Earth Day

“A religion without a Goddess is halfway to atheism.”    

Dion Fortune


As I ponder Earth Day my mind and heart are drawn to a contemplation of the Divine Feminine. I experience Earth as a goddess, as a mother, and my love for her is deep.  I was drawn to this image of Green Tara, a goddess in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Within Tibetan Buddhism Tara is regarded as a bodhisattva of compassion in action and came to be seen as an expression of perfected wisdom. Green Tara and White Tara are the most popular representations of Tara.

Tara embodies many of the qualities of the feminine principle. She is known as the Mother of Mercy and Compassion. She is the source, the female aspect of the universe, which gives birth to warmth, compassion, and relief from bad karma as experienced by ordinary beings in cyclic existence. She engenders, nourishes, smiles at the vitality of creation, and has sympathy for all beings as a mother does for her children. Green Tara offers help and protection from all the unfortunate circumstances one can encounter within the world of sorrow. As White Tara she expresses maternal compassion and offers healing to beings who are hurt or wounded, either mentally or psychically.

Nearly forty thousand years ago a Great Goddess was revered, and clay figures of her are the earliest depictions of humans that have been found.  Cultures were more agricultural, time was experienced as circular, and the growing cycles of Earth were honored.  Seasonal festivals celebrated the annual ebb and flow of life as people moved in conscious resonance with shifting cycles of light and dark, life and death.  Western culture no longer moves in harmony with natural cycles.  In fact, we can no longer see the stars.  Earth Day celebrations bring back the honoring of the Earth and her cycles. 

I believe humanity has a deep need to revere the feminine side of the divine.  This unmet need is surfacing in our time in such examples as the phenomenal popularity of The Da Vinci Code, which highlighted principles of the feminine.  Apparitions of Mary, mother of Jesus, are on the rise around the world.  One of the most documented in recent times was in Zeitoun, Egypt, where hundreds of thousands of people of diverse beliefs stood side by side, over a period of twenty-three years, watching as Mary appeared over a small church in a suburb of Cairo. Millions make annual pilgrimages to Fatima, Lourdes, and the site of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.  Worldwide response to the death of beloved Princess Diana of Wales also spoke to our need to revere a feminine archetype.

The feminine is half of all that exists. At this time I especially honor the feminine principle that is the Earth as well as all the growing things.


Give someone you love a gift of 366 goddess for Earth Day or Mother’s Day. Click on the book to order.

My deepest thanks.


Flat Tire on Life’s Highway


“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’re lost.”         Dalai Lama

I had to buy four new tires today, and I’m feeling sticker shock. Of course the tires came at the same time as taxes. It wasn’t a complete surprise as I was driving on the original tires of my dearly loved Honda. I had sincerely hoped, for budget reasons, that I could get two more months from the tires that had performed so well.

The episode began with a flat tire Monday night that coincided with the full moon. I was on my way to my monthly full moon program and stopped to pick up a friend. One of the four tires was flat as the proverbial pancake. I have reminded myself this week, with the help of friends, that it’s not January with two feet of Colorado snow. I didn’t lose control of the car, and I wasn’t stranded on the side of the road, endangering myself or others. Instead, I was able to leave my car in my friend’s parking lot and ride in her vintage truck. My choice (and yes, my lesson) has been how I’ve framed the experience.

Tires were my teachers this week, and the metaphor is not lost on me. Life has been compared to a path, road, or highway by many writers. We move through this journey that is filled with purpose, roadblocks, detours, and sometimes a surprise picnic by the side of the road in a lovely setting. We make our plans, maybe even have a map, but always the unexpected awaits. While the engine of a vehicle provides the motive power to move us forward, without the wheels we wouldn’t get anywhere. New tires might symbolize the ability to move ahead with more confidence.

The rear tire on the driver’s side was flat. I think that means something from my past stopped me in my tracks. Perhaps an old belief or pattern of behavior needs to be put behind me. I have an all-wheel drive vehicle, which means when one tire goes they all have to be replaced. I choose to feel that I can now get on the road, full speed ahead and “go with throttle up,” feeling confident and ready to face whatever I meet on Life’s Highway.

“Warp Five Sulu.”


Beauty and the Beast


“Beauty surrounds us but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it.” 


I recently saw Disney’s tour de force updated version of Beauty and the Beast. The characters and music were essentially reprised from the 1991 animated version, which I loved. I was awed by the blend of theatrical flair and special effects brought to bear on the new feature film. Of course I was also thrilled to see Emma Watson, our own Hermione from Harry Potter, all grown up and gorgeous inside and out.

The original story was French, La Belle et la Bete, written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. However, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, the original story theme originated around 4,000 years ago. Indeed, a “tale as old as time,” as the song lyric goes. That caused me to reflect on the plight of women four millennia ago and what might have been social and political commentary hidden in the original.

