Week of July 29th, 2021

Everyone Is Potentially a Healer and Teacher

These are some of the practical ways I champion and embody the Divine Feminine:

I regard relationship as a crucible for spiritual work.

I think of the practical expression of kindness and compassion and ethical behavior as an essential spiritual practice.

I assume that a crucial element of spiritual practice is the consciousness and compassion and empathy we bring to the sometimes chaotic and messy details of being human beings.

I proceed as if loving and caring for animals and plants and the Earth is the test of our spiritual intentions.

I regard play and fun and humor as not diversions from "serious" spiritual work, but rather being at the center of it.

I aspire to cultivate receptivity, listen well, and regard everyone as potentially one of my teachers.

What about you? What are practical ways you carry on the work of loving Goddess?


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CONSEQUENCES

Nancy Qiualis-Corbett writes: "When the divine feminine, the goddess, is no longer revered, social and psychic structures become overmechanized, overpoliticized, overmilitarized.

"Thinking, judgment, and rationality become the ruling factors. The needs for relatedness, feeling, caring or attending to nature go unheeded. There is no balance, no harmony, neither within oneself nor in the external world.

"With the disregard of the archetypal image so related to passionate love, a splitting off of values, a one-sidedness, occurs in the psyche. As a result, we are sadly crippled in our search for wholeness and health."

—Nancy Qiualis-Corbett, The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine

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“Living without the full feminine for so many centuries, we don’t know what it would be like to live within a society where the feminine voice is not repressed, women’s bodies are not distorted, controlled or sold, and where both men and women live with balanced psyches.

"It’s as if humanity has lived with one side of its body atrophied. The return of the feminine may be the most significant development of the new millennium. Although there have been steps to begin this process it would naive to think the reintegration is by any means complete.”

—Lama Tsültrim Allione


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BOTH MANLY AND WOMANLY

The words below are mine, from an interview I did with Amanda Yates Garcia

My happiness comes from the fact that I know my happiness is meaningless unless I'm working in some way to foster the happiness of others.

I also think my happiness thrives to the degree that I'm not just manly, but also womanly; in other words, to the degree that I incorporate what I understand to be the divine feminine principle and bring it into my life in really practical ways.

So that means valuing emotional intelligence, listening well, not being a know-it-all, being willing to be humble and empty, and curious and expressing cared compassion.

And not just thinking those things, but every day questioning how can I do thse things anew, afresh? How can I do them better than I did before?

I feel equally manly and womanly. And for those aspects to be working together in me seems to be key to my ability to enjoy life.


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AWAKENING TO THE DIVINE FEMININE

Merlin Stone's book When God Was a Woman is a good text that has spurred the reawakening of the divine feminine. Some others that come to mind:

The Body of the Goddess, by Rachel Pollack

Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness, by Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson

The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, by Starhawk

The White Goddess, by Robert Grave

The Once and Future Goddess: A Sweeping Visual Chronicle of the Sacred Female and Her Reemergence in the Cultural Mythology of Our Time, by Elinor Gadon

Others you would recommend?


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RE-EMERGENCE

Tom Robbins: "What really interests me about the Goddess is the fact that while she was beloved and honored by our ancestors, was the central spiritual archetype and prevailing deity all over the globe for thousands of years, she has been so successfully eradicated by revisionist patriarchal spin doctors that most modern Christians, Moslems and Jews are totally ignorant of her massive and dominant historical presence.

"If someone or something of that enormous scope can be so thoroughly concealed from the masses, it can't help but call into question everything we've been taught by our various institutions.

"The subversion and repression of the Goddess is the Big Lie of the past two millennia -- and as the dumbing down of America gains momentum, the duplicity is strengthening its grip.

"The good news is that a significant minority has recently become informed about the Goddess, and that has both revealed the essential spiritual foundation of feminism and inspired a growing distrust of traditional dogma and the meatballs who've propagated it."


