Wednesday, January 3, 2018



It is said that when Kuan Yin was about to cross the threshold to heaven, she heard the anguished cries of the world below and she turned to go tend to them.  She said her place was with the suffering....and thus became the goddess of compassion.

Kuan Yin is the manifestation of the Divine Mother.  In Japan she is called Kannon and in China followers call her Guanyin.  Tibetans know her as Tara.  Kuan Yin is a Bodhisattva, one born of wisdom and destined to become Buddha.  Bodhisattvas are messianic figures, spiritual heroes/heroines, willing to sacrifice themselves for others life after life while expanding the wisdom that comes with understanding what it takes to effectively help others in pain and suffering.

For those who struggle under the weight and error of holding on to the pain that an unforgiving heart brings into our lives, she shows us, through the flames of forgiveness, how to let go. 

I know of no one who has never harbored a grudge against another.  We all have scars left by those who taunted, tormented, and even assaulted us in the past.  Most of us will carry these scars from childhood and the older we get the deeper some scars can run.  It's a common thread during sessions on therapists' couches throughout the world.  We were bullied, and not always by other kids.  We were lied to and usually by adults who knew they were lying to us.  We were promised things that never came to be.  We were cheated out of hard earned wins on fields and in classrooms.  We were betrayed by those we most trusted and loved.  In truth, the worst wounds from betrayal on any level come from those we loved and trusted the most; parent, friend, lover, child.  

It takes a heart on a journey of discovery to even want to forgive.  Because to forgive, you first must know, or at the very least fear, the damage that will be done to your mind and body if you do not.  That wound, left unforgiven will never heal.  It will never let you move on.  It will take more and more of your creative gits to tend to it.  You see, the wounds of unforgiveness don't just exist to remind you of some hurt or betrayal.  They are there to be time consuming parasites that will eventually consume you. There is one sure-fire way to extinguish an ever-growing wound of unforgiveness; follow it back to its origin and not your origin but the origin of the one who hurt you, betrayed you, lied to you, and damaged you for anything better than tending to it day after day.  

Most of the forgiveness we enter into comes as we grow up and through some reckoning we come to realize how it came to be that they were a victim quite possibly long before you were ever born. Funny how we hold tight those grievances against our parents for not letting us have the freedom to stay out until 3:00 am until we have our own teenagers nipping at us for being such tyrants with a time piece. Those kind of wounds of unforgiveness will work themselves out given enough time. 

But those wounds from serious abuses and betrayals that leave a psyche unable to barely process what goes into being responsible for another's life without causing similar pain is much more detrimental to the mental, emotional, and physical health needed for quality of life.  I am in no position to dictate the steps that go into this kind of repair but I do know it involves deconstructing a life that was also betrayed, brutalized, and damaged by someone who was also raised in the reality of being mistreated.  It requires opening yourself to the truth that we repeat what we know and until we know better we can not hope to do better.

And nowhere in forgiveness is there an expectation of forgetfulness.  We do not magically forget ever being violated. We retain all those memories while gaining the knowledge that we now have the power to let it go.  How hard it must have been to be one of the millions of fathers desperate to feed their hungry children in 1934. To know they looked to you to provide the food and shelter so many other fathers were failing to do for their children. To wake up every morning wondering if this would be the day you learned you, too had no job to go to. Then the inevitability of realizing you would be in that long line of people waiting for something to eat.  And perhaps your coping skills were stretched beyond your capacity to cope and you simply left.  Those children now only had their mother to provide for them and soon they would know how things could go so quickly from bad to worse as that mother worked and worried herself into an early grave, even as the State gathered each child for deposit into what ever orphanage could handle the job of raising too many abandoned children on an already over burdened charity program for children forsaken by parents who either left them or died trying.  This scenario repeated itself more than we can imagine today.  

This is the kind deconstruction that needs to take place for those life altering experiences that promise to leave us permanently scarred and damaged unless we take the first step.  I see now how my parents were raised to communicate, or not communicate their love and fears that came with raising three willful daughters even as they embarked on this commitment as children themselves.  Things were said and done raising those girls to adulthood that decades later would present an opportunity for the classic do-over when they lost their youngest daughter in a fatal car accident that also took an eight year old grand daughter.  A four year old grand daughter survived to be whisked away without any second thoughts about what it would be like to raise another child even as they were preparing for full-time retirement.  My mother, raised by an alcoholic father during the Depression and my dad raised by a mother with eleven other children after his dad died unexpectedly during the same Depression, gathered up a four year old traumatized by the deaths of both Mother and sister without second guessing for a second what kind of parents they would be in their sixties.  

This second-chance child was not raised like their biological children.  And the other two now adult children took note of that feature.  Fast forward thirty years and that surviving child now has her own family.  She is devoted to her grandparents, who will tell you they do not think of her as a grand daughter but as the fourth child. Mistakes were still made but very few were repeated from the first batch.  They had learned to "pick their battles".  They had learned it was more important to be happy than it was to be right.  My dad was ever present because he didn't work 50 hours a week any more.  They took frequent family vacations and she was entitled to piano lessons they couldn't afford raising their own children. Does the grand daughter struggle with forgiveness?  You bet.  But she was raised hearing the same stories from a variety of perspectives; she'll be fine.

