“In the bottomless ocean of pleasure, I have sounded in vain for a spot to cast anchor. I have felt the almost irresistible power with which one pleasure drags another after it, the kind of adulterated enthusiasm which it is capable of producing, the boredom, the torment which follow.”

- Kierkegaard, Journal

“What a strange fellowship this is: the God-seekers of every clime, lifting their voices in the most diverse ways imaginable to the God of all men. How does it all sound to Him? Like bedlam? Or, in some mysterious way, does it blend into harmony? Does one faith carry the melody, the lead, or do the parts share in counterpoint and antiphony when not in solid chorus? 

We cannot know. All we can do is try to listen, carefully, and with full attention, to each voice in turn as it is raised to the divine.”

- Huston Smith, The Religions Of Man (1958)

"To instill guilt, immanent value must be destroyed. The body becomes a thing to despise. For value is embodied; we feel it in our physical being, in the pleasure inherent in taste and touch and movement, in the erotic tides that flood us, in the simple acts that assure survival.
To restore immanent value, we can begin by affirming the body, not denying its needs or desires. Pleasure, humor, laughter, fun, art, sex, food, and beauty are our liberators. Spirit is not seen as separate from matter. When the sacred is embodied, spirituality, the means we use to connect with the sacred, takes us into the body, not away from it. Traditionally Witches quote the Goddess as saying, "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals."
Guilt is internalized hate of the self, instilled through fear of punishment. Guilt is the way we punish ourselves. The internalized Judge sustains the power of every coercive institution. Because punishment becomes self-administered, because it is a voice within us that is telling us we are bad, we are not aware of being externally controlled, and so we are helpless to challenge that control. 
Guilt does not encourage us to change, to redress mistakes and act right; instead, it paralyzes us. When we believe that mistakes are irreparable, we cannot act, for no one can grow without making mistakes. We step aside from the responsibility of taking actions.
Freedom from guilt alone, however, does not necessarily mean liberation. It can become simply a license to exploit. Relationships based on exploitation destroy immanent value. If I can feel comfortable living well when someone else suffers, I value that person's life less than mine. But the moment anyone's life is subject to rating on a scale of worth, we have all been devalued, for either each being has a value inherent to itself, or none do. 
Between guilt and exploitation lies responsibility. When we know our own power-from-within, we become enabled to act. Instead of punishing ourselves we can ask the questions that lead to responsible action and constructive change." 

“Sexuality is a mystery, beyond analysis or control. We can only wonder at the depths and intensity of pleasure possible through the touching of the body. The erotic is humbling; in deep pleasure we become the body, animal, moved and shaken by the great forces of biological life. We cannot maintain our sense of being set apart; as the waves break we are no different from a cat in heat or the androgynous, coupling worms. Inherent in the erotic is a sense of letting go, of giving way. When the sacred is immanent, in the body, in the living world, that letting go becomes a doorway to connection and union with all that is. 
Like all mysteries, sexuality is a paradox, for also inherent int he erotic is art, the pleasure of feeling power in our impact on another, the sense of our own skill in bringing the whole living universe to a singing, throbbing response. 
When sex becomes not merely good but great, the two impulses move through us and between us, we give and receive pleasure, let go and at the same time devise new movements and rhythms of giving, feel our power-from0within in the giving way to the power flooding through. 
But in the dismembered world, we make love not to the living body of the Goddess but to Her corpse. Power becomes sexualized. When all owed is cast as domination, we can only feel our power through dominating another, and can give way only through our submission to another’s control. The Master colonizes our orgasms.”

-Starhawk, Truth or Dare (1987)

"My music isn’t just recreational, it’s not just entertainment. I have a deeper purpose. My soul is giving itself to the people; I want them to be helped, I want them to be lifted. If you follow a fad, it’s very temporary. If you centre yourself in something that is eons old, you line yourself up with the highest vibrations in the universe: more light within, more inspiration within, more love within.”
- Linda Perhacs

“There were days and weeks and even months when nothing happened. Nothing whatsoever. I worked on my quilt, took long walks with my lover, lay on an island we discovered in the middle of the river and dabbled my fingers in the water. I swam, explored the redwood forests all around us, lay out in the meadow, picked apples, talked (yes, of course) to trees. My quilt began to grow. And, of course, everything was happening. Celie and Shug and Albert were getting to know each other, coming to trust my determination to serve their energy (sometimes I felt re-entry) into the world to the best of my ability, and what is more - and felt so wonderful - we began to love one another. And what is even more, to feel immense thankfulness for our mutual good luck. 

Just as summer was ending, one or more of my characters - Celie, Shug, Albert, Sofia or Harpo - would come for a visit. We would sit wherever I was sitting, and talk … The days passed in a blaze of happiness.” 

