Garden as Metaphor, Gardener as Priestess

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Working in the gardens I tend is excellent exercise, provides healthy fresh food and affords me more opportunities to touch the sacred soil. I came away this morning from a general clean-out of beds in the Summer garden and was a sweaty, stinky mess. The wheel barrow was filled to overflowing with leggy catnip and run-away blackberry canes. A blighted Early Girl tomato went into a bag–because of the blight, she can’t be composted with everything else.

(And as I type this, I’m realizing there’s a mound of green bean plants on the back stoop. I was supposed to pull the last of the beans before they go into the compost. With any luck, the possums and raccoons will be otherwise engaged and I can do that in the morning.)

Last night, the women who tend the Women’s Garden did some planning and dreaming while sitting around the brazier in the Crone’s Courtyard. We laughed and ranted and could almost taste next year’s crops, wondering how we can get the excess out to people in our community who need fresh food.

For years now, I have written and talked about Tower Time. I have this deep knowing that we are living through momentous times, times in which we are experiencing the collapse of ancient systems that have plagued humans and the Earth for far too long. Tower Time is hard and complex and, frankly, a little scary. We have been talking for some time about this as a Coming Attraction.

As I gazed into last night’s fire, I had another knowing. It’s here. The other shoe has fallen. The shit has hit the fan. The Abrahamic god, who has been a cipher for so long, has vanished from the firmament. At last. At last.

The hard work today–in the temple of my garden–was as sacred as setting the altars at Mother Grove. Pitchfork in hand and wheel barrow at the ready–no less the act of a priestess than lighting the incense and replacing the used tealights. My robe is grubby too big pants and filthy garden clogs. My priestess crown a blue handkerchief drenched in my sweat. My holy book is the rich soil. My choir that neighbors’ laying hens.

When we see it all as sacred, we all are the clergy who tend it. When we love it as the Divine, we will be willing to fight for it. In the face of idiotic politicians and greedy investors, we know the worth of this thing we love, that we honor, that we worship.

Take your ordination in the rains from heaven and the winds of change that have gathered around us. Let it come, this new world. As I have written before–these are the times we are made for.

Fear not.

An Immodest Proposal

At the recent Sacred Space Conference in Maryland, I was fortunate to attend a ritual that was created by Literata Hurley with assistance from Hecate Demetersdaughter.  In it, we invoked the national Goddess of our land–Columbia, in her aspect of Athena.  She stands there atop the dome of the capitol, robed and armed, her headdress an eagle’s head and plumage.  No “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses”–Armed Freedom (as She is sometimes called) is resplendent in her martial attire.



a postcard of Armed Freedom on my home altar

It was a powerful ritual, with several aspects of great Athena present and accounted for.  (I’ve always been partial to Her–She was the first Divinity I ever honored.) And it got me thinking, as one does after a good ritual experience, about the evocation and invocation of the Divine Protectors of our land, the official Ones, the State-sanctioned Ones.

What if we created a Cult of Columbia, centered in the nation’s capitol?  Easy to imagine that because it’s already happening…birthed by some remarkable women. But what if each one of us researched our own state to find out if there is a Divine Protector that has been present in the halls of power since our colonial beginnings?

For those of you who are polytheists, may I suggest you go to your official state website and see Who may be hiding in plain sight on your Great Seal or state flag.  Here in NC, we have Liberty and Plenty.

Now, imagine that I and a group of co-religionists create a cycle of worship activities devoted to these State Goddesses. And suppose that you and a group of your co-religionists do the same thing in your state.  And now imagine that on particular days (4th of July, maybe), we link up ceremonies with the “home temple” in DC and we all invoke and evoke these powerful Matrons in defense of the helpless, the small, the unheard, the disenfranchised.

Yeah, I like it, too.  Shall we?

Who’s on your state seal?