Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Chalice Well

  

Here is one of the most mythic places of Glastonbury, the Chalice Well and Garden.   There are actually two sacred springs, the Red Spring and the White Spring, both of which figured in the ritual cycle of the Goddess Conference.  The energy at these wells is so amazing!  They are, like the Tor, at the heart of the mysteries of Glastonbury, of  this place at the center of the legendary Avalon.  

People have been coming here on pilgrimage for a very long time - the great ruined Cathedral and Abbey of Glastonbury and the Tor bear evidence of it's roots as a pilgrimage center that go back to the middle ages, and it is clear that that the Church was built on much earlier pagan sites.  Many feel that the Springs, which have never failed in recorded history, were at the heart of the sanctity of Glastonbury.  

The wonderful energy of the Well!  I sat by the famous Vesica Piscis symbol of the Well Cover and meditated, and had a vision of the Tree of Life, very vivid.  I later went to the healing pool where you can take off your shoes and sit in the waters.  There was a young pilgrim I noticed who, I felt, had entirely the right idea about how to enjoy sacred waters.

The Chalice Garden is amazing as well - you can really feel the presence of the Devas and the Fey Folk there......such color and vitality! 

Here  below are the "Apples of Avalon" in the Chalice Gardens........just beyond it is possible to see the hill of the Tor, and people walking up it.



Truly, these flowing springs are every bit the "Lady of Avalon".  And the flowers!


And here is the Tor, high atop a  long hill that is no small task to climb, along with the mystical and ubiquitous sheep.  
 

This photo was rather surprising, which I took inside the interior of the Tor - since the Lady of Avalon is associated with violet, and the color is virtually everywhere in Glastonbury, I was surprised to find it showing up in this photo.



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glastonbury Goddess Conference begins

"The island of apples which men call “The Fortunate Isle” (Insula Pomorum quae Fortunata uocatur) gets its name from the fact that it produces all things of itself; the fields there have no need of the ploughs of the farmers and all cultivation is lacking except what nature provides. Of its own accord it produces grain and grapes, and apple trees grow in its woods from the close-clipped grass. The ground of its own accord produces everything instead of merely grass, and people live there a hundred years or more. There nine sisters rule by a pleasing set of laws those who come to them from our country." 

Geoffrey of Monmouth


  I stopped at the Roman Baths en route to Glastonbury, and saw the above...........felt like saying "Here I come!".  I brought with me my gift to the Temple, a mask based on the "Lady of Avalon".  It is primarily violet, based on the image I was sent, and included a rainbow, and apples.

"Avalon" meant the "Apple Isle", and I thought of so many wonderful legends of the apples of the Goddesses.  And, of course, Marian Zimmer Bradley's famous book "The Mists of Avalon".

The mask was presented to them yesterday, and I invited them to add to it as seems right, jewels or ribbons.   I love the thought that when I'm gone, the mask will remain, evolving story through the women who may chose to use it.

So walking to my B&B a few days after arriving, I felt naturally drawn to a bough of apples hanging over a wall, and went to help myself to a few of them..  Right where I reached for an apple was a little niche in the wall - and someone had left a polished amethyst there, with a wire on it so it could be worn on a cord!

I'll take that as a blessing, and find a cord for the stone!

Photo by Tony Howell (www.tonyhowell.co.uk)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Avebury Notes

“The ancient Greeks spoke of the "genus loci," or spirit of a place. They sited a shrine to honor the Earth Goddess Gaia in Delphi in Greece because the unique personality or spirit of that place was divined to be especially suited to Gaia residing there. Understanding the forces that drew the early Greeks to reach that decision may well be a concept that is at the very root of developing sustainable human societies and creating programs that maximize the unique values of each destination.” 

