Today, I Joined the Resistance ~ Theodora Goss
Today, I stood under the blue arc of the sky
and said, all these people passing by
are my sisters, my brothers.
The children playing in the parks,
running after balls
or swinging, legs stretched out,
up and down and back up again,
laughing for no reason,
are my children.
The Earth is my home, and nothing in it
is strange to me, or a stranger.
I will become a teacher, a caretaker.
The trees are my responsibility.
The birds flying above or perching
among the branches, gossiping in song,
the fish slipping under lily pads
through lakes shining in the sunlight,
the wolves loping through forests,
the otters tumbling in river shallows,
all that lives are my family.
Even the stones, that dream
so slowly, and so long.
Today I decided that I will step lightly,
speak out, defend the defenseless.
I will live with a fierce joy,
and when I am afraid,
I will act anyway.
I will write a poem, plant a garden,
seek the truth, speak to the powerful
and say, not us, for we stand together,
sisters and brothers, for each other,
for the children, the trees, the otters,
the quick silver fish.
We stand for love, for sorrow at your depredations,
for righteous anger. Whether we are together
or, of necessity, alone.
How do I want to be remembered?
As one of those who gave in, gave up, collaborated
with the evil inside and outside myself?
Or one of those who stood
in the light and resisted? Who said
I will not collude with the enemy,
even when it is my own darkness?
Who was guided by love,
which is not an emotion,
but a decision?
Today, I joined the resistance
because it was the only choice
my heart could make
and be whole.
The Law of the Returning Tide says that whatever you cast into the sea of life returns to you – often changed, often in an unrecognizable form, but nevertheless what comes to you in your life is usually the direct result o
f what you have given out into the world. Most people are only vaguely aware of this law, or don’t fully accept it, but magicians use it all the time. They deliberately and consciously project positive ideas, energies, images, feelings, thoughts, prayers, chants and spells into the world, knowing fully that they will reap the benefits of these – sometimes quickly but sometimes not for years or even lifetimes…
…how we experience the world is made up of how we think, feel and act, and the result of those thoughts, feelings and actions as they play out in our lives. But if you believe that is all there is to reality, then you are accusing most of the people in the world of being responsible for their own suffering – all the adults and children dying of illness or starvation, all the people caught up in genocide and armed conflict, anyone who is suffering in whatever way. The fact is that not only do we create our own reality, but we create other peoples’ reality too.
Our experience, our lives, are made up of a mixture of influences and events that we have created, and influences and events that others have created as well. It is just too simple to say ‘we create our own reality’. We are social and active beings, and we have an effect on the world and the people around us, just as they have an effect on us. So the people in a famine, for example, however much they may be busy creating positive thoughts and feelings, are caught up in a current that is bigger than their own – they are in a group reality caused by the weather, and economic and political conditions.
We live in a sea of consciousness and experience, and we often have a great deal of influence over our immediate environment – the patch of sea around us – but sometimes deep ocean currents can sweep us away or change our lives forever…
…Once you understand that we create our own reality and are part of a collective reality too, that we each contribute to other people’s realities as well as our own, then you can understand the Law of the Returning Tide.
It is a law that is played out for us in the world of Nature around us all the time: we reap what we sow, and the harvest from the seeds we have sown is not just ours. This law has been expressed by different spiritual teachers for thousands of years. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the god Thoth says, “Truth is the harvest scythe. What is sown – love or anger or bitterness – that shall be your bread. The corn is no better than its seed, then let what you plant be good.” Thousands of years later, Jesus said, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” The Eastern idea of karma conveys the same idea: that, to a great extent, our present experience is the consequence of our past thoughts, feelings and actions…
…Once you realize that you help to create other peoples’ reality, you become socially and environmentally responsible – and you do magic not only for yourself, but also for others and the world…
…Remember a time someone touched you and you could feel the love and warmth in their hands or their embrace? It felt like an energy was coming into you, didn’t it? Magic says it is an energy and that you can consciously direct it! And in radiating this energy, somehow you don’t lose energy yourself. Instead, it comes to you in even greater quantities – the more you give the more you receive. This is the Law of the Returning Tide…
(Excerpts from Druidcraft by Philip Carr-Gomm on the subject of “The Law of the Returning Tide.”. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Wicca and Druidry or with experience in one and interest in the other…the quotes are part of a larger, quite excellent section of the book. But I just had to share it, as I find this take on the Law of Return extremely well expressed.
