Olivastri Millenari* In stillness, I look upon the weathered face of the Ancient Mother, Tree of Life, Tomb of Death, Womb of all that is sacred. 4,000 years of wrinkled bark stare back at me. You call me Daughter, whisper lovingly in my ear and I cry. The ache I swaddle in my belly eases at your kindness, the bitter silence sweetened by your succulent shade. Lay your head upon my lap, you invite. I will cradle your weariness, bless your courage, encourage your soul. Ancient-Being, dark and deep, your roots burrow into the cold clay, an anchor. Your strong limbs scoop the sky, uniting Earth and Heaven, sparking a bridge of blue and green; the air shimmers as your leafy fingers tickle the wind. Inside the hollowed cave of your trunk, cobwebs collect the secrets of insects, weaving stories my ears long to hear. There, into uterine wood I crawl, bent in supplication. My heart calls you, Mama, knows you as home. My bones remember: You are the Mother of Multitudes. For thousands of years you escaped the biting blade of dogma, the harsh axe that sought to silence your heart, quell your ancient breath. Guerrilla-tree, you resisted as defiantly loving as a Bodhisattva, fierce and untamable, loyal only to the irrepressible “Yes!” Crone-tree, you echo the clarion call of the ages: justice with compassion, mercy, equality, transformation. Under your delicate sway of grace we pilgrims come and go resting beneath your generous bough in an open field in Sardegna. We are held fast, witnessed by the all-seeing eyes of sky and soil. Beside you, we gather, large and small, wounded souls, welcomed home to wholeness at long last reunited with so many things lost along the way. *The ancient olive tree
“Olivastri Millenari” was originally published in Ochre Journal of Women’s Spirituality, spring 2007.
Author’s note: I wrote this poem after visiting this ancient tree, the precursor to the olive, while on a Dark Mother study tour in Sardinia in 2004 led by Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum. Though the tree was not on the group’s itinerary, some of us noticed a photo and an accompanying article about this ancient being, posted on a bulletin board in the hotel lobby where we stayed. The story said that the tree is thought to be between 3000 and 4000 years old and the foremother of the modern olive tree. Knowing that the ancients believed trees to be the body of the Mother/Goddess, we knew instantly we had to make a pilgrimage. The next morning our group detoured from the itinerary schedule to visit the tree, paying homage to her.
Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet, and memoir writer who lives in Denver, Colorado. She is the co-editor of She Is Everywhere! Volume 3: An anthology of writings in womanist/feminist spirituality (iUniverse 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Enheduanna Award for Excellence in Women-Centered Spirituality from Sofia University. Mary’s most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press, 2006) was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Her forthcoming novel, Heretics, will be published by Pearlsong Press in 2014. www.marysaracino.com; http://marysaracino.blogspot.com; www.pearlsong.com/newsroom/marysaracino/marysaracino.htm, www.redroom.com/author/mary-saracino; http://www.authorsden.com/marysaracino
- (Call for Contributions) Story Your Goddess Feminist “Me Too” Insights for the coming year! on
- (Song) The Tree of Life by Genevieve Vaughan on
- Our Contributors on
- (Poem) Murder of Crows by Majidi Warda on
- (Prose) Tlachtga by Deanne Quarrie on
- (Essay) Memory: Mnemosyne by Susan Hawthorne on
- (Poem) Samhain by Annie Finch on
- (Prose) Transformative / holistic / experiential education by Nane Jordan on