Diana's Grove Cornerstones of Community
by Cynthea Jones
These Cornerstones were formally developed for
Diana’s Grove Mystery School in January 1999. This beginning
gave us a foundation for our community. In times of confusion and disharmony,
the key to the difficulties in inter-personal relationships is that
one of these cornerstones is “out of place.” This tool
let’s me know when I am off, when my own issues have created
a situation where I am not on “solid ground” in my perception
of others. Each year we learn a little more about
how to use the Cornerstones as a community. We have found these Cornerstones
to be invaluable in community wherever we find it.
Every community has some foundation, some basic belief system on which they stand. These foundations
may be overt and agreed upon, or covert and hidden, but still guiding influences of the community for which
they function. We have openly chosen the above cornerstones as a foundation for our community.
We aren't starting with these concepts because I think they are a great beginning philosophy, one that will be easily
embraced by our willing spirits. These ideas may be controversial. You might not like them. They may challenge your way
of looking at the world and yourself. That is why we are beginning with them. Consider them to be gifts from Persephone,
the Goddess whose touch changes by awakening growth. If you let these ideas touch you, they will change you. They will
change your relationships. They will change our community. They can provide us with a foundation on which we can continue
to build a community.
These concepts are cornerstones. And, as in the construction a building, when the foundation is solid and intentionally
laid, it will support amazing height and weight. If the foundation is weak; the building will require constant repair. Little
adjustments here and there; the roof always leaks, the windows require effort to open and close. And so - the cornerstones.
Now, if we were going to enter a year long project of building a cabin or a house, it would not be unusual to
begin with very precise and time consuming labor as we prepare our foundation. But, when I ask you to join me in this labor
as the foundation for a community, now that may be another thing. Some of you may ask "Isn't common attraction and
similar intention enough?" "Can't we all just come as we are and all pile together to make a wonderful structure?"
Yes, we could, but little adjustments here and there; constant repair, the windows won't open, the doors don't close.
And so, the cornerstones.
They aren't easy to haul into place. They require effort. And, even if you all join me in this labor, I am not sure how
they will work. This is a great experiment; I am asking you to take on this task with no guaranteed results.
Here is what I do know.... The more I work with these stones, the more relevant they become. When I put weight on
them, they become more essential for the creation of a healthy community based on mutual respect and individual expression. The
more I look at them, the more multifaceted I discover that they are. So, if you will, help me. Help me move them into
place as a foundation.
You don't need to agree with me about them. You may have well-thought-out arguments about their validity or sanity. Fine.
Your arguments and your agreements can be the string that takes you into the maze of creating community. Grab hold of
your own dialog and see where it leads you. Share your yeses and your nos. I ask you to play with these ideas.
I hope that you will join me in experimentation with them. What would it be like to build a self in a community built on these
The world that I hope we will build with these stones is not based on my view of how the world is, but on a view of
how it could be. I will agree with any of you who say, "but this is not how life is, this is not how my life is." The
ideas that I am suggesting don't summarize the truths that our relationships are built on. It is for that very
reason that I want to work with these cornerstones. I want to work with them because our normal interactions
don't stand on these principles...but they could.
Imagine that you are a Goddess or a God, not one of the later ones who directs the fate of mortals with the rise of
a finger, but an old God, a primordial Goddess...one of the world builders of a new pantheon.
Imagine yourself putting your shoulder to a huge boulder and pushing it steadily uphill to build a society.
And, although you are alone as you read this, you are not alone in this task. Others who you can't see
and may not know are also engaged in this work. Together we push. Together we place. Together we build.
The first stone is Choice.
You are a being with choice. You have the power to choose. This power, like all others, has limits
and context. I am not saying that the world is shaped according to your choice or that everything about you was created
by your free will. Realizing that we have choice doesn't mean that we choose everything that happens to us or everything
that we are. Choice does not change reality, only our relationship to it. Choice doesn't simplify the world, it makes it
ultimately more complex. If I am going to think of myself as a being with choice, I need to know what my choices are....
I need to know the nature of things that are completely independent of me.
Thinking Well of the Group
Thinking Well of the Group begins as simply as Choice. If you
choose to be in a group or community, you choose it because you think well
of it. Thinking well of the group is easy when everything runs smoothly.
When something is “off” we are challenged to continue to “think
well of” instead of make assumptions based on influences from other
experiences or our fears. Thinking Well of the Group leaves the door open
to greater understanding and less personal pain. Read More...
Thinking Well of Yourself
A cornerstone equal to and parallel with "thinking well of the group" is "thinking well of
yourself." What if, in your interactions with your group, you were to build your relationships on the cornerstone that you
are a worthwhile being in the process of becoming whole, and so is everyone else. Read More...
These stones in place, we have the power of Choice, we Think Well of Ourselves, we Think Well of the Group.
Will these stones hold the complexities of interaction - moments of discovery, soul touching intimacy, romance, disillusionment,
disappointment, friendships found and friendships lost? The dramas and adventures of human interaction remain the same,
but built on these cornerstones - a very different play emerges. There are no villains to be easily banished; there are
no victims to defend — there are simply humans doing their very best to be whole and grow in a community with others.
Stewardship of Self
What if you don't own yourself? What if you don't belong to you? Most of us can agree that we morally
can't own another person; we ethically don't own our children. Many of us question whether it is ethical to "own"
an animal or a piece of land if "ownership" means that our possession has no rights. Take one step further and see whether
the idea that you are a Steward of Yourself impacts your relationship to yourself. Read More...
Change begins with wounding. Creation begins with wounding. The egg is wounded by the sperm and life begins.
Concept, conception, the conception of a self, self-concept.
We each enter this community wounded. Our individual wounds are a part of who we are and of our unique vision of the world.
They are a part of our becoming and a part of our mythic journey, the great story that we live. Our wounds, although unique,
don't set us apart from each other. They are one of our common bonds. They are a piece of our common heritage. We all have
stories of pain and heroism. We all can define ourselves by the violations to our soul, the impact on our bodies, or by
betrayals that have wounded our hearts. Our wounds are unique, but that we are wounded is not. It is because of them
rather than in spite of them that we each enter this community as whole beings.
Sacred wounds — Jean Houston says "The wounding becomes sacred when we are willing to release our old stories and
to become the vehicles through which the new story may emerge into time. When we fail to do this, we repeat the same
old story over and over again." Read More...