MYTH*ING LINKS
An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS:

THE NEAR EAST

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The Three Monotheisms
Christianity:

"Litany of the Burned Christ"
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Copyright © Robin Wood

Author's Note:
In March of 1993, nearly a year after I got my Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Calfornia, Santa Barbara, I was working as a conference coordinator at an eucumenical retreat center, La Casa de Maria, a few miles south of Santa Barbara in Montecito.  After finding a charred wooden hand of Christ on La Casa's grounds (part of a larger sculpture that had accidentally been burned and then discarded), this litany spilled out of me.  On 10 March 1993, I posted it on the wall of my small office.  A few people objected but several of the nuns, including my friend Steff (now the Director of La Casa), were deeply moved and understood where I was coming from.

After leaving California in 2003, I forgot about the Litany but earlier this week, in tracing where a jumble of computer cords went, I found my framed copy among a pile of papers under the cords.  I read it for the first time in years and was moved by it all over again.  It seems even more relevant today than it did back then.

Here is how I introduced this Litany 17 years ago:

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Frequently in Greek myths, when women flee from abuse, merciful gods protect them by turning them into trees. What I have tried to do with the Burned Christ is to protect a merciful god from further abuse by turning Him back into a tree.
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Litany of the Burned Christ

Christ of the burned witches,
            have mercy on us.
Christ of the burned forests of Mother Earth,
            have mercy on us.
Christ of the slaughtered animals of Mother Earth,
            have mercy on us.
Christ of the burned air of Mother Earth,
            have mercy on us.
Christ of the poisoned waters of Mother Earth,
            have mercy on us.
Christ our Mother,
    whose Church denies that you sanctify the priesthood of other womb-mothers,
    other soul-mothers,
            have mercy on us.
 

Christ, who has hung too long in agony,
            we women have mercy on You.
Christ, whose corpse desensitized Your Church,
            we women have mercy on You.
Christ, whose corpse teaches your followers to torture
    women, blacks, Jews, Moslems, indigenous peoples,
            we women have mercy on You.
Christ, whose message has been poisoned by the powerful,
            we women have mercy on You.
 

Christ, stay in the wheat and the grape,
            for they have mercy on You.
Christ, return to pray among living trees,
            for they have mercy on You.
Rest now, Christ, for nothing has gone as You planned:
    take time to heal,
            have mercy on Yourself.
 

Christ, who retreats to the forest, the seed, the cocoon,
            have mercy on us.
Christ, who transmutes burned-out stars into DNA,
            have mercy on us.
Christ, who whispers from the web-of-life,
            have mercy on us.

 

   Kathleen Jenks
10 March 1993

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Menu of Myth*ing Links' Near Eastern pages:

Near East Opening Page/Index

The Tigris-EuphratesRiver Valley
(also known as Mesopotamia, Sumer, Babylonia, Assyria)
     Lilith Remembered: a poem by Kathy Robles
Canaan
(which once covered much of modern Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel)
Anatolia & Central Asia
(which once covered much of modern Turkey & beyond to the Eurasian steppes)
Contemporary Iraq
The Three Desert-Born Monotheisms: Judaism, Christianity & Islam
Judaism
Christianity
Islam
     Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya, an 8th Century Islamic Saint from Iraq
The Crone Papers: Notes on the Mideast:
What Can We Do About Terrorism? by Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.

Myth*inglinks' Home Page
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as well as my e-mail address.

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