If you still struggle with that hard-to-reconcile injury, Kuan Yin is a breath away to help you look past the fires of anger and bitterness into empathy and healing.  She wants to introduce you to ground zero of the damage you sustained; all the way back to when that tormentor, that betrayer, that predator was the innocent one being mistreated or damaged.  We all have an origin.  We all came into the world needing protection and love.  We all, at some point learned not everyone gets what they want or need.  God grant us, everyone, time to find in our hearts a willingness to want to know more.  From there the healing can be sowed into hearts, that maybe one day, will be used to guide yet another lost and bruised soul of a little child residing in a grown man or woman needing a lesson in deconstruction.  Kuan Yin will light the fires of compassion and ease you into it.  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


Goddess of
Focused Energy

Boudicea was a holy terror. Her need for justice and revenge for the  rape of her two young daughters cost 70,000 innocent people their lives.  She destroyed everything and everyone that got in her way. Now, wouldn't you just love to dish out that kind of justice to hateful people in your life? Can’t do it, though. Not legal, and the karmic debt would be worse than the interest on a pay-day loan. However, you can learn from Boudicea.

At the time of the Roman conquest of southern Britain, Queen Boudicea ruled the Iceni tribe of East Anglia alongside her husband, King Prasutagus.  Boudicea was a tall, fiery red-head with a fierce eye and harsh voice.  Definitely a lady to be noticed! The Roman Governor of Britain at that time was Suetonius Paulinus, who was as much about conquering for Rome as he was about punishing anyone who stood in his way. After her husband's death his lands and household were plundered by the Roman officers and their slaves. Not content with taking all the property and lands, Suetonius had Boudicea publicly flogged and her daughters were raped by Roman slaves! Boudicea went on a tear.  While her battle was to keep Britain free of Roman control, even more of her anger and vengeance went into destroying Romans for the rape of her young and innocent daughters.  "Hell hath no wrath..." never rang truer than watching Boudicea fight against the malicious patriarchy of the Roman military.  In the end she lost the battle against the Romans and rather than be taken prisoner, she swallowed poison.  Still, she secured a place in British history remembered for her bravery.  

But how much of what she did was considered justice?  How much done to her and her family could be considered justice?  Just how much does justice actually have to do with right and wrong in our country so pledged to justice for all.

How many times do we ponder vengeance for some egregious wrong done to us or someone we love; innocent men locked away for something DNA will clear them of never having done decades later?  Something that captured the media in late 2017; women coming forward with secrets they feared speaking of decades earlier that ended up costing many of these men handsomely for their arrogant abuses.  And certainly if someone violates a child, surely it should be permissible for the parent to punish the predator as they see fit, up to and including murder of the perpetrator.  Right?  Unfortunately we, as a civilized society, live under the rule of law that says everyone is innocent until proven guilty...even when we know they are guilty.  And unfortunately,  based on the ever growing scarcity of truth on popular web cites in trending social media, it can grow into guilty until proven innocent like a fire storm.  This particular brand of justice can ruin lives long before it's proven to be false in an actual court of law.  The damage was done almost before it could be handed off to a lawyer.  This is definitely not justice.
It seems so unfair.  How can a civilized society allow anyone to walk about freely knowing they are hideous predators and murderers?  How can the same civilized society allow a man to be sentenced for life for a crime he was accused of by someone who was paid to bear false witness for it...or they had a personal grudge against the accused....or because the accused was considered disposable by the same people who sat on the jury that convicted him?  It's been argued that no one is innocent in life....if they aren't locked away for one unspeakable crime, they surely got away with other unspeakable crimes.  Seriously, shouldn't we be better at dishing out justice by now?
I buried a son when he was barely twenty-one years old because someone offered to pay his killer to get rid of him so he wouldn't be bothering him for the piddly amount of money he owed my son.  His killer was sent to prison....and the man who arranged the assault was whisked away by a wealthy father and never even had to testify in court.  Two people should have gone to prison but in reality only the one who was too poor to get a lawyer paid for murdering my son.  I didn't call this justice then and twenty four years later I still don't call it justice.  What provided me justice on that ride to the hospital to see about a son I was told had been shot twice visiting an acquaintance? A decision I made on the way to the hospital; to stay calm and remember people lived all the time from being shot. I reminded myself of the rapper, 50 Cent, who was shot numerous times, but instead lived to get rich writing about it.  I soon learned I was not going to be that kind of lucky.  When they told me at the hospital that the damage was just too great and they could not save him, I evaporated into anguish.  Later I recalled, on the way to the hospital, having "envisioned" a long line of cars with headlights on and I said at that time, "Please do not let me live my life in bitterness."  This was all it took to remove me from the bitterness I should have been consumed with, to this very day.  But such was not the case with me.  
I have never felt bitterness for this man, a young man one year younger than my son. When his mother reached out to me in the court room and apologized for her son's crime, I felt no bitterness.  I felt such pity for that mother, though. A woman clearly struggling with drugs and poverty, but still unconditionally devoted to her son.  A woman who would have to go to bed each night wondering what injustices her son had endured another day in a prison full of hardened, angry grown men.  I told myself she still had a son who would join her one day, but what kind of man would she get back from the scared and helpless boy who went in 8 years earlier.  And what kind of life would he have once out, as a convicted felon.  A convicted murderer.  Still, I felt no bitterness.  I am, in fact, an advocate for real prison reform.  I want ex-convicts to have hope, real hope, for a life outside the cells where they repaid society for their crimes.  I hope the man who took my son from me has found a way to redeem himself and is surrounded by people who believe in him and support him.  I earnestly do.