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RECOVERING FROM PATRIARCHY

Tara Anura writes: "Patriarchy affects everybody differently. Many patriarchy survivors continue to improve over a long time, sometimes over a number of years. Recovery from patriarchy involves making changes in the physical, social and, emotional aspects of your life. You will make changes to prevent additional patriarchy as well as to facilitate your life-long recovery.

"It is normal to feel angry, anxious or depressed after patriarchy. You may feel worried about work, money and relationships, and the tiredness caused by patriarchy can make things worse.

"Rehabilitation is about getting back to normal life and living as independent a life as possible. It involves taking an active approach to ensure that your life goes on. This can mean learning new skills or relearning old ones. It may involve adapting to new (limitless freedom). Or it can mean finding new social, emotional, and practical support to live your best life post-patriarchy.

"With good care and rehabilitation, there is life after patriarchy."


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FIERCE COMPASSION

Lama Tsültrim Allione writes: "I was at a lunch with the Dalai Lama and five Buddhist teachers at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. We were sitting in a charming room with white carpets and many windows. The food was a delightful, fragrant, vegetarian Indian meal. There were lovely flower arrangements on the table.

“We were discussing sexual misconduct among Western Buddhist teachers. A woman Buddhist from California brought up someone who was using his students for his own sexual needs. One woman said, ‘We are working with him with compassion, trying to get him to understand his motives for exploiting female students and to help him change his actions.’

“The Dalai Lama slammed his fist on the table, saying loudly, ‘Compassion is fine, but it has to stop! And those doing it should be exposed!’ All the serving plates on the table jumped, the water glasses tipped precariously, and I almost choked on the bite of saffron rice in my mouth.

“Suddenly I saw him as a fierce manifestation of compassion and realized that this clarity did not mean that the Dalai Lama had moved away from compassion. Rather, he was bringing compassion and manifesting it as decisive fierceness. His magnetism was glowing like a fire.

“I will always remember that day, because it was such a good teaching on compassion and precision. Compassion is not a wishy-washy ‘anything goes’ approach. Compassion can say a fierce no!“

—Lama Tsültrim Allione, from her book *Wisdom Rising*


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UNLEASH YOURSELF

Even if you don't call yourself an artist, you have the potential to be a dynamic creator who is always hatching new plans, coming up with fresh ideas, and shifting your approach to everything you do as you adjust to life's ceaseless invitation to change.

It's to this part of you -- the restless, inventive spirit -- that I address the following: Unleash yourself! Don't be satisfied with the world the way it is; don't sit back passively and blankly complain about the dead weight of the mediocre status quo.

Instead, call on your curiosity and charisma and expressiveness and lust for life as you tinker with and rebuild everything you see so that it's in greater harmony with the laws of love and more hospitable to your soul's code.


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"Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement . . . get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible. Never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed."

- Abraham Joshua Heschel, Jewish theologian and civil rights activist


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NORMAL GLORY

"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

—Rainer Maria Rilke

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"The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to seeing them that we call them ordinary things."

—Hans Christian Anderson

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"I will wade out till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers. I will take the sun in my mouth and leap into the ripe air, alive, with closed eyes."

—E. E. Cummings

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"The whole existence is celebrating. These trees are not serious, these birds are not serious. The rivers and the oceans are wild, and everywhere there is fun, everywhere there is joy and delight."

—some guru

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"For aren't you and I gods? Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Release life's rapture. Everything is blooming. Everything is flying. Everything is screaming. Laughter. Running."

- Vladimir Nabokov


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HISTORY OF PRONOIA: My most recent book is Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiing to Shower You with Blessings. No one else has written a book about pronoia, but others have worked with the concept.

In his novella Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, J. D. Salinger wrote about pronoia without using the word. “Oh, God," one of his characters says, "if I’m anything by a clinical name, I’m a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.”

The actual term "pronoia" was coined in 1976 by Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow, who defined it as "the suspicion that the universe is a conspiracy on your behalf."

