Tag Archive | culture

Celtic Flame

A new morning practice encourages me to wander into the patterns of Celtic women’s spirituality, to honor my ancestors and meet them at the hearth where we all come to join hearts and minds in a covenant of belonging. Blessings well up to keep me conscious of gifts received and reminders to share my abundance.

First thing in the morning, light the flame, a signal of conscious awareness; last thing at night, honor the dimming of glow in the house where shadows merge and reign upon our sanctuary, a blanket of dark protection. Here are the tethers of life, the wicks of gratitude and love; where once were coals upon a central fireplace, now a candle represents the resurrection off hearth-keeping as a sacred vocation, even when only an act of diminutive devotion.

IMG_0280Some of my ancestors came from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the English borderlands. Those who have studied their life-ways and myths or legends remind us that, “They can show us how to do ordinary things in a spirit of celebration that comes from a sense of being connected with the flow of humanity, the life energies.”

I wrote a while back about my personal and unique path to tending the hearth fire. My relationship to hearth and home is in continual transformation as I explore the mysteries of life. It is said that, “the household fire was more than a practical convenience … it was a reminder of the flame of life, of the need to rekindle basic energies every day of our lives, to keep in touch with our inner life force and avoid apathy and coldness in ourselves or towards others.” When I light my candle, this remembering is a portion of the context in which I see the flickering and feel it within myself.

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Quotes are from Power of Raven, Wisdom of Serpent: Celtic Women’s Spirituality by Norah Jones.

Three Dreams

I’m relatively new to actually making the time to consider what my dreams may mean to me, though I’ve recorded them sporadically for over a decade. Because I found last night’s dreams particularly compelling, I thought I would share them here. Perhaps they may encourage someone else to … follow their dreams.

I recalled and recorded three distinct dreams through the night; the first and third dreams were of me rescuing/helping a small young boy (one boy appeared as my younger brother, the other boy became a little dog), and the other, the middle dream, was of me ending up alone on a couples cruise.

The Two Boys

kids3            Dream One: a young boy who looked like my younger brother was having seizures – the symptoms were being viewed as signs of “possession” by the doctors – I was trying to help heal him with energy and natural remedies

Dream Three: It was night, and I was on the other side of a park, near a building, when I saw bad men break several life-size glass reindeer that shattered into hundreds of pieces large and small – the men saw me and started chasing me and a little boy (who was clothed in pale blue pajamas with ‘feet’) across the grass as we ran toward my house – as we ran, the boy transformed into a little dog that I scooped up into my arms while running – I reached my home, which was well-lit, before the bad men could get us – we were safe inside and the bad men didn’t try to enter

Were these two dreams pointing to my need to make peace with the young masculine principle I carry within that was destroyed by patriarchy? To find a way to recover that innocent masculine principle, to resurrect its power for love?

It is interesting that these two dreams of young boys – very rare for me to see boys in my dreams – came on Christmas Eve. I don’t identify as Christian anymore (I’m a spiritual eclectic with a Pagan foundation) though I do believe the story of Jesus is a powerful and potentially healing one when heard from the feminine principle perspective instead of through the lens of patriarchy. And, as it happens, the birth of the baby Jesus is honored tomorrow, while the seeds of solstice have already been sown. Is the spark of the masculine principle joining the seed of the feminine principle?

I have always felt maternal and/or nurturing toward my younger brother, and perhaps I feel it even more now that he is challenged by physical illness. Plus, I have always had a strong desire to protect and help the young, which is extended to both genders and to all innocent life. Maybe these two dreams came to inspire faith … faith that we can succeed in protecting the innocent and resurrecting the masculine principle to its original pattern, before it became the domination power principle of patriarchy?

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 2.36.06 PMIn the third dream, the bad men shatter and destroy the beautiful glass reindeer in the dark of night, in the realm of the feminine principle. What else do the reindeer represent? This glass is clear, cold, smooth and appears solid but can be easily broken. The reindeer represent the myth of Santa Claus, a story created for children/innocence. The bad men perhaps represent patriarchy shattering the innocence of our stories and dreams, shattering the bond between masculine principle and feminine principle? Santa Claus is also linked, however, to whether we are “good” or “bad” and, thus, whether we will receive any “reward.” So shattering those symbols which pull/carry the patriarchal father-figure could mean that Santa Claus has no effect anymore?

