Welcome to the Hearth

Welcome to the Hearth

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve... more Sacred than we know...

We move into a time of year, that I have to say, has been so full of commercialization that I have increasing problems wanting to celebrate. Not only do the department stores and other sellers of holiday "stuff" jump the gun by reminding us with their displays to buy, buy, buy, but they can't even wait until one festive event is finished or even arrived before the decorations are up for the next. I think the problem is that we have all become disconnected from the reason we celebrate and observe the various feasts in the first place. Take Halloween for example. In ancient times when people were much more connected with Tara, a more personal name for our Earth, they developed feasts and festivals to show gratitude and to celebrate the life force given to them by the Creator. Samhain was the mid way point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. It was a time of the realization that there would be a great diminishing of the light and with it, Tara's life force and her sources of sustainance . This was more important because they didn't have electricity, so they missed it more that we do now. There is much more to the reasons for the season, but, what I take away from it for myself is to be more mindful of the light's decreasing and an invitation to do more to increase the light from within. It is also a time to try and conserve or reserve some of my own life force flow so that I can last through until Spring, when Tara will share more of her energy with her children. As the light lessens in my outer world, I am more conscious that I am the carrier of a Light Source within. I am always looking for ways to take the next few months of sacred feasts and rework them for myself. I know the world around me may be stuck in following the prompts of the shopping malls and media, which makes me want all the more to rebel and celebrate in more meaningful ways. This is a time when the veil between the worlds is very thin. It is a time, that as we turn inward,( something the darkness invites us to do) our loved ones who have crossed to the other side can converse more easily with us and can inspire our actions. For me, that will mean creating a different set of rituals and observances. What about any of you out there? What are you thinking as we move into "The Holidays?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Hunger of Eve all over again...

It seems that church-going or attending some kind of sacred observance is consistenly low in the U.S. I find that many of my closest friends no longer find going to church, (even though it may be considered mandatory to be a member of some denominations,)life giving or helpful. Does this mean people are less spiritual,less connected with a Higher Power? My take on it is that we have grown in our understanding of God and the church practices have not caught up with our longings, so people have pretty much struck out on a personal journey to find ways to celebrate the Sacred in their lives. An awesome peek into how this may be playing out for some is one woman I know who keeps the zenamusings blog. She first started sharing My Sacred Life: an entry a day for a whole month, and now shares My Sacred Sunday. A long list of women and some men who read her blog have jumped on board to do the same thing on their blogs.

What strikes me about all this is what a leavening force this is in our world. As usual, it is women, always so intimately involved with bread and the making of bread, whose lives are a leavening agent in our world. The world over, woman have been concerned with the task of feeding their families. So, finding ways to feed our spiritual hunger is like a revisiting of the hunger of Eve all over again...We hunger for true spiritual food and go out looking for it, or more accurately, we begin to create it for ourselves.

What feeds you spiritually now a days?What is Sacred for you? For me, I've taken a whole new look at food preparation as a sacred act. It is a priestess kind of thing. This is not really a new thing, women have been priestesses around the food preparation thing since the time of the Goddess. Has anyone out there ever noticed how much kneading bread feels similar to how breasts feel? It is probably not a coincidence that a loaf of bread and breasts not only resemble one another, but they are really for the same purpose: A source of sustenance and nurture. Food, and bread in particular as a source of Divine gift, blessing and sustenance is a well known symbol in some mainstream religious rituals. Somehow, the way it is played out is just so stale and lifeless.Exploring the Sacred together would be a great adventure. What is your "church" these days? Inquiring minds want to know.....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Hearth

A metaphor central to the work of women is the hearth, which has long been the gathering place of people around the world. It is a place of nurturing, healing, community, sanctuary and warmth. The sacred stories that connected people with the Divine Mystery called God, Sophia, Holy Wisdom, Creator,Great Spirit and many other names were told around the hearth. The hearth was and is a power place for women. Hearthtalks is a gathering place for women who are drawn here to rest, be inspired, give support, and nurture to one another.

Recent studies on women have shown that they are less likely to deal with stress in a flight or fright response, but are more likely to get together with a group of women friends. "When the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and
encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Bio behavioral Health at Penn State University.

The purpose of this blog, then, is to have a gathering of women at our virtual hearth, where we can talk together. I am not an expert at blogs. I know others of you who will stop by will have many suggestions and comments. You will have blogs of your own that we will all want to visit. If this is a helpful experience, it will have a life of its own. Hearthtalks takes its name from a very successful program that the organization, Sophia Center, I helped create and continue to nurture used to have regularly in real time around the table at our Center. Since we don't have the space for such a gathering at our present location, maybe a virtual gathering will work, too. Many women got their power back around that table by soaking up the inspiration, words of wisdom and much much more from other women which whom they shared. Are you ready to talk? There is more to come.....