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Dreaming Creation- a Sermon for the Charlottesville UU Church

 

I will not dishonor

my soul with hatred,

but offer myself humbly

as a guardian of nature,

as a healer of misery,

as a messenger of wonder,

as an architect of peace.

I will honor all life

—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.”

Diane Ackerman

I start with this benediction because it gets at our relationship with creation- that moving, roiling, impulse of LIFE, that most precious energy of all– Creation in our bodies, in the vast myriad of bits of animal, mineral, human and divine manifestation. We create. Life Creates, God, Goddess, Great Spirit creates and continues to create. Without the creative force there is no life.

And our relationship with all of this, how we feel connected, belonging, praising, appreciating, witnessing, protecting is what needs to sustain us in these days. It always has, but I think that we are in a moment of waking up more…. being woke… I love that language. To be grounded in our alignment with creation as creative beings is to resist the hatred, fear and injustice in our world.

I have been leading the Women’s Dream Quest for I believe 26 of its 30 years. We have persisted. Each year a theme presents itself to my dreaming mind and 2016 it was Dreaming Creation. 2015 was Dreaming the Mystery and 2017, so the dreamers tell me is Dreaming the Spiral. In late October 2016, we were in a celebratory mood, sure that soon a grandmother would be in the White House. Contemplation of Creation seemed like just the right note to strike. We gathered on the labyrinth in beautiful, gothic Grace Cathedral, seated in a horseshoe after our introductory exercises and songs.

We enacted the evolution story, beginning in the dark. Dancers crouched in stretchy bags to symbolize the prima materia. I spoke of all the traditions, both religious and secular imagining a time without differnation… the darkness, the coalesing of stardust before the big bang, the raw mterial that God transformed into the multitude of things. I asked the women to imagine that emptiness as the space deep within our wombs.

I began the narration: And then there is divine spark, the magic, the bang and the dance begins. Just like conception in our women’s bodies.

The dancers began to writhe and stretch – differentiation occurring in movement. They find their way out of the stretchy bags and become sea creatures and earth creatures . We showed the slide show you will see in a few moments and sang the song, Ocean Breath breathing me, Ocean Breath breathing me, Ocean breath, breathing, Ocean Breath breathing me.

Then I said: At some point, very recently in the great history of Life on our planet, we humans walked onto the fertile green earth. A young girl came into our midst , skipping.

I continued: From the cycles of life, once held in darkness, intuition, inspiration, humility enter the dance along with arrogance, domination and greed. The human creative impulses—both dark and light are loosed upon the world. We are the witness to all of this. The remarkable creativity evident in every form of life, the remarkable possibilities unleashed by creativity.

We ended the dance with a dove kite flying down the central aisle of the cathedral, all the animals coming to nuzzle the child, a hopeful tableau of the peaceable kingdom.

I suggested that like the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, we humans are responsible for dreaming all of this into being. It is our ability to see and hold the whole that marks our humanness.  We need to remember how to dream creation.

And there it was, a hopeful evolution, peace abiding, the light ascending.

And then came the next week and what for many of us was a shocking, disturbing, traumatizing election. I thought about what we had brought forth in the Dream Quest. It seemed in stark contrast to the Dark of November. Like many of us, I felt a period of unbelieving despair. Each of my 20 psychotherapy clients cried in session– reported such a visceral and somatic response.

It took a while for me to come back to the tableau of creation. Outrage was necessary and very dark humor. I began looking for light and in the darkening days before winter solstice, another workshop I led held a key. We were contemplating the dark– inner, outer, existential. To symbolize our process each of the participants were instructed to find their own Luminata out in the field near the room we were meeting in. We were to symbolize the relationship between the dark and the light. These paper bag lanterns carried an LED light that glowed, barely perceptible. I imagined that glowing light right in my solar plexus where I had felt the blow of despair and disappointment. That carried me through. Just a little light. Like all creation, I began to realize there needs to be a gestating, quiet, dark time. I think I was accompanied by many on this particular journey.

So now the external light has glimmered back at Imbolc/ Candlemas the time of year that all of us in the Northern hemisphere notice as the moment of returning light We know the days are lengthening somewhere deep in our indigenous beings and we know to let our thoughts and actions quicken a bit in anticipation of the coming spring. This moment 3 and ½ weeks past that mark, we are on the way to the greening time. If we touch into our souls, we know it.

