Gathering in the Grove (for all)

Come, join us under the trees (the leaves are thick enough to shelter us from the rain if need be), bring the beverage and snackie of your choice, and join the parley, savvy? Everyone’s invited, regardless of their belief system (or lack thereof).

Stock opening paragraph: I’ll try to post this every week or so, and if I miss it I give explicit permission (nay, my blessing) for someone else to post. Tuesday seems as good a day for this as any, but I also see no reason why it can’t move around, or even happen more than once a week. If you have a “gab” type idea for a diary, go ahead and borrow the title :-). My only request is that topics not be Christo-centric, since the idea here is to provide some balance.

And always, always, honest questions from those who don’t understand where we pagans, heathens, and other assorted “weirdos” are coming from are welcome. Part of why I’m here is to help spread knowledge and understanding, and most of us don’t bite unless invited.

This week’s starter topic (but please feel free to introduce others if you’re so inclined!): Rain. No, not our fellow poster, but precipitation :-). Some call it the Tears of God, others think of it as waters of birth and life. Here in the desert, we get so little of it that it’s something I look forward to (Roland, who hails from New York/Connecticut, understands that PoV but doesn’t share it ^_^). Having a patron deity who’s associated with the ocean and storms (Mannannan), rain feels like a communion with Him.

What are your thoughts on rain, from a spiritual, theological or philosophical perspective?


Cookie jar (4.00 / 10)

Don’t worry, it’s designed to keep the goodies at an optimal moistness level (not too soggy, not too dry). ūüėČ

by Morgan on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:27:38 PDT

Interesting… (4.00 / 6)

What are your thoughts on rain, from a spiritual,
theological or philosophical perspective?

I think she’s a wonderful person and a saint for helping make the quilt project come into existence.

Ok, I know I’m not the only one who’s going to read Morgan’s question and immediately think of Rain here on SP — just getting the obligatory joke-y type comment out of the way. ūüėČ

My serious answer will take more thought…be back later.

“The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.” ~ Psalm 121:5-6

by Sweet Georgia Peach on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:35:18 PDT

What a giggle!n/t (4.00 / 3)

by Rain on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 13:52:03 PDT

hmmmmm (4.00 / 7)


On the one hand, I love hearing the rain fall softly on the roof and through the leaves–particularly at night–it is comforting, life bringing. ¬†I love the rain on my garden–so much better than any hose can provide. ¬†A cool rain that breaks a hot muggy spell is glorious.

But after growing up in Omaha and being in Oxford, OH during grad school–rain is also frightening to me. ¬†when it comes down in torrents and in sheets…when it is whipped by the wind, stinging my face–when it is part of the hurricane that destroyed so much what is us in the Gulf–then it is no longer comforting. ¬†I have lived through too many tornado watches and violent thunderstorms to completely trust rain.

For everything its season, and for every activity under heaven its time.Ecc. 3:1

by PoliSigh on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:39:37 PDT

our ancient ones… (4.00 / 6)

tell stories about water that fell from the skies

but I think it’s a myth. ¬†Water from the sky – right….

(KS is in a LONG dry spell – I can’t remember the last rain. ¬†Did have one good winter snow – but we’re WAY under yearly averages)

I miss it – love a good rainfall. Everything’s so clean and fresh after a good rain, I totally get the communion aspect you speak of.

One of my favorite lyrics from Jars of Clay

you are the shelter from the rain
and the rain to wash me away

I like that image of deity

Join Soulforce-seeking Justice for God’s GLBT children.
Read My Left Wing

by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 11:46:48 PDT

Baptism Waters (4.00 / 6)

Rain from a spirtual point. I think of the baptism water running down my face. what a wonderful feeling life made anew. that everything has a new being. washing one clean. the past is in the past. I have a new life. I was baptized last sunday. it was amazing. I wrote a diary about it. it title How I got saved. read it if you want. it’s my first diary so I’m insterted in what everyone thinks.

by dem397 on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 12:02:45 PDT

Rain… (4.00 / 6)

I remember when I was a child, it was so much fun to go outside in the summer when there was a light sprinkle and dance and play around like mad, until it either went away or turned into a hard rain.

Where we lived, thunderstorms would come in from the west, over the mountains, and when one was coming in, I often ran out and sat on the front lawn and watched it come in until it started to rain.  

I used to make up stories about “storm witches.” ¬†They dragged storms behind them on their brooms! ¬†The young ones did sprinkles and gentle rains, but the oldest ones had the BIG thunderstorms!

