Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Solutions Magazine and Good News

I think it's so easy to fall into despair these days - it's important to not concentrate on fatalism, but to be aware of the many, many "soulutions" that address our environmental, social, and spiritual crisis.  That's what gives energy to hope, and to transformation.  Here's a few journals I subscribe to that I felt like sharing - Solutions Journal, and Earth Portal News, both offering information about green energy and other good news.  I love this article about possible future urban "farms" - imagine picking your own salad as you head for the checkout counter.  Wonder if they'll have cherry tomatoes and bell peppers?


from Earth Portal News:

Agropolis: The Future of Urban Agriculture?

Posted on September 16th, 2010 
Environmental News Network: Last week at the Nordic Exceptional Trendshop 2010, held in Denmark, one presentation  took urban agriculture to the next level. A collaboration with NASA, you might even say it launched urban agriculture out of this world, and into the future.The idea is called Agropolis, a combination grocery store, restaurant, and farm all in one building, employing the most advanced technologies in hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic farming.
As it stands, Agropolis is still just a mere idea, with little more than some cool graphics to back it up. But regardless, Agropolis ushers forth a new wave of thinking about urban food systems.The team behind the Agropolis concept proposes that this new generation of store would be an ecosystem  unto itself, a finely tuned orchestra of parts in balance, that would not only be totally environmentally sustainably and friendly, but also just plain producing the freshest food around.

But what would all these innovative, NASA-inspired state of the art hydroponics and other high-tech solutions look like in practice? According to the vision of Agropolis, a customer would walk into a store that is covered in green. Vegetables growing on the walls as far as the eye can see. And below the floors one would see tilapia swimming, working in tandem with vegetables in an aquaponic system. You would buy a tomato that was literally just picked, from a plant that you can see in front of you. The store would bring a whole new meaning to local, and one-up the notion of hyper local, since all the food available to eat or buy would have traveled zero miles from the farm to the store. At most, just a few steps.

It all sounds grand, and more than a little space-age. But the challenge given to the team that came up with Agropolis wasn’t entirely outside reality: Create a farm without relying on arable land. As the Earth’s healthy soil and other resources dwindle, it may not be out of the realm of possibility that a system like Agropolis be needed, particularly in urban areas. And while urban agriculture has come a long way, incorporating all kinds of creative and innovative ideas and technologies, in order to make it work on a large and global scale it may be time for something as futuristic and high-tech as Agropolis.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field.

I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down
in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language
- even the phrase "each other" -
do not make any sense.

From The Essential Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks.
© Copyright, 2004, HarperSanFrancisco.

I woke up this morning to find the word "raukkadessa" floating  in my mind, between sips of coffee.  The word came from a song on  Beyond Love (Sami Records, 2004), an album by my friend Kathi Huhtaluhta.  Kathi  lived in Finland  where she studied "Yoik" traditions of Sami chanting.  She told me her song, Raukkadessa, derived from a word she learned while there, which meant "beyond love".

Meaning, beyond the pairs of opposites, beyond loss, conflict,  history, and the constructs of personality and culture, beyond even our temporal experience of love, "there is a field".  

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Prayers for the Dying

"Form is Empty, Empty is Form" Detail (2009)
Of life's Spring
may we drink deep
and awake to dream
and die to sleep
and dreaming
weave another form
a shining thread
of life reborn

"The Weaver Song" from the Spiral Dance

I posted this earlier, and then felt a bit too "exposed", so I withdrew it.  But I feel that was not really right, and so I'm posting it again, and offer again my gratitude to the people who so kindly offered comments at the time.

In early 2009 I did a series of works dedicated to my brother I called "Prayers for the Dying".  I've been wanting to write about my brother again, and don't really know how to do it. I wish I could give him, and others like him, a voice.

Maybe the reason to write about this story is to demonstrate how very important it is to re-examine our understanding of death.  All the research and  interest in NDE's (near death experiences), mediums,  Michael Newton's "Life Between Life" work, even TV shows like "Ghost Hunters" contribute to changing attitudes to what death is,  and hence, to what life is as well.
In 2008, Glenn had a brain stem stroke, and since then has as been in a  persistent vegetative state, which means that he is fed by tubes, breathes  by tubes, and cannot respond to others in any recognizable way.  His doctors have told me that there was no brain activity, and no hope of recovery.  Glenn did not have a living will.  Because my mother  has traditional ideas about  "god's will", I can't remove life support.  The only other surviving member of my family is a brother who agrees with my mother.   Glenn lingers in a vegetative state, and I am unable legally to assist my brother to pass.  I know I step into an ethical hornet's nest when I say this. 