I counted nearly fifty various books, stories, films, and TV productions that have been based on this old and famous fairy tale in modern times. There were also many adaptations centuries ago. The theme is a timeless and romantic love story with powerful undercurrents of magic and ancient wisdom. What is the power of such a story that has such strong and lasting appeal?

Although the story’s beast is clearly “monstrous” to see, I believe the deeper message that resonates is the awareness that we all have qualities that need to be redeemed. We are all some blend of beauty and beast, and we long to be loved for ourselves and not some outer trapping of beauty, fame, or success. We want to be “seen” as we are and not through clouded lenses of expectations or the projections of others. And even deeper still is the question of whether we can love and forgive ourselves, which is where it all truly begins.

My research into this topic led me to discover a song with the same title by the legendary Stevie Nicks. I hadn’t remembered the song. The title appeared on her solo album The Wild Heart and received its inspiration from French filmmaker Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film version of Beauty and the Beast, one of Stevie Nicks’ favorite classic films.  She has explained the importance of the song, during live performances and in various interviews, as one that encompasses her whole life and represents how everyone is either a beauty or a beast–usually both. Certainly a star such as Nicks has dealt with the contradictions of how she has been “seen.”  Beauty and the Beast was recorded during a single three-hour session in Gordon Perry’s studio with a full string orchestra and grand piano. During the recording session, Nicks and her back-up vocalists wore long black gowns and served champagne to the visiting musicians.

As a lover of myth and story, I come away from this reflection with the inspiring realization that universal themes and timeless tales never lose their power to lift us out of our pain and preoccupation with everyday life, if only for a moment. I am grateful.

April Fools

Aprilsnar 2001

The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.                              ~Will Rogers

A dramatic April Fools hoax marked the 2001 opening of the Copenhagen Metro, Denmark’s new subway. The “joke” was a rail car bursting up through the ground, looking as if one of the cars had broken through the square in front of the town hall. It was actually a retired subway car from the Stockholm subway that had been obliquely cut with the front end placed onto the tiling and loose tiles scattered around the car. The effect created a dramatic April Fools hoax.

The origin of April Fools is uncertain. However, the most commonly accepted explanation originates with Pope Gregory XIII and the calendar that was named after him. The Gregorian calendar is an adaptation of a calendar designed by Italian doctor, astronomer, and philosopher Luigi Lilio (also known as Aloysius Lilius), who died six years before his calendar was officially introduced. The calendar is a solar measurement based on a 365-day common year divided into twelve months of irregular lengths.

The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used in the world. It was introduced by papal bull in October of 1582, but the complete transition took more than two centuries. In 1752 the shift in North America was like the “spring forward” aspect of Daylight Savings Time. When people went to bed on September 2, 1752 they woke up on September 14, and eleven days were lost forever.

The intention of the new calendar was to adjust the date of Easter. The inaccuracy of the preceding calendar of Julius Caesar had caused Easter to slip further from its proximity to the March equinox full moon. Easter is the only Christian holiday that is still lunar. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. The Julian Calendar did not properly reflect the actual time it takes Earth to circle once around the Sun, known as a tropical year. Although Julius Caesar’s earlier calendar reform of 46 BCE had made January 1st the beginning of the New Year, after the Roman god Janus and the month of January, European countries continued to celebrate New Years on March 25, Lady Day, a feast of the Virgin Mary, until 1752.

Gregory’s papal bull only had authority in Catholic nations, and European Protestants strongly resisted the change on principle because of its ties to the papacy. Two hundred years passed before most places let go of the Julian calendar, and some locations held out even longer. New Year’s Day continued to be celebrated on March 25 in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year’s celebration was a week-long holiday, ending on April 1, which brings us to April Fools.

It’s speculated that those who clung to the old dates became the butt of jokes. The April Fools were those who resisted change and held on to the old ways. Hoaxes and jokes became ways of tricking (and ridiculing) those who were thought to foolishly refuse to face the future. Over time April Fools practices spread to many countries and is now a tradition in quite a few places.

Calendars are a way of marking time. We “modern and sophisticated” people live in a world of artificial light, and we have lost touch with the seasons and the cycles of the Moon and stars. We have become prisoners of clocks, calendars, and many other devices that have nothing to do with the motions of the Earth and the constantly shifting cycles of light and dark that actually create time.

If we are honest, we might wonder who are the fools? We are tied to artificial timepieces and electronic devices that prevent us from even seeing the night sky. What wisdom have we lost that those who still watch the stars and move in rhythm with the seasons retain. Perhaps the biggest April Fools joke of all is that without our clocks, calendars, and cell phones we have no true idea of the passage of time and its significance.