Years ago, I taught a class that ended at 9 PM. One night after class, I stopped by a grocery store to buy a couple of items. It was the night before Valentine's Day and what I saw startled me, but more than that, it made me sad.
Many grocery stores put the greeting card aisle smack dab in the front. Impulse buying is a big part of modern society and very little is as impulsive as buying a greeting card the night before Valentine's Day. Entering the card aisle isn't for the meek. An air of tension and fear immediately becomes evident. I always imagine a herd of gazelles, nervously drinking at a waterhole in the middle of lion country. There may not be lions here, but there's a very real predator, namely, one's own insecurities regarding love and romance.
Grown men whimper as they desperately search for the perfect card that proves their love, hopefully without offending the recipient. Generations of insidious marketing tactics have convinced most of us that we have neither the time, nor the talent, to express ourselves from our hearts, so we pay someone else to do it for us. On more than one occasion, while standing in front of hundreds of homogenized cards, none of them saying what I actually felt, I swore never to stand there again. I came to loathe Valentine's Day and everything it stood for. I wasn't alone.
How did a celebration of romantic love and commitment come to mean despair for so many? Certainly, the greeting card companies have had a lot to do with this phenomenon, but it really isn't that simple. Perhaps it has more to do with our insistence at quantifying, institutionalizing, and monetizing something as indefinable, ephemeral and sacred as love.
The media bullies us into buying diamonds, flowers, new cars, and boxes of chocolates, or risk being labeled as a bad partner. The irony behind all this is that when love is genuine and certain, no tokens are necessary, because hearts communicate to each other in a language as ancient as humanity itself. This is the basis of a Sacred Relationship. Such connections are pure and without conditions implied.
Our ancestors spoke this language fluently and without hesitation. They found no shame in expressing what was within them. Love wasn't considered a weakness. Rather, it was looked upon as a blessing, a gift bestowed by the Divine as a sacred duty, rite and gift.
What would the world be without romantic love? It would be inhuman and horribly dull.
Sacred Relationships are the basis of what we think of when true love is expressed. The connection of two souls, united in purpose, is the Alchemical merging of hearts, minds and incarnations. The fiery furnace of passion is the smelter for those who come together to unite as one Sacred Couple, individuals united by the Divine imperative.
Love is a constant, a thread that connects the human experience throughout the ages, like beads of a Mala. It weaves its way through every aspect of our existence, links us to our ancestors and to those who will follow us on this lovely planet.
The Ancient Egyptians wrote romantic poetry that never fails to move me and fill me with wonder at the timeless beauty of the human heart. Their love was precious to them and they weren't afraid to speak of the elation and pain that true love can bring. Women and men alike shared the secrets of their hearts to those who would listen. In doing so, they gave others a chance to share a common bond of human feelings, a tradition that continues worldwide today through music and other arts. Revealing our passion reflects a heart unafraid of emotions and conscious of the value of life, grasping its beauty every day. Love is not only sacred, it also is magical and to exalt it in words, or song, is to exalt the Divine power of love on Earth.
The Ancient Romans celebrated Sacred Relationships with the Lupercalia, a celebration of monogamy. Wolves mate for life and Roman mythology proclaimed the Romans as decedents of Romulus and Remus, twins who'd been suckled by a she wolf. As such, wolves and their traits were revered. Monogamy and romantic love were not only a moral imperative, but a necessity to be civilized. The Lupercalia was celebrated in the middle of February. The celebration of Juno Februa was also celebrated in the middle of February. This was a time of atonement and renewal. The word Februa implies cleansing and a sacred cleansing, hence the name of the month.
Over time, the church's need to stifle pagan ways led to the overlaying of Valentine's Day upon ancient rites that celebrated older and deeper human truths.
Valentine's Day became wildly popular in The Victorian Age. Perhaps this was due to the romanticizing of Queen Victoria's undying love for her husband, Prince Albert. The era not only raised romantic love to new status, but began a process that may have led to the beginning of a new concept, romance as a viable motivation for marriage, which became a standard during the Twentieth Century.
Throughout history, love has been objectified, moralized, monetized, confused, weighted with lead ingots of guilt, denied, vilified, sanitized, demonized, and turned into a strategy to sell products. Yet, love itself hasn't changed. Even in the midst of pure greed and self-serving philosophies, the Sacred Relationship can't be tarnished.
Ancient lovers experienced the same anguish and elation that we do now, as our descendants will for millennia to come. Their expressions of beauty, strength, devotion and insecurity are no different than our own. A Sacred Relationship doesn't confuse or depress us. It raises us to new heights and fills our being with joy. Neither distance, race, gender, creed or status can diminish the truth of a Sacred Relationship. It defies all worldly logic, for it is truly a product of our inner beings and our sacred duty to humanity and ourselves.
How do you know if you're in a Sacred Relationship?
- Love is a constant. You should feel confident in your relationship
- Love is a baseline of the human experience and without it, we lose our humanity and individuality. You should feel more loving to all in a Sacred Relationship
- You're allowed to be yourself and not expected to become a satellite of your partner
- You're honored at all times and are able to speak freely and honestly, without fear
- Love is not a weakness; it is strength. Your relationship makes you more able to deal with the world and its challenges
- Love is the ability to share emotional honesty and be confident in the security of spiritual intimacy. You fully relate on a spiritual level, even if you hold different beliefs. It's the inner spiritual imperative that connects in a Sacred Relationship
- True love does not cause misery in our lives, but brings us joy and fulfills us. Every relationship has its challenges, but can be eventually, harmoniously dealt with
- Love is always a risk, but one worth the leap into an abyss of vulnerability. To fall in love is to be open to potential pain, but what a glorious prize to seek. Sacred Relationships should feel worth taking a chance on
I'm a romantic, but I'm also a realist. Our lifespans are around three times as long as our ancestors and we live in a society where the divorce rate is staggering. It isn't easy to find and maintain a Sacred Relationship that brings two people together. What are we to do? Love has to be fulfilled and renewed constantly.
We've all been disappointed and many of us have been fooled by what we thought was love. Many of us have been betrayed, or have talked ourselves into a relationship that turned out to be more of a nightmare than a dream. There's no question that love isn't easy. It isn't meant to be.
Even though it's often an arduous task to find true love, every atom in me that believes that the search for it must go on and is more important than almost anything else we do. This doesn't necessarily mean seeking new partners, or being dissatisfied with what you have, but it does mean developing the happiness that you deserve and finding the love that you are capable of as a sentient, spiritual being. It begins with you.
How can you find a Sacred Relationship?
- Listen to your inner voice. Your heart whispers its hopes for you in daydreams and in your most secret moments
- Never deny the wisdom of your heart, for it holds a truth as powerful as time itself
- Change such events like Valentine's Day from a dreadful obligation to an expression of joy. Jewelry and showy gifts are fine, but often reflect insincerity and a fear to speak truth from the heart
- Embrace love as a human trait that, in part, defines us as what we are, beings seeking to love and be loved
- Believe! Each one of us has to believe in love in order for it to be in our lives. Often, it sneaks up and pounces onto our path, but If we don't believe in it, we'll shove it out of our way and push on
- Most importantly, reject cynicism, for on that barren plain, love can never flower. If we are to recognize love, we have to hold it as an inviolable truth, that it's real, and that we're entitled to have it in our lives
- Let us once again embrace the true message of true love, the Sacred Relationship, and not view it as a burden. Love is a kaleidoscope of choices, tears, laughter and, of course, the very thing that makes the world go round
I wish you all, peace and love.