Wednesday, November 9, 2011
that,” “Dogs or cats,” “Go my way or the highway,” “To poem or not to poem,” etc.
Waking, or Asleep?
We walk through the day
Moving, doing, and speaking.
But--are we alive?
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Here are the options for today’s “Two for Tuesday” prompt:
- Write a paranormal poem. In case you’re unsure, click here for a thorough definition of the term “paranormal.”
- Write a normal poem. I’m not sure what a normal poem is, but if you do (and you want to write one), go for it!
The Norm, Reworked
He arrived, quietly,
Not a hair out of place,
Suit neatly brushed,
Tie in a firm knot,
He sat down at his desk
And began to push papers,
Speaking to no one.
He took out a small
And pinned it to his lapel.
"Hi. I'm Norm."
We worked together
For many years.
He spoke seldom,
Took what he was given.
Management thought him
The perfect employee,
No trouble whatsoever.
Then, almost overnight,
To work out.
He began to get stronger,
He developed a tan,
His hair got mussed.
He arrived at work,
He began to speak up.
He disagreed with management.
He went on strike.
He bulked up,
He got his muscles
Abs beyond belief,
So that we began
To think of him
As "AB Norm..."
He's a lot stronger now.
He's harder to work with.
He's outside the Norm
He used to be.
I think of him as "Al"
Al he can be...
He's AB Norm Al...
And I like him better.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Now, Right Now
We put it off--
"Later", we say...
Or the other thing...
We simply believe
It will wait
Until we are finished
Is more important.
Not to mention
And other necessities.
So, now, I declare it.
It won't wait any longer.
Yes, I am talking to YOU.
The time is NOW---
It won't wait.
Don't put it off
One more instant.
That other stuff
Is all minutiae.
When will you begin
To do what is important?
To do what needs to be done
When will you start---to LIVE?
Sunday, November 6, 2011
For today’s prompt, write an addict poem. There are lots of possible addictions out there–some of them serious and some of them not so much. For instance, there are times when I think I’m addicted to work and pop (“pop” is what we call soda or cola in Ohio, where I was raised). Anyway, I realize today’s prompt might stir up some skeletons for some folks. For instance, I doubt I would’ve ever written my poem today without this prompt to prompt me.
An addiction is something
That drives you, that owns you...
The more you have of
Whatever it is
To which you are addicted,
The more you want...
Until, finally, after many
Days, months, years, of indulging
You, or someone close to you
That you cannot
Be without whatever it is--
And then it begins,
The loving, perhaps stern,
(And often misguided)
Attempts at "intervention",
Weaning you from the drug.
And so--I need to tell you,
I am a hard-core addict.
Intervention won't help.
Many before you have tried
But they, and I, know that
I will simply relapse.
I need it. I can't possibly
Live, or function, without it.
No matter how many
You offer me
They won't work.
Forget about it.
I simply maintain
My right to live my life
As I see fit.
Leave me to the "crack"
Because I am a junkie.
Correct grammar and usage.
Correct use of the apostrophe.
Spelling "by the book"...
(That would be the "dictionary")
Despite herculean efforts
Of those who love me
To wean me onto "l33t"
And away from my affair
With the English language.
I am addicted to it all.
I am not going to change.
I will not stop using
The language and the lexicon
As I was taught in the dark ages.
I'm a hopeless case.
Leave me alone, 'k?
Saturday, November 5, 2011
We didn't get our tv show last night,
Because the snow piled up upon the dish.
I drove home in it, sleeting sideways, white
And winter-like as anyone could wish.
I went inside to comfort, warmth, and peace,
And sat to eat my dinner, watch my show,
But all night long the onslaught did not cease,
And Dish Network won't work when there is snow.
And Sanctuary, one of our all time
Beloved favorites--what a show to miss!
And they don't stream it either, so now I'm
Frustrated with our network--Bah! Boo! Hiss!
What irony! The electronic age,
And we're still stalled in life by winter's rage!
Friday, November 4, 2011
Keeping my balance
Has never been something
I do with aplomb.
I usually find that
I need to be ranting
Before I am calm.
But sometimes a feeling
Of deep reassurance
Is found unawares
Whenever I look at
My dear wife's endurance
And see how she cares
For the raddled, guilt-ridden
And sometimes erratic
Impetuous part of me...
She's my center of peace,
She's the calm, but ecstatic
Delight in the heart of me.
And so, I muddle on
And when I'm on the brink of
The dive to oblivion
I see how she loves me,
And suddenly think of
The love, hers, I'm living on.
It never has failed me,
And I know I'll never
Have reason to doubt it.
She's my still point, my balance.
From now 'til forever
I can't move without it.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Sort Of Silly....?
Putting on a pointed hat
And a cloak--whassup with that?
Flying on a hand-made broom
(Though I never leave the room!)
Waving wands, and singing spells
Using cards for psychic "tells",
Watching phases of the moon
And predicting what comes soon,
Working in close harmony
With a flow of energy...
Some folks wonder, "What's she thinking--
Or, more likely, what's she DRINKING?
To produce this weirdo itch?
Does she think that she's a witch?"
All I have to say is, "Gee,
Watch, and learn. Then--you tell me!"
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Needing It Back
Quotation: From Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States, whose birthday is today: "America's present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration."
I've lost it--we all have.
That amazing thing we cherished
But didn't know enough
To hold on to--
That feeling of privilege,
That knowledge of rightness,
That starry-eyed gaze
Into spacious skies.
Fields of amber grain
Aren't feeding our homeless,
And our purple mountain majesties
Are blocking immigrants.
I remember singing it,
I remember feeling it,
From sea to shining sea...
But it's gone now.
We have protestors
And homes foreclosed for one dollar.
We have the 99 per cent
Losing hope, losing health,
Losing jobs, losing everything...
We want it all back.
I want to love my country.
I want to trust my government.
I want to once again live
In America the Beautiful.
Listen to Mr. Harding.
Not heroics, but healing;
Not nostrums, but normalcy;
Not revolution, but restoration.
I am the one per cent.
I am lonely, scared kitteh...
Plz, I can haz America back?
K thx bye...
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
It's "Two-Fer Tuesday", so the prompt is for TWO poems, and you write one, or the other, or both. Here it is:
So here are today’s prompts:
- Write a procrastination poem, or as I like to call it a “I’ll get to it tomorrow” poem. Or…
- Write a proactive poem, or the old “I’ll get to it today” poem.
