Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This is the altar that our ritual group put together for Saturday's class. On it are many candles, small items of great spiritual meaning to the participants, and images of one of the ladies who had the great honor of going to see the Bodhi Tree. The small leaves you see, on paper, are leaves from the Bodhi Tree, and we were each allowed to hold one during the ritual. It was a very moving ceremony, to say the least. Very enlightening, so to speak.
So much went on over the weekend that it would be impossible to share it all. Highlights included Rev. Allan's talk on Buddhism, 2 hours of sheer educational and spiritual joy as he shared his personal experiences with Buddhism and his encounters with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. After the last chant was done, we moved on to lunch, then spent the afternoon in ritual and personal sharing. Sunday we listened to one of the best lecturers on paganism that I have ever encountered. Rev. Ken was charming, attractive, and better yet, well educated. He was clear about the difference between personal views and facts, covered many thousands of years of disparate faiths succinctly and with reverence, and kept us chuckling in our seats the whole time. I am honored to have been able to sit and listen to him.
I also had my own chance to speak, something I am very grateful for. I was asked to speak briefly about the Goddesses of Hellenismos. I did a very short introduction to Hellenic worship, and then spoke about the goddesses in my life: Hecate, Nyx, Hera, Persephone and Demeter, and then the Nymphs and my ancestors. Considering I had a fairly short time to talk about it, I think I did fairly well. I enjoyed presenting, and was quite humbled by the response from my fellow classmates.
I got to ride the Staten Island Ferry and the NYC subway on my own, which was a real treat, and I ate Pho with true gratitude. I shared two lunches with classmates, one Thai and one Indian, and both were so delicious. I have to admit, the food makes it worth going to NYC even if you aren't a city person.
I just don't have words to express how the weekend went. On one level it was "just" lectures and sharing, and yet it was much, much more. It was wonderful learning about the Hindu goddesses from someone who worships them and is so intimately a part of the class (thanks Suren!), and I was graced with watching the joy on people's faces as they learned that they had feminine energy or divine within their lives where they never realized it before. It was emotional, exciting, overwhelming and fantastic.