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Monk in the World Guest Post: Julia Casciola

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Julia Casciola’s reflection, “Feather on the Breath of God.”

The monk archetype has long been my comfort zone; I have been a lover of silence, solitude, beauty, nature, prayer and listening, while working in the world and being a mother. It has also been a dream of mine to create a small green monastery in the mountains near where I live.

But it has changed; I cannot say that I am living as a monk-in-the-world. It feels instead as though my inner monk has been subsumed into something more unknown, more risk-bearing, and more surrendered at this time.

The word monarchos (meaning “single” – the root of the word monk) feels at the centre of things. I take it to mean singleness of heart and attention (more than single in the sense of physical solitude), but in both senses there has been a shift for me. From a solo and at times a shared path, to an invitation to communion. There is a sense of having gone as far as I can on my own, and of being drawn into a collective emergence, despite myself. Collective not only as individuals in partnership and collaboration, but in true meeting, innocent and transparent . . . and what may then flower between us, beyond what we can know on our own and by our own will.

Another dissolving is the “old” masculine residue in the monk archetype for me. The ways and practices of the monk-in-the-world are still there, focused and supportive, but they are being merged in a deeper movement that is willing to risk everything for personal and collective emergence. There is increased willingness to not know, to move in the dark, to be without a script, to grow by subtraction, and to have no defined outcome or reward.

I wish I could say what is emerging and that I am courageous. I could come up with names such as the Beloved but they are not my immediate experience. Right now I am simply a feather on the breath of God, now floating, now falling, now tossed and twirled, now born.

Julia lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a nature and mountain-lover, a wordsmith for a more beautiful world, and makes art pieces of the sacred feminine.


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