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.

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The Day After…and I’d like a nice nap

I am trying to be cognizant of the importance of last night’s rite of ordination. Several people have come to me with tears in their eyes, shaking my hands and kissing my cheek and saying–you know how significant this is? I could feel the past and future come together in the moment–women trained as priestesses, women who love their temple, taking the next step.

Women tying on cords, women wearing stoles, women stepping into a life of service as well as leadership. Women who became clergy to their temple. Their Goddess temple.

Juggling the pieces was challenging. The invitations, the certificates, the food, the choir, the flowers, the location…because our little chapel in the basement of the old hospital building holds barely a dozen people.

The Circle of Council–the governing body of the temple–really pitched in to make it a successful evening. They seemed proud of the work that was done–all these months of classes and labs, of discussion and frustration blooming into a pastoral team, into a ritual team, into a College of Celebrants.

So, by all accounts, it was glorious. The Beloved Crone spoke of the need for the Goddess and the passing of the energy from our Eldest into the heads of the next generation was palpable.

And they stood at last before the congregation, cords tied, stoles in place, vows proclaimed. The congregation gasped as they stood and their names were spoken, with the new and slightly off-putting title attached.

Reverend.

And so it is done.

I, for one, could use a few days off. And a little nap.

Stole It Today

I had coffee with some dear clergy-friends today and we talked about what our congregations were up to. I talked about the upcoming ordinations and they were nodding in sympathy. So many details, so much to do before Friday. My friends are all dealing with various stages of building projects and I envy them that a little.

And I think they envy me the freedom that comes from not having a building project.

This morning, I met one of the new priestesses at Mother Grove and we worked on the clergy stoles. I lost a week last week because of my sweet sick kitty, so we’re behind on having these done. And–oddly enough–there isn’t a Pagan clergy supply place where we can order the perfect stoles.

That will come as our religions keep growing and becoming more mainstream. If they do.

It’s mostly finish work tomorrow and I’ve done a check in today about flowers, food and RSVPs. We’ll probably make some kind of order of service for our guests and will whip that out on Weds or Thurs. Certificates will get printed about the same time.

We have four wonderful priestesses standing with us for the ceremony and I need to check in with them, too.

It’s good honest work and I’m happy to do it. And will be even happier for a good night’s sleep.

And today is sacred to great Hekate–or so I understand. She’s a powerful figure amongst modern Pagans and Goddess worshippers and I am pleased to honor Her on Her day. May She bring you both wisdom and discernment.

Samhain? Is It Time To Talk About Ancestors Yet?

Not quite? Not yet? Still a holy day to go before that one, you say?

Perhaps I should shorten my vision a bit.

We have been deeply…enmeshed in the process of creating a group of clergy for Mother Grove Goddess Temple. It’s has been scary and invigorating and silly and annoying. And very very good. This time next week, it’ll be a done deal since the rite of ordination occurs Friday night. At New Moon.

In some ways it seems a simple thing–a group of women who’ve been studying for over a year are capping off their studies with a ceremony. Like graduation or something.

And then I remember what this is. It’s the ordination of clergy in a Goddess temple.

A Goddess temple. In Asheville. A College of Celebrants in a…Goddess temple.

Then I gulp and rub my eyes and have to sit down for a minute because that part seems rather glorious and a little magical and filled with mystery and import.

And it is–on the one hand. We’re part of a rising movement across the globe–a movement that is sometimes called the Return of the Goddess or the Rise of the Great Mother. Each time I hear of a new temple starting out, my heart swells with joy and I feel the pull of past and future simultaneously, as though I stand on a hill and see forward and back. I feel the pull of the mythic past and the tug of a future that we weld together with fire and longing.

These are not only Temple priestesses but also clergy as the modern world understands that notion. Marrying and burying and everything in between. In fact, the week after this ordination, there’s a wedding to do. And I’m talking to old friends about a blessing for their grandson.

The pleasant ending of a year of work and exploration. A ceremony of transition for strong and wise women. A liminal place, a doorway through which they walk into a new and ancient world.

Excellent.