Here's mine: (and I think it is both kinds)
The Write Way
My day begins now--I woke late, of course--
For Samhain has the way of doing that....
I missed a phone call, but the phone was off,
So no surprises. And I see the cat
Has spilled the water bowl again. So I
Will take a paper towel, mop it up
And then refill it. Everyday routine,
As well as making coffee, looking up
My morning e-mail, Facebook, and the small
Routine of morning ritual. So, fine,
I am awake now. Normal day--NO, WAIT...
This day is DIFFERENT! New routines define
The traffic of my hours. Sit back down
And open up the laptop once again.
Postpone the planned-for housework for a while,
Because I have to raise my keyboard-pen
And WRITE! It's Chapbook Challenge time, right NOW....
And NaNoWriMo's reared its quiet soul
Reminding me "2000 words a day...."
And I will do it...That's just how I roll,
A writer, sure, but blocked with much to do,
And many things to which I give my heart,
So, yes, I write, infrequently, and I
Procrastinate--'til something makes me START!
And so, today, I'm writing, happily.
Enthusiasm sometimes will belie
Procrastination--yes, I know, I don't
Write often....But I wrote this, didn't I?
Friday, September 2, 2011
Once I believed
In the infallibility
Of shining adult figures
Against the sometimes-brilliant sun.
Whenever such a one would speak
I thought the dictum applicable
To whatever bit of forgotten wisdom
My child-self had forgotten to live by.
"Eat your vegetables""Don't tease your sister"
"Go to church""Obey your auntie"--
Matronly posturing beneath feathered hats,
Face-powder caked in benevolent chins,
They spoke, always, as from heaven
And I listened. And I believed.
Now, I notice only the absence
Of the papers of authority
Whenever such a bloated figure opines.
Never do they speak the only truth I wish to hear;
"Don't listen to me.""Think for yourself"
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
So once again I lift my eyes to view the scattered morning.
And find it welcoming, but waiting for my constant hand
To sort the piles of tasks and errands into some coherence
And somehow make of this day something worthy of remembering.
There is a feeling as I look around me at the chaos
That all I do will matter, yet not be the final act.
It's up to me, and I can organize the way each act
Of mine fits into the great plan to make a stab, this morning,
At once again subduing, making order out of chaos.
And usually, I do the thing that comes first to my hand,
The ritual of coffee, somehow, every day, remembering
That it's the steaming cup that will persuade me to coherence.
And so, what will I do with it? This morning, my coherence
Will lead me to the laptop, and the satisfying act
Of answering my e-mail. No, I have not ceased remembering
That there are also dishes, since today is Monday morning.
The soap is there, the scrubber, and in just a bit, my hand
Will grasp the stuff of housewifery, and end the sticky chaos.
But there is always, every day, the looming larger chaos
Of dusting, floors and cupboards, and, defying all coherence,
The repetitious threnody of chores which by my hand
Were all done yesterday. It seems no matter how the act
Of energetic organizing zips through every morning,
That it returns next day. I know I did it. I'm remembering
This same pile of newspapers, and I also am remembering
The weeds and dirty laundry, the same overwhelming chaos
That I organized just yesterday. Why is it, every morning,
Just as if no one had made a single effort towards coherence?
It seems a waste of energy, since each and every act
Is just to do again next day. Perhaps I'll stay my hand
And sit back down. The book I am now reading in my hand,
The stretch of tired luxury. I close my eyes, remembering
Just how it feels to sit at ease, to not be pushed to act
At all, but simply BE, and once again explore the chaos
Of my own scattered thoughts, tumbled out of all coherence
By the whirlwind of disorder to which I awoke this morning.
And now I close my hand around the book. Forget the chaos.
It's time I was remembering that any small coherence
Will be my act of willing to enjoy this fresh new morning.
Friday, August 26, 2011
all the movement echoes....
"hush" is such a pretty word,
...you touch air...
...conscious of me--- i --- small letter....
unafraid of the wasps,
...the mechanical world...
in silence only...
words retard communication....
the stillness shimmers,
strings of silk...
the sound of one heart beating
is the pulse
of the world.....
1984, Dallas, Texas
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
We stood last night, a circle of kindred, and watched Her
Coming out from behind the crag of Mt. Olympus
Not shy, this globe of glowing silver light,
But plangent, full and bursting, assertive, a Presence.
She was THERE....and we....?
We stood, cups in hand, watching the unveiling
Sight seen so often, never taken for granted,
Her bounteous presence once again with us,
And yet new, unexpected, ever vivid and compelling
like the air you breathe every morning,
essential and appreciated,
though often unremarked.
But we had to mark Her, this night, this appearance...
It was like the processional of an ancient Queen,
Panoplied in splendor, golden, coruscating, glinting with awareness...
She would not be unregarded.
And we raised our cups, and honored Her, and bowed....
None of us, we urban-dwelling Pagans,
even for a moment thinking of Science or Technology,
But all of us awed once again, as our race has been from time immemorial,
By the living presence of the Lady,
The Mother of Lights,
In Her silvered radiance.
She is a Mystery, and we watch in awe,
As her face reveals itself to us again and again,
Always for the first time.
We drank deep, mead we had made together, and savored the moment...
Ancient wine, ancient Lady, ancient mystery of craft and kith,
Loving our Presence here in timelessness
within the globe of silver light,
And still so essentially present in our own world,
The hiss of cars on the motorway resonating with the pulse of crashing surf,
Recalled in genetic memory, though never experienced.
And at that moment, we recalled
Or thought for the first time,
Of all the Hidden Children,
over our land and other lands
All of them watching
Seeing Her in radiance,
The same glowing silver face
The same breathless awakening,
The same Awe,
Time and place compelling different circumstances
But all kindred, honoring the Mother of All.
We lifted our glasses again,
Gazing ever upward,
And felt our connection
To those unknown faces,
Perhaps also raising glasses in tribute.
We drank to them
A toast to "the Others"
Her other children,
Those we will never see,
But whom we Know,
More intimately, perhaps, than those
with whom we brush careless shoulders
In offices and stores
Where her face does not shine.
to all those we may never see,
But whose hearts and minds are kin to us
because of Her shining silver radiance,
And She smiled.
Aisling the Bard, 2005
Thursday, April 7, 2011
It doesn't seem integrity has worth.
No more the "public servant" touts our needs;
More valued is the bloated purse's girth.
Dark comedy reflects their bitter mirth,
Bleak politics gives reason for their greeds;
It doesn't seem integrity has worth.
