Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lulu and Lucy

Back in March I was talking to myself about the lack of love in my life.  The universe is ever generous, I have found, and so in April a litter of 4 kittens was more or less dumped on me, and I found myself with 4 furry bundles of love following me, purring, everywhere I went.  Garbanzo and Mr. Bean now have good homes, and Lulu and Lucy have taken up their professions as artist's muses.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sensory Poverty?

 "The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature’s precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature."
 A few weeks ago I went with friends from out of town  to a rather pricey Indian restaurant.  We were enjoying the wine and the ambience.........exotic hanging lamps and sitar music in the background.  At a nearby table a young, well-dressed couple sat with  wine and a candle between them as well. Each had a  little box in his and her hand, and with heads bowed, they were each tapping away.  We wondered if they were discussing what to order with each other.......maybe they were having a conversation?  Oblivious to us as they peered into their crystal boxes,  we wondered if this was a new version of the dating/mating ritual?

What will happen,  as the time of computer implants looms in our evolutionary future........will people talk and tweet to each other in some kind of informational/vibrational code, freed of such unhygienic nuances as facial expressions, vocalizations, physical gestures, smells, auras?  What about empathy, not just for the human world, but the sensory world of nature?  

I ran across a great article by DIANE ACKERMAN,   thanks to my good friend Joyce, that expressed these thoughts so well.........I can't resist excerpting from it here.

Are We Living in Sensory Overload or Sensory Poverty?

 IT was a spring morning in upstate New York, one so cold the ground squeaked loudly underfoot as sharp-finned ice crystals rubbed together. The trees looked like gloved hands, fingers frozen open. A crow veered overhead, then landed. As snow flurries began, it leapt into the air, wings aslant, catching the flakes to drink. Or maybe just for fun, since crows can be mighty playful.

Another life form curved into sight down the street: a girl laughing down at her gloveless fingers which were texting on some hand-held device. This sight is so common that it no longer surprises me, though strolling in a large park one day I was startled by how many people were walking without looking up, or walking in a myopic daze while talking on their “cells,” as we say in shorthand, as if spoken words were paddling through the body from one saltwater lagoon to another.

As a species, we’ve somehow survived large and small ice ages, genetic bottlenecks, plagues, world wars and all manner of natural disasters, but I sometimes wonder if we’ll survive our own ingenuity. At first glance, it seems as if we may be living in sensory overload. The new technology, for all its boons, also bedevils us with alluring distractors, cyberbullies, thought-nabbers, calm-frayers, and a spiky wad of miscellaneous news. Some days it feels like we’re drowning in a twittering bog of information.

But, at exactly the same time, we’re living in sensory poverty, learning about the world without experiencing it up close, right here, right now, in all its messy, majestic, riotous detail. The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature’s precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature.

Strip the brain of too much feedback from the senses and life not only feels poorer, but learning grows less reliable. I’m certainly not opposed to digital technology, whose graces I daily enjoy and rely on in so many ways. But I worry about our virtual blinders. We’re losing track of our senses, and spending less and less time experiencing the world firsthand. At some medical schools, it’s even possible for future doctors to attend virtual anatomy classes, in which they can dissect a body by computer — minus that whole smelly, fleshy, disturbing human element.

When all is said and done, we exist only in relation to the world, and our senses evolved as scouts who bridge that divide and provide volumes of information, warnings and rewards. But they don’t report everything. Or even most things. We’d collapse from sheer exhaustion. They filter experience, so that the brain isn’t swamped by so many stimuli that it can’t focus on what may be lifesaving. Some of their expertise comes with the genetic suit, but most of it must be learned, updated and refined, through the fine art of focusing deeply, in the present, through the senses. Once you’ve held a ball, turning it in your hands, you need only see another ball to remember the feel of roundness. Strip the brain of too much feedback from the senses and life not only feels poorer, but learning grows less reliable. Subtract the subtle physical sensations, and you lose a wealth of problem-solving and lifesaving details.

As an antidote I wish schools would teach the value of cultivating presence. As people complain more and more these days, attention spans are growing shorter, and we’ve begun living in attention blinks. More social than ever before, we’re spending less time alone with our thoughts, and even less relating to other animals and nature. Too often we’re missing in action, brain busy, working or playing indoors, while completely unaware of the world around us.

One solution is to spend a few minutes every day just paying close attention to some facet of nature. A bonus is that the process will be refreshing. When a sense of presence steals up the bones, one enters a mental state where needling worries soften, careers slow their cantering, and the imaginary line between us and the rest of nature dissolves. Then for whole moments one may see nothing but the flaky trunk of a paper-birch tree with its papyrus-like bark. Or, indoors, watch how a vase full of tulips, whose genes have traveled eons and silk roads, arch their spumoni-colored ruffles and nod gently by an open window.

On the periodic table of the heart, somewhere between wonderon and unattainium, lies presence, which one doesn’t so much take as engage in, like a romance, and without which one can live just fine, but not thrive.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Touching Gaia" - A Solstice Ritual of Attunement

We humbly ask  Gaia to be among us.