James  Swan
Going to Avebury was a process, because it represented an intention, long nurtured, of making a personal pilgrimage to this ancient sacred landscape.  So it could be said that the intention preceded me, one of Spider Woman’s threads, across the Atlantic.  Going to a Pilgrimage, even if only half realized, I venture to suggest there are stages of opening, of preparation, necessary.  Entering “mythic mind and space” is part of entering sacred space of any kind – it’s entering that dimension wherein the mind is prepared for the possibility that here the land speaks, the oracle resides, the fey are, and the ancestral spirits listen.
 
 Among the Lakota, preparation for any kind of spiritual activity, and many communal activities that involve consensus as well, must include cleansing activities – a fast, and a sweat lodge, for example.  This “purification” is found throughout virtually all spiritual traditions.   So following this logic, I’m not surprised I became sick almost as soon as I got off the plane, with three days of fever.  It certainly served to detox me from the stress and negative, fearful atmospheres I’ve been dealing with for months now.  It was with an exhausted body and an open mind I got off the bus at the village of Avesbury, and immediately walked, delighted, across the street and between two great stones that seemed for the entire world like a bright doorway to me.  I later learned that they’ve been dubbed the “Adam & Eve” stones, presumably because they represent polarities of male and female to some group that works with them.

You don't have to be long at Avesbury, or the area in general, to realize it is a pilgrimage point and magnet for many people, among them spiritual seekers, crop circle researchers, druids and witches, and a lot of others who have many different ideas of what is going on, some of it fascinating, some pretty fanciful.  So I tried to keep myself open to my own experience, without superimposing projections on the landscape.


There is brightness there, it emanates from the land.  Local dowsers tell me it’s a “time vortex”, and hence that explains the continual conversation of so many magnificent crop circles that have occurred near Avebury, or Silbury Hill.   Quite a few studies of electromagnetic anomalies, brain waves, and other phenomena have been done in the area, and within crop circles that have occurred in the area as well. (There was a crop circle that occurred the morning I visited, July 18th, although I did not see it – it was closer to Silbury Hill, about a mile away.)

I proceeded to the stone the pair seemed to frame, and sat at its base, warmed by the stone’s presence.  I was becoming euphoric, and sheep wandering throughout with their soothing cries, and their curious-cautious eyes were good companions, a counter-point to the solemnity of the stones.

Then up the side of the great circular “henge”, attracted by wildflowers on its crest, and the na├»ve hope of seeing, in the fields below and beyond, a crop circle, or maybe Silbury Hill (wrong direction).  But what I looked on were just corn fields.  Rather fancifully, I felt I had, in some way, entered the “Gate”, and could now walk the Circle that is Avebury.

When we used to cast a circle in Reclaiming, we closed with "And now we are between the worlds, and what happens between the worlds can change the world."  Between the worlds is another order of being, an imaginal order that we enclosed by casting a circle, which we entered through a “doorway”, leaving behind the mundane world.  I think places of potency, Avebury, were enclosures and temples for “places between the worlds”, points of heightened earth energies, marked reverently by their stone monuments and avenues, places where celebrants could attune.  Places to contact the ancestors, the devas, places to heal, communicate, conceive, receive an oracle,  retrieve a soul, pray for rain or celebrate an auspicious day between the moon and the stars and the wheel of the year.  This was where the Great Mother spoke and the gods made their play.

Photo by www.adlag.com

I found that they are also ripe with synchronicity – that’s what places of heightened energy do, they “connect” and weave.  I had put on my Spider Woman necklace that morning, a Navajo piece that shows Grandmother Spider Woman weaving.  As soon as I  came off the Henge, I went into a little shop, where I  got into conversation with an elderly local, who told me he had seen a fabulous crop circle with his own eyes, and pulled out a polaroid of  the famous “Spider Web Circle” (of 1994),  proudly informing me that he had taken the photo himself.  He told me  it was “just over there, on the other side of the Henge.”  Just over by the fields and vista I had been  attracted to!