One of the ways I've dealt with this has been assisting a number of charities that work with children in Glenn's name, something he would appreciate.

The last decade of Glenn's life, he became  depressed, and isolated.  He was a gun collector, and after his stroke, I  took half of his collection and sold them, donating the money to a charity for children as a way of transforming the negative energy that the guns represent.   The rest, at my other brother's insistence, were locked  in a closet, and he kept the key (the house is retained for his and my mother's use). 

This past spring they weren't in town, and I did an "energy cleansing" with my friend and while "sageing"  I noticed that the closet door was cracked open.  I'd never seen it open before, since my other brother was adamant that I "leave Glenn's things alone".    I looked inside, saw some guns and other memorabilia.  I  did not remove anything, and shut the door, which locked and I can't, of course,  open it again.

In retrospect,  think that closet opened because Glenn wanted me to take the contents and turn them into charity, as I did before.  I wish I had.  My friend noticed the phenomenon as well. 

"The Heart Sutra" (2009)
One of the reasons we did the "cleansing" was there have been many such experiences  in that house, and I've never been comfortable having to stay there.

One of the most striking was last winter.   I was alone in the house, reading,  when suddenly I heard a bell, kind of like a Tibetan brass bell, right beside my ear!  I was so startled I got up and walked around, trying to find out where the bell  was,  but no luck.  Within an hour of that strange occurrence, a friend called, inviting me to go to a talk given by a local energy healer.   Which is how I met Kate,  who works as a medium here in Tucson.

I arranged for a meeting, and we met in a quiet cafe, where Kate informed me that Glenn was with us (!) -  and then told me things about him that seemed  accurate.   She said that Glenn, and others like him, are often out of the body, and she encouraged me to go talk to him at his bedside, and tell him he can let go. Last summer I went away for a while, and when I returned  I saw Kate again.  She told me  Glenn had "crossed over".  I don't know what that means, as he remains physically in a vegetative state.  But I remember the bell - and the encounter with the medium certainly gave me comfort.

I don't see spirits, although I pay careful attention to synchronicities in my life.  I don't know what to make of this, but it's given me a better capacity to deal with the situation.  I hope what Kate said is true, but I can't really know.

Meanwhile, I pray to Tara, Goddess of Compassion, for my brother, Glenn, and I'm going to sponsor another child for him.  I know he would be pleased.  

"Transformation Reliquary" (2009)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Waters of the World

© Photo by Cathy Frischknecht & Christian Bollmann

"O fountain mouth, giver, you, mouth, which
speaks inexhaustibly of that one, pure thing,—
you, mask of marble placed before
the water's flowing face..."

from Sonnets to Orpheus
by Rainer Maria Rilke 

 There is a wonderful ritual  we used to do at Reclaiming's Witchcamp called the "Waters of the World".  We would begin the week long event with a ceremony in which participants brought vials of water, gathered from throughout the world as those gathered were.  Each would empty water into the Chalice, naming the place from which the water came.  I remember the profound sense of gratitude, and the presence of the Holy, as I poured my little vial of water from the beloved Rio Grande into the Chalice.

The theme for this year's Glastonbury Goddess Conference is "Celebrating the Great Mother of Water ", and I will return from Glastonbury with a vial of water from the Chalice Well there.......a personal pilgrimage that I've longed to make for many years.

Freddy Silva, a world renowned researcher of crop circles, believes that the concentration of crop circles in the ancient sacred geomantic sites of southern England  is also about shifting or "raising"  the energies of the water tables there, which in turn flow into the ocean, impacting on subtle levels the entire world.

She is our universal Mother, the source and beginning of life.  We grow in Her amniotic waters and are born, we weep and our hearts open, we are "baptized" in Her waters and offered a new life.  And like children, which we really are, we take Her for granted, rarely noticing the great Mother who nourishes us.