To be with us on this day, the longest day, 
when life is full. Gaia, this shining, white and blue planet

circling, a living jewell
in the Great Dark of space.

Her waters are Her blood,
Her valleys and mountains Her bones,
the forests Her breath,
the Clouds, Her moods,
and we are Her dreams

and the fourlegged,  the ones that swim,
the winged ones,  the two-legged....all,
Her eyes, Her ears,
the mind of Gaia.

I invite you to feel the presence of Gaia,
a living, breathing Being.
Dancing as we are, in union
with the sun, the moon,
the stars:
Gaia's family, Her grove.

Feel your feet on the Earth.
Feel the heartbeat of the Earth.
Feel your own heartbeat
and attune.

Feel your arms like branches,
the crown of your head
the leafy crown of a tree, opening to the sun:
an aspen tree, or a flowering plum,
or a medicine tree, a eucalyptus.
An apple, a poisonous hemlock,
a rowen tree offering fruit to greedy sparrows.

A Boji tree, in the red lands, the dry lands,
a tree of bones
dreaming only of water.
A tall pine in snowy winter
dreaming of the sun's return......

Feel your hands like twigs, your feet like roots.
Feel the sun in your leaves.
Feel Gaia's heart
beneath your feet,
beating like a drum.

And feel your roots
go down from your feet, your hands,
down into fertile darkness,
into secret waters,
past pottery shards
and the bones of ancient antelope,
past cities long forgotten,
past stone and crystal
into the darkness,
into the dreaming Earth.

Go down,  into the heart of  Gaia.

Your roots are a web
of  intertwined roots
that sustain the forest,
strong, keeping you firm. 
Roots that touch all beings.
Go down, feel the fibers that touch each other,
this circle, this land,  the sky, the waters.
Feel the flow of contact, sustaining each other.

And reach out, expand your awareness.

Somewhere in the East a woman rises
to make bread for her family.
Somewhere in the South a child plays in the dust.
Somewhere far west a girl in a red sari
prepares for her wedding.
Somewhere in the far North a painter
stands before an empty canvas,
trying to remember a dream he had the night before.

Follow your roots.  Attune. 

Somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere a forest is burning,
somewhere in the West
poisons are pouring into a river,
and the river is dying, the land is weeping.
Somewhere in the North a song bird is gone
and the fields are silent.
Somewhere in the East acid rain falls into a barren lake.
Feel the sorrow of the land, the pain of Gaia.

And somewhere in the South, winter is beginning.
Somewhere East, the sun is rising. 
Reach out along your roots, feel the beat of life.

Attune, and return.  Follow your roots
back to your heart.  Feel that love, that light.
All one.

As we rise and stand, breathe in the breath of the world.
Take that  light, that pulse, that beat,
and gather it
in your heart, your hands.
Gather from your roots.
Gather and become
a vessel, a tree, a beating heart.
Gather to touch all beings.

And send it down:

Into the Earth, the best of us,
into the Earth, our roots,
into the Earth, our dreams,
into the Earth, our source.
into the Earth, our love.
into the Earth, our light.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


The first Monsoon came with great celebration to Tucson, and to Nogal, New Mexico, yesterday.  It looks good for Anima too...........wanted to share an article Jesse Wolf Hardin sent me recently.  
Walking The Spiral:  Fern Heads, Replicative Patterns, Conscious Participation

by Jesse Wolf Hardin,  Anima School and Sanctuary

 We exist in a world of patterns that we are an unending part of.  I don’t mean just the patterns of individual and cultural behavior we call schedules and habits, the patterning of apartments in building or houses on blocks.  Notice or not, all around us are natural shapes and forms patterned according to design repetition and balance, and a thing’s gifts and functions, purposes and propensities, none of which are obeying some “laws of nature” or “laws of physics” so much as inhabiting and playing a part in systems of replication and enhancement.

Under the intuitive eye of the mystic, the artist, the aesthetic, these patterns have always appeared manifest and childishly obvious, a clearly sequenced repetition of forms that interlock like puzzle pieces, building bridges of content, beauty and meaning between the supposedly dissimilar, and between the micro and macro.  From the scale of the stars in the sky, down to the  repeating shapes that make up the landscape, the balanced eruption of branches from a tree trunk, the mountain and valley texture of its bark and the composition of fingertips and fingernails when viewed really, really close.  They cannot help but sense or assume, that this trend continues down to the invisible, down to fluctuating but largely predictable and wholly amazing arrangements of minute organic cells, sensed molecules and imagined atoms.  And now, these patterns are revealing themselves to the discerning scientific eye as well, as fractals defining the replicative roughness of expanding borders, mathematically measurable, mappable, extendable and therefore to some degree extrapolatable; as natural forms to be copied by human inventors in a process they call biomimicry; as time-lapse captured lightning mirroring the patterns of veins in one’s own hand; and as mysteriously similar galaxies, whether summoned to view through the ocular of an electron microscope. or the polished lenses of a telescope racing through space on the nose a satellite.

