Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tomorrow's the Feast of St. Valentine, and the incomparable Sara Sutterfield Winn pointed me to this wonderful discussion of what love means to Pagans:

I am stuck on the morning light. So much so that I can barely think about aught else. It bleeds all over the wet, dark grass, revealed after a weekend of soaring wind and rain, swaddling February in March’s clothes. The prairie grass that clumps and bends by the roadside lights up like candles in the morning, the tall stems and feathery tips unnamed due to my ignorance, but that I have come to think of as Wing Grass. Poets and biologists may differ over Names, but no matter, it’s the same willowy grace, the soft nimbus haloed behind by the globe of the sun, the roots thrilling in the spongy earth.

The city has its own hard grace, but I do miss the sky. Driving out in the countryside this week, the great vault opened above me, and its vast, empty richness spilled down in huge lungfuls, and I became instantly awash in tears. Love was the message, and the wind in the sky, the blazing of the trees, was the medium.

Love. You know, that’s a tricky subject for a lot of folks, and rightly so.

. . .

Our gods are complex and ten-dimensional! They aren’t simply giant laps we lay our heads on when times get hard - we grapple and wrestle with them, make deals and sacrifices, laugh and clink cups with them, dance and mourn with and for them, and yes, we love them….and sometimes they love us…but Love with a capital “L”? Universal Love? Love, the chemical makeup of organic bedrock…floating there in the dark matter between photons and electrons? Love that pours down from the sky and is swirling around in our cells, motivating the blood through our veins and pumping out of mountain springs, up through black caves made of limestone, out on the wings of the wind, rustling and shouting in leaves and the cry of birds? Eh, wevs.

Well I disagree (and I’m so painfully subtle about it all, I know). I think we can and should speak of Love again as a people - strive to wonder about a Pagan theology of Love - what would this look like? To speak in its language, as the ancient Greeks, who possessed a wide vocabulary of love. Philia, Eros, Agape. The sophisticated, beautiful love that Aphrodite reigned over, the dangerous, ecstatic love of Dionysos. When we engage as Pagani in the discourse of Love, we have a staggeringly rich world from which to pull. To bring Love down from the meaningless aether and work it like clay into the form of embodied theologies, into discourse, into reflection, into the vetting of our ethical beings, into right relationship with the Land. Love is there - love meets us there - we can invoke it with integrity and meaning - it can be something as real to us as our hands.

And then, of course, there’s the sky and the Land burning like roman candles in the midday - paradoxically laying a hand on my forehead and cooling the fever of my mind…forgiving faults…easing pain…and breaking my heart open like a walnut shell, flying into a thousand pieces, weeping stormily and crying out to that divine shade of blue the first thing that rises to my mouth, summoned from the depth of such a feeling… “O I love you. I love you.” Oh there, friends, there. What are we to make of that?

Love…magic…the numinous…the Mama….what’s the difference?

Very little that I can see, beloveds.

Describing mystical experience, of whatever variety -- xian, islamic, buddhist, Pagan -- is almost impossible. (Which is why the Charge of the Goddess says: "And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.")

Rumi managed it and, in the post excerpted above, Ruby Sara does, as well.

Meanwhile, my v creative friend, K. points me to THIS GREAT IDEA FOR VALENTINE'S DAY [concerning] the dreadful incident . . . in which a group of men (associated with the right-wing Hindu group Sri Ram Sena, who oppose violation of "traditional values," especially by Indian women natch) [went] into a pub on a Saturday afternoon and attack[ed] the female patrons.

A group of Indian women have started the awesomely-named Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women and launched a campaign to send pink panties, or chaddis, to Pramod Muthalik, leader of the Sri Ram Sena, in protest of his misogynist horseshit.

[Then, on] Valentine's Day, women across the world are being encouraged to: "Go to a pub wherever you are. From Kabul to Chennai to Guwahati to Singapore to LA women have signed up. It does not matter if you are actually not a pub-goer or not even much of a drinker. Let us raise a toast (it can be juice) to Indian women. Take a photo or video. We will put it together (more on how later) and send this as well to the Sri Ram Sena."

Picture found here.


xan said...

Shouldn't these panties, before being sent to Sri Whatsiswhine, be tied up in a knot of some sort?

What's the word I'm looking for here....wad, that's it. It would spare the poor dear the effort of getting the garments into that condition after receipt.

Anonymous said...

Very inspirational. Thanks for that:)

Thalia Took said...

O happy Day! I'm so glad Sara's "friend" is blogging again! Already bookmarked, and happy happy happy.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

Thanks for the directio to Ruby Sara. She sounds great!

Terri in Joburg