GNL number 60

the GOOD NEWS lately

a report of doings at meeting #60, Sunday, May 13, 2012
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends


All mothers are slightly insane.
—–J.D. Salinger

There are 2 lasting bequests we can give our children:
One is roots. The other is wings.
—–Hodding Carter, jr.


Opening this conversation about MOTHERING, Nancy had thoughts both general and personal. First, with Robert Heinlein’s comment that “being a mother is an attitude not a biological relationship” in mind, she said she knew many people who weren’t mothers technically but who had that empathetic, nurturing attitude.  Then, about her own experience:  even though her memory has lost a lot of detail, she knew that being mother to her six children has been the most important experience of her life. And she told some personal anecdotes about mothering and being mothered, which appear in AFTERWORDS.

Anna spoke first of the day her adopted daughter Janaye arrived in the arms of a social worker, and how adoption never prevented them from being real mom and daughter. Janaye lives nearby, and Anna said she hopes to bring her here one day. She also remembered how her own mother and dad, having lived through the Great Depression, lived very simply and frugally, as she does. And this made her also recall her mom opening a little gift shop to help bring in an extra $5 a week.

Sue was thinking less in terms of her own mother or mothering her kids, and more of Mother Earth, and how we’re all nurtured, given what we need by the earth (and need to remember and give back).  Then she noted how among the world’s early religions, the worship of the Mother had been almost entirely replaced by the three patriarchal faiths. She added quotes and several prayers from different traditions, for which see AFTERWORDS.  She also said she’d witnessed something that can only be called mothering, taking place between Viet Nam veterans she’d worked with in storytelling workshops.

Gail remembered life with her strong-minded, sharp-witted mom (who has been here often and always brings stimulating thoughts), and how one of the benefits of growing up with a strong mom and dad is you tend to learn some of that too, especially that you can do things, try new things. That idea was reinforced by her dear sister Winnie, here today as well and visiting for 3 weeks to help Gail recuperate from the knee replacement surgery she’ll undergo tomorrow.

Ann was remembering life with mother too, how life wasn’t perfect nor her parents’ marriage, and that maybe her mom was running out of nurturance by then, but she recalled with appreciation special time as she grew older, playing racquet sports with her mom. Ann also recalled much more recently in her life as a bus driver, being very moved and inspired by the infinite patience and nurturance shown so often by the mothers and dads of her developmentally disabled students.

Gail’s sister Winnie, counted herself a believer in the roots and wings school of thought (as in today’s invocation), feeling how important it is to give kids strengths through opportunities/responsibilities to learn by doing, instead of being coddled as so many are today. Like Gail, she was grateful for this legacy from their parents. (And like several of us, she felt kids were not getting outdoors enough these days either!)

Heidi, Vijaya’s friend and here for the first time, spoke of mothering in the above sense too.  She believes our current culture has gone too greedy for things, with people not home with their kids much anymore but out trying to get money to buy more stuff and ending up hardly knowing them.  Heidi, who is a parent and nurse, also mentioned the trip she had recently made with Vijaya to Belize, to explore the possiblity of a simpler life there. Perhaps a thread for a future meeting?

Our hostess Vijaya spoke with reverence of her mother, who was married at 15 back in India and had 7 children, kept things together while V’s dad got schooling, worked very hard to give her kids what they needed, passed along her values, and even in her 80’s, when Vijaya’s marriage was falling apart, her mom told her, “you are not to worry as long as I am alive”.   V said further that her mom still inspires her—to do things right and well, try new experiences, and work hard.    Getting ready to have our meal, Vijaya reminded us to be sending love to Cynthia and Ron as they prepare to go to Florida for their son’s parole review.

We agreed it would be very fitting to direct our offering today to Schoharie County Child Development Council  (HEADSTART).


An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.
—–Spanish proverb

Mothers are the necessity of invention.
—–Bill Watterson (of Calvin and Hobbes)


Sunday, June 10 (10:30), at Sue’s, on Quarry St., Cobleskill.
The subject is DRUGS. (Consider  broadly, as always.)


from Nancy:

  • A note about being a mother: a friend once told me my parenting style seemed to be “benevolent neglect,”and I sometimes worry about that, especially when I can’t remember all the details, and feel surely I let my kids down in many ways. But my kids, sweet kids, are inclined to remind me directly: Mom, didn’t we turn out great!!?
  • And about being mothered:  I don’t remember feelings so much as realization later that I was well-mothered when my mom let me do things like build a raft when I was 4 or so, to go to Europe where my Uncle Deac was fighting the War.  And a few years later, when she let me have backyard talent shows where my design included her singing from the kitchen window through a washer hose.  And then, several years later when I was a teenager and should have known better, I took the opportunity of being home alone while the parents went on a trip, to redecorate their drab bedroom with paint bought with babysitting money.  Only thing was my image of bright and beautiful was vertical pink and yellow stripes. But we did it, the two neighbor kids and I, and lo, by then even they knew that it was indeed like the inside of a circus tent. But the folks came home, and what do you think, they looked a little stunned, but didn’t kill me, or yell even.  And they slept in that circus tent for a few years. (but probably never turned the lights on.)

from Sue:

  • Here’s what I read from–and I talked about (with lots of side trips) the first religions being derived from the matriarch–and our source in the Mother-Earth Body, and how the Mother Goddesses were overthrown by Judaism and its younger siblings–Christianity and Islam–and how that has led to the false and damaging division of the human realm from nature which has caused incredible harm to our ecology and to us as whole spirit beings. So I also talked about ways the repressed/buried/defiled/silenced primal female energy keeps breaking through–such as through Christianity’s veneration of the Virgin Mary, in Judaism’s Shechinah which is the female manifestation of divine energy and on and on.
  • “Our primeval Mother Earth is an organism that no science in the world can rationalise. Everything on her that crawls and flies is dependent upon Her and all must hopelessly perish if that Earth dies that feeds us.” ~Viktor Schauberger, The Water Wizard: The Extraordinary Properties of Natural Water, p.4

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” ~Frederick Nietzsche

Speaking to the Goddess: Prayers, Invocations, Songs, Mantras, Chants,
Rituals, Compiled and Indexed by Michael P. Garofalo,

“Mighty, majestic, and radiant,
You shine brilliantly in the evening,
You brighten the day at dawn,
You stand in the heavens like the sun and the moon,
Your wonders are known both above and below,
To the greatness of the Holy Priestess of Heaven,
To you, Inanna, I sing!”
—– Diane Wolkstein, Inanna

“Obeisance to Her
Who is Pure Being, Consciousness, Bliss.
As Power,
Who Exists in the Forms of Time and Space,
And All That is Therein,
Who is the Divine Illuminatrix in All Beings.”
—– A Tantric Prayer

“Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee,
Blessed are Thou, Amongst Women,
And Blessed in the Fruit of thy Womb, Jesus;
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death,
—– The Hail Mary Prayer, Roman Catholic Church

“Oh Goddess, Source of Gods and Mortals,
All-Fertile, All-Destroying Gaia,
Mother of All, Who brings forth the bounteous fruits and flowers,
All variety, Maiden who anchors the eternal world in our own,
Immortal, Blessed, crowned with every grace,
Deep bosomed Earth, sweet plains and fields fragrant grasses in the nurturing rains,
Around you fly the beauteous stars, eternal and divine,
Come, Blessed Goddess, and hear the prayers of Your children,
And make the increase of the fruits and grains your constant care,
With the fertile seasons Your handmaidens,
Draw near, and bless your supplicants.”
—— Orphic Hym to Gaia, Translated by Virginia Stewart.



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