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Dangerous Compassions

Lammas–first harvest

I have a friend T who I like very much.  Five years ago at Pagan Pride, she did a rock workshop that I loved and still remember.  We’ve had interesting moments, over the years.  She’s a priestess.

I used to think priestesses were high maintenance, self-righteous, and out of touch.  Now I know priestesses can be the kindest, smartest, down to earth, inspiring people.

I saw on facebook she’s doing the sermon at the UU church for Lammas.  And there was a craft event making corn dollies for the service.  They represent abundance, harvest, and gratefulness, something about the sun.

I thought maybe I would be too clumsy / unskilled to make a corn dolly.  I was slightly anxious, thinking maybe I should just watch because I wouldn’t be good enough to make them.

My friend A gave me a ride with her two kids.  We told stories in the car.  A little child was telling me her party fantasies.  One was about an ice bar.

“Wait, I’m confused,” I said.  “Is this real or pretend?”

My friend explained that the kid wants to do this for real.  Summer party plans.  The kid invited me to her parties.  I said, “Well, sounds good, if I’m available…  You could let your mom know when it is, and she could invite me.”

“But I’m inviting you right now!” said the kid.

When we got to the church, my priestess friend T had lots of corn husks that she’d soaked in water.

So, we learned how to make corn dollies.  I thought I couldn’t do it, but then I ended up being a badass corn dolly maker.  In fact, I did some variations on the theme.

I thought it would be cool if I made a little baby corn dolly and strapped the baby one to a parent’s back.  I didn’t know if making a baby one was possible, but it worked very well.  I gave them horns, for some reason thinking that was a good look.

Then another corn dolly I made, I gave a tail.  Not sure why–just felt like a tail was a nice idea.

I had a lot of feelings while making the dollies.  Since I was a kid, I’ve been making tamales with my extended family at Christmastime.  I have a lot of feelings about corn husks, mixed feelings.  They feel like home, to me.  But there’s an aspect of stress also–expectations, doing it well enough, getting it right.

The way they feel in my hands, the texture.  The yellowish-tannish color.  The lines.  When you see a little hole made by the bite of an insect.  Smaller and bigger corn husks.  Like the small ones are vulnerable and need to be protected, while the big ones are maybe too much.

My friend A is giving me a ride to the service also.  The church is changing.  Sermons don’t work well for me, usually.  I would like some kind of movement, a simple ritual.  I go to religion and spirituality for something emotionally nourishing.  Usually sermons make me feel like I’m in a class.

Those are the two large dollies.

Here’s the one with the baby.

The craft felt good, its seasonalness–meaningful, like it was affecting something wordless deep inside me.  When I tied the knots, I tried to put love and good feelings into it.  I tried to keep my heart open and stay with the experience.

The moral of the story is–if I think I’m too awkward or stupid to do something, I might be wrong and actually super-creative and amazing at it.  I should remember that!

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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