Not only has dishonour given birth
To soiled campaigns, but no one votes on 'deeds';
More valued is the bloated purse's girth.
Now corporations speak as persons. Dearth
Of values, meaning, substance, haunts their screeds.
It doesn't seem integrity has worth.
We watch as government spreads o'er the earth.
No wholesome food this grazing monster feeds;
More valued is the bloated purse's girth.
And those who hunger, given a wide berth
As famine to our land's destruction speeds.
It doesn't seem integrity has worth.
More valued is the bloated purse's girth.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Sometimes I think I'm full of crap.
Sometimes I get so overloaded
Sometimes there's too much in my lap--
Sometimes I despair when I look at
The things I have promised to do.
Sometimes I am certain I'll never
Have the energy to see it through.
Sometimes I outsmart myself. Often
I can't find the next step to take.
Sometimes I am certain that next time
I pick up the load it will break.
And then I remember the magic
I learned when I danced as a girl.
If you step wrong, you're losing your balance,
You'll stay right-side-up if you twirl.
If you're there on the stage and can't think of
The next step to take, well, just take it.
If you float gracefully through an error
No one will notice you make it.
So when I am too overloaded,
When there's far too much wine in my cup,
When I'm stuck on the stage with no options,
I have one. I just make it up.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
One hardly noticed
Except by its absence
It is a deepness,
A widening of spirit,
A silent vista
It leaves nothing
But a cool breeze
And a deep silence
And it is so rare
That even as we notice it
We lose it.
Why is it
That all we do
Removes from us
This deep, quiet,
Of calm and awareness?
Could it be
That in becoming wise
We learn to do
Monday, April 4, 2011
I must go down to the store again, to the lovely gardening store,
And all I ask is a tall tree, and a flat of plants galore,
And a wind chime, and a windsock, and a white narcissus,
And a green thumb, and a rose bush that will please the missus.
I must go down to the store again, for the call of the growing green
Is the weed's clutch, and a yard full of stuff you've never seen;
All I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray of the RoundUp, and the crabgrass dying.
I must go down to the store again, for the vagrant gypsy's life
Is a soft dream that was long gone when I bought a house with my wife.
And all I ask is a spool of yarn to block the cats from the clover,
And a long vacation in someone else's garden when spring is over.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Again She rises, white, distant, complete in Herself....
Once more I attempt to decipher the feelings She engenders...
I cannot fault myself for failing to comprehend Her...
Indeed, it is in Her nature to be integrally cryptic.
And the precious knowledge She withholds is not for the taking...
The message is concealed in rays of moonlit Glamour...
If timely action is required...I may miss it....
Mother...I need direct communication this time...
Or my response will honour neither Thee....nor me....
Saturday, April 2, 2011
To make the effort to repair this place.
She doesn't notice all the mess and rubble
Or seem to feel it's mostly a disgrace.
Instead, she looks at tv, reads the paper
And sometimes slaps a bit of food together.
I go to see her, quite the useless caper,
And nothing ever changes but the weather.
Next time, I'll bring a mop, some soap, a broom.
If she's not glad to see me, well, the room
Will be the better for my visit, then.
And in a week, I'll do it all again.
Friday, April 1, 2011
It might be ridiculous
One more time
To rhythm and rhyme--
Is the focus
Of the poet's genus locus.
I know I can do it, though,
I must try
Even when my mind
Is running dry
And bare of muses.
To be forced to poet's uses.
But I will write, on April's fuel,
With my pen I must needs duel,
Perhaps one poem will come out kewl--
Or I will be a Muses' tool--
But either way, hey.....April Fool!!!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
The Guardian, Cuchulainn, so softly he treads
That those in the circle do not turn their heads
To mark him, as silently beating the bounds
He slips through the shadows. In making his rounds
He wards and he watches, that nothing untoward
Be able to slip through as he weaves his ward.
The Watcher, Cuchulainn, his footstep is sure
As, watching and warding, he makes all secure.
He waits in the shadows whilst light glows within
And Guards the abode of his Kith and his Kin.
No threat will escape him; his presence pervades
Through the rustling darkness of woodlands and glades.
The Father, Cuchulainn, he covers his child
With the safe hand of love, as, compelling, yet mild,
He teaches and shows, demonstrating the man
Who is both strong and kind. As no other hand can,
His hand shares both power and gentleness. One
Such as he is a gift to his well-beloved son.
The Teacher, Cuchulainn, his words always few,
Shows his knowledge and cunning in what he can do.
Whether woodslore, or music, or Working the Arte,
All he knows, all he shares, coming straight from his heart
Is a gift to his clann. For such knowledge as his
Is not shared in mere lessons, but from Who he Is.
The Brother, Cuchulainn, his siblings may call,
And he'll be there. The Family he makes for us all
Is a Hearthstone of safety, with room to explore.
With his hand on the latch, we may pass through the door
Knowing he will be silently slipping behind
To keep us all safe as the Crossroads we find.
The Dear One, Cuchulainn, has gone on before,
As always, our Guardian. The first through the door
As he shields us from what dangers might lie in wait
For his unwary clann. So, we stand at the gate,
And look long and far, as the sound of his tread
Dies away. He's our trailblazer. He's gone ahead.
(written as a tribute to my dear friend and Craft brother, Cuchulainn of EarthHaven
March 3, 2010)
Friday, February 25, 2011
Stretch the taught tendon
Circle the cortex (lines of thought)
Feed the blood
Cringe not at truth
But smile at your reality
For laughable life is ever entertaining
And tears may be the most prolific teachers.
Spin the dance of love
Life is round, and so it comes
And bids farewell
To the body,
But never to the soul.
Fill your shoes in hope with dreams;
Walk the fear-lined path to solace
But never in loneliness.
Tread in the eyes of others
Never forgetting the color of your own.
Speak in peace to kindred souls (and foreign)
Never pace alone
And be not weary.
Damn, I wish I'd written that! But I love it that my kid did, and gave it to me. So now, I give it to you.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Once more, with feeling,
Once more, Her festival.
Brighid Duffy of Kildare,
My long-beloved ancestress,
Daughter of Duffy,
As am I.
An unique woman,
Unlike any other of her time.
"Not like other young things"
Said the poem.
She wanted to marry God.
She thought she was special,
She thought she had something to offer
And she did.
Look at this world,
Thousands of years later.
Everywhere, all over the globe
We know her name.
She is Springtime.
She is snowdrops
Blooming in the snow.
She is Hope.
She is Barding,
She is creating something
Where nothing was before.
