Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Embodying the abundant universe

(From the Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert)

I believe as a tenet of faith that the universe--the Goddess, the Mother--provides what we need in abundance. Always.

This belief doesn't reside in my intellect, if you will, but in my gut. My brain easily generates myriad reasons why this belief is false; begin with the reality of poverty. But my belief, which relies on faith, isn't so much a proposition against which to marshal arguments. It is, rather, a way of understanding the world. It functions like a background assumption. (I'm well aware of problems with confirmation bias, but I'm not doing science here. Grant me poetic license.)

I think that whether or not this belief (or way of understanding the world) comes easily to you depends on the circumstances of your early life. That's not to say that we can't come to believe that the universe provides for our needs in abundance even if the circumstances of early life were meager in the relevant sense. The first step in coming to believe is realizing that we believe otherwise; for example, to realize that we're acting from an assumption of penury, that we believe fundamentally that life is hard, that we're its victims, that we're undeserving, that things never get better, that people are out to get us. Thus we uncover our operating assumptions. We work to accept that we have them (and acceptance is no small feat, though I give it short shrift here). And we begin to pay attention to all the hints we're given that assumptions of scarcity are false. When people make gratitude a practice, that's what they're doing: they're paying attention; they're counting their blessings.

(I've had a hard time with the idea of practicing gratitude because I have an old belief that I don't deserve my many blessings. Gratitude is, in my mind, and for biographical reasons, linked with feelings of guilt and undeservingness.)

Very early in one's life sojourn, one learns on a basic, physical, preverbal level that the universe provides for one's needs, or one learns that it doesn't. I think I'm lucky; I got the message, somehow, that my needs would be met. Maybe I carried that belief into this life with me. (My "soul card," in tarot, is the Empress. Both my rising sign and my Pluto carry the message, too.) Maybe my faith formed as the result of responsive early mothering. (Thanks, Mom!) Things--mostly thoughts--have happened to occlude my faith, but I think that at its foundation it's solid. It is a glorious piece of luck.

I know that as I spend these early weeks with my child, my one task, as I see it, is literally to embody for him the abundant universe. He's still coming into this life; he's new here. How is the world as he finds it? There is a lot of big, scary, uncertain stuff that he doesn't need to know about yet. But he is almost always held. We hold him bare skin against bare skin. We hold him in the sunlight streaming through our bedroom windows. We carry him, we sleep next to him, we wear him in a sling. He is never away from us. He is never left alone. We sing and babble and kiss him and make jokes. He is always fed when, or even before, he asks. There is plenty to eat. He is kept dry and clean and warm. That big, loud beast, the dog, is his friend. He shows no fear.

And there is a huge, excited, welcoming, loving community holding him and his parents. We were held during the birth by an extended network of friends. Witches worked magic for him. Astrologers watched the sky. Gifts continue to arrive. People come to visit. Home-cooked dinners appear on our doorstep every other day; his body is literally being built by the community. I'm in awe of the generosity, love, and good will engendered by this small being.

He affirms my faith in all things good.


Sia said...

I needed to read this today.



Inanna said...

Oh, thank you! That makes me happy.