With the Moon Under Her Feet

All rights reserved. © Hillary Rain.

All rights reserved. © Hillary Rain.

Beauty moon-belly.

I shared this photo on Instagram with the simple caption: photography lifts my soul so much. A recent photo shoot with this sweet mama did more for me than for her, I think, because co-creating art and being a holy witness of beauty and life moves me more than words can say.

I needed this creative hour. I've been doing so much reading and research lately, and when I become ensconced in things of the Spirit and words and discovery I easily lose track of days and times and other important things. But art is medicine. And as an artist whose journey involves so many mysterious facets and corridors and secret portals, I want to notice more of the both-and of it. And share it. Both the creative work I love and also my continuously surprising spiritual path.

Both:and is one of the hallmarks of the mystical spirituality I held for so long. Both-and allows seemingly exclusive elements to be at peace (or oneness) with each another and to be true, such as spirit and flesh. Known and unknown. Seen and hidden. Dark and light. Human and divine. Paradox and simplicity. Mystery. I loved this about it: the ability to know and live non-duality, to live the questions and have a beautiful and welcome space for paradox. It felt wonderfully liminal. It felt like restoration. Like a hiding place of rest and nourishment and relief from the intensity (and often harsh nature) of either-or.

What I see even in this very moment is that really I was desperately reaching for myself. Not as a replacement of God or in self-exaltation but like a child aching to belong. Terrified of rejection. Longing to be counted worthy.

Sinner and saint. Ugly and beautiful. Perfectly imperfect. Paradox can exist because I exist, and I am a storm who is loved.

A certain kind of healing was required for me before I could embrace it, but my spirituality is now opening both arms to receive either-or.  Because now, for me, it's both both:and AND black-or-white. Both have a place. Both are necessary. And I have discovered essential areas for myself (along with, perhaps, a renewed sense of devotion, desire or courage) that require either-or-ness so I can move forward in my own life and faith.

And I no longer call myself a mystic simply because I got what I came for and I'm moving on. Neither am I a teacher or guru, and as I bring to light the intimate nuances of my journey—which include beliefs and new questions and wild possibilities right alongside heart-stopping revelations and discoveries—I honestly don't know what to do with all of this vulnerability.

Because it is vulnerable, wearing my soul like this.

So I hold the tender and the true in soft, warm hands and take another forward-moving step offering what is important to me.


Experiment

This preface to what I'm actually writing about today has grown long. I'm marking my path, though, and I think it's important for those who have been around for a while to be witness of the unfolding. It can feel a bit like whiplash to shift gears—wait a minute, I thought she wrote about....? 

(It feels that way to me, too.)

The truth is, I'm not very good about segregating my spirit and self. The truth is, I've experienced life-altering spiritual awakening. Finding the language to express it—or really, even knowing where to begin—has been the hard part.

So I suppose I can just say this:

For now, and for the foreseeable future, I will be writing more openly about spirituality and religion and finding my way through it all. 

Most people I've known seem to forget that this real-time life journey can move along quite swiftly. This makes it hard to write about, because during seasons of growth or transition I won't always look or sound like I did last week, last month, last year. As a living, breathing being, I am constantly discovering new things, experiencing new things, and releasing what no longer belongs. I might believe different things, or my basic beliefs may take on deeper meanings or more clarity. 

Spirituality is intimate, and when some people are allowed to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse it's not always “safe” because they can form opinions and ideas based on slices of existence that may or may not last long. And then forever hold me to that one slice. “But you said this.” “You've changed!” “Oh, she's into this weird thing.” For a while this kept me almost paranoid—did I tie up that loose end? Did I explain how and when and why I'm leaning this direction? Oh no; I forgot to share an update about this...It's exhausting and keeps me from the lush, living flow of life. 

All of this is to say 1) it's why I've needed to not write too deeply about it before now, and 2) I am not as open to prying questions as I used to be. That may sound ungracious and I truly don't mean it that way. But I've learned the hard way—no, let me say that I've learned the brutally excruciating way—the need for excellent boundaries, that I don't have to explain, and also something deeply freeing:

You can't take anything from me.

They can't take anything from me. 

At least nothing I don't willingly give, and I get to choose what and when and if to give. It's not easy. Last week I gave away a lot of inner peace after being vulnerable with someone to a degree I shouldn't have. But I'm learning. I'm gathering experience. I get to experiment with it all.


Peace & safety

On May 3rd, 2017, the US President said this:

“Today I am pleased to welcome President Abbas to the White House for his first visit to Washington in quite a while. 
“Almost 24 years ago, it was on these grounds that President Abbas stood with a courageous peacemaker, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.  Here at the White House, President Abbas signed a Declaration of Principles -- very important -- which laid the foundation for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The President -- “Mr. President [Abbas], you signed your name to the first Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.  You remember that well, right?  And I want to support you in being the Palestinian leader who signs his name to the final and most important peace agreement that brings safety, stability, and prosperity to both peoples and to the region.