Circles within Circles……………

Avebury only has a hundred or so of its original 600 plus stones.  Most of these have been broken down and used by farmers to build houses and barns – the church has not been kind to the stones either, with various ministers admonishing their congregation to pull down  the “devil tracks” .

I found myself, walking that wide circle,  ecstatic, my heart chakra open, feeling “turned on” with that visceral deep eros of nature, of Gaia.  The following day, I was “stoned", spaced out, open.  I didn’t much want to return to “human time”, and I’m convinced if I had been able to sleep there, the dreams would have been vivid.   Avebury affected me in subtle ways, an effect that continues.




Sometimes language bears in its fossil rock
things once commonly known, now information
available to us only as tourists
as here poke through the earth
through the welter of houses from the last thousand years
through country roads, prim churches, blowzy pubs,
through male and female stones, the huge breast
called Silbury Hill, vast and cumbersome
works of a people whose will slumbers
in the stone circles, rows, wordless
as the thoughts of the sheep that graze.


Yet that will is potent, not with the dumb ferocity
and shapeliness of mountains, not with the bodily
eloquence of frightened or curious sheep.
Here are erected runes of language partly designed
to be read by clouds or goddesses, left for us
too carefully wrought to be ignored.
Sometimes with my hands on the warm/cold stone
I almost think I hear it in my bones.


Marge Piercy

Thursday, July 21, 2011

English Gardens.....


 "Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping 

than you can understand."

....Yeats



I find so many fey  personae,  among the amazing English  gardens.....this little fairy was in Lacock.






And an angel, presiding over a public garden in Bath.

I think I understand the English delight in gardens, and also their pursuit of the illusive sunbeam.



And, as I passed through the Roman Baths on my way to get the bus to Glastonbury (and next week's Goddess Conference)..........how about this for a "Sign"? 


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Greetings from the Angel Hotel

 
I came back from Avebury yesterday, and find myself quite speechless, to be honest.  I need to write a poem, or a long article, if anything, so I'm not going to try, yet.  Suffice to say I feel quite "stoned".....such potent energies there.  I want to write about my experience in a way that does it justice later.

I landed in Wiltshire a week ago, sick as soon as I got off the plane in spite of my "Airborne" immune pills (airplane air is lethel), got on a train to Bath, found a B&B in a town on route called Chippenham (along the famous Avon, where graceful swans actually float), slept for 3 days straight, woke up to talk to my delightful landlady, Mrs. Barrows, and her chickens (shown observing her at her kitchen window), and Mrs. Avebury, a fellow lodger, who was sitting at the table pursuing her geneology project and eating eggs.  So, although I was too ill to get to Avebury yet, I rather magically found myself in the company of "Avebury" and "Barrows" ("barrow" is the term for the many ancient prehistoric graves, also near Silbury) in the flesh......I doubt I would have been surprised if a Mr. Stonehenge had walked in for tea. (Honest, I'm not making this up!  The Cosmic Punster is alive and well in Wiltshire.)
  So  here I sit having a coffee, several days later, at the Angel Hotel.  Not too far from the River Avon.

I figure, outside of my day among the Stones, nothing could be better.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Travelling!

Well, here I go!  I'm off to Glastonbury to the fabulous GODDESS CONFERENCE,  and also to attend the GLASTONBURY SYMPOSIUM !  I'm so excited!

I lived in England on three separate occasions, as a child in Essex, as a 17 year old during the "swinging London" era, and again, in my 20's.  I know that London has changed hugely since the last time I was there, the 70's, and I'm a little afraid of everything being colored by my memories of being there then, and my memories of who I was then as well, or, at least, my ideas of my memories of who I once was.  We're nothing if not our own invention.

So I've decided to leave all of that behind for the moment, and go straight to Bath, and find a quiet B&B to be a tourist looking at Roman ruins for starters.   I have sensible shoes, a backpack with too much stuff, and a very large purse, and I know very well I'm not the fit, thin girl I once was.  Well, so what.  Let the adventure begin!