The organic blueprint that all things follow, is that of rivers making their way through the mountains to the sea, the patterns of turbulence witnessed in the roiling of bubble-laden streams and the swirling of sunlit smoke in the morning’s air currents, the topography of coastlines and radiating petals of flowers.  Because these patterns are ever growing, transitioning, evolving, moving, we might better describe their pinnacles and valleys, peaks and drops, their waxing and waning, build-up and climax in the terminology of music, the patterns of motive visual forms themselves being rhythmic.  All rhythm, no matter how complex, involves a repetition of patterns that could be drawn out as leaf shapes and snowflakes, coastlines and twisting vines.

Rhythm made visible to the eye, is symmetry… the correspondence of exact or similar parts facing each other, or extending from a measurable center or axis.  And is the propensity of energetic nature to symmetrize.  The ubiquitous fractals are geometrically symmetric, as can be mandalic plant blossoms and crystal formations, but there is also a symmetry expressed in curling wisps of cloud, the lime green coils of a plant’s outreaching tendril, and especially in the spiral… the spiral fern head and spiral snail and sea shells, the inner ear’s cochlear nucleus vortices and the spiraling of Earth’s atmosphere as seen from space, all spinning out from a common center “eye”… a mystical “golden spiral” suggestive of a dance with no possible beginning or end.

“It is only slightly overstating the case, to say that physics is the study of symmetry.”

-P. W. Anderson, Nobel Laureate

The “known” universe is also repeating a pattern, as exhibited by its discernible elements, and moves or unfolds in a spiral orbit, with repeating patterns resulting in ever greater superstructures that apparently repeat themselves infinitely (Joseph, 2010).  The search for a “theory of everything” could be likened to the search for a unifying symmetry, in which repeating, spiraling patterns help connect us to, thread us into and propel us through an infinite universe that may well prove as eternal as it is limitless.

The perceiving and experiencing of this micro and macro patterning can lead to a feeling of rooted connection, of a kind of immortality by extension.  It can help us recognize the motion and direction of individual and species’ intent, and to find beauty and purpose in what might otherwise have been dismissed as ordinary and purposeless.  It can be a tool in our healing of ourselves and others, by helping us recognize and visualize patterns of constitution, energetics, gifts and challenges, perception and direction.

For several years now, Kiva and I have been developing our Anima Medicine Wheel for use in energetic understanding and diagnosis.  More like the Chinese five-element model than the Native American Wheel, it features not only the four cardinal directions or “sources” but also a fifth in the center.  While it makes perfect sense to us conceptually, when I’ve tried to draw it out on paper there has always appeared to be something lacking.  Everyone begins their life embodying the energies, gifts, challenges and propensities of one of the five “directions” or points, yet usually we are moving at one speed or another towards or through other directions as part of our integration, growth, and becoming whole.  This motion, we realized, might be best conceptualized as a three dimensional spiral rather than a two dimensional circle, in which form and being are forever reaching back to their source point, origins and earth, and simultaneously reaching outwards in progressive or widening arcs that weave together as they encompass.

We naturally exist in and are inevitably factors in the patterning of the world.  And it is impossible for us to remain securely immobile and unchanged no matter how much we might try.  If we are not integrating and moving forward on the spiral, then we are sliding down it.  How much better it is, then, to walk the spiral consciously, deliberately, purposefully, taking in the lessons and crafting our effect, not only participating in but helping design our contribution, a song worth repeating, a pattern worthy of being extended beyond not only our immediate beings but our finite lives.

It is to honor both spirals and plants that we share with you these photographic images of natural, human and botanical spiraling, visual reminders of that beauteous pattern of corporeal as well as energetic continuation that no amount of dying can ever remove us from.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Tuesday night I attended, for the first time, an Art Salon group that met for dinner and then to share their work.  There were 6 people besides myself, and for my part I brought a Power Point presentation about my "Spider Woman" project. I received a fellowship from the Alden Dow Creativity Center in Northwood University in 2007 for the project, and the show was at the Midland Arts Center, in Midland, Michigan.  In 2008 the Creative Spirit Center, also in Midland, Michigan, did the project as a community arts project.  And in 2009 I was  resident artist at the Henry Luce Center for the Arts at Wesley Theological in Washington, D.C.

Of six people at the Salon, one woman was from Washington, D.C. and knew Deborah Sokolove, the Director of the Luce Center, and another woman was from Midland, Michigan!  What are the odds?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"The Feminization of Poverty"

"At the same time that women produce 75 to 90 percent of food crops in the world, they are responsible for the running of households......Furthermore, despite the efforts of feminist movements, women in the core [wealthiest, Western countries] still suffer disproportionately, because they are paid less than men, and because the vast majority of heads of single parent households are women who must support their children.  This is leading to what sociologists refer to as the “feminization of poverty,” where two out of every three poor adults globally are women. The informal slogan of the Decade of Women became “Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, receive 10 percent of the world’s income and own 1 percent of the means of production.”
....Richard H. Robbins, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism

The term feminization of poverty,” coined in the 1970s by Diana Pearce, refers to the global problem, both in "third world" countries and the industrialized west, of the gender inequity of wealth.  Women are not the only ones who suffer as a result  - their children do as well.  