Another early contributor to the concept was psychologist Fraser Clark, founder of the Zippies. In the 1990s he referred to pronoia as "the sneaking hunch that others are conspiring behind your back to help you." Once you have contracted this benevolent virus, he said, the symptoms include "sudden attacks of optimism and outbreaks of goodwill."

Neither Terence McKenna or Robert Anton Wilson ever invoked the word "pronoia" as far as I know, but they both added nuance to the concept. McKenna said, "I believe reality is a marvelous joke staged for my edification and amusement, and everybody is working very hard to make me happy."

Wilson offered advice about the proper way to rehearse a devotion to pronoia: "You should view the world as a conspiracy run by a very closely-knit group of nearly omnipotent people, and you should think of those people as yourself and your friends."

Without invoking the term pronoia, Paulo Cuelho added to its meaning: "Know what you want and all the universe conspires to help you achieve it."


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NEW LANGUAGE

As a writer who appreciates the power of language to shape our experience, I'm in favor of questioning words and phrases that might be hurtful or oppressive to some people. In my own creative expression, I have made it a point to keep evolving my usage.

For instance, I no longer employ the words "pioneer" and "pioneering," because they are associated so intimately with colonialism, with the theft of indigenous people's land and destruction of their culture. Instead I might use the words "trailblazing" or "groundbreaking" or "innovative."

I'm not saying that you should do as I do; am merely stating my personal choice.

I don't necessarily agree with every organization's list of words to be avoided. For example, I don't have a problem with the use of the term "spirit animal."

Some say that this is a cultural appropriation of a Native American concept. That's not how I understand it. In fact, pretty much every culture in every part of the world in every historical era has had ideas about animals that serve as guides and helpers.

For instance, some of my Polish ancestors regarded the cuckoo as the spirit creature associated with Zywie, Goddess of health and healing.

Furthermore, "spirit animal" is an English term. Native languages use Native words.

Nonetheless, to honor the wishes of those indigenous people who do regard "spirit animal" as taboo, I instead employ terms like "power creature," "medicine animal," "medicine creature," "spirit creature," and others.

I don't mind coming up with new ways to say things. Indeed, it's the writer's job to be innovative in using language.

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Brandeis University published a guide about oppressive language. In general I like it, although, again, I don't agree with it all. What do you think?

From Brandeis: "Identity-based oppressive language includes a range of word and phrases including potentially lesser-known slurs, unhelpful euphemisms, and exclusionary words and phrases. Important to note: the appropriateness of some identity-based language varies between insiders and outsiders of a group."

Read more.

And here's more from Brandeis.

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One person has told me she doesn't like the Brandeis recommendations. She says she is tired of having to censor herself.

Here's how I reply: I don't regard it as censorship at all. People who use language consciously are eagerly alert for the opportunity to evolve the way language is used. They enjoy transcending numbing idioms and worn-out figures of speech so as to stimulate fresh thoughts with an invigorating use of words.

Why should we be attached to using terms that are boring, inexact, and fall-back excuses for lazy thinking? I'm not.

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Poets and imaginative writers coin new words all the time, in every language. They're helping us outgrow outmoded ways of thinking and feeling!

Have you checked out that hotbed of language reinvention lately?


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"Crazy" appears on the Brandeis list. For me personally, "crazy" has always been a very positive word. "Crazy wisdom" is one of my life-long studies. But I am considering dropping "crazy" from my vocabulary, since it may indeed be offensive to some people in ways that it's not for me.


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LOVING THE PROBLEMS

Why do we focus so intensely on our problems? What draws us to them? Why are they so attractive? They have the magnet power of love: somehow we desire our problems; we are in love with them much as we want to get rid of them.

Problems sustain us -- maybe that's why they don't go away. What would a life be without them? Completely tranquilized and loveless . . . There is a secret love hiding in each problem."

—James Hillman, The Essential James Hillman: A Blue Fire, edited by Thomas Moore


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