Saturday, June 26, 2010

Litany for the Lost

"In 1987, the last Dusky seaside sparrow disappeared from the earth. Imagine the people of Merrit Island, Florida, gathering to hold vigil on the marsh's edge each June 15, the anniversary of it's passing. Or imagine the citizens of San Francisco gathering in the spring, beneath rustling eucalyptus trees at the Presidio, to remember the Xerces blue butterfly. That was where the last one was seen, in 1941. Can you imagine the California condor, it's wings circling in the desert air? Can you hear a Mexican Grey wolf, howling in the night? Psychologists have not begun to ponder the emotional toll of the loss of our fellow life. Nor have theologians reckoned the spiritual impoverishment that extinction brings.

To forget what we had is to forget what we have lost. And to forget what we have lost means never knowing what we had to begin with."

Mark Jerome Walters

There are many times I sit at the computer, and spew out moments of quiet despair, but it never ends up on my blog. I've lived, sometimes, in a rather shallow, if well- intentioned, sphere of people who are dedicated to being POSITIVE like some people are dedicated to low carb diets. Don't get me wrong; positive thinking is essential. However, so is the reality of grief, grief at the mindless and continuing loss of fellow Relations. I remember reading earth activist Starhawk's quote, years ago, when I was feeling my way through the spiritual supermarket: "If we keep going with the flow, we're going straight to hell". This was in 1987.

"The state of Louisiana has identified 210 birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals likely to be hurt by the spill — including about a dozen threatened and endangered species. Another 445 fish and invertebrate species will also be affected. No estimate exists yet as to the number of corals and plants such as sea grass and wetland vegetation likely to be covered in oil, but this area of the Gulf is home to abundant communities of deepwater corals. One recently discovered species, the pancake batfish, could be snuffed out by the disaster. On land, the approaching hurricane season could bring storms that would push the oil into inland freshwater wetlands."
If we can imagine that we are not the only sentient beings evolving upon this great Mother Earth, upon Gaia, if for just one moment we can hold other lives that fly, or swim, or walk on four legs within our hearts as Family, if for just one moment we can hold in our hearts the lives of those humans who are yet to come, and will live in a world that may well be without the beings below............I offer this Litany. To remember what is being globally Lost.

The Green Turtle, The Hawksbill Turtle,
Kemp’s Ridley Turtle,
The Leatherback and Loggerhead Turtles.
Sperm whales, the Bottlenose Dolphin,
The Brown Pelican, The Barrier Tern
and all migrating Songbirds in the Gulf.
The Pancake Batfish, Bluefin Tuna.
Piping Plover, Gannets.
The Polar Bear.
The Trumpeter Swan,
West Indian Manatees,
the White Rhinoceros,the Whooping Crane ,
Caspian Tigers, and the Tasmanian Wolf.
The pygmy owl,
the Sonora tiger salamander,
the American jaguar,
the African gorilla,
the African rhino,
the Xerces blue butterfly,
the Caribbean Monk Seal,
the Mexican grey wolf,the Bengal tiger
the White tip Shark
the Yangtze river dolphin,
the western black rhino,
the Pyrenees ibex,
the red colobus monkey,
Egyptian Barbary sheep
the Spanish wolf, the English wolf, the Mexican grey wolf.
The black footed ferret, Moorean tree snail,
the little bush moa, the new Zealand coastal moa.
Central California steelhead salmon, the Passenger Pigeon,
Stellars sea cow , Bachman’s warbler, and the Carolina parakeet.
The Ocelot, the Indiana bat,
the San Clemente sage sparrow,
the Western Snowy Plover,
the Short Tailed Albatross, Yellow Billed Cuckoos,
San Diego Mesa Mint, Blunt Nosed Leopard Lizards,
San Francisco Garter Snakes,
Santa Cruz island mallow bushes,
the island rush rose,
Irish hill buckwheat plants. Old growth coastal redwoods.
The Palos Verdes blue butterfly,
the Xerxes blue butterfly,
the new Zealand black fronted parakeet,
the Jamaican green and yellow macaw,
the Jamaican red macaw,
the grey parrot, the Solomon island crowned pigeon,the Hawaiian thrush, the St. Helena cuckoo, the New Zealand little bittern, the Canarian black oystercatcher, the Tahiti rail,
the Norfolk Island ground dove, the elephant bird, and the great Moa.

