||Call Forth Your
with Joan of Arc
|by Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway
“One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm.” --Hannah Senesh, Hannah Senesh
When I was going through a divorce almost 20 years ago, I felt in desperate need of courage. Life seemed to be tossing me around like a piece of wood on a raging ocean and it was so hard to get a grip. I was drowning in a sea of sorrow and dispair. I had lost my marriage, the home I knew, my beloved pet cat, my faith in myself and life, when I left my abusive husband. I felt so vulnerable and weak I couldn’t bare it.
During that time I was asked to cover the rededication of a statue of Joan of Arc at Riverside Drive and West 93rd Street in NYC. The huge bronze tribute was crafted by Anna Hyatt Huntington and dedicated 1915. Like me, her statue had fallen on hard times and was in disrepair. A fund was rustled up to restore her and I was asked to report on the re-dedication ceremony, which was presided over by Gloria Steinem.
I thought it would be a big yawn, but no one was more touched then me when the covering came down and the huge statue was revealed. She looked like a Goddess of Spiritual Battle riding high on Riverside Drive!
There was something so inspiring about this larger than life image of this young girl on her horse, her sword raised, her head high, her glance titled heavenward. There was so much strength, character and conviction in her stance. For the first time ever, I was hungry to know more about her. I wanted to understand where the depths of her conviction came from …wanted to have even a fraction of her courage .... wanted to be able to get back on my personal horse, raise my head high and lift my spiritual sword – not in anger or warring, but in belief in my own strength.
In the throes of divorce I had given up my power. I was so tired of fighting with my ex-husband that I gave up my fight … and along with it my spirit, my passion, my exicitement for life. I wanted it back.
Learning more about Joan of Arc’s story began to fill me with inspiration. I began to see that we can access our fullest power when we believe something is worth fighting for … that we need not fight in a traditional sense, but we are called to rise to the occasion and find the depths of strength and courage within when life’s battles try to knock us off our horses.
Joan of Arc is a wonderful role model and inspiration when it comes to calling forth the spiritual warrior within. She was known for extraordinary abilities of common sense, as well as perseverance, and the ability to stand still and not fight against but fight along with the battle. Because she was driven by the strength of her convictions, she represents integrity faith and heroism in the face of hardship and, even, personal attack.
Who Is Joan of Arc?
Joan of Arc, the Catholic Saint known as the “Maid from Orleans,” rose from the life of an obscure country girl to lead the French army and become one of the world’s most legendary virgin warriors and martyrs. A heroic figure, she has been adopted as a model of Goddess-like grace and power by followers of women’s spirituality. At 14, she had a vision and heard God speaking to her, telling her to leave home and help defend France against English invaders. Determined and unyielding, she broke through barriers and landed a meeting with the Dauphin, claimant to the French throne, who later, due to her efforts, was crowned King Charles VII. At age 17, she talked him into letting her lead soldiers to Orleans. By the time she was 19, she’d helped demoralize the English occupation army, save her country and was by his side as the king took his crown. In one of histories most outrageous betrayals and set ups, she was accused, tried and burned as a heretic before she was 20. Five hundred years later, she was canonized on May 16, 1920. A much loved Saint, as well as folk heroine for all people, and her image as a woman in armor, often upon a horse, is one of the famous in the world.
How To Invite Her Into Your Life
Learn by her example:
We have a lot to learn just from contemplating Joan’s military career and personal style. Just adapting aspects of her approach can help in your own personal mission.
1. She took her place as an equal to men. She was a woman amongst men, a female in men’s armor and a chick in the middle of a huge historical battle. She didn’t flinch around power, or battle. While she was definitely in touch with her male energy, if she was receiving channeled messages from the divine, she had to also be in touch with her receptive, feminine side.
2. She was not particularly violent. Not a classic fighter, she often rode into battle in her white armor, carrying her banner, and never quite fighting back. She took her direction from the Divine every step of the way. Although wounded, she’d call upon her spiritual guides St. Catherine, St. Margaret, and St. Michael, the Archangel and would heal quickly. She had battles skills that dazzled her opponents, but rarely used them. She used presence and leadership to rally her troops.
3. She believed in her cause. Her power and strength flowed from her unwavering faith and sense of mission. No bloodthirsty warrior, she fought because she felt guided, and she believed it was a worthy cause. She said, “I was born for this.”
Ask for her assistance:
When the going gets tough, do what Joan did… she prayed. Speak this Prayer To Saint Joan For Strength and Ability To Persevere out loud or tack it up in your office. (This is inspired by Prayer to St. Joan In Times of Trouble, by Andrea Oefinger, which can be found at the Cathedral of The Holy Cross in Orleans.)
Saint Joan, please bring me strength. You withstood agonies and upsets. You stayed strong when others tried to weaken you. You showed great power and prowess in the art of battle. Please come to my aid. I need your helping hand.
Saint Joan, please bring me courage. You left all that was familiar to travel to an unknown world. You stood up to elders, to intimidators, to men, to those who did not believe you. You showed courage in the face of challenge at every turn. Please come to my aid. I need you to stand beside me.
Saint Joan, please bring me fortitude. You were insulted, injured, attacked, and hated. You endured battle and pain, and yet healed yourself. If I could have just once ounce of your fortitude, I would be so fierce. Please come to my aid when I feel beaten down. I need you to hold me up.
St. Joan, please help me be heroic. You were abandoned, betrayed, accused and yet you never sold out, or looked for the path of least resistance. You endured unfair and unjust conviction and sentencing, yet did not beg for mercy. You stood your ground. Please come to my aid, and show me I have power to transcend my fears.
St. Joan, please connect me to the source of your power. I know it is your connection to a power greater than you that led you to your place in history. Hear this petition and my heartfelt plea. Help me get through my fears and challenges. Please help me know the spiritual warrior within and guide me to right actions and right behavior regarding. (Mention you specific request here).
Keep Joan of Arc With You
Keep her picture on your desk. Artwork, statues, pictures of her statues abound. Find an image of Joan that represents the energy of the warrior you would like to evoke; a warrior energy that is powerful, expressive, and something you feel very comfortable emulating. Keep it somewhere close to your workstation, in a book or drawer if you don’t want anyone to see. Whenever you feel pressure upon you, take a peek at that picture and connect with her energy.
Imitate the stance of a warrior. Remember Joan represents energy and you can call on her at any time, to help you through personal battlefields. Studies have shown that your physiology and body language speak volumes to the people around you. Practice finding a practical and helpful ways of standing and holding yourself that makes you feel powerful and in control. Take that stance whenever you feel threatened or vulnerable.
Joan Of Arc Affirmation:
“I stand firm in my truth.”
© Copyright 2006 Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway. All Rights Reserved.
Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway is a non-denominational wedding officiant, who regularly marries couples in love. She is also widely recognized as a bridal stress expert devoted to helping brides-to-be tap into their inner power and poise. She is co-facilitator of The Bridal Survival Club for The New York Wedding Group and author of WEDDING GODDESS: A Divine Guide To Transforming Wedding Stress into Wedding Bliss (Perigee Books, May 2005). Visit her at www.WeddingGoddess.com and www.LaurieSueBrockway.net.