She is Song.
She is Making,
She is using hands and heart
To make the world better.
She is Craft.
She is Healing.
She is waters of comfort
Flowing over bruised flesh.
She is Love.
On this day
The sun shines brightly
Onto melting snow.
It is Her day.
And she gifts us
With the sound of water
Snow melting, rain falling,
I will sing today.
I will do something loving.
I will make something new.
I will praise Her.
I have written
This poem, in the morning
On Her day
And for Her.
Brigid, my Mother,
My Ancestress, My Goddess
My inner Fire,
Dance today, old limbs joyful
Sing with me
Voice rich and full.
Create with me,
Something new and lovely,
Where was none
It is Your Day.
I praise You
Aisling the Bard, for Her Lady
Monday, January 31, 2011
I feel it, nestled against me,
breathing my breath
before I strike a note.
Living it sings
With a voice
Larger than my hands,
Deeper than my heart,
Higher than my dreams.
Seeing it stand there
Is sheathed potential.
Arrow-strings taut, tensed at any sky,
It is a Now,
Unlike any other place or being.
to reach all the strings
And feel life beneath my fingers
because I have not made it,
It is its own,
It breathes there
It lives in the soul of former musics
And that other song
the one I play when no one is listening.
It is a place,
How can people say
"the harp is so relaxing"
When within its voice
Are children and battles,
Wars and kingdoms
Births and alliances...
And yet it cradles me
like a lover
And sings songs
I never knew until it spoke.
Is a verb.
Friday, January 28, 2011
|It rises in my head |
And words come to me,
Sometimes just a thought.
Always, I am sure
That words are my tools.
Now, I think again.
Not just words.
The babblings of my mouth,
Not thought of,
That's just not good enough.
It's not, any more.
Now the words must arise
From deep inside me...
I was told, long ago,
That Silence was Craft.
I haven't Learned it yet.
I still talk too much,
I interrupt too much,
And I don't say much.
So now, I'll make a change.
Odd thought, for a Bard,
That Poetry is still.
That words are all wrong.
That what I need to do
Is learn to shut up.
I have too much to say.
When anyone speaks,
I always add my bit,
No matter the need.
It's time to let that go.
My Goddess, my Brighid
Is Mistress of the Word
And knows its true use.
The Fire In The Head
Burns out, if not kept
In sacredness, and used
Only when there's need.
So I-- I will begin
To practice Silence,
To Listen, as my gift
To Herself of the Flame.
My heart will still be full,
But I will not speak.
Perhaps, if I do this
My own Inner Flame
Will once again burn bright.
Perhaps She will hear
And know it is for Her
That I remain mute.
The truest Gift of all
Is hard to attain.
For me, to speak is easy,
To babble and chat.
Remaining still is harder.
So....I will do that.
Aisling the Bard, Imbolc 2010
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Never speaking, but filling my mind
With words unuttered,
Thoughts of poesy in silence,
Postponed for warmer days.
She dances in my old limbs,
Never moving, but filling my veins
With warm blood,
Making me wish for days long gone
When I was the night-dancer.
She lives inside my thoughts,
Never acting, but filling my head
With bard's fire,
Sparks of imbas, stored up,
To burst forth in springtime.
She flows in my stilled hands,
Never crafting, but filling my fingers
With stored skill,
Plans for drawing, painting, writing
All for later execution.
And then it comes...
La Fheile Brid, filling my Being
With Herself, Her Inspiration,
Her Creative Spark,
Her Healing Waters,
Her Ringing Song...
Brighid is coming!
Brighid is coming!
Brighid is here!
And I am no longer
In the belly....
All this you have given me,
All this which comes forth,
All this is Yours..
As am I.
For the Lady
Aisling the Bard
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The Genealogy of Brighid
Every day and every night
That I say the genealogy of Brighid
I shall not be killed,
I shall not be wounded;
I shall not be harried;
I shall not be put into a cell;
No fire, no sun, no moon will burn me;
No water, no lake, no sea will drown me:
For I am child of Poetry;
Poetry, child of Reflection;
Reflection, child of Meditation;
Meditation, child of Lore;
Lore, child of Research;
Research, child of Great Knowledge;
Great Knowledge, child of Intelligence;
Intelligence, child of Comprehension;
Comprehension, child of Wisdom;
Wisdom, child of Brighid.
Brighid's Arrow--an Invocation
Most Holy Brighid, Excellent Woman, Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame;
May your bright fiery Sun
Take us swiftly to your lasting kingdom.
Brigid, you are a woman of peace.
I, _______, (your name) in this fateful hour
Place all Nature with Her power;
The Sun with its brightness,
The Moon with its whiteness,
The Fire with all the strength it hath,
The Lightning with its rapid wrath,
The Winds with their swiftness along their path,
The Sea with its deepness,
The Rocks with their steepness,
The Earth with its starkness;
All these I place
With Brighid's mighty help and grace
Between myself and the powers of darkness.
Brede's Breastplate (The Deer's Cry)
I arise today through the strength of Heaven:
Light of Sun,
Radiance of Moon,
Splendor of Fire,
Speed of Lightning,
Swiftness of Wind,
Depth of Sea,
Stability of Earth,
Firmness of Rock
Monday, January 17, 2011
The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life
by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,
New Covenant Baptist Church Chicago Illinois, April 9, 1967
Many, many centuries ago, there was a man by the name of John who found himself in prison out on a lonely, obscure island called Patmos. And I’ve been in prison just enough to know that it’s a lonely experience. And when you are incarcerated in such a situation, you are deprived of almost every freedom, but the freedom to think, the freedom to pray, the freedom to reflect and to meditate. And while John was out on this lonely island in prison, he lifted his vision to high heaven and he saw, descending out of heaven, a new heaven and a new earth. Over in the twenty-first chapter of the book of Revelation, it opens by saying, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven."
And one of the greatest glories of this new city of God that John saw was its completeness. It was not up on one side and down on the other, but it was complete in all three of its dimensions. And so in this same chapter as we looked down to the sixteenth verse, John says, "The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal." In other words, this new city of God, this new city of ideal humanity is not an unbalanced entity, but is complete on all sides. Now I think John is saying something here in all of the symbolism of this text and the symbolism of this chapter. He’s saying at bottom that life as it should be and life at its best is a life that is complete on all sides.
