Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blueprint for human dignity

Look closely at the ruins of the ancient Minoan town of Gournia. To me, they illustrate another aspect of our Cretan ancestors. These stones outline houses.

When you walk among them, you get a sense of the people. You feel invited to sit on porches, to share stories of your day.

To me, these ruins illustrate the egalitarian aspect of Minoan culture. All the houses were about the same size. (They were also two and three stories high and had a form of indoor plumbing. Not bad for three-plus millennia ago.)

Imagine, if you can, a society in which people – men and women, young and old – were more equal than they are today. A society in which dignity was part of being human. Minoan Crete was a place that honored all the components of the web of life.

What do we honor? To whom do we grant dignity?

At the summit of the hill on which this town was built there is a Kernos (sacred stone). Those of us on the goddess tour (www.goddessariadne.org) placed fruits there and, after readings, fed the fruits to one another.

Can you digest another culture? Can walking ancient paths, sitting on ancient steps, and honoring ancient sacred sites change the way you think about your own society, your own times?


Hallelujah and Blessed Be

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Am Here, I Am Whole

There were 16 of us – two leaders and 14 women from various English-speaking countries – who participated in the Sept. 28 – Oct. 11 goddess tour of Crete (www.goddessariadne.org).

We gathered for the first time Friday evening, Sept. 28. The chairs were in a circle. Each of us was asked why we had chosen to participate and each of us was asked to say: I am here, I am whole, I am [and then our name]. It seemed somehow presumptuous, but we all did it.

During the course of the pilgrimage we often gathered in the evening, always in a circle. Each time, we took turns describing our perceptions of what had occurred that day, after we said: I am here, I am whole, I am [name].

Such a simple practice. But that practice, coupled with the morning blessing that we tried – with varying success – to repeat en route to whatever marvel was on our day’s agenda, wrapped us into community.

[The morning blessing was longer and only partially memorized – and, inevitably, by the time I found the written version, it was over. Still, it framed the day.]

The breath of my spirit will bless
the cells of my being sing
in gratitude, reawakening. . . .
This earth is my sister
I love her daily grace her silent daring
and how loved I am
how we admire this strength in each other
all that we have lost, all that we have suffered all that we know:
we are stunned by this beauty and I do not forget:
what she is to me, what I am to her.
As this day dawns in beauty, We pledge ourselves to repair the web.

Circles are powerful. Often, when we gather looking into each others’ faces, we glimpse each others’ hearts. Ritual is powerful. Things repeated on a regular basis can work their way into our psyches.

Framed thus, our experience of the matrilineal Minoan culture deepened. I, for one, was able to perceive the divine feminine, to experience what it might be like to all that I could be as a woman, as a crone.

I am here, I am whole, I am Mim

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Graphic Reminder

If I knew how to 'photo-shop' I might edit out the scaffolding, etc. surrounding this giant poster that was hung on plaza in Chania, Crete. But perhaps all the debris is appropriate. And, yes, I know I used this image in a previous post but I think you need to get used to it. I believe I will use it whenever I encounter something that denigrates women. I may have to use it a lot.

The other night I saw the documentary "The Invisible War" on PBS. I happened on it by chance and stayed with it, mesmerized by the enormity of the dilemmas faced by women (and men) in the U.S. military who have been raped by other members of the U.S. military. I had seen occasional headlines about this issue but I hadn't learned any of the personal stories. And the personal stories are horrific.

During the fall Goddess Tour of Crete (www.goddessariadne.org) led by feminist scholar and theologian Dr. Carol Christ, I was imbedded in a supportive female culture. Hampered by back problems, climbing over and into ancient Minoan ruins was daunting. But wherever we went, the other women on the tour held out their hands and offered whatever I needed. It was just the way we were. It was just the way we understood the ancient Minoan culture to be. In our evening circles, in our morning chants, in the ceremonies we performed in sacred centers, we reinforced these actions with words.

We honored each other.

The transition back into a culture where people do not honor each other, where rape goes unpunished, where violence dominates the headlines, can be (is) difficult and overwhelming.

I am beginning to emerge. Beginning to move back toward wholeness. In future posts, I will reveal how that might be possible. But every once in a while, you will see this photo again -- when once again, women (and/or men and/or children and/or other living things and/or our planet) are denigrated.

Because we need to acknowledge the wrongs or we will never get it right.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Story in Three Images

I’m just making this up but when I was in Crete on a goddess tour (www.goddessariadne.org) led by feminist theologian and scholar Dr. Carol Christ, I saw three female images that could, perhaps, tell a story.

One, in the Archeological Museum in Heraklion, was a statuette of a Minoan priestess, vibrant and powerful.

Another, on a gigantic poster on a square in Chania, depicted another bare-breasted female who appeared deeply sad. Why?

On the way out of a small city where we had marveled at a museum's examples of ancient art, Dr. Christ pointed out this sign (I only had a few seconds to photograph) outside a grocery store.

The Goddess Ariadne, who probably migrated with Neolithic settlers from Anatolia some seven thousand years ago, was now transformed into the symbol for a grocery store chain.

I would be sad too.