Monday, July 11, 2011

A Festival of Scarabs

As I pack for my trip, I'm amazed at the convergence going on, right over my patio, of bright green metallic Scarab Beetles! I've never seen anything like it.

The bugs seem to be having a feast from the sap of a Palos Verde tree, and are flying around in what looks like a joyous drunken stupor.  Since Jung's most famous synchronicity had to do with the appearance of a scarab beetle, I'll take this as a good sign!  He only had one.......I apparently have several hundred.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spirits of Place

"Numina" (2009)

 "I experienced contact with something or someone sentient and much greater than my individual self. I had experienced contact, even momentary communion, with the "essence" of what could be called a transpersonal presence. Afterwards I was told by the local shaman or caretaker that I had met with the guardian spirit of the place.""

Debra D. Carroll "From Huacas to Mesas"
DIALOGUES WITH THE LIVING EARTH, compiled by James and Roberta Swan (1989)


I was reading the above article by Debra Carroll, an expressive arts therapist from an important (and sadly obscure) book by the Swans, published in 1989. Within her article, I found a wonderful description of a visionary experience she had with the "Spirit of Place" at a site she visited in Mexico. I was equally enthralled by a story she quoted by someone called Martin Gray, in which he described his own experience in Japan. I was moved enough to earmark the book, and I pulled out my yellow marker just to be sure I held them in memory. Ms. Carroll described Mr. Gray as a "pilgrim".*** Because "pilgrim" embodies, I think,  the humility necessary to approach a sacred site, or perhaps any place with its myriad beings and ecosystem, with a willingness to listen.

I have a story as well,  I've told it before, but it's good to tell it again.  It still haunts me. 


In 1992, I was living with my former husband on 40 some acres in upstate New York. Where we lived was a rural area rapidly being built up with new housing and industry. One of the mysterious places in the area, to me, was a field I used to go to. To get to that field, which bordered our property, one had to go through a kind of obstacle course - crossing an old stone wall, you immediately ran into a rusted barbed wire fence, and then tramped through a nasty barrier of poison ivy, grape vines and small trees. Braving all of this, an expanse of field appeared.
Bordered on all sides by trees, you could stand there in the tall grass, or the snow, and see nothing of the warehouses or homes nearby. It felt, oddly, as if it was somehow protected, as if you entered a special, quiet, mysterious place. The land had obviously once been worked, but it had been left fallow for many years. In the center of the field  I perceived a "fairy circle".....small trees, bushes, even tall grasses formed a loose circle, if one looked. With my divining rods, I found there was a ley crossing in that exact spot - the rod "helicoptered" and whirled at the center of the "fairy ring".   We came to revere the THE FIELD as magical.


My ex and I were actively involved in Earth based spiritual practices, and he facilitated a lively men's group. One night when the moon was full the group, energized by shamanic drumming, decided to visit "THE FIELD".  It was November, and there was snow on the ground.  I was not present, but my husband told me that as the young men strode to the stone wall, something pushed two of them backward into the snow!

Being young men, they got up and aggressively thundered forward - and something again pushed both of them backwards! They fell on their behinds in the snow.  This (I was told) was enough strangeness for everyone, and the party turned around and went back to the house.  The next day, my husband and  I took offerings to the place where one entered "the field".  We came to believe the place had a guardian spirit, what the Romans called "Numina".   I remember placing crystals and flowers on a stone by the old stone wall, and as I did, I felt such an overwhelming sense of sorrow that tears ran down my face and would not stop. I was, for that moment, the empathic medium for something that  lived there. I believe what I felt was  the sorrow of the guardian spirit of that place, and I think that field was a sacred site of some kind, perhaps special to native peoples long ago in some way.

