“OH, she is the goddess,” he says. He is a handsome visitor from a far distant land.
Well, of course it’s my job to represent Earth Mother, source of all things and being. I am more of something like a reminder for people. A Temple Lady has a great deal of responsibilities, doesn’t she. Keeping the Songs is just part of it. She has to keep things moving smoothly and catch it when there is a bog-down. She has to know all the rituals and she has to track what is to happen when. Not only that, but it is She who must monitor all the food storages and count the mouths to feed and calculate the distribution based on when more can reasonably be expected. This is no small task, I can tell you. We do not have these shopping places that you have, where you take money and get what you want, as much as you want, and any time you want it. Oh my! You and your money and your packages are like a fantasy to us.
Temple Lady directs every aspect of the care of the whole community. If Merit has a problem with her man’s behavior, she takes it to the Temple. If Vades is feeling sad, he takes it to the temple. The sore foot and the sour belly and the bad tooth all come to the temple. She has to know what to do, always! Often, it is more than one thing and then a second thing and a third thing after that. Often, it is this hand rubs a shoulder while that hand points and a certain movement of the chin or the the brow is enough to express the answer to another question.
One doesn’t just decide to be a Temple Lady and that’s all there is to it. Oh no! The great creator determines that. Once a girl is spotted who has been determined, she goes into the care of the Temple to begin many long years of training. Some of it is quite terrifying, too. There is so much mystery in the world! She must learn to accept the unknowable. It is not unusual for her to be quite old by the time she is good at it.
We Temple Ladies have “high callings” from time to time, when we get together in one temple or the other to make sure we are all on the right path. You see, people — my people and your modern people — all people have it in them to make bad decisions. They will naturally misbehave and cause problems if they are not reminded properly. Just as any young mother who teaches her wobbler to hold his urine, an old Temple Lady must have the patience of a mountain, the strength of a river, the scope of a vast prairie, the warmth of soil under the sun, the bendability of a tree and the touch of a breeze.
“Oh, she is the goddess,” is a nice way for any man to hold his woman’s attention, eh?
Screen goddesses in your times are very beautiful, I have learned. Please send one of them to visit us. I have many many questions to ask.
They are ready for me now. Dancing down by the quarries . . .