Over the last twenty four years I have felt anger for any number of betrayals and injustices thrown my way.  I have fantasized having the perfect opportunity to tell a few people exactly how I felt about them for the lies and mistreatment they heaped onto me.  My anger has not been tempered toward disappointments and failures throughout the years I have grieved for him, but I have yet to feel bitterness or contempt for my son's murderer. I have no idea where he is now or how he is doing, but I can honestly say I do not wish additional hardship on him.  I know when I made the request not to be bitter I was granted forgiveness.  All I had to do was send forth that intention and it was done.  I know now, that this one loss lived out in bitterness and hate would have destroyed me.  I know this to be true.

I have channeled his death a plethora of ways from donations to various charities to creating my own empowerment cards years ago.  I promised my son I would keep him alive even from beyond the grave.  I speak of him so often and in such a way that people who do not know I lost him twenty four years ago think I have two sons, which I do, but only one lives and breaths.  

My energy has gone into keeping him alive through me, not suspended in death by his murderer.  Anger can be channeled into useful, constructive areas. It is possible to free yourself of mean and hateful attitudes that weigh you down. With intention you can move on and move up, leaving behind your doubts and fears. Boudicea’s energy destroyed even though it was accomplished in honor of her daughters. That same energy can create in honor of loved ones.  Our focus can create or destroy.  It must be an intention we establish; to use our energy to remember life instead of death.  Focus!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Goddess of Unconditional Love

Tara, born of Buddha’s tear for humanity’s suffering, answers our pleas for assistance. She reaches for, embraces, and then imparts a profound sense of love and peace to all

Hold a gemstone up to the light, perhaps a precious stone in a ring or locket. Notice how the light dances and sparkles as you move it about. Now, imagine that light is love. Send that ‘light’ into the world, to someone special, or to someone you want to understand better. Those "generous feelings" are needed in the world today but would that be considered unconditional love?

It's not a coincidence that gem stones hold such a fascination for humans the world over.  We are drawn to light that bounces from objects and the more brilliant the light, the larger the fascination.  We seem to instinctively know we are born of light, made from star dust, and created to sparkle and shine. It's a form of enlightenment that some people in the world today seem to share.

But is enlightenment unconditional love? Is unconditional love an intention?  Is it something one just "sets their mind to" in the same way forgiveness is achieved; something one must be willing to experience? Is unconditional love a willingness to see things differently, a willingness to simply open the mind to explore other possibilities and all other egotistical burdens are simply erased, for good?  Can it be that simple?  We just agree to needing nothing in return and regardless the facts, just impart our love to others?  If this is the case I would think by now we would have mastered our feelings of jealousy and envy and greed in the world today.  I know of no place on earth today where feelings of ego are not creating division and strife within even primitive societies.  So unconditional love can not be as simple as deciding it while maintaining life as usual in a stressful and busy daily routine.  I mean, I'm not talking Eat Pray Love mastery of the ego by monks or gurus.

Being happy is an intention, as well. But what about those people who seem to come alive in the face of defeat or failure?  Even in situations most people abandon for hopeless at first sight, that intention to remain hopeful and positive is there in some people. It's the perpetual cheery of Little Orphan Annie, or never-quit spitfire of Unsinkable Molly Brown.  Where does this unquenchable spirit of Can Do come from in people given to being described as unstoppable?  You see it more in times of crisis.  You see it bubble up from the depths of despair following a natural disaster.  Do some people require the test of a mass shooting, or Category 5 hurricane to put their pessimism and bigotry aside to embrace humankind without condition and impart a profound love to those on the brink of destruction? Is it during times of struggle for survival that we recognize a universal need all humans share; inclusive love and nurturing.  But this is not unconditional love.  It's a brotherly love that, thankfully, arises in times of great crisis.  We saw this after 9/11.  An unbridled desire to serve, to embrace, and to love, sight unseen.

