Vera de Chalambert is a spiritual storyteller and Harvard-educated scholar of comparative religion. She speaks and writes about spiritual culture, mindfulness and the emergence of feminine wisdom in our times. Her work explores the meeting place of theology, spirituality and social change and is informed by inter-spiritual insights from the world’s great wisdom traditions. Vera is deeply influenced by Buddhist and Kabbalistic lineages and was among the younger students of Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi Aging as Saging work. She has been invited to speak internationally at colleges and conferences such as SAND Science and Nonduality Conference in the US and Europe, Sister Giant in Washington DC and the Dawn of Interspirituality Conference in Costa Rica. Vera holds a Master's degree from Harvard Divinity School.
You want it Darker? Hineni!:
The Emergence of the Prophetic in the Anthropocene
From time immemorial the capacity to enter holy darkness was seen as a sign of spiritual leadership. Moses must enter the “thick darkness” of the cloud where God dwells, Christ consent to the radical kenosis of the cross, the tantric masters must become intimate with the mandalas of loss in the messy, hopeless, initiatic darkness of the charnel grounds. Our world is in crisis and the call from the deep is strong. A great Quickening is upon us. The times of revelation through chosen mouthpieces is long past and today we are each called to become prophets. The Divine is constantly trying to birth through us and as Meister Eckhart posits, we must all become Holy Mothers. We have officially entered messianic times, and Tag! You are it! As mystics we seek God, as prophets, God is desperately seeking us. How can we consent to God’s advances? The future is pouring through every crevice of our bodies and broken hearts, if we can only bare such revelation, and the prophetic spirit is available to everyone willing to turn towards the Real and to consent to the labour that the Divine is trying to do though us. From amidst their own dark times the biblical prophets when called upon would answer, Hineni! Here I am, do with me as you will! And like them, from within our own unparalleled dark time we too are collectively being beckoned and initiated. How shall we respond?
In bemoaning the absence of the rights of passage in our culture, the late Marion Woodman would explain the importance of undergoing a psychological or spiritual death. She said that unless we experience “a period of being in the dark hole of chaos, followed by a rebirth, then people don’t truly grow up.” She explained that in old cultures the young had to believe that during their coming-of-age rituals, they might die. In the absence of rituals, our Anthropocene times themselves, shrouded as they are in the darkness of crisis, uncertainty and possibly extinction, is all we’ve got as a global initiation into adulthood. Perhaps only such a deep collective reckoning can trigger the kind of spiritual maturation that is called for by our prophetic times.
In his last album, You Want it Darker, Leonard Cohen, expressed the most radical prophetic sentiment of our times. He said- "You want it darker? We kill the light." At the time, many people interpreted it as a sign of deep hopelessness. Nothing could be further from the truth. What he was saying is that there is no depth of crisis, no condition, no difficulty from which God is absent. No darkness we are unwilling to face in Her Name. And even, from the depth of despair, even from the most hopeless of nights, we will still rise, and respond, Here I Am, Here I Am, Beloved, Hineni! Do with me as you will, I'm yours. Nothing can threaten the Real. This is the certainty of the prophetic spirit.