One of the things I have been thinking about is what kind of world would it be if our value system revolved around Creativity and Co-operation, instead of power, money, and dominance. What kind of world..............Well, a world that could endure and be sustainable, among other things. A world children could grow to their potential in. A world where the resources of the collective and the planet went to something other than war and violence.
Creativity. Personally, my notion of a Deity, or Deities, is that She is an artist. And a Mother. That is a very different way of looking at the Divine from a great deal of what I see often. We all have instrinsic expressive and communicative gifts in life, which I think come down to the same thing: One is the eternal, seamless creative and receptive source, the other the mortal (and hence not immortal) means. When we are creating, the Divine expresses through each of us, whether we're making a mathematical theorem or a new recipe for lemon cake. We're engaged in the Long Dance.
How can anyone look at an orchid, shamelessly pretending, in the hope of being pollinated, that it is a bevy of magenta tipped butterflies in flight......without seeing the Goddess/God at Her easel? Without appreciating, indeed being in awe, of the gorgeous humor, and creative intelligence, behind all things visible? How miraculous is a spider in its perfect web? The extraordinary way in which a sage plant knows exactly when to send up purple flowers, along with every other sage plant in the garden? I do not believe any gardener who loves his or her work could fail to see that "nature" is both intelligent, responsive to love and appreciation, and communicative. It's not a human language, but language it is.
When I was a kid in a long-ago confusing Bible classes, I had an early "ah-ha" experience. In fact, that might have been at the root of what became my personal quest in life. I was told, over and over, that "God loves us". Yet I could not understand how this "God" that was so often described to me as we plowed through the Book, could be so cruel if He really "loved us". He seemed a God of terrible vengence and capricious cruelty. Even now, I shudder to think of children, like the child I was, internalizing some of these stories as "divinely inspired". How about this, for example, from the Holy Book?
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying "Avenge the children of Israel"..............and Moses said unto them, "Have ye saved all the women alive?.......Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."
Num. XXXI, 1-18I remember reading this, and trying to fathom how the noble Moses, made so visible by Charleton Heston delivering the 10 Commandments......could be involved in what was actually being described here.
All those women, old ladies, babies and little boys hacked up with swords, the little girls carried off to be raped, sanctified by "God" and His prophet. How could I reconcile this horror? Other options were needed. And I never failed to try to find them in future years. I am fortunate that I've come up with some pretty good answers.
And how sad, and conflicting, that a fragmented history of the bloody genocide practiced in ancient battles, fought beneath the banner of a tribal war god sometimes called Yahwah........should appear within the same book as "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27).
Or, and this passage, a favorite of mine, which is not from the Bible at all, but rather from the long hidden and lost Nag Hammedi Gospels, attributed to Jesus from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (the Twin)*** :
"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
There it is! The Divine Creative Force, expressing in everything and everyone. Early Christians called it "gnosis", knowledge of God within. Joseph Campbell called it your personal "bliss"......... it's the joy of creation, and if we bring it forth, it energizes and informs and expands our lives and our vision, a ripple that spreads out not only from our lives but in a circle to the lives of many others. If not expressed or known, the same reservoir of energy contracts, turns self-destructive, dark, stagnant. Maybe, that's even one of the places tumors can come from.
Be that as it may, I think it's so important to not "give your power away" as the popular saying goes, alhtough it can take time and the growth of self-awareness to learn how not to do that. It's important to appreciate, in fact thoroughly enjoy, the gifts that life has put on your banquet plate.
There's a wonderful passage in the ancient Sumarian stories of the goddess Inanna where she goes to visit Enki, the head of the Gods. In a celebratory mood, he calls forth some heavenly beer, and the two get drunk together. Enki gives Inanna many empowerments or gifts (called a "me") - from the art of sexual seduction to the governing of cities to the making of cheese. At an event I attended in the 90's I saw this cycle was enacted in participatory ritual theatre. As Enki offered each "me" (I always found that word for gift or power interesting), Starhawk, who led the group in the role of Inanna, said loudly with conviction and gusto: "I'll take it!"
|Inanna with lion, ancient Sumarian tablet|
There are so many forces that discourage both creativity and talent - one does not necessarily get love or acceptance for being "gifted". I think of my own family, and the kind of "dumbing down" or "becoming invisible" dynamics I had to do in order to avoid my fathers abuse, or to be tolerated by my envious brothers, who felt that any form of success on my part somehow diminished them. It was a way to survive as a child that became a great disadvantage as an adult. I still can witness myself going into "invisibility" mode when encountering a field of competition or jealousy.
Well.........I am grateful indeed to know so many inspiring people who are busy expressing the Divine Creative Force joyfully - may we all, like Inanna, loudly proclaim: "I'll take it!"
Here is an old interview with my favorite writer, Ursula Kroeber Leguin, on writing and creativity. Indeed, Leguin is one who held out both hands in her extraordinary creative life to "take it".
"I certainly wasn't happy. Happiness has to do with reason, and only reason earns it. What I was given was the thing you can't earn, and can't keep, and often don't even recognize at the time; I mean joy." (Ursula K. LeGuin)