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Pomegranate

… of Pomegranates

Early in my training as an Interfaith Minister, during a guided meditation, I received the ‘spiritual gift’ of a pomegranate.

I had no idea what to make of this strange gift and for a long time I postponed exploring its meaning. But nonetheless I knew that the pomegranate brought an important message for me.

When later I was drawn to reflect on this spiritual gift, I was not surprised to find that the pomegranate is a potent symbol in most of the World’s great religions, as well as in Greek mythology. It has powerful sacred and secular meanings.

In Greek mythology, the maiden Persephone ate its seeds and was ever-after bound to spend half the year with her partner, Hades, as Queen of the underworld. In Christianity the pomegranate represents Christ’s passion … it is a symbol of death and life everlasting. It is a biblical fruit of importance in the Jewish faith – the only fruit with a 'crown', made up of the withered sepals which surrounded the flower. Moses was instructed to decorate the high priest’s hem with pomegranates; the pillars of Solomon’s great house of worship were decorated with them. They represent eternal life, fertility and fruitfulness, because of its their many, luscious seeds.

I pondered these and other meanings, helped by Jane Meredith (www.janemeredith.com), an Australian who wrote to me: "Being offered a pomegranate could mean several things, mythologically speaking. For example, that you are ready to leave Maiden status in some way and become Queen; that you are willing to visit/or return to/or ingest the Underworld; or that you have taken control of your own destiny in a powerful way.”

An illness in 2005 and a profound experience of surrendering to my own death, whenever that may be, has helped me understand that all Jane says holds true for me: the pomegranate represents the fruiting of purpose and focus in my life, and signifies the underlying focus of my ministry.

In serving others I seek to remain spiritually aligned, in loving openness and joy; aware that within birth there is death; and offering, fearlessly for myself and others, the truth that:

“I am life without boundaries. I have never been born and I will never die.” -Thich Nhat Hanh.

Bees

…of Bees

I keep honey bees in my garden … which might be reason enough to have them woven into my ministry stoles. But bees in many cultures were thought of as sacred, and called ‘Little Servants of the Goddess’. The Greeks regarded bees as the souls of the departed.

Bees are industrious and represent wealth and abundance. Witness the intricate ways of bees, as I do, and you will know them to be creatures who work always for the greater good of the colony, not for the individual. They remind us what can be achieved when singularity gives way to collective action! Were this so in more communities of human beings, and surely the World would be more harmonious, the planet less threatened.

Honey is the food of the Gods! It has no equal, in nature, in its sweetness and floral flavours.

So I invoke in my ministry the wisdom, the vigour, the respect for the community and the sweet gatherings of bees.