Monday, March 04, 2002

Connecting to the Sacred
Sometimes it’s like meditating on a string of beads – from Golby to Himmer to AKMA to Sanders… At other times my blogrolling seems like saying the Stations of the Cross – dramatic, moving, disturbing, yet somehow distant, and only of peripheral interest to me. Until I move away from the computer to do the dishes that are stacked up in the sink and start thinking…..

From RageBoys’s bombastic eloquence to AKMA's more refined delivery, it really is all about belief systems. On this particular thread, it is about religious belief. While Himmer comes closest to putting my feelings into blog, it’s still not quite where I am.

Because when you come right down to it, either you believe or you don’t. I am not a biblical scholar; I am not any kind of scholar; I am a dilettante. But I do remember taking a course in the Bible as Literature and finding out about all of the various authors and even more various discrepancies in time frames, translations etc. It has always seemed to me that, like all myth-based anthologies, the bible offers fascinating stories, some important human lessons, and amazing poetic metaphors. It’s worth reading and studying, as are all human creative endeavors of such epic proportions. Personally, if I were to dedicate my life to scholarly pursuits of the sacred, I would follow in the footsteps of Marija Gimbutas and look for even more evidence to support the veneration of the feminine principle in pre-history.

In the context of my life these days, I prefer the right-brained approach, which initially was the basis of honoring the power of what was/is considered “divine” -- ritual, chanting, dancing, creating sacred objects (art) to wear, use, and sacrifice. I long ago grew more than uncomfortable with the man-made organizations established to keep order and consistency, to preserve mainly the intellectual at the expense of the essentially spiritual/physical nature of the sacred and the divine. I understand their history and their purpose and what they are supposed to contribute to bringing the human and the divine closer together. I just don't think they work

I believe that religion should help us feel more connected to what is sacred and to become more solidly rooted in our own personal integrity; the other issue with me is that I define what is “sacred” much differently from most male-established religions. To me, my connection to what is sacred in this universe is closely connected to personal creative acts.

I meet with my women friends and we concoct a sacred ritual to empower one of them as she begins her battle with breast cancer. Collectively, we create and give her a amulet as a symbol of our love and support. Surgery removes the cancerous tumor. Radiation further dis-empowers it. And today, she is cancer-free.

I gather with these same friends on a widow’s walk on the roof of a house ion Chappaquiddick Island, within walking distance of that infamous bridge. We light candles under a clear sky and ritualize our thanks for our individual and collective strengths as single women who still hold hope for healthy relationships with men. (Two successes out of seven so far…)

Before b!X leaves home for college, I do a ritual tying us together at our waists by a red ribbon, and then, together, we cut that ribbon as a symbol of severing the psychological cord that binds a single mother and her son so closely together. So, now he lives on the opposite side of the country from me.

I’m enamored of someone who’s confused about commitment and the objects of his affections, so on the night of the full moon, I light candles, put Gabrielle Roth on the stereo, burn some incense, close my blinds, dress like a goddess, chant my wish for him to find whoever he is meant to be with for the rest of his life, and dance, dance, dance. (Of course, I would like it to be me, but one must not ask for selfish things.) A month later, he goes back to a former girlfriend, asks her to marry him, and, as far as I know, they’re living happily ever after.

Synchonicity? Prayers answered? Personal empowerment ? Connection to what is sacred in the human universe? Strengthening of personal integrity? Connecting to the divine through creative acts?

Works for me.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself.
I think it was Walt Whitman who wrote something like that. (Correct citations are one of those things I can’t seem to remember anymore.)

My momentary divergence in posting a brief string of repeated expletives several days ago is bothering me, even though it does reflect the truth of my more negative potentials. And it does remind me what a contradiction I am.

This conflicting dark and light of my personality is the reason I use the name "kalilily” -- Kali – the terrible and terrifying goddess of destruction, the metaphor for that dark parts of ourselves that have both devastating and cleansing capacities – and Lily for Elaine the chaste, Elaine the pure, Elaine the Lilymaide of Astalot. Occasionally I succumb to the power of the Tooth Mother. This is a very old poem of mine.

A sliver of moon like a sharpened claw
slits the underside of April,
sending clouds as heavy as stones
onto the roiling rim of earth.

It is time for the Tooth Mother’s coming.
She tears through my skin
talons sharp as the moon,
eyes that slice, breasts like scythes
along my hungry tongue.

She breathes into my mouth
the bold remains of winter,
turning my blood to ice,
my thoughts to stones
that roll like clouds
across my ragged edge of mind.

(Like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, when I am good, I am very, very good. And when I am bad, I am horrid!)