The encroachment of industry and the loss of habitat in that area was a sad fact.   A year later there was an oil spill in a nearby truck depot, and the wetlands that bordered "the Field" suffered  ecological damage, and a number of the old trees there died.  When I left the area, I bid the Spirits of Place there farewell, thanking them for so much beauty, for allowing us to be a part of that place.  I was saddened that this "secret garden" was surrounded by thoughtless and uncaring forces that might continue to invade its invisible walls, and prayed that others would come who might perceive the magic of the place.

I like to think we opened a portal there, a conversation if you will, because we were practicing ritual, and making art, that was about the earth. The spirits of that place responded to us, simply because we were there, and  we were listening. Reading  Debra Carroll and Martin Gray brought that time back  to me.
"There is an earth-based energy available to human beings, concentrated at specific places all across the planet, which catalyzes and increases this eco-spiritual consciousness. These specific places are the sacred sites discussed and illustrated on this web site. Before their prehistoric human use, before their usurpation by different religions, these sites were simply places of power. They continue to radiate their powers, which anyone may access by visiting the sacred sites. No rituals are necessary, no practice of a particular religion, no belief in a certain philosophy; all that is needed is for an individual human to visit a power site and simply be present. As the flavor of herbal tea will steep into warm water, so also will the essence of these power places enter into one’s heart and mind and soul. As each of us awakens to a fuller knowing of the universality of life, we in turn further empower the global field of eco-spiritual consciousness. That is the deeper meaning and purpose of these magical holy places: they are source points of the power of spiritual illumination.".........Martin Gray
 ***Martin Gray published  his monumental book Sacred Earth: Places of Peace and Power in 2007 with Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. of London based on his decades of travel to research sacred places throughout the world.   The author spent the last 20 years on a  pilgrimage: he visited 1,000 sacred sites in 80 countries around the world. His journey unfolds in a remarkable compilation of images that reveals just how devoutly pre-industrial cultures everywhere worshipped and respected our Earth. Gray’s stunning photographs and fascinating text provide unique insight into why these powerful holy places are the most venerated and visited sites on the entire planet.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stones Dreaming

Photo by Martin Grey
                    Avebury
Sometimes language bears in its fossil rock
things once commonly known, now information
available to us only as tourists
as here poke through the earth
through the welter of houses from the last thousand years
through country roads, prim churches, blowzy pubs,
through male and female stones, the huge breast
called Silbury Hill, vast and cumbersome
works of a people whose will slumbers
in the stone circles, rows, wordless
as the thoughts of the sheep that graze.


Yet that will is potent, not with the dumb ferocity
and shapeliness of mountains, not with the bodily
eloquence of frightened or curious sheep.
Here are erected runes of language partly designed
to be read by clouds or goddesses, left for us
too carefully wrought to be ignored.
Sometimes with my hands on the warm/cold stone
I almost think I hear it in my bones.


Marge Piercy

"Older Yet, and Lovelier Far,
  this Mystery - and I will not forget."

Robin Williamson, "Five Denials on Merlin's Grave"
I share with poet Marge Piercy a deep wonderment at the presence of the Stones, set so laboriously and intentionally by such distant ancestors, to mark circles, leys, energy ebbs and flows and currents, Solstices and Equinoxes, moon crossings, and other, more mysterious means and ways that are remembered now only by the stones themselves, and the language of the land.  I'm excited about my soon to be opportunity to visit some of these sites, to see Avebury, Stonehenge, Callenish, and the sacred wellspring of the Chalice Well as well.

"Where Time began and will Begin",  Scottish Bard Robin Williamson begins his story and prayer (which are really one and the same) "I make reverence to the Ancestors and the Spirits of those yet unborn".  Perhaps the Beloved Silence he speaks of  is that Silence that contains the language of stones.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Liturgy for the Ancient Goddess

This beautiful Liturgy was written by theologian D'vorah J. Gren, founder of The Lilith Institute. She kindly gave it to me when I was working on my book, The Masks of the Goddess. 

