Welcome! And thank you for joining me during this special Advent season, when the wonders of the Nativity fill us with anticipation for Christmas.
I’d like to share an Advent Ritual introduced at this month’s Divine Feminine gathering–a group studying sacred readings and discovering the role of the Divine Feminine since the beginning of time. Each month one of us prepares a teaching; this month was my turn.
Since it’s Advent, a season to prepare for Christmas, I focused on the Nativity as told by the Apostle Luke. At key points in this gospel I inserted an Imagery exercise so the story can resonate in a personal way for each Imager.
I’d like to share that experience with you. Read through the whole Nativity Narrative and the Imagery below. At the end you’ll find a process for doing the Imagery within the story.
THE NATIVITY NARRATIVE AS TOLD BY THE APOSTLE LUKE
In the city of Nazareth, a virgin named Mary was betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph. One day, the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with thee.”
The Angel Gabriel continued, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son named Jesus. He will be great, and be called Son of the Most High…”
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See, feel, sense, know and live as Mary. Recognize your qualities as a young woman and your feelings at hearing this news from the Angel Gabriel.
The Annunciation Continues
And Mary said to the Angel Gabriel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” The Angel Gabriel continued, telling Mary that her cousin Elizabeth, in her eighties and barren, was to bear a son named John (the Baptist), for with God, nothing is impossible. Mary consented and the Angel Gabriel departed.
Close you eyes and breathe out three times – See, feel, sense and listen as Mary consents, saying “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” At that moment the heavens made preparations for the Son of God to be conceived by Mary through the Holy Spirit.
Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth
In those days, Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country to a city of Judah to visit Elizabeth. When hearing Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy.”
Close your eyes and breathe out three times – See, feel, sense and know Mary’s feelings as she speaks these words to Elizabeth, “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden, for behold, henceforth, all generations will call me blessed.”
The Birth of Jesus
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. And Joseph went up from Nazareth to the city of David called Bethlehem, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.
Close your eyes and breathe out three times – See, feel and live how Mary births her first-born son, wraps him in swaddling clothes and lays him in a manger.
Breathe out one time – Now see, feel, sense and know how the heavenly beings react to this miracle.
A PROCESS FOR THE IMAGINAL NATIVITY RITUAL
(Do one exercise each or every other morning or evening.)
1. Read through the Nativity Narrative and Imagery once. If you choose, align yourself with the Divine in a short prayer, committing to do the Imagery in preparation for Christmas.
2. Start at the beginning, and do one of the Nativity Narratives and its Imagery each or every other day or evening.
3. To ensure that the Imagery flows, re-read it several times, committing it to memory before beginning each session – OR – record the Imagery instructions and exercises. Leave time to “Close your eyes and breathe out three times at the beginning of the recording; and leave about a minute and a half at the end for your Imagery experience*.
4. You’ll notice that the breathing is specific for Imagery. It may seem unusual to begin with a long, slow out-breath, followed by a short in-breath, but it takes very little practice to get it. Repeat this breathing cycle three times or whatever number is indicated for the exercise. Then go back to your regular breathing pattern as you silently repeat the words of the Imagery or listen to those you’ve recorded.
5. Allow yourself a few minutes to have an Imagery experience. Imagery is a quick process. Don’t stay in the Imagery Exercise for more than two minutes. To conclude your Imagery, breathe out one time and open your eyes.
If you don’t have an Imagery experience, repeat the same exercise at your next session. If this persists, change the time of day you’re doing the Imagery.
6. Consider describing your Imagery experience in a small notebook. When you’ve completed the series, you’ll be able to see your whole Nativity experience.
Blessings for this beautiful holiday season! Barbarah
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COMMENT, PLEASE – This is the first time I’ve put Imagery in the blog. I’ll be adding The Shepherds Watching Their Flocks, The Visit of the Magi, The Flight Into Egypt and The Circumcision. So please let me know how you experience this first group. With your feedback, I can tweak those to come, if necessary. Shy about commenting? At your request your comments will remain un-published, so I’ll be the only one who sees them.
I look forward to hearing from you. Have a holy and joyful Advent! Barbarah