When I was a teenager, I used to devour any science fiction I could get my hands on.  A child of the '50's, we grew up with "The Bomb", and a universal mythos of the End of the World at the hands of the inevitable military mind.  I still think "On the Beach", with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, is one of the most powerful movies ever made, and I remember well the terrible message Ray Bradbury told with his "Martian Chronicles".

Anyway, there was a story I read (I have no idea who the author was, and would love to find it again) in which "The Bomb" had happened, and an astronaut had the misfortune to be be the last living human being.  He saw it happen while orbiting the Earth, and landed to a desolate and barren world.  He begins to walk, and as he walks he hears voices  talking to him, calling to him.  He sees, through blowing dust,  his wife, his children, his friends, his dog, all just ahead, beckoning  images of everyone he's ever loved, calling to him urgently to hurry, to meet them somewhere in the distance.  At last, about to die from radiation, he finds himself standing on a beach, the waters of the ocean lapping gently against his ankles.  What called to him  was Mother Ocean, and as the story ends our desolate hero sinks, finally at peace,  into the water.  We're left to imagine that She will use his life, and the cells in his body,  to begin again.
 Pretty extraordinary story, considering it was written in the 50's, long before Gaia Theory, Women's Spirituality, or even Ecology!

I never forgot that story, although all of the Andre Norton I once read is long, long gone.

I know that I often sound rather apocalyptic, but I don't really feel I am.  I think, in this time of transformation,  we're being given a chance to grow up,  and become co-creators, instead of exploiters, of life.   In the face of so much loss, so much fear, it will be hard to hold that hope.  But I have a deep kind of faith in the adaptability of the human spirit, and beyond, the evolutionary mind of nature, of Gaia.

Holy Mother of Waters, I Praise You!

From The Huffington Post (6/20/2011)

If the current actions contributing to a multifaceted degradation of the world's oceans aren't curbed, a mass extinction unlike anything human history has ever seen is coming, an expert panel of scientists warns in an alarming new report.  The preliminary report from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) is the result of the first-ever interdisciplinary international workshop examining the combined impact of all of the stressors currently affecting the oceans, including pollution, warming, acidification, overfishing and hypoxia.

 According to the report, three major factors have been present in the handful of mass extinctions that have occurred in the past: an increase of both hypoxia (low oxygen) and anoxia (lack of oxygen that creates "dead zones") in the oceans, warming and acidification. The panel warns that the combination of these factors will inevitably cause a mass marine extinction if swift action isn't taken to improve conditions.
"The 6th Extinction" (2007)

The report is the latest of several published in recent months examining the dire conditions of the oceans. A recent World Resources Institute report suggests that all coral reefs could be gone by 2050 if no action is taken to protect them, while a study published earlier this year in BioScience declares oysters as "functionally extinct", their populations decimated by over-harvesting and disease. Just last week scientists forecasted that this year's Gulf "dead zone" will be the largest in history due to increased runoff from the Mississippi River dragging in high levels of nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers.

A recent study in the journal Nature, meanwhile, suggests that not only will the next mass extinction be man-made, but that it is already  underway. Unless humans make significant changes to their behavior, that is.|main5|dl2|sec1_lnk3|71953

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Anima Sanctuary Update

 "A steady stream of elk have been driven east across our Anima Refuge by the alarming smoke."
"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 sorry to report that things are not looking good for Anima Sanctuary.  Here in Tucson it's a roaring 112 degrees, bone dry, and no sign of the monsoon season.  Still praying for these dedicated and courageous people.

“Considering what I get from the work that you and your family do… I wish I could have given more.  All your hard work is not for nothing. You live in the wilderness, at the complete mercy of nature’s whims.  You’re not a martyr, and I can’t tell you how much I respect that…. You are raising awareness, inspiring and enlightening people, even in the face of the destruction of your home. I don’t know what it feels like to have the prospect of your home being destroyed, and not only that but a place that you’ve put blood and guts into restoring… But if the fire hits your canyon, it will not kill the spirit that runs through it. It can be built again. And you’ll have hands to help.”   -Rebecca A.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Summer Solstice

Wishing the blessings of the Solstice to all!  May we all "dance the Long Dance" together this sacred day.
The world is
not with us enough

O taste and see

grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform

into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being

hungry, and plucking
the fruit.
 Denise Levertov

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)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fires, Anima Center

This has been a grim June for me - I am, frankly, exhausted.  My mother is in the hospital, and the smoke of fires from the worst fire season in Arizona history lingers in the air of Tucson. If you've never seen a forest fire, or the devastation left behind, it's an experience impossible to describe.  Few environments are as fragile, contrary to appearances, than the water poor Southwest, and what is happening now is very much about 100 years of human misuse and misunderstanding of this frail landscape.

