Archive for July, 2009
Last summer when I visited Bozeman for the first in a long time, I noticed how many rainbows appeared in the sky. At home, seeing a rainbow is a relatively rare occurrence. But it seems that in the Gallatin Valley, the mountains blocking clouds result in the short rainstorms that tend to produce rainbows. As with at home, they tend to appear in the North.
So because of this I’ve come to associate Iris, the Greek goddess of rainbows (that’s what her name literally means) with Bozeman. She is a messenger of the Olympians, and come down to Earth on her rainbow. Perhaps the Greeks believed that whenever a rainbow was sighted she was on one of her errands. One book I read said that she was in particular the messenger of Hera, whereas Hermes was a messenger of the Olympians in general, and Zeus in particular. Certainly though, she is an older divinity than Hermes, and the rest of the Olympians. Iris is the daughter of the sea god Thaumas and Elektra the ocean nymph. Like her sisters the Harpies, she is depicted as winged. That’s about all the information about her that’s available, but I often wonder if in modern times, we might be able to learn more about the lesser known deities through our experiences with them.
In Norse mythology, the Aesir are believed to travel to Midgard, the Earth on Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. So from both these sources we can see that the ancients as rainbows as symbolizing a connection between Earth & Sky, our world and the divine one. So whenever I see a rainbow, I’m reminded that the Gods are closer than we think.
Dear readers, if you have any thoughts or experiences about Iris or rainbows in other spiritual contexts, please share in the comments below and link to a post if you have one.
I spent Independence Day enjoying my country’s natural beauty at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. Later in the evening I enjoyed watching the firework display coming from the county fairgrounds. It was fun being in Montana for the Fourth as they allow much more kinds of firecrackers than Minnesota does, and you can get even scarier stuff from the reservations! The next day I had a little ritual by myself, honoring the Founders of the nation, Lady Liberty, and the spirits of the land.
Though it’s been over a week since the Fourth of July, folks are still debating how it should be observed in the Op-Ed pages of the Bozeman Chronicle. Should it be a simple family-oriented civic holiday or an opportunity for political speech- or both? Specifically this is in response to the Tea Party anti-government spending protests that took place across the country, and have been continually taking place since the Stimulus Package was announced. There was a counterprotest by a group calling itself “The Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus“. Rather than having any particular political message, they gathered to point out what they saw as the absurdities of the Tea Party-goers.
Now this post is not about what I think about the Tea Party or Gay Logger factions, or the Stimulus Package and President Obama. I will reserve those opinions for another time. I wholeheartedly support my fellow citizens’ exericising their rights to assemble and speak, whether I agree or not. Some people seem to think that criticizing a group of protesters is the same as silencing their freedom of speech. This is not the case.
This may seem odd for a political blog, but I think we need to take a break from politics on Independence Day. Or at least from divisive, partisan politics. We’re all going through a difficult time now and we really need to come together. We won’t all agree on the solutions but we need to learn to debate civilly. That’s the only way a republic can work, and with the growing divisiveness of political discourse in this country I fear our democracy may be in danger of falling apart.
We won’t all agree on the solutions but we need to learn to debate civilly. That’s the only way a republic can work, and with the growing divisiveness of political discourse in this country I fear our democracy may be in danger of falling apart. Instead, let’s focus on what we have in common- the Constitution. The principles our country was founded upon. We may not agree exactly how they should be interpreted, but we can agree that they are important.
Other Pagan 4 of July Posts:
The Feast of Libertas at Executive Pagan,
Celebrating the Spell of Democracy at Chrysalis
Let Freedom Ring at Owl’s Wings
Lady Liberty Goddess of Democracy at Full Circle News
I am enjoying myself so much that I’ve decided to extend my stay in Bozeman, Montana for the month of July. This is a beautiful city, nestled between several mountain ranges: the Bridgers to the northeast, the Big Belt in the north, Tobacco Root mountains to the west, Gallatin range to the southwest and Hyalites to the south. It is amazing seeing mountains everywhere, coming from an area where there are none. And I can also see the stars here. The air is dryer- which is nice in Minnesota it often gets too humid to breathe in the summer. We’ve been getting more rain than is probably typical out here- while on the other hand it’s been dryer in usually verdant Minnesota!
Last week I went hiking with my family in Gallatin National Forest. We went all the way up to the snow caps. I’ll try to get some pictures posted here. We saw some bear tracks but no bear, which is probably a good thing! It is cool to see one from a distance though.