Tuesday, March 24, 2009

praises for the world

my religion is rain
my religion is stone
my religion reveals itself to me
sweaty epiphanies

every leaf, every river,
every animal,
your body

(drew dellinger)

Eureka! I Found it.............that poem by Drew Dellinger that I first saw on Jennifer Berezon's DVD PRAISES FOR THE WORLD. This wonderful DVD, which I bought after seeing her perform last year at Kripalu, is of a ritual performance in Oakland that featured the poet Drew Delinger, Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem, Joanna Macy, and many others, all within the container of Jennifer's devotional song.

Mr. Dellinger's poem has haunted me, especially after I wore the DVD out by playing it over and over again. So here, with the miracle of blogging, is a link to a UTube video in which he recites it live, and I invite anyone reading this to listen, and to listen to the music of Jennifer Berezon as well. For my own pleasure, I copy the poem below.

Having a show up currently called "Earth Shrines and Reliquaries", as Earth Day approaches, I want to share the work of these artists.


hymn to the sacred body of the universe

let’s meet
at the confluence
where you flow into me
and one breath
swirls between our lungs

let’s meet
at the confluence
where you flow into me
and one breath
swirls between our lungs

for one instant
to dwell in the presence of the galaxies
for one instant
to live in the truth of the heart
the poet says this entire traveling cosmos is
“the secret One slowly growing a body”

two eagles are mating—
clasping each other’s claws
and turning cartwheels in the sky
grasses are blooming
grandfathers dying
consciousness blinking on and off
all of this is happening at once
all of this, vibrating into existence
out of nothingness

every particle
foaming into existence
transcribing the ineffable

arising and passing away
arising and passing away
23 trillion times per second—
when Buddha saw that,
he smiled

16 million tons of rain are falling every second
on the planet
an ocean
perpetually falling
and every drop
is your body
every motion, every feather, every thought
is your body
is your body,
and the infinite
curled inside like
invisible rainbows folded into light

every word of every tongue is love
telling a story to her own ears

let our lives be incense
like a hymn to the sacred
body of the universe
my religion is rain
my religion is stone
my religion reveals itself to me in
sweaty epiphanies

every leaf, every river,
every animal,
your body
every creature trapped in the gears
of corporate nightmares
every species made extinct
was once
your body

10 million people are dreaming
that they’re flying
junipers and violets are blossoming
stars exploding and being born
is having
déjà vu
I am one
we cry petals
as the void
is singing

you are the dark
that holds the stars
in intimate

that spun the whirling,
into existence

let’s meet
at the confluence
where you flow into me
and one breath
swirls between our lungs

Friday, March 20, 2009

Equinox Reflections

                      The Big Thaw
            starts with a trickle
water running through silenceas innocous as breath, a slight relaxationat corners of the mouth.Just when winter has become a habit,an old coat the sun peels off with a touch.Your foot leaves a signature in new mud, shiny as a new skinor fresh, primed canvas.You notice a blade of grass:green, defiantly green.Inhale, you take your coat offa crocus opensin the blue irisof someone's glance.
Vermont, 1982

Somehow the Spring Equinox has arrived, this winter, as other winters, has been survived, the drumbeat of Mother Earth beneath feet is quickening, the hum of life vibrates, the budding of trees is again a cyclical magic. If I still lived in Vermont, I would be hearing the sounds of snow melting in little trickles, a kind of underground, unconscious energy reflected in the eyes I look into. I've pulled up a poem I wrote when I did live in Vermont. Vermont is a place, with it's turning wheel of seasons, that I have always held close to my heart.

So I took the day off. I remember many times when the Equinox was celebrated with large groups of people, in rituals many of which I organized or hosted or collaborated on. Now, I live very quietly indeed in a little town that (at night) really does seem to fall off the edge of the world into some starry pool of the galaxy......and I must celebrate the Equinox alone. It's been a hard winter, a winter of composting so many layers of the lives I've had. So what calls now, what weaving to begin or join if I can, as the world wakes up? What is needed, what is possible?

Here, on this auspicious day, I offer a prayer for my brother, Glenn Greene Pillsbury. Thank you for what you've taught me Glenn, for travelling down the roadways of this life with me in the ways that we have. May you forgive me for all the ways that I failed you, did not understand, was unkind, understood so little. May you be truly at peace now, healed, reborn. It is strange to be thinking of death on the first day of Spring, but that is what is. Death and Life are always joined, yin and yang, Persephone's journey.