In his reply, the visiting President Abbas said this:

Mr. President [Trump], I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.  And we are endeavoring to bring about security, freedom and peace for our children to live like the other children in the world, along with the Israeli children in peace, freedom and security.  
Mr. President, I bring with me today the message of the suffering of my people, as well as their aspiration and hope -- the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people from the Holy Land, from that land where the three monotheist religions thrived, and the Jewish faith, the Christian faith and the Muslim faith, where they all coexist together to foster it in an environment of security, peace and stability, and love for all. 
Together for Peace Day of Peace sign.png

It's a sign.

No, literally: it's a sign.

My fascination with eschatology combined with an incredible sense of urgency I've felt over the last few years is compelling me to share this. Do with it what you will. 

Each year on the 21st of September the United Nations holds an International Peace Day. This year the theme is Together for Peace: Respect, Safety, & Dignity for All.

It's beautiful and I believe in it. I wholeheartedly long for peace, respect, safety & dignity for all.

What fascinates me about the President's words, this particular sign and this particular date are the following words from Scripture:

For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 1 Thess. 5:3 NKJV “While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” ESV

This matters because two days later, on September 23, 2017, a rare celestial sign will appear in the sky.

There has been extensive research around this particular sign and its prophetic alignment which comes directly from Revelation 12 and can be viewed for yourself in a star-gazing program such as Stellarium:

1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. Revelation 12:1-2 NKJV

I am not a teacher, and there is so much more to study, but I can't help but stay riveted at these unfolding events. Especially because as a lifelong reader of Scripture with quite an intricate and unusual spiritual history, seeing these things with my own eyes leaves me feeling everything...curious, wondering, thoughtful, excited, urgent, humbled, overcome.

And there is more: this sign in the heavens appears during the Jewish Feast of Trumpets (and what I understand is also on or after the Sabbath of Return). 

Let it be known that I have profound love for Israel. I am not very political, especially publicly, but I am for Israel in every possible way. I will always be on Israel's side and hope & pray the USA continues to be.

I don't know much about Jewish culture or customs; in fact, I know so little that I hesitate to talk about the pearls I uncover. I don't want to be inaccurate. But I dearly want to share my notes as I contemplate and discover things that make my heart leap. In my personal studies I've been learning about Jewish feasts and traditional customs, and how they inform & influence what I read in Scripture, in headlines, or fit into eschatology, which is study of the end-times. 

I'm passionate, but I'm not an expert, not even a little bit. I'm gathering information piece by piece and feel greatly inadequate to talk about this. Yet I also am weary of holding back what I see, and this urgency I feel has not lessened...in fact, it grows and grows. As a Gentile who follows Yeshua, in many ways it feels like I am on the outside looking in, trying to study and read and find out for myself through the study of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek (the original languages and early translations of Scripture), the Law of Moses & the Prophets, the words of Messiah, and so much more while doing so in the most respectful way possible. So please, please...regardless of what I share now or in the future, do not take my word on any of it. But if you are interested, seek the blessing of truth for yourself.

Because the implications of what is unfolding right now, in these days, are staggering! 

Revelation 12 sign

From what I understand, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, begins at sunset on September 20, 2017 and ends at sunset, September 22. Rosh Hashana is also called Yom Teruah. In Hebrew, Teruah means a “shout or blast of war, alarm, or joy.” 

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand: Joel 2:1

Within hours of Yom Teruah's sound of alarm (or joy), an ancient prophecy is fulfilled in the heavens. Researchers have found that the sign which appears on September 23, 2017 is the *only* time in 7000 years (6k in the past and 1k in the future) that this precise celestial alignment occurs. 

There are many speculations about what this means. Some believe it is when the rapture of the church, the corporate body of Christ, could happen. Others believe it indicates the beginning or nearing of Daniel's Seventieth Week, another prophecy that includes a 7-year peace agreement between Israel & Palestine (or the nations of the Middle East) and the infamous tribulation. And so on.

So here we have in September 2017: 

  • Sept. 20: New Moon
  • Sept. 20-22: Rosh Hashana, Feast of Trumpets
  • Sept. 21: “Peace and safety”
  • Sept. 22: Autumn equinox
  • Sept. 23: Rare and prophetic celestial sign

At the very least, I find this incredibly interesting and as I continue my own independent studies & research, I'm growing more and more convinced that these are wildly significant days. 


More to come

Consider this the beginning of a new, informal series of sorts because I will be writing more about what I am researching and discovering, along with some Scriptural studies and more.


Further research

Here are a few beginning resources that may be of interest; however, please know I'm providing these links as a catalyst for your own continued study. This does not mean that I support, agree with, or endorse the authors or teachers and all of the ideas, beliefs, concepts, or materials they publish or provide. Note: these are all from an evangelical perspective.