We Dared to Live It

I have a lot of feelings today. I’m not finding words to express them yet. Or, perhaps more accurately, I’m not finding my own words to express them. Instead, I keep going back to one of my favorite pieces of writing, by one of my favorite activists and Goddess women, Starhawk (from her book, Truth or Dare). I’ve read this piece in rituals for social justice a few times, and I turn to it every time that the world seems dark, or when it feels like things are about to shift.

The Last Story (Starhawk)

And so the time comes when all the people of the earth can bring their gifts to the fire and look into each other’s faces unafraid
Breathe deep
Feel the sacred well that is your own breath, and look look at that circle
See us come from every direction from the four quarters of the earth
See the lines that stretch to the horizon
the procession, the gifts borne
see us feed the fire
Feel the earth’s life renewed
And the circle is complete again
and the medicine wheel is formed anew
and the knowledge within each one of us
made whole
Feel the great turning, feel the change
the new life runs through your blood like fire
and all of nature rises with it
greening, burgeoning, bursting into flower
At that mighty rising
do the vines rise up, do the grains rise up
and the desert turns green
the wasteland blooms like a garden
Hear the earth sing
of her own loveliness
her hillock lands, her valleys
her furrows well-watered
her untamed wild places
She arises in you as you in her
Your voice becomes her voice
Sing !
Your dance is her dance
of the circling stars
and the ever-renewing flameAs your labor has become her labor

Out of the bone, ash
Out of the ash, pain
Out of the pain, the swelling
Out of the swelling, the opening
Out of the opening, the lab0r
Out of the labor, the birth
Out of the birth, the turning wheel the turning tide
This is the story we like to tell ourselves
In the night
When the labor is too hard, and goes on too long
When the fire seems nothing but dying embers winking out
We say we remember a time when we were free
We say that we are free, still, and always
And the pain we feel is that of labour
And the cries we here are those of birth

And so you come to the fire
Where the old ones sit
You are young
just on the edge of ripening
They are ancient
their faces lined
with spiderwebs of wrinkle
Their faces brown, bronze, cream, black
their eyes are wells of memory
They say

Listen child
For this is your night of passage
And it is time to learn
Your history
Tonight you will run free, out into the wild
Fearing only the spirit of your own power
And no one in this world would harm you or lay a hand on you
But there was a time
When children were not safe
And the dark held rape and death and terror
We remember that time
You are growing
Already you know joy in your own body
Soon you will know joy in another
And whoever you choose to love
We will all be glad for your happiness
But there was a time when people were not free to love
And suffered pain and shame and loneliness
We remember that time
Go to the stream, kneel down, drink the sweet water
As you can anywhere water runs in this world
For it runs clean, and breathe the clear air
And know that there was a time
When the waters and the very air itself
Were poisoned, and the people died
We remember that time
Look around the circle, look at our faces
Each one different, each special
And we so love the hue of our different skins
And the carved planes of our faces
And our beautiful hair, like moss, like water
But there was a time
When people feared each other
And hated what they saw in different eyes
We remember that time
And look up into the sky, see the stars, see the moon
Know that there is nothing in the sky
To threaten or harm you
But there was a time
When we were all targets
And we didn’t know, from one day to the next
When the bombs might come
Whether we would have a world to leave to you
We remember that time

They are silent
They wait
You look into their eyes, you breathe deep
and it’s as if you know the world they speak about
You feel its fear seep into your blood
and you feel also something else
a memory of strength, of courage
Look at the old ones
See the power in those old eyes, and frail, cupped hands
Breathe it in
Know it is your own power, too
You are of them
They live in you as you in them
and you marvel at them
How did they survive ? How did they stand it ?
They wait
You realize they are waiting for you
and you wonder what it is they want you to do
And you think maybe they want you to ask them something
So you say
Tell me, old ones
How did you do it ?
How did you change it ?
And they smile
Listen
Hear what they say to you

We struggled
We held out our hands and touched each other
We remembered to laugh
We went to endless meetings
We said no
We put our bodies on the line
We said yes
We invented, we created
We walked straight through our fears
We formed the circle
We danced
We spoke the truth

We dared to live it.

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About dreamingpriestess

Susan Harper, Ph.D., aka The Dreaming Priestess, is an educator, activist, advocate, and ritual specialist living and working in the Dallas, Texas area.
This entry was posted in Election 2016, Feminist Spirituality, NaBloPoMo and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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