(Essay) 2014 Mago Pilgrimage by Rosemary Mattingley

Rosemary Mattingley

The Mago Pilgrimage in Korea in 2014 was a journey of connection and reconnection for me at different levels. Mago is the primordial goddess of east Asia. Her energy clearly underlay our pilgrimage and enabled such a profound journey, events, insights and effects, both at the time and since then in what I’m called to do.

It was 25 years since I’d lived in Japan for eight years and travelled in east Asia, and 32 years since I had visited Korea for two weeks. Korea was my second love at quite an early age; Mongolia was my first. It was exciting to return at a different level of life’s spiral – not for study, work or sightseeing, but this time to consciously experience my spirit interacting with place and energy.

We were to offer prayers for reunification of North and South Korea, on my birthday, as it happened. This was extremely important to me because one of my callings has been to build bridges between people of a region who have been divided by political and national borders not of their own making.

I felt despair as I thought of this division over more than 60 years, caused by historical and ongoing political play of superpowers.  Yet I felt hope as I thought of other regions, divided yet now reconnected or reconnecting, for example, Germany, and, in a different way, India and Pakistan. From these examples, there is hope for better communication between the Koreas although the situation is different so different ways of reconnection are needed.

We went to Gyodong Island, in the Han River, which forms part of the border with North Korea, and offered prayers for reunification, looking across the river to North Korea, four kilometres away. Then I had the priceless, if obvious, realisation that I have to build bridges across this border through meditation, not through my usual way of introducing like-minded people across borders.  In meditation, I need to transcend physical borders and work with the wider region, not just individual countries, and I need to apply that to other regions where I work as well as Korea.

That night was a lunar eclipse, a spectacular blood moon that rose and eclipsed near Mt. Mani on neighbouring Ganghwa Island.

A few days later, I broke into tears as we flew into Jeju Island. I felt great happiness in physically visiting Gangjeong, the small village which is resisting the construction of a Korean naval base with US backing, with destruction of local sacred sites. This was the spiritual birthplace of my friendship with Helen Hye-Sook Hwang. We had met a few years ago on a Facebook group about the Gangjeong resistance. Peaceful protests are held daily at the gate of the construction site; we joined in one, and I was really impressed by its gentleness and by the lovely positive dance by young local women that wrapped up the protest.

We visited a number of simple shrines and sacred areas around the island, often just the natural rocks and trees. At some of these shrines and surrounding areas, I experienced an amazing movement of place and energy at all levels of my being.

Also in Jeju, we met a Japanese dance troupe and musicians, attending a peace festival. Some came from the islands of the Ryukyu archipelago, which stretches south-west of the main Japanese islands. I saw how the Ryukyu and Jeju islanders stand together across international borders to protest against US militarisation of their sacred lands and truly work for peace.

In and around Mago Stronghold, we met the Master and sages. I was overjoyed that they were surprisingly familiar to me because I am closely energetically connected to a very similar Great Spirit, who was actually one of my beloved dogs. All the time we were in and around Mago Stronghold, I felt his support, but especially when the Master called me to participate in the first act of the drama of the Return to Mago Festival! He selected a woman, that was me, and a man to perform the ritual of drinking the milk, the first food that came forth from the earth to nourish humans, in the Magoist creation. What an unexpected and delightful honour!

Helen reminded us not so long ago that we’re each following the spirit of Great Goddess and cosmic consciousness. I’ve certainly felt that to be true in what happened of course during the Pilgrimage, and also right from the day of my return to Australia.

On that day, I was assigned to host a tour to Japan for the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings. Research for this has made me look still more closely at the historical and current relations, physical, mental and spiritual, between Japan and Korea, and my relation to them.

I’ve also restarted meditation after some time not being able to do it; now I meditate in a totally different way, both for myself and for the Earth. And my dogs join me.

An extraordinary sign of my reconnection to east Asia came while I was writing this presentation. I felt to look up the triangle of places designated for the coming new moon meditation in earth chakra work (www.earthchakras.org). Imagine my surprise when I found that the triangle linked Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. Mani in Ganghwa Island in Korea, and Sefa Utaki in the Ryukyu archipelago.

Apparently Japan’s Ainu people named Mt. Fuji for their fire or hearth goddess.  Mt. Mani is considered to be a breast. Sefa Utaki is said to be where the goddess Amami descended and gave birth to the Ryukyu Islands. It’s the main centre of the Ryukyuan religion, which has mainly women shamans. An utaki is a sacred place; from photos, the utaki look very similar to the seodang or natural shrines that we visited in Jeju. So this triangle linking Korea, Japan and the Ryukyu Islands is profoundly, naturally, divinely feminine, and has certainly confirmed my deep reconnection through Mago to this region.

Thank you, Helen! Thank you, Mago! for making all this possible.

[Editor’s Note: See 2014 Mago Pilgrimage to Korea Reports below.]

(Mago Pilgrimage video 1) Gangjeung Village in Jeju Island by Robert (Taffy) Seaborne

(Mago Pilgrimage video 2) Ganghwa Island by Robert (Taffy) Seaborne

(2014 Mago Pilgrimage Report 1) Sweat Lodge in Gyodong, Ganghwa Islands by Helen Hwang 

Read Meet Mago Contributor Rosemary Mattingley.

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2 Comments on "(Essay) 2014 Mago Pilgrimage by Rosemary Mattingley"

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Rosemary, I don’t know how you managed to put so much into this essay while doing it so elegantly. I loved the piece because you gave me a sense of the shape of your life along with a vivid picture of the pilgrimage, plus material at the end of the essay which was entirely new to me. A lovely reading experience that helped connect me, thanks.


Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment, Harriet.