Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
‘ With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
These words, written by Emma Lazarus, are engraved inside the statue of Columbia Liberty.
From the beginning, when Columbia was first revealed as the Goddess of this land, She was seen as a guardian of freedom and a generous granter of plenty. In early depictions of Columbia, she wears the cap of freedom and holds a cornucopia. The eagle and the rattlesnake are sacred to Her.
Today I honor Her with offerings and pray that She blesses us with Her gifts. I ask Her to guide us – our country seems to be at a crossroads and is facing difficult times. Our nation’s identity and ethics are muddled. How I wish Her statue was still behind the Speaker’s chair in the House of Representatives – having Columbia Liberty as a guide for our elected officials (especially Nancy Pelosi) certainly couldn’t hurt!
I hope you enjoy a wonderful 4th of July celebration today – whether you join the increasing number of Pagans who celebrate it as a festival day in honor of Columbia Liberty or if it is a purely secular holiday for you.
I leave you with a poem by Phillis Wheatley, a famous slave poet of colonial America. In 1776, Phillis Wheatley wrote a poem to George Washington, lauding his appointment as commander of the Continental Army and praising him as a true son of Columbia. I agree with Ms. Wheatley, seeing Washington as a Hero, a semi-divine being worthy of cultus, and today I honor Him as such. May he continue to guard and protect our nation.
To His Excellency, General Washington
By Phillis Wheatley
Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light,
Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write.
While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms,
She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms.
See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan,
And nations gaze at scenes before unknown!
See the bright beams of heaven’s revolving light
Involved in sorrows and veil of night!
The goddess comes, she moves divinely fair,
Olive and laurel bind her golden hair:
Wherever shines this native of the skies,
Unnumber’d charms and recent graces rise.
Muse! bow propitious while my pen relates
How pour her armies through a thousand gates,
As when Eolus heaven’s fair face deforms,
Enwrapp’d in tempest and a night of storms;
Astonish’d ocean feels the wild uproar,
The refluent surges beat the sounding shore;
Or thick as leaves in Autumn’s golden reign,
Such, and so many, moves the warrior’s train.
In bright array they seek the work of war,
Where high unfurl’d the ensign waves in air.
Shall I to Washington their praise recite?
Enough thou know’st them in the fields of fight.
Thee, first in peace and honours,—we demand
The grace and glory of thy martial band.
Fam’d for thy valour, for thy virtues more,
Hear every tongue thy guardian aid implore!
One century scarce perform’d its destined round,
When Gallic powers Columbia’s fury found;
And so may you, whoever dares disgrace
The land of freedom’s heaven-defended race!
Fix’d are the eyes of nations on the scales,
For in their hopes Columbia’s arm prevails.
Anon Britannia droops the pensive head,
While round increase the rising hills of dead.
Ah! cruel blindness to Columbia’s state!
Lament thy thirst of boundless power too late.
Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side,
Thy ev’ry action let the goddess guide.
A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine,
With gold unfading, WASHINGTON! be thine.