- Alice Walker, on writing The Color Purple 

"We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to Her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm." 

-Jeremiah 44:17

“To open to Mystery is to acknowledge the body’s true hungers, to seek for the Food and Water of Life that restores us when we hang on the gates of death. To open to mystery is to love the body, to marvel at the intensities of its pleasures, to allow ourselves to fully feel its sensitivity to pain. 

Mystery itself is what is common to us all: the pattern, the cycles of time, the body, the sense of place. It is the ear of corn; it is the stalk of wheat. It is the knowledge that through us move forces older and stronger than human will, that we are connected in ways we can barely suspect, that what is within us reflects what is outside us, and what surrounds us mirrors back what is in us.

To evoke the mysteries means to call in forces that are greater than our expectations and designs, that move to their own beat and disrupt the most careful plans. Energy has its own rhythms; it can be shaped and directed, but never controlled.”

-Starhawk, Truth Or Dare (1987)

"Come with me priestess 
Let us remember our lives
Here at the banks of the Nile
Let us dream of warm sand
And cool stones beneath our feet

Come with me priestess 
Let us remember our lives
Embracing the rising sun
Nourishing our KAs each morning
Singing of RA’s benevolence

Come with me priestess 
Let us remember our lives
Enfolded in sacred night
Dancing beneath the crescent moon
Rejoicing in the mysteries of Osiris

Light the incense; shake the sistrum
Come with me priestess 
Let us remember our lives"

~~Thy Daughter, A. G. Muilenburg, "Let Us Remember Our Lives"

“There is no word for ‘nature’ in my language. Nature, in English, seems to refer to that which is separate from human beings. It is a distinction we don’t recognize. The closest words to the ice oaf ‘nature’ translate to refer to things which support life. It is foolish arrogance for humans tot hunk themselves superior to all the life-support system. How can one be superior to that upon which one depends for life? Humans have invented marvelous technologies. The result has been that parts of the world live in unnecessary and debilitating surplus while people in other parts of the world are dying for lack of food, water, and shelter. Priorities need to be directed so that people who have plenty need not feel shame while others hunger and die. There should be no homeless or hungry people anywhere in the world. Those in power need to address this deplorable situation. We are all fellow travelers on this earth… I would urge the whole concept of nature be rethought. Nature, the land, must not mean money; it must designate life. Nature is the storehouse of potential life of future generations and is sacred. Human societies already possess the technologies necessary to provide food clothing and shelter for everyone. The organization of distribution of wealth needs to be repaired, for that imbalance destroys both contemporary and future human lit sand nature. Western society needs to prioritize life-supporting systems and to question its commitment to materialism. Spirituality should be our foundation…”

- Audrey Shenandoah, Onondaga Clan Mother delivering a keynote address at the Global Forum on Environment and Development for Survival, Moscow, January 1990 

"For man's freedom, which from another point of view can be called his individuality and his essential loneliness, brings with it a pervasive fear for the survival of the self and its values. Sin is the self's attempt to overcome that anxiety by magnifying its own power, righteousness, or knowledge. Man knows that he is merely a part of the whole, but he tries to convince himself and others that he is the whole. Sin is the unjustified concern of the self for its own power and prestige; it is the imperialistic drive to close the gap between the individual, separate self and others by reducing those others to the status of mere objects which can then be treated as appendages of the self and manipulated accordingly. Sin is not an occasional, isolated act but pervades everything man does, even those acts which he performs for the most pure and "unselfish" motives. For the human creature has a marvelous capacity for blinding himself to the fact that, no matter how altruistic his goals may be, he always I sets his own limited individual goals into his attempts to achieve them. 
Love is the precise opposite of sin. It is the true norm of human existence and the one real solution to the fundamental predicament in which man stands. Love is completely self-giving, taking no thought for its own interests but seeking only the good of the other. Love makes no value judgements concerning the other's worth; it demands neither merit in the other nor recompense for itself but gives itself freely, fully, and without calculation. Love is unconditional forgiveness; concerning the one to whom it is given, it beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love is personal; it is the concrete relatedness of an I to a Thou, in which the I casts aside all it's particularities, all it's self-affirmations, everything which separates it from the Thou, and becomes wholly receptive to the other."

- Valerie Saiving, "The Human Situation: A Feminine View" (1960)

"In every known society today, mankind has elaborated the biological division of labor into forms often very remotely related to the original biological differences that provided the original clues....Sometimes one quality has been signed to one sex, sometimes to the other....Whether we deal with small matters or with large, with the frivolities of ornament and cosmetics or the sanctities of man's place in the universe, we find this great variety of ways often flatly contradictory one to the other, in which the roles of the two sexes have been patterned. 
So....we are faced with a most bewildering and confusing array of apparently contradictory evidence about sex differences. We may well ask: are they important? Do real differences exist?" 

