“O Mystery” and other poems by Annelinde Metzner

Part of what poetry does is to give us the world around us seen with a clear eye, without judgement or preconceptions.  You are stating just what is, but always with a foot in both worlds, always seeing the mundane in its place in the universal.  In “The Earthen Cloak,” I was blessed with the hospitality of a Quaker friend who guided me through a hidden graveyard deep in the woods, where Friends had chosen to be buried under trees and amid rhododendrons, leaving a legacy of their own love of the Earth.  (It’s legal to be buried “straight into the ground” in North Carolina, without a casket but often with a shroud.)

Continue reading ““O Mystery” and other poems by Annelinde Metzner”

Upon Rising: Poems Call Out by Margot Van Sluytman

Moderator’s Note: Margot reads each of her poems aloud. They can be heard through the links in the titles.

“And what then is poetry?” We ask this time and time and time again. And poetry HERself answers. SHE needs no descriptor. Mimetic sagacity spells HER clarity.
Dreams be Fed

I am a body that remembers

The joys of falling into hues of

Brilliant blues and greens.

I am a soul that trades in
Cinnamon and spices.

Elevating chance.
Caressing mystery.
I am a will that conceives fat
Ebullient Moon as
Golden Goddess. Divine.

SHE who feeds our dreams.
SHE who teaches us

To tend our fires.
©Margot Van Sluytman

Continue reading “Upon Rising: Poems Call Out by Margot Van Sluytman”

Fern Hollow by Sara Wright

I awaken to the common yellowthroat warbler’s song. A light breeze wafts through the open window intensifying the scent of wild honeysuckle. Phoebe chimes in followed by Ovenbird, another warbler. Mama phoebe takes flight from her nest as I open the door. I peer out into emerald green – sweetly scented hay ferns define the edges of the mixed conifer and deciduous forest that overlooks a mountain brook. My home. A canopy of leafy limed branches protects the house from what will become fierce heat from the noonday star… summer is almost upon us. But not just yet. For now I am still living in the space in between. Fern hollow is an edge place, etched out of olive and jade.

Seduced by moist air, stillness and dove gray cloud cover I follow my Forest Muse wandering down to the protected field through the pines. The mountains are still shrouded in mist. Lupine spires and lemon lilies peek out above a raft of sensitive ferns. Deep blue iris startle sensitive eyes. I breathe in the intoxicating aroma of the last flowering crabapple as I examine unfurling ostrich ferns. Always the spiral. The Wild Goddess lives here. Once, just after I moved here, She rose up out of the field to embrace me, told me that I was loved… She spoke through pure feeling in that place beneath words. Now She comes to me through the trees…

Continue reading “Fern Hollow by Sara Wright”

Persephone Rises, Part 1 by Sara Wright

While researching Minoan Crete I learned that each autumn young girls once gathered blue violet saffron crocus to leave as an offering for the Wild Crocus Goddess as they prepared for adolescent female initiation rites. I was intrigued by the reference to autumn because I associate flowers more with spring than any other season. From other sources I discovered that in Minoan Crete young girls also gathered bright yellow crocus to celebrate the Great Goddess and the return of the growing season and that yellow was the color associated with the Great Goddess because of the golden color of the dye made from the precious saffron crocus. Later in Greece during the Lesser Mysteries, flowers, especially yellow crocus were also picked to celebrate Persephone’s return from the Underworld. I was particularly delighted by the reference to Persephone picking bright yellow crocus because my relationship with this goddess has been a somber one; I have always associated her with death. And yellow is a joyous color that I associate with early spring.

I felt a wild sense of hope as a volcanic fire erupted inside me when I first imagined Persephone picking spring flowers because of my uncomfortable relationship with this mythical figure and also because I love flowers.

Continue reading “Persephone Rises, Part 1 by Sara Wright”

Passionflower: Women and Plants, and a Crown of Thorns by Sara Wright

I have always had a relationship with plants. All the women in my family were gardeners and I had my first garden when I was about four year old. But it wasn’t until mid-life that I began to sense that this woman-plant relationship might be more complicated than I realized. Blurred boundaries. Intimacy. Weavings underground. My dreams were full of vines that hugged the earth and spiraled like serpents sliding on bellies through deep green forests. I could grow plants that others could not. Was it the attention I gave plants? Love? I saw them as friends, as equals. I loved touching and caring for them.

When I saw my first passionflower blossom at a neighbor’s house I practically swooned. I fell in love with the flower and its scent. Not the generous type, I had to beg for a cutting for two whole years before this woman finally relented. Thrilled, I brought the cutting home. It was spring. I put it in water. To my joy it rooted in a few weeks warmed by the April sun, and within three months I was able to pot the cutting.

