Here is the text of a recent testimonial I gave at church…
Testimonial for the UU Haverhill Church, Earth Day Service (run by the Green Sanctuary Cmte) April 2011
I am RM, and many of you know me from my work on the green committee here. Rev. Frank gave a call from this pulpit, back in January, for some of us to give testimonials on the subject of some advice by Frederick Beuchner.
(Paraphrased quote: You can find out your purpose in this world by doing two things. 1. what is the thing you like to do most? 2 what is the thing the world needs most? The place spirit calls you to is the intersection of these two places: “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”)
When Frank asked this, I thought of the Artist’s Way classes I had taken that past summer here at the church. It was lead by Megan Shea and Tom Ellis. The class follows a 12-chapter book by Julia Cameron, which claims to be a “spiritual path to higher creativity.” This class can be used to enhance any type of creative work that you do: painting, beading, weaving, singing, cooking, or even if you just want to get more creative in your job or life. Turns out that the Artists Way was another important step on my personal journey of the past five years -weeding out useless drama, examining limiting beliefs, and really focusing in on the seed of who I am. It encouraged me to use a spiritual writing project I was working on, and get “audacious” with it, something the class empowers you to do. I am sure this class will run again next year if it is something you are interested in on your journey.
Classes like this are part of a new and ongoing focus of this church to provide more varied types of spiritual adult education. Many of you have recently been watching videos here on Sunday mornings, or participating in other types of small group ministries that may excite you and touch you deeply. As part of this new and dynamic spiritual forum Rev. Frank has created, there will be another type of group offered soon. This one is a UU curriculum, which ran here once several years ago I am told, entitled: “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” and is a study group on female divinity in the form of The Goddess. It will run for five weeks on Monday nights at 7pm, starting on April 25.
This makes me very excited, and even more appreciative of the UU tradition, and this church in particular, because this is the intersection of my deep gladness with the deep hunger of many women. And here is why:
As a woman I very often feel left out of traditional patriarchal religion, and that makes me have a hard time relating, or even believing. I pick and choose what I resonates with me. And sometime I modify to make it fit. When Frank speaks of God, my head automatically says Goddess, when Frank ends with Amen, I say Awomen.
As you can see, I relate much more profoundly with the ancient earth-based spirituality that was in place for eons before the bible. And I know that many, many women feel the same way. There is a “deep hunger.” So, happily, here is where Beuchner’s quote takes root for me. I experience a profound “deep gladness” when I lose myself in exploring the kind of spirituality that is kept track of in the natural rhythms of Farmer’s Almanac. It makes me come alive. And I like to share that energy.
I love to dig around in Mother Earth, and shop at Farmer’s Markets. I love to live by the guidelines of Voluntary Simplicity and not participate in the man-made cycle of want and consumerism. And I love to write about these things in a funny way.
And I love to learn about ancient goddesses and their alleged powers – no matter what continent they originated from. In each tradition, Native American, Greek, Hindu, Asian they shared similar qualities. Some were goddesses of fertility and crops, others of home and hearth, celebration, the Arts, sacred spaces, wisdom or compassion, and many more. And some were warriors. They had the power. Well, by today’s standards anyway…
But speaking from a modern perspective of balance, is there not also a power in all of the other types of qualities mentioned? Undeniably, there is great power in fertility. There is also great power in compassion. There is great power in celebration and the Arts. These more “female” powers have been pushed to the background in today’s societal and family units. And this has created a problem: the Earth is unbalanced on many levels. Now, I am not trying to blame all of this on men. I love men, oh yes, but yet, there remains something unbalanced. Most of today’s women have given away the power that the ancient women once held. I can tell you that once-upon-a-time I certainly did.
That deep hunger women feel for something more than patriarchal religion crosses over where my deep gladness about moon cycles, the warmth of sisterhood, and the smell of freshly turned soil meets. Through my work being a steward of Mother Earth, and my work of writing to empower other women, I like to think that I am bringing about a more balanced Earth. And I am convinced that the Cakes class is another step on our journey. Quite a fun step actually!
If attending this Cakes class interests you, I invite you to join the fun and sign up on the green paper on the back table at coffee hour. It is open to women only.
**author’s note: 25 women signed up for the class, and it was quite fun! Here is an old postcard of the church, and the website is www.uuhaverhill.org
Hello sister goddeses! If you enjoyed this blog please sign up for my monthly (small & simple) Green Goddess Orgasmagical eNewsletter by sending me a note to say hi firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks! ~RM Allen, author (www.nhgoddess.com)