I generally loved thunderstorms as a kid, although now that I’m grown I associate them with power outages and downed trees. ¬†Rain is a blessing, indeed, but too much is a curse. ¬†My childhood home was on a hill with a stream in front, and we occasionally had flooding that was quite alarming.

These days, I recognize rain as a necessity (especially after the drought we had a few years ago) but I still grumble about it, especially since rainy days clog up my sinuses.

by Vagrarian on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 12:36:52 PDT

My daughter (4.00 / 5)

When my daughter was younger, we used to tell her stories about The beautiful fairy Antonia, and how she decided to live with a human family, as their little girl. ¬†She evolved that into telling us that she went flying with the fairies every night, making rain where it was needed (she was of course, their teacher – did I mention my lil’ one is a bit, um, forceful?) ¬†One year we joined my wife’s sisters on vacation in FL, and for the whole first couple of days, it poured down rain. ¬†She later explained to us that she had left some fairies in charge while she was gone, and they had been very naughty. ¬†They were in a time out, and weren’t going to be allowed to help for a loooooong time. ¬†

Bittersweet ending – the last time I asked her if she was “going flying tonight” as I tucked her in, I got the eye-roll, & “awwwwww, dad…..” (now a quite mature 8) ¬†


by Austin in PA on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 13:56:44 PDT

Funny you should ask. (4.00 / 6)

After a long bonding conversation with sister in Colorado, but before hanging up, our conversation drifted to the weather. ¬†I commented about the dark and cold skies after two weeks of unexpectedly early Spring, and she complained of the lack of rain or snow, forcing her to drag the hoses out and “water”. ¬†And then, we pondered about how, in life, there is often too little or too much, when what all we want is balance. ¬†

This topic followed a much longer discussion about politics, and the failings of the American People to realize how bad things were getting.  We agreed at that time, that usually there was a philosophical swing from conservatism to liberalism and back, but at this time, we could not see the pendulum swinging back in favor of the masses.  All we asked for was a little balance.  

Too much.  Not enough.  Will man ever see balance?

Both the Oak and the Maple are trees; we need not decide which is the correct version….Simplexity.

by Aunt Em on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 12:45:49 PDT

I don’t know if this is spiritual, (4.00 / 6)

theological or philosophical. ¬†The simple fact is that rain means “home” to me. ¬†

I grew up in western Oregon, and while I was certainly happy in Los Angeles, it was never home. ¬†I don’t remember coming to Portland above three times when I was a kid; but I live here now because it’s home, and was from the day I arrived.

by loggersbrat on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 12:50:36 PDT

That sounds (4.00 / 6)

philosophical to me :-).

Sort of like how I don’t feel “home” if I can’t see some sort of elevated land on the horizon. I live at around 1200 ft. above sea level, but about half the horizon has mountains ranging from 3000-12,000 ft.

Connecticut was wonderful — green hills everywhere. Same with Hawaii. Florida, OTOH, felt vaguely uncomfortable. Then again, that could have just been my JW MiL ;-).

by Morgan on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 13:04:59 PDT

Four quotes (4.00 / 6)

The quality of mercy is not strain’d;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.

–William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, IV.i.184-186

Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above,
like gentle rain let the skies drop it down.
Let the earth open and salvation bud forth;
let justice also spring up!
I, the LORD, have created this.

–Isaiah 45:8, New American Bible

For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down
And do not return there till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats,
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11, New American Bible

?p?? ???es?e ???? t?? pat??? ?¬Ķ?? t?? ?? ???a????, ?t? t?? ????? a?t?? ??at???e? ep? p??????? ?a? ??a???? ?a? √ü???e? ?p? d??a???? ?a? ?d?????.

Thus become children of your Father in heaven, because he causes his sun to rise upon the wicked and the good, and he rains upon the just and the unjust.

–Matthew 5:45, my translation


by musing85 on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 13:10:50 PDT

Shakespeare (4.00 / 4)

I had to memorize that Shakespeare passage in English class during freshman year in high school. Chose it from among several offered. Not good to be forced to learn literature by that method, but the beauty of the words won out, & I never forgot them, & love Shakespeare. I laugh now to think of how much more of a deserved torture the memorization exercise was for some of my classmates.

“There ain’t no sanity clause.” Chico Marx

by Asbury Park on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 14:22:01 PDT

A common pagan song: (4.00 / 6)

We all come from the Goddess,
and to Her we shall return,
like a drop of rain
flowing to the ocean.

I will add that, as much as I love rain, I always offer a prayer that we not get too much at once. I’ve seen too many news reports on mud slides and flooding to not appreciate what too much rain can do, especially since so much area is paved that it causes a lot of runoff. And since our indoor flood (heavy unexpected rains + bad tarp during re-roofing = no fun), whenever I hear it start coming down hard I have to get up and check all the spots where we’ve had leaks in the past, if only for peace of mind :-).