And there are three dimensions of any complete life to which we can fitly give the words of this text: length, breadth, and height. Now the length of life as we shall use it here is the inward concern for one’s own welfare. In other words, it is that inward concern that causes one to push forward, to achieve his own goals and ambitions. The breadth of life as we shall use it here is the outward concern for the welfare of others. And the height of life is the upward reach for God. Now you got to have all three of these to have a complete life.
Now let’s turn for the moment to the length of life. I said that this is the dimension of life where we are concerned with developing our inner powers. In a sense this is the selfish dimension of life. There is such a thing as rational and healthy self-interest. A great Jewish rabbi, the late Joshua Leibman, wrote a book some years ago entitled Peace of Mind. And he has a chapter in that book entitled "Love Thyself Properly." And what he says in that chapter, in substance, is that before you can love other selves adequately, you’ve got to love your own self properly. You know, a lot of people don’t love themselves. And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts. So the length of life means that you must love yourself.
And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself. So many people are busy trying to be somebody else. God gave all of us something significant. And we must pray every day, asking God to help us to accept ourselves. That means everything. Too many Negroes are ashamed of themselves, ashamed of being black. A Negro got to rise up and say from the bottom of his soul, "I am somebody. I have a rich, noble, and proud heritage. However exploited and however painful my history has been, I’m black, but I’m black and beautiful." This is what we’ve got to say. We’ve got to accept ourselves. And we must pray, "Lord, Help me to accept myself every day; help me to accept my tools."
I remember when I was in college, I majored in sociology, and all sociology majors had to take a course that was required called statistics. And statistics can be very complicated. You’ve got to have a mathematical mind, a real knowledge of geometry, and you’ve got to know how to find the mean, the mode, and the median. I never will forget. I took this course and I had a fellow classmate who could just work that stuff out, you know. And he could do his homework in about an hour. We would often go to the lab or the workshop, and he would just work it out in about an hour, and it was over for him. And I was trying to do what he was doing; I was trying to do mine in an hour. And the more I tried to do it in an hour, the more I was flunking out in the course. And I had to come to a very hard conclusion. I had to sit down and say, "Now, Martin Luther King, Leif Cane has a better mind than you." Sometimes you have to acknowledge that. And I had to say to myself, "Now, he may be able to do it in an hour, but it takes me two or three hours to do it." I was not willing to accept myself. I was not willing to accept my tools and my limitations.
But you know in life we’re called upon to do this. A Ford car trying to be a Cadillac is absurd, but if a Ford will accept itself as a Ford, it can do many things that a Cadillac could never do: it can get in parking spaces that a Cadillac can never get in. And in life some of us are Fords and some of us are Cadillacs. Moses says in "Green Pastures," "Lord, I ain’t much, but I is all I got." The principle of self-acceptance is a basic principle in life.
Now the other thing about the length of life: after accepting ourselves and our tools, we must discover what we are called to do. And once we discover it we should set out to do it with all of the strength and all of the power that we have in our systems. And after we’ve discovered what God called us to do, after we’ve discovered our life’s work, we should set out to do that work so well that the living, the dead, or the unborn couldn’t do it any better. Now this does not mean that everybody will do the so-called big, recognized things of life. Very few people will rise to the heights of genius in the arts and the sciences; very few collectively will rise to certain professions. Most of us will have to be content to work in the fields and in the factories and on the streets. But we must see the dignity of all labor.
When I was in Montgomery, Alabama, I went to a shoe shop quite often, known as the Gordon Shoe Shop. And there was a fellow in there that used to shine my shoes, and it was just an experience to witness this fellow shining my shoes. He would get that rag, you know, and he could bring music out of it. And I said to myself, "This fellow has a Ph.D. in shoe shining."
What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well."
If you can’t be a pine on the top of a hill
Be a scrub in the valley—but be
The best little scrub on the side of the hill,
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a highway just be a trail
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or fail—
Be the best of whatever you are.
And when you do this, when you do this, you’ve mastered the length of life.
This onward push to the end of self-fulfillment is the end of a person’s life. Now don’t stop here, though. You know, a lot of people get no further in life than the length. They develop their inner powers; they do their jobs well. But do you know, they try to live as if nobody else lives in the world but themselves? And they use everybody as mere tools to get to where they’re going. They don’t love anybody but themselves. And the only kind of love that they really have for other people is utilitarian love. You know, they just love people that they can use.
A lot of people never get beyond the first dimension of life. They use other people as mere steps by which they can climb to their goals and their ambitions. These people don’t work out well in life. They may go for awhile, they may think they’re making it all right, but there is a law. They call it the law of gravitation in the physical universe, and it works, it’s final, it’s inexorable: whatever goes up can come down. You shall reap what you sow. God has structured the universe that way. And he who goes through life not concerned about others will be a subject, victim of this law.
So I move on and say that it is necessary to add breadth to length. Now the breadth of life is the outward concern for the welfare of others, as I said. And a man has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow confines of his own individual concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
One day Jesus told a parable. You will remember that parable. He had a man that came to him to talk with him about some very profound concerns. And they finally got around to the question, "Who is my neighbor?" And this man wanted to debate with Jesus. This question could have very easily ended up in thin air as a theological or philosophical debate. But you remember Jesus immediately pulled that question out of thin air and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. He talked about a certain man who fell among thieves. Two men came by and they just kept going. And then finally another man came, a member of another race, who stopped and helped him. And that parable ends up saying that this good Samaritan was a great man; he was a good man because he was concerned about more than himself.
Now you know, there are many ideas about why the priest and the Levite passed and didn’t stop to help that man. A lot of ideas about it. Some say that they were going to a church service, and they were running a little late, you know, and couldn’t be late for church, so they kept going because they had to get down to the synagogue. And then there are others who would say that they were involved in the priesthood and consequently there was a priestly law which said that if you were going to administer the sacrament or what have you, you couldn’t touch a human body twenty-four hours before worship. Now there’s another possibility. It is possible that they were going down to Jericho to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association. That’s another possibility. And they may have passed by because they felt that it was better to deal with the problem from the causal source rather than one individual victim. That’s a possibility.
But you know, when I think about this parable, I think of another possibility as I use my imagination. It’s possible that these men passed by on the other side because they were afraid. You know, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. I’ve been on it and I know. And I never will forget, Mrs. King and I were in the Holy Land some time ago. We rented a car and we drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho, a distance of about sixteen miles. You get on that Jericho road—I’m telling you it’s a winding, curving, meandering road, very conducive for robbery. And I said to my wife, "Now I can see why Jesus used this road as the occasion for his parable." Here you are when you start out in Jerusalem: you are twenty-two hundred feet above sea level, and when you get down to Jericho sixteen miles later—I mean you have sixteen miles from Jerusalem—you’re twelve hundred feet below sea level. During the days of Jesus that road came to the point of being known as the "Bloody Path." So when I think about the priest and the Levite, I think those brothers were afraid.
