This Sacred Thread

 

They once dwelled among us, the people of memory.
They who knew us, they who taught us,
They who hurt us, they who loved us.

They touch our lives time and again,
through their presence and their absence.
Through familiar scents and favorite songs,
Through old stories and renewed sorrow.

As the earth turns and leaves fall,
We reach back to renew the bonds between us.
With hearts and hands open
We hold onto to love,
Ever-stronger than death.

We reach back in gratitude and understanding –
Without our time together,
The pain and the joy,
We would never be who we are today;
We would have little to pass on ourselves.

Without fear, with thanksgiving
and with hope for all that awaits,
We remember those who have gone before,
We honor the circle of life and death,
And our place within this sacred thread.

The Summer Day

“The Summer Day”
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

The Shortest Day

Posted by Susan Cooper on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

 

Below is Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day,” written originally for The Christmas Revels in celebration of the winter solstice.

There is a version both printed and on the internet with a mistake in it, so we are posting this to be sure that the many people who share this poem have the right words and punctuation. Please use the poem for non-commercial purposes, and follow copyright guidelines. You can direct permissions questions to susancooper@thelostland.com. Thank you!

THE SHORTEST DAY

By Susan Cooper

Copyright Susan Cooper 1974

So the shortest day came, and the year died,

And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world

Came people singing, dancing,

To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;

They hung their homes with evergreen,

They burned beseeching fires all night long

To keep the year alive.

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake

They shouted, revelling.

Through all the frosty ages you can hear them

Echoing, behind us — listen!

All the long echoes sing the same delight

This shortest day

As promise wakens in the sleeping land.

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends, and hope for peace.

And so do we, here, now,

This year, and every year.

Welcome Yule!

One Song

Every war and every conflict
between human beings has happened
because of some disagreement about names.

It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
because just beyond the arguing
there is a long table of companionship
set and waiting for us to sit down.

What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
All religions, all this singing, one song.

The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks a little different
on this wall than it does on that wall
and a lot different on this other one,
but it is still the same light.

We have borrowed these clothes,
these time-and-space personalities,
from a light, and when we praise,
we are pouring them back in.

Rumi

#524 Earth Mother Star Mother

(Starhawk)

Earth mother, star mother,
You who are called by
a thousand names,
May all remember
we are cells in your body
and dance together.
You are the grain
and the loaf
That sustains us each day.
And as you are patient
with our struggles to learn
So shall we be patient
with ourselves and each other.
We are radiant light
and sacred dark
–the balance–
You are the embrace the heartens
And the freedom beyond fear.
Within you we are born
we grow, live, and die–
You bring us around the circle
to rebirth,
Within us you dance
Forever

I Don’t Want To Go Into School

– Poem By Colin Mcnaughton.

I don’t want to go into school today; Mum,
I don’t feel like school work today.
Oh, don’t make me go to school today, Mum
Oh, please let me stay home and play.

But you must go to school, my cherub, my lamb,
If you don’t it will be a disaster,
How would they manage without you, my sweet,
After all you are the headmaster!

NOTES: 

Used as Opening Reading for Annual Teacher’s Meeting July 12, 2018

Eagle Poem

“To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
“And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear;
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion.
“Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
“Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.”
~Joy Harjo

We carry the light of stars within us

(Robin Slaw)

We light this chalice to remember that we are all
made of stardust.
We carry the light of stars within us.
We light this chalice to remember those who have
come before us and those who will follow us.
We carry the light of stars within us.
We light this chalice to remember those who inspire
us to help heal the world.
We carry the light of stars within us.
We light this chalice to remember to share our
light with the world.
We carry the light of stars within us.

The Gospel According to Shug

The Gospel According to Shug

by Alice Walker

HELPED are those who are enemies of their own racism; they shall live in harmony with the citizens of this world, and not with those of their ancestors, which has passed away, and which they shall never see again.

HELPED are those born from love: conceived in their father’s tenderness and their mother’s orgasm, for they shall be those – numbers of whom will be called “illegitimate” whose spirits shall know no boundaries, even between heaven and earth, and whose eyes shall reveal the spark of the love that was their own creation. They shall know joy equal to their suffering and they will lead multitudes into dancing and Peace.

HELPED are those too busy living to respond when they are wrongfully attacked: on their walks they shall find mysteries so intriguing as to distract them from every blow.

HELPED are those who find something in Creation to admire each and every hour. Their days will overflow with beauty and the darkest dungeon will offer gifts.

HELPED are those who receive only to give; always in their house will be the circular energy of generosity; and in their hearts a beginning of new age on Earth: when no keys will be needed to unlock the heart and no locks will be needed on the doors.

HELPED are those who love the stranger; in this they reflect the heart of the Creator and that of the Mother.

HELPED are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant.

HELPED are those who love the entire cosmos rather than their own tiny country, city, or farm, for to them will be shown the unbroken web of life and the meaning of infinity.

HELPED are those who live in quietness, knowing neither brand name nor fad; they shall live every day as if in eternity, and each moment shall be full as it is long.

HELPED are those who love others unsplit off from their faults; to them will be given clarity of vision.

