With the approach of Rosa Mundi, we are also approaching the one-quarter mark of the Year of Sai Vikhë. Of all the Janyati, Sai Vikhë may be the one whom I have had the most difficulty relating to, as I was raised in a military family and anything redolent of that ethos has a strongly off-putting effect on me. It is said, of course, that the militaries of the Motherland are quite different to those of our own time and plane, and certainly nothing of the savagery and inhumanity of modern Tellurian warfare should be ascribed to Sai Vikhë, but even being aware of this on a conscious level, the imagery and metaphor of armed conflict have posed a significant barrier to me in approaching Dea by this face.
Partly because I think it important to work on my own limitations, and partly because I began this year (and continue) facing many personal and professional challenges that require courage, focused will, and (courteous) assertiveness to overcome, I made it a point to take advantage of Sai Vikhë’s patronage of this year to try to forge a relationship with her. This has involved nothing grandiose, but simply a deliberate effort to remember her during my prayers and to meditate upon her symbols. The results of this already have astounded me, and I wish to share them with all of you for your encouragement.
All my life, I have a had a dreadful fear of heights—not paralyzing, but enough to be deeply uncomfortable in a variety of mundane situations. One of these, which I managed only with considerable effort, was taking my son on the amusement park rides at the Mall of America—most particularly the innocuously-named Guppy Bubbler, which rises about forty feet while spinning its occupants around in seashells. To my two-year-old, this is tremendous fun. To me, it was a white-knuckling brush with infinity.
Back in April, as the sweat started to build on my palms at the top of the ride, I prayed, asking Sai Vikhë for courage so that I might be freed from my fear and not model it to my son. Instantly, my fear vanished. Still swirling around forty feet in the air, I was completely at ease. I have taken my son many more times since—and even taken him on the three-story-tall Ferris wheel—without the slightest anxiety or discomfort. After nearly thirty years of serious acrophobia, I can only regard this as a miraculous cure in the finest medieval tradition.
I gave thanks for this over the following weeks and, during a meditation back in May, received what might be termed a vision of Sai Vikhë—not that she came and stood in my living room, but more in the sense of having an icon communicated directly to my mind. I wish that I had the talent as a visual artist to produce it—the great winged figure aloft in a mass of cloud, her body perfect motion and her crimson robes perfect stillness, her outstretched arms bearing the flaming sword before her as though she were about to strike and to hold up the sky at the same moment and by the same blade, her knees swept forward like the talons of a falcon though her bare feet hang gently as drooping roses beneath, her blazing tiered crown of gold an image of perfect order atop a maelstrom of onyx hair, her face in unrelenting focus even as the kohl around her almond eyes seems swept back to a point by the force of the wind and her unfathomable speed. It was an image that, like the best Hindu depictions of Kali, made her ferocity beautiful and her power somehow touching. Even many weeks on, I can see it again perfectly within my mind, with all the detail of a pre-Raphaelite painting. It has been a tremendously heartening gift.
Then, last week, the third sign. I have been contemplating for some time getting a physical rosary on which to pray, rather than simply counting through the repetitions as I have hitherto been doing. On Friday, I found myself teaching at a Catholic school on the last day of their school year, only to discover at the end of the day three rosaries (which had been distributed to students earlier) abandoned on the playground after everyone had gone home. They were not fancy affairs in the least—just simple knotted strings strung with plastic beads—but one was a brilliant red, with a medallion of Our Mother holding what the Catholics call the “Immaculate Heart of Mary” (Her flaming heart pierced by a sword). In Sai Vikhë’s color, and bearing her sacred weapon, I knew straightaway that this had come to me by providence. I returned the other two to the church supply and kept the red rosary, adapting it to Déanic use by trimming off the Crucifix and the other beads below the medallion save one (for reciting the Rosary Prayer before beginning the rosary proper).
I cannot put into words how touched I have been to have my humble efforts thus responded to. Sisters and brothers, take heart to call upon the commander of the hosts of heaven if you have need of her strength or her courage. She is always present with and for us, of course, but her year is such a blessed opportunity to know her and to seek her aid. All of us have demons that we must face, but at this time most of all have faith in the promise of the Scriptures, that “the radiant Janyati of heaven stand ready to defend the soul when she shall cry upon them.” (1 Teachings 11:26)