Infinite Spirit, sometimes called Grandfather, Grandmother —
Father Sky, Earth Mother, Creator:
We gather to praise your creation,
to honor the swimmers and crawlers,
the four-leggeds and the winged ones;
we give thanks for the beauty and glory of creation
and open our hearts to new ways to understand
our place in the universe—not the center or focus,
but a humble and balanced place,
where every step we take becomes a prayer,
where every word we say
makes harmony with the vast, vibrating cosmos,
and where we know we are singing the song of life.
We pray to know more deeply that we are in the Garden
where every plant and animal and speck of dust
is a living prayer.
Without our brothers and sisters
of the plant and animal and mineral kingdoms,
the human family would end.
So we want to bless them, as they bless us.
We pray for humility—
not to humble ourselves before presidents or priests,
but before the ants and trees—
for if we cannot be in true relation to the ant,
we shall be outcasts of the garden.
Let us cast the pollution from our eyes
so we can see the glory and live with thanksgiving.
Great Spirit, let us remember
it is not how we talk but how we walk.
When we say we love animals, let us protect them.
When we say we that we love the plant people,
let us honor them by living lightly on the earth.
When we say we love the minerals,
let us use them only in necessity,
and remember their rightful places.
Oil belongs in the ground,
not in the air through our wasteful machines.
Wondrous trees, breathing life into the atmosphere:
your gifts of fire and shelter, fruit,
and sailing are precious to us.
And in many ways you offer us leaves of knowledge.
May the vision of mutual interrelatedness,
the seamless process of generations,
not end in cough-filled skies blotting the sun,
but rather may clear air, healthy forrests,
wholesome water, expansive prairie, and pungent earth
nourish paths for all creatures
through mountain and valley, and the salt sea,
and through a protective atmosphere,
as we rejoice in the inhabitants.
Hear and empower our mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle.
With thanks for the surprise and mystery of it all,
we pray in the name of the Creator,
the Processes and Presences, and all our relations.
(“Earth Day Prayer: In the Spirit of Indigenous Traditions” by Vern Barnet, via UUA’s Prayers for Worship online page)
In prehistoric times, early man was bowled over by natural events: rain, thunder, lightning, the violent shaking and moving of the ground, mountains spewing deathly hot lava, the glow of the moon, the burning heat of the sun, the twinkling of the stars. Our human brain searched for an answer, and the conclusion was that it all must be caused by something greater than ourselves – this, of course, sprouted the earliest seeds of religion. This theory is certainly reflected in faery lore. In the beautiful sloping hills of Connemara in Ireland, for example, faeries were believed to have been just as beautiful, peaceful, and pleasant as the world around them. But in the Scottish Highlands, with their dark, brooding mountains and eerie highland lakes, villagers warned of deadly water-kelpies and spirit characters that packed a bit more punch.
― Signe Pike, Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World
See Janus comes, Germanicus, the herald of a lucky year to thee, and in my song takes precedence.
Two-headed Janus, opener of the softly gliding year, thou who alone of the celestials dost behold thy back, O come propitious to the chiefs whose toil ensures peace to the fruitful earth, peace to the sea. And come propitious to thy senators and to the people of Quirinus, and by thy nod unbar the temples white.
A happy morning dawns. Fair speech, fair thoughts I crave! Now must good words be spoken on a good day. Let ears be rid of suits, and banish mad disputes forthwith! Thou rancorous tongue, adjourn thy wagging! Dost mark how the sky sparkles with fragrant fires, and how Cilician saffron crackles on the kindled hearths? The flame with its own splendour beats upon the temples’ gold roof. In spotless garments the procession wends to the Tarpeian towers; the people wear the colour of festal day; and now new rods of office lead the way, new purple gleams, and a new weight is felt by the far-sewn ivory chair.