The African Elephant,
the African Wild Ass,
the Asian Elephant,
the Asian Lion, Atlantic Salmon,
Black Lemurs, Black-footed Ferrets,
Blue Whales, Bowhead Whales,
Cheetahs, wild Chimpanzees;
the Dodo.
Eastern cougars, and the Mexican Grey Wolf.
The Eskimo Curlew, the Fin Whale,
Flightless Cormorants, the Giant Anteater,
the Giant Armadillo, Greater Prairie Chickens,
and the Spotted Owl.
The Indian Rhinoceros,
the Japanese Crested Ibis,
Eastern Lady Slipper,
the lesser koa finch,
the Javanese lapwing, the ivory billed woodpecker,
the slender billed grackle,the St. Helena petrel,
Bruno mountain Manzanita, the desert pupfish,
the hawksbill sea turtle, the Wyoming Toad,

And many more


“What might we see, how might we act, if we saw, like Penelope the Weaver, the world 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, Theologian
From a Broken Web (1989)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The "Blog sphere" has been a continuing source of information and inspiration - recently I received a fascinating correspondence from Robur D'Amour, who shared with me his insights about "Marga", having read some of my own posts on synchronicity. Marga is a term I've not run across before, a concept that resonates deeply for me with what I've fancifully called "conversations with the world". Robur   kindly gave me permission to quote some of his insights.

"'Marga' is a term that means following a path of signs or symbols that lead a person to their spiritual self. Marga is a bit like finding one's way through a labyrinth, by reading signs that are given to you by the unconscious."
Jung believed that what mattered in life, to him, was to find his spiritual identity. He believed that a person could do this by leading what he termed a 'symbolic life'. Jung wrote:
“when people feel they are living the symbolic life, that they are actors in the divine drama... That gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it. A career, producing of children, are all maya (illusion) compared to that one thing, that your life is meaningful.”
I think that this idea is the same thing that Joseph Campbell, who was a great admirer of Jung, refers to as 'marga'. It's a way of living, without following any particular creed or any rules worked out and written down by someone else, other than paying attention to what is presented to you by Fate, the Goddess, God, or the unconscious. In The Hero's Journey (p45) Campbell writes:
"Adolf Bastian, a German anthropologist, has meant a great deal to me with just this main idea. The common themes that come out of the collective unconscious he calls elementary ideas.... In India, in art criticism, the elementary ideas are called 'marga', the path. Marga is from a root word 'mrg', which refers to the footprints left by an animal, and you follow that animal. The animal you are trying to follow is your own spiritual self. And the path is indicated by mythological images. Follow the tracks of the animal and you will be led to the animal's home. Who is the animal? The animal is the human spirit. So, following the elementary ideas, you are led to your own deepest spiritual source." 
A snippet of that piece can be read on Google books: The Hero's Journey (Marga).
In practical terms, this means paying attention to what we see in the world around ourselves, and in particular to symbols presented to us, in dreams and the things we come across in our daily lives. The symbols we see around us are presented to us by - Fate, the Goddess, God, the unconscious, or whatever name you like to give to the thing that we cannot see, but what determines 'what happens next'.

Following the links in a trail of symbols that are presented to us by the unconscious, amounts to finding one's way through a labyrinth, by reading the signs. Labyrinths and mazes were common features in Elizabethan gardens. 

"The marga (path of symbols) that I seem to have been unwittingly following is a very curious one.  I originally seemed to connect the word marga with Megara." he wrote, "Megara was popularised as the heroine in the Disney version of Hercules. It's 'only' a film for children, but it does, to some extent, bring the archetypes to life. Megara is a very vivid anima archetype."

I personally was somewhat amazed, speaking of my own "Marga", to read his comment that:

"Megara was originally a Greek word for a fissure in the ground used for sacred rites connected with beliefs about the underworld (the unconscious) and Persephone-Hecate."

In 1993 I began a novel (The Song of Medusa), which I wrote with artist Duncan Eagleson and which was inspired by the writings of  Riane Eisler.  It was based on the idea of an ancient shamanic priestess of an old-European, Earth Goddess culture. The priestess was called a "Singer", and she entered altered states of consciousness and prophesy by going into fissures or caves in the earth. The novel was about the conflict that happened as her world was shattered by the invasions of warlike, Indo-European tribes. As the little novel evolved, somehow, and surprising indeed to me, my own version of the myth of Persephone also evolved within the story, so much so that it became the novel's secondary theme. Learning about "MARGA" and "MEGARA" is a revelation for me. It seems, once again, that in the course of opening to the creative process, we do indeed open to the collective mind.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Summer Solstice

I am a lover
Of the steady Earth
And of Her waters.
She says:

“Let the light be brilliant,
For those who will cherish color.”

What if there be no Heaven? She says:

“Touch my Breasts - the fields are golden.”
Her Songs are all of love, lifelong.
Every blue yonder,
Her brass harp rings.
Unlettered, in Her rivers
Our cherished sins
Drift voiceless in Her clouds.

She will rust us with blossom
She will forgive us
She will seal us
with Her seed.

Robin Williamson

("The Song of Mabon", 1985)

"God's abstention
is only from human dialects;
the holy voice utters its woe and glory
in myriad musics, in signs and portents.Our own words are for us to speak,
a way to ask and to answer."

.....Denise Levertov

There are some gifts that come to us
just once or twice in a lifetime,
gifts that cannot be named
beyond the simple act of gratitude.

We are given a vision so bountiful
we can only gaze with eyes wide,
like a child in summer's first garden.