Light represents love.  Light speaks of hope.  Light reminds us there is a reward for hanging on.  That precious gem on the finger of the woman loved and adored by the one who provided that symbol of a promise made is binding between the two sharing a journey together.  That gemstone represents loyalty, devotion, and unconditional love.  To betray that promise by either party is to remove the shine from that gemstone.  It will never shine again in the face of betrayal.  That gemstone has not changed physically but it now forever represents bitter loss once betrayal has entered the relationship.  So enlightenment must be protected, cultivated, nurtured, and respected.  But this kind of love is NOT unconditional.  This love is dependent on mutual or reciprocal love.  

The unconditional love Tara brings is not based on what one person deserves, or earns, or returns.  It remains in the face of betrayal, or scorn, or rejection.  It has the ability to do what is best for another, even if it means allowing another to leave us.  The love stays.  Tara seeks to meet you on very difficult terms in order to tend to the emotional or mental pain that being broken wide open has rendered you.

When you have been broken open you are exposed to the world.  You have no fight left in you.  Your grief oozes from you like a open wound.  You submit to the tears and regret and sorrow you have fought for too long to hide.  This is what is sometimes referred to as "praying through".  It is lonely.  It is painful.  It feels endless. It is at this most vulnerable time that Tara whispers to you that she understands and knows exactly how you feel and what you need. Christianity calls this the Holy Spirit. The Comforter comes to the Jew prostrate in grief.  Muslims call on the created Messenger called Jibrayil.

For those who have been broken open and felt the comfort and care of a spirit that imparted not only a feeling of healing but also an unconditional love that says nothing we can do will ever separate us from that Original love, they are left changed for the rest of their lives. That level of acceptance and comfort felt during a time of great despair and need never leaves.  It makes it possible to relate or empathize with others on a level they couldn't have known before.  People who have experienced this kind of spiritual intervention aren't guaranteed a life without pain or struggle ever again, but they fully understand they aren't alone in this world.  They are connected to a Higher Love that has been with them all their life and will go with them into death.

Unconditional love is love originating from God or agape love.  Parental love understands unconditional love.  There is nothing a child can do to separate a parent from that love for their child. Not unspeakable rejection of the parent, not unspeakable behavior of the child toward another person, not addictions to things that make that child unrecognizable from the child placed in the arms of those parents at birth. The same is true of God.  There is nothing we can do to separate God's love for us from Him.  It doesn't have to be accepted to be true.  It's not dependent on our belief or devotion to God.  It just is.  To know love and peace on such a profound level is to have been touched by agape love.....unconditional love.  

Monday, June 27, 2016


In Russian folklore Baba Yaga is presented as a fearsome witch with iron teeth.  She is mysterious, dreadful, and cautions against being deceitful and impure.  She has a litany of awful characteristics that are meant to punish those who go about in this world doing as they please with little regard to whom they injure in the process.  She becomes one with the intention of anyone who seeks her out, and the operative word is INTENTION.  

The definition of INTENTION is the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose, a determination to act in a certain way :  RESOLVE

Baba Yaga is said to KNOW the intention of those who pursue her and her actions in dealing with them are a direct reflection of that intention.  We live in a society now that is determined to make INTENTION obsolete; no bearing on consequences and therefore NO PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY required.  Well of course this mentality goes against nature.  Every choice made, whether consciously intentional or subconsciously intentional binds us to the consequences of that choice. Only on a very naive level can we pretend our choices are not our own.  This doesn't change the fact the choice will have consequences. 

Baba Yaga would ask only one question to the visitor bold enough to enter her hut; do you come of your own free will or were you sent.  There could only be one right answer.  A wrong answer was death.  Who would enter a hut surrounded by a fence made of bones, meant to keep out intruders, and topped with the skulls of blazing eye sockets except of their own free will?  And yet we have generations walking about now who want us to believe they should not be blamed for the choices they make regarding how they use products they purchased because they ignored the directions or disclaimers.  Or an industry giant knowingly burying evidence a product is not functioning properly or wasn't properly installed and now people are being injured or killed as a result.  The initial reaction to warn the public before serious injury or death was ignored in favor of protecting investments and careers.  The choice was made and the intention was to deceive.  Of course in the END it fails and investments are lost and careers ruined but seldom will you see ONE person step up and take responsibility.  It becomes the shame of an INDUSTRY or a CORPORATION.  Behind the scenes there is a scramble to RENAME or RELABEL a product so it that it can RESURFACE under new management, that will function as a MOB as well, so as not to make ONE person totally accountable because, well, we don't live in a world that expects ONE PERSON to accept full accountability for any decision.  Even though the salaries get larger as you go up the ladder of accountability, it will be those on the lower rungs of the ladder who suffer the most for the bad intentions of those at the top. We USE the word HONOR to describe honest and thoughtful and mindful people but when was the last time you saw a JOB DESCRIPTION that included the phrase MUST BE HONORABLE?  

