Browsed by
Tag: Elmira’s Fire

The Path to Perfection

The Path to Perfection

Almost all physical evidence of the medieval Cathars has been erased, systematically destroyed by the Roman Church.  What remains are a carving here, a button or an old coin there to suggest that the Cathars knew full well the healing power of mandalas.

Arthur Guirdham was a British psychiatrist who treated several clients who believed themselves to be the reincarnated souls of Cathar perfects. In his book The Great Heresy, he wrote that “Seven centuries ago the Cathars used [completing mandalas] to give insight into the nature and potentialities of those wished to be Parfaits,” both to weed out those with healing potential and to discern there particular aptitudes.

In Elmina’s Fire, the Signora Bonata introduces Elmina and her sisters to the Flower of Life as part of their journey on the path to perfection”. This is how I imagine it taking place:

“Can you teach us to drawn a Flor de la Vida like the one carved on Magdalena’s loom?” asked Amelha.

“Of course I can. It’s very easy,” the signora replied. She picked up a piece of charcoal and tied a length of twine to it. She instructed Amelha, “Just put your finger on the twine and hold it fast. Now move the charcoal around it.”

Amelha drew a perfect circle on the table and my heart tightened in envy.

“Next place the end of your twine on any part of the circle. Hold it fast and then draw another circle.” Amelha did as she was told.

“Do you see where the circles intersect? Place the twine at one of those intersections ad draw another circle, and then another until you have made a flower,” continued Na Bonata.

“This is the seed in which all things find their being,” she said.

I wondered what she meant, but she went on. “God’s kingdom is like an everlasting circle. Right here in its center is the divine heart. Each circle is the love of God, sent out in all directions. Look at the petals formed when the circles meet. They make a rose of purest perfection, the rose each one of you can be.

“Now watch,” Bonata said. She took the charcoal from Amelha and added more circles to the the drawing.

As I looked down upon the Flor, I thought that I could feel its energy moving within me. “The roses could go on forever,” I commented.

“Indeed they do,” replied the signora. “They are your souls, all roses and all held within the fullness of God’s love. Do not forget this Flor. Thinking upon it can give you great healing in the most trying of times.”




I’ve just started participating in a group founded by Darreby Ambler called Wayfinders. Our purpose is to discern God’s call to us at this moment in our lives, to identify a specific goal directed towards that purpose, to create a map and action steps to make that goal manageable, and to form a support group to both inspire one another and hold us each accountable to our chosen way.

There’s a big goal looming over me right now, so big it seems almost overwhelming. On June 14 my novel Elmina’s Fire will be published through She Writes Press. The mandalas are painted. The manuscript is in. I’ve written an acknowledgment of all those who have made this work possible, especially those who have served as spiritual guides over the past forty years, the wise “Brother Noels” in my life. And I’ve dedicated the book “to those who have had to walk away from the spiritual abuse of church and to those who have chosen to stay in the hope of changing it.”

Now I need to develop what they call an “author’s platform.” That means that I have to step outside my introverted shell and put myself out there so that by the time Elmina comes out, there’s a group of people who know who I am. I’m being encouraged not only to maintain a blog but to give talks, write articles for e-zines, send out my manuscript for reviews and enter writing contests. They’re even suggesting I enter the world of Twitter.


As I worked with my resistance towards doing these things, I made an important discovery. It’s not that I’m afraid to write or teach or use the computer. I’ve done these things most of my life. What I’m really wary of is revealing my deepest self, the self revealed in the life of a sensitive, mystical medieval girl who is plagued by inner demons she’s afraid to confront. I do not really believe that it’s OK to bare my soul.

With this realization I could see that my Wayfinders Goal is more than just “to publicize and market Elmina’s Fire.” It is to dare to believe that it’s OK to share my heart and that Elmina’s Fire is my gift .

And that, I guess is the challenge that faces us all- to dare to come out from under that bushel and let our little light shine.