Last night I attended an "art salon", where  a young woman artist was excruciatingly apologetic about sharing some of her art because it was "feminist".  All of my efforts to get her to affirm the feelings that went into the work failed........I felt like she, and the group in general, saw me as a "strident old feminist", with all all negative trivialization that comes along with that.  Darn.  The battle is far from won.  Trivialization of women, and their concerns, and the Goddess, Who is no less than Mother Earth.... is the essence of the problem, politically and spiritually. 

In a previous Post I remembered the Suffragettes, who struggled to give women the vote some 50 years after freed male slaves were given the right to vote.
This past week, Senate Republicans voted unanimously against a bill designed to reduce the persistent pay gap between men and women  in the workplace. The bill would have increased protections for women filing gender-discrimination lawsuits, and put would responsibility on employers to prove that wage disparities between men and women (who typically earn  77 cents for every dollar a man earns) are not in place.  They voted unanimously against the same bill in 2010 as well. 

I wonder if this kind of unanimous filibuster to deny legal resort for prejudicial hiring would happen if the concern was for black people (men), or Jewish people (men), or Hispanic people (men).......I suspect the bill would have passed.  So why do we so passively accept this, along with the recent efforts to deny women birth control?    Well worth thinking about, because ultimately everyone suffers.  Because most people begin as children with mothers.

"More than 45 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, the pay gap shockingly persists with women still earning on average 77 cents to every man’s dollar. According to the National Women’s Law Center, “This persistent pay gap translates to more than $10,000 in lost wages per year for the average female worker.
Women are half of all U.S. workers and mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families. The Paycheck Fairness Act would be critical to strengthening the economic security of these families. The bill would have updated the landmark Equal Pay Act of 1963 by closing loopholes, strengthening incentives to prevent pay discrimination, and prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages. The act would have also addressed pay secrecy, which is a prevalent problem prohibiting employees from knowing whether discriminatory practices are occurring."

President Barack Obama commented that,

“I am deeply disappointed that a minority of Senators have prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from finally being brought up for a debate and receiving a vote.....As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in history, this bill would ensure that American women and their families aren’t bringing home smaller paychecks because of discrimination.” 

(Source: Raw Story (

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Rainbow Bridge Oracle

  "I've always conceived of the Rainbow as actually being a circle. Half disappears into the ground, into an underworld realm, hidden, but present. Like the Goddess. Perhaps what she gives us now is the means to seed a rainbow vision."

Christy Salo, Artist

“Rainbow Bridge consciousness is a way of thinking and acting that allows us to hold multiple perspectives in our minds simultaneously....As the saying goes, there are always two sides to a story. Rainbow Bridge consciousness is unity consciousness.”

Brent N. Hunter,  The Rainbow Bridge

I'm pleased to announce that I've published my book about The Rainbow Bridge Oracle  !

I've been working on these cards on and off for about 20 years.  Originally I wanted to make my own Tarot deck, but it became apparent that the ideas were diverging from the Tarot after a while, so I just made what I wanted. A lot of friends have asked about them, but publishing the cards was never affordable, until recently, when I discovered a site for people who make games.  They print card decks on demand! So now I can offer the deck of 52 cards, with a velvet bag, for anywhere between $15.00 to $25.00.......I'm still sorting it out.


Softcover   $27.95
Hardcover, Dust Jacket   $41.95
Hardcover, ImageWrap   $45.95

118 pages

 Limited edition text and artwork - book only available through
Blurb.  For a preview of the book visit this LINK!


"In the Tarot, the Higher Arcana is a progression through what mythologist Joseph Campbell called the "Hero’s Journey".  The first card in the traditional Tarot deck  is The Fool .  The Fool represents the utterly open innocence with with we incarnate into this world.  The Arcana progress through different  experiences, revelations, trials and initiations. The last card of the Journey is 
The World, the return Home. 

The journey is a Circle.

Some New Cards:

 "What might we see, how might we act,  if  we  saw with a webbed vision? The world seen through a web of relationships….”

Catherine Keller

A weaver  takes threads of many colors and skillfully weaves them together into a beautiful  tapestry.  We talk about "spinning a tale", meaning a storyteller takes "threads" of different characters and weaves them together into a good story with many inter-woven events. 

The name "Penelope" originally meant "with a web on her face", a term that was probably a title for an oracle, or perhaps a Goddess of Fate. But "webbed vision" can also have a contemporary meaning as  a way of seeing the world with a unitive eye, all people connected and in relationship to each other.  That kind of vision enables you to be a "good weaver" in your community, family, and life.  You are a person who helps others to "connect the dots" -  a true instinctual networker. 

Reversed:  You  may be having a hard time seeing the connections between people and/or events in your life, partly because you feel so disconnected  and isolated from others.  Get back "on line" with your life, and reach out to re-connect with whatever it takes.


"Remember that not getting what you want
is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck."

