Friday, August 30, 2013

Reflections on War, Patriarchal Mind, Despair and Hope

"GAIA" (1086)
"Yesterday as I watched the M.L.K. gathering on T.V., I couldn't help but wonder what Obama was feeling. Here he was lauding M.L.K.'s creed of non-violence, yet we as a country are ready to fight violence with violence and the drum beat of war grows ever louder in the distance. Talk about cognitive dissonance! As with the last two wars in the mid-east I wonder if this one is the beginning of the end.  Maybe we'll draw back at the last minute like Kennedy did with the cuban missile crisis. 
We can hope. We can pray."
Valerie J. (from today's email)
As I responded to my friend Val's recent email, I questioned who "we" were.  Because I share a common bi-pedal humanity with the forces that inflict war after war on humanity, I don't believe that I, and many others, are included in the "we" when speaking of what our government is  preparing to do as once again the bombs will fly, and another war will open.  Polls show that only 9% of the population wants another war, and just like in the past, what control do we have over what our militaristic government is doing?  As Val points out, ironic indeed. I've marched against Vietnam, and against the invasion of Iraq with hundreds of thousands, and seen little happen.  As I listen to news about the alarming melting of Antartica, and write about waves of radioactivity washing into the Pacific ocean, truly global concerns, and read speeches about the non-violent actions of Martin Luthor King, whose bravery and dedication made possible the very president we have now............Why do we still have no control over the militarism of our country?

When I was in Bali years ago used to go to the Temple of Hanuman to feed the grey monkeys that lived in the forest there.  It was a common sight to see the little females struggling to forage with an infant on their breasts, and an older child hanging on for dear life to their backs.  One day I turned up with a bunch of bananas, and a very big alpha male monkey sauntered over, walking very much as a human bully would, bared his considerable teeth at me, and grabbed the whole bunch out of my hands.  I wasn't going to argue.  He sauntered away, sat down with the entire bunch, and all the rest of the monkeys gathered around, hoping he might drop something.  I remember thinking, damn, I sure hope, as a very large tribe of naked monkeys, we can evolve beyond this.

Hollywood churns out distopian movies now that are all about a ruined world, with roaming bands of warriors fighting for alpha male status - endless mythos of a "hero" fighting it out, and ending up, like that grey monkey, for a while, with all the bananas and the best females.  Until, of course, the next alpha male turns up with bigger firepower.  This is the adolescent male fantasy that absorbs virtually all "action" films, and tragically, all it can imagine for the future is endless war and competition. This is the mythos that millions of boys (and girls) now additively act out with video games, video games that will prepare them someday to push buttons that launch drone bombs to far away places, never seeing in their minds or hearts the face of the children, women, old people upon whom they will fall.   How, in any way, does this prepare us for the future we face now?

Pray indeed for our country, and for the millions of innocents who will experience our bombs along with the violent tyranny of their own country, and the thousands of American youth who will not become doctors, or parents, or artists, or gardeners, or environmental activists, but who continue to  die as soldiers.  And as they go, we will continue to watch, entranced, numb, bellowing about "revenge" or "jihad" or "freedom" as the future dies.

When I feel stressed, thanks to Netflix, I now escape into Star Trek.  Yes, there's a lot of fighting there, but there is also, especially in the earlier versions, a lot of hope that I no longer see in our media. Inherent in the series was the image of a noble crew and captain, and a society that sought to explore "where no one has gone before" with the Prime Directive because they left behind a world without poverty or injustice. The recent "Star Trek" movie, featuring new actors portraying younger versions of Kirk and Spock, features brilliant special effects - but nowhere is there the effort to teach some kind of morality, ethics, or human interest that was a concern in Gene Roddenberry's earlier series. It's like a video game - endless bang bang and blow 'em up.  I imagine most young people find the "moralizing" of old Star Trek shows boring indeed.

