Tuesday, September 27, 2016
I have not written much poetry lately either, and thinking about it, I can see that when I am in production mode, as opposed to development mode, I just don't have time to veer from the vision, take my eyes off the prize, relax my focus. This is the part that is harder now, to go up to my office in the evening and do whatever needs to be done to forward my personal goals, to invest energy that is no longer abundant (indeed, I need to hoard it!) in a business plan for which I have had very little reward or even feedback. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it is a thankless task and I want a drink, and I deserve it, and what the hell!
But in my quiet moments (when I have not fallen asleep) I come back every time to one of life's most important lessons for me, that if I don't do my very best and I fail at whatever the task, then I am eternally second guessing myself. I will have no peace. If only I had. . . maybe if I could. . .what if I tried. . . And I have failed so many projects that this lesson has been carved on my soul, emblazoned on my metaphorical forehead like the scar of a whip - Do Your Best.
I have taken some ribbing for my need to be busy toward a goal - I missed Woodstock because I had to go to work and my friends drove off without me. My daughter thinks I need a vacation. Silver Fox thinks I need medication:) But I know what is true for me, and I know that if you want dreams to happen there is always stuff to do. So I drink that caffeine and climb the stairs one step at a time to do all I can, to think everything I can, to do the best job I know how to do.
It will save me in the end.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
that quakes my face and grins with me,
then drop to river rolling though
the verdant sun and shaded greens,
sighing with the cool of wind
into my soft extremities.
Then lift and turn to city-scape
and up the river, toward the Source,
a prophecy of bridges shakes
my summer doldrums wide awake.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
My daughter’s job occasionally puts her in people’s homes for legal work. She likes this and finds that when folks are more comfortable they are often more personable. But last week some people who were indeed very nice and open asked her to join them at their church on the Sunday, even wanting her phone number so they could call and remind her.Whoa! What could she tell them? A woman’s relationship with her Deity is very intimate? She doesn’t want another “father?” Lie and say she already has a church?
Her story reminded me of my own search for Deity and how I came to the conclusion that God had to have had babies. After all, the most Supreme Being is capable of anything. Surely to understand the full range of human experience and specifically to empathize with children and the needs of children, who are the future of the race, be must be able to deliver babies. But if he has babies, how does he have them?
When I was a little girl in Methodist church school I pondered this for many months. How could a man have a baby? Of course, that was before transgender operations, so I thought that it was impossible, although I did consider it. Perhaps they burst from his forehead like the Goddess Athena from her father Zeus’s? There was something a little off about a forehead cracking, but certainly it would be as painful as vaginal birth and so I considered this for several years, pursuing the Greeks and Romans for God during my college years, looking everywhere for evidence of the kind of empathy and devotion I experienced from my grandmothers. But NO! The great Zeus actually COMPETED with his children, not treating them as the part of his soul that I, as a mother, knew they must be. I was offended.
I went a generation further back to the Titans and it was even worse, cutting each other up and eating offspring like they were cannibals or something. It may be that these men were cannibals, but it was surely not true that any of them were God, who loves his children even as the smallest of these. What loving mother would eat children – anyone’s children!!!
So I moved around the Mediterranean to Israel and the Hebrews, the source of my own childhood Christian God, so see if their God had a birth canal. This was pretty easy to look into as I had several copies of the Bible and the Old Testament, of course, is about their God. I read all of it closely and came away with not one comment about God giving birth and a whole lot of “vengeance is mine” crap. This God, like the Classical Gods, seemed to think that killing was the most important thing, taking power and using it, slashing and burning and such. The way God slew all those innocent Egyptian children was as coldblooded as you could get, and I couldn’t believe the Israelite far right actually decimated every trace they could find of the ruling families they replaced in the early years in their Promised Land. It makes the current administration look warm and fuzzy!
