The soul needs love, and longs for it, much like the body needs and longs for water. And love comes in so many forms. The love in friendship is, in my experience, one of the greatest gifts in the life of a human. It is a holy thing and demands holy things – oil, bread, salt, flame, wine, laughter, tears, touch to name a few.
This image of a Dolmen stirs me, and reminds me of my desire to explore the real celtic Ireland. These massive stones, the size of large cars, piled onto each other as if giants had roamed the earth leaving behind signs of their presence, are a great global mystery. They appear all over western Europe and are too easily thought to be Celtic, though 40% of these stone tables (under which a tall man can often stand!) are in Korea…
These stone tables, were thought to have been built between 7,000 – 3,000 BCE and are supposed to be the tombs of chieftains. But they could just as easily be ancient shelters or site of holy rituals. regardless, they remind me that we have these in our hearts – ancient stone shrines.
Some of them are the needed ruins of friendships which have died but need to be memorialized. And still others are meeting places for the friends we have now. Such massive structures do not honor acquaintances. No. These are for friends. And not knowing the difference will drag a person into kinds of poverties which will overshadow their lives regardless of how much money and power they have. And of course the irony is that the accumulation of money and power are so often the result of a misplaced longing for love and friendship.
I often write about my Rule of Life. The chapter on friendship is by far the most important chapter and the most edited, hammered on the anvil of successes and failures from the fires of love and longing. The chapter has between the lines these Dolmen. Each chapter is read once in a month and so the friendship chapters generally appear in the early part of a month. And each chapter reminds me of my longings for how I want to live my life.
In my Rule of Life chapter on Frinedship, I note that one physical ritual I observe is the self-anointing with oil when a soul-friend is joining me – as will occur tonight. When I know that I will be in the physical presence of a soul-friend, I shower, as normal in a day, but then wipe my body down with scented oil. It is an ancient tradition. In Christian baptisms of the early church, bodies were wiped with a handful of oil after having been dunked in warm water. I use the oil (which sadly, I can no longer smell) as a reminder that this is a special, day – a day of the meeting of a soul-friend. It requires a small ritual which sets such a day apart.
The Dolmen of my life are scattered about my soul as memorials and shelters. They remind me that my ability to give love is highly developed in my spiritual walk, but that I am still handicapped in the ability to receive love – as are so many. But under these Dolmen I meet my soul-friends as I will tonight, over creamed spinach with sage, shrimp risotto and coconut flour cookies under chocolate mousse. And though the Dolman will be spiritual and the oils mixed on body and in foods, the holiness of the spiritual path of learning to love and be loved will be lit with the light which comes from God’s rising Son.