We honor the Goddess and God
and the Divine Community
The Beloved Wholeness
Who are the One
The One that is All
Both Nature and Spirit
As Above, So also Below
As Within, So also Without
and by their Creation of Love
We are their Children
Blessed Be !!
The idea for SweetWood Temenos sprang from its early members’ experience of Neo-Paganism in the late twentieth century. There was a feeling that dedicated pieces of land set aside for Neo-Pagans were needed to celebrate their beliefs & values, and also to express the freedom and beauty inherent in this sacred way of life. The Land of SweetWood is clothes optional. From the beginning, the SweetWood Temenos organization has sought to foster and provide a Land for celebration, recreation and contemplation for those of like mind.
“SweetWood” was chosen for the many sugar maples on the land, and also for the sweetness that comes to our hearts when living with Nature in a peaceful community. In early Greek religion, the clan (or tribe) set aside, or ‘cut off’, a piece of land and dedicated it to the celebration & contemplation of Life’s Mysteries, and to the practice of their religious/spiritual rites. This land was a place of love, where individuals & families could come together in peaceful community to hold teachings, make music and share food. The clan/tribe also held assemblies to talk about religious ideas and social issues. Sacred Land so dedicated was called a “Temenos”.
Some of the early members of SweetWood Temenos (SWT) were Midwest Scions of the Church of All Worlds (CAW). The group called themselves the ‘Upper Mississippi Valley & Great Lakes Scion Council’. These Scions met together in the mid 1990s and explored the meaning of being in a ‘church of all worlds’ … (?)
Eventually, they came to understand that a ‘church of all worlds’ is a diverse vision of religions, that can be rooted in some common quintessential VALUES. A church based on Values (instead of on just traditional or religious doctrine and practices) was a novel idea to them at the time. These Scions came to an agreement on
5 essential Values. These values have been variously described as: (1) Deep Friendship, (2) Self Knowledge, (3) Positive Sexuality, (4) Attunement with Nature and (5) Diversity, including religious pluralism & a belief in Immanent Divinity. Three of these Scions later became ordained Clergy of CAW. (SweetWood was begun as Iacchus’ Clergy Project.) Then they became among the first members of the SweetWood Temenos Board of Directors and (together with others) started to write a Charter. The SWT Board now has 5 members.
Others were inspired to be part of both a diverse & religious organization that is rooted in these 5 values. (Atheists and agnostics were welcomed too!) They also wanted to help create a permanent place to celebrate, and contemplate life’s Mysteries (and sometimes life’s cosmic jokes!). The first Freedom Gather was held on the Land in 1997. SweetWood Temenos officially became a non-profit charitable organization in the State of Wisconsin on 3-30-2000 and then a subsidiary organization of (501c3 recognized) CAW on 5-16-2000.
At the SWT Freedom Gathering in 2000, the ritual celebration of the Sacred Marriage of the Younger Deities in the Age of Aquarius first took place. (Research by Iacchus postulates that May 2000 is the start of the Age of Aquarius.) This sacred marriage was a religious expression of SWT’s pluralistic vision of religion rooted in its quintessential values. For example, we celebrate the Moon as Goddess and also God. The Sun also has both male & female aspects. Every year at the Fall Equinox, they change aspects, but are always a pair. We envision peace & equality between all the sexes. We celebrate the 8 quarters & cross-quarters of the year.
Later, there came a time for SweetWood Temenos to wean itself from the Church of All Worlds and establish itself as an independent organization. SweetWood Temenos separated from CAW on 4-30-2004, and made a final farewell tithe to the CAW on 5-22-2004. In Aug 2004, SweetWood Temenos obtained its own Federal 501c3 status as a Church, and backdated our recognized status to May 2000. We agree with CAW on the importance and meaning of ‘Sharing Water’, ‘Thou art God/dess’ and ‘Being Excellent to one another’.
SweetWood Temenos continues to evolve in harmony with the spirit of peace & understanding
amongst Humankind and Nature
DRINK DEEP AND BLESSED BE !!
Oh Immanent and Transcendent Mystery
of the Two great Ways of Being,
God and Goddess !!
Whose Chaos, Harmony and Wholeness
gives Possibility, Change and Form to Space
as they Spiral and Dance the double helix
Creating a Tree of Life of our Universe!