They were just like me. I was going out to my father’s house in Atlanta the other day. He lives about three or four miles from me, and you go out there by going down Simpson Road. And then when I came back later that night—and brother, I can tell you, Simpson Road is a winding road. And a fellow was standing out there trying to flag me down. And I felt that he needed some help; I knew he needed help. But I didn’t know it. I’ll be honest with you, I kept going. I wasn’t really willing to take the risk.
I say to you this morning that the first question that the priest asked was the first question that I asked on that Jericho Road of Atlanta known as Simpson Road. The first question that the Levite asked was, ‘’If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But the good Samaritan came by and he reversed the question. Not "What will happen to me if I stop to help this man?" but "What will happen to this man if I do not stop to help him?" This was why that man was good and great. He was great because he was willing to take a risk for humanity; he was willing to ask, "What will happen to this man?" not "What will happen to me?"
This is what God needs today: Men and women who will ask, "What will happen to humanity if I don’t help? What will happen to the civil rights movement if I don’t participate? What will happen to my city if I don’t vote? What will happen to the sick if I don’t visit them?" This is how God judges people in the final analysis.
Oh, there will be a day, the question won’t be, "How many awards did you get in life?" Not that day. It won’t be, "How popular were you in your social setting?" That won’t be the question that day. It will not ask how many degrees you’ve been able to get. The question that day will not be concerned with whether you are a "Ph.D." or a "no D." It will not be concerned with whether you went to Morehouse or whether you went to "No House." The question that day will not be, "How beautiful is your house?" The question that day will not be, "How much money did you accumulate? How much did you have in stocks and bonds?" The question that day will not be, "What kind of automobile did you have?" On that day the question will be, "What did you do for others?"
Now I can hear somebody saying, "Lord, I did a lot of things in life. I did my job well; the world honored me for doing my job. I did a lot of things, Lord; I went to school and studied hard. I accumulated a lot of money, Lord; that’s what I did." It seems as if I can hear the Lord of Life saying, "But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was sick, and ye visited me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was in prison, and you weren’t concerned about me. So get out of my face. What did you do for others?" This is the breadth of life.
Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others. And this is the way I’ve decided to go the rest of my days. That’s what I’m concerned about. John, if you and Bernard happen to be around when I come to the latter-days and that moment to cross the Jordan, I want you to tell them that I made a request: I don’t want a long funeral. In fact, I don’t even need a eulogy more than one or two minutes. I hope that I will live so well the rest of the days—I don’t know how long I’ll live, and I’m not concerned about that—but I hope I can live so well that the preacher can get up and say, "He was faithful." That’s all, that’s enough. That’s the sermon I’d like to hear: "Well done my good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful; you’ve been concerned about others." That’s where I want to go from this point on the rest of my days. "He who is greatest among you shall be your servant." I want to be a servant. I want to be a witness for my Lord, to do something for others.
And don’t forget in doing something for others that you have what you have because of others. Don’t forget that. We are tied together in life and in the world. And you may think you got all you got by yourself. But you know, before you got out here to church this morning, you were dependent on more than half of the world. You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom, and you reach over for a bar of soap, and that’s handed to you by a Frenchman. You reach over for a sponge, and that’s given to you by a turk. You reach over for a towel, and that comes to your hand from the hands of a Pacific Islander. And then you go on to the kitchen to get your breakfast. You reach on over to get a little coffee, and that’s poured in your cup by a South American. Or maybe you decide that you want a little tea this morning, only to discover that that’s poured in your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you want a little cocoa, that’s poured in your cup by a West African. Then you want a little bread and you reach over to get it, and that’s given to you by the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. Before you get through eating breakfast in the morning, you’re dependent on more than half the world. That’s the way God structured it; that’s the way God structured this world. So let us be concerned about others because we are dependent on others.
But don’t stop here either. You know, a lot of people master the length of life, and they master the breadth of life, but they stop right there. Now if life is to be complete, we must move beyond our self-interest. We must move beyond humanity and reach up, way up for the God of the universe, whose purpose changeth not.
Now a lot of people have neglected this third dimension. And you know, the interesting thing is a lot of people neglect it and don’t even know they are neglecting it. They just get involved in other things. And you know, there are two kinds of atheism. Atheism is the theory that there is no God. Now one kind is a theoretical kind, where somebody just sits down and starts thinking about it, and they come to a conclusion that there is no God. The other kind is a practical atheism, and that kind goes out of living as if there is no God. And you know there are a lot of people who affirm the existence of God with their lips, and they deny his existence with their lives. You’ve seen these people who have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. They deny the existence of God with their lives and they just become so involved in other things. They become so involved in getting a big bank account. They become so involved in getting a beautiful house, which we all should have. They become so involved in getting a beautiful car that they unconsciously just forget about God. There are those who become so involved in looking at the man-made lights of the city that they unconsciously forget to rise up and look at that great cosmic light and think about it—that gets up in the eastern horizon every morning and moves across the sky with a kind of symphony of motion and paints its technicolor across the blue—a light that man can never make. They become so involved in looking at the skyscraping buildings of the Loop of Chicago or Empire State Building of New York that they unconsciously forget to think about the gigantic mountains that kiss the skies as if to bathe their peaks in the lofty blue—something that man could never make. They become so busy thinking about radar and their television that they unconsciously forget to think about the stars that bedeck the heavens like swinging lanterns of eternity, those stars that appear to be shiny, silvery pins sticking in the magnificent blue pincushion. They become so involved in thinking about man’s progress that they forget to think about the need for God’s power in history. They end up going days and days not knowing that God is not with them.
And I’m here to tell you today that we need God. Modern man may know a great deal, but his knowledge does not eliminate God. And I tell you this morning that God is here to stay. A few theologians are trying to say that God is dead. And I’ve been asking them about it because it disturbs me to know that God died and I didn’t have a chance to attend the funeral. They haven’t been able to tell me yet the date of his death. They haven’t been able to tell me yet who the coroner was that pronounced him dead. They haven’t been able to tell me yet where he’s buried.
