noun ( pl. -ties)
1 the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views -- Apple Dictionary
|Lunar Libations with Almond cookies for the Esbat.|
This kind of silence always causes me to reflect on the nature of this place. Inevitably, during such reflections, I consider what I believe to be one of the primary reasons that people stay here. Note that I did not say, come, visit, or are drawn here -- the breathtaking vistas & unique landforms offer that answer. I specifically mean why people remain here, make it home against all odds -- why they stay. The answer to this is less explicit, but equally compelling. It is liberty.
How do I know this? Because it leeches out in the language of the people. It shows in various & frequent acts of defiance, however misdirected. It is this town's underlying current, its cultural undertow. Few people in this community fully agree about anything, many agree about nothing, with the single exception of freedom, of liberty.
Years ago, a well meaning member of our local government attempted to offer some solutions to certain, ahem, 'aesthetic challenges' this place faces (i.e., yards filled with appliances, copious junk cars, dilapidated single-wides, feral dogs & the like). He borrowed an ordinance from a large city & put much effort into trying to fit it to this community. It was expansive, detailed & restrictive. The backlash was epic. At best, we have 700 residents & at least half of them appeared at the presentation of this document to the City Council... to protest. It was the single-most motivating event this (generally unmotivated) community has seen in recent history. Speeches were made. Many, many, many speeches; most very compelling, some utterly moving. Every single one was about liberty, "the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority."
There has been much recent hullabaloo (& rightfully so) in the Pagan community over the importance of liberty. This naturally extends of course, to the goddess Liberty (& other related goddesses). It seems to me the signs of our efforts are multiplying & gathering momentum, albeit in small ways.
There is this concept for which I have no name, although I believe it must have one. I first encountered it in an obscure children's book, The Twisted Rainbow, written by Betty Gray & produced by the Parents Theosophical Research Group. It is the idea that when people focus thought & energy upon an idea or entity, they strengthen its astral presence. The more people dedicating their thoughts, prayers, will, etc. towards a specific purpose cause its spiritual 'presence' to become increasingly potent & apparent. Over time, this cumulative group energy & effort can result in the creation of thoughtforms, or perhaps even godforms. This is different from & more organic than an organized group doing a working with specific intent to raise energy & create a thoughtform, but the underlying principles are the same (I think).
Anyway, I have been encountering little signs of our effort here & there. Of course, I could attribute it to my own heightened awareness, but I like to think that we helping to better Liberty's station the general human consciousness, thereby increasing the frequency of Her manifestation in the temporal.
Las Vegas, the land of multifarious interpretations of freedom, offered us an apropos wine -- just in time -- for Esbat libations. Trader Joe's is a necessary supply stop for us whenever we find ourselves in the City of Lights. This visit, they were featuring an exclusive & timely libation by the germane name of Liberté. Its label features a lovely rendering of the goddess & an inspiring message: "...The promise of the New World is reflected in the freedom of its winemaking. Emancipated from the tyranny of of Old World bureaucracy & control, the new vintner dreams of something original... " Replace "winemaking" with "beliefs" & "vintner" with "dedicant" (or a similar combo) & you have yourself a nice little nod to religious freedom. It works for me, anyway. It's a nice, inexpensive Cabernet too (although I have read that the 2008 is much nicer).
Finally, I must mention a remarkable little event which occurred while we sat in migratory limbo last week. A friend & I have been assembling a couple of traveling altar boxes for a silent auction fundraiser to benefit the Anchorage Pagan Community Center project. I had suggested adding small containers with non-drying sculpting clay to the boxes so that the user could create their own deity statue on site -- a portable icon of endless possibility & personalization. This left me with a couple of extra blocks of clay, one of which I offered to the Little Lad. He had never worked with sculpting clay before, but he took to it right away. I left him to his project & continued my triage of items to travel, assuming that he would be moulding some variety of mushroom or perhaps a dog, or a planet. No. To my surprise & astonishment, this is his first clay-creation, which he presented to me, with great pride:
...Complete with cat hair for extra potency! (Ok, I jest).
After I snapped the photos for him, he deftly transformed her into a Astraeus hygrometricus, or Barometer Earthstar -- a much more characteristic theme for the Little Lad. I don't recall speaking all that much about Colombia, Liberty, Marianne, et. al. with him, at least not enough to believe that our conversations were the source of his inspiration, but who knows... Magick works in mysterious ways.
Liberty. May Her spirit prevail & Her blessings abound.
Now, back to the mushrooms.