Exploring the interior
Hello beautiful friend, It's been a whirlwind around here! I have so much to share but haven't been in a sharing place until now.
Last week I met the most amazing woman. A healer, herbalist and wise woman. It was like a blind date, which is a little strange (in a good way). A friend of mine text me after I spent the afternoon at his house saying that I had to meet this friend of his based on our conversation that day. I thought it was a work related thing and I'm always happy to meet a potential collaborator.
He made the arrangements and on the day of our meeting said he was bowing out, that it would be better without him. I had no idea what to expect.
I arrived at the appointed time, 8:30 in the morning. I'm greeting at the door by a lovely women who invites me in. There's an alter, a low coffee table with another little alter and a the accoutrement for a traditional tea ceremony. There are meditation cushions on either side of the coffee table and I take a seat while she steps out of the room to prepare herself.
When she returns I give her a small gift, which she opens and adds to the alter on the low table. We chat a bit about our common friend and why he brought us together. She wants to host New Moon gatherings, I host Full Moon gatherings. We connect in a few ways that feel comfortable. She's an acupuncturist and herbalist by profession. She begins to tell me about plants and the different levels of healing they offer us, she tells me that she's been learning about tea ceremony for some time and has a mentor. She then shows me a few of the teas and tells me about them, they all smell intense and alive. She tells me about the water she will use. It's in four jewel colored glass bottles sitting on the floor to her left side, they were filled the night before and left out under the Full Moon to lunarize. She talks to me about fire and how an expert at tea ceremony controls the fire to heat the water to perfection but that she would be using an electric kettle.
"Now we're ready to begin" she says, "we won't talk during the ceremony".
This is where the magic begins to unfurl in ernest. She pours water from one of the jewel colored bottles into a large mason jar with objects that clank together (I can't see what they are from my vantage point) as she pours that water into the electric kettle. We sit in comfortable silence as the water heats. Once it's hot she pours the hot water into a teapot that's on the floor next to her beside the electric kettle.
On the table before us are a wooden tray about eighteen inches long, an inch high with a slotted wooden top, upon which sits a small clay teapot and two small, light blue tea cups without handles. Two small dais are on the table next to the tray, one for the teapot and one for the lid, as well as two clay vessels, and a long bamboo scoop with a long skinny spoon.
She takes the large teapot with water from the electric kettle and very slowly and carefully pour water around the outside of the small teapot, which still has it's lid on. She then slowly and carefully sets the large teapot down, then removes the lid from the small teapot and puts it on one of the dias. She proceeds to pour water around the opening of the small teapot and then fills it. All movements are precise.
She empties the water from the small teapot into one of the clay vessels and then does the same thing to each of the tea cups, emptying them into the vessel in a very precise way. Next she pours tea into the bamboo scoop, from that into the small teapot. She again pours water around the opening of the small teapot and then fills it and puts the lid back on. I watch everything in rapture at the preciseness and ritual of all the movements. We wait in comfortable silence as the tea brews.
After a certain amount of time she pours tea first into my cup, which she picks up and blesses (I'm guessing that because that's what it looks like she's doing) then sets on my side of the wooden tray. I wait as she fills hers then we pick up the tea cups in unison and begin to drink.
At first I notice the intensity of the flavor, how it feels in my mouth, how amazing it feels to be a part of something that feels so sacred. We finish at the same time and set the teacups down. She puts them back on the tray and refills them in the same manner. We pick them up in unison, there is full eye contact when we pick up the tea and I realize that this is an intensely intimate experience.
The ceremony continues in this way for an hour, silence, precision, eye contact. The eye contact was really the most amazing thing to me. The ceremony is so ritualistic that you enter a place of deep stillness and when you look into someones eye from this place it feels like you see into their soul. All I saw was beauty and love, a reflection of all that is. Source. It's hard to explain how crazy intense this experience was. I would compare it to giving birth, which really sounds crazy but that's how moving it was for me.
It's been a week and the magic of that morning has faded a bit in the hustle bustle of daily life. I hope I have the opportunity to experience it again. If you ever have the chance to participate in tea ceremony DO NOT pass it up. Words can't really convey what the experience is truly like in person. Magical.
I hope you invite a little ritual and ceremony into your life today.
Love + light,