HELPED are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception, and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful.

HELPED are those who love the Earth, their mother, and who willingly suffer that she may no die; in their grief over her pain they will weep rivers of blood, and in their joy in her lively response to love, they will converse with trees.

HELPED are those whose every act is a prayer for harmony in the Universe, for they are the restorers of balance to our planet. To them will be given the insight that every good act done anywhere in the cosmos welcomes the life of an animal or a child.

HELPED are those who risk themselves for others’ sakes; to them will be given increasing opportunities for ever greater risks. Theirs will be a vision of the world in which no one’s gift is despised or lost.

HELPED are those who strive to give up their anger; their reward will be that in any confrontation their first thoughts will never be of violence or war.

HELPED are those whose every act is a prayer for peace; on them depends the future of the world.

HELPED are those who forgive; their reward shall be forgetfulness of every evil done to them. It will be in their power, therefore, to envision the new Earth.

HELPED are those who are shown the existence of the Creator’s magic in the Universe, they shall experience delight and astonishment without ceasing.

HELPED are those who laugh with a pure heart; theirs will be the company of the jolly righteous.

HELPED are those who love all the colors of all the human beings, as they love all the colors of animals and plants; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them.

HELPED are those who love the lesbian, the gay, and the straight, as they love the sun, the moon, and the stars. None of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them.

HELPED are those who love the broken and the whole; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any of themselves shall be despised.

HELPED are those who do not join mobs; theirs shall be the understanding that to attack in anger is to murder in confusion.

HELPED are those who find the courage to do at least one small thing each day to help the existence of another – plant, animal, river, or other human being. They shall be joined by a multitude of the timid.

HELPED are those who lose their fear of death; theirs is the power to envision the future in a blade of grass.

HELPED are those who love and actively support the diversity of life; they shall be secure in their differentness.

HELPED are those who know.


From The Temple of My Familiar.

The Dark Time

by Shadow Hawk

(Originally found at http://www.paganlibrary.com/stories/dark_time.php)

It is the time of the Long Night, and I have laid my thick mantle upon the ground. The branches are bare, the water hardens, and life slows to a crawl.

Those that could have long since fled south to the warmth of my brother, Fire, and the lands of the Sun, while I walk the Earth that lays Submissive at my feet.

My breath runs hot, and my eyes are cold. Death is in the air, and the Moon reflects red off of my Horns.

Glistening like diamonds, the stars fill the night sky, and the wind howls like a lonesome wolf, and I feel the pulse of Her that fills my veins with heady wine. I lift my muzzle to the sky, and bugle my challenge loud and far. Who will meet my challenge? Who will Dance the Dance of Life with the Lord of Death? My hooves ring like steel against the stone beneath the snow, sparks lighting up the night, and the sounds of my movement shakes the slumbering trees.

From the forest, a soft glow appears. A woman old, and wrapped warmly against the wind approaches. Frail she seems, but there is fire in her eye. “I will dance the Dance” she says. Her legs begin to shuffle and sway, while I watch, intrigued by the woman, and I begin to answer her motion with movement of my own. And the Dance unfolded.

Round the forest we whirled, and the wrinkles slipped away from her. Younger she became, as veil after veil fell away, taking the years with them. The Stars danced above in silent awe, while the Moon flooded us with cold light.

Faster and faster the dance went and our eyes grew wild with the thunder of the pulse of the dance, and our feet drummed the dance, hooves and horn, laughter and the slapping of feet pounded out the beat. And the steam rose from our bodies.

The Earth herself split open from the Dance, and I led her down, down into the depths of the Earth, and she shed her veils along the way, twirling and swirling, and the Dance moved on. At last, I stood in the place of my Power, and the Throne of Death stood silently waiting.

“Milady, will you stay here at the Throne of Death with me and dance the Eternal Dance, for I am struck by your beauty and would have you for my Companion”.

“No, for I love you not”, was the reply.

Looking at the Radiant Woman who stood in front of me, I said, “Milady, you have Danced the Dance of Life with me as none has Danced before, what Boon may I grant you?”

With stars in her eyes, she replied, “I want the spirit of my Son returned to Life. I want to know the secrets of Death.”

“None has asked such a boon, how dare you so much?” I asked.

“The Earth needs my Son to live. They must have the light and joy of Spring, the Heat of Summer, and the Harvest of Fall to survive. They need my Son. The Dance must go on” she softly spoke.

“Then kneel, and learn the Secrets of Death”, I answered.

And I taught her, with pain and scourge, with laughter and love, with youth and age and darkness I taught her. I showed her the heights and the depths, and at last, I taught her the peace of the Slumber of the Dead.

Laying my Lady down in the Earth, she would sleep, and dream of Spring, and of the Dance, and the Seed in her belly would swell and bring life to a new world. And she and the child would Dance, and Sing, and grow old, and the child, lover, king will die. Once again, as the Circle goes round, she will come to me in the Woods, and we shall Dance the Dance of Life once more.

But for now, it is quiet and dark, and the Moon is bright, and the wind howls, and I walk the world alone.