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Invitation to Poetry: Guardians of the Threshold

Invitation to Poetry

Welcome to Poetry Party Number 35!

I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your poems or other reflections. If you have your own blog, please use the Mister Linky widget below to add a link back to your website.  If you don’t have your own blog (not required to participate) or if you just want to post your poem here, please skip Mister Linky and go straight to the comments section to add your poem.  Make sure to check the comments for new poems added and I encourage you to leave encouraging comments for each other either here or at the poet’s own blog.

Feel free to take your poem in any direction and then post the image and invitation on your blog if you have one and encourage others to come join the party! (permission is granted to reprint the image if a link is provided back to this post)


The Poetry Party Theme:

Lately I have been contemplating the sacred feminine and sacred masculine as integral elements of my spiritual path and practice.  One dimension of these is what Richard Rohr calls the “Sacred Yes” and the “Sacred No”.  The feminine with its archetype of welcoming, nurturing, enfolding energy is the Sacred Yes of our lives — all those things, people, and opportunities we embrace.  The masculine with its archetype of boundary setting and protection (think warrior) is the Sacred No of our lives — the healthy setting of limits and protectors of our gifts and energies so we don’t over-extend ourselves.

I have been very much in a season of yes lately, welcoming and embracing many amazing opportunities that have come my way.  Just in the last couple of weeks I am feeling more of a draw again to contemplate the places of no in my life.  The opportunities to which I am not being called right now or which take energy away from the yeses to which I have committed myself fully.  Accompanying my meditation on the Sacred No has been the image of the Guardian of the Threshold.  These allies and companions are much like the gargoyles and statuary placed at the entrances to European buildings to ward off evil spirits.  Our own internal guardians are those fierce aspects of ourselves that help us to clarify what is life-draining and what we need to release to live fully and help to maintain those boundaries.  The photo was taken in Riga, Latvia last summer on our ancestral pilgrimage.

What does your own Guardian of the Threshold look like? What is he or she helping you to say no to?  What is the yes that needs protecting these days?

** MISTER LINKY has been causing problems with this page loading so sadly I had to remove it **


© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts

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43 Responses

  1. Terri — I went to your blog and finally signed up for a WindowsLive account and entered my comment but it wouldn’t add. Apparently you have strong guardians at your comments. :-) There is great movement and energy in your poem — I love the moment of casting the sacred net, very evocative. Thanks for the lovely offering!

  2. These are inviting words with a delightful image to ponder… I’m considering searching for just the right creature to sit at the door of new home. As I try to converse with this image, most of my words are getting tangled up in details of moving and the stuff of boxes, but these few words come forth:

    (on my blog they are formatted differently which is part of the message for me, take a look)

    Let her Yes mean Yes

    Fully, sincerely

    Firmly, honestly

    Coming from her core

    Honored by all

    May her Yes be a “Sacred Yes”

    Let her No mean No

    Fully, sincerely,

    Firmly, honestly

    Coming from her core

    Honored by all

    May her No be a “Sacred No”

    Woven into living

    together each yes and no

    sustain life

    set boundaries

    nurture hope

    redeem wounds

    honor the Holy One

    delight the Spirit

    May it be so!

  3. thresholds are always a mysterious point in my way in and out.
    everytime i go through one, my soul shivers when she feel the darkness over it; and at the same time, the fascination of entering into the still not reached clear sight of whtever is behind the threshold.

    reading the poems and reflections is a many-sided mirror of this same dazzling sensation, and though, each has it own rapture

    my words, as always, in spanish:


    en los umbrales
    encrespando al vacío,
    las gárgolas esperan.
    lejos y cerca
    las campanas repican
    su contento al viento.
    sombras al vuelo
    alza los brazos
    y los ojos al cielo
    la anciana en oración
    y se le va el alma
    con su recogimiento
    hasta el umbral del sol.

    gaviotas y palomas
    con ritmo silencioso
    pintan de azul su rezo.



  4. Elaine: As a Capital SJ social justice type person, your poem screamed at me! Thank you very much. -Terri

  5. Elaine T., you offer so many beautiful images here, that first one is just luscious to say — “yes to every green / blade leaf life-shimmer / of spring.” This image was especially powerful: “A turbulent human river of “no”” and your question “where is our no?” repeated demands to be answered.

  6. And Yes

    And yes to every green
    blade leaf life-shimmer
    of spring

    And yes to all the blue
    cloud spaces-water mirrors-peace mountains
    of my land

    And yes to multiple shades
    of skin
    holding so tenderly
    the magnificent souls
    of friends

    Today there is no no
    Only yes and yes and yes

    Where Is Our No?

    We park our large butts
    In the pews of Catholic churches
    Stand and wish each other peace
    Your manicured navy-officer hand
    Pushed the buttons in the cockpit
    That annihilated our brothers called gooks
    We praised your glorious service
    Until the streets filled with
    A turbulent human river of “no”

    Now other men’s sons
    Trained to kill and kill
    Come home in coffins
    We praise their glorious service
    Where is our no?

    We struggle in our web of violence
    Our brains our sweat our taxes
    Go to bloody war
    We praise their glorious service
    Where is our no?

    Our priests bless the instruments of death
    Saturated in a culture of revenge
    We stand and wish each other peace
    Where is our no?
    Where is our no?

    Elaine T.

  7. Frangelica, these are beautiful words and you paint a wonderful story here. My favorite line is “when the lights are out / the darkness and silence weaves our song / sleep shelters our souls and we remember love / a strong sweet truth” and those closing words about meeting in a midnight downpour.

    Michaela, your poem makes me smile, I love this playful demanding of boundaries that brings with it an awareness of all the ways the yes without the no can wreak havoc. And of course, that guardian dwells deep within you so she can be called upon for such unpleasant tasks. :-)

    Dhyan, welcome to the Poetry Party! I look forward to future contributions from you!

    Anne, “a conduit for tenderness” / “A channel for essence” are such wonderful images and those last two lines express exquisitely the nature and gift of the sacred no and sacred yes.

    Holly, I love that your guardian is a heffalump and I love the playful humor of your poem.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you all! These are amazing to read together.

  8. Christine, can you change my first line to ‘Sentinel standing proud’ as that is much better English! Thanks again for the inspiration to attempt to write poetry.

    NOTE: Got it! :-) You are most welcome. -Christine

  9. Mine’s a little heffalump
    Sitting at a door
    He looks at what I bring to him
    Knowing the why and what for.
    He slowly shakes his head at me
    When he knows its’s wrong
    But smiles and invites me in
    If it’s where I belong.
    My thoughts deeds go out
    through him this way
    ‘Cause we always make decisions
    Each and every day.

  10. Guardian of the Threshold

    O sentinel standing proud
    is your presence here a sign
    to forbid the common crowd
    from beholding the Divine?

    A guardian of Eden
    with fiery sword in hand,
    the subtle lust of wisdom
    kept exiled from the land.

    Or do you guard the holy,
    keeping Satan’s troops at bay,
    the threshold of the One in Three,
    The Truth, the Life, the Way?