Honor and personal accountability go hand in hand so it's not surprising HONOR isn't on the short list of qualifications for the highest paying or most prestigious jobs being offered.  In some cultures loss of honor is a justification for murder.  Yet we don't think honor should be a qualification when asking us to trust someone to lead us, direct us, and represent us.  Honor isn't just something you SAY you have.  You demonstrate it by stepping down when you've failed, when you've lost the trust in people you serve, when a decision you made cost people their savings, their future, their lives.  We used to say it took an act of Congress to force someone to step aside but that is no longer true.  It used to take a lawsuit that threatened a financial empire, or the constant glare of headlines in news papers and blogs declaring someone unwilling to take accountability to make someone buckle under and accept responsibility.   Seems like these days, nothing can force someone to admit they've dishonored themselves.  They simply ride out the controversy knowing another scandal will come along to bail them out any day now. They learn nothing and they make no changes in how they conduct themselves, at least none the public can see.  Life goes on for them as if nothing happened to unsuspecting or innocent people under them.  And people become desensitized to dishonor, almost accepting the fact they will be exploited or manipulated for the sake of saving someone else from dishonor.  Everyone is so willing to 'forget it'.  You hear, "everyone makes mistakes' or 'everyone deserves as second chance'.  Which is all fine and good but where is it written they don't have to be closely supervised or scrutinized the second time around?  

We have a President who feels so strongly about NOT holding people of questionable honor under close inspection that he refuses to profile or vet these questionable people because it's them.  They are questionable because they are unknown, and have questionable intentions. But we have to take their word that they simply want to live a good life and hope they won't turn around and join in marches demanding an end to the very good life that they said they wanted here...because suddenly they aren't happier here than they were in their war torn homes across the ocean.  And STILL he refuses to make them feel badly about hating the people who took them in.

Honor should be at the top our list of qualifications; over how wealthy they are, over how experienced they are, over how many promises they can make to us, over how effective they are using the media, and over which set of genitalia are suitable for the job.  Honor should be more important than the words FIRST IN HISTORY.  Honor should be more important than how they look on television or how skilled they are at making people laugh.  Honor should come before how well they talk, how many celebrities support them, or how much money they can raise in one $5000 per plate dinner.  Honor is so important it should also trickle down to the people they consider their closest friends.

Baba Yaga wanted to know just how honorable the person was who dared to breach her inner sanctum.  In the end she was also credited with helping the most honorable because as it turns out SHE HAD NO POWER OVER THOSE WITH A PURE HEART.  When are we going to get back to demanding honor among our leaders?  In fact when are we going get back to making HONOR more important than gaming the system?

Thursday, June 9, 2016



A Welsh goddess of beauty and betrayal, created by two magicians for the purpose of fulfilling a curse laid on the son of a goddess determined to maintain control.  She was created of nine types of blossom-oak. Often referred to as flower face.  However, she proved to be bad news for Lleu Llaw Gyffes, her husband.  But what a looker she was....and she represents temporary beauty and bright blooming that must come full circle through death.  Her husband, by means of his mother, was declared untouchable but for a special set of circumstances before he could be killed by mere mortals.  A riddle that went something like 'not in a house, not outside a house, not on horseback and not of foot...'.  So I'm guessing by the time he fell head over heels for Blodeuwedd he was already pretty full of himself.

So, moving on with the legend, Lleu decides to get some man time in with his magician buddies. I'm guessing this was the equivalent of the man-cave time to get away from women for a bit.  In his absence a hunter by the name of Gronw Prebyr stumbles across the path of Blodeuwedd and, you guessed it, falls head over heels in love with her.  The difference this time was she felt the exact same way.  Gronw and Blodeuwedd fall hard for each other and she decides she really can't live without him and fully resents the fact she was created for the sole purpose of being someone's property.  Here is where the goddess in her rises to her full potential.  She tricks Lleu into showing her how he must be posed in order to be killed and that done, she sets him up and Gronw wounds him with a spear.  Lleu is nursed back to health and then the lovers are captured and punished.  Gronw is killed but Blodeuwedd is turned into an owl, a night predator.  In an instant she is turned into the polar opposite of what she was created.  From a beautiful, meek, submissive creation to a solitary, magnificent night hunter that is the owl.  She had gone full circle in the blink of an eye; from innocent maiden to wise crone.  

Such are the lessons of the goddess.  Blodeuwedd was created to be submissive and without her own voice.  She took back that power and entered into a scheme that would clearly be of her own choosing.  In being turned into an owl she maintained her own voice as a singular threat to the night.  

As women we cycle not only monthly but also in stages from maiden to mother to crone.  The idea of being a crone is dreaded by maidens and mothers but fully embraced by the time that cycle arrives.  

Maidens are naive, and for the most part, simply obedient to someone.  It might be a parent or it might be a lover.  But the maiden is without credible voice.  I know they talk a lot and make a lot of noise but they know they aren't taken as seriously as they would like.  But they have youth on their side so they are granted more than a fair share of passes for their impulsive and inexperienced observations.  You see this today in college women who are determined to be passionate about one cause or another that they usually support only to gain credibility.  They have no life experience to back up what they demand or stand for so they make up for it by yelling insults or declaring the object of their scorn worthless until they submit to the demands of her cause.  Youth.  If they maintain the passion they have for these causes they usually either evolve into a different way of looking at the issue or mature to a position of credibility through personal experience.