Years ago I created a Samhain ritual called "Litany for the Lost", to honor the loss of extinct and endangered species and their landscapes.   We always speak of loss in human terms - but we are ensouled in the entire world, the entire eco-system.  Deforestation, destruction of land from the vast cattle industry,  water diversion for urban areas inappropriate agriculture (which results in salinizing the land, leaving it completely barren).........most people don't know that since 1895 we have lost 90% of the riparian areas in Arizona. (   .

Who weeps for these Lost Ones?  I used to hike in the Chiricahua Mountains, and that's where I heard the story of the Thick Billed parrots that were indigenous to the area.  Imagine, parrots flocking in Arizona!  It turns out that virtually the entire subspecies was wiped out in one day by a group of "sport" hunters. Just try to imagine that...... Not even their ghosts remain for memory to enjoy now.  No one even knows that brightly colored parrots once flew there, nesting among the Cottonwood trees, a long lost flash of green and red.

I know I'm ranting, but it's time for a "Wailing Wall" that includes All Beings of the Earth.  The loss of so much life, not just human life and property, in these fires is soul loss for all of us.  It is a tragic irony that more of that loss may soon be the beautiful Anima Sanctuary - "Anima" means "soul or spirit" in Spanish.

My forthcoming trip to Glastonbury seems increasingly like a distant mirage. I hope I will, indeed, have that long awaited chance to stand by the Chalice Well.  Meanwhile, friends who may read this blog, forgive me if I have little to write at present.

One of the blogs I subscribe to is Gaian Voices, by Earth Activist Susan Meeker Lowry.   She comments on the fire rapidly approaching the Anima Sanctuary better than I could, so I take the liberty of copying from her recent blog entry here.

"The Wallow Fire is now officially Arizona's largest wild fire that has made its way into New Mexico. What you may not know is that this fire is fast approaching the Anima Center, threatening not only the handbuilt cabins and living quarters, but also the wild plant sanctuary, and all the restoration work of decades.

Wolf is a long-time friend and colleague. I first met him many years ago when he came to Montpelier, VT where I was living at the time. He interviewed me for a publication called "Talking Leaves" about my work, Gaian Economics. We found ourselves to be kindred spirits in many ways, though our lives were very different. I believe that Wolf had already found himself at what is now the Anima Sanctuary, then called Earthen Spirituality, though I could be mistaken. In any case, he was alone and gave himself totally to that place, committed himself to it forever, as one does one's spouse, and began the long and arduous task of restoring and reinhabiting the canyon. Loba arrived next, then, more recently, Kiva Rose and her young daughter Rhiannon.

So much has happened through the years. Native trees planted and flourished, native herbs returned, on their own and with help, along with species of animals, insects, birds. Today the place is vibrant with life, a true Sanctuary and sacred place honored and loved. It has sheltered wounded human beings who were, in their turn, loved and healed. Kiva Rose brought her love of the healing plants and her innate ability to hear and understand them, and find both new and traditional ways of making medicine. It's amazing to me how quickly and magnificently she has grown and matured into a real powerhouse of knowledge and compassion (and I'm sure it amazes her at times as well).
Though I have never personally visited the Anima Sanctuary, I feel as though I know it well. Not only through the many pictures I've seen on the website and also shared through the pages of Gaian Voices, but because of my connection to these wonderful people..................knowing that these wonderful people were there, doing such transformative work, sharing their love and energy with those who visited, and then the world at large through the internet, and workshops and conferences, was/is important to me.

And now it is threated by a raging fire started by careless campers. The way the media reports this fire and its path of destruction is also very troubling, focusing on the resort towns and homes that have been burned, as if that's all that matters, with not a word (that I've heard anyway) about the loss of wilderness, the death of all the critters, plants, insects, birds many rare and endangered perhaps now, thanks to the fire, extinct. Did you know that this fire is burning so hot that the soil in many places has become sterilized? It will take many, many years – generations – for the land to regenerate.

