Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Festival of Light and Dark

Last night I attended the Festival of Light and Dark over at Mills. It was pretty cool, and I had the privilege of saying a few words as part of the pagan reflection and as a representative of M2, or Multifaith @ Mills, a club for opening a dialogue about faith and social justice. Here's what I had to say for each:

Pagan Reflection

As we come into this sacred space, we are reminded of how the light and dark are integral to our existence. It is often our preference to speak of the light-- our vision of hope, divine spirit, and of life.  But to appreciate life, we must embrace the darkness. If we look at the path of evolution, many start with the ocean.  It is here, in the depth of darkness, where hues of blue begin to deepen and sight is lost-- it is here where life begins. It is here that organisms dwell, too small to see with the naked eye, creatures that bear us no likeness, and yet are the living history of the earth. With water surrounding them, darkness abounds as they create and recreate themselves. As we travel up, up and up towards the surface, we see species of all kinds inching towards the light above, but still reproducing, nurtured by the ocean, taking a piece of the darkness with them as they rise.

We see as we have reached land, that creatures of the earth bring with them the darkness and the life-water of the ocean to create outside of themselves in the form of the egg.  Protected by membranes and shells, nourishment and and safety providing a place to grow uninterrupted, new creations are nourished and blossom like spring flowers, the fruit of creativity and work and processes. As we can see, there is merit to darkness. 

And we see in our own bodies, that we have taken the darkness and the creative waters of the ocean-- we use this rich, fertile environment inside us to create, to grow, to reproduce. As pagans, we celebrate this at the Winter Solstice. The Goddess, in the darkness of winter, gives birth to the sun. In the lightlessness, in a place unseen, the seeds of creation are sown; as we see the rebirth of the sun, we are witness to this creation.  And so we give thanks-- not only for the light of the new sun, but also for the darkness of which and in which it was created, the place where everything begins.

And here is a little bit of what I said about interfaith:

The Power of Interfaith

What I really want to say, what I really want us to think about as we sit here and celebrate our respective holidays is how our faith, each individual’s faith influences how we interact with others. People think about this a lot at this time of the year especially, because it’s a time of giving, and light and hope, where everyone is nice, and everyone gets a slice of ham or a serving of greens. But do we take that with us beyond the holidays?  Do we take this light concept with us, beyond January 1st, to that one tuesday in April, that not-really-all-that-special saturday afternoon in September? How can we give of ourselves for the collective good beyond the fa-la-la-la-las? For those of us who are dedicate to social justice, how do we take the light and transform it into agency?  

I don’t have answers to any of these questions. But I have been truly blessed to have found a space to talk about these issues honestly. We have the tools of transformation, we just need to utilize them effectively. For those of you who want to answer these questions, to start a dialogue, we welcome you to join us in M2 for our weekly meetings. It is so important to bring about a dialogue and to think critically about how our faith influences our activism and to make a conscious effort to keep our agency throughout the year. I encourage all of us to take a moment to think about how we can accomplish that in the coming year.

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