Last year it was my privilege to teach a 5 day class at Kripalu, and in the class was Ilana Stein, a professional midwife from NY. Ilana had a serious illness, and was thin from chemo, but luminous in the work we shared. When we tranced to begin our mask work, she had a vision of a white Goddess who came to her, dancing before her in gestures of "gathering" and "offering", an infinity sign. Ilana made a wonderful mask to wear in honor of that vision, and, syncronistically, another member of the group, who was a professional ballarina, had brought a white dancing dress with her. She spontaneously offered it to Ilana..........and it fit her perfectly! Ilana passed away in September - but I have always felt that her poem, and vision, was an extraordinary gift to all of us present. I copy it again below.

Gather and Offer
by Ilana Stein

Gather towards the North
Gather towards the South
Gather towards the East
Gather Above, gather below and gather the great Mystery

Gather what you’ve studied
Gather what you’ve learned
Gather how you’ve lived, and gather what you’ve earned.
Gather what you’ve loved and gather what you’ve lost.
Gather what you’ve soiled and gather what it’s cost
Gather what you’ve wasted and gather what you’ve saved
Gather what you’ve shopped for and gather what you’ve tasted

Gather who your friends are and gather how they’ve cared
Gather your relations and gather how you’ve fared
Then Gather birth and celebrate, gather death and cry
Gather hope, regret and longing and gather up the why

Gather up the waiting, gather struggles, gather challenges.
Gather all the goals you’ve met and gather up the bravery
Gather faceless fear and all the broken promises.
Gather yesterday today, and gather time tomorrow

Gather what you’ve ruined and gather when you’ve failed.
Gather up the personal and gather up the frail
Gather up the culture and gather up the myths
Gather all the songs you’ve sung, and all expressive art
Gather dances gather dreams and gather up your heart

Gather in the garden and gather at the beach.
Gather on the mountain and gather what’s in reach
Gather in the workplace, and gather on the roads
Gather in the home you’ve made and gather all you kin
Gather your impatience, your frustration and your greed.
Gather up the words you’ve said and gather what you need.

Gather up your journey and all the time you’ve spent
Gather up your courage and walk inside your tent.
Gather up your secrets and and gather up your wisdom
Gather what you’ve forgotten
Gather what you’ve meant.
Gather faith and Reverence

Gather truth and and gather lies,
Gather secrets great and small
Gather wisdom of the ages and wrap them in your shawl
Gather sickness, Gather health gather tenderness and rage
Gather all your stories and gather on the stage

Gather up your gatherings, and stir the basket’s bounty
Gather all remaining threads and search across the county
Look out among the human beings, look out among relations

Then offer up your gatherings to all nations and creations

Offer to your children and offer to your kin
Offer to the hungry, to the needy and the grim
Offer to the blessed and offer to the prim
Offer to the kings and queens the princess and princesses
Offer to the beggars, paupers, jesters and priestesses

Offer to the little birds the chipmunks and the deer
Offer to the badger, mole, the frogs, and yes the bear
Offer to the green spring shoots, the white and yellow crocus
Offer to the budding trees the bushes and the rushes

Offer to the sand and mud the concrete and the buildings
Offer to the cook and maid the seamstress and the butler
Offer to the farmers - offer to the farm
Offer to the doctors and offer for no harm

Offer to the visionaries offer to the artists
Offer to the frightened, offer to the scared
Offer to the endangered and to the unprepared
Offer to the hurting, offer to be healed,
Offer to your neighbor and offer to the field

Offer grace and offer peace offer possibility
Offer privilege trust and faith
Offer gratitude amazement wonderment and awe
Offer loving kindness, compassion, joy and love

Offer up your story, offer honor and integrity
Offer for community Offer your vulnerability

Offer what you’ve learned and offer what you have
offer what you know
Offer what you’ve shared
Offer both your ears, your shoulders and your tears
Offer all you’ve gathered, offer all your cares

You’ve gathered through the springtime,
the summer and the fall.
And you’ve offered season’s greetings without going to the mall.

Now rest and build your strength up.
Cycle with the moon.
Cycle through the mystery time.
Close your eyes and sleep.
Dream the dreams of where you’ve been.
Dream of where you’re going –
dream the dream that dreamers dream.

Then gather


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

the "Book of Eli"

The Goddess and the Book of Eli (1) (photo by Georgia Stacy)

Corrisozo, N.M., set of "The Book of Eli", filming 3-2009. (Photo by Georgia Stacy)

I had a wonderful 4 day adventure into the "outback" of New Mexico, visiting a group of women artists who will be putting on a group show in Carrizozo, New Mexico called "The Return of the Mother". It will be opening on April 11th at Gallery 408 in Carrizozo. It was such a pleasure to meet these amazing women, among them sculptor Georgia Stacy, and fabric artist Karen Smith, who is creating a Sanctuary for the Divine Feminine called Kindred Spirits Sanctuary in the mountains of her beautiful home (she also has a labyrinth!).

