During the month of December Views from the Lorian Community featured a series of blog posts around experiencing Sacredness--culminating in a Holiday-Themed "Festival of Light" (inspired by David Spangler's reflection on the New Troubadour's song.)
Below are links to (and excerpts from) the December posts:
The Living Universe: Christmas Angels Meditation by Dorothy Maclean, Commentary by Freya Secrest:
Christmas-time is such a season of contrasts – the quiet of the winter solstice and the bustle of festive preparations, the darkest night of the year that celebrates the bright spirit of birth and renewal, the tender moments of gift-giving and the raucous welcome of a new year.
Everyday Love by Annabel Chiarelli:
My spiritual practice can basically be summed up in two phrases by David Spangler: “the primal call to love” and “looking for God in a peanut butter sandwich”.
It’s a spiritual practice rooted in everyday life that doesn’t require churches, temples, priests, monks, gurus, prayers or dogmas. The main requirement is to love the people and the world around me to the best of my ability, in joyful recognition that we are all fractals of the Sacred. Any ordinary interaction, whether it be with a person or a coffee cup, can be the basis for an encounter with the Sacred.
The Face of God by Susan Beal:
What I can say, now, is that it was like being cocooned or bathed in light while all my fears, big and small—the feelings of failure and insufficiency, of being too much one way and not enough another—were gently, effortlessly smoothed away. I felt completely safe, understood, and valued, and even better, fortified with the certainty of my own goodness, as if the love beaming into me was filling in the spaces left by dissolving fears. There was an exchange, a wordless dialogue of some kind, in which I asked questions that were answered with reassurances of my intrinsic worth, the incontrovertibility of my divinity, the truth of myself as a mighty being full of purpose, power and love.
Swimmer's Reach by Claire Blatchford:
There are times when prayer, meditation, subtle activism (whatever I may call the inner urge to offer warmth, comfort, consolation– in short, help of some sort to others in need) simply isn’t enough. It’s as though my thoughts and feelings can only truly be expressed by way of physical movement.
This is why I love to swim. Not only does swimming ease out the tensions, stresses and knots in me, so I’m healthier and happier, I also take great pleasure in often dedicating my laps to a person or a situation that’s been brought to my attention. It feels good to be doing something rather than frowning, fretting, worrying. Maybe I don’t have the energy or resources to do direct acts—such as volunteer in a refugee camp or give billions of dollars towards the same — but I do have resources to share in the form of loving thoughts.
Ask Julia: Creating Christmas by Julia Spangler:
Everyone has a moment in their lives when the shine and sparkle of Christmas gets tarnished. It may be the childhood realization that Santa Claus really doesn't come down the chimney and fill the stockings waiting there in expectation. Or the disappointment that those beautifully wrapped packages don't contain the holy grail. There is nothing inside of them that will bring a person ultimate happiness or transport them to imagined inner heights of grace and wisdom. Nor will the opening of these gifts so full of mystery, so full of possibility, bring peace and stability to a broken world.
Perhaps the loss we feel is akin to the loss that is represented by the "fall" from Eden, which to my mind is about the process of incarnating into the physical world. I think a part of us has a sense of having once been held in the heart of the Mystery, one with a universe we were intimately part of. As children, we feel this connection for a time, and then disillusion creeps in. Now here we are, grown up and immersed in this world of hard edges, and the Numinous seems distant and unattainable. We grieve the death of dreams and loss of innocence.
Welcome to the Festival of Light by Drena Griffith:
We come to the Festival of Light, bearing gifts of gratitude and joy. We come to the Festival, though the days be dark. Our self-lights mark our passage through the night. We await the Incarnation of the Light; yet we are the lights of this world.
We enter the Festival in communion. We enter the Festival with love, for we are children of the Light. We enter the Festival with blessing for all who surround us, seen and unseen. We enter the Festival with openness to the promise that awaits as the days grow longer and the sun brighter. We are eternally connected to the Sun within our hearts.
"We are the Festival. We are the light. We are the candles burning brightly in the night."
Festival of Light: Experiences of Sacredness During the Holidays by Claire Blatchford and Annabel Chiarelli:
In the Holy DarknessWhen we can see no sign of lifeMay we bring forth a visionTo renew the world.
But what about the many non-ecstatic moments that make up the bulk of my life? As I tap at my laptop, cook meals, read books, talk, sleep, cry, sigh, laugh, cough, blow my nose, wash my clothes—without ecstasy but with a quiet surety—I look for that deep sense of the sacredness of all life and of my own sacred presence within it as an essential participant. When no mystic vision arrives to transport me, I’ve found I can begin by connecting with myself. That self-acknowledgement—here I am!—wakes up my appreciative attention to all the beings with which I share this moment, whether human, plant, mineral, animal, or delightfully “other.” Here I am, with all of you!
It is midnight in Babylon
the ass brays in darkness
the candle is out.
the worlds pivot, trembling,
Silent night of holy darkness
Silent night of holy dread
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison
Kyria eleison, Sofia Eleison
Kouros, kouros, kouros, COME!
Chamber of Kings by Susan Beal:
In the darkness of the Chamber of Kings
my heart is a winged sun, a sun with wings,
Alight with stars, aloft in Christed radiance
the births of Holy Children from the gravity
of granite, from the black sarcophagus.
I am so complete! Divinity
has found me – I am in its radius.
Special thanks to all columnists and contributors. We are also grateful to all our readers and followers on Facebook, especially Sarajane T. who earlier this week emailed the following:
"Please let Ian Rees know how very much I appreciate the poetry entitled, “Near Midnight in Babylon”. The words flowed with such precision and beauty and depth of feeling."
Thank you, Sarajane. Your feedback means a great deal!
The beginning of the new year is traditionally viewed as a time of new beginnings, taking on a fresh perspective and setting goals. Rather than focusing on resolutions, this month Views from the Lorian Community will explore the ways Incarnational Spirituality shows up in our daily lives.
Questions? Comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.