touch on my arm.
It was her.
I would really love to invite you all to my house for a glass of champagne.
I am just down the street. Would you come?
YES, my soul said loudly in my body.
I was startled by the immediacy of this response.
I looked at the other women, they looked a bit hot and tired. Would it be annoying to ask them to come to this woman’s house? We really should get going, it’s going to take us 2 hours to get back, my ego said.
But my soul kept saying, GO GO GO, THERE IS SOMETHING IMPORTANT HERE.
Wonderful!, she said. My name is Gerda, nice to meet you. Come!
I turned to the women, leaning up against an ancient stone wall and said, Ladies, we are going to go to this woman’s house to have a glass of champagne. We have been invited.
I don’t know what to tell you right now, other than I have never been so sure of anything in my life. I knew that we had to go into this woman’s house. I just knew.
A few minutes later we were inside her home, with mouths agape.
What had seemed like a nondescript, old, junky stone building on the outside had transformed into a goddess haven inside. Filled with crystal singing bowls, paintings of Mary Magdalene, and crystals the size of our heads.
Come, come out to my garden, Gerda whispered to us.
We walked out into her garden, our bodies silently pulled to the very end of it, overlooking a landscape of the French countryside.
And then my ego didn’t know what was happening.
My brain went into a blur.
There, at the end of the garden, was a stone circle Gerda’s husband had built.
We automatically each sat in a circle at the front of a stone, as if getting into some sort of ancient formation. This happened wordlessly, as if our bodies had known how to do this for centuries.
I watched in an awed haze as Gerda brought out a little Bose speaker and champagne. A beautiful song blared through the speakers…
We have known each other through many lives…
Welcome back home…
It is so good to see you again…
The songs lyrics were sending chills up my spine as Gerda sang along and hugged each woman, saying “welcome sister.”
And then she looked straight into my eyes from across the circle and burst into tears.
I have known you in many lives. I am so happy that we are all together again.
I am overcome with emotion. It is so good to see you, she said through tears.
I felt overwhelmed with a feeling of seeing an old friend and I began to cry too.
And we all began to cry tears of joy in this stone circle, with glasses of champagne, singing under an old tree, with a portrait of Mary Magdalene dressed all in white hanging from one of the branches.
Well, you have just gone batshit crazy, my ego wanted to say. You have never seen this woman in your life! What is happening???!!! If anyone saw you they’d think you’ve really lost it!
HUSH, said my soul, loudly and firmly. HUSH. I AM IN CHARGE HERE NOW.
My ego went quiet, though I could feel her trying to make sense of what the eff was happening right now.
We stayed like this for 3 hours. Drinking champagne. Listening to songs. Crying. Hugging. Laughing. Telling wild stories.
One of the women on my retreat brought out one of Gerda’s crystal bowls and we all sang together, making up songs that seemed to spring from our bodies, unrehearsed, but stored in some part of our DNA from long ago.
Gerda’s husband, came out and sat with us, and regaled us with stories of his scholarly studies on Mary Magdalene and the templars. Revealing secrets to us I cannot reveal even here. I watched him and Gerda interacting with each other, still in love after all these years. Touched by his respect for her, and the gentle and strong way in which he admired her inner fire.
It was 9pm by the time we were finished. All the restaurants in town were closed. We were starving.
No worry! I have a friend who lives next door who is a vegan chef. They can keep the restaurant open for you!
By quarter to midnight we were leaving for the 2 hour drive back to our hotel. Full bellies and full hearts.
Gerda took one last look at me and with a hug said to me in her broken English, I am so glad that upstairs department brought us together again. We are now connected again. Please come back and see me soon.
I have gone over this experience over and over in my head. Wondering if it should be shared. Not having the words to tell it quite yet.
But a few months ago something else interesting happened.
For a few years I have known the sword is one of my spiritual tools. I use a metaphorical sword often with clients to cut through the illusions that hold them back from their true power in leadership.
