The Womb of Darkness

I have found my high holy days, in the womb of darkness—Solstice, the darkest days of the year. I rejoice in the deep, with its chaos and blindness, its promise of the unknown thing ahead. I have meditated on Mary all year, beginning last Advent when I began to contemplate each of the words given…

A Reading from the Book of Frodo

In the semester after 911, my most important teachers were hobbits. I met Frodo Baggins for the first time in the months after the twin towers were hit on September 11, 2001. My family was living in Alaska, and I was attending seminary in Seattle, so I had to be away from my young son…

Heaven on Earth

When I was growing up, the afterlife was a big place with four distinct areas: Heaven, hell, purgatory, and limbo. I completely understood hell. Hell was all the bad things you could imagine, forever. Very impressive. Purgatory was simply hell with a time limit. And limbo was just fair; babies couldn’t help it if they…

The River Hallelujah

My sacred journey on the river recently (McKenzie River Prayer link) turned out to be an invitation to a new level of relationship with the Divine. For days I wandered, dazed with wonder, and completely unable to adequately express the depth of my feeling. I dreamt repeatedly of being caught in the flow of something…

McKenzie River Prayer

My friend Dan lives on the McKenzie River. The front of his house is filled with windows overlooking a sweetly sloping yard with lovely landscaping and magnificent trees, but my eyes are drawn always to the water, which moves in one direction at a constant and mesmerizing pace. Wherever I stand in the house or…

God and Mother of Us All

Several Sundays ago, when I was presiding as priest at an Episcopal service, something snapped in me. I was joyfully reading the text of the Eucharist, my hands uplifted and spread in the gesture called Orans, where the priest prays on behalf of the people. I say “joyfully” because, as a Catholic female, I never…

Love, Pray, Dare

Saturday at dusk at a women’s retreat, twenty-five women gathered into a healing circle. Each held an unlit candle. The retreat centered on Blessed Mother, Mary, and on the floor in the middle of the circle burned a tall prayer candle with an image Our Lady of Guadalupe. The first woman lit her candle from…