The Dalai Lama

"Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it" is an old folk saying that has much truth to it.   We have all dreamed of having great wealth, or being with the best looking boy in school, or any number of  wishes.  And sometimes we do get what we think we want, but ironically,  happiness can soon turn to misery and disappointment.  Sometimes getting what we think we want can be the worst thing that can happen to us, because what we want is concentrated on desires that are  immature, addictive, vindictive, greedy, or even unconsciously self-destructive. And sometimes getting what we don't want can turn out to be a great gift.

 The "Law of Attraction" demonstrates that we attract that which we focus upon,  and consciously (or unconsciously) what we  concentrate upon can manifest.  Loving and generous wishes attract loving and generous results. Negativity and pessimism generally manifests more negativity and pessimism, creating a self-fulfilling cycle.  Bearing all of this in mind, now is an excellent time to begin to manifest!

Reversed:  You're not able to manifest what you want because of either a lack of belief in yourself, or you are too negative in your worldview. 


In this immeasurable darkness,
be the power that rounds your senses
in their magic ring,

Rainier Maria Rilke

Among the Lakota, long preparations were made for the Vision Quest. Those who sought initiation fasted, prayed, and prepared themselves to "call for vision". They then went to a special place in the wilderness. When a young man returned with a vision it was shared with the tribe, and sometimes examined to see if it had prophetic or ceremonial significance for not only the individual, but for the entire tribe.

This is a tool we have largely lost. True visionary experience is "soul language"; like dreams and synchronistic experiences, a vision has multiple layers of meaning, and transcends time as we understand it. Visions, like dreams, communicate universal and personal truths, and whether unintended or intentionally induced in some way, can catalyze a spiritual path or a life's work. You are encouraged to "call for vision" in your own way. Do it in a sacred manner, and share and discuss your vision with others of like mind.

Reversed: Visions can be profoundly significant.......but sometimes there is a fine line between spiritual revelation and highly subjective schizophrenia. Practice discernment.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Instant Redial: New Peace Activists

  "When people in a democracy are not educated in the art of living --- to strengthen their conscience, compassion, and ability to question and think critically --- they can be easily manipulated by fear and propaganda. A democracy is only as wise as its citizens, and a democracy of ignorant citizens can be as dangerous as a dictatorship."

 Paul K. Chappell
The above portrait is of former solder and peace activist Paul Chappell.  Being a  portrait painter,  it caught my attention in some blurb from AOL yesterday shortly after posting about ETHOS the movie, and I liked it as a work of art, so I checked it out.  It's of peace activist Paul Chappell, who has stepped up to the issues of war touch on  in ETHOS.  It's good to see someone from his generation coming forward like this.  I've posted a video of his talk below - he's so clear and eloquent......and his comments on the psychology of warfare are well worth listening to! As someone who was trained extensively to be an officer, there's much to learn from his words. (And I do have to say, I hope the largely gray haired audience is not the norm for this important philosopher and activist.)

Lately I seem to get "instant redial",  sychronistically speaking........I just posted the previous article about the very important film ETHOS, the forfeit of democracy and the ecosystem to Corporatocracy (and me grousing about my good ole  days as a peace activist and how apathetic young people seem now, etc., etc.) when a young student from the U.A. came to the door collecting signatures for Arizona FairShare  and a conversation ensued about the organization he was collecting signatures for, and the film.  Encouraging! 
"Making critical investments in roads, bridges, rails, clean energy and education will put millions of Americans back to work while making life better for all.  We need our leaders to advance policies that will start creating jobs.  The American Jobs Act now in Congress would be a strong step forward, but many corporations and lobbyists are pushing back.  We can afford to create  jobs through smart investments if we make big corporations pay their fair share." (
 OK!  Thank you Universe!  I'm encouraged! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

ETHOS and "Corporatocracy"

 "Corporations are artificial might say they are monsters trying to devour  as much profit as possible at anyone's expense."  Howard Zinn
Recently my computer email was hacked, and "I" spewed thousands of links to all kinds of awful spam to my friends and mailing list.  It's hopefully over, but the sense of violation remains.  And frankly, it's an important lesson - something like that is a perfect example of the violation of the whole world by mindless capitalism.

I think it's pretty clear that we no longer have a true democracy.  What we have is a Corporatocracy.  I recently saw ETHOS,  and was stunned with how concisely and brilliantly the documentary explained the insanity of  "Government for, by, and of the Corporation".  This is one of the most important documentaries  I've ever seen. 

Join the debate on Facebook  - the filmmakers welcome comments and questions.
They are developing an e-book to help people make decisions about what companies to support, and also making the next film, ETHOS II.