We give thanks for your Blessed Tree of Life!
and for the Planets that are its Flowers
where evolved Life can speak, and hear these words
and in nobility, answer the Question:
How do the Trees of Life in Paradise multiply,
but through a Communion of Souls?
They Share Water in the Mystic Green Flame
the Love and Wisdom that are Redeemed Hearts
upon the Altar and Hearth of Freedom and Friendship,
of whose glory, equality and humility, we Drink Deeply
and Consummate in the Togetherness of Divinity.
So, what do we mean when we say, “Thou art God” or “Thou art Goddess”?
Why use that antique word, “Thou”? Once, it was the familiar form of address.
It was used between equals, between intimates. Robert Heinlein (the author that inspired this phrase) chose “thou” for a reason. In his letters about his book,
Stranger in a Strange Land, he writes that the phrase “Thou art God” is not about
being god, it’s about taking responsibility for our lives. It’s about making choices,
being self-aware, and acting with intention and deliberateness. It’s about aspiring to become the best people we can be. It’s about not depending on someone outside ourselves to direct our lives. It’s also about equality, for it points out that
we are all equally divine. It sets no one person above another.
When we say to one another, “Thou art Goddess” or “Thou art God”, we hear
that we are part of the divinity that pervades our world and our universe. It lives
in us, and is our highest self. “Thou art Goddess” and “Thou art God” reminds
us to pay attention to that divinity, to aspire to behave in accord with our highest self in all situations. It reminds us to be conscious in our interactions with others, for they, too, are divine. We practice ‘Being Excellent’ to each other.
Water-sharing is a central part of our practice, and is done in all of our community rituals. Water is something all living beings need for life and symbolizes our connection with each other, as well as our environment. Water is sacred to us. When we share water, we say to one another “Drink deep!” This means much more than “Drain your cup”. It’s not just about how much water we swallow. It’s about how we live our lives. Drink deeply of life! Drink deeply of nature, of friends, of experiences. Don’t just sip the waters of life. Open your mind and your heart and your soul. Drink in the love and joy and wonder life offers you. Drink in the sadness and grief that comes your way, too. Don’t wallow in it, but take it in, accept it, understand it, and work your way through it. When we share water, we experience life, knowing that we live in the midst of this community, in the web of interconnectedness, in the support of friends, family and lovers – our waterkin
Here is what the Runes say:
“All receive proper food, enough for any company and all are satisfied.”
This is a abbreviated version of the original Irish fairy folklore statement, which was written on the cauldrons in fairy halls/hills (a Bruidne). I had to reduce the number of runes to fit on this cauldron. The original reads:
” We give everyone their proper food, provide sufficient cooked food for any company of guests, and none leave unsatisfied”…
from Early Irish History and Mythology by O’ RaHilly – p 122
(Senior professor in the School of Celtic Studies at the Dublin Institute)
The inspiration behind the series of Aquarian Deity rituals was to lift human beings beyond their sexual biases. For instance, the bias is now that Earth is associated with the female (or is itself feminine), and the Sun and sky is associated with the masculine. However, it can be realized that both sexes (and all sexes) have the ability to be ‘Sun-like’, or ‘Earth-like’.
This re-visioning of divinity (both within and without) can be seen as ‘types of wholeness and being’. They can express a whole spectrum of ways of being. They can be sensual and earthy, be powerful like the Sun, or intuitive like the Moon. This points to a greater concept of ‘collective wholeness’ that human beings could relate to as individuals, (rather than just the traditional stereotypes or split off pieces). I feel that the New Aquarian Age (the next 2000 years) is about bringing to life, and expanding, opportunities and ideals that both men and women could relate to.
Human beings, along with their own biases, split the collective psyche into (at least) two halves. This new mythology helps to heal the split between the sexes. It rejoins the collective psyche, and allows people to come up with a new synthesis, which is very creative and human. It is a reconciliation of opposites. As one again and again achieves this goal, it allows a new developmental sequence, or stage, to unfold. This is the Divine Child.
In joining and becoming a priest of CAW I held a minority religious opinion. While most of CAW held the belief that our planet was its Goddess Gaia, an individual feminine Divine being who gave birth to all life, I did not. However I was in agreement with CAW in that out planet on whole was a living system. Based on my studies in Jungian and Archetypal psychology and training to become a Jungian analyst, I approached theology, religious myth and fable, at least but not only, as collective psychological projections and expressions in symbolic or metaphoric forms.
