Even today when I listen to the old recordings of Jacqueline du Pre playing her beloved cello, sitting there like a lioness with it held rapturously between her legs and arms and all her body, I focus ever so deeply and quietly because it is ‘as if’ I am actually listening to Divine Mother herself. But ‘as if’ isn’t how I’d say it. She’d disappear out of my listening if I thought about it that way. It’s much more real, like a true horse trainer talking to his unbelievably beautiful horse: love-talk. For me, when Jacqueline du Pre plays, it’s as if Divine Mother says: “move over, my love, just for a few minutes.” Suddenly, I have such a longing to sing my heart out through that beautiful cello. “It’s even possible”, Ma thinks as an afterthought, “that some people listening deeply enough, might hear and get a breath of the nuanced breadth of the Divine Feminine range of Power”. Forty years later, still listening to those old recordings, I can hear Her there in a way that never happens with YoYoMa or Rostropovich or Casals, as brilliant and moving as they may be: Ma sitting there playing the cello for the world to hear – and they do. All the world does hear, except they make the mistake of thinking it’s a Jacqueline du Pre, and there’s the real tragedy. A tragedy of such arrogant magnitude, it could cost us the earth.
I had the experience of the Divine Mother appearing to me once again in an earthly embodiment, walking on stage straight from the center of the earth or from the deep dark of the night sky: Jessye Norman. I remember whispering out loud: “Ma, it’s You!”
And then the other night it happened to me, only the third time in a long life dedicated pretty full-out to that dimension of the sacred. It happened when you danced. It was after the incident with the microphone and the wrong music because I can remember still seeing ‘you’, Banafsheh, picking up the microphone and kneeling down and reciting. So it must have been some time shortly after that, She silently pushed you aside and began dancing as if for her own deepest joy and that reason in itself would be more than enough – three or four worlds over enough. Once again, I had the same breathtaking awareness: “Ma, it’s You!” And I sat up as if I could drink in every particle of motion: see Her that very minute radiating birth; unraveling death; winding and unwinding the spiraling labyrinth of longing and loss. But those words don’ t seem to get the whole of it. When She appears like that, it is as if She were transmitting some tremendously vital message. It is as if the volcanic energy locked up and released in Her desiring to dance right there in front of us all carries something vitally important to hear – worlds beyond whether we see Her or not and beside the abundant joy of creation itself. Maybe, just maybe, She is also whispering into our ears – although infinitely and incomprehensibly beyond the beyond of my mind’s understanding: “I AM you! Listen closely! I AM you / Banafsheh / the little girl in the bed next to you crying her heart out for the grief of an addiction. Watch me even more closely”, and so I did. Every particle of every movement of her dance. Thank you so much to Banafsheh for giving the gift of herself and the gift of whirling and the gift of her own inestimable courage.
By Ann Koll, workshop participant, Kripalu Center, MA