Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Fascination with the James Holmes

Like many I have a hard time not being glued to the TV when it comes to the recent tragedy in Colorado. Once again, we are thrown into disbelief as someone uses violence for reasons we may never understand. Once again, we are confronted with the frailty of life as innocent people are killed for reasons we may never understand; although I think we would all agree that there are never reasons for killing innocent people; or in my belief, never killing people at all. Once again, we are faced with the reality that life can be cut short in the blink of an eye and we are no longer walking in the Garden.

Yep, like so many I have a hard time not being glued to the TV to hear the speculations, to listen to the survivors and to watch as people grieve their way through another senseless tragedy.

But I am fascinated with James Holmes the "suspect" in this horrific killing spree.

Who is this young man? What was it like to be him? What is going through his mind right this moment as he is held in solitary confinement awaiting the charges that could bring him the death penalty? Who is this young man? A son, a student, an employee, and a Child of the Goddess.

I was a Social Worker for 33 years and during that time I worked with many sociopaths, psychopaths, schizophrenics, pedophiles, child abusers and killers, rapists, drug addicts and drug dealers...oh I could go on and on. I have seen things and known things that would make James Holmes look tame. And sometimes I think I stayed in that field for so long as I never stopped being amazed at what one human being was capable of doing to another human being.

I have watched the video of James Holmes in court over and over. I looked into his eyes and saw what others seem to be missing; I saw a lost little boy. A very very very sick, lost little boy. And I found myself asking him the question over and over: "what happened?" And I mean by that: what happened in your mind and heart to cause you to prepare for and carry out this mass murder of people you didn't even know and then to alert the police to your booby trapped apartment? What happened?

I know from all my years of working with the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the mentally ill, the illiterate, the violent, those without a conscience, and those with out a Voice that there is an answer to the question "What happened?" And I do believe that James Holmes is telling us in his very silent voice. But is anyone listening? He is speaking for all those who have lost the ability to be in community.

We so want a clear cut answer such as "I was bullied and finally couldn't take it any longer and flipped." or "My parents abused me and I am so angry I couldn't keep it in any longer." or even "I took too many drugs and didn't know what I was doing." What we don't want to hear is :"I have a very sick mind and no one even noticed or cared to notice or made available to me resources to stop the demons in my very sick mind."

I just watched a spot on TV where people were upset that the defense attorney is going to try to "use the insanity plea." No shit sherlock! People who do these things ARE mentally ill! They have very sick brains. And yet if he was Diabetic we would know what to do; or even if he had Cancer we know how to begin treatment, BUT mental illness is that stigmatized disease that still has us wanting to lock "those people" up in the attic and throw away the key. They make us uncomfortable. And why?

Because we could be them!

Mental illness is funny like that! Anyone of us at any given time can find ourselves one step over the line between what society determines is "sane" behavior and what is "insane" behavior. James Holmes is us and we are James Holmes.

Oh and there are those I have said this to who have vehemently said, "Not me!!!! I would never ever do something like that. Never!" Ah, but how do you know? What would it take for you to find yourself in that solitary cell wondering "What happened?"

We all kill another every day. James Holmes just did it in the most horrific way. But we kill each other with our words, thoughts and actions. We kill each other as we refuse to help the homeless or to report the suspected child abuser. Coach Sandusky Killed more souls of children during his reign as pedophile than James Holmes killed last Friday. For many of those children, now adults, they are the Walking Dead. We kill each other when we threaten to cast evil spells on someone; or when we rape with our words and our hands.

And so I am fascinated with this story because I am not sure that given different circumstances in my life, I too would step over that very thin line between "sane" and "insane". And so, I see James Holmes in a very different way than most. I see him as a Child of Goddess who is so lost in the Darkness that he knew only one way out. Be horrific!

I don't understand it and I will bet you that this is one that the forensic psychologists will be trying to figure out for a very long long time. And this young man may not be able to help them answer the question: "What happened?"

And it leaves me very sad. For this young man, for the victims, for the family and friends and for those who were in the theater that night. And I am very sad for a world that sees violence as the answer to what is ailing us. This is not the world that Goddess created. It is a world that worships power and control instead of Love and Light.

Yep, I am a bleeding heart! Yep, I see the potential for good in every living thing because I believe that we are made that way. And so when this happened I wrapped James Holmes in Love and Light and sent him to the Goddess. For it is only Her who knows the answer to the question: "What happened?"

