A memory. A memory with many words and images that will mean the most to those from Four Quarters, but that may paint a picture for others. At Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary, the high holydays are those around the raising of new Stones in the Stone Circle. I see rollers and ropes raise the Stones. I see pullies and winches. I see hundreds of people bending their backs to the work. I see and feel and smell and delight in the ceremony made each day for days leading up to the Rising.
The event is called Stones Rising, and this year will be the twentieth raising of the Stones.
While I have not been on the Land there since 2008 and I am now 3000 miles away, Four Quarters remains…well, the North Altar in the Stone Circle is my omphalos. It is the navel of the world, the way I orient myself in my mind. If you tell me something is east of something else, I imagine myself standing there at the North Altar and turn to the right, yes, towards the Mother Stone raised in 1996, that is East.
Last night I had a dream. A dream of crossing over from one community into a torchlit procession pulling a Stone down from the Labyrinth. The procession was in the High Meadow, heading for that Stone staging spot just outside the East Gate of the Stone Circle. Orren, the founder of Four Quarters, rolled his eyes and said, “Another tearful homecoming?!” I laughed.
I returned to the Land once before, after I left Our Lady of the Alleghenies convent and Julie and I had gotten together. But then I lived in Morgantown, WV, and the drive was two hours. The 3000 miles between us—between the tribe of Four Quarters and me—are necessary now, and I reckon I’ll be here for a good long time, here in the Pacific Northwest of the US.
Who knows when I’ll get there again? it be the completion of the Circle (what we have hopefully returned to as the “Inner Ring.”)?
As adolescents, many of us bounced around—leaving home, returning, leaving again—as we sought to find ourselves. Many years ago, in an email from Idaho, Judy wrote, “My feet may yet be wanderin’ / but my heart has found a home / in the center of Four Quarters / in a ring of Standing Stone.”
Is that true for me?
Where is home for you? Where is the center of the Universe? How do you know which Direction to go? More on all of this to come…