We all know now we're not going to the stars.  2001 has come and gone, and unlike the vision Kubrick had, we didn't go to the moon.  Instead we went to war, again, and then again, and again.  And we have learned very little about how to live together on, and preserve, our beloved Mother Earth.  Mostly I cry for the loss of so much that is beautiful, and I cry for the future, for our children and their children, who are not going to the stars or the moon, but rather will struggle to simply survive the debris of our  civilization, a civilization with so many wonders, so much possibility.  Here's another  email I recently received, from Ariadne:
"I'm not hopeful about the future. It's clear that this civilization will not survive the effects of climate change and the many other consequences of our pollution, overpopulation, greed and lack of empathy. Nor should patriarchal civilization survive, but it's unlikely to die without a catastrophic collapse. The survivors will be trying to scratch out an existence in a biologically depauperate world.
To me, Goddess is Nature -- the Universe and the Earth. She does not need us; we need Her. But I think the evolutionary experiment on Earth of combining large brains with testosterone has been a fairly quick flop -- managing to exist for only a quarter million years before evolving to extinction.

It's a big universe, and no doubt there are other experiments in "intelligence" under way elsewhere. Life will go on here on Earth for hundreds of millions of years after we are gone."
Should I mince my words, for fear of offending, not share the anger and despair of people like Ariadne?  We all know what individuals are capable of - we celebrate Martin Luthor King for what he accomplished, and the many who followed him to make a better and more just world. People who represented that evolution beyond patriarchy, an evolution toward cooperation.   No matter what, we must hold on to these principles, these possibilities.  I do not believe in mindless "positivity", but  I do believe in finding ways to go forward with love,  if not always hope.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-K6GG3zQ1tE0/Ubhwh7PT_fI/AAAAAAAABPY/Pcgzb4orDhM/s1600/0-0sophia-41.jpg
"Dove of Sophia" by Hrana Janto.


***

I have always found it a great irony that few people realize that non-violence was fundamental to the origins of Christianity.  In fact, the theology began to change politically when Christianity became an important religion in Rome, and the army was confronted with converted soldiers who left the army because it was against their creed.  The sign of a cross, a sign representing violence and humiliation to early Christians as well as Pagan Romans, was not the symbol of early Christianity - it was a fish, representing the fisherman Peter,  a Disciple of Jesus of Nazareth and one of the founders of the early Church.  The Cross did not appear as a symbol until the later, ironic (and yet practical for Rome's army), militarization of Christianity in Rome, when Roman soldiers would paint the cross upon their shields.  So in many ways, the adaption of the Cross meant the beginning of justification of war in Christian theology.

Jimmy Carter is pictured. | AP Photo
Someone I've always admired, who has  endeavored to follow the non-violent original teachings of his Faith is former President  Jimmy Carter. 

ww.politico.com/story/2013/08/jimmy-carter-syria-peace-summit-96087.html#ixzz2dYvaK72S

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Update on Fukushima


Source:  
http://enenews.com/study-shows-fukushima-nuclear-pollution-becoming-more-concentrated-in-pacific-as-it-nears-u-s-west-coast-plume-travels-a-nearly-straight-line-to-america-appears-to-stay-together-with-little-dis

A Chinese study shows Fukushima nuclear pollution becoming more concentrated as it approaches U.S. West Coast — Plume crosses ocean in a nearly straight line toward N. America — Appears to stay together with little dispersion.

 Source: Science China Earth Sciences; Volume 56, Issue 8, pp 1447-1451
Authors: GuiJun Han, Wei Li, HongLi Fu, XueFeng Zhang, XiDong Wang, XinRong Wu, LianXin Zhang,  Date: August 2013

 View the study online here (UPDATE: Free via http://femalefaust.blogspot.com)

More info:

http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/09/11-facts-about-the-ongoing-fukushima-nuclear-holocaust-too-horrifying-to-believe.html

Friday, August 23, 2013

Wendell Barry


"There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say "It is yet more difficult than you thought." This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

 ― Wendell Berry



“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world.

Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth?
 Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”

― Wendell Berry

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fukushima, and the Pacific Ocean


What happened in Japan in 2011 is a continuing worldwide tragedy, and has been denied by the media.  I return from my trip to these articles forwarded by  Dr. Carol Wolman, a long time nuclear activist  in Northern California. 