May everyone who was involved in this horrific episode find peace and be restored to joy. And may the man who felt the need to lash out in this way also find peace and may he be held responsible for his actions as may we each be held responsible for our own. 

Blessed be!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wilderness of the In-Between

Wilderness of In-Between

I find myself in the Wilderness of In-Between.
I am lost in the Wilderness of Change, following signs that seem to lead to dead ends.
Or maybe I am like Winnie the Pooh, thinking I know the way, but finally realizing I have just been going around in circles all this time.

This Wilderness of Circles has a Name: the Wheel of Life.
And I’m learning to name the Seasons, the Directions, the Elements and even the Sabbats.

Yet this Circular Wilderness of Change has many Shadows and Caves and Dens. And I am tired of revisiting them. I am tired of showing up and not knowing where I am or why I am in that place again.

I stand in the midst of tall trees, in the midst of rays of sunshine, in the midst of moss and leaves and I cry out—

And I name this place: Uncertainity. How do I let go of Mother and Embrace Crone?? How do I learn how to move in this Wilderness of In-Between , that which I know well and that which remains in the Shadows?

I Name this place Death and it fits so well!  Death is something we have to do alone. Death is Finality and yet Transformative. Death is Naming the Wilderness we Fear and yet is always necessary to Movement and Freedom.

I find myself in the Wilderness of In-Between.
I find myself lost in a Time Warp of Circles, Shadows, Dens, Caves and Change!

I’m looking for Home! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eve and Her Serpent

I have always been fascinated by Eve in the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament. The story focused on Adam up until Eve forced him to eat an apple that caused them to be thrown out of Paradise. Adam was the first created human; Adam was given the honor of naming everything in the Garden and the responsibility of taking care of the Garden. But Adam gets bored with all this honor and responsibility and asks God for a "help mate." That being the definition of "woman".

And so Adam goes to sleep and low and behold the next morning there beside him is Woman; taken from his own rib. Yep, Adam gives birth to woman! It's the last time males will give birth! All is great in The Garden; Adam and Eve (whom he also named) running around naked playing and doing whatever the very first two humans would be doing in Paradise. Until that fateful day when a slithering serpent arrives when Eve was alone and entices her to go pick an apple from the Tree of Knowledge; that one tree in all the Garden that God told Adam and Eve not to touch; nor eat from it. She was then to give a bite to Adam so they could both know everything God knows.

We all know the end of the story! Eve does that very thing, eats the apple and talks poor defenseless Adam into partaking too and then they realize they are naked and go and find fig leaves to cover up their "private parts." Oh and they hide from God too (now this part always made me laugh! Like the Creator of the Universe didn't know where to find them? Good grief) Well, anyway, God gets pissed and throws them out of the Garden with the curse of Adam having to actually work and Eve would have painful childbirth. Done and Done! One strike and they were out into the Dark World!

A great patriarchal story about creation, don't you think? Funny how this story is held up as the absolute Truth of how we all came to be. But alas, once again, parts were stolen from the pagan religions and the purpose was to rid Woman of any role that smelled of Goddess religion. And the poor serpent! Forever the hated animal of the kingdom! Slithering, sneaky, solitude snake; ready to lash out and poison whatever gets in it's way! Woman and Serpent get the bad rap in this story and poor, poor Adam has to go to work!

But if you study the meaning of Serpent/Snake you will find that it has a very powerful healing, teaching, spiritual meaning. Native American Shamans are usually born with this Totem. From the Celtic perspective, the snake was a symbol of secret knowledge, cunning and transformation.Wisdom and transformation are key to symbolism of the serpent!

Serpent brought these gifts to the Woman Eve. She and Adam had played long enough in the Garden and it was time for them to begin their place in the wider world! Eve was chosen to bring this knowledge, this Wisdom, this Transformation, this Cunning and Secret Knowledge into the newly created world. It was Woman who was there to invite Adam to shed his old skin as she did hers. Physical evidence of leaving its form behind (casting off the old self), and emerging a sleeker, newer version made the snake a powerful symbol of rebirth and renewal. And that was the secret knowledge that this patriarchal God did not want them to know. This patriarchal God was selfish and jealous as we find out through out the reset of the Old and New Testament of the Bible.

Woman with her animal totem, Serpent, were the ones to bring new life, new wisdom and ultimate Transformation to those residing in the Garden. What better way to take Woman down then to put her in the Evil position with an animal people see as evil. And poor poor Adam! He had to go to work!

