Monday, July 10, 2006

Offering to help Worship...

I included a run-down of topics I'd presented to congregations in the past. Via email Im told that there's a plan for a late December service on the Feminine concept of the divine.
I reply:
Do the Committees really mean "feminine", as in handmaids and helpmeets? Mother Teresa, and St. Teresa? I got my MA in 1976: Goddard was/is Liberty Hall; and this was in the Hey-Day of the Triple Goddess when Fighting Feminists formed Revolutionary Covens. Besides Mary Daly and Elaine Pagels, I studied Wicca, Tarot, Soul Craft, Lucid Dreaming, Healing and Spells-- practice as well as theory. It was rather like Hogwarts! My thesis was a biographical play about the Spiritualist/Communist/Stockbroker who was (in 1872) the first woman to run for president-- running on a platform of Equal Rights and Free Love, and funding her campaign through blackmail.
I do know a lovely Celtic New Year ritual.
The reply asks about the ritual, and for more on my Goddard studies that included Lucid Dreaming:
The ritual is to "Levy Dew", an Irish song which in the version I know has lyrics attributed to Yeats. It involves a Fair Maid, and the Old Year being escorted out the West door and the New Year coming in the East, and water and wine poured into a bowl. I looked it up and printed it out for D T before last year's Winter Solstice service, but there wasn't really time to recreate it.....
I did a Goddess service at Arlington Street Church on Mother's Day in 1975-- and possibly repeated it some years later?---. I still have the script. You can read it if you like. (warning: it is very messy-- this was in the Dark Ages, before computers and spell checkers and is typed in my worst fumbling one finger mode) In addition to putting together myths and poetry, music, dance and a slide show, I interviewed dozens of members of the congregation about their feelings around motherhood and their ideas about the Female aspect of Divinity-- using suggestions from a Celebrations workshop at the 1974 UU General Assembly . I have the filled-out survey sheets along with the order of service and a minute-by-minute breakdown of the service itself. Because of the 1975 date, I suspect that this project was part of the work I submitted for my Goddard MA. During the course work I practiced the various "spiritual" or "psychic" exercises, beginning with simply turning off the critical conscious mind: a major job for me! But many years of training as an actor were very helpful-- I could envision almost any circumstance, and approach using the actor's "as if"-- the suspension of disbelief, rather than accepting mystical or occult propositions as literally or scientifically true. I seem to have some small gift for healing-- probably everyone does, and mine is quite minor, I make no claims for it: but if someone has an ache and requests a healing, I'm willing to try. It seems to work a bit better than the expected placebo effect-- maybe above half the time. But I have no calling towards this sort of thing, and am very wary of people who do. The women in my Goddard "project" who were "into" psychic power seemed to me to spiral off into megalomania and-- worse-- paranoia once they began reinforcing each other's belief systems.
Dreaming was fascinating, but... I suppose it helped that I had a wild schedule between work and grad studies, so that my normal sleep pattern was interrupted; and I was also meditating regularly. The key is waking at intervals to "notice" and record dreams, aiming at some point to become able to continue the same or a similar dream into another sleep cycle, and then to "command" changes of elements in the repeating dream. I could do it then: and the most recent time I tried, I still could. Knowing that this is possible is wonderful! But "mastering" it? I have never been unhappy with my dreams. Insofar as I ever remember them, most are pleasant or interesting. Some are boring anxiety dreams in which I clean or repair something that corresponds to some current failure. My rare nightmare is usually very specific and reveals to me that there is something I fear or feel guilty about that I must deal with in the real world. I suppose I could "fix" it in the dream, but it seems simpler just to accept the dream as an attention-pointer. I've never had the sort of obsessive repeating nightmare that signals a serious blockage. Most of my dreams are pleasant but not "important". Often I'm not even "in" them, but watching strangers explore or interact. This is very near to my waking experience when writing plays--- and I find writing plays more satisfying than dreaming them. When stuck in a play, I may resort to asking my dreams to suggest a new direction. This sometimes works-- but it is of less practical use than having someone I trust read the mess I've got my characters into and say "But why wouldn't X just do Y?" Whereupon light dawns, and I rejoice.
James said something in a sermon last month about UFOs and Astral Projection and talking to plants - yes, I've done that, too-- and the like all being very interesting, but that at some point the Seeker has to set priorities. I decided after the intense Godddard period that while I would remain open to Wonders I would not make exploring them what my life is about.


Post a Comment

<< Home