Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pope opens Cuba to U.S.

I give you three stories of interest to Catholics, and maybe others because of Pope Francis’ popularity.

The big story: Pope Francis was instrumental in reconciling Cuba and the U.S.  It was Francis who broke down Raul Castro and persuaded him to stop assigning enemy status to the U.S.

And there’s NCR’s take on the deal with Cuba.

And HERE  you can read how religious sisters respond to release of the Vatican’s report on its investigation of women religious.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Goddess of Light 2

I tried to publish more comments than the one appearing below, but somehow technology refused to cooperate. I wish I could remember what the other comments said so that I could reply.  Please try sending a comment again if you don't see yours.
Thank you.

I do remember that more than one comment assumed that I'm picking sides and choosing any spiritual frame over others.  This is precisely what I want to avoid.  I am a Catholic Christian but affirm other ways of envisioning the Invisible Realm.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Goddess of Light

I remember when I first learned that Eastern spirituality regards sex as sacred. It shocked me. I think it was Carl Jung who first informed me, and then I saw photos of figures in Eastern temples illustrating the fact. In my childhood prudery ruled, enforced by relatives who lived close to our home on the farm. They attended Mass every morning and this clinched a tight relationship between religion and excessive modesty.

Goddess religions resembled Eastern religions in their attitude toward sex, as this guest post shows. Our society’s pornographic treatment of sex desecrates the body and cheapens sex; it in no way resembles the respectful celebration of sex in pre-Christian religions.

[Excerpts from Goddess Calling:  Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy by Rev. Karen Tate]
Welcome friends! If you are familiar with Goddess or earth-based spirituality, you are familiar with the meaning of Winter Solstice and the returning of the light. Our northern European ancestors called
the holiday of Winter Solstice, “Mother’s Night,” when female ancestors and Goddess were celebrated and their guidance sought by people.

It is the time to celebrate Yuletide Goddesses as well as Mithras and Jesus.
The returning of the light from Winter Solstice forward is not just about whether we see more darkness or light in the sky. Light symbolizes the potential for life and new beginnings. Let me share a story with a new perspective on the season—a myth about the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto Goddess whose sacred sites are on an island of Japan.

Her story shares similarities with the Greek Goddess, Demeter, who in her grief over losing her daughter caused the earth to be barren. In her grief, Amaterasu, like Demeter, withdrew from the world, causing the land to become barren and bleak. In sorrow Amaterasu secluded herself in a cave. No amount of coaxing could get Amaterasu to come out and restore fertility and vegetation to the land.

Finally she was coaxed out of hiding and despair by Uzume. Amaterasu peeked out from the cave out of curiosity, aroused by laughter and clapping inspired by Uzume’s erotic dance. Uzume’s dance was the catalyst jump-starting Amaterasu to once again spark new life.

Think about the last time you really had a belly-laugh. Did you not feel alive and vital? Seeing the dance brought Amaterasu such joy that life was rekindled. Vegetation sprang forth once more and humanity could once again eat and sustain itself. People and creatures would live and not starve.

When Amaterasu peeked from the cave to look at Uzume dance, she caught sight of her own image in a bronze mirror. As she became dazzled by her own radiance, light and fertility were restored to the world. This myth reflects the regenerative power of the female, inspiring awe across cultures, serving as a catalyst for creation, change, healing or protection.

The dance of Uzume was not meant to be lewd. It was meant to be sacred. It was from a time when procreation and sexual union were still considered sacred, and sex had not yet become something shameful or taboo. A woman’s body held the mysteries of life and death. Life springs forth from women’s bodies and women bleed without dying. This is very powerful “magic” or sacred power. Women, as life givers, were associated with Goddess herself, the Creator of the world and everything in it.

We come back to this season of the returning of the light. There is no life without light. As days build in length and nights shorten until the Summer Solstice in June, we too are coming out of darkness, building momentum and energy, gathering light within ourselves to manifest our desires in the world.
If we are in sync with the cosmic forces, this is the time for our own awakening and transformation, our evolution as spiritual beings.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

We Are Divine

Poets, sages, and religious leaders discern a deep reality in humanity that escapes many of us.
William Wordsworth writes about it in his poem “Immortality”:
[our] exterior semblance doth belie
[our] soul’s immensity.
Jesus of Nazareth called this inner reality the Reign of God and made it the abiding and overarching theme of his teachings.
The Reign of God is in the midst of you.
Lk 17: 21
Futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard calls it our inner Beloved and Essential Self. At the center of our being rests,
“a magnificent presence
far beyond my current personality or gender.”
She encourages us to,
Experience the Essential Self as a radiant presence,
glowing and emanating light.
Louise Hay describes it thus:
                        In the Infinity of life where I am,
                        all is perfect, whole, and complete.
Wordsworth echoes this theme of the human person’s nobility:
                        Not in entire forgetfulness,
                        And not in utter nakedness,
                        But trailing clouds of glory do we come . . .
And he acknowledges our tendency to be oblivious to it.
                        O joy! that in our embers
                        Is something that doth live,
                        That Nature yet remembers  
                        What was so fugitive!
We can reclaim what was “so fugitive.” This Wayne Dyer encourages to do by trusting our inner Selves and being true to the divine wisdom within.
Ralph Waldo Emerson echoes Dyer’s thought in “Self-Reliance”:
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.
Paul, who unintentionally founded the new religion called Christianity, referred to this inner reality recognized by sages when he wrote,
Christ is living in me (Gal 2:20).
Christ is living in you (2 Cor13:5).
Jesus of Nazareth said,
You are the salt of the earth . . .
You are the light of the world.
Mt 5: 13- 14
Let us vibrate to that iron string within and realize we are the salt, we are the light. Let us hearken to the Beloved Self signaling from within.
Amen. Hallelujah.