I love this new statue that now resides in my sanctuary. She reminds me that as Woman I am the bearer of Ancient Wisdom! As Woman, I am the bearer of that Knowledge of the Goddess that was never meant to be secret. If we want to buy the story of the Old Testament; Goddess was waiting for one of her humans to eat of the Tree of Knowledge so She could be fully revealed to all of Her Creation!

I often wonder how our lives would be if this story had been told with Goddess being the Creatress! If instead of throwing the couple out of the Garden, She had embraced them and showed them all there was to know about the Turning of the Wheel!

I often wonder!

Blessed be!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Broken, but not beyond repair

Broken, but not beyond repair

Chapter 1

“I don’t want a doll this Christmas,” I remember saying over and over again when I was around 10 years old. “I want guns and a holster.” Please, Santa, please don’t bring me a doll!”

But it was a doll I got!

Then again at age 11, I said the same thing. “Please bring me a football.” But another doll was under the tree with my name on it. It wasn’t that I wanted to be a boy or I didn’t like girl stuff, I did! I just knew what I wanted and it wasn’t another doll.

My mom brought the muddy doll into my room and asked me how my new doll got buried in the back yard. I very honestly said to her, “She died and so I buried her.” I guess it was the only way I knew how to end this doll thing.  And I just didn’t know why I even wanted to.

I guess I was called a tomboy. I loved playing cowboys and Indians, running around outside with the neighborhood kids and I loved playing in the woods behind my house. We played house and I cooked mud pies and fussed at my “husband.” I did love playing house and imagined I would get married and have 5 children, all adopted!

But from as far back as I can imagine, I just didn’t understand why there were these “rules.” You know, girls get dolls for Christmas and my brothers got the cowboy guns and the footballs. I wanted both if I really admit it. I just didn’t want someone telling me that there were things I couldn’t have because of my gender. But I didn’t have the words for it, yet.

Chapter 2

“What do you mean I can’t acolyte?” I asked the Pastor. “Only the boys can light the candles in church,” he told me. “But who came up with that stupid rule? Who decided that girls aren’t good enough to carry the flame down the isle, go up into the altar and light two candles? Tell me who. Did God?” My questions came to my parents and my Pastor over and over again in my adolescence.

So finally, probably because my Pastor got tired of me bugging him, or maybe it was because it was the end of the ‘60s and every thing was changing, he let me have this sacred honor! In fact, he told me that I was probably the first Lutheran female to ever be an acolyte and he could get in trouble for allowing me this privilege. Once it started, he had to let the other girls take part also. I was very pleased.

And then the next gender rule set in at church: we would have a Processional Cross and would need Crucifers! Ah but, only boys were allowed to carry this Holy Cross down the isle and put it in the Processional Cross holder. In fact, this was such an honor that the church established “The Order of St. John” for the boys who were deemed worthy for this service to the Lord.

“Why can’t girls carry this cross?” I asked once again questioning all these rules that excluded half of the population. “Is it too heavy?” “No,” the answer came, “only males are allowed to serve the Lord in this way” So once again I asked boldly, “Who made this rule? Did God make this rule?”

I was 55 years old and attending seminary when I finally got to Processes to the Altar with the Cross held high!

Chapter 3

It was never about being a boy or girl; it was about being a Person. How confusing it was to me when I heard in church that all were made in God’s image (including me), but yet, (for some reason), God didn’t think women were good enough to serve God in the church. 

 This is the beginning of a book I would love to publish one day! I was thinking about my writing this about 8 years ago this morning as I was sitting at the computer on a Sunday morning. Eight years ago I could never have imagined how my life is now (can any of us?).  "Going to church" was top on my "whatcha doin' on Sunday" list. In fact, it didn't even have to be on the list....it was what ya did! But the messages that flowed from the pulpit and Sunday School classes permeated the society in which I was raised. And I rebelled. I rebelled since I can remember. And many times I was broken by it and I gave in and I believed everything that was told to me. But deep inside; you know that place where the Goddess lives and breathes; I would pick up Her pieces and repair and give Voice to what was so damaging about the patriarchal brainwashing coming from every place I walked! 

I am still in Repair! It will be a life long journey I am sure. I don't blame the Church, or my parents or even society. I don't blame anyone or anything. We are all trying our best to live in this Garden and understand. But what I do regret is that it took me so long to figure at least this part out. 

Blessed be!