Still glowing from the Sanctuary Without Walls gathering this afternoon, which focused on the Summer Solstice.
A restful, peaceful time that included meditation, laughter, talk of spiritual practices and their relationship to light and dark, the warmth of friendship ~ and the sweet, solar glow of mead.
Our mead communion included first fruits: cherries and strawberries.
Blessings of peace, friendship, sustenance, summer, and sunlight to all!
At the moment I’m reading a book which was mentioned on the blog called Urban Mystic (thanks, Tim). The title of the book is Beyond Religion: 8 Alternative Paths to the Sacred, by David N. Elkins. Because I haven’t finished it, I’ve not decided whether to add it to my list of recommended books.
“Buried deep in the heart of every adult is a longing for a life that matters. We want to drink deeply from the stream of existence and know the passion of being truly alive. The purpose of this book is to say that such a life is possible, and that it all begins by learning how to nurture and care for the soul.”
OK. Nurturing the soul is what Elkins considers the spiritual life to be about. But I’m trying to understand exactly what he means by soul, since it is basic to what he is putting forth. He does claim that one doesn’t need religion in order to nurture one’s soul. Should be interesting to see what moves he makes to define soul in non-religious ways. More after I’ve read more.
Meanwhile, some of the ideas I’ve already come across in this book may be fun to play with at the Sanctuary Without Walls monthly gathering tomorrow. Please come if you are interested! 4 PM.
By the way, the eight paths are: The Feminine, The Arts, The Body, Psychology, Mythology, Nature, Relationships, and Dark Nights of the Soul.
Recently I enjoyed an inspiring meeting with a friend whom I met through our mutual involvement with the Women’s Interfaith Institute in the Berkshires. We had reconnected at a recent WII event, so it was a pleasure to have some time with her today.
What happened when we spoke was an experience of what theologian Henry Nelson Wieman might call creative interchange: “whatever it is in human life and experience that transforms us in ways that we cannot transform ourselves.” That was one way, a naturalistic way, that Wieman expressed what he understood God to be.
As my friend and I shared our thoughts, challenges, hopes, with one another, letting down our guard, opening our hearts, we found ourselves drawn to a level of conversation in which we both sensed an expansiveness, a freedom, a growing energy. It was collaboration at its best, at its most “holy.”Already some fruits are ripening from that exchange.
That’s what I love most about bringing people together in groups for learning, sharing, and perhaps even transformation. Wherever two or more are gathered in the name of holy creativity, amazing things can happen.
You did not come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. – Alan Watts
A tip of the hat to GreenSpirit for bringing this quote to my attention in its newsletter. Alan Watts introduced me to meditation practice when I was a teen in the 1960’s. In one form or another, I’ve practiced it ever since.
Twice recently this poem from Hafiz has come to me from friends, which has led me to share it here. Rain and light. Beautiful.
GOD POURS LIGHT
into every cup,
The proudly pious
stuff their cups with parchment
and critique the taste of ink
while God pours light
and the trees lift their limbs
without worry of redemption,
every blossom a chalice.
Hafiz, seduce those withered souls
with words that wet their parched lips
pours like rain
into every empty cup
set adrift on the Infinite Ocean. ~ Hafiz ~
Photo by Seth Rockmuller
My friend Marian Van Eyk McCain has edited a new book, GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness. Because the topics in it are related to my work on Temple of the Cosmos and my interest in our spiritual responses to our world, I intend to read it as soon as I can get my hands on a copy. Marian also wrote The Lilypad List: 7 Steps to the Simple Life.
8/17/10 News Flash! Marian Van Eyk McCain, editor of and contributor to GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness, will be in Chatham, NY on Sunday, September 12. 2010, 2 PM to speak about the book and about living simply. The Real Food Network Co-op, 15 Church Street, Chatham, NY. This event is sponsored by Sanctuary Without Walls.
We should not be seeking the Garden, it is not lost. It is we who are lost. It is we who are alienated from the Garden of which we are a part, which is around us and within us now, and always has been.
So says Billy, one of the many Green Men present at the Convention I am attending this weekend. I apologize that his photo, above, is not more clear; the light was low.
Brian Froud said that a first step in reconnecting with the spirit of nature is to acknowledge that it is possible. Before “taking things” from nature, we should seek permission. Communication, he said, is possible and necessary, and there are no “rules” about how to do it; it is individual and intuitive process.
At the end of the Green Man Panel, Brian was made an honorary member of the Blessed Order of the Greenman (BOG).
Blessed Order of the Greenman induction ceremony
Other members on the Green Man panel included Celtic scholar John Matthews, folklorist Steve Winick, artists Wendy and Brian Froud, and BOG founder Shane Odom.
So far (it’s not over yet) attending this event has been a colorful, inspiring, and thought-provoking experience. There have been many other workshops, gatherings, and events here. More posts will follow as time allows – it’s a busy time!