Wednesday, November 4, 2009

barefoot, and bareheaded

Because I am yet to meet other barefooted souls in my neighborhood, I became a member of a barefooters group that shares their experiences with bare-footing online! You will be surprised to know how many people on the earth feel so passionately about bare footing that they need to type it down!

Here is one interesting mail I recently read in the SBL (Society for Barefoot Living) Digest that resonated deeply.

I am a religious leader, a priestess of the Craft.

Being barefoot is part of my connection with the Earth, not cutting myself off, not insulating myself. It's standard for us to remove shoes to go in sacred space, as in many other faiths.

I also value being bareheaded except when it's very cold or thick rain - light rain is nice. My head is touched by air currents, sky, the heavens, the Above of the sacred, mirroring the Below sacred of my feet on the deep Earth..

I once had a problem when talking of doing an interfaith talk at a mosque. To Muslims it is important for women to cover the head in sacred space. This comes from the submission of women to hide themselves, to cover the sexuality of hair, and contrasts with the bareheaded male whose head is open to the sky/ the divine.

Well of course I could not "cover my head in shame." Nor could I go in their sacred space and insult their faith by ignoring their idea of courtesy. I compromised by wearing a wreath of leaves which from all sides looked like my head was covered but from Above the crown of my head was bare.

I don't know of any religious space where it's a problem being barefoot. Though there are some dubious customs around footwashing which represent doing something filthy to express "humility" that is to crush or deny the self. Washing the feet of lepers, or the very poor was historically a symbol of humility for kings and I think the pope still does it.

Psychologically the feet are the furthest from the dominating brain. So they have the greatest degree of freedom from our controlling ideas of being 'proper' or 'correct.' Feet therefore sometimes express the inner self going against what we feel we "ought" to be/ think/ do. It would be nice of footwashing could be a revaluing of the gentle freedom loving feet.

In terms of the spiritual gates of the self, going from head down to feet, feet are the patient 'footsoldiers' the hardworking, simple side of the self. Which sometimes betrays surprising signals of the inner child/ freedom self.


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