Kiva Rose mentioned sitting in a cafe listening to fire fighters talk about how the forest will resemble a moonscape. I can't imagine. And yet not a word. Only that a few homes were lost and therefore the fire, now the largest in AZ history, hasn't caused as much damage as the fire that had been the largest until now because not that many buildings were destroyed. How angry that makes me!

So, now Wolf, Loba, Kiva Rose, and a contingent of committed friends are doing everything they can to prepare their home and Sanctuary to withstand the fire at least so that when they return (if they have to evacuate, they will return and begin again) there is something left. They have done clearing around the cabins, cutting much loved trees, limbing others, bring sand up from the river to blanket the ground, packing belongings, burying tools. They have managed to purchase a water pump strong enough to pump water from the river to the buildings so they can wet them down. As I type this the fire is about 5 miles away, the canyon fills with smoke. Rest assured they will leave if they have to. But they will return. As Wolf said in a recent fire update, you don't abandon a loved one because they have been disfigured. You stay and love them anyway.

As you can imagine, these preparations, and the restoration process to come, cost money, which is in short supply. A fund has been set up for donations. I've sent what I can. Not as much as I'd like but it's something. Please, if you can possibly do so, click the link and do the same. The money will be greatly appreciated and put to excellent use. And whether you can help financially or not, please send your good energy, your prayers, your visions of healing and protection – whatever works for you.
Thank you!"

Here's the link: – and while you're there you can sign up to receive updates and other info from Anima.

(with thanks to Susan Meeker Lowry)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

James Lovelock, Father of Gaia Theory

I've not had much time to write lately.  An update to the massive Wallow fire that is threatening Anima Sanctuary in New Mexico - it continues to approach Reserve, N.M., but hasn't arrived.  All the folks there are busy around the clock clearing their land, and preparing for evacuation if necessary.  We continue to pray for them, and to pray for rain.  I think of the many Kachinas I've seen that represent the thunderclouds of New Mexico monsoon season, dark threads of rain flowing beneath them.  Nothing, in the desert, is more precious than rain.

James Lovelock, the Father of Gaia Theory (with collaborator Lynn Margulis) is 93.  I was pleased to find several recent interviews with him on UTube, and felt like sharing them here.  As Dr. Harding comments, James Lovelock should have received the Nobel Prize long ago.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

N.M. Fire Threatens Anima Sanctuary

 As those living here in the Southwest know, this has been a terrible season for fires.  I wrote about  Jesse Wolf Hardin, Loba and Kiva and the Anima Nature Sanctuary and Herbal School just a week ago - tragically, they are currently threatened by a huge forest fire in Western New Mexico, and may be forced to evacuate.  For more information, here is Jesse's Blog.  At the urging of friends, Anima has set up an emergency fund.  I've copied from the latest post on their blog below - and I know that prayers are welcome from their many friends.

 Anima Emergency Fund

A fund has been set up for Anima Sanctuary and School, at the insistence of many.  Contributions will be accepted for land protection and repair, which will also help make possible our continuing publication and healing work.

We have already had to shift funds from home repairs to evacuation preparedness, extra fuel for the vehicles and supplies, while our paid workers and gifting friends shift their emphasis from the water project to clearing the ground of flammables in a perimeter around the main cabins.  This Emergency Fund will help fund these preparations, and in the event the fire does indeed overtake and engulf us, it will be used to replace and repair the infrastructure of the sanctuary and school, and to pay for what will be a huge reseeding and restoration effort.

Donations to the Anima Emergency Fund can be made at and indicate in the message box that it is intended for the fire fund. Or a check or m.o. made out to

Gretchen Geggis (Loba)
Anima Emergency Fund
P.O. Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830

Thank you!

NonMonetary Donations

To those of you offering to send foods, herbs, tools and so forth, we ask that you send a letter to the above addresses with a list of what you can provide, and then IF and when they’re needed we’ll get back to you.  If the fire moves through this canyon and takes our living structures, a travel trailer will be the first item we look for.