Dear Friends,
The bad news continues- see headlines below.   I took part in a conference call with the director of Nuclear Affairs- Tom Cochran at National Resources Defense Fund (NRDC) yesterday.  I was asking him to support a call for making Fukushima declared an international catastrophe.  He declined, saying essentially that the discharge into the ocean will be diluted and won't affect us or the rest of the world- it's a Japanese problem.  I pointed out that the corium has hit the groundwater, so pollution of the ocean will increase- he ignored this.
Please continue circulating this petition  http://www.change.org/petitions/west-coast-senators-investigate-the-ongoing-danger-from-the-fukushima-nuclear-reactors .   We need to break through the denial of how serious this is.
Peace,
Carol Wolman


Friday, August 16, 2013

Farewell to the East Coast.............


Well, hit the road today, leaving as I always seem to do from Lilydale first and last.  Now there's a sign you won't see everywhere..........but maybe it would be a much better world if you did.

I leave with great gratitude at the friendships I've revisited and new ones I've made, and the places I love that I also revisited, old friends that have given me new and sustainable courage.  I leave with much affirmation and encouragement to just keep on doing what i love to do - as Joseph Campbell famously said:  "Follow your Bliss, and doors will open where you don't expect them to."   And to quote from  a younger woman who was myself somewhere along the road:  "We live in a house of Doors".  

I was pleased with my show, which gave me a chance to share the original paintings from the  Rainbow Bridge Oracle as well as doing readings from the deck, something I haven't done in a while and find I still do well.  I was also pleased with the turnout my friend Berkanna got for showing "The World According to Monsanto".  There is some information to update on this issue, but don't have time to post right now. 
“What might we see, how might we act, if  we saw with a webbed vision?
The world seen through a web of relationships…as delicate as spider’s silk,
yet strong enough to hang a bridge on
.”  Catherine Keller 

Perhaps I also always leave from Lilydale because I want to leave remembering that we're  provided with "invisible means of support".   It doesn't work in simple ways, and we don't always get what we "think we want", but I have always found that I get what I need, and synchronicities, dreams, and friends continually offer guidance along the way.

I don't know if there is a cure for evil such as the greed and destruction that drives a corporate monster like Monsanto.  But I do know that if we really understand, in our daily lives, how  intimately  connected we are to the vast multiplicity of life around us...........we would live with empathy, and act with empathy, because what we do to the earth and to all Her Beings,  is what we do to ourselves.  Ironically,  I believe that's the essence of what Jesus of Nazareth taught long before the church became the strange phenomenon it is now, long before doctrines about heaven and hell, being "saved", Christian soldiers, "God Fearing",  crusades, inquisitions, holy wars, and so on.  As I prepare to pass through the often scary "Bible belt" I find myself reflecting  on the loss of  Christianity's Gnostic beginnings.......well.   The origins of the U.S.A. included religious freedom, and the right to free speech, so in that spirit, my bumper stickers stay on the back of my car.  Including the one that says "God is Coming, and Boy Is She Pissed!".

For myself, I began this trip feeling very unsure of where to go now, what to do, and I leave the adventure with all the answers I need - serve the Goddess, serve kindness, beauty, and "a webbed vision", and all I really need will be provided.  

As I was saying goodbye to the "stump cathedral" in Leolyn woods, I saw that people had left all kinds of offerings/mementos on the "stump", and I remembered something I've been carrying around in my purse since the trip began - a plastic replica of a sheaf of wheat.  Admittedly, not something all that impressive, but back in April I was looking all over the Internet and Michaels for plastic wheat, which I wanted to use for a Demeter mask.  I was not successful, and finally gave up on the idea of finishing the mask.  So, it was a funny thing to discover a plastic "wheat sheaf" on the ground at a rest stop in Flagstaff as I was headed east. No big deal - but I had to laugh, and say "thank you".   

Oh..........and watch out for those Dragons!