And then, we might notice that Light has returned to the world stage. Millions of us marched, lawyers did their jobs, Journalists, proud and smart tell us what is happening. I don’t mean to downplay the frightening demise of our institutions and the scuttling of decades of progress. This is still going on, but I believe it is our job as dreamers of creation to notice the emergent light.

How do we go on, resist if we are called, stay sane and balanced? I do think that this theme that we have just practiced over Friday night is helpful. We are people who love creation. We create. We see to our health both emotional and physical so that we can create. We join with our kin. We cry when we must. We sing and pray and tune in deeply to our soul’s bright light.

I’d like to share part of the slide show we used last night. It is created by my friend, Warren Lynne who is an incredible photographer and very generous soul. I’ll play the flute, sing a bit– and invite you to sing along if you would like as we are immersed in the beauty of creation. Please be comfortable, find your breath, allow your busy mind to quiet and simply let these images and sound wash over you.

So washed over by images of Creation, we let the ocean, the river, the mountain, the desert, the jungle breath us and in turn we, as dreamers of Creation, breathe life and light into the world. We continue on the spiral journey that takes us through the turns of life—like the labyrinth path. We, who showed up so very lately on our planet, with all our complex and important issues and stories, continue to walk the path, connected, aligned, creating.

 


Finding the Light Just Before Imbolc

I am a seeker of light these days in the sun filtering through the fir and bay outside my window, the bright burst at that point up the hill on my way to my walk in the open space, the glow of the beeswax globe candle on my living room table.  I welcome the lingering light edging toward 6:00 now.

I am a seeker of light in the posts of my friends and my virtual friends making sense of world just now.  I saw light in the glorious March in San Francisco, light in the faces of protesters at the airports, light in the words of the impassioned journalists stepping up again and again.

What are we to do now?  I crowd my altar with all the Goddesses.  I remember my promise to practice what a life time has taught me about prayer and meditation. I remember that glow of December’s luminata.  And I donate to the ACLU and listen for gatherings of the People.

We are woke as the young ones say and in that awakening there is light come to marry the darkness and create a new world.

 

Dark Times Filled with Light

The following piece as been waiting  unfinished since before the Solstice.  That turn has come, the holidays have given their warmth and lightening and now, I send it as a hope for how we proceed in the New Year.

 

The book,  Dark Times Filled with Light, by Argentine writer,  Juan Gelman. has been sitting on my bedside table all during the months of November with its plunge into the abyss. I bought this before my trip to Argentina in 2014 to get a poetic feel of a country plagued by political and cultural strife  Now as Advent deep and cold, nears it Apogee, just past the turn of Solstice, I find a little time to write and ponder.

Besides Hillary’s stunning defeat and the real fear and loathing that so many of us feel as we watch a dystopian novel unfold before our eyes, there is also like the book title tells us, Light.    Every time this thought crosses my mind, I pledge to notice it, infuse it with hope and await its meaning.

But first the dark.  It ‘s time is here.  Beloved Leonard Cohen, who exited just a moment after the election left us with “You want it Darker” .  a song that to my listening, says: clearly, God, you want it darker, I’ll turn off the light.  In the chorus he chants the Hebrew,  I am here, which I take to mean,  being with, abiding,  I don’t know enough about staying with the dark, difficult, unresolved.  And that is the only thing this moment has clearly called for.  I don’t think that it has been time to dig deep for compassion or to try to make a hellish, ignorant situation brighter by good works or by  any of the tricks my personal history has taught me.  It is time to abide.

That said and experienced,  I found that Light emerged.  Deeper conversations, solidarity, shared grief, something warm and glowing right where the psychic blow landed in my solar plexus.  I’ve had Ideas for action for Standing Rock, an incipient call to a virtual circle to hold all of this , the dependable through-line of my work planned through the world next year.  This isn’t blinding, blissful light, but clarity and love and the sort of inextinguishable presence that we need just now.

In mid December, Lauren Artress and I presented a workshop on ritual and ceremony on the labyrinth.  One of our elements was sending everyone into the cold, dark night to find their luminata.  These luminata were made with cutout bags, sand and small LED lights ( no fire due to regulations).  The glow of those luminata and the need for each of us to find our own, has sustained me through the season.

May you find that glow somewhere in your solar plexus as we go on in this next uncertain year.  Mayimg_1015 we meet in ceremony, in the circle, in the heart now and always.