You see, when I think about God, I know his name. He said somewhere, back in the Old Testament, "I want you to go out, Moses, and tell them ‘I Am’ sent you." He said just to make it clear, let them know that "my last name is the same as my first, ‘I Am that I Am.’ Make that clear. I Am." And God is the only being in the universe that can say "I Am" and put a period behind it. Each of us sitting here has to say, "I am because of my parents; I am because of certain environmental conditions; I am because of certain hereditary circumstances; I am because of God." But God is the only being that can just say, "I Am" and stop right there. "I Am that I Am." And He’s here to stay. Let nobody make us feel that we don’t need God.
As I come to my conclusion this morning, I want to say that we should search for him. We were made for God, and we will be restless until we find rest in him. And I say to you this morning that this is the personal faith that has kept me going. I’m not worried about the future. You know, even on this race question, I’m not worried. I was down in Alabama the other day, and I started thinking about the state of Alabama where we worked so hard and may continue to elect the Wallaces. And down in my home state of Georgia, we have another sick governor by the name of Lester Maddox. And all of these things can get you confused, but they don’t worry me. Because the God that I worship is a God that has a way of saying even to kings and even to governors, "Be still, and know that I am God." And God has not yet turned over this universe to Lester Maddox and Lurleen Wallace. Somewhere I read, "The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof, and I’m going on because I have faith in Him. I do not know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. And if He’ll guide us and hold our hand, we’ll go on in.
I remember down in Montgomery, Alabama, an experience that I’d like to share with you. When we were in the midst of the bus boycott, we had a marvelous old lady that we affectionately called Sister Pollard. She was a wonderful lady about seventy-two years old and she was still working at that age. During the boycott she would walk every day to and from work. She was one that somebody stopped one day and said, "Wouldn’t you like to ride?" And she said, "No." And then the driver moved on and stopped and thought, and backed up a little and said, "Well, aren’t you tired?" She said, "Yes, my feets is tired, but my soul is rested."
She was a marvelous lady. And one week I can remember that I had gone through a very difficult week. Threatening calls had come in all day and all night the night before, and I was beginning to falter and to get weak within and to lose my courage. And I never will forget that I went to the mass meeting that Monday night very discouraged and a little afraid, and wondering whether we were going to win the struggle. And I got up to make my talk that night, but it didn’t come out with strength and power. Sister Pollard came up to me after the meeting and said, "Son, what’s wrong with you?" Said, "You didn’t talk strong enough tonight."
And I said, "Nothing is wrong, Sister Pollard, I’m all right."
She said, "You can’t fool me." Said, "Something wrong with you." And then she went on to say these words, "Is the white folks doing something to you that you don’t like?"
I said, "Everything is going to be all right, Sister Pollard."
And then she finally said, "Now come close to me and let me tell you something one more time, and I want you to hear it this time." She said, "Now I done told you we is with you." She said, "Now, even if we ain’t with you, the Lord is with you." And she concluded by saying, "The Lord’s going to take care of you."
And I’ve seen many things since that day. I’ve gone through many experiences since that night in Montgomery, Alabama. Since that time Sister Pollard has died. Since that time I’ve been in more than eighteen jail cells. Since that time I’ve come perilously close to death at the hands of a demented Negro woman. Since that time I’ve seen my home bombed three times. Since that time I’ve had to live every day under the threat of death. Since that time I’ve had many frustrating and bewildering nights. But over and over again I can still hear Sister Pollard’s words: "God’s going to take care of you." So today I can face any man and any woman with my feet solidly placed on the ground and my head in the air because I know that when you are right, God will fight your battle.
"Darker yet may be the night, harder yet may be the fight. Just stand up for that which is right." It seems that I can hear a voice speaking even this morning, saying to all of us, "Stand up for what is right. Stand up for what is just. Lo, I will be with you even until the end of the world." Yes, I’ve seen the lightning flash. I’ve heard the thunder roll. I’ve felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No, never alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. And I go on in believing that. Reach out and find the breadth of life.
You may not be able to define God in philosophical terms. Men through the ages have tried to talk about him. Plato said that he was the Architectonic Good. Aristotle called him the Unmoved Mover. Hegel called him the Absolute Whole. Then there was a man named Paul Tillich who called him Being-Itself. We don’t need to know all of these high-sounding terms. Maybe we have to know him and discover him another way. One day you ought to rise up and say, "I know him because he’s a lily of the valley." He’s a bright and morning star. He’s a rose of Sharon. He’s a battle-axe in the time of Babylon. And then somewhere you ought to just reach out and say, "He’s my everything. He’s my mother and my father. He’s my sister and my brother. He’s a friend to the friendless." This is the God of the universe. And if you believe in him and worship him, something will happen in your life. You will smile when others around you are crying. This is the power of God.
Go out this morning. Love yourself, and that means rational and healthy self-interest. You are commanded to do that. That’s the length of life. Then follow that: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are commanded to do that. That’s the breadth of life. And I’m going to take my seat now by letting you know that there’s a first and even greater commandment: "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength." I think the psychologist would just say with all thy personality. And when you do that, you’ve got the breadth of life.
And when you get all three of these together, you can walk and never get weary. You can look up and see the morning stars singing together, and the sons of God shouting for joy. When you get all of these working together in your very life, judgment will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
When you get all the three of these together, the lamb will lie down with the lion.
When you get all three of these together, you look up and every valley will be exalted, and every hill and mountain will be made low; the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh will see it together.
When you get all three of these working together, you will do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
When you get all three of these together, you will recognize that out of one blood God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth.
When you get all three of these together...
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Now, don't get me wrong here. I do not apprehend this statement to mean, nor could I support it if it did mean, that everyone should acknowledge the same set of mythos, and worship the same deity, and follow the same commandments. I would feel, and would, I think, be justified therein, that the above perspective would be simply another cloak for religious fundamentalism. But...there is a difference, albeit IMO poorly phrased above, between ethics and commandments, between morals and rules. Ethics, morals, are that which inform rules and laws, the reasoning and the philosophy behind rules and laws. And yes, I do, oddly enough, believe that there is, and should be acknowledged to be, a single set of ethics that informs rules, laws, and the rule of law, everywhere, in every religion. Simply put, as it is stated on the World Religions web site, "Human unity and true equality depend not on past origins, but on future goals, on what we are becoming and whither we are going....
