• Tag Archives earth
  • Water

    Winter                                Garden Planning Moon

    Watched “Water” a film by Deepa Mehta.  This is a powerful, powerful film.  I know.  It was made in 2005 and I just got around to watching it.  The effects of living north of 694.

    Set in Ghandi’s era in India, it features a group of widows who live together in an ashram supported by a sultry widow sold into prostitution by the corrupt widow who rules the ashram.  Forbidden to remarry, the widows, many widowed young in arranged marriages, must live as if they were, as Ghandi puts it, “strangers to love.”

    This movie is a clear slap in the face to an India still struggling to deal with both independence and the changed global community in which some of their traditions appear at best antiquated and at worst oppressive and cruel.

    It is part of a trilogy:  Earth, Fire and Water.  Kate and I watched Fire last year.  It, too, is a powerful movie, this time about love between women caught in loveless marriages.

    I just ordered Earth.

  • This All Sounds a Bit Woo-Woo (OK, Maybe More Than a Bit)

    42  bar rises 29.99 2mph NNE dewpoint 41 Spring

                Full Moon of Growing

    “People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” – Thomas Szasz

    I agree with Szasz (the anti-psychiatrist famous for his views about schizophrenia) that the self is not something one finds.  I agree with his critique of the notion of finding one’s self.  I disagree with his conclusion though, that the self is something one creates.  Over time I have developed a personal perspective on this issue, one related most closely to Carl Jung’s work, but a bit different from his, too.

    Intuition tells me that the Self of each living thing is unique and much larger (at least in potential, perhaps in size) than the always incomplete self we realize at any one point during life.  The Self is the harmonious and dynamic interaction of all that an individual life can become.  I imagine it as an incorporeal (don’t ask me about the physics) reality, a sort of etheric entity that stands taller and looms larger than I do.  It may, and I suspect it does,  connect us to a metaphysical plane, perhaps a realm of archetypes, where our individual, unique moment in the great stream of looping time feeds from the  purest and best of its manifold possibilities.

    This all sounds a bit woo-woo, I know.  I can only tell you that after many years of prayer, meditation and Jungian analysis this is the sense I have of who and what I am and could become.  This same process has led me to conclude that every grass plant, every daffodil, every oak tree, every yew also has a Self toward which it reaches, with more and less realization in a lifetime.  Dogs, lions, crawdads and centipedes, too.  This is why the Japanese indigenous religion of Shinto, an animist faith, and Taoism, a testament to the dynamic, connected and living nature of all there is appeal to me.  

    The empirical, western, enlightenment man within me only lets these thoughts surface when I’m alone lest I be perceived either as a lunatic or a throwback to some neo-Platonic dead end of philosophical speculation.  And I may be. 

    It is impossible, all the same, to deny what the heart knows to be true.  There is more to this, too.  I also believe in cyclic, not chronological time.  That is, I find the rhythms of the universe, the whole to which we are certainly connected by as intimate a link as the very atoms which constitute our bodies, to be those of repetition, seasonal and episodic.  What goes around comes around.  Whatever will be has been (to rephrase a canard).  This idea I find deeply reassuring since it suggests some reincarnation type possibility, not a one shot and extinct life.  I say this in spite of my almost deepest conviction, borne on an empirical and existentalist raft, that this one life is all we have.  In fact, though I live my life as if that were true, my heart, again, tells me otherwise.

    In the spirit though of plan for the worst, hope for the best, I do believe the existentialist, one shot and extinct, approach gives living the most buzz, the most vitality and engenders, too, a deep sense of responsibility for each other.  It is, therefore, to me, an optimal way of being even if we get, as I suspect, second, third and even gazillionth chances to realize our true Selves.

    OK.  That’s enough of that for the morning. I have to go buy potatoes, Matzoh and cake meal.

  • No Matzoh In Andover

    47  bar rises 29.95  3mph N dewpoint 40 Spring

                         Full Moon of Growing

    No matzoh at Festival in Andover.  No lamb.  The butcher said, “We only carry it for holidays.  Can’t push it any other time.”  Not many Jews in Andover either, apparently.  This is a big one for Jews all over the world, but not big enough to create a market for lamb at the local supermarket.  No matzoh cake meal either.  All this  means a trip to Byerly’s tomorrow.  Plenty of Jews in and around Maple Grove.  It’s all about the market.  Plenty of Hindu’s in Maple Grove, too.

    I don’t imagine there are many Parsi here either.  Oh, well.  It’s probably fair to say that I’m one of a handful of the Taoist inclined, too.  May be a few Chinese folks and me.

    Just finished the Saturday workout.  This one’s a bugger and my muscles can tell they’ve had hard use.  It’s the only way to make’em grow and the only way to compensate for age related loss of muscle mass.  It’s important, but it doesn’t make it easy.

    The world is a strange, big place.  While I did my resistance work, I listened to a program on the evolution of the planet.  The irregular catastrophic punctuations in her history gives me pause.  The Chixilub meteor, fissure eruptions, super volcanoes, snowball earth, a few ice ages here and there and pretty soon, as Evertt Dirksen used to say, you’re talking about real extinction events.  It may be that we have come on the scene in a period of Pax Terra; but, based on our history as a planet, I’d say it won’t last.

  • A Sacrament From Mother Earth

    35  91%  23%  2mph ESE bar29.06 steady windchill34  Winter

                  Last Quarter of the Winter Moon

    Something I’ve thought about for a while.

                                                       A Sacrament

    water from our well, bread from local grain and cheese from Minnesota, candles

    Light candle(s).

    Say to all:  See this light, not as symbol, but as energy brought to us by fire from the sky and fire from deep beneath the earth.  By the light of this fire we see this water, this bread, this cheese.