I've also been privileged to be included in Talking To Goddess, a  beautiful collection of blessings, prayers, invocations and other writings by 72 women in 25 spiritual traditions, edited by D'vorah. D'vorah teaches at the California Institute for Integral Studies, and she is also the author of Lilith's Fire: Reclaiming Our Sacred Lifeforce (2000).

Inanna-Ishtar-Lilith-Shekhinah...

She of all knowing, dark wisdom....She of the deep abyss, snake’s descent, owl’s knowing...woman of the dark, the light.

We praise you, we stand in awe marveling at the myriad surprises you hold for us always respectful of your power, your mystery.
Lilith-Ishtar-Shekhinah, in all your aspects; we sing your name. 

Walk with us as we yearn to understand you... Never let us forget your presence in, around and through us, as we praise you in your many guises, by every name.


Be patient with us as we must be with ourselves,  and each other... holding your presence even when we doubt or despair.

Let us continue to walk as healers, casting new roles for ourselves and others,  weaving new threads of  wonder....

Ishtar-Lilith-Shekhinah, keeper of the mystery.....

Be with us through ecstasy and harmony through death and destruction.
And You, Inanna, Ancient Mother who was given the skill of lamentations, the care of children, the rejoicing of the heart, the giving of judgments,  the stirring of sexuality, the making of decisions:

In the eye of this wisdom, rising forth from the power of your being ..how is it we got lost, taken over, subsumed?

How did we become convinced we were not worthy to serve? How were we silenced?

As we build a new world, allow us to remember our inner strengths, understanding and true compassion.   Let us not be swayed from our goals.  Help us to remember the lessons of our foremothers and so defend ourselves when necessary, without apology,

to speak for what we believe in, take unpopular action, and take what is rightfully ours with or without “permission.”

Work with us, inspire us, protect us as we weave your work - our work. 

Help us, lady of the night, holy winged figure of the light—rageful, wise judge, warmest heart, soulful visionary... highest priestess of the Temples to whom every knee must bend and every tongue give homage.

It is your word we write now upon the doorpost of our house and upon our gates…

Your word, acts, images and thoughts we share, rage at, weep with and learn from.

For It is You who makes rise our laughter and love, happiness and peace, passion, tenderness and compassion,

And from You our anger, the storm, temper and venom, jealousy and vengefulness; You from whom and with whom we learn to combine these things in the best ways possible...as we embody and become You, Our divine selves.

Sweet, dark goddess/es of the earth and sky, river and mountain, night and day, Heaven and Hell.

We seek to embody your passion, your wisdom, your strength.

Be with us now.

( 2008)





 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Little Synchronicity....

Florence at 92
I had a lucky day yesterday, in the midst of an extremely stressful month.............I couldn't help but feel very grateful for a few synchronistic nudges that pointed the  way.

Florence by the Shores of the Sea
My mother went into the hospital earlier this month, and for a while I thought she might pass.  But she's improved and is now in a rehab center in good spirits.  But it's apparent she can't return to her home again.  So, with less than two weeks until I'm scheduled to leave for England (not to mention the 115 degree temperatures and my politically correct non-air-conditioned car)  I've been desperately seeking an assisted living community for her to go to, and resigning myself to the possibility of giving up my trip.  


I've looked at places gorgeous but too expensive, and lots of places less expensive that are very depressing.  Finally I went to a big community to meet with a manager named "Sharif".  I walked into a beautiful building with a big dining room, impressive art and furniture, and a huge landscaped interior garden.  I was expecting Sharif to be a rather intimidating Middle Eastern man, but instead was met by a young,  freckled redhead in a Hawaiian shirt, who told me that he and his brother, Omar, were named after the famous actor.  I immediately saw that the place would be perfect for my mother.

We looked at a lovely studio, and in the course of a tour Sharif interrupted our walk by bounding down the hall to assist an elderly woman who called for help.  She was fainting, and he caught her before she could fall.  I  excused myself, and said I'd be back later.