Mothers, on the other hand, are not to be mistreated.  They have a reason to go unhinged into anyone so arrogant as to forget she is not unhinged for HER benefit but for her offspring.  A woman protecting a child will never be held accountable for what she does to anyone who threatens her nest. She has gained credibility through her child and the more children the more credible she becomes.  But she will tell you herself, it has nothing to do with wisdom.  She is making up the play book as she goes along.  And by surrounding herself with other mothers, she is a voice to be reckoned with, but it's still based on self sacrifice.  Mothers surprise themselves with how loud and persistent they can be when it comes to their children.  Mild mannered maidens only a scant few years earlier but now prepared to take on any one who comes between her and her family.  Mothers don't care how they appear when defending a child.  They are unrepentant and without shame.  But they still lack the wisdom that comes from being a Crone.

The Crone is the full fledged woman to fear, to respect, to envy.  She walks in courage.  She is confident.  She is able to look back and accept how foolish she was as both maiden and mother.  She is compassionate and while comfortable pointing out the follies of the younger women around her, she is empathetic to their journeys.  She sees herself in every woman.  Now if only the maiden and mother could see the wisdom she carries and beseech her to share.  There was a time not so long ago that the Crone was honored and included in all social rituals and community events.  She was the one they invited into the nursery to bestow the white light of protection on the sleeping babes.  She was the one introduced to the 'intendeds' who sought blessings of marriage to young maidens.  She was the one mentoring the soon to be mothers in learning to walk confidently into motherhood and guiding her into the understanding that no one gets through motherhood without making mistakes that will haunt them into old age.  The Crone was an invited guest, not a dreaded intrusion.

Going full circle means taking the journey from naivety to wisdom through personal experience.  The Crone is the one who keeps the maiden from losing hope, and the mother from losing faith.  The Crone bears hard won bragging rights paid for by bought lessons, or lessons learned the hard way.  Some cultures still put a heavy emphasis on honoring the aged.  But more and more the tendency is to put the aged in the corner or in their place where they can't interfere. All that experience sitting off in a corner loving unconditionally every maiden and mother going through a struggle they remember oh too well.  And all it would take is just an invitation to be included in those heart to heart talks or those humorous, and often lusty stories set in 'olden times'.  It's a gift you give to yourself. Allow yourself to be swept away in lessons that don't sound preachy but somehow end up being exactly what you needed to know.

The Crone knows things.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ostara Goddess of Joy

Ostara and Eostre are the same goddess from different areas of Europe. She is the goddess of joy and new beginnings celebrated during the Spring Equinox, when all things are equal. Her name lives on in Easter and also estrogen.  Her symbols, rabbits and painted eggs, suggest fertility, celebrated during springtime festivals.

While Ostara represents youth, the maiden, and all the innocence that surrounds being young, this is also an opportunity to point out how important it is to look to elders for guidance during youth. You being a young woman, take it from an old woman, have a lot to learn, but you also have an amazing adventure ahead of you!

Young women today are vulnerable and lack a confidence due to living without the active and present influence of elders.  In the not-so-distant past grandparents were an inclusive part of the nuclear family.  They provided financial assistance for childcare and housing and were recognized for their wisdom.  Their advice was sought after and followed.  Young women grew up hearing of their wisdom in lessons they had learned.  By the time a woman was old enough to leave home and start her own family she was ready.  She also knew she had the support of parents and grandparents and would never be totally on her own.

Today's women don't necessarily leave home to start their own families.  They go to college or work and live on their own. In college they face different ideologies and philosophies that challenge everything they learned at home.  In many cases they are introduced to ideas that they quickly embrace which, down the road may collide with their true values.  Young women today fight, in most cases, the very thought of being like their own mothers, or God forbid, their grandmothers.  Many years later, and after years of hard earned lessons they begin the slow trek back to their roots and discover just how smart and capable their mothers were all along. 

Reminds me of an old saying my mother-in-law often repeated; youth is wasted on the young.  How true.  I grew up hearing my mother's friends declare, "I wouldn't be twenty one again if you paid me!"  In my twenties the first time I heard it I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard.  Who in their right mind would not want to be twenty-one again?  The energy!  The stamina!  The vitality!  Seriously? Then I hit my thirties and was amazed at how much more validated I felt when I spoke.  I wasn't dismissed like a child being sent to the 'little table' at Thanksgiving.  I was even able to carry on intelligent conversations without someone throwing their hands in the air and exclaiming, "Kids!"  The best was yet to come, but I would have to go through hell to get there.