So after rejecting Yahweh as the possible real God, I thought I would look at some Eastern deities, and indeed I got all excited when I saw that they had FEMALE deities. What a concept! Most famous and so the first woman I looked at for Supreme Deity status was Kali – I had seen her in some movie. Of course, she was very evil in that film, but then I know that movies aren’t real and they probably had a point of view, some axe to grind. I was encouraged at first by the four arms, thinking that holding a baby in each one would be very satisfying and surely would indicate that she shared my grandmothers’ infinite patience and deep desire to nourish life and grow children into kind and responsible adults. But to my surprise the movie was right and the four arms were used to enclose ultimate chaos. Even that I could begin to buy from a certain distant perspective, but when I found out she “creates” life in a non-physical kind of ongoing magic way, rather that through the usual method, I became suspicious and less able to forgive the chopped-off arms she wears for a skirt and the daggers and blood her own arms are wielding. She in fact seemed to be the personification of males’ worst nightmares about loss of power to emotional females and all manner of vicious, mean, terrible, and terrifying powers are ascribed to her, like their hard-ons are all her fault. I have to admit that I did like that she is depicted standing on her old man Shiva, but vengeance is not what I am looking for in a Deity even if it suits me. And also, nowhere does it say she ever had a baby – just that full-time job of creator of the universe. I do think a Deity should have a little real experience before she is saddled with the whole enchilada. All in all, after a cursory look at other female Eastern candidates I came away feeling like I was looking for Mrs. Goodbar and moved back to more familiar ground.
I thought perhaps that the Christian writers had just gotten the story wrong – certainly most religious writers I had been reading had. Maybe Mary, the mother of Jesus was really God, as we know for sure that she had a birth canal and that she was involved with Supreme Beings. Maybe a rival Christian faction had just left out all the powerful Mary stuff so their own God candidate could be the Almighty. Really, I thought that on my own before the Dan Brown book, stemming from a class I had taken in college that followed the four different literary traditions the linguists find in the Bible’s production, thinking that each of them probably had a different perspective on the story and that being the narrator could make or break history. Like the monks who circulated their story of finding Arthur’s bones under the church only to rebury them, and no one now knows where they are, right at a time when tourism was lagging. Depression economics will make people write anything that might help make a buck.
So I was pleased to find there was a whole historical literature on Mary as the object of worship, a powerful Deity with the interests of her children her central calling, as it should be. But it was not about Mary the mother, it was about Mary Magdeline, who was probably the wife of Jesus. I know it is only one generation, but somehow she seems like kind of a latecomer for Supreme Being status to me. She does have all the right characteristics, but then people seem so exercised that she might have been black and then there is the whole hide-the-children theory about the grail; I think all of that would have kept her too busy to be in charge of the universe. Reading about her made me realize that Mary the mother was probably also too late in the game to be God, even if the writers lied. Actually, by the time I had read enough Christian history to have an educated guess about who their gods really are I was so disgusted with humans I was not sure that I cared if we have a Deity or not – we certainly don’t deserve one!
But I keep coming back to the way I feel when I hold my grandchildren in my arms and how much I want them to be happy and untroubled in their futures that I can’t give up the idea that we are all someone’s children. God MUST know how this feels.
So I went back to school and read archaeology, looking for a kinder, gentler past. I can’t say I had much success in finding it, judging from the plethora of war artifacts, the defense marks on the forelimbs of ancient female skeletons, and the architecture of “games” where human heads were used as the ball. But from before God, from the period around twenty thousand years ago, we find across Europe a whole array of interesting little clay figurines of women with big bellies and no feet that were probably kind of kitchen goddesses, the bottoms pointed to stick into something that would hold them upright to be viewed by the person in the kitchen. And from Turkey and Asia Minor there are statues dating to ten thousand years ago of a mother of a Mother with legs wide and babied sticking out all over the place – that Deity had a birth canal to be sure! I liked the stories from near there of the Amazons as well, a little later in time and lost in the mists between prehistory and history, where the women lived together and the men lived elsewhere, getting together only when they wanted to for parties and such. The women raised all the children, although the boys went off with the men when they were of a certain age. I like to think that the men of that time were a kinder gentler lot for having been raised en suite, so to speak, but probably that is fantasy since once they were away from moms and competition started there were no females to interfere; probably the kinder, gentler boys all died in training.
So I have taken up the image of the Mother Goddess as my Deity. She is all-powerful in her creative duties, and She wants and supports only the best for her babies, as I would expect. It means, however, that She has very little energy left for destructive power and since there is so much destruction in the world it follows that she is not All-Powerful. Instead, I think she must be full of patience and sorrow, forgiveness and redemption, vast capacity for understanding, and overarching joy. I think She fills our souls with a comprehension of good and bad that enables us to choose our steps through the mass of chaos we call living, and that she does this by modeling good and bad behaviors and teaching us what makes us laugh and fills us with satisfaction so that we can sort these things from unnecessary pain. I think She counts on our intelligence and ability to learn and understand to guide our judgment and sooth our losses, and She never ever would eat me.
To get back to my daughter and what I might have said were I her in those nice people’s house last week, I think I would have told them they were very kind but my heart already has a god. I am not sure that would have been enough to keep them off me, but egad, you have to say something!