Thursday, December 16, 2010


I'll be reading a paper again at the annual Conference on Pagan Studies at Claremont School of Theology in January - I always leave so inspired by the people I meet there.  I wish that the Pagan movement was not so marginalized by our society, because every time I go, I remember how very urgent the work of re-weaving our spiritual identity back into not only human community, but the  community of Gaia, Mother Earth, really is. When I think of it, most of my numinous and magical experiences happened in the wild, within the Great Conversation.


Stone, rounded in my hand
tell me your story - the secret waters
that shaped you,
veining and coursing into darkness
humming their songs
of bones, pottery shards,
stones smoothed past memory or telling  
be my teacher.
Hawk,  tell me what you see. 
Small on the ground, I am blind. 
In widening circles you write an
incantation for the far journey
in the sky.  Be my teacher.
Fire, speak, if you will.
Illuminate the shadows
filling this careful house of sticks
I have built.  Burn me empty and full,
teach my feet to dance.
Fire, you be my teacher.

Rain, tell me.  I am listening.
Your voice is a multitude, 
your story grows
in the telling.  Into the mouth
the mouth of the ocean,
this song you sing. 
Rain, you will be my teacher.

    ~My help is in the mountain~

    Where I take myself to heal
    The earthly wounds
    That people give to me.
    I find a rock with sun on it
    And a stream where the water runs gentle
    And the trees which one by one give me company
    And so I must stay for a time
    Until I have grown from the rock
    And the stream is running through me
    And I cannot tell myself from one lone tree.
    Then I will know that nothing touches me
    Nor makes me run away.
    My help is in the mountain
    That I take away with me.

    Earth cure me.  Earth receive my woe.
    Rock strengthen me.  Rock receive my weakness.
    Rain wash away my sadness.  Rain receive my doubt.
    Sun make sweet my song.
      ~Nancy Wood~


John Webb said...

It is an interesting point whether the pagan community is marginalised by 'society', or whether it is itself responsible for that marginalisation.

My mentor, Herr Jung, would say that whenever a group of people sees 'enemies', those enemies are projections of the group's own shadow.

There is a theory that shadow projection is responsible for all conflicts and all wars. I'm not sure if that is entirely true, but it's a really good idea.


Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Great words, Lauren, and I just love the hands.

aola said...

I am so excited to have found your blog! I was researching the Taras and came across your post.

Thank you for your words. I will be back often

Lauren Raine said...

Trish and Robb.........thank you!

Aola, good to meet you; thanks for visiting my place in cyber space.

Robur; I appreciate your comments, and am also fascinated with Dr. Jung's ideas; I attended a "shadow" workshop in October with the Jung society here. I think addressing the issue of shadow, and projection, is of vital important, personally, and collectively.

There's some truth about what you say with Pagan culture too.....there is an element, indeed, that enjoys feeling marginalized and persecuted; I've seen it often enough in my many years of belonging to and working with pagan groups. I think each group has its unique shadow issues. There are many pagans who do not want to be viewed as an accepted religious path, for, I believe, exactly that reason, because unconsciously they need to feel "victimized".

I strongly feel, deeply feel, that right now it is vitally important that we all connect with our authentic power. Carolyn Myss became rather unpopular when she addressed this shadow issue with what she called "woundology".

This is worth writing about ..... but I guarantee it gets a lot of danders up!

Valerianna said...

Mmmm such beauty, I love the hands, too.

And the conversation is potent- about our shadow as Pagans. Just the other day, at the Catholic funeral of a family member, I was thankful for all the high ritual, and seeing many of the themes and symbols and stories that we all share. I did, however, wonder that if I had been open about who I was - what I practiced - would I be as welcome in the service?

Lauren Raine said...

hello Valerianna,

I think the need to hide affiliation with the Pagan movement has been a sound reality for many people - I remember, not so very long ago, several women in Arizona who had their children taken away because they were pagans. And remember the struggle the widow of a soldier who died in Iraq had for the right to put a pentacle on his gravestone. Hollywood has not helped, with all of it's exploitation of pagan symbols as "devil worship".

Yet, things are, I believe, different now..........I remember the struggle people like Selena Fox (keynote speaker at the conference this year) had to establish Circle Sanctuary in Wisconsin........or Frank Barney, when he created Brushwood in western New York. Or what Starhawk and Reclaiming went through. These people were brave, and dedicated, and had to face down a lot of intolerance and hatred in order to practice their religious beliefs.......I truly salute them!