    On the table or altar have the pitcher, a cup, a plate with bread not broken and cheese not broken

    Water in an earthenware pitcher. Pour into a single cup.

    To each person as they take the cup:  take this and drink it, not as symbol, but as substance, the necessary liquid of all life as blood is the necessary liquid in our body.

    Break the bread and hand pieces to each person

    Say to all:  Eat this bread, not as symbol, but as substance, the marriage of earth and sun which gives birth to grain.

    Break the cheese and hand pieces to each person

    Eat this cheese as a gift from one mammal to another, food which sustains us.

     Say to all:  This water, this bread, this cheese transforms itself even now into your body, one link in the sacred chain stretching back to the one-celled organism, our common ancestor, and forward to our descendants, who may be as different from us as we are from that one cell.  This is a miracle.

    Go now in peace. 

  • Transcendentalism and the NFL Playoffs

    -5  61%  17%  0mph W  bar30.64  Windchill-5  Winter

         Waxing Gibbous Winter Moon

    Got out the discussion materials for the religious influence on art session with the docent book club, March 17th.  That’s one item finished.

    While I watched first the Patriots beat the Chargers and, then, the New York Giants beat the Packers, I read snatches of material I printed out about transcendentalism.  Gotta admit, I’ve had a backward idea of it for a long time, unless I learned it once and forgot it.  Always possible, how would I know?  Here’s the backward part. I thought the transcendent was about leaping the surly bonds of earth and heading for the Platonic/Gnostic heavens.  Nope.  It was about opposing the empiricism and rationalism of John Locke, et al.  Transcendental refers to the Kantian notion that there are important a priori structures in the mind that allow it to function at all.  This rules out the empiricist idea that our understanding (reason) works only on data brought to the mind through the senses.  First, there is the mind and its structures like time and space that order and create intelligibility with sensory data.  Besides, Kant believed that we can never touch  reality, the ding an siche, the thing in itself, since all we ever really know are the data our senses bring to us; in other words we (our mind) never reaches the source of the sensory data which are secondary to the thing in itself.

    There is, of course, much more to the debate and the idea, but getting this straight will help as I write a presentation on Transcendentalism for Groveland UU.  By happenstance I also read today an article about Shinto in the work of Japanese anime artist Miyazaki published in the journal, Religion and Popular Culture.  The close correlation between Transcendentalist treatment of nature and Shintoism was so obvious it took my breath away. Likewise, if we add Taoism into the mix we have a sort of triad of nature focused faiths that I think speak profoundly to our current reality.

    The Giants/Packers game had my attention the whole way. (I read during the commercials.)  The two teams played more or less evenly for four quarters, though the Giants looked better.  With the score tied at the end of regulation the Packers won the toss and elected to receive.  Favre threw an interception, then Eli Manning took the Giants down to the field for a shot at a 47 yard field goal.  Tynes, the Giants field goal kicker, had missed two shorter kicks in the fourth quarter.  He hit it.  And the crowd went wild.

  • A Gospel for These Heavens and This Earth

    -10  59% 23%  0mph  WSW bar30.36  steep rise windchill-12  Winter

                  Waxing Gibbous Winter Moon

    How low will it go?  Pretty low.  These are the days for staying inside, watching movies, drinking hot chocolate, reading and studying.  I’ll do all these tomorrow.

    Driving into the MIA this week, on Monday and then again today, I saw sundogs.  A sundog creates a rainbow like lens, in this case pointing toward the west.  As I understand the presence of a sundog indicates ice crystals in the air which act as a prism.   Just checked, that’s right.  Also, it says they always form at 22 degrees on either side of the sun. 

    Both days an earth centered faith was on my mind, as it often is these days, in fact, these last few years.  It is not, perhaps, most accurate to say earth centered, since the  sundog itself is a good reminder that any faith which grounds itself in the material reality of this world also relies, for life itself, on the heat and energy received from the sun.  So, I don’t know, perhaps a solar system centered faith.  The earth’s orbit around the sun orchestrates the seasons and the moon pulses the oceans through bays and onto beaches with tidal flows.  Even a rudimentary understanding of the creation of the solar system acknowledges the intimate nature of our relationship to other planets that share Sol.  So, there’s a puzzle here in terms of where to focus, but I don’t think the parameters are much wider than the solar system, although there is the whole star formation, interstellar dust cloud thing which makes us part of the ongoing galactic reality. Even so, those relationship are distant both in distance and in terms of direct affect, if any on our daily lives, where Sol makes our life possible and its planets are our neighbors.

    Anyhow, more thoughts on the notion of Ge-ology.  What I might write, rather than a Ge-ology, is a gospel for these heavens and this earth, a faith focused on the intricate and delicate and complex interdependence between and among life and the inanimate yet critical context in which it exists; a celebration of the wonderful and the awesome we experience each day.  Our heart beats.  The winds blow.  A lover or a child smiles.  The sun warms our face.  We recall times that seem long ago; we think and imagine.  The stars shine.  Snow falls.  These are miracles which do not require walking on water, a Pure Land or a night ride to Jerusalem.  No exodus or burning bush. 

    Gospel means good news.  I see this faith as good news for all humankind and for all living creatures on our planet.  It means we can turn our face toward each other and our hands toward the earth in love, not lust. 

    As I see it, this is the ur-faith, the one prior to all the others.  It came naturally to indigenous communities through faith traditions like Taoism, Shintoism, Native American faiths, the faith of those who painted Lascaux and who erected Stonehenge.  Are all these the same, no, of course not; are they all similar in their insistence on loving attention to the reality within which we dwell and move and have our being? Yes.  This is the ur-faith because it was one we all know in our deep heart; it is not exclusive, if you want to follow the path of this ancient faith and the way of Jesus or Buddha or Shiva or Mohammad, there is no conflict.