Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ocean Deities

Ocean Deities

Had I lived in ancient Greece, I would have worshipped Poseidon, the mighty ocean god. Sailing with my Norse ancestors, we would have offered sacrifices to Nehalennia, goddess of the North Sea.  I would surely have bowed down before Tiamat, Babylonia goddess of the sea, and of chaos, and mother of all gods.

No matter the pantheon, I look for the ocean deities, and give them respect and honor.

So when I visit the Inuit art collection at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, I always stop to honor Inukshuk, Spirit of the Arctic.  (I pretend Inukshuk is a goddess, because of the cool hair.)

On my pilgrimage this week I learned about the “Poets in the Galleries” program; the museum welcomes 3rd-7th graders to write poems about the artwork.  Fourth grader Aidan Mccartt wrote about Inukshuk:

As I look at you with my one eye open
And my tongue sticking out,
You think I look silly.
Well, you’re the silly one to me.
Don’t laugh, for I am the Spirit of the Arctic
And for that you should respect me.
I am the Spirit of the Arctic
With my dull-grey coat
I am who I am.

I am who I am. Even on my ugly days and my bad hair days and my tongue sticking out days - don’t laugh.  Respect.  I am who I am. That’s the ocean talking. That’s a deity talking.

(These Wednesday posts celebrate ocean spirituality and stewardship.  Learn more about our youth mission trips and adult pilgrimages at  This past week we hosted a great group from St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in San Mateo.)

(I write another weekly column about building and all things structural; this past week the subject was hermit crabs – renters or owners?  Check out

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