The linguistic attribution of feminine to soil and earth is inherent to all Indo-European languages and their patriarchal religious cults or religions. However I found ancient myths where the earth, or the ground of being was seen as masculine. For instance, the Norse titan/God Ymir was slain by the Norse Gods and from whom the Norse Gods fashion the earth. Ymir, so it seems, belongs to an earlier myth of the matrilineal culture & religion that the Indo-European Norse culture and religion supplanted.
So I speculated and hypothesized that Gaia (a Greek name for the Earth Goddess, a Goddess of sensation, sensual being and mother of all life on earth.) was a religious Anima (a Jungian and archetypal psychology term) projection of the Indo-European patriarchal culture and religion.
According to Jungian psychological theory, the Anima is “the inner figure of woman held by man”. The anima, as a part of the human male’s psychology, is a set of abilities associated with being feminine and the associations gained from his experiences and beliefs about women, which the male has assimilated from his culture and religion. The Anima is then projected unto women and into culture, theology, religion, myth and etc. where male consciousness is predominant. As a psychic component, the Anima is subliminal to consciousness and functions from within the unconscious psyche. Because of its archetypical connections, the Anima has been represented in many collective forms and figures such as Aphrodite, Athena, Helen of Troy, Mary and etc. (See “A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis” by Andrew Samuels, Bani Shorter and Fred Plaut).
The psychological task, I believe, for patriarchal religion (i.e. the predominance of masculine psychology in defining a religion) is the withdrawal of their Anima projection upon the earth and the realization of a Wholistic Anima concept of what feminine/woman is. It is this ‘projection-withdrawal’ and realization of a Wholistic Anima concept of what feminine/woman is, that I call the “Reawakening of Gaia”. The removal of this projection, (the Reawakening of Gaia) is by analogy like the Hindu myth, where Lord Vishnu was asleep in a state of non-knowing and then is awakened by the Great Goddess Mahamaya, who removes sleep (the illusion/projection) and brings him to consciousness (knowledge).
This interpretation of “Reawakening of Gaia” means the envisioning and evolution of a religion with Holistic concepts of God & Goddess and man & woman as two immanent expressions. It reclaims masculine and feminine psychological aspects and associations that are repressed by the religious myths of both patriarchal and matriarchal cultures.
I had a vision where the Elder Gods and Goddesses of both Matriarchal and Patriarchal tribes came together and made peace at the beginning of a new age (the Age of Aquarius). This peace was consummated by a marriage of a God and Goddess from the younger generation of each of these Divine tribes. The marriage was fashioned upon the ancient matrilineal complex or group marriage, hence the “Marriage of the Younger Deities”. This marriage was to be a symbolic paradigm and spiritual guide in the evolution of a religion with Holistic (as opposed to perfectionistic) concepts of God & Goddess and man & woman. Therefore (in the Church of All Worlds) in the communion of water sharing, each participant can say the blessing of “Thou Art God or Thou Art Goddess and May you never thirst” while sharing and drinking water passed in a goblet.
The “Marriage of the Younger Deities”, as a symbolic spiritual paradigm, that is confirming SweetWood Temenos’ belief in Divine Immanence and its five Values. As an ordained priest of the Church of All Worlds, I envisioned: (1) God and Goddess as verbs refer to two great ways of being, (2) Gods and Goddesses as nouns are psychologically holistic individuations of either The God or The Goddess, (3) each Goddess or God has a primary psychological type; intuition, sensation, thinking and feeling (see Jungian types). So, in this paradigm, the Sky God & Sky Goddess represent masculine and feminine thinking types (Air). The Earth God and the Earth Goddess represent masculine and feminine sensation types (earth) The Moon God and the Moon Goddess represent masculine and feminine feeling types (water). The Sun God and Sun Goddess represent masculine and feminine intuitive types (Fire).
This new envisioning of the Goddesses and Gods allows the continued honoring (or worship) of the Gaia. This Earth Goddess is an expression the sensation type of the Goddess. This new envisioning does not deny the Earth God, who can also express the sensation type in a masculine way. Now Gaia and the all the Goddesses and Gods are envisioned in holistic terms. This vision & understanding invoked in me was one where our planet is symbolically envisioned as the living system of a flower, and the Universe as a Tree of Life. Our Earth is envisioned like a self-pollinating flower, expressing both male and female energy. The Tree of Life is envisioned as a manifestation of love that both the Goddess and God create.
