Out of Darkness, Light
Title: Out of Darkness, Light
Trade Paperback: 71 pages
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Out of Darkness, Light is a book of poetry written in the voices of fictional Cambridge, Ontario women who practice feminist worship by the Grand River. Spiritual, sensual and natural these women claim their bodies and their prayers in ways that might have been discouraged by traditional religions. In their own tongue, they appeal to powers of light, including St. Lucy the Christian patron saint of blindness, to vanquish the influence of darkness in their lives, They also invoke natural forces at various seasons to heal themselves and to protect their families. Wind, water, moon, sun, earth and rain are all celebrated as spiritual inspirations and as influences on these women’s religious practices. Poetic and faithful, these feminine characters raise their voices and their spirits to their high priestess, Mother Scarlett, and to universal deities who sympathize with their plights.
Out of Darkness, Light was the motto of St. Lucia. Lucia or Lucy means light and bears the same root as “lucid” which suggest clear radiance. St. Lucia (283-304) is patron saint of the blind and those with eye trouble, as well as patron saint of Syracuse, Sicily where she was born.
She became a Christian martyr after she endured abuse at the hands of Romans and survived. The significance of her martyrdom was integrated into an existing Scandinavian festival celebrating the winter solstice and preventing the mischievous activity of witches and evil spirits. Lucy still represents the rebirth of light. In Sweden, Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, as well as Italy and parts of Germany, a young girl is chosen at this time to portray Lucy and to wear a white gown and a crown of burning candles.
Celebrations of light during the darkest time of the year are also Christian and Jewish themes. The birth of Jesus, often regarded as the light of the world, is celebrated in December and so is Hanukkah, the festival of light.
But these poems are written from the perspective of the fictional Congregation of Women in Cambridge, Ontario who worship in a variety of ways, mostly feminist. They invoke many deities and spiritual forces including Christ, the Goddess and St. Lucy, herself. They also appeal to the power of nature. They are led in worship by Mother Scarlett: “her hair long and red as serpents.”
The Congregation of Women prays for love, children, health and spiritual blessing often in loose rhyme. In doing so, these women battle the forces of darkness with the powers of light. They struggle to bloom like wildflowers by the edge of the Grand River where they often gather. Rooted in earth and stretching toward the brilliance of sun and moon many blossom like fertile wombs.