"The Black Madonna and the Book of Eli"
(composite photo with G. Stacy)

Inanna Champagne had been invited to speak to groups in the area about her work, and I was also invited to bring along my dvd about the Masks of the Goddess project. As we sat having coffee in prior to departure, Inanna and I both noticed that (this is the honest to goodness truth!) a tiny spider had slowly come down on its thread to hang eye level between us. We observed it move up a bit, and then down a bit, and then up a bit......back and forth for over an hour. At last, when we were ready to leave, I took it by the thread and placed the latest envoy of Spider Woman on my altar. We felt well aspected and blessed on our journey, and indeed, so we were! I may talk about a "webbed vision" in the abstract, but when these kinds of little syncronicities happen, well........the mystery of the divine has a great sense of humor. And our lives are always full of everyday Milagros.
Arriving at Carrizozo, which is a small town in central New Mexico, one drives through vast reaches of blond Georgia O'Keefe landscapes with brooding blue mountains in the distance. We saw that we were in time for the town's major attraction - the filming of a motion picture starring Gary Oldman and Denzel Washington. An entire downtown street (where the Gallery my friends' show will be) had been converted into a post-apocalyptic, "Road Warrior" type set, complete with rusting automobiles, foam core burned out buildings, and sad little "cubby holes" where, presumably, desperate children of the apocalypse lived. Dirty, dread-locked young people (extras) milled about, while armored cars raced up and down the street, and the sounds of "snipers" guns echoed in the crisp, windy New Mexico air.

Joyce, a local visionary, was our tour guide. She had been there since the beginning of the town's transformation, watching the sets being built over facades of the existing buildings. They took 2 months to create, and next week it will all come down, revealing again the gallery where "The Return of the Mother" will be in April, after the foam core and plaster is peeled away.

There is a splendid metaphor in here! It was weird to see this contemporary nightmare made so vivid that I could actually walk around in it. Life and art are sometimes seamless.

To read about the movie see THE BOOK OF ELI . I don't think they have a trailer yet......... Try also this link: Book of Eli, which describes the movie as:

"A post-apocalyptic Western, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind."

It's interesting that there are two post apocalyptic movies scheduled for release ( the other is The Road, with Viggo Mortenson) within the next year. Like the "Road Warrior" of the '80's, our world has a fascination with images of a future in which all that remains of our civilization is a grim landscape of warlords shooting it out with each other, grimly pre-occupied with power, guns, and unceasing violence. That's the mythos of a dominator, hierarchy culture.

Yet in reality, many people right here in New Mexico live in a world of enormous cooperation and generosity. That is also a part of the human spirit, the future's challenge and potential. I know many, many communities all over this country who participate in a "webbed" life-serving consciousness, envisioning sustainable futures. Cooperation, negotiation, and a collective means is actually the basis of any civilization.

We are capable of enormous violence, yes. Perhaps, the ultimate violence. But we are also capable of enormous, vast, cooperation. As we approach 2012, we approach the next evolutionary step for humanity, wherein we must understand and participate in the larger life of our planet, of Gaia the Mother, or we will face the possibility of extinction.

I am saddened to think so many are conditioned by the media to think that a violent world is our only possibility. How poorly what Gloria Steinam has called the "Cult of Masculinity" prepares us for the real challenges of the future. Because our survival can only be achieved through cooperation. But I doubt we'll see a movie about the "end of days" wherein heroic people get together to vision quest where the best place is to settle might be, or gather to share their food supplies, or figure out a way to dig a new community well, or for that matter, hold healing rituals and prayer circles. And yet, that is what people do together, all over the place.

So, I am pleased (and amused) by the synchronicity of a show called The Return of the Great Mother rising from the ashes of the movie set, a bright alternative to the current paradigm's dark vision. Georgia saw a Goddess shape in one of her photos of the Book of Eli set, and I couldn't help but play with the images myself a bit. Artists are myth makers.

We're weaving the future with the stories we tell. So what are they?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spider Woman's Hands

I wanted to put up, in haste, these few new works, all in terra cotta clay. I've had some wonderful conversations this past weekend with an amazing group of women in the "outback" of New Mexico, living and creating up in Nogal, and Sierra Blanca, wild and vast country to weave their webs of a new vision. More to write soon............

These are actually cast from my friend Inanna, who is a reiki master, massage therapist. I have been fascinated for a long time with the "eyes and hands" ...... to me, it represents conscious manifestation, to "see with our hands", to see the Divine manifesting within our creative acts.

Tse Che Nako, Thought Woman, the spider
named things, and as she named them
they appeared. She is sitting in her room
thinking of a story now:
I'm telling you the story
she is thinking.

Keresan Pueblo proverb