Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Posts tagged ‘Spirituality’

Happy Saint Dwynwen’s Day!

Saint Dwynwen is the patron (matron?) saint of lovers and relationships; interesting legends and stories are associated with her. January 25th is the Welsh “Valentine’s Day.” I posted a “Happy St. Dwynwen’s Day” message on Facebook, and a friend asked if I would put it here, so here it is. Check out the Wikipedia link on her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Dwynwen%27s_Day

Her stories remind us of the mutuality of love, and the pain when love is not reciprocated. Another version of her story can be found in the book Praying with Celtic Holy Women, by Mehan and Oliver.

Before going to sleep tonight, take a few moments to close your eyes, and with your imagination, encircle those close to you with warmth and love. If you are seeking a relationship, feel your heart open as you appreciate the goodness and love you already have in your life. And pay attention to your dreams.

(The above post was formerly published here in 2010.)

 

dydd-santes-dwynwen-hapus

Shadows Flee Away

 

Written on Christmas Eve, 1513

I salute you.  I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.

There is nothing I can give you which you have not.  But there is much,

very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.  No heaven can

come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.  Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.

Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow.  Behind it, yet within

our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.

And to see, we have only to look.  I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver.  But we, judging its gifts by their covering,

cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard.  Remove the covering, and you

will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.

Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there.

The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence.  Your joys, too,

be not content with them as joys.  They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering,

that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.  Courage then to claim it; that is all!

But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together,

wending through unknown country home.

And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings,

but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and

forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.

~ Fra Giovanni ~

Mythic Journeys



For those interested in myth, metaphor, and meaning, above and below are links to the movie Mythic Journeys I mentioned in my last post. The stop motion “Bone Orchard” part of the film was screened at the event I just attended; to see the rest, I purchased the 2 DVD set. The imagery is beautiful, and the words are inspiring. The “tree girl” pictured on these banners was based on the work of Virginia Lee, artist Alan Lee’s daughter. And the “Bone Orchard” segments of the film are based on puppets crafted by Brian and Wendy Froud.


The Enchanted Realm

Today my daughter and I returned from another realm, where we spent a weekend immersed in myth, story, music, and art.

Here are photos taken just before the Good Faeries Ball (I recycled my Halloween costume for this):

And just before the Bad Fairies Ball:

We also attended panels of writers and artists, including Brian and Wendy Froud, Jane Yolen, and others.

Of particular interest to me was the session by Whitney and Steven Boe on their film Mythic Journeys, about the importance of myth, enchantment, and spirituality for our lives.

Brian and Wendy Froud, Whitney and Steven Boe

A handmade bench provided a focal point. It is really a headboard but framed a bench for this event.

It was a special weekend.

Telling its story against the vanishing

Today a Religious Naturalism email list sent the poem The Enigma We Answer by Living (reprinted at the bottom of this post) by Alison Hawthorne Deming , which was featured on the Panhala website.

What does nature compel you to do?

My father was compelled to chase butterflies, moths, and other insects. As a child, I saw him in the yard, hunting them down with his white net on a pole. I watched them die in his poison jar, fluttering their wings for the last time. I saw them arranged and labeled, a pin through each tiny body, and peered into their display cases at the university where he taught biological sciences.

I am compelled to create winged clothing,  garments of leaves, crowns of berries and thorns, a temple of the cosmos, stories to tell, plantings of herbs, and gatherings of people. Some people are compelled to write poetry.

The Enigma We Answer by Living

Einstein didn’t speak as a child
waiting till a sentence formed and
emerged full-blown from his head.

I do the thing, he later wrote, which
nature drives me to do. Does a fish
know the water in which he swims?

This came up in conversation
with a man I met by chance,
friend of a friend of a friend,

who passed through town carrying
three specimen boxes of insects
he’d collected in the Grand Canyon –

one for mosquitoes, one for honeybees,
one for butterflies and skippers,
each lined up in a row, pinned and labeled,

tiny morphologic differences
revealing how adaptation
happened over time. The deeper down

he hiked, the older the rock
and the younger
the strategy for living in that place.

And in my dining room the universe
found its way into this man
bent on cataloguing each innovation,

though he knows it will all disappear –
the labels, the skippers, the canyon.
We agreed then, the old friends and the new,

that it’s wrong to think people are a thing apart
from the whole, as if we’d sprung
from an idea out in space, rather than emerging

from the sequenced larval mess of creation
that binds us with the others,
all playing the endgame of a beautiful planet

that’s made us want to name
each thing and try to tell
its story against the vanishing.

~ Alison Hawthorne Deming ~

(from the book Genius Loci)

To Stay or Go ~ Spiritual Communities & Community Ministry

Brace yourselves; here comes the C-word and the J-word, not to mention the R-word.

Popular author Anne Rice has “quit” Christianity. On her Facebook page last week she wrote:

“Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out…I remain committed to Christ as always, but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”

And this morning in my inbox I discovered a stunning response in the form of an article in Salon magazine, from Lily Burana, who has chosen to stay and fight. She wrote:

“Religion can be freighted with heartache, disappointment, uncomfortable adjustment and the dreary slog through the vale of tears. But I believe we can fashion the pieces of a broken heart into a new shape of belief. I’d rather endure the contortions of worship than suffer the bone-dry refuge of refusal or a spiritual life half-lived.”

Here’s the link to the article.

Some time ago, with the blessing of The Center for Progressive Christianity, I created a Facebook page, wanting to spread the word about this group’s work and resources. If you are one of those, like me, hanging in there with Christianity, you may wish to check it out. This month’s articles at www.tcpc.org are about Anne Rice’s decision, people who consider themselves SBNR (spiritual but not religious), the new atheists, interfaith – innerfaith, and more.

As an infant, I was baptized in the Universalist Church (in the 1960s it merged with the Unitarian Church, to form Unitarian Universalism). Although I trained as a UU minister, I am not firmly planted in a UU church, nor am I a free-floating follower of Jesus, but rather someone with more than one spiritual home. This is distasteful (bordering on heretical) to many people calling themselves Christians, but my religious experience is not a “spiritual life half-lived;” it is expansive and broad, as well as deeply rooted. I like to think it’s the way Jesus lived, breaking bread with all kinds of people, while intimately knowing his Source. Community is important to me; if I cannot find it, I gather with others and  help it grow. And I see this happening all around me. Community ministry. Yup. That’s what I do.

Registration Brochures at last!

On the sanctuarywithoutwalls events blog you will find a post which includes the registration brochures for events which will be facilitated by my friend Phoebe and me:

Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman ~ For women 55 and older, on the second Tuesday of each month, September 14, 2010  –  March 8, 2011  ~ 7-9 PM

To download the registration brochure with all the details, click on the following link:

Elderwoman registration brochure

________________________

After being away and entertaining guests, I’ve had many little details to attend to here. It feels great to make these available, at last! Check out the events site for details and other happenings.