Also in the third dream, the boy transforming into a little dog is perhaps a personal motif for me (because of my passionate devotion to dogs) to be able to visualize the innocence that remains inside the masculine principle? That it can be rescued and taken into hearth and home? It would be easier for me to let a dog into my safe space, rather than a male, even when that male is a boy.

A Couples Cruise

Dream Two in the Middle: My husband and I were on a cruise ship – we got off because we were thinking about incorporating an overland drive for part of the vacation – while we were considering the option, he drove home to check on things – we decided not to do the drive but he was too far away to make it back to the ship before it sailed – I got on alone and finished the second part of the journey by myself, a single on a Couples Cruise

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 2.50.02 PMThe third dream, that fell in the middle of the other two, was uncomfortable – which is odd because it wasn’t as overtly traumatic as the other two dreams. The two aspects that feel most important are that of cruise (water, sailing, travel) and that, because of a joint decision, I ended up alone/single in a group of couples. I could unravel this dream in many directions, because it feels like there are a lot of threads. It feels scary to even write about this dream, like it was an omen or premonition. Maybe that’s because I fear the separation could be permanent? But it wouldn’t be, because it was a cruise ship – a temporary journey space. Cruises are not life but rather a liminal space as are most vacations, pilgrimages, and travels. I feel better already, having consciously realized that.

In some ways, the dream mirrors what he and I have already discussed: my solo travels while he stays at home to take care of things. The fact that it is a “couples cruise” is odd, but perhaps that merely represents metaphorically the need for me to write both sides of myself, to witness and “marry” by masculine principle to my feminine principle?

Perhaps this dream is bookended by the other two for that specific purpose, in which case they become a series to build the whole?

Viewing All Three Dreams in Sequence

In the first dream, the young boy has seizures – a violent dis-ease that shakes everything up and makes one vulnerable, unable to resist or escape anything that might happen to him. Patriarchy dominates men as well as women, and, in a way, it is a debilitating cultural disease. However, in the second dream, by “marrying” masculine principle and feminine principle in love, and honoring that commitment to be joined yet honoring individuality also. Later, in the third dream, the feminine principle is able to rescue/help the masculine principle and carry it to safety and home.Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 2.44.56 PM

These three dreams, that at first glance seem so disparate, come closer and closer together the more I reflect upon them. And I will continue working with them.

Currently, as an over-arching theme, all three seem to be pointing toward ways in which I can re-envision and thus heal my sense of the masculine principle within me and, thus, see it differently in the world as well, possibly supporting a personal faith that we can also heal our global culture.

We can return to Peace on Earth.

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depaceminterris.org

 

Peace

“It is a gross misunderstanding to imagine warfare as endemic to the human condition.”

~ Marija Gimbutas, Professor of Baltic and Slavic Studies at UCLA, 1963-1989; Chair of European Archeology. Gimbutas

I feel sadness at how quickly average people — men and women both — have become excited by the idea that Viking women could have been half of the warrior force. What reason is there to celebrate violence in any culture? And yet, consider all the movies and television series that continue to grow in number where the female is killing and destroying; this is promoting the idea that women can only hold power by becoming better warriors/killers than the men. The promotion of that archetype is not coming from the core of feminine principles of a loving, transformative energy but from the obfuscating masculine energies within them. This will not resolve anything — this will not heal our world.Fresco at Knossos - Version 2

I wish people were as thrilled by the knowledge that there were many early civilizations that existed peacefully for hundreds of years, some for over a thousand years, within an egalitarian structure. Some of these towns and/or village communities were heavily populated; for instance, the “Late Cucuteni culture, c. 4000-3500 B.C., reached an urban stage with towns of up to 10,000 inhabitants at the center of a district surrounded by medium and smaller size villages,” while other large, peaceful societies prospered as well such as that of Catal Huyuk in Anatolia and on Crete we know of the “Minoan” culture. (Gimbutas) Further, hunter-gatherer cultures were usually egalitarian as well.