Last year I blogged about  the history of the U.S. Department of Peace. (or rather why, after 200 some years, we still don't have one).    I was in the streets of San Francisco with 350,000 people in 1970 against the Vietnam war, which supposedly was to "save the world from communist China" (and now, who owns anything that isn't made in China?)......and yet it dragged on for 5 more years.  I marched again in 2003, again with some 300,000 people  against the invasion of Iraq.  Almost ten years later  the U.S. withdraws, and like Vietnam, who can say what it was really for?  Does anyone really believe it was for "freedom"?
"ENDING THE WARS:   I am going to give you a simple example. General Electric is an arms manufacturer. They make weapons for war. They make light bulbs too! They have their hands in so many things. They also own NBC news channel. But let’s stay with weapons for a minute.  If you are a weapons manufacturer you make billions, BILLIONS, of dollars whenever there is a war.  In fact if there is no war you make no money.  So, what we have here is a company that is in a position to support a war, Iraq or Afghanistan for example, on its news channel and then make BILLIONS of dollars if that war happens."
 The film makes it both clear and vital that we practice Voluntary Simplicity in our homes, lives, and what we do with our bodies as well.   The solution to rendering what's left of our democracy, along with the future, over to the soul-less "bottom line" of a global  Corporatocracy  begins in our wallets.
"The minute you change your behavior everything else changes. Our consumer behavior is monitored very closely. As soon as you change the way you consume it will be noticed immediately. Once you have started taking responsibility, getting more than one side of a story instead of just listening to the mainstream media, it becomes very difficult to fool you. Everything will change."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Anima Still Here**, and a Gaian Eulogy

I'm pleased to learn that Anima in Reserve, N.M. is still there, and with the fire still just over the horizon, Wolf and family found time to make a eulogy for a friend who died.

There's something very powerful about living like that.

Although I did not know  Gioia Tama, who was a dancer, I  found his words beautiful and wanted to share them.  His Eulogy so much speaks to what I feel, and what I believe ancient peoples felt.......we add to the great Conversation, and return to "the important dark as well as the tribal fire."

"We often hear people say that so-and-so is “gone now”,  an expression partly intended to spare us the difficult vernacular of death, as if avoiding the word could somehow keep the reality at bay.  But, I say, the amazing Gioia has not left for anywhere, she remains evermore a part of the earth she had no desire to leave, ladled back into the anima soup, the vital elements and miraculous energy from which new people – and even new species – are born.  Her cosmology was as eclectic and diverse as any I’ve known, but in every way it was an embrace of the cycles of existence, connection and devotion to the living land.  In her work to contribute to a new culture, she taught the values that nature teaches, in all its wisdom, diversity and splendor.  And when she danced, she danced grounded, with the power of a sentient, ass-kicking planet in every sure flamenco step.  Gioia has not gone, she is here in the important dark as well as in the tribal fire by which we see the path ahead, hear the duende we call mystery, and the eruptions of wildflowers of her beloved Guadalupita homestead. Don’t say “Adios“… always say “Adelante!”

-Jesse Wolf Hardin, Anima Sanctuary, June of 2012
 As I write this morning, I see that Grandmother Spider Woman has sent one of her skilled representatives to leave a message in the window above my desk.  She sits at the very center of a round web made of concentric transparent threads that glisten like a rainbow as the wind causes her creation to vibrate.  Ho, Grandmother Spider Woman!  Thank you!

I've felt a special bond with Jesse Wolf Hardin and family because, like the Web shimmering before me, the friendship demonstrates the mysterious way we're all, truly, connected.

I learned about Jesse's work when I read an article he'd written in Green Egg Magazine in 2000, shortly after I moved to Arizona.  My own article on sacred masks followed his, and the publisher had failed to let me know it had been published, so I found out only by buying a magazine.  I wrote Jesse to congratulate him on his moving article, and to let him know it had been published, just in case his situation was like mine.

That summer was very difficult for me.  I was involved in a kind of love relationship that was very psychic, perhaps karmic,  in its nature, and the situation gave me no opportunity to talk about it, not with the person involved, nor did I have anyone to talk to in my isolation in Tucson.  I was confused, not sure of anything, and self-destructive.  Although Jesse knew nothing whatsoever about me, he began to send me articles he had written about truth, magic, and integrity.  It was as if he knew somehow what I needed to hear  - he sent me a life raft.

The soul connections between us all are stunning sometimes.  Years later I was invited to submit poetry to an e-zine based in Pennsylvania called "The Divine Animal", and the editor  published some of my art and my poetry about Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.  We exchanged correspondence, and I loved the stories she sent me.  She had lived in Tucson, and when I was doing a cast call for "Restoring the Balance" I wrote and asked her if she knew anyone who was a dancer/ritualist in Tucson.  She did, and that was how I met one of the women who helped "Spider Woman" weave her web during the closing performance!

We lost touch and the magazine ceased publication, but a few years later, I got an email from her that she was moving to New Mexico.  That was Kiva Rose,  one of Jesse's partners!  I so often find myself telling these stories because, well, I see the links sometimes.  I find it so hopeful. 
“What might we see, how might we act, if  we saw 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 "From a Broken Web" (1989) 

**Whitewater-Baldy Wildfire Now 4 Miles Away
At 420 square miles, the fire continues growing, with its most persistent spread being towards the Northwest… and towards us.  Fortunately the movement is relatively slow, but its westward movement has now positioned it due south of the Anima Sanctuary and only 4 miles away.  It is impossible to know how much of the new burns (shown in red on the map) were deliberately set, but with the rains still 6 weeks or so away, we will continue to be in danger until then.  Dan’l hopes to be able to show up more often now, and with the help of our two WOOF volunteers Mattie and Gina, the water pipes are getting buried, and the huge amounts of hazardous dead brush are being gathered for removal.