Heifers, unbroken to the yoke, offer their necks to the axe, heifers that cropped the sward on the true Faliscan plains. When from his citadel Jupiter looks abroad on the whole globe, naught but the Roman empire meets his eye.
Hail, happy day! and evermore return still happier, day worthy to be kept holy by a people the masters of the world.
But what god am I to say thou art, Janus of double-shape? for Greece hath no divinity like thee. The reason, too, unfold why alone of all the heavenly one thou doest see both back and front.
While thus I mused, the tablets in my hand, methought the house grew brighter than it was before. Then of a sudden sacred Janus, in his two-headed shape, offered his double visage to my wondering eyes. A terror seized me, I felt my hair stiffen with fear, and with a sudden chill my bosom froze.
He, holding in his right hand his staff and in his left the key, to me these accents uttered from his front mouth: “Dismiss thy fear, thy answer take, laborious singer of the days, and mark my words. The ancients called me Chaos, for a being from of old am I; observe the long, long ages of which my song shall tell. Yon lucid air and the three others bodies, fire, water, earth, were huddled all in one. When once, through the discord of its elements, the mass parted, dissolved, and went in diverse ways to seek new homes, flame sought the height, air filled the nearer space, while earth and sea sank in the middle deep. ‘Twas then that I, till that time a mere ball, a shapeless lump, assumed the face and members of a god.
“And even now, small index of my erst chaotic state, my front and back look just the same. Now hear the other reason for the shape you ask about, that you may know it and my office too. Whate’er you see anywhere – sky, sea, clouds, earth – all things are closed and opened by my hand. The guardianship of this vast universe is in my hands alone, and none but me may rule the wheeling pole.”
“When I choose to send forth peace from tranquil halls, she freely walks the ways unhindered. But with blood and slaughter the whole world would welter, did not the bars unbending hold the barricadoed wars. I sit at heaven’s gate with the gentle Hours; my office regulates the goings and the comings of Jupiter himself. Hence Janus is my name; but when the priest offers me a barley cake and spelt mingled with salt, you would laugh to hear the names he gives me, for on his sacrificial lips I’m now Patulcius and now Clusius called. Thus rude antiquity made shift to work my changing functions with the change of name. ”
“My business I have told. Now learn the reason for my shape, though already you perceive it in part. Every door has two fronts, this way and that, whereof one faces the people and the other the house-god; and just as your human porter, seated at the threshold of the house-door, sees who goes out and in, so I, the porter of the heavenly court, behold at once both East and West. Thou seest Hecate’s faces turned in three directions that she may guard the crossroads where they branch three several ways; and lest I should lose time by twisting my neck, I am free to look both ways without budging.”
(emphasis mine) excerpt from Ovid, Fasti, 63-144, tr. James Frasier, 1931 (Kindle version)
(Ovid’s Fasti is also available to read online at theoi.com)
Keeper of Records, I adore you.
Mistress of the House of Books, I adore you.
Scribe of Pharaohs, I adore you.
Recorder of Glory, I adore you.
She who measures foundations, I adore you.
Lover of knowledge, I adore you.
Wife of Thoth*, I adore you.
Mother of the Golden Horus**, I adore you.
Patron of Writers, I adore you.
Lady of the writings in the House of Life, I adore you.
Recorder of Time, I adore you.
Counter of Days, I adore you.
Patron of foreigners, I adore you.
She who was born before the Sun, I adore you.
Lady of hieroglyphics, I adore you.
Patron of Surveyors, Beloved of Architects, I adore you.
Original One, I adore you.
Lady of Lists, Counter of People, I adore you.
Bearer of the light of Gnosis, I adore you.
She who opens the door after death, I adore you.
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For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.