Danger on the Beach (thanks to Joyce Weiss)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ravenwood Forest

"Root People" - water color by Valerianna Claff
Yellow spider on a very yellow flower
It was my pleasure to spend a few days with  Valerianna at her studio and home in Ravenwood Forest, in Chesterfield,  Western Massachusetts. Valerianna is an artist, a teacher, a sound healer, and a ceremonialist, and she is also, truly, the stewardess and friend of her forest home, which abounds with the numinous  presence of elemental beings.....as well as the physical presence of birds, deer, bear, and butterfly.  

meIt was good to meet an artist who speaks so  elequently about  the Numina,  the intelligence one feels emanating from the trees, the stones, the land.  An intelligence conversant and responsive to the artist  as she offers reciprocity and love with her art and her music.  I especially responded to her  recent series of  watercolors that envision the  luminous energy  felt within the forest, sensed but rarely seen, the living essence one feel is dancing somewhere in the distance, rising from the  forest floor or flickering among the dark branches of tree and root, enchanting and mysterious as the call of a songbird in the silent wood.
"Earthlight", watercolor on paper, 15in X 22in, VClaff 2013
To me, the artist captures beautifully that invisible, but potent, Numina, brilliant and intense, humming within the soil, perhaps rising at certain auspicious times,  distant luminosity.   Thank you for a magical weekend!  To learn more about the artist and her work, as well as her classes, visit her website:  www.ravenwoodforestarts.com

RavenWood Forest  - water color by Valerianna Claff

RavenWood Forest  - water color by Valerianna Claff
I especially responded to Valerianna's paintings of what she calls "Root People". She  says  she sees the trees often morphing into faces......something I often experience myself.  Faces in the stone, faces in the roots.    (As if the elemental beings  occasionally manifest a face, a human form, a voice,  just so we can know them, briefly, in our own terms.........)And perhaps, from those brief moments, the mythic world emerges, the Fey folk dance at twilight, the Green Man makes his play.  And at the roots live those beings, that wonder. 
"Root People" - water color by Valerianna Claff


I walked among the trees
I wore the mask of the deer
I am that laughing man
with eyes like leaves

You will feel my breath, warm at your neck.
I will rise in the grass, a vine caressing your foot.
I am the blue eye of a crocus
  opening in the snow
  a trickle of water, a calling bird,
  a shaft of light among the trees.

You will hear me singing
among the green groves of memory,
the shining leaves of tomorrow.

I'll come
with daisies in my hands,
we'll dance among the sycamores
once more
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OwZmaPjC3ws/UfmwVAstkRI/AAAAAAAAETs/a1VTlOUIr84/s1600/Greenwood.jpg
"GreenWood", watercolor on paper, 15in X 22in, VClaff 2013
 


Pasha investigates my car
Magical garden

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"The World According to Monsanto" in Newburgh Tonight


A farmer is seen holding Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybean seeds at his family farm. (photo: Dan Gill/AP) 
I was invited to introduce THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO by my friend Lisa Gervais of the Healing Arts Studio at 75 Broadway, in Newburgh, N.Y. because I shared the film with her last year.  I’d also very much like to thank  Chris and Paul of Newburgh Brewing for the  privilege.  The film will be shown at 88 Colden Street, in Newburgh, N.Y. at 6:30. 

Our Mother Earth, with all of Her infinitely complex eco-systems, has spent millions of years evolving the systems that sustain us.  With unthinkable naiveté and  arrogance, multi-national corporate entities are altering the genetic basis of food that we eat with no understanding of the long range consequences, to our bodies, and to the body of the Earth.  Furthermore, as this film and the “Monsanto Protection Act” demonstrates, not only is the health of future generations in grave danger, but so is the future of  Democracy; we are very close to being a “corporateacracy”, with no real choice about what we eat, think, or know.  This is a very important film.

