I wanted to share the experience Roy, my husband of thirty years, and I had at the Goddess Temple of Orange County Friday night as the temple celebrated their first Green Man Father's Day. The temple for sometime now has been shifting toward welcoming families and on Fourth Sundays had been inviting men to the temple. Like the Green Man, Consort of Goddess, these men are encouraged to emulate feminist ideals or archetypes of protector, supporter, nurturer. These are the men of our future.
During the the evening the men who have helped the temple were honored - the men who built the Sekhmet's 4' pyramid throne, and do all the things at the temple the priestesses don't have the abilities or money to do. As each of the men stepped forward to share a few words, I have to tell you how gratifying it was to hear herstory coming from the lips of men. As I sat in the room and listened to one of the men talk about being a devout Christian in his twenties, then realizing the inconsistencies, to discovering the Divine Mother, then hearing him tell how patriarchy has dealt women and the planet a lousy blow - I had goose bumps and I had to hold back tears.
While these words are the center of a Christian liturgy celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus as the Christ, they are more appropriately spoken of our own mothers. Your mother and my mother and all mothers, human and other than human, mammalian, avian, and reptilian, give their bodies and blood so their offspring might have life. True, mothers do not always make conscious choices to get pregnant, but almost all mothers affirm life in their willingness to nurture the young who emerge from their bodies and from their nests. Had mothers—human and other than human–not been giving their bodies and their blood from time immemorial, you and I would not be here.
The Easter liturgy fails to acknowledge that the original offering of body and blood is the mother’s offering. Christianity “stole” the imagery associated with birth and attributed it to a male savior.
I believe this earth is a beautiful, magical place and that this world is our true home. I believe life in the body is good. I feel connected to all beings in the web of life. I feel the Blessed Mother always with us, and I know the love of God the Mother or Goddess to be like the love of my mother and grandmothers for me. Though I was brought up Christian, I learned all of these things as a child.
I was brought home from Huntington Hospital just before Christmas in to my grandmother’s home on Old Ranch Road in Arcadia, California. Peacocks from the adjacent Los Angeles County Arboretum screeched on the roof. There was another baby in the house, my cousin Dee, born a few months earlier. My mother and her sister were living with their mother. The war was over, and they were anticipating the return of their husbands from the Pacific Front. My earliest memory, recovered during a healing energy session, is visual and visceral. I am lying crossways in a crib next to the other baby. There is a soft breeze. The other baby is kicking its legs, and I am trying to do the same. I look up and see three faces looking down at us. Although the faces are blurry in the vision I see, I feel them as female and loving.
How do we make sense of loss, great loss, and everyday disappointment? Some would tell us that “everything has a purpose” or that whatever happens ”must be the will of God.” I have found that these answers to questions raised by life as we know it often do more harm than good. Yet they have a sticking power–we hear them all the time, sometimes even from other feminist seekers.
From the beginning feminists in religion rejected “the God out there” who rules the world from a throne in heaven. Most of us have insisted that “God” is more “in” the world than “beyond” or “outside it.” However we have not always been consistent in our convictions. When feminists are confronted with untimely death or great evil or just not getting what we think we want, we can sometimes be overheard to wonder, “Why did God (or Goddess) let that happen?” This question is based in the assumption that God or Goddess is omnipotent and rules the world from outside it. This is the theological idea I intend to question today.
We've been doing the Ancestor Vigil here for about 20 years and every year it is a little different but the intention is always the same. It is not a Samhain ritual, it is not a celebration of Hallowe'en, it does not glom onto the trendy love of Dia de los Muertes. It is a ritual commemoration of the Recent Dead, the Beloved Long Dead and the Mighty Dead.
We set up a central altar, a candle-lighting station and a place to get more info on Mother Grove Goddess Temple and to leave your food donations for the food pantry. People are invited to place mementos on the altar and there is a place in the ritual where we speak the names of the dead that are closest to us.