Saturday afternoon, the warm weak tea sunshine was strong enough for me to sit on the back deck in shirtsleeves and read. Sunday morning, I spent with the women of my circle. We have a lovely tradition of having brunch together once a month. No ritual, no magical workings, just sitting in a circle of women who love you and talking about your life and talking with them about their lives. Sunday night, a strong and terrible wind blew up, sweeping away all the warmth and leaving bitter February cold in its wake. And, this morning, as I waited, and waited, and waited for a cab, I couldn't help but remember Teilhard de Chardin's benediction:
Blessed be you, harsh matter, barren soil, stubborn rock: you who yield only to violence, you who force us to work if we would eat.
'Blessed be you, perilous matter, violent sea, untameable passion: you who unless we fetter you will devour us.
'Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever new-born: you who, by constantly shattering our mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our pursuit of the truth.
'Blessed be you, universal matter, immeasurable time, boundless ether, triple abyss of stars and atoms and generations: you who by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards or measurement reveal to us the dimensions of God.
'Blessed be you, impenetrable matter: you who, interposed between our minds and the world of essences, cause us to languish with the desire to pierce through the seamless veil of phenomena.
'Blessed be you, mortal matter: you who one day will undergo the process of dissolution within us and will thereby take us forcibly into the very heart of that which exists.
'Without you, without your onslaughts, without your uprootings of us, we should remain all our lives inert, stagnant, puerile, ignorant both of ourselves and of God. You who batter us and then dress our wounds, you who resist us and yield to us, you who wreck and build, you who shackle and liberate, the sap of our souls, the hand of God, the flesh of Christ: it is you, matter, that I bless.
'I bless you, matter, and you I acclaim: not as the pontiffs of science or the moralizing preachers depict you, debased, disfigured - a mass of brute forces and base appetites - but as you reveal yourself to me today, in your totality and your true nature.
'You I acclaim as the inexhaustible potentiality for existence and transformation wherein the predestined substance germinates and grows.
'I acclaim you as the universal power which brings together and unites, through which the multitudinous monads are bound together and in which they all converge on the Way of the Spirit.
'I acclaim you as the melodieus fountain of water whence spring the souls of men and as the limpid crystal whereof is fashioned the new Jerusalem.
'I acclaim you as the divine Milieu, charged with creative power, as the ocean stirred by the Spirit, as the clay moulded and infused with life by the incarnate Word.
The top few inches of the soil are frozen hard; it will hurt you if you fall on it. Winter is still here. When the wind was blowing, just as when it rains v. hard, I had to go to bed, pull up the covers and: listen. Just, listen. There's so much to hear.
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 . . . ."