When I turned forty my life turned inside out.  My marriage dissolved.  My youngest child was killed; murdered at the tender age of twenty-one.  No one, not family or friends, could have predicted all that hit me within months of each other.  I suddenly had no routine to follow.  My eldest son was finishing up college and chose to stay close to his dad, so I was, for the first time in my life, on my own. It was a crazy roller coaster ride and I was in the very first seat for the entire ride!  I had to learn financial responsibility on an income that was never intended to be the sole source of support.  I had to make changes in everything from refinancing a home to opening new bank accounts and moving utility bills into my name.  I had credit card debt that had to be paid off. I underwent surgery and had to deal with medical debt.  Notice I put debt ahead of physical recovery.  This was my forties and it slipped into the fifties before I knew what was happening.

In my fifties I had a momentum going and was able to see that I was a survivor. During my fifties I became debt free and all on a salary that would have defeated a lesser woman. I was healthy, even after another minor surgery, and able to do whatever I set my sights on doing. I had some set backs in employment and ended up, at the end of my fifties, doing exactly what I had always loved doing; working with school children. But this time I would follow the same class from sixth grade to graduation.  So far it's the highlight of my every waking day. They are two years from graduation now and together we navigate life from one hour to the next. We laugh and cry together and most days I just try to make them understand they aren't alone.

In my sixties, now, I experience a freedom that only comes from having survived so much.  I still have an abiding faith in people and enjoy, really enjoy, what I do.  So what is the point of this 'lesson'?  What advice could I impart on women coming up in the world today?  LISTEN TO YOUR ELDERS.  

Wonderful things happen as we age. We become very comfortable in our skin, for the first time in our lives, for many of us. We feel empowered to be bolder and more assertive. We become more sure-footed and comfortable with ourselves. But that comes from living, taking risks, and learning things the hard way that we simply refused to learn from the women around us in our lives. When an older woman talks about experiences she's had, young women need to pay attention.  We no longer sit at the feet of our grandparents and listen to their stories as we ball yarn or snap string beans for dinner. We are spread out from our life connections and in many cases forced to text, Face Time, or Skype to stay in touch. But life lessons need to continue being shared. Speak up.  Ask for advice.When asked for advice, give it.  Relate an experience to drive it home. The burden is on both young and old to come together and embrace what we are experiencing and what we have learned from our experiences.

What our young women face today comes in the form of social connections that challenge their own ideas.  These young women can be argumentative and defensive from having to fight their way through society.  It's not easy to validate someone so angry and exhausted from having to justify everything they say and do....or worse, don't care anymore what anyone thinks or says. These are women who need the love and wisdom of an elder in their lives. These are the women likely to shrug their shoulders and dismiss you.  Don't mistake their insolence for confidence.  These women want someone to hang in there and show them they know a thing or two about life.

Being young never was easy but it's harder and more cautionary today than at any time I remember at that age.  I was head strong and fearless.  I was impulsive and didn't give much thought to consequences.  I was lucky.  People die today for much less than I did at their age.  If ever there was a time young people need to be able to trust and discuss life with an elder, it's now.  Right now.  Our young girls are twisting in the wind and have a rough road ahead of them without benefit of an older and wiser woman taking them by the hand and showing them they understand, not just because they are older, but because they learned valuable lessons the hard way.  Show them love and affection and then without judgement, guide them to being able to make wiser decisions.

It really is a miracle I am still here. My mother married young and had two children before she was twenty one!  She was an awesome home maker, cook, and skilled 'cosmetologist' (beautician).  But she had a mother she leaned heavily on for support. I rejected any help I could have had because I was an independent woman, a feminist, and I didn't need anyone.  Where I got that notion, I have no idea.  The older I got the more I disagreed with the notion that a woman can have it all. No one gets it all. This is a lie.  If you think someone has managed this, I promise you they would not agree. No one makes it alone in this world, and no one gets through this life without making mistakes. This is the truth.  And if we don't start taking an active interest in what our young women are going through, it's only going to get rougher for them. Rather than sit back and talk about them, and how silly they are, how ridiculous they sound, start talking TO them. The earlier the better. It's time the older, wiser, liberated women in society start including our young women at the table of discussions. It's time to validate their feelings and accept their experiences as the stuff to build on rather than dismiss in exasperation.  Our young women want to be recognized and we need to pass on what we've learned to a generation that will do like wise in just a few short years.  Give it up, elders. Embrace the youthful fearlessness of being twenty one and give thanks for being able to say you're 'that old!'.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lilith Goddess of Darkness

Lilith, Adam's FIRST wife, was a handful.  Yes, indeed.  She was created, as was Adam, from the dust of the earth, according to legend.  She was not created at the same time, however, and that was the basis of the brew-haha between them from her first breath.  
Adam had already been created and had been given total domain over all the living things God had created before him; he got to name them and he even found himself jealous of their coupling and affection for each other (this was Eden, after all). He tried mating with the females of various animals but felt no deep connection or bond.  So he did what any red blooded male would do when he's not satisfied; he whined to God about feeling rejected and lonely. So, God, wanting everything to go as smoothly as possible, took of the same dust of the earth and made Lilith.  What a looker!  She was curvy AND capable.  Oh, and she liked sex.  Adam was in paradise, literally. And she fit him perfectly and was, he thought, just as he fantasized his perfect mate would be, until she wasn't.