Then again, we got married on Valentine’s Day 1998, in the middle of a month that broke February 100+ year records for rainfall, so we have some romantic stories involving lots of rain (the wedding was supposed to be outdoors, you seem, at an SCA camping event… :-).

by Morgan on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 13:41:34 PDT

I think of rain as blessing weather — (4.00 / 5)

a time when things can change for the better.

I was given the name Rain (Ki-Mo-Wah-n) when I did a series of fasts in the Cree tradition. ¬†It rained — every single time. ¬†

I understand that is not uncommon when someone is doing a vision-quest type of fast — there will be rain or high wind.

It’s raining here now.

by Rain on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 13:55:04 PDT

Rain (4.00 / 5)

Keeps me feeling alive, unfettered.

I didn’t fuly understand how important water, rain, rivers were to me until I went to Oshogbo years ago and met a Pagan from New England, the Priestess of Osun.

Water is the life force.  It is the one thing we all must have to live, that is present in all of our bodies and that can take away life as quickly as it can give it.

I found myself fully understanding me as well as the world by visiting the river Osun.

by bendygirl on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 14:12:47 PDT

Boy, when you have been without water (4.00 / 4)

for awhile, you really feel the energy in it.  Amazing.

by Rain on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 14:48:20 PDT

There is nothing like… (4.00 / 5)

…a good shower after being at a camping event for three of four days. Or, you know you’re ready to return to the modern world when running water in the restroom sink feels like a minor miracle ;).

I’m willing to bet most of us have had the experience of stepping out of the shower and saying “Ah, now I feel human again” or the equivalent :-).

by Morgan on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 15:20:53 PDT

I love water (4.00 / 2)

We always tried to camp near water.  The sound and sight of a waterfall or a river or a lake was awe inspiring.  

We live on a little lake which has caused a life long struggle to build a little cabin into a home, but the lake is worth it.

Gentle rain is soothing to the mind.  For years my bedroom window had a redbud tree just outside with large heart-shaped leaves so when it rained the window light was green and the leaves dripped musically.  

I remember as a young teen running through my dad’s woods in a gentle warm rain in just a dress and barefoot. ¬†The ground was so drenched that it didn’t hurt my feet. ¬†

I, too, learned to fear some storms after lightning hit near the house and knocked our thermostat out with scorch marks on the wall.

But the smell after rain, of grass and flowers,  in the spring or fall is a deep pleasure.

I enjoyed everyone’s posts…it is a great topic for those of us who are waiting eagerly for spring.

“The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.” Kurt Vonnegut

by cfk on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 16:18:04 PDT

Mothers of the Disappeared (4.00 / 3)

A U2 song, from their Joshua Tree album:

Midnight, our sons and daughters
Were cut down and taken from us.
Hear their heartbeat
We hear their heartbeat.

In the wind we hear their laughter
In the rain we see their tears.
Hear their heartbeat, we hear their heartbeat.

Night hangs like a prisoner
Stretched over black and blue.
Hear their heartbeats
We hear their heartbeats.

In the trees our sons stand naked
Through the walls our daughter cry
See their tears in the rainfall.

The song refers to the terrible loss, courage, and persevering witness of these women whose offspring were kidnapped and murdered during the 70s and 80s by the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina at that time:

The Mothers’ weekly revolution has become a tourist experience. Walking calmly and wearing their trademark white kerchiefs embroidered with the names of “los desaparecidos” (the disappeared), the Mothers barely notice the fans surrounding them. “When we are in the Plaza, we feel something different. We put on our kerchiefs and we feel like our children are with us. That is why we don’t talk about death, we talk about life,” says Juana. ¬†

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo began the fight as a group of 14 on April 30, 1977. After former president Isabel Peron declared a state of siege, a military junta stepped into power in 1976. Under the “Doctrine of National Security,” fighting communism and upholding Christianity were trademarks of a regime based on censorship and persecution of sub- versives. ¬†

Dazed by a sudden surge in the kidnappings, which had begun as early as 1971, the Mothers banded together to demand information. When General Jorge Rafael Videla refused to meet with them, former President Azucena Villaflor suggested they assemble in the plaza facing the Casa Rosada–the presidential palace. ¬†

The middle-aged and older women, most of whom had never been politically active before, suddenly faced snarling dogs, police brutality, and death threats, which continue today.

by Elizabeth D on Fri Mar 3rd, 2006 at 18:14:14 PDT

Rain? (4.00 / 2)

Rain is something I’m sort of ambivalent about. If I’m out in it, especially if it’s cold, it drives me nuts. And since I live in Canada, we get a lot of cold rain.