We reach our clumsy hands
toward that communionthat single perfection
and walk away speechless,

And breathe,
in years to come,breathe,
breathe our hearts open
aching to tell it well

to sing it into every other heart
to dance it down,
into the hungry soil
to hold it before us:
that light,
that grace given
voiceless light

Lauren Raine (1999)

Robin Williamson has inspired millions for many years - beginning in the 1960's with the INCREDIBLE STRING BAND. His "5 Denials on Merlin's Grave" is still one of the most beautiful ballad/poems I have ever heard: with his phrase

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

He evoked a time of ancient magic, and sang me on my way on a wandering course that never really ended. I, like many, salute this great Bard.

Robin Williamson's site:

A good bio from The Green Man Review:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I wanted to share where I'll be this summer (July 1 th
rough August 15) - a little town in central N.M., where I've been given the privilege of a residency with Gallery 408. I can't help but feel that this time, in the brilliant light of New Mexico, nestled between the great lava flow of the Valley of Fire and the going to be one of my most inspired times. I'm very grateful to Gallery 408 for offering me this opportunity. I'll also be offering a class at their studios in creating personal Icons and Reliquaries for those who may be interested. If any of you happen to be passing through while I'm there, please come by for a cup of coffee!

I visited Carrizozo for the first time in early 2009, when the movie "The Book of Eli" was being shot on their main street, the very street that Gallery 208 is on. It was amazing ....... Carrizozo was converted to a post-Apocalypse wasteland. After the film was shot, this harsh veneer was peeled away to reveal the bright colors of New Mexico, and the opening of my friends' show, "The Return of the Mother" ..... This living metaphor so fascinated me that I wrote an article about it (I copy some text and images below).

But even after the show was over, I kept coming back, fascinated with this little town, and wanting to know more about the community, and the land. Now I've generously been given the opportunity.

Gallery 408 and the Studios on Twelfth Street
PO Box 853
Carrizozo, NM 88301

Carrizozo is two hours South of Albuquerque. Drive South on I-25 to Hwy 380 East just 7 miles past Socorro at the San Antonio exit. Drive 65 miles east on Hwy 380 to Carrizozo. Turn South on Hwy 54 at the Crossroads, drive 4 blocks, turn left at Wells Fargo Bank building, drive 1 block to Twelfth Street, turn right and the Gallery will be on your right.


"The Return of the Mother", group show, May, 2009

May, 2009:

The entire set from "The Book of Eli" has been torn down, the gallery restored, and it looks as if the world that Hollywood created in this little town never was. I still can't get over the way this set has dissipated like a dream.
Corrisozo, N.M., set of "The Book of Eli", filming 3-2009. (Photo by Georgia Stacy)

To get here, one drives through vast reaches of blond Georgia O'Keefe landscapes with brooding blue mountains in the distance, and then the vast lava field called the "valley of fire". We were in time for the filming of a motion picture - the entire downtown had been converted to a vision of rusting automobiles, foam core burned out buildings, and sad little "cubby holes" where desperate children of the apocalypse lived. Dirty, dread-locked young people 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.

It was fascinating to see this contemporary nightmare made so vivid that I could actually walk around in it. To read about the movie see THE BOOK OF ELI which describes it 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."

Like the "Road Warrior" of the '80's, our world has a fascination with images of a future in which all that remains of civilization is a grim landscape of chaotic violence.
As we approach "2012" I personally believe we approach the next evolutionary step for humanity, wherein we must urgently protect, as an evolving global civilization, the universal life of our planet, of Gaia the Mother - or we may well face just such a future as The Book of Eli envisions. I am pleased (and amused) by the paradox of a show called The Return of the Mother rising from the ashes of this dark vision.

I couldn't help but play with the images a bit myself.

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

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mount Shasta

Just returned from a brief visit to Mount Shasta in Northern California - the great dormant volcano that rises impossibly in the distance, dominating hundreds of miles with it's vast brooding presence. In the valley where I stopped to first view Shasta, a marker described many mysterious stone circles native peoples left on the plain. But I reflect that it is not so mysterious - standing before that awesome, snow clad Great One, ancient peoples must have had the impulse to leave some form of offering.

Shasta has long had a reputation as a spiritual center, and stories of ancient Atlaneans and Lemurians abound, as well as native lore. The community of Shasta City is full of artists, healers and metaphysical seekers.........having watched Sedona, America's "crystal capital", lose it's character and vitality from it's earlier, eccentric, mystical years (replaced now with tennis resorts and expensive spas) was great to see that Shasta City has not gone down the same path. I wished I could stay for longer.

Here's a photo of Shasta with one of the unusual clouds it generates. It is also a focus for speculation from people who are interested in UFO's.

And by the way, my friend Fahrusha reminds me that the annual MUFON conference is due to meet in Colorado. Whether you believe in UFO's or not, there is no doubt that this conference would be a lot of fun.