Physically Assisting With Our Evacuation

Only a few of the many folks offering to come here and help, are even from the Southwest!  We will only accept the assistance of those who live close enough for it not to be a great hardship, and only in the last couple days before we need to be fully evacuated.  This could happen a week from now, several weeks from now, or in only a few short days depending on what the winds and blaze does.  If you are determined to help with an evacuation, please write us with your availability and how to reach you quickest.

Wallow Fire Satellite Image showing Anima Sanctuary

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Green Men

  Photo copyright Murray Fortescue (From "The Company of the Greenman")

 Couldn't resist sharing these visitations of the  Green Man, thanks to Chris Walton and his blog "The Company of the Greenman"!  Suddenly the Green Man seems to be popping up everywhere - I think it's a good sign. 

The Green Man's Visitation Renaissance Faire 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Anima Sanctuary & Earthen Spirituality Center

'The Prophetic Heart explores the true frontiers of consciousness, where past, present and future meld seamlessly into activist art, an inclusive pulsing web of which we are both but a single inextricable strand and one of the crucial conscious weavers..... We see that our personal struggles are part of a shamanic process of falling apart and being remade, much as the tumultuous Earth Changes tell the story of a living planet restoring balance through dramatic transformation."
-Jesse Wolf Hardin 
 I posed the question, "How do we talk to the Earth? " and immediately thought of Jesse Wolf Hardin, Loba, and Kiva Rose, who have created the Anima Sanctuary in Reserve, N.M.  For many years they've been living off the grid in their magical canyon near the Gila wilderness.  Jesse is a philosopher, writer, teacher and artist, and Loba and Kiva Rose are herbalists and Medicine Women.

The high deserts and hidden canyons of New Mexico, layered with cottonwood trees and rock sites inscribed, like some ancient book,  with petroglyphs, have been famous for attracting artists and spiritual seekers.  It's Spider Woman's Country, the shimmering, transparent strands of her Web seem especially lucid and visible.  There is a particular kind of person I seem to meet there I call the "New Mexico Mystic ".  A couple of years ago I wrote about the ecologist, philosopher and magician David Abram, and Wild Ethics. New Mexico also hosts eco-psychologist Bill Plotkin's Animas Valley Institute.  And the Lama Foundation, with its World Indigenous Peoples Conference.  And the  Cuyamungue Institute, founded by Felicitas Goodman, and Greg Mexico mystics, people who speak with the land.

For a long time I've been aware of the Anima Center in Western New Mexico.  I've corresponded with Jesse, and met him and Loba one wonderful summer at Brushwood, where he came to teach at the Starwood Festival, and Loba, who is a fabulous cook, created special feast for the women.  Jesse has been a prolific writer, with hundreds of published articles and 6 books.  He was also a  visual artist who left his life in Taos to become caretaker for the land in the Gila Wilderness he fell in love with, where he later established, with his partners Loba and Kiva  Anima.
"There at the base (of the cliff)  the impulse is always to look up, and it must have been so even for those first human inhabitants of the canyon trained to seek spirit in the ground as much as the sky. And craning my neck towards the forms and fissures above, through choking tears, came these unexpected words “I promise, no matter what, I’m yours. Even if I end up penniless with no one here to love me....” Then, in almost a scream, “I will never leave you!” And in turn, I accepted the canyon’s assurance that I belong.... and that as lonely as I might be, I would never be alone."

"Contracted: receiving the support of the land and pledging the self in return. There was of course another contract as well, whereby I– then a young man with more attitude than common sense– signed my name on a set of papers that indentured me for fifteen years. As with most or all real estate agreements, it stipulated that if I was more than thirty days late with any of the semiannual payments, the land would automatically revert back to the seller. In order to stay close to the land I’d gone from selling expensive paintings in our gallery in Taos to working minimum wage jobs doing everything from spreading seeds on logged acreage to making adobe bricks, with friendly immigrant workers I could barely understand. My part of the bargain involved doing whatever it took to get up the money for the land payments, and the seller was likewise bound to turn over control of a most special place.

......Nonetheless, the most important contract is not that between two people.... it’s the reciprocal commitment between human and land, made and fulfilled in particular places. As with contracts between individuals or entities, both parties make promises in exchange for specific benefits. For centuries the land has kept its part of the bargain by offering up nourishment, shelter and instruction while we’ve largely defaulted as a species on our reciprocal obligations. We’ve largely failed our task to be the planet’s most sensitive receptors, to temper knowledge with humility and wisdom, or to properly give sacrament to, give thanks for, preserve or celebrate that land we as a species have evolved in contractual partnership with.

