Elizabeth Cunningham Quotes
“I've outgrown my childhood name, and I haven't found a new one yet."
"Ah," she cried. "Then it will be my pleasure to name you for myself. I can tell you are a colleen after my own heart, more like to me than my own daughter Findbhair. So I bestow on you the brave name of Maeve until such a time as another name shall claim you.”
“Being born in a place is only one way to belong, nor do you have to die there....
I knew at once that Magdala was home because I felt sighted there again, second sighted. It was not only the spring. In time everything spoke.
When birds rose into the air, I could read the pattern of their wings, and the path the wind made on the water carried messages. The very ground said make a path here, plant herbs there. These vine are not dead. Tend them and they'll bear fruit again.
Ancient trees offered shelter and wisdom as well as olives. And there were certain rocks that could absorb fatigue or agitation, leaving me refreshed and calm.”
“Remember your Plato, Maeve. ‘If a man, fixing his attention on these and the like difficulties, does away with the idea of things and will not admit that every individual thing has its own determinate idea which is always one and the same, he will have nothing on which his mind can rest; and so he will utterly destroy his reasoning…”
“In the end I just let the dreams come and go, let whatever bliss or pain they brought roll through me.
...Time wears away hope like water wears away rock. As for faith, I remained in a standoff with Isis. But love, as Paul of Tarsus would say, is greater than hope and faith. It can survive without either. Love was all I had, and it would not go away. It would not die even though sometimes I wished it would.”
“Intermission. Mare Internum.
We will have a brief pause now. If this novel were a theater, you could go out into the lobby, wait in line for a drink, or for the bathroom. Give people a chance to admire your clothes, hair, or jewels. Step outside for some air or a smoke. Backstage the crew would be busy transforming the scenery, actors would change their costumes and redo their makeup, Some would be done until final curtain, others awaiting their first entrance.
But we're not in the theater, and I am not letting you go outside this story, not really. Where we are is more like a pause between breaths. Whether you're inhaling or exhaling, there's a pause just before, like the pause you can feel more than hear before the tide reverses. Where we are is the point of intersection in the figure eight. Turned on its side the eight becomes the symbol of infinity.
You can make this figure with your hips when you dance. Over and over you will return to that moment of balance before your weight shifts from one hip to the other. The balance of this story is about to shift. The scenery is changing, as we make our slow way across Mare Internum. A journey I am not going to describe.
When the story begins again, some of the people you have come to know and love, or not, Dido, Bertha, Paulina, Reginus, and Joseph will appear less frequently...
I don't like it when characters fade form the story, so I am apologizing in advance, but life is like that. We leave people and places and times behind. We encounter new ones. Sometimes we can't see the patterns or connections, but they are there, between one breath and the next. In the ebb and flow of tides. In the rhythm of the dance.”
“Venus was rising, holding her own in the sky that was beginning to brighten. As I left the docks and warehouses behind, I came to a marshy shoreline, thick with water reeds. Though the sky above was clear, the water's surface swirled with little mists. I began to sing a song to Isis, made up on the spot, which caught the rhythm of the oars. A breeze sprang up and the reeds sang with me.
Then as the first rays of sun dimmed the stars, birds everywhere lifted their voices and rose in line after line into the sky. On the outskirts of the city, I came to what looked like it might have been an abandoned villa or farmstead. I decided to sit down and watch the lake changing colors with the light. That's when I heard it. Not the soft lapping of the water against the shore, but the sound of flowing water. I looked and in the glowing light, I saw a small stream, eally just a trickle washing down a pebbly incline towards the lake. Something prompted me to follow the stream inland.
I made my way though brambly thickets of brambling roses. The way seemed to open for me, the thorns all but retracting so as not to catch my cloak or scratch my arms and legs. At the source, I knelt down and parted the thicket, and there it was. The spring at the base of the hill so steep, it was almost a cliff. The water bubbled up from the darkness of earth, giving back the brightness of sky. Like all springs, a way between worlds.
I was no stranger to sacred springs and magic wells. I was raised to revere them. I had first glimpsed my beloved on the well of wisdom on Tir n mBan. But this spring. I closed my eyes to listen to its sound, and I knew I had heard it before.
The wind picked up, washing over me, scented with fish and roses. When it quieted again, I opened my eyes and gazed at the clear surface of the pool, and for an instant, I saw a tower, and the dawn sky, and the two people standing there. Then the image vanished, but I had seen all I needed to see.
Alright, I said to myself, my goddess, to Miriam's know it all angels, Magala is is.
And by the way, I added, my name is Maeve.”
“They had always been there, just hidden, sometimes, sadly, self-hating, but always there. The women, the church within the church, like Mary in the Sacristy, with their own secret rites. The thread wound back through a labyrinth, through thousands of years, into a ball, round and bright as the full moon.”
“sacrifice and denial are not always one and the same. The word sacrifice means to make sacred. Life is sacred, and sacrifice is returning to life what life has given. A sacrifice might be something offered or relinquished. Something dies and becomes the ground of new life, and both the life and the death are sacred.”