Donations to the fire fund have stopped coming in, though not before enabling us to get the last of the pipe and fire hose needed (thank you Dennis, for making the difference!).  It looks like there will not be contributions to pay for foil wrapping for the Gaia and Gifting Lodges, however, and they will burn with the trees if and when this or a future fire sweeps through here.  At the least, our main home/office structures have a very good chance of surviving a conflagration now, and the work for this land, our students and community will be able to continue unabated.

Thank you to those who have been able to contribute to the protection of the School infrastructure, it would be impossible without the donations last year and now. Contributions accepted for further fire protection needs.  To contribute to the Anima Fire Fund, either send a postal money order in any amount to:

Gretchen Geggis (Loba!)
PO Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830
or make a PayPal instant payment by going to:
Enter the amount as a personal “gift” and send to:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Update on New Mexico Fire

The folks at  Anima Center in Reserve, N.M. have not been in touch since the 1st, and I have not been able to find out what's going on.  I do know the Mimbres Cliff dwellings have been closed, so I assume the Mimbres community is also endangered. Residents of Mogollon have, however,  been allowed to return to their homes.

You know, the size of this fire is bigger than some European countries.  This really brings climate change home, literally.

To contribute to the Anima Fire Fund, either send a postal money order in any amount to:

Gretchen Geggis (Loba!)
PO Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830
or make a PayPal instant payment by going to:
Enter the amount as a personal “gift” and send to:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Reflections on Visioning

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
The master doesn't seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things.
 I've recently discovered a way to publish, inexpensively, my RAINBOW BRIDGE ORACLE cards, and so have given myself the luxury of working on a really nice book to accompany the deck.......this project has been in the works for 20 years, so needless to say, I never really thought it would get published, so this is a surprise.  Going back to these cards is like re-visiting a younger self, trying to  understand her.  I can't say I do.  But I do see that,  the minute I re-engaged with this (for me) ancient project, many colored (rainbow) threads of synchronicity began to weave around me!

The Goddess is all about creativity.  Begin to create, throw in some excitement to flavor the mix, and the universe will nudge you along.  So I entirely believe.
I've created 7 new cards, and am having a hard time writing about them.  I'm actually a visual thinker, and writing is always rather excruciating for me.  So, in the midst of a Bon Mot, wham, a power outage. When that happens, there's nothing to do but take a small vacation, so I went downtown to the studio to sweep the floor, since I'm trying to get it rented.

In walked Kristy, who is doing a series of paintings about the Tarot!  She wanted me to see her new painting in the series, and in the course of visiting her studio, she asked me if I was going to be in a show about Water (we think about water a lot, here in the Southwest) seemed I only had two hours left  to bring work to the gallery.

 I  rushed to Raices Teller, where a conversation ensued about my experience last year with the Waters of the World ritual at the Goddess Conference in Glastonbury.   I have a vial of the "holy water"  from the ritual, the White Spring and the Chalice Well.  One of the curators asked  if I had anything I could bring to the show about that experience.

Immediately a distinct vision of a little shrine popped into my head, and now I have two days to make it! 

I brought the "Waters of the World" with me on the plane, carrying the essence of those holy places and the joined waters from around the world to share its beautiful blessing.  Now I find myself thinking about "visioning". To be an artist is to make a career of it, but we are all the artists of our lives, and when we engage the mythic mind, we find ourselves woven into the rainbow threads of many other lives as well.  There's  a thread dangling around me these days, as I honestly don't know what to do with my life anymore..........I'm trying to catch it.......over the rainbow...........

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Update on the Anima Center


I've so often written about Speaking to the Earth, how this is something we have lost as an unsustainable industrial civilization.  What Jesse Wolf Hardin, Loba, and Kiva Rose do at the Anima Center in New Mexico is to live that way, and their work is so very important.  I'm taking the liberty again of posting from their blog as forest fire continues to threaten the center for the second time in a row.  I know they have many friends, and do this to spread the word.

To contribute to the Anima Fire Fund, either send a postal money order in any amount to:

Gretchen Geggis (Loba!)
PO Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830
or make a PayPal instant payment by going to:
Enter the amount as a personal “gift” and send to:
Whitewater-Baldy Wildfire Updates 
(from Anima Center Blog)

300 sq. Miles and Growing – Largest in Recorded State History
Under 6 Miles Away From Us – But We’re Nearly Sprinkler Ready!

The growing Whitewater Baldy Complex Fire is now over 300 square miles in size, engulfing 250,000 plus acres as of the publishing of this post.  On the map below, its northernmost spur appears to have crept a little closer still to us, though much of the red on the Northwest edge is certainly indicating backfires set to slow the progression.