A Conception of Choice

“The power of the matriarchal story—myth or fact—is in the assertion that the world CAN be different. Patriarchy and war are not the “just way its always been,” or a “more evolved” society, or the only possibility for the future. The matriarchal myth opens up the door for a new FUTURE story, not just a revisionist look at the past.”

The above quote is from Molly’s latest post on her blog Theapoetics. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say to me something like “it’s human nature to fight” and I want to respond — like Molly does here — with a concise reference to the fact that we do have examples of cultures that were different and, based upon various interpretations, were egalitarian and peaceful.

Kore from CreteI started reading about these ancient matrifocal cultures in 1995, and I love that nearly 20 years later younger women continue to teach and spread the wisdom of potential and possibility that our foremothers struggled to make available to us through their writing and activism.

Even if the interpretations aren’t accurate — though I believe they are — the possibilities they present by simply viewing history and pre-history as different means that we can conceive of a different way of living and being in our world. And since science is now revealing that our very biology is cooperative as well on a cellular level, we are waking up and seeing that we can choose peace and cooperation, and that our physiology supports these choices.

Barefoot Spirituality

Would it help for someone to understand my intimacy with Gaia, the journey to reach my own sacredness and the on-going path into personal spirituality? I know that one of my joys is to read of other’s spiritual journeys and beliefs, for that opens me into my own wholeness. And so I write of my journey on this path–in my books and on this blog–to share, to commune with the energy of others.

I don’t follow one faith or religion or system. I’m far too questioning — far too much of a seeker straddling a rickety fence as I cross one more field — to embrace fully someone else’s path. But, and this is significant for me, I value something in every path of Spirit I’ve read about or witnessed because of core similarities. And I know that there are many concerns in cultural groups, in indigenous peoples, in ethnic families and tradition, as well as in established religions — concerns that picking out what is appealing may be viewed as disrespectful, but I absolutely do have deep respect for these other systems and traditions.

Yet, perhaps I am genetically disposed to always be journeying along a more eclectic and individualized path in approaching the Divine. Because I am a hybrid, a melting-pot American who lives and expresses the genetic memories of German, English, Scots, Black Dutch, and various tribes of Native American, do I wander back and forth more easily? And those are only the links I am aware of; there are probably more.

I grew up without ethnicity or cultural heritage other than ‘white, working-class American.’ And, while I was raised into a particular religion, it never resonated. The Divine within me remained asleep like Snow White, waiting for the kiss of the one I would recognize. And She was years coming. I needed to grow and learn more about this personality housing my soul before I would feel Her awaken within and provide guidance upon a spiritual path.

But when she finally opened Her eyes (or I opened mine), our love and my remembrance was instant. She had been with me all along; I knew that at once. And yet, while I recognized Her, and followed at first the path of those who shared their own journeys and systems of belief, I found before long that the Divine within me couldn’t be fenced in here either, no more than my nature could. Neither of us could handle being penned up or caged, defined or labeled. And so we took the next fork in the trail, together, knowing our journey of discovery was personal and individual and solitary.

I knew that I might never find a ‘perfect fit’ and that was fine. It’s okay. I would try on spiritual shoes, boots, sandals, moccasins, all shapes and sizes. Some feel comfortable for a while, but then I have to pull them off and walk barefoot once more, without restriction or fancy designs by someone else. Some got too tight, cutting off my circulation with their pointy-toed sharp looks; some became floppy, loose and I fell out of them because they made no sense to me; some were heavy and I felt that I couldn’t walk on my own path at all. All were valued for the temporary support they provided in various ways, but not for me to wear long-term. I learned about beauty with pain, about fluidity within form and function, about structural support limiting freedom. Not in struggle against them were they valued but because I experienced or witnessed the joy they brought to those wearing them quite happily as they walked with compassion. I just needed to be barefoot in my own spirituality.

And Gaia has supported me every step along this path, always kind. As long as I continue to honor the gifts of those spiritual paths traveled by others, respect their beauty and depths, and the love within the mysteries and stories they hold so dear, I know all is well. I feel peace in the exploration.

Gaia has many faces and places. And, for me, She is here within and everywhere I walk feeling the earth beneath my feet, the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin, and the rain cooling my face. Her smile is infinity, and we won’t be fenced in.