The Winter Holy Days From A Cosmic Perspective December 28, 2010
It is holiday season in many parts of the planet, and God and Goddess are sitting on their lawn thrones observing the many rituals their children on Earth have created to celebrate their Mystery. There are preparations: lists drawn up, duties assigned, purchases made, rehearsals attended. Spaces are beautified. Bodies are adorned. There are pageants and processions, concerts and recitals, parties, meals, gifts. There are ceremonies with prayers, offerings, readings, teachings, and pronouncements. There are altars, flowers, candles, plants, art, holy objects, sacred images, special vessels. There is food, music, color, texture, scent, darkness and light. And in the hearts of some participants, there are quickenings of sacred meaning.
God glances at Goddess. He can see that she has something on her mind. “You aren’t enjoying this as much as I am, are you? What’s the matter?”
“Well, the reverence and beauty and good intentions are very heartwarming. I adore our children when they’re like this. They’re trying so hard. But for some of them, none of this is making any difference.” Goddess gestures to several spots on Earth. “Look at that place of worship over there. And those over there. And those. I see some hearts glowing with promising light, but do you see how many are almost completely smothered in darkness? I’m hurting for them, the ones for whom the traditional rituals are just duty, habit, entertaining diversions, or social occasions. Some of them don’t even want to be there. They aren’t experiencing Us. For them, the rituals have no meaning. And if there’s no meaning, there’s no transformative power.”
God nods and sighs. “Yes, you’re right. You’re so good at looking beneath externalities to the heart and soul of things. That’s always been your specialty.”
Goddess continues. “It’s just so sad to see how they’re so focused on the past and so worried about the future that they’re numb to the present. They don’t even see their fear, their anxiety, their lack of joy and passion, their hopelessness. They come to these events wanting to feel something, some spark of inspiration or hope, and so many of them leave with nothing but disappointment and guilt. Look at them just sitting there, repeating words that mean nothing to them. Smiling at people they don’t even like. Worrying about whether or not they’re wearing the right clothes or saying the right things. They’re acting, not being true to themselves. Why don’t they pay attention to what really feels sacred to them?
“That one over there should be out hiking. The only meaningful connection she ever felt to Us was on a mountaintop. And him? He should be writing the original music that’s playing in his head right now. It’s the only thing that inspires and excites him, yet he’s too busy doing things he hates to do the one thing he loves.
“And that couple. She’s a brilliant teacher; he’s a gifted therapist. They’re mature spirit persons with so much to offer. They’re dying to be of service, but there are no opportunities for them in their place of worship. Why don’t they create some new rituals with symbols and myths that speak personally to them and invite people with similar interests to participate? Don’t they get it that they don’t have to betray you to honor me? Most of them have no problem with loving both of their physical parents. Don’t they know they can love us both at the same time too? Don’t they know they honor us both by honoring the life in their bodies, their creativity, the true gifts of their souls that we gave them at birth? Their passions? Their genuine spiritual needs? Don’t they understand that they worship us every time they love and nurture new life in themselves and each other?”
Goddess begins to cry. “My poor, poor children. Some of them try so hard to please you by keeping up appearances. But how many of them will leave their bodies without ever appreciating the life in them? Without enjoying the beauty and diversity of that exquisite planet? Without knowing themselves? Without discovering their passions? Without creating anything original or fulfilling their purposes or fully living their unique lives? It’s such a tragic waste!”
Sadly, tenderly, God holds Goddess as she weeps for her lost children, the Orphans who will never know the love of their Divine Mother.
The Alpha Mare April 18, 2010
The archetypal Crone represents many valuable qualities. One of these, leadership, is aptly symbolized by the Alpha mare. In herds of horses, the leader is almost always a mature mare. While the stallion is the physically strongest and most aggressive male who mates with the females and protects himself, his herd, and his territory by keeping intruders away, he is not the wisest, most trusted horse in the herd nor is he the dominant leader who makes the others feel safe and secure.
The Alpha mare does not command respect because she is youngest, prettiest, most charming, physically strongest, or the stallion’s favorite, but because her age and vast experience have made her confident, mentally strong, and savvy in the ways of survival. The other horses follow her because she makes wise decisions. She socializes the younger horses and teaches them to be obedient, leads the herd to food and water, and guides it to safety when threatened by predators. Of all the horses in the herd, male and female, young and old, the Alpha mare is the one who knows best how to preserve the species.
There was once a time when groups of people sat at the feet of Crones, respectfully seeking their guidance and benefitting from their wisdom. The Cheyenne tell a story about “The Old Woman of the Spring” who gave them the buffalo and horse and taught them to plant corn.
In the tale “Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun,” Spider Woman brought the sun, fire, and art of pottery-making to the Cherokee. Old Salt Woman gave the Cochiti the magical blessing of salt, in the form of some of her own flesh, to make their food taste better.
The Brule Sioux say that when a grandmother prayed for a sacred herb to save the Comanche nation, a spirit told her where to find Grandfather Peyote and how to use it. She brought it back to her people and gave them the ceremony, and from that moment on, they learned to know themselves.
The Tiwa tell of Apache Chief to whom Spider Old Woman gave special medicine and Gopher Old Woman gave secret knowledge that helped him retrieve his lost wife. Such stories speak to the reverence native peoples had for the elder women whose lengthy life experience and intimate relationship with nature sacralized their lives and improved their chances for survival.
As the Sky God replaced the Earth Goddess as our primary source of spiritual guidance and meaning, our respect for Crone wisdom diminished in many parts of the world. At the individual level this is occasionally justified. Certainly, not every grandmother has feet at which one would necessarily want to sit! Generations of being separated from all that feels sacred to women has turned some of them into the very worst examples of feminine shadow. These are the wicked witches we hear about in fairy tales, and they should be avoided like poison lest they spread their toxicity to us.
But there are also some Alpha mares out there. We need to seek out these examples of the positive, empowered Crone, for they hold vital secrets that could help us maintain the delicate balance between societal preservation and annihilation.