Continue reading “Passionflower: Women and Plants, and a Crown of Thorns by Sara Wright”

Loosening the Weave: Leaving Space for Mystery by Kate Brunner

coloradosunriseYesterday morning, I sat in a sunrise fire circle on a ridge above my new Rocky Mountain home. Two years ago on the same day, I stood before a loom in a reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse in Wales. And in both of those places I realize what made those experiences powerful was the space I left for Mystery to stand with and within me.

The late summer sun sleepily climbed over the horizon yesterday, making its appearance only slightly later than the day before. I could feel the barest hint of autumn around the edges of the dawning day. Staring into the heart of the fire at my feet, I awakened to the sheer volume of tension I am carrying around in my body lately– illustrating just how tightly I am holding on to the fabric of my life and of the world around me. These are tense times. In so very many ways.

I inhabited what felt like a perpetually liminal space for the past decade or so, moving from one place to the next. For a long while, I thrived on the go. But callings and desires shifted and now I feel myself slowing down. I crave roots, the kind it takes time to grow. And I am guilty of trying to rush the process, trying to control so many details all at once. But control? Control is a tricky thing.

Meanwhile, the world around me careens towards chaos. The American political situation is untenable. Unemployment seems to be down, but the Labor Force Participation rate and stagnant wages are alarming. Both the terrorism abroad and the gun violence epidemic at home continue to claim lives endlessly. Countless social justice issues are coming to a head. The “culture wars” rage on.

Sitting at the fire, I felt into my body for just a moment and I witnessed the incredible tension, the desperate desire for control.

How much of the tensions of this time was I carrying within my own flesh and bones? How tightly was I holding on? How many calories was that death grip on my life consuming without my conscious permission?

Too much. Very. And too many. Continue reading “Loosening the Weave: Leaving Space for Mystery by Kate Brunner”

“THE DIVINE MYSTERY”? by Carol P. Christ

carol-christ“The mystery of God in feminist theological discourse” is the subtitle of Elizabeth Johnson’s widely read She Who Is. The notion that God is “a mystery” is rarely questioned in feminist theologies. But maybe it should be.

Although it is true that the finite cannot encompass the infinite, and that all knowledge is rooted in particular standpoints, I do not agree that the first and last thing to be said about the divine power is that it is “a mystery.” Indeed as I will argue here, speaking about God as “a mystery” obscures more than it “reveals.”

christina's loveThe notion that Goddess or God is “a mystery” is rooted in notions of “a God out there” that most spiritual feminists reject. Goddess or God “in” the world is, I suggest, not unknown, but known, not hidden, but revealed–in the beauty of the world and in ordinary acts of love and generosity.

The notion that God is “a mystery” is a well-worn trope in Roman Catholic theology. Protestants make similar claims when they speak of  the hiddenness of God Continue reading ““THE DIVINE MYSTERY”? by Carol P. Christ”

Shining a 21st Century Light on the Face of Mystery by Carolyn Lee Boyd

carolyn portrait

Mystery: that which is beyond our ability to know except by revelation. This definition has always seemed to me to be only part of Mystery’s true meaning. While deeply meaningful and complete in itself to many, Mystery so defined was never a centerpiece of my own spiritual experience, whether because of my own lack of comprehension or because I longed for a Mystery that fit better into my nature and daily life-based spirituality. Recently, as I lay in a hospital bed, I was unexpectedly shown a face of Mystery that I found to be transformational, pushed my spiritual boundaries, and was both new and very, very old.  

As I have contemplated various ancient Goddess-worshipping societies over the years, I have found aspects of Mystery that resonated with me, but which I never thought I would experience in my 21st century life. The stories, the art and architectural ruins, the household goods, and other artifacts  left behind by these societies indicate to me a Mystery that is strongly connected to every day life. Statues of female deities buried near ovens, goddesses dedicated to spinning and weaving, oracles answering questions about daily concerns, and more speak to me of a Mystery that is intimate and lifts my seemingly mundane human life into its realm. Continue reading “Shining a 21st Century Light on the Face of Mystery by Carolyn Lee Boyd”

Dancing with Kali Gets Us to the Other Side by Carolyn Lee Boyd

carolyn portrait

Deep in the New England woods, Kali leaps from behind a pine tree, skulls jangling from her waist and an upraised knife in her hand. A band of women halts and the goddess and mortals face one another.  “What must you do to pass?” Kali demands. After a few silent seconds, I step forward and take Kali’s hands, waltzing with her until I reach the other side where I continue on to the moon ceremony that was our destination that night.

 A decade ago I waltzed with a priestess dressed as Kali at a Goddess camp.  When I stared at the recreated wrathful goddess blocking my way, I knew that I could not run past or fight her, so dancing with all that She represented was my only option. I cannot say that I encountered Kali Herself that night but, since then, I have experienced over and over the transforming power of choosing to engage the wildness, mystery, beauty, truth, and chaos of our dynamic universe  and of expressing both creative and destructive aspects of this spirit in our everyday lives.
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