My mother's name is Florence, so I was a little amazed when I came back to notice a big sign, with balloons, over a door that said "Welcome Home Florence!".   When I met Sharif again, he told me the lady who had almost fallen was fine, just a blood sugar problem, and that her name was Florence.  And last but not least, I received an email from someone who was interested in purchasing a "Flora" mask!
Flora Pitcher with Florence, 1917
 It turned out my timing was good as well - with a summer promotional event, my mother will get the first month free of charge, and a lovely place to live that she can afford.  And I will get to go to England after all!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Anima Update - the Rain Maker's Gift!

"Given the steady eastward progress of the Wallow Fire and absence of rain in the near future, I have to avoid denial and accept that we likely have a scary 70% chance of our land being burned out.  This is NOT to say that I am resigned to such a fate, we will oppose it in every way possible.  Nor are we fatalistic about it.  As we teach in Anima, the only thing that is hopeless, is the person unwilling or unable to hope."
Jesse Wolf Hardin, from his Blog (6/20)
 I am delighted to copy below a  letter I received from Wolf today.  With the Wallow Fire virtually at the doorstep, monsoons began, and the fires seem to be under control at last.  The Anima Sanctuary will continue to do it's important work, and Jesse and Family and all the Beings there won't need to face devastation.  The First Monsoon came to Tucson as well (I woke up to the sound of thunder at 3:00 a.m.), bringing with it the blessing of extinguishing the Monument fire.

Maybe those prayers to the spirits of the ancient Rain Makers were answered! 

"With the subsiding of danger from the Wallow Fire, we’re finally taking a break from preoccupation with the unimaginable and unbearable, and slowly revving back up for the teaching, healing and tending that must continue no matter what else is going on.  Fire or not, students still need responses, Kiva’s clients still count on her for help, conference organizing and promotion is still important, the honeysuckle and lamb’s quarters require that we prioritize their watering, writers for Plant Healer have to be reminded of the upcoming issue deadline, and wild seeds of hope need to be planted in the soil of this land we so love.  Important, too, is taking the moments needed to personally acknowledge everyone who has given what they can to help keep safe this most special place that we’ve spent since 1986 guarding, restoring and sharing.

The Emergency Fund was spent on the purchase of a high quality Honda fire fighting water pump that pushes water all the way up the mesa to the cabins from the river, hose and pipes, a second storage tank and protective sprinklers for around the cabins... and they also covered the balance of the wages due the hard laboring friends that trimmed, cleared the grounds, installed the water pump, and insisted on taking part trade for their efforts.  It would have been difficult or impossible for us to accomplish these things in a timely way without the support, given that much of our work goes out to the world because of a sense of mission and with little or no profit for us. 

Even though it’s almost certain the still-burning Wallow Fire won’t be threatening this remote school and botanical refuge any longer, the preparations made for it feel no less wise or even crucial.  In the two latest and final Wallow Fire posts on the Anima blog (www.AnimaCenter.org/blog), I mention the warnings of authorities that we need to expect increasing numbers of super hot blazes in this region.  Well, in the last few weeks we’ve taken exactly the kinds of precautions the recommend everyone take in wildfire-prone areas... prior to a dangerous event and not during or after the fact.  All of this was made possible only because of donations including yours. 

We will not be simply storing the pump, however, unused until the next conflagration.  Water pumped up for the fire fighting sprinklers, can also be used for wash water and watering plants up here, instead of having to drive a truck and tank up and down the hill whenever the drought keeps the needed rains out.  And the pump can also be put to work spraying the banks on either side of the river during long dry spells like the one we’ve been in, giving the native plants a boost when they need it most.

And like my last Anima post explains, the scare we just got also enlivened and revealed the huge amount of connections we have to the community of earth loving friends, students and allies we’ve given our lives to.  It feels good, to be shown so clearly the myriad connections that we and this shared mission can depend on.  There is something to be said for the principle of detachment, but it is connection and devotion that make possible the miracles of our every day lives."