Seems Lilith was also very smart.  She KNEW God had already told Adam he was the boss over all the living things.  And Adam took that to mean he was boss over her, too. He even ordered her to lay beneath him for sex! She wasn't having it.  She was equal to Adam in almost every way; she was equal to Adam in sex appeal and drive. And before long she decided the only area they were not equal was intelligence because he wasn't getting it....she was NOT his slave. She rebelled.  Adam whined.  She ignored him. Adam whined even louder.  She stopped giving him her cookie.  Adam stomped his foot and cried out to God.  

God ordered Lilith back into Adam's arms.  Lilith took off.  God told  her that until she returned to Adam AND submitted to his authority, for every day she refused, one of her children would die. Her motherly instinct did not over ride her hatred of being told what to do, period.  If God had made her to be a belt, she was determined not to buckle under him! The carnage did not move her to submission.  The accounts vary as to where she went but one account has her vacationing near the Red area known for the worst of the worst demons, and she got busy. Busy having lilim, that is.  Seems for every child of Adam's that was killed, she popped out a lilim.  She went on to produce 100 of the little suckers. So God struck a deal with her; He put her in charge of newborn children.  And she countered with an agreement that unless they were protected by an amulet bearing the three names of God, she would take their lives.    

Eventually God took a rib from Adam as he slept and created a docile and submissive mate for him and they lived happily ever after, until she shared an apple with him and Adam whined about her being too cute to resist and they were kicked out of Eden.  Life became hard but from the number of children they reportedly added to the planet, doesn't sound like Adam had any trouble getting it up for Eve.

Lilith went on to become the NIGHT TERROR according to Hebrew mythology.  

Okay, so how do I propose to link this with today's busy woman? So many ways to go here.  I could tap into the idea that in any relationship based on respect and equality, there still has to be a measure of submission going on.  Do women want a man totally submissive to them.  I didn't think so.  So that means the other person in this relationship has to acquiesce some of the control. How is this done in harmony?  Someone just accepts the reality that they can be right or they can be happy.  They understand this is in no way taking away from their ability to take control, they just accept that the more important issue for their continued success as partners is the harmony that only happiness can bring. What actually happens in long term relationships, any way is a shifting of roles from time to time.  It can occur out of necessity or through a trial period of time. People together for decades share that over time they just fell into a natural role that worked for the relationship. That's one way to learn from Lilith.

The other interpretation is one of stubbornness, or ego.  Lilith was right to be upset over the degrading set up she was given without benefit of negotiation.  Ordered to be at his beck and call.  Ordered to be on the bottom during sex.  She was as perfect a creation as Adam.  She was created in God's image, as was Adam.  So why all the second class citizen stuff?  To God's credit, He created a mate with spunk and wit and determination.  Adam needed a woman like that because, apparently he was a whiner.  God wanted what any parent wants when disharmony breaks out between offspring.  He wanted peace and quiet.  He wasn't concerned with how this would affect the one he was telling to shut up and stop causing trouble. Had God used more mediation between the two, He, no doubt, could have avoided the mess Lilith created.  But he didn't and with every, 'Lilith, shut up and do as Adam says!' her anger grew and grew to the point she was cutting off her own nose to spite her face. Her reasoning was reduced to a crumb and she wasn't giving in regardless the consequences.  But there are always consequences to our actions.

Lilith cost innocent children their lives.  She created turmoil and unrest that continues today because she went totally off the rails. Did she initially have grounds for her rebellion. Yes.  However, any time our actions cause injury to someone else, we have a bigger debt to pay.  

I guess the lesson I take from Lilith is this; make sure you are operating from an earnest conviction and not just to get your own way.  Intention is everything.  If your intention is just to force someone's hand to bend to you, you might have a bigger debt to pay before it's all said and done. 

Bullying is a trendy word right now and it's used when it has no place in a situation.  If you tell someone the color red is not working for them, this is not an example of bullying, but in so many situations this is how absurd the argument is laid out.  We've reached a place where if someone disagrees with us we feel obligated to call them a bully.  Bullying is serious and it causes long term damage, both physically and emotionally.  

Lilith bordered on being a bully, in my interpretation of the legend. She not only refused to submit, she wasn't phased by the loss of life her rebellion caused.  She wasn't moved to stop until she got her very own title of authority; Night Terror Over the Newborn.  Her 'if I was a belt I wouldn't buckle' attitude ended badly for her and the consequences of her insubordination were life altering for her own children.

How many times do we catch ourselves playing the same game? We see it play out in toddlers going through their 'terrible twos' and in teens driven by hormonal urges to break free of parental authority.  These are dangerous times for both ages because we know now that brains have not developed sufficiently at these ages to be making sound decisions based on hissy fits.  But what excuse does the twenty-something, thirty-something, or forty-something have for decisions based on just wanting the upper hand in a relationship?  Before deciding to take that grand stand for equality make sure the consequences don't involve a cosmic debt that begs for payment in full plus interest, like...tomorrow!