-Margaret Mead, Male and Female (1949)

"For Her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And Her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with Her.
Length of days is in Her right hand,
In Her left hand riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all Her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of Her,
And happy are all who retain Her."

-Proverbs 3:14-18

". . . Will matter then be destroyed or not?
The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.
For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

-The Gospel of Mary 4:21-24

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you.” 
― Frida Kahlo

“To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.”
 ~ Henry Miller

“There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion, 
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes 
to see with the other eye.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.”


"By telling our stories, we must force our churches to hear what we have suffered and the ways in which we have gotten through. We must pull them away from their domesticity and otherworldly preoccupations and force them to deal with the nitty gritty of bread and justice. We must come together in a new way - consciously, politically. Our stories are of individuals, but only as they are told collectively do they move us forward. In the process of telling our stories as a conscious, political act, we begin to define ourselves and our reality. We cease, thenceforth, to be defined by the men who run our churches, by the corporations who project our images, or by the men in Washington who seek to control our destinies. 

We begin to identify not with the privileged, whom we have always been taught to emulate, but with the common people of the earth. A colonialist church has never been able to understand how the first could be last and the meek inherit the earth. Such knowledge is the beginning of Wisdom, who is personified in the Old Testament as a woman, wild and unladylike, shouting aloud in the streets for bread and justice because no in the synagogues, the courts or the legislature would listen. 

As we collect our stories, they begin to shape themselves into a body of experience - a kind of litany - that can no longer be denied. They become the means for a collective self-expression that feeds and strengthens those who are able to hear. 

Through the telling and retelling of our stories, the inessentials are gradually sloughed off, until only the veins, the life-bearing vessels remain. It is then that we begin to see the patterns of triumph, steadfastness, of salvation and liberation inherent in them. We discover what it was in women's experience that has kept women going through tragedy and devastation, through the daily rituals of feeding and caring. We discover the secret that keeps hope more alive in the oppressed who are conscious of the source of their oppression than in those who do the oppressing. Only then can we name that which has brought us through as the God of our experience - not the God of an alien and imposed culture. Only then can we distinguish with any clarity the truth prophets from the false."

- Sheila Collins, excerpts from Theology in the Politics of Appalachian Women, delivered as a speech in New Market, Tennessee, 1977

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
There's comfort in melancholy
When there's no need to explain
It's just as natural as the weather
In this moody sky today
In our possessive coupling
So much could not be expressed
So now I'm returning to myself
These things that you and I suppressed
I see something of myself in everyone
Just at this moment of the world
As snow gathers like bolts of lace
Waltzing on a ballroom girl

You know it never has been easy
Whether you do or you do not resign
Whether you travel the breadth of extremities
Or stick to some straighter line
Now here's a man and a woman sitting on a rock
They're either going to thaw out or freeze
Strains of Benny Goodman *
Coming through the snow and the pinewood trees
I'm porous with travel fever
But you know I'm so glad to be on my own
Still somehow the slightest touch of a stranger
Can set up trembling in my bones *
I know no one's going to show me everything
We all come and go unknown
Each so deep and superficial
Between the forceps and the stone

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tribute to finality to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality
In the church they light the candles
And the wax rolls down like tears
There's the hope and the hopelessness
I've witnessed thirty years
We're only particles of change I know I know
Orbiting around the sun
But how can I have that point of view
When I'm always bound and tied to someone
White flags of winter chimneys
Waving truce against the moon
In the mirrors of a modern bank
From the window of a hotel room

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
Until love sucks me back that way”

- Joni Mitchell, “Hejira” (1980) 

“From a planetary perspective, truth is seen as the coconstruction of truth regimes. Our understandings of the world and the technologies of those understandings begin to create those worlds that we are persuaded most toward. In other words, one of the reasons modern science became so pervasive is that its truth regime–including the medical, communication, and transportation technologies derived from its way of understanding–is quite persuasive. It gives us results; it gives us things. However, at no small cost: atomic bombs, environmental ills, species extinction, global climate change, and gross economic inequities are just a few…Every truth regime, and its corresponding habits for becoming in the world, has benefits and costs, and this is what it means to understand truth from a pragmatic perspective. From a planetary perspective, the question is not which truth regime is really real, but rather toward which truth regimes do we want to live? Given the costs of the contemporary truth regime of the globalization of free-market capitalism and its modern scientific technologies, I would argue we need ways of becoming into the future that respect the multiperspectival reality of the becoming planetary community” 

- Whitney Bauman, Religion and Ecology: Developing A Planetary Ethic (2014) 

"Any conversation which does not include the context of the journey of the heart is by definition untrue to who we are as human beings." 

Marianne Williamson