Safe Houses: A Vision
by Carolyn Brigit Flynn
They are in cities, towns, villages, on mountains, and near rivers. They are small townhouses and large lodges, modest apartments with prayer rooms, holy rugs and sacred paintings, or condominiums with swimming pools and hot tubs. They are log cabins in the woods, rustic cottages on the beach, urban Victorian buildings. They exist in suburban homes with welcoming rooms and at warm kitchen tables in ordinary neighborhoods all over the world.
Together, they form an underground pathway—a system of safe houses where women and men offer sanctuary, spirit, hope and healing. Each place exists within the mind of Spirit. Each place channels the divine. Each place feeds prayer, serves the sacred, honors the earth. Lives are mended there, and hearts given peace. People of all religious traditions are treasured, and all forms of prayer are honored. Here, women with kind eyes and strong hearts midwife souls. Men of gentle being and wise spirit gather others in sacred community. When we visit these places we feel we have entered the web of existence. We have mended our part of the whole.
This underground pathway has woven itself together into a worldwide wisdom body, though each part has no full knowledge of the whole. The pathway exists in every town, city, and community all over the world. There is no village without one; though these places are generally not apparent. Safe houses have no signs, are not churches or temples, print few brochures, do not proselytize. Some publish their work of spirit, study, prayer and joyous laughter, but most do not. Yet pilgrims find their way to these houses. We will continue to do so. When we find these places, we are transformed, our brittle skin falls away; we emerge as new people.
There is one safe house where over many years I have been taught and healed. Inevitably I arrive in need of clarity, in the swirl of daily work and activity; here the sacred reasserts itself and I am quieted and opened. At this safe house lives a medicine woman of wise mind and heart who midwives souls. She has been birthing me for years. Regularly I come to her when it is time for a new push, and she moves me through some essence of life attempting to emerge into the light. And into the light truth is born; I stand, more whole, more able to walk the world. I am once again pilgrim and soul seeker, full with the love of spirit and the world. Then I return to my home on an ordinary street with lovely neighbors and a hidden creek, and I become the woman with the kind eyes and wild heart who welcomes others. My home, now too, has become a safe house, part of the web.
There are many safe houses in the town where I live, and in the town where you live too. This morning the vision revealed itself. I saw myself and countless others, likely millions, within an invisible web that encases the entire world. In my little town, in my simple home, my partner and I join with the other women and men of kind eyes and strong hearts all over the earth. Some of these people we know, a few more we will someday meet, the vast majority we will never know. But we all exist within the underground pathway of safe houses, and within the mind of Spirit.
Some of you reading this text may recognize yourselves. Perhaps there is a safe house where you go for healing and sanctuary. Perhaps you have your own safe house, or are on your way to creating one. You are a part of this web. Your safe house does not have to write a grant, establish a foundation, build a building or launch a website, though some may do any or all of these things. It simply needs to offer itself to healing and Spirit, and to provide sanctuary to others—women, men, children, animals, forests, trees, rivers, seeds, plants. Together, we are part of this underground pathway. We carry this sanctuary wherever we go. We offer it where we are. These safe houses exist through us. We are the container. As Deena Metzger counsels, so too is the path of the safe house: Be and provide sanctuary.
The network of safe houses will continue when the larger culture can no longer sustain itself. In times of collapse or upheaval, we will know how to live without that culture, for we have created our own. We know how to heal, how to tell the stories, how to hold and honor grief, how to carry beauty. And we will midwife a new world.
There is before us a future that is tenable, a web that is whole. We will be there, all over the world, a hidden future that lies underneath. We are creating the new culture, preparing ourselves. The future awaits. We are building it now. It lies in our hands, a shimmering web, gossamer, light, tenable and whole. We are each that fine thread of the web, the mist of dew, the light filtering the crevices. We are each spun within the mind of Spirit—old Grandmother in the center, weaving us into a whole, re-weaving us each night in dream, spinning us out into the world, alive, whole, real.
Yes, you’ve come to a safe house. Welcome.