After going to see Wonder Woman and watching her fight with her sword, I knew two things.
I am the sword
I am ready for the Universe to bring me my sword now.
That’s what my soul said at least. I put in my request, to, as Gerda would say, upstairs department.
A few weeks later, my friend, a jewelry designer, posted on her Facebook page that she had been called to design a sword as her next piece of jewelry.
There is your sword, said my soul.
Whatever, said my ego.
A few weeks later, she finished it. As soon as she posted the finished product, my soul once again whispered, there is your sword.
You are effing crazy, said my ego, as I clicked purchase and entered my shipping information.
My friend is holding a french fry in her hand and placing another french fry into my hand.
This is your old sword. It represents all the old ways you’ve had to use your sword up until now. Are you done using this old sword?, she asks, as her blue eyes peer into me.
I had just finished complaining to her that I had had to use my “sword” a lot this summer but that it had been unpleasant. Many unpleasant situations that needed swords had come up. Many unpleasant people. Lots of boundaries I had to keep setting. Lots of BS I had to keep cutting through. It felt like a lot. I was tired of it feeling so heavy.
Yes. I say, handing her the french fry in my hand. This is my old sword and I release it. I just want to use my sword in a peaceful way. Not so many people coming to me where I have to be so fierce all the time.
I am tired, I say. I want peace. I want easy people. I just want to be gentle now. I can’t always be Joan of Arc. Sometimes I want softness.
She holds out the other fry.
This is your new sword. Are you ready to take your new sword now?
Not yet, says my soul.
My ego is really annoyed over this.
Because I just want to take the new sword of softness & ease, and rest already.
Not yet, but soon, says my soul.
I’m actually not ready, I say to my friend. She nods and says, I could feel it. But you’ll be ready soon.
I am on a vision quest. Holding a plant I picked out of the forest in my hand. Part of the journey I took the women in my mastermind retreat on, in Montana. As the shaman plays her drums in the background for us, I see very clearly a deer’s face appearing in my inner vision.
You are strong enough now for it to be easy, she says.
Later on, while leading a session with the women on this retreat, I tell them, we are at the Lion’s gate and the month of Leo. It is time to step into our greatest gifts, our greatest power and our greatest leadership. Bigger than ever before. It is time.
Two days after the french fry incident, the sword necklace I ordered from my jewelry designer friend arrives in the mail.
I pull it out of the package and hold it in my hands.
The flaming sword of Manjushri.
Mañjuśrī is depicted as a male bodhisattva wielding a flaming sword in his right hand, representing the realization of transcendent wisdom which cuts down ignorance and duality. The scripture supported by the padma (lotus) held in his left hand is a Prajñāpāramitā sūtra, representing his attainment of ultimate realization from the blossoming of wisdom. Mañjuśrī is often depicted as riding on a blue lion, or sitting on the skin of a lion. This represents the use of wisdom to tame the mind, which is compared to riding or subduing a ferocious lion.
My soul is smiling.
My ego says ohhhhh now I get it.
I am ready now.
I am telling you all these stories, my love, because this is how the soul works.
She is not linear.
She does not make “sense” to the ego.
She merely points the way.
She holds the blueprint to the great work you are here to do.
She is the map.
But she does not speak in the language of the ego.
Your ego will often tell you that your soul is crazy.
You can’t sign up for that! You have no time!
You don’t have the money for that!
Everyone will think you’ve gone crazy!
But if you can begin to master the art of moving past what your ego is saying and trust what your soul is telling you…
Well, that is when miracles begin to happen.
Things arrive when they are ready. When we are ready.
We are at this threshold now.
The place where we step out of the old world and into the new one.
Where we become the lion, the sword, the deer, the light.
Above the threshold, the sign reads:
Terribilis est locus iste.
This is the house of God and the door of Heaven.
Will you let go of your old ego stories and let your soul take the lead?
Are you ready now?