It was left up to each member whether they envisioned all the Goddesses and Gods together constitute: (1) a great Oneness that has always been or (2) a great Multiplicity that has always been reproduced & always will be reproduced; the great Eternal Vine or Grove.
The Church of All Worlds ordained me as a Priest on February 12th 2000. My first official ritual I did was my ordination ritual, performed at the Freedom Festival 2000.
In this ritual I was acting as a priest of the Church of All Worlds and performed
“The Marriage of the Younger Deities”. .
This myth envisions the younger Deities of both the matrilineal and the patrilineal clans. The matrilineal is symbolized by Sun Goddess and Moon God. The patrilineal is symbolized by the Sun God and the Moon Goddess. They all are joining together to create a sacred group marriage at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, and then be its stewards. This marriage is founded on the sovereignty of their individuality. The equality, interdependence, love and wisdom are all shared. It is hoped the continued evolution and enactment of this Aquarian Sacred Marriage will create an enthusiasm that heals and fosters the Self-actualization of the Soul.
Welcome all to the handfasting of the Younger Deities. The love and wisdom that flows from the wholeness of their marriage will bring forth the Green Scion in each soul who drinks deeply of this water. This marriage of theirs is a remembering and incarnation of a constellation of Souls, whose stars will guide humanity throughout the Age of Aquarius.
I was called as a Priest by the collective wholeness (the mystery or ‘nest’ that created our Cosmos) to heal and foster humanity’s collective Soul. Out of deep ignorance and naiveté, the human soul came to face fear, pain and the pleasures of life, to achieve an unknown destiny. The Mystery tried to guide humanity by speaking through its intuitions. However, humanity’s lack of understanding and maturity has shaped these intuited messages from the Mystery, with imaginative weaving of metaphors. These became the myths of humanity’s religions.
Humanity, whether it knew it or not, was lost in a psychological labyrinth of its own making. Wandering as ‘strangers in a strange land’ searching for a home that it did not know. Sexual bias was part of this lack of understanding and maturity that shaped humanity’s soul, its religions, and understanding of the Mystery. First, came the Way of the Mothers. The Mothers sexual bias shaped their intuitions about the feminine and masculine ways of being and also those of the Mystery. From these intuited understandings, the religion and social order of the Way of the Mothers were created. Then there came a time when the understanding and knowledge of paternity brought about the Way of the Fathers. The Way of the Fathers became a reactionary movement, for it not only had its own sexual bias, it also was opposed towards the Way of the Mothers. This shaped their intuitions about the masculine and feminine ways of being and those of the Mystery. From these intuited understandings, the religion and social order of the Way of the Fathers came about.
At first, these two Ways lived in peace – for hope had arisen, an intuition was given to them both. This intuition was that humanity had ages or seasons, which were akin to the stages of childhood, adolescence and adulthood. At first, these two Ways agreed that in the fullness of time (at the age of adulthood) it would be revealed which Way was better for humanity. These two Ways also agreed that the Great Wheel in the sky would determine the “Ages of Man” (i.e. Worlds) and their fates.
The Age of Aries became the Sign that the Way of the Fathers used to justify and begin the domination over the Way of the Mothers. Then came the Age of Pisces, where the Way of the Fathers tried to totally blot out the Way of the Mothers.
But now begins the Age of Aquarius, and the Way of the Mothers returns. In the Age of Aquarius, humans realize that their concepts of Divinity are projections of their Souls. Humans also realize that their concepts of Divinity are a result of a complexity, which is the interaction between the Immanent Divinity of humanity’s Soul and the cultural, psychological and evolutionary development of humanity’s Soul.
It is a psychological rule that when an inner complexity is not made conscious, it happens outside as Fate. Whether it be an individual or a culture, if they remain unconscious of their inner contradictions, the world will act out the conflict and be torn into opposite halves (paraphrased from C.G. Jung).
This psychological rule is part of the Aquarian Gnosis. So, with the acknowledgment of both the Way of the Mothers and the inner opposition & conflict between the Ways of the Fathers and Mothers, all are made conscious. The Mystery (or the Deities if you will) have spoken to me in my dreams, guided me in my intuitions and have given me this Ritual of the Marriage of the Younger Deities. This rite is a symbol that reconciles this opposition, ends the conflict and makes peace within the human heart.
So, welcome all to this joyous occasion!