As I read the blogs posted here, I’m more and more interested in the comments. They show that we and our readers are turning into a real community. For this reason, I’ve decided it might be fun to reconstruct a guided meditation on community from my book Goddess Meditations, which was published in 1999. Goddess Meditations was the first book I wrote after I moved to Long Beach in 1996. I’m rewriting the meditation because I know more now and writer better than I did back then.
Yes, we here at Feminism and Religion are a community, and in my opinion there’s nothing better than community. Individuals come together to form small communities. Small communities come together to form larger communities. And so it goes. Hopefully we’re building up to a world-wide community.
Let’s begin. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take several deep, easy breaths. When you feel relaxed, call into your mind the familiar image of a fishing net. See a vast net that stretches up and down as far as you can see, every knot a sparkling star. See yourself in the center of this shining net, but know that each of us stands at his or her own center of the net. The stars revolve around each of us, they shine for each of us. This net has as many centers as it has knots that are shining stars. This net is our community. The Weaver of our net is the Great Goddess.
Let us look upon our net and see who the Goddess has woven into our life today. Look at your closest circle of stars and name them. (They don’t have to be FAR bloggers. Consider your friends where you live. And you don’t have to stop with three.)
- [name] – who cheers me when I am sad
- [name] – who holds me when I am weary
- [name] – who feeds me when I am hungry
Let us understand that no community is built at random. No community comes together by chance, for our wise Goddess gathers Her children with purpose and humor. Name more friends. (Again, you don’t have to stop with three.)
- [name] – who walks beside me
- [name] – who plays beside me
- [name] – who works beside me
The word “community” comes to us from the Latin communis, “common.” A related word is “communion.” One meaning of “communion” is “a sharing of thoughts or feelings.” With whom do we brainstorm for our best ideas and reveal our most intimate feelings, if not our community? Another definition is “a religious or spiritual fellowship.” We are all of us part of a vast community that lives in the lap of the Goddess.
Look again at this net of our community. Consider the light of each star. See how far it shines, how it touches the lights of other stars, just as our fingertips—and emails—touch when we connect. We find comfort in the touch of a friend. Touching joins us, it links our auras. We are lighted by all the stars around us and we share the light. That light is thought, it is feelings, it is sisterhood and brotherhood. It is community.
The Great Goddess creates our communities, and in them we share our ideas, our passions, our hopes and disappointments. We share comfort and criticism. We share our work and what is in our heart.
Look again at the net. The lines of the net shine like the stars. See how they pulse like our veins and arteries as they carry the life-blood of our spirit throughout the body of our community. These lines carry our philosophies and beliefs. Let’s name more friends.
- [name] – who stands by my side
- [name] – who speaks truth to me
- [name] – who listens when I speak
Our communities are as ever-changing as they are ever-enduring, as elastic as they are stable. We grow, and our thoughts and heart’s desires flow along new and different lines. We grow and find that one who was once our friend is no longer with us. We grow and blossom and find that we have grown into new communities. Bless the communities of our former friends and know that they have found their best places.
Look out upon our community and see the faces (or photos) of the people the Goddess has brought to us. See their hearts, their minds, their busy fingers, and know that our community has purpose. Know that our community is blessed by the Great Goddess, Who is Mother of us all.
After you have returned to ordinary awareness, give thanks for community. Resolve to keep your own communities in peace and harmony until their work is complete. Know that new communities form at their proper times. Know that the Goddess will continue to weave Her net and that community will always be with us.
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic. Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every Day, Finding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations. When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.