January 6, 2021

Three Gifts to Lay on our Sacred Altars as our Divided World Falls Apart.


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Today is a monumental day, and it’s only 7 a.m. as I write this.

It appears both Georgia runoffs have been won by Democrats, giving them control of Congress. This will free Biden to begin rebuilding.

We are left with worse division than ever, illustrated by demonstrations in Washington D.C., where we hope the violence will be minimal. After watching Republican candidates in Georgia, I see, once again, that some Republicans appear to have actually convinced themselves that they are saving America. As a liberal Democrat, my view is that the Kool-Aid has taken effect, the trance is complete—the social media circus just feeds the illusion.

On the other hand, we are not all in the right; we are not all in the know. There is so much unknown still. How do we handle this monster virus? We still do not have control over it or over the other pandemics that are sure to follow. We still don’t know how to cross the aisle, how to heal the divisions that have erupted and will erupt with more fury as Trump truly has to leave.

We have only begun the healing of racism, injustice, and the climate crisis. There is much unknown ahead, and we’re all in new territory. There must be new ways to look at all this— new strategies. The old ones are as dead as the Republican strategies.

As humans, we are asked to enter the territory of humility, of not knowing. Hubris has played itself out. Thank the goddess. As it kicks and screams on its way out, how to handle that is one of the things I think we don’t know.

In my personal life, there are strong echoes of this. Yesterday brought me a hard discussion with my partner, where I voiced my need for equality on some issues, and old resentments boiled up to the surface. We came to a peaceful place, only to have my sadness about it all overflow in predawn hours, when tears shook me, waking him.

A partial remedy came to me like a gift embedded in the shaking: a dark mama goddess of the earth and deep waters appeared to me, an imaginary friend, if you will; a stand-in for Mother Earth, for the feminine aspect of the Beloved One. She held me as I shook and asked me to stop thinking and just feel. That felt scary, for thinking is my go-to, my defense.

When I dared to stop it, I could feel my heart holding on like a fist.

“Can you stop holding all the issues so hard?” that mama asked. “What would happen if you just trusted everyone, including the husband who loves you, to do the right thing and find harmony? What if you were to trust…life?”

She dared me to let go of the strings and wires that held the hard place in my heart, where I was holding some burdens that didn’t really belong to me.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting harmony. I pray for harmony every day; but, my holding on to the pain that isn’t really my job to control or “heal” does not really allow for harmony.

What if I trusted that even though chaos might ensue, things might actually work out just the way they should? In a better way than little “I” could have orchestrated? Oh, my, how deep my desire to control goes.

It comes down to my mind’s decisions and judgments about what it thinks it knows: I am in the right and know how it should be. So, I will be brave and humble and try to hold the situation together. But, that’s not humility—that’s control.

Which brings me back to our country. In my space this morning of admitting I don’t know, I wonder: What will happen as a result of this chaos, this violent division? What if I were to trust it? 

That’s not to condone it, or to agree with, or give in to the “principles” the Trump tribe espouses; but giving up on holding it all could be a relief to my heart, which has been trying to hold it together inside myself—an idea that has worked about as well as a failed soufflé.

The situation is not in my control—try the Serenity Prayer, honey.

We were warned by every prophet, seer, and astrologer that these times would come, and here they are—it’s terrifying. Everything is falling apart. We’re sick and dying and divided. We need a right relationship with the earth and with each other to prevail. And maybe our prayers are coming true right now. Maybe, the chaos really does have to happen so that something new can be born.

I sigh. I let go of the grip in my heart. I ask for deeper waters, deeper truths to flow through me.

Love comes. For my husband, who is doing his best, just as I am. For myself. Bless me, for I am doing my best with all my flaws. And for the country. We are young, just learning how to be our best. Fumbling.

May we be brave during this time. Today is, after all, the Epiphany—the day that three wise men were reputed to have arrived at the manger, bringing their gifts to the baby Jesus. And if the three wise men (oh, let’s make them three wise people) were to come to the manger of the Christ energy than lives everywhere—in each heart, even if called by a different name—what gifts would those wise people bring?

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.

Gold is associated with royalty, nobility. May we experience the real, authentic energy of royalty and nobility—both within ourselves and in our country and in the world. May our new leaders show us how to take on real nobility.

May we each show each other that kind of gold.

Frankincense, an aromatic gum resin used in the Middle East and Africa, was reserved for use as an incense in ceremonial worship. May we find aromas, rituals, and ceremonies that help us bring out and honor all that is sacred at this time when we are experiencing the profane.

Ceremony has a power that goes beyond thinking and strategizing, which is also important. But it is only one level: ceremony goes below symptoms to the level of cause.

May we remember to go there; however that works for us: lighting a candle or incense, feeding the birds, planting a seed—with the intent that we bring out what is sacred, authentic, natural.

Myrrh is a fragrant spice derived from the sap of a tree native to the Near East. It can be used as incense but was also used as an anointing oil, a medicinal tonic, and an ingredient in the spices used to prepare bodies for burial. This may have been a symbol of Jesus’ humanity and a foreshadowing of his sacrificial death.

May we all remember, whether or not we believe in Jesus, that we are human and subject to death—that everything is impermanent.

Those are the three gifts I bring to my own altar on this day, as only one human who is looking for the wisdom within. You are each kings and queens, who, regardless of your faith or lack of it, have “better angels” to call on from within you. Oh, how we need them now.

So, in whatever way you can, see if you can create a little ceremony today to bring your own gifts to this land of not knowing, this new territory, where we are all trying to live in a better way.


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