A magnificent you tube defining the Goddess, her strengths and her beauty. The photos are amazing, the music magical. 🙂
A little about two ancient Greek Goddesses – Demeter and Persephone and the rites of the divine bee. Here goes in a few words.
The fifth century BCE Greek historian Herodotus relates the importance of bees in ancient Greece, pointing out that the honey of neighboring countries was made using fruit, while the honey of the Greeks was produced by bees. The significance of this difference lies in that, to the Greeks of that time period, bees were considered to be divine insects, and were revered in their myths and rituals. Among the most celebrated of these myths was the story of the fertility goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone. Demeter restores her gift of fruit and grain to the earth, but she also gives a greater gift to humans—the Mysteries.
The Eleusinian Mysteries were an initiatory tradition that played an important role in the lives of those who experienced it. In these rites, the initiates, known as mystai, were led on a procession toward Eleusis by the priests and priestesses of Demeter. This was a symbolic initiatic journey in which they purified themselves in preparation to ceremonially return Persephone from the underworld and take part in other sacred acts. As in the wider Greek culture, the bee symbolized divine concepts of life and death, so in the Mysteries and other traditions it took on the connotation of initiatic death and rebirth: that is, of personal regeneration and transformation.
Image: Harris Rosen with young girl in Tangelo Park.
The purpose of our human life is to help others as best we can. Research indicates that those who consistently help other people experience less stress, enjoy higher levels of mental health, feel more connected to your spirit, feel more grateful for what you have and less invested in the ‘rat race’ that causes stress for so many of us. Religion begins with an obliging nature. Happiness begins from the moment we do something for others. I cannot see why on earth we are born if not to help others. Okay, there are times when we can’t always do our best, but when we do, it is like a light going on.
I remember a sweet story from Sathya Sai Baba that dealt with this very topic. The story goes like this: A married couple asked him what was the most important piece of advice he could offer. He replied. “To serve. It does not matter what your station is in life, as long as you help others. It does not matter what career you have, what house you live in, large or small, none of these material gifts matter. All that matters is how much you have loved and how much you have shared.”
There are many times when people need our kindness and at other times we need kindness from others. To withdraw kindness from another person is like turning off the light.”
I read in the Dalai Lama’s book – Ancient Wisdom, Modern World, (1999) the following: “On a recent visit to New York, a friend told me that the number of billionaires in America had increased from seventeen just a few years ago to more than 350 today. So clearly the number of rich people in the world is growing. Yet, at the same time, the poor remain poor and in some cases are becoming poorer. This I consider to be completely immoral. It is also potentially a source of problems. Whilst millions do not even have the basic necessities of life – adequate food, shelter, education and medical facilities – the inequity of wealth distribution is a scandal. If we were the case that everyone had sufficient for their needs and more, then perhaps a luxurious lifestyle would be tenable. If that was what the individual really wanted, it would be difficult to argue that they need refrain from exercising their right o live as they see fit. Yet things are not like that. In this one world of ours, there are areas where people throw food away while others – our fellow humans, innocent children among them, are reduced to scavenging among rubbish and starvation.
Thus, although I cannot say that the life of luxury led by the rich is wrong of itself, assuming they are using their own money and have not acquired it dishonestly, I do say that it is unworthy, that it spoils us. Moreover, it strikes me that the lifestyles of the rich are often absurdly and pointlessly complicated. One friend of mine, who stayed with an extremely wealthy family, told me that every time he went swimming, he was handed a bathing robe to wear! This would then be changed for a fresh one each time he used the pool, even if he did so several times in one day. Extraordinary! Ridiculous even. So complicated! It is not as if living like this adds anything to one’s comfort. As human beings we only have one stomach. There is a limit to the amount we can eat. Similarly, we have only eight fingers and two thumbs. We cannot wear a hundred rings. Whatever extra we have is to no purpose in the moment when we are actually wearing a ring. The rest lie useless in their boxes. The appropriate use of wealth, as I explained to the members of one very prosperous Indian Family who came to see me long ago, is found in philanthropic giving. In this particular case, I suggested, since they asked, that spending on education is perhaps of most use. The future of the world is in our children’s hands.Therefore, if we wish to bring about a more compassionate, and fairer society, it is essential that we educate our children to be responsible, caring human beings. When a person is born rich, or acquires wealth by some other means, they have a tremendous opportunity to benefit others. What a waste it is when that opportunity is squandered on self-indulgence.”
Harris Rosen: “Tangelo Park does not have to be an exception, it is possible to help communities all over America. “
The undisciplined mind is like an elephant so I have suggested that, if we are to be genuinely happy, inner restraint is indispensable. We cannot stop at restraint, however. Though it may prevent us from performing any grossly negative misdeeds, mere restraint is insufficient if we are to attain that happiness which is characterized by inner peace.” ~ Dalai Lama quotation from Ancient Wisdom, Modern World
I am not ashamed of my very human responses to the painful and difficult things of life. I get angry, hurt, and despondent just like anyone. I do things that greatly embarrass me at times. I have plenty of shadow stuff to work on, just like anyone. But I have learned that *whatever* arises in my thought, and heart, is something that needs my attention, something that I need to look into, with curiosity, compassion, and loving-kindness.
It doesn’t really help to think, “I shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts or having such feelings.” It’s too late. You already did! These feelings or thoughts, which arise due to causes and conditions, we identify as “I” or “me’ or “mine.” And it does not help to deny it or to suppress the arising. Yes, sure, it’s a red flag, maybe even a neon sign flashing for immediate attention! The arising thought or feeling may point to some serious stuff. Our moral sense of the wrongness of something is *essential* to a healthy being. Never try to suppress or ignore your moral nigglings and alarms! But the first step to freedom is being honest enough with ourselves to admit the “truth” of what has shown up for our attention. And the “truth,” in this sense, is simply *what is* — yes, I am feeling this, yes, I felt that, yes, I am thinking this, yes, I thought that, yes I am doing this, yes, I did that. Just the facts, ma’am!
I find that genuine regret and remorse only arise when I am unmindful of some painful arising of feeling as “I” or “me” or “mine” and don’t give it what Buddhism calls “appropriate attention.” Some thoughts and feelings can be looked into and quickly dismissed; others may require deep self-investigation and courageous path-finding. If you really listen to your heart, you will know what to do.
But don’t ever be ashamed of being human and for having your human feelings. You can’t control the thoughts and feeling that arise as “I” or “me” or mine.” They come unbidden, whether we want them or not. And they tell us all about ourselves, sometimes more than we want, or even sometimes can bear. That’s OK! The good news is that what we can always own, and should own, is our *response* to what arises as “I” or “me” or “mine.” Let that response be mindful, attentive, curious, wise, patient, and compassionate.
Sometimes, we may think we are our own worst enemy, and I suppose in a certain sense that’s true, in that we cannot escape the effects of our own unskillful, selfish, ignorant thoughts and actions. But we are also our own very best friend, for everything we think and do tells us something about us we need to understand and know. If we will only get to know ourselves and investigate ourselves, we will indeed find we are our own very best friend. As we learn this, we become, as the Buddha once said, lamps unto ourselves, and the light in our hearts will take us all the way home.