I call it Star Church. There are no doors, anyone is welcome, and all you have to bring is your phone. The doctrines, rules, and practices of this church could be written on my thumbnail, which suits me just fine. We meet in the lesser known of the two sacred circles in La Mancha. The one most people know about can be found down Gallagher Lane a little east of Engelbrecht Inn and Tavern. It has a circular bench around it and a fire pit in the center. Wizards gather there for various initiation rites and to socialize in the evenings.
Star Church meets in the old Sacred Circle, which pre-dates the Wizard era and is not well known. It can be found on the old North Trail beyond Dulcinea near the border of La Mancha. The older circle has little human decoration beyond rough limestone blocks to mark its circumference and a plain bench set off to one side. At its center is an aged Juniper tree, at the end of her life. Nestled into the base of her trunk is a daughter who will take up her work in time. The older circle also provides one of the best views of the night sky in all of La Mancha, surpassed only by the view from the top of the Wizard’s Tower.
The Star Church Pilgrimage
Journey north from Dulcinea on the ancient Camino. When my soul is in deepest need, I make the journey barefoot, taking the attitude of a penitent. It slows me down and puts my flesh in direct and painful contact with the land, something most modern people need to experience from time to time.
When you reach the bench, take a moment and prepare yourself to enter the circle. You want your mind as clear as it can be. Try to let go of any concerns you have about the past or future. As you enter, use your phone to play a song you loved as a child. A song that captured your heart at a tender, impressionable age. A song you listened to over and over again. The first three times I attended Star Church my song was “When You Wish Upon a Star,” sung by Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney’s Pinocchio. Last night the song that came to me was “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” from Cinderella. I listened to Disney records as a child in the darkness of my room at night. These songs hinted at a deeper, mysterious reality that existed outside of the seen world. I became fascinated by this magical, inner realm of humanity and have remained interested in soulful work my whole life.
How you find your song is your own inner work. I can offer no help or guidance with that. But I will listen to your song with you, if we are ever at Star Church on the same night.
When the song is over, your calling is to sit quietly in the space defined by the song, the stones, the bench, the dying Juniper, and the night sky. Take notice of everything happening within that space. Ignore everything outside of that space. How blessed are you if another creature enters while you are there. Be it fox, fowl, friend, or fairy, consider their presence a message you should heed. Remain in the circle as long as your mind can be contained within the circle. And how blessed is the circle that remains unbroken.
It will not last, of course. You know that and so do I. At some point, thoughts of the outside world will begin to intrude and hammer away until you can no longer hold them back. Consider those thoughts to be your benediction. They come from your other life, calling you back to your responsibilities, your family, and your work.
Whether painful or joyous, those intruding thoughts represent fully half of your existence. Embrace them, accept the feelings they bring, and then return in joy or sorrow to the life that is waiting for you.