If fate had taken a very few different turns, its v. likely that I'd have ended up in a convent, and I'll admit that, to this day, virulent anti-Catholic that I am, I still sometimes long for the structured life of prayer and community that only Catholic convents appear to provide. Katherine Kunz doesn't help with her current photo essay concerning the Monastery of St. Gertrude. Here's the kind of thing that always pulls me in:
Stability with the Land
Sr. Teresa reflects that, “stability in community is also stability in the whole ecosystem of a place,…of which we are a very small part.” Stability cultivates a sense of groundedness. Almost everyone I talked with expressed the importance of the forest and walks on the land to their spiritual life. Sr. Placida spent an entire year living in a rustic cabin in the forest behind the monastery. Living one quarter mile from the monastery, Sr. Placida would join the community on Sundays for Mass. This time of solitude was extremely important and served to deepen her “inner life.” Many of the sisters come from farming families surrounding the monastery, and the bodies of sisters who have died are laid to rest in the monastery’s cemetery. The sisters have recently started to construct their own wooden caskets to be more connected with the land and to decrease the ecological impact of burial practices.
Kunz quotes the brilliant Joan Chittister, a Benedictine sister and author, [who] urges sisters to live their Monastic Profession through its three dimensions of stability, obedience, and conversatio morum in their present day commitments. “Do what these values demand, in this culture, on this planet, at this time, in this civilization, in the here and now.”
I imagine that's what Wiccans are supposed to be figuring out how to do, as well: Do what our values demand, in this culture, on this planet, at this time, in this civilization, in the here and now. Sweet Kali on a kettle drum, it's easier to say than it is to do. What does that mean to you, to do what the values of Wicca demand, in this culture, on this planet, at this time, in this civilization, in the here and now?
Hint: it has nothing to do with buying a cool athame. And just because you cast a circle, doesn't necessarily make it magic.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."