Lammas is the grain harvest, Autumn is the fruit harvest, poised between the two:
What shall we say to our Gods?
‘You are the Gods that made the Gods,
you are daughters and sons of the first thoughts of the universe,
you are the harvest and bringers of harvest,
you are the teachers of what we shall teach,
you show how us the secret of the seeds that bring life.’
‘There is mystery in our interactions,
our altars the central hubs of our communication;
but we find you also in your hidden networks,
interlacing all created matter,
running through the neutrons and the electrons,
in quarks and in particles, we find your presence.
Our brains seek your connections, to be part of your networks,
to read your thoughts, to understand the signals,
but our wiring is faulty.
We are primitive and your communication
is beyond any language that we know.
Yet we struggle ever to decode it,
each moment drawing just a little closer.’
As we approach the Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City this October, I pause to think in this gap between Leo and Virgo, between Lammas and Autumntide, a time of transition, Summer to Fall, but not quite ready to give up the caress of summer and to embrace the Fall’s decline.
What does religion mean to us in this era of ours? Our science fiction and fantasy have taken the place of the folklore and myth of old, but in essence they are same – our human longings to understand how our consciousness came to be, to understand what we can do on our planet, to understand if we can go beyond the confines of our planet, beyond our solar system, can we reach out into the galaxies to find others such as we?
Our old religions were the expressions of our ancestors. Now we stand without belief in much of what our antecedents took for granted. But the Gods still speak to us, if we have mind and heart to hear and see.
So how shall we create a framework to express our spiritual longings in the new eons to come? Our complex beliefs derived from human culture will no longer hold true when we look at the vastest of space and contemplate how many other sentient life forms look out from their planets and speculate, as we do, about what lies beyond. We must needs go back to our roots and the practices that sustained us for millennia if we are to find a rooted spirituality that helps us to reach to the stars.
For me, we find this by anchoring ourselves in what we know to be true – the ever-renewing, changing, never-ceasing interactions that we call ‘Nature’, but this is Nature beyond the confines of earthly life-forms. For now we must think of ‘Nature’ as the life-force itself that extends way beyond our own planet in systems and interactions that we are only just beginning to grasp. We find truth, though ever-elusive, in what we see in the universe around us and in the revelations that science brings, as we grapple with the true nature of reality.
And we find truth in a another direction, inwards and downwards, deep within our own consciousness, as we struggle to break down the barriers between self and other, between the different aspects of our own consciousness, between us and other human beings, and us and between us and the other species around us. Religion is for me a mixture of wonder, reverence, love and connectedness. For some this feelings focuses around a single being they call ‘Goddess’ or ‘God’, but for many us now these feelings connect us to the wider universe that we can call the ‘Divine’, the ‘Source’, the ‘Origin’, a universe that transcends our human concept of deity. This does not leave us orphaned of the Gods. Their presence is still close to us and will endure, but perhaps we can now stand with them to contemplate the wider universe and the powers that gave birth to the Gods themselves.
So as we stand at the mid-point of the season’s transition:
I rest in the present moment,
the Gateway to past and future.
I acknowledge my past
and the stardust within each cell of my body,
the origin of all life on our planet from the birth of stars.
I acknowledge the interconnectedness of all things
and that from each moment of my focused attention,
and in my sleeping and my waking,
myriad pathways and possibilities arise.
From the moment of focused awareness, I will make my choices,
acknowledging my connection with all those I meet
in realities spiritual, virtual and physical.
My breaths, thoughts, feelings, words, actions,
cause chains of interconnected events;
rippling out across our planet and into the universe beyond.
All my being affects the living things around me,
and the inanimate too.
Each interaction I make I will endeavour to be
in accordance with my limited understanding of the greater good.
I align myself to the Great Work, the transformation of humankind,
the expansion of consciousness and love limitless attained.
This will be my prayer for the Parliament of the World’s Religions 2015.