Happy Chinese New Year! It was at this time last year that my sister, my nephew, and I had a magnificent, soul-filling time at the Hsi Lai Buddhist temple in Hacienda Heights. I will never forget it—the light, the beauty, the warmth and openness of the people. I still have the pretty blue lantern I got for answering a riddle hung on my bedroom lamp. It reminds me daily of all I learned and experienced there. Athena was a large part of the experience—gracious goddess that she is.
Here is the story (and the pictures):
On the train to my sister’s house, riding through southern California’s ultra-glamourous Inland Empire, I read Sera Beak’s book, Red Hot and Holy. In it, she talks about her many travels and personal experiences with spiritualities all around the world. in particular, I was reading how she studied with devotees of Kali in Calcutta. As I read, I longed to be able to do the same—to be able to travel the world and learn about different religions—to have that kind of freedom and enlightenment to inform my heart and bring back to my own practice.
I still had that prayer in my heart when I arrived in Covina to meet my sister, nephew, and brother-in-law. It was my sister’s birthday. She arrived at the train station in a demure black sweater with a purple flower climbing the shoulder, and a…
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