June 1st Whitewater-Baldy Fire Perimeter, Anima location marked top left
The winds have been largely blowing out of instead of towards the Northeast, resulting in more smoke in the mornings and more worry about the fire’s direction, though they thankfully remain under 20mph.  The perimeter nearest us and the village of Reserve seems secure enough for the time being, but another day of those earlier 50mph winds could easily push the front again our way.
The mountain across the river from our cabins, in thick smoke that fortunately moves away by 11A.M. so far. Whitewater-Baldy Fire Photo by Jesse Wolf Hardin

On the list if more fire donations come in, will be expensive protective foil wrap to enclose the two guest cabins.  If not, all that may remain is to get a small trailer outfitted for the pump so that it can be moved easier, and purchase some kind of fuel reservoir so the pump purchased last Summer will run unattended for more hours, pumping water up and to… yes, you guessed it!….

Sprinkler Test #1 - Wolf and Rhiannon - Yippee!

Protective Sprinklers!
There is still lots of adjusting, routing and burying of the water pipes to go, but Trail Boss made sure the sprinkler system was ready to spray water on our main buildings.  What you see in the pictures is the excited first test of the system, with everyone (and even Kiva’s camera) getting a bit of a drenching.
The walls of our rough built structures have a lot of gaps where the water could get in between the walls and cause problems with rot, so Dan’l will close them up as best he can as time permits.  But already, even unadjusted, the sprinklers up the odds that a wildfire doesn’t take out our funky little home and office.

Projects Continue
Having the sprinklers working and close to ready means we’ve been able to think about other things besides the fire’s approach, including release of the recent 44 page long TWHC Newsletter, completion of the new 297 (!) page long Plant Healer Magazine… and the readying of The Medicine Bear novel with dear proofreaders’ help, a historically accurate story of not only the Southwest’s people but the land and lifeforms such as are suffering from the megafires today ( The flames, for second year in a row, have added to and rearranged our priorities, but they’ve also kept a fire under our arses so that everything that matters most gets done.  We were determined to be prepared for the fire, and determined that the magazine would be both more amazing than ever and go out on time.

As with life itself, there are mornings when it can be hard to see through the smoke and obfuscation... but always, the glow of the cliffs somehow remains visible, as does our purpose, and the work and love ahead.

A Positive Side
Being hounded by record breaking wildfires two Summers in a row can seem like nothing but a repeat nightmare, the destruction of plant and animal, the damage or threat to human homes, and the awful image of this sanctuary being torched after such intense and prolonged efforts to replant, restore and rewild it.  Cottonwoods may or may not burn, but the roots they’ve established in our 33 years of protection will live and sprout again.  The giant Ponderosa pine forest facing us on the east slope is unlikely to regenerate under current climate conditions, but sad as that is, there will be a succession of green life forms brimming with the anima vital force and eager to use this home and opportunity to thrive.

And if this canyon happens to be spared yet again from the flames of a record fire, through the efforts of fire fighters, prayers of friends and supporters or the canyon’s own will and purpose, then we will have the benefit of a protective buffer of already burned or reduced fuel-load land now both the east and west of us… with this river canyon being a rich strip of biodiversity acting as the seed bank and mother roots from which new life will spread.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gila Wilderness Fire - Anima Center Threatened

 Once again, the fire season is upon the Southwest, and the past few years have seen monster fires unlike anything in previous years. I am very saddened to learn that the Gila Wilderness fire in New Mexico is close to Reserve, where the Anima Center is located. I copy below from Jesse's blog, and urge all friends of Anima and their important work to contribute to the Fire Fund, as well praying that this year, as last, the blaze will bypass their land.

“Largest Wildfire of The Year” Bearing Down On Anima

by Jesse Wolf Hardin on May 25th, 2012

Time to stay calm, do our Plant Healer and conference work, and keep noticing what is wonderful and right. This is the blog post we didn’t want write, but considering the amount of worried emails we have been getting, it is time.  As has been reported on NPR and television news, the officially proclaimed “largest fire of the year in the U.S.” is consuming the rich Ponderosa ecosystem only 20 miles to the south of us… and is fast heading our way.

WhitewaterBaldy Fire, looking east from Anima, early May 25

For the second time in as many years, the Anima Sanctuary and our homes are threatened by wildfire, this time by what has been named the Whitewater/Baldy Complex Fire due to its being a merging of two separate burns into one.  As of tonight, it is over 100,000 acres in size, covering around 150 square miles.  We’d been spared breathing or even seeing the smoke until Friday the 24th, thanks to the SW winds pushing the column east as much as north, but as of Thursday night the wind direction had shifted to due north and brought the terrifying smoke column close enough to see.  The photos show Friday’s view above our cabin, facing east.

We have reopened the Anima Fire Fund to donations, to help make sure we can get all the materials and labor needed to maximize Anima’s protection.  See Fire Fund details below.

WhitewaterBaldy Fire Column above Anima cabin

The New Mexico Department of Health and New Mexico Environment Department today issued a smoke advisory for norther and eastern New Mexico, as a result of our Whitewater/Baldy Complex fire.  One line stood out: “Based on current extreme drought conditions, it is possible that smoke in the region could persist until the monsoon season.” When mentioning smoke, of course, they are inferring that the fire producing that smoke isn’t likely to slow any until the