When the Goddess Temple of Orange County founder the Rev. Ava Park spoke with the Weekly in 2006, she tied man's violent, warring ways with a patriarchal society and the Old Testament view of a strong, male God who ruled his weak followers with punishment, wrath and fear.
"This model of behavior," Park said then, "sets the stage for everything that is wrong with our world: wars, aggression, violence, trashing Mother Earth, child abuse, sex slavery, racism, classism, factory farming, puppy mills, global warming, high gas prices, Humvees, homophobia, bad plastic surgery and the common cold--okay, well, maybe not that last one."
By contrast, she said, her temple holds "the vision for a new way of being in the world: peaceful, powerful, abundant, joyful." And so it is jarring to see the Goddess Temple now reaching out to honor "returning warriors of all military branches."
Quan Yin, ready to heal.
Co-hosted with the Abbey of Avalon, a non-profit Dianic Wiccan religious organization in Los Angeles "dedicated to serving Goddess and the community through ritual and other events," the interfaith "healing" ceremony titled "To Honor and Heal Those Who Serve" welcomes members of the military and their families to lap up "the loving compassion and powerful protective energy" of the Asian deity known worldwide as Quan Yin.
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"Putting aside how one feels about politics and war, we are well aware that the military and their families bear the burden of sacrifice during these troubled times," says explains the Rev. Karen Tate, who created the event. "Unless we have walked in their shoes, we can only try to understand, but we can let them know they are not forgotten. They are appreciated. We honor the sacrifice and burden shared by so few for so many."
"We hope the soldiers and veterans of Southern California--all who serve now or who have served and their family members--will honor us with their presence and feel renewed by the spiritual power of the evening," adds Park.
The evening will include the healing ceremony, silent auction and special performances. Refreshments will be served. Unlike Sunday services at Goddess Temple, which are only open to women, the interfaith ceremony is open to all. But you must arrive no later than 7 p.m., when the service begins. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. It is scheduled to conclude at 11 p.m.
The cost is $5 for military personnel in uniform and $10 for non-military or those not in uniform. The temple is at 17905 Sky Park Circle, Irvine. Visit GoddessTempleOfOrangeCounty.com for directions. If you require addition information, you can email Tate.