Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving

What a profound opportunity -- to set aside a day to reflect on all the grace and beauty in our lives, to feel our gratitude for the love and abundance of our lives, to laugh and celebrate with family and friends, to express our thanks to our Divine Source for the multitude of gifts we receive each moment.

I can't help but smile at the spiraling and evolving dimensions of this day.

Long ago, harvest festivals brought ancient peoples together to honor the Earth for her sustenance and bounty. Life in these gatherer-hunter cultures could be harsh and the only way to survive was to live interdependently with the Earth, respecting the seasons and living in rhythm with larger natural patterns. Mutuality, interdependence and balance were core values during this phase of the human journey; men and women worked together to survive as human families and humans worked together with the powerful forces of nature. Divine Source was understood to embody both male and female energies. The Earth, with its capacity to generate life, was honored and respected as the Great Mother.

And then there was a shift, an early tipping point. An agrarian culture was born and it became important to own land so that crops could be planted. Sons were essential to bring physical strength to the tasks of farming. Ownership of land introduced the possibility to store surplus harvest, to accumulate wealth -- and ironically also amplified fears of scarcity. One could never have enough - land, surplus, wealth, sons, power. Power together became power over ... and women became another form of property to be controlled. A man who was busy acquiring property and power needed a God who reflected and reinforced these values and systematically all traces of the feminine were erased from Divine Source. God was Father and Son, Lord Almighty. Religion became entangled with politics as men sought more power and more land .... and the Earth was valued only as a resource to be exploited. Thanksgiving celebrations were institutionalized within the patriarchal church and its politics, often celebrated on the same days as ancient 'pagan' holidays.

And so it has been for many generations.

I pause on this Thanksgiving Day to reflect on how the planet is shifting again --remembering balance, returning the feminine to the equation and valuing our battered Earth. I am delighted to be traveling in the company of some wonderful women who make my heart sing and my family who are the threads that make up that heart. I am excited and grateful to be on this planet for the shift back to a God who transcends gender and embodies wholeness.

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