As long as I’m indoors… I love rain. I like water in general, but rainstorms, and heavy rainstorms in particular, seem special somehow. I’m not sure why. They seem to help me think, or something.

It’s kind of like religion in that respect. I don’t like it when it’s running down the back of my neck, soaking my jeans, and pooling in my boots… But looking at it through a pane of glass and listening to the noises it makes is very comforting and contemplative.

“To make life easier and to be happy ended up being two different things.” – Arjuna’s Father, Earth Girl Arjuna.

by Egarwaen on Sat Mar 4th, 2006 at 17:22:35 PDT

Cleansing… (4.00 / 2)

Rain makes me think of getting clean… someone else ¬†discussed the idea of a good shower, and it is a great metaphor for rain (most of the time). ¬†Rain cleans the air and washes away some of the gunk we clutter our world with.

I don’t know what to make of rain when it is destructive, though…it’s hard to integrate that with the life-giving power of water…

by mommyof3 on Sat Mar 4th, 2006 at 20:09:10 PDT

I’ve lived in two different….. (4.00 / 2)

Places in my life, in the desert Southwest of Eastern Colorado, and in the Pacific Northwet (not a typo) for the last 16 years. In Colorado, rain often came to cool things off, accompanied by thunder and lightening. It made things green in the Spring. Here in the Northwest, it is winter and gloom. And cold. I have to tell myself that at least you don’t have to shovel rain (usually), and that this too shall pass into a lovely summer that is not too hot. Yes, we have a lot of mudslides. This area was meant to be temperate rainforest, and the trees that would have absorbed all that water are gone. But if it doesn’t become desert, I believe someday it will be rainforest again.
Rain as a deity….. in Colorado, it would be Thunderbird. Here, maybe Calliech, the crone, weeping for her dead children. In the Spring, she returns as maiden, and spends the Summer as mother Brigid, a sun goddess.

What happiness there is for you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Luke 6:20 Catholic Living Bible

by SleeplessinSeattle on Sun Mar 5th, 2006 at 02:37:42 PDT

it *does* rain in California… (none / 1)

But only for about half of the year, so since moving here 18 years ago, I’ve come to think of it as a precious gift with it’s own sort of magic and wonder. The earth of California will live from this rain for the next year, though the summer months until the next rainy season comes again late in the fall. The foothills turn a silky furlike golden brown during the dry months and then after the rains start they begin to turn green, slowly at first then fast after the first real storm. The colors that bleach out in the strong sunlight, glow on rainy, cloudy days and point up little subtle things to their best advantage.

It’s been a rainy week, so the sound of it has been beautiful too, lulling when it’s soft and exciting when it pours. On Saturday, the sound was as if someone had suddenly cranked up the volume and raised the pitch and we had a rare treat of a five minute hailstorm with half-inch round balls pouring down and pinging and bouncing off everything. Hard rain, literally. ūüėČ

I’m not such a little water sprite as not to know the damage that too much rain and serious hailstorms can do. But I always feel as if the rain connects me to the other elements, the sky, the earth, and well, fire, I guess by it’s absence.

I love being close to bodies of water, I feel somehow wilted without them.

The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. – Buffy Anne Summers

by lunacat on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 16:27:23 PDT

At the grocery store, (4.00 / 2)

A “bag boy” came running in, dripping, and said, “I know I’m wet, but you’ve got to see the sky….it’s sooooo cool!”

One young girl ran out, but most of us, sedate, distracted, hungry, child-anchored shoppers continued without a look out the glass doors of the supermarket.  But I had paid my bill, and was ready to roll.

Oh, what a gift! ¬†The gray asphalt now glistened black in the late afternoon sun, reflecting the color of the sky, and across the sky in two parallel lines….a double rainbow. ¬†The primary ‘bow was a complete arc, and it looked like neon ribbons…the secondary one, a mere shadow of the primary arc, still had enough light to show its reveral of colors.

After a long and satisfying moment of glory, We pulled out of the parking lot, and headed home. ¬†The rainbows preceeded us, at our speed, until we finally came to the turn into our home. ¬†Now, I know things about optics, and subjectivity, and all those other real-world facts. ¬†Still, you’ll never convince me that those were not MY rainbows. ¬†

Both the Oak and the Maple are trees; we need not decide which is the correct version….Simplexity.

by Aunt Em on Tue Mar 7th, 2006 at 18:52:17 PDT

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