With every gift comes a responsibility to its spiritual and physical “care and feeding.” This goes for the soil itself, elemental to all life, and all that grows from its bosom or calls its rocks and trees home. Responsibilities to the plant and animal species we consume, to the water we drink and the air we breathe. The responsibility to insure that which we take is neither diluted nor despoiled, to give back equal to that which we are given. And whether we choose to call it that or not, it includes a responsibility to engage in some form of prayerful communion. 

Responsibility: the ability to respond."

From "Selected Writings", Jesse Wolf Hardin

 Jesse's Blog:

Kiva Rose

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How Do We Speak to the Earth?

 "speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee[Job 8]

I've been  re-acquainting  myself with  the people, and their work,  who have informed and inspired my life.  It's a kind of backtracking I feel I need to do, to "archive" and "update"  these sources.  To Celebrate those who have been touchstones on the path might be a better way of expressing it.

Recently I posted a little interview I did with Frank Barney, at the Brushwood Folklore Center in  New York state.  My question to Frank was "How do we talk with the Earth?"

Since then, the question has hung around me like the mythic floating mountains of Avatar's "Pandora", long roots dangling in the  atmosphere.  What does it really mean to talk with the Earth?  How would we live and act if we experienced the World, as  Joanna Macy famously put it, "As lover, as mother, as self"?  How does the Earth "speak to us"?  How did people from other cultures and times do it?  How are people in contemporary settings "talking to the Earth" now, in this time of great crisis? Where and how are they engaging the conversation?  What have my own ecstatic, and sometimes inexplicable,  experiences been?

Now that I think about it, this question has been fundamental to my art and spirituality ever since I blundered into a workshop in 1982 on ancient sites of New England, and Sig Lonegren taught me to dowse at a cairn, and ley crossing, site in Vermont.  Come to think of it, he and his wife Karyn live in Glastonbury as well!  Circles!

 So, friends who may be reading this blog, forgive me if  I use it for research for a while.  With my trip to the UK coming soon, I realize that this question, as I visit sacred calendar sites, meet Goddess women who invoke the Deities of their homeland,  as I perhaps visit crop circles and listen to speakers at the Glastonbury Symposium......under it all, that's the question I ask.

How do we interact more consciously with the mind of Gaia, our mother earth?

"Today we suffer from Geomantic Amnesia, forgetting that our planet is interactive with and responsive to consciousness." 

So here I sit, surrounded by books and links to UTube.  I re-visited the  writings of Starhawk.  I re-visited James Lovelock and the Gaia Hypothesis, which is now Gaia Theory. I pulled out articles about Vision Questing, and wonder anew what that question might mean within the practices of traditional cultures, shamanic cultures, and ancient cultures.  I watched Avatar again, delighted with the way Cameron  introduced the idea of  "Tewa", the "Anima Mundi" of the planet Pandora.  Among my books I find Earthmind, remembering a conversation I had with one of its authors, John Steele, so long ago. I looked up Michaela Small Wright and Perelandra, and the Book of Findhorn. I re-read an article by eco-feminist Gloria Orenstein,  in  Re-Weaving the World,  and checked out what's happening at the Source, founded by contemporary shaman Jewell, and the Anima Nature Sanctuary in New Mexico as well.

Sure enough, within a day of doing that, I received an email from Jesse Wolf Hardin, founder of the Anima Sanctuary.   Threads.......

Most of all, I had an "ah ha" ...... I'm going to Glastonbury, and Findhorn,  this summer, to encounter people who, in their own ways, have been asking this question themselves, and like my friend Frank, have found their answers.  I know why I'm making this trip.  Let the adventure begin!

"Earthmind 5" (2009)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I AM, Movie by Tom Shadyak

"We're really geared at a primordial level to feel what another person feels....this is the emergent story. We are far grander than we've been told." 

I wanted to post this new movie  by Tom Shadyak, which is coming soon to Tucson.  We are hard wired to cooperate, share, co-create  - so very good to find the message shared by this successful Hollywood director.  I can't wait to see it!

Playing June 17, 2011  in Tucson  at The Loft on Speedway!