That is an ethical construct I can support. I would not venture to speak for the Baha'i faith, nor for its members, because I know very little about them. But I would accept and promote the idea that humanity is one thing, and people are human beings in every religion, class, race, culture, society and other division of life, and should all, must all, be granted the same human respect and dignity and love from other human beings in other places and positions. Religious difference has been the Great Divide in society for millenia, beginning even before the emergence of the Bible and the concept of "chosen people". Most of the world's wars, back as far as we have historical records, can be shown in some way to have been about differences in religion. People have been using war to secure peace, and committing violence and murder on a large scale to force their opponents to accept the peculiar "Love" of a unique and individual perception of "God" almost as long as there have been human beings.
So...today is World Religions Day. And on this day, I suggest each and all of you reading this try, for even a few minutes, even there in front of your computer where no one else can see or hear you, to cultivate a momentary acceptance of, and grounds for agreement with, a religious practice, belief, or denomination not your own. What could it hurt, for just a few minutes, to try to see the members of another faith, or one member of another faith, not as "the other", but as another human person, a brother or sister, trying his or her best, according to his or her own lights, to make a way through the complex maze of human existence and come out whole and safe on the other side. I am going to try to do this, because I do believe, in my deepest core, that no matter what your religious practice, or lack thereof, may teach or command, at the end of the day it is Love, all kinds of Love, seeing the other as a person worthy of love and respect and assistance and kindness, that is going to get us through this millennium and beyond it without destroying the planet, one another and our true Selves in the process. So, just for today, here is what I am going to do to celebrate World Religions Day. I am going to try not to make any anti-Mormon jokes today. I am going to try to feel some compassion for the likes of Jimmy Swaggart (unfortunate name for a servant of the Lord) and Glenn Beck. I am going to try not to rant and rave, curse and swear, about the Tea Party and all its ramifications. Instead, I am going to try to remember that people are all trying, as best as they can, to do and be what they think their God wants them to be. They're all human beings, and so they are like me. I fuck up, and so will they. But even people who hate think they are doing God's will. For just this one day, I will try not to hate them for hating, and in so doing become like those who hate. I will try, just for this day, to understand that we're all in this together and that if we're even going to have a slim chance of getting through existence in one piece, we're going to have to do it together.
If I fail at this, or if you do, here is a small list of tools to assist us in believing that there is, as World Religions Day attests, a basic similarity in all faiths that can help us along the way to human understanding. We might refer to it as the Golden Rule, but it does occur in some form in practically every religion of which I have any knowledge. Here ya go :
The Ethic Of Reciprocity, otherwise known as The Golden Rule, is found in the scriptures of nearly every religion. It is considered a condensation in one statement of all longer lists of ethical dos and don'ts. T.O.T.E.G. adopted it as the basic ethical guidline for our people in 1984, with the understanding that it must be intelligently and cautiously applied since there is no absolute standard as to what is helpful or harmful to everyone or everything The following is the way the Ethic of Reciprocity is phrased in many of the major religions of the world.
African Traditional Religions One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts. [Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria) ]
Bahá'í Faith: And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself. [ Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, 30 ]
Buddhism : Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. [ Udana-Varga 5,1 ]
Christianity : All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. [ Matthew 7:1 ]
Confucianism : Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. [ Analects12:2 ]
Hinduism, Brahmanism : This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. [ Mahabharata 5,1517 ]
Islam : No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. [ Sunnah ]
Judaism : What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. [ Talmud, Shabbat 3id ]
Shinto : "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form"
Taoism : Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. [ Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien ]
Zoroastrianism : That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself. [ Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5 ]
Jainism: A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
Native American Spirituality "All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One." Black Elk
Plato: May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me. (Greece; 4th century BCE)
Roman Pagan Religion: "The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves."
Principles of Scientology: 20: "Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you."
Seneca: "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors," Epistle 47:11 (Rome; 1st century CE)
Socrates: "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you." (Greece; 5th century BCE)
Sikhism: "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend." Guru Arjan Dev : AG 1299
Sufism: "The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven't the will to gladden someone's heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone's heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this." Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order
Unitarian Universalism: "We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." 7th Principle of Unitarian Universalism
Wicca: "An it harm none, do what thou wilt" The Wiccan Rede
(from the Toteg Tribe web site)
So, go ahead. Try it today. You might be surprised how much it helps.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
The White Goddess, by Robert Graves, is the source of a mythic system which purports to link the Celtic alphabet with the names of trees and plants whose characteristics are representative of the cycles of personality, as well as the changes in the land throughout the year. Whatever the actual source, the Solar and Lunar Wheels as designated by the "tree months" become a complex and workable system of magic. Beginning in the Winter, between Yule and Imbolc, the tree months exemplify the inception, growth and development and attainments of the personal cycle throughout the year.
Below is a listing of the alphabet in order, with the tree, season, and characteristic energy noted.
CELTIC TREE MONTHS..LUNAR WHEEL
BEITH...Birch...First lunation after Yule...Inception
LUIS...Rowan...between Yule and Imbolc...Quickening
NION...Ash...First lunation after Imbolc...Aspiration
FEARN...Alder...between Imbolc and Oestre...Assertion
SAILLE...Willow...First lunation after Oestre..Intuition
UATH...Hawthorne...between Bealteine and Litha...Purification
DUIR...Oak...first full lunation after Bealteine...Divination
TINNE...Holly...first lunation after Litha...Protection
COLL...Hazel...between Litha and Lughnassadh...Inspiration
MUIN...Vine...between Lughnassadh and Mabon...Intoxication
GORT...Ivy...first lunation after Mabon...Resurrection
NgETAL...Reed...between Mabon and Samhain...Seclusion
RUIS...Elder...first lunation after Samhain...Dissolution
STATIONS OF THE YEAR...SOLAR WHEEL
AILM...Silver Fir...INTERCALARY DAY...Conception
ONN...Furze or Gorse...SPRING EQUINOX...Seed
Many people believe that there is something "wrong" with using Graves' Tree Calendar because it is "false"...as in, because the Ancient Celts didn't use it. Somehow they miss the point that even Graves knew the Calendar was his own creation, and his discussions of Mythopoesis state repeatedly that "this remains a very difficult book, as well as a very queer one, to be avoided by anyone with a distracted, tired, or rigidly scientific mind" He states clearly that he "assembled" the Tree Calendar from fragments of poetic writings over many centuries and several sources. Graves didn't pretend to be recording either history or science, and he doesn't expect anyone to take his writings for either of these. What is expected, and what I believe is owed to him by the integrity of a reader responding to the integrity of a writer, is to look carefully, study for yourself, and decide for yourself whether or not this is a useful tool, whether or not it works, whether or not mythopoesy should become a part of your own method of Crafting. For me it is, it does, and it has. See what you think.