The World According to Monsanto

 (Re-posted from previous article)

The passing of the "Monsanto Protection Act" is something all Americans should be aware of, it's long term consequences and its implications.   Having watched the documentary "The World According to Monsanto", I believe everyone needs to see this film.  
We hear a French scientist reporting that the universally used weedkiller Roundup "provokes  cell division leading to the formation of cancer".  We also learn about the almost complete  loss of independent farms and  biodiversity in Paraguay, and that in India farmers are being driven to suicide because they can no longer, due the fact that Monsanto completely controls the cotton seed market,  afford to plant their traditional crops.  As a result, they are falling deeper and deeper into debt, and losing their traditional homelands.  
 http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gYBaMJ1AYDs/TmCG6T_qWCI/AAAAAAAABDU/z_k-qIsCfB0/s1600/use.JPG

In North America as well,  Indiana farmer Troy Rouse talks about being sued by Monsanto and the "gene police" phenomenon.  (Consider:  if you grow organic or conventional,  and your neighbor grows Monsanto, the two will  inevitably cross and you will be legally liable to be sued by Monsanto when they field test your seeds.)  Further, seed crops are being designed to be sterile, so that future planting must be purchased anew from the corporation.    What this could mean is that essential crops could be potentially controlled by a corporate entity demanding a tax which it can determine at will.   They're doing this in India now.

We need to educate ourselves as to what lobbyists are accomplishing - it is frightening indeed to allow Monsanto to control  food production, as well as unleashing biologically modified crops with very little testing, and certainly no long term understanding of what the consequences of such tampering could mean.

As a mythologist,  I cannot help but reflect that the two most popular Epics of the past decade years was "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter", both about a "Dark Lord" intent on sacrificing everything in the pursuit of power.  The profit driven  soul-lessness of corporate entities such as Monsanto reflect that mythic struggle, the shadow of our crucial time.
 "Monsanto's talk of ‘technology' tries to hide its real objectives of control  where genetic engineering is a means to control seed.  These are the promises Monsanto India's website makes, alongside pictures of smiling, prosperous farmers from the state of Maharashtra. This is a desperate attempt by Monsanto and its PR machinery to delink the epidemic of farmers' suicides in India from the company's growing control over cotton seed supply - 95 per cent of India's cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto."......GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.   The highest acreage of Bt cotton is in Maharashtra and this is also where the highest farmer suicides are. Suicides increased after Bt cotton was introduced - Monsanto's royalty extraction, and the high costs of seed and chemicals have created a debt trap.  As Monsanto's profits grow, farmers' debt grows........Monsanto's seeds are seeds of suicide."


http://foodfreedom.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/indian-farmers-burn-monsantos-genetically-engineered-cotton-x-raqsmediacollective-net-500-x-360.jpg?w=500&h=360The ultimate seeds of suicide is Monsanto's patented technology to create sterile seeds. (Called "Terminator technology" by the media, sterile seed technology is a type of Gene Use Restriction Technology, GRUT, in which seed produced by a crop will not grow - crops will not produce viable offspring seeds or will produce viable seeds with specific genes switched off.) The Convention on Biological Diversity has banned its use, otherwise Monsanto would be collecting even higher profits from seed............ A Monsanto representative admitted that they were "the patient's diagnostician and physician all in one" in writing the patents on life-forms, from micro-organisms to plants, in the TRIPS' agreement of WTO. Stopping farmers from saving seeds and exercising their seed sovereignty was the main objective." 

Read More:


Thanks to Janie Rezner for article.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Show at Newburgh Healing Arts Center, & Film "The World According to Monsanto" this Weekend



 

I'm delighted to be able to share the paintings from my Rainbow Bridge Oracle, as well as some of the "NUMINA - Masks for the Elemental Powers" collection at the Studio at 75 Broadway in Newburgh, New York this weekend.
Tomorrow, August 9th,  I will be reading from my Deck at the Gallery.  The Opening and Reception is from 6:00 to 8:00 on Saturday, August 10th, and will be followed by a performance of masks in the upstairs Gallery.  If you are in the area, please come join Lisa Gervais, Holly Boughton-McPhee,  and myself for a lovely evening!
 


 
Born innocent, one
- that’s I- strives hard to become
an adult, no longer childish,
worldly-wise in one’s art, one’s love,
one’s life…

Then discovers:
that no one ever becomes an adult,
becomes either delightfully childlike
or pitifully juvenile…

Discovers:
one’s art to be outside the art game
one’s faith outside the religious game
one’s love outside the sex game

Discovers:
one’s own little song and dares to sing it
in all variations, unsuited as it may be
for mass communication…

For perhaps here and there
someone will hear it
and listen and know
and say

Ah! Yes!

Frederick Franck
Art as a Way: A Return to the Spiritual Roots

On Sunday, August 11 at  6:30 at Newburgh Brewing, 88 Colden Street, Newburgh, N.Y. 12550,  we will be introducing the documentary THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO,  a 2008 film directed by Marie-Monique Robin. Originally released in French as Le monde selon Monsanto, the film is based on Robin's three-year long investigation into the corporate practices around the world of the United States multinational corporation, Monsanto. The World According to Monsanto is also a book written by Marie-Monique Robin, winner of the Rachel Carson Prize (a Norwegian prize for female environmentalists), which has been translated into many languages.

 *** And if you can't be there, you can see the film for free at:
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-world-according-to-monsanto/

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Going Back to Familiar Places...............

The Hidden Sky
Tom Wolfe said "you can't go home again".   Having spent yesterday chilling out in the Tuxedo Motel, and spending the day with ghosts from the years I lived in New York state, and the summers I did the Renaissance Faire,  I agree and don't agree.  It can hurt to visit places so full of memories, but the only refuge is to cherish them, to keep saying "thank you - it was great!" while I look for the shapes, tastes, and colors of those days in my memory box.
 
So many memories.......maybe that's what love is.  The perfume that lingers, the threads that weave between the empty spaces where a face, a voice, a name used to be.

Raukkadesa. 
Sterling Forest, near N.Y. Renaissance Festival,  Tuxedo, New York

Pavement,  Woodstock, New York
my "moss garden", Brushwood

Lightening struck tree

my Moss Garden, deep woods, Brushwood Folklore Center

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tara's Magic

"White Tara" (Photo courtesy Gather the Women ***)
To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings.

The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you

Put down the weight 
of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation.

Everything is waiting for you.

  Everything is Waiting for You
  by David Whyte
Sometimes I get a glimpse of the seamlessness of our lives, the grace that is present when we ask for what really matters.  And even when we don't realize that we are asking, the answers we need are still given - but, of course, we also have to be listening.  One of the pleasures of being over 60 for me is that my capacity for humility and awe has deepened, which seems to allow me to notice a whole lot more of the circles we move in. I suppose, in my case since I'm restless and travel as much as I can,  that's literal as well! 

So here is a beautiful Circle.  At the beginning of this trip,   I commented that I had decided to leave for the summer because I felt stale, depressed, and unsure of what to do next.  I lack community in Tucson, and needed to return to my "source" in the East, to revisit friends and places I love.   I decided before leaving I would make a point of also visiting Jewell, the energy healer I worked with when I lived in Brattleboro, Vermont 17 years ago.  Jewell lives in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, a small New England town that can be devilishly difficult to find among winding forested roads with very few road signs.

Jewell begins her healing sessions with prayers to Tara, and it was through her that I first heard of the "21 Praises to Tara."   I wrote in previous posts about my  "meeting with Tara"  while working with Jewell just before I left New England to move to California.  This is the most profound visionary experience I've ever had, releasing me ultimately from the past, and giving me the courage to move forward. I wrote a poem about that experience which still speaks to me on many levels.  I think only now do really understand it. **

 Om Tare, Tu Tare,
Your touch cools hatred and grief.
From you, the demons of delusion fly
Praise Tara, whose fingers adorn her heart
Light radiates from a wheel in Your hand.

Jewell is also a playwright.  She taught me much about ritual theatre with her "Theatre Alive!" Workshop, which I took that year - in fact, that was where my first "Spider Woman" performance manifested.  So, in many ways, working with Jewell was right at   "the Source" for me, a gathering of energies waiting to manifest.

So, getting ready to leave this year, I was pleasantly surprised by a synchronicity just before I left in June, when I received an order for a Greenman mask from a man in Shutesbury - what are the odds? Yet I saw this as an affirmation, because synchronicities, for me,  are increasingly about guidance.  They are living metaphors that, like dreams, can be touchstones as we wander through the forests and deserts of our lives.

I also recently posted that, en route to Starwood, I  received an email from Prema Dasara opening the possibility of going to Bali this winter to create 21 sacred masks for her "21 Praises to Tara" Mandala Dances.  It's now August 2, and it's going to happen now!  As soon as I return to Tucson I'll begin the research I will need to prepare for this wonderful project. 

Jewell didn't have much time for me yesterday - she met me  wearing black.  Her best friend, as she described her, her "spiritual partner" had died just 9 days previously.  Jewell was preparing to  leave for a few days to grieve.  Still, she was delighted to see my books about the Goddesses and Spider Woman, and I was happy to be able to show her what had followed those experiences with her so many years past.  She is a true mentor to me - I was pleased to be able to honor her.

Courtesy:  www.concord.org/~btinker/family_tree/joan_perkins/tara_show/tara.html
Jewell's friend who had passed was artist Joan Bredin Price.  It was she who initiated Jewell into Tara practice - and although I had never heard of Joan, she was well known for her beautiful devotional Buddhist paintings - among them, the 21 Aspects of Tara!.  In fact, the portfolios and  paintings were soon to be sent to a museum in Colorado for a memorial show, and what portfolios were left  of the collection would be sold there. 

Hearing this left me speechless.   Jewell was able to get one of these portfolios for me, which I now have as a treasured resource for my future work, not to mention a blessing from an artist  I wish I had been able to meet.  Here's the Circle  of the Goddess.  Thank you Jewell, thank you Joan, thank You Tara.  I will do my best.

Here's the link to Joan Bredin Price's paintings and writings about the 21 Praises to Tara.  I won't be able to reproduce any of these paintings on this Blog as Jewell informs me there are copyright issues with her estate.


Reflections on Synchronicity:

For me,  because I'm not good at remembering dreams, and because I am, frankly, too lazy to meditate effectively (although my art practice is a form of meditation for me).......synchronicities are a real form of guidance.  I can theorize on what they  are, but really, physicists like David Peat, writers like the MacGregors, and psychologists beginning with  Carl Young...have done a much better job of it than I can ever begin to touch, so I'm content to experience and record synchronicities for myself, and because I believe it's important to share the grace we receive in our lives.  Because as we see the Circles we move in, we see how truly interconnected we all are as people, as living planet, as souls.   Only joy can flow from that realization.  
And, I might add, in my experience, spirit expressing through dream and through synchronicity has a poetic twist and a great sense of humor.  Leaving Jewel and driving north to meet my old friend Ro for coffee, I remembered that when I met Ro some 18 years ago  she was the Director of the now defunct "GAIA'S WEB" center in Brattleboro, Vermont. Alright!   Weavers unite! 

And it's good to touch Vermont soil again, to breathe the sweet air, to see the beloved Green Mountains.  I left my heart here long ago.  Circles.


    WHITE TARA

            I went to meet that savage creature
            I have run from, lifetime after lifetime
            the shape within the shadows
            a creature of smoke and bared fangs.

            I went to meet it at last

            It took me into its vast arms,
            and I kissed its terrible face.

            And I thought I would die.
            I thought I would be swallowed,
            but I was not swallowed.

            For that creature I thought
            would devour me
            returned my embrace.

            I looked into eyes
            soft and liquid, filled with tears
            the eyes of a lonely child,
            my own lost child,
            my brother, my sister,
            my lover, my mother.

            And with great tenderness
            Fear lay upon my breast, and slept.

            What bound me for so long
            flowed out of me,
            my heart expanded,
            and I found I could hold

            the world entire
            in my open arms.

            I will make my arms a circle
            I will make my heart a circle

            I will walk all my sorrows,
            all my fears Home.

            I will walk
            circles around them
            until at last I find
            that bright and spacious center

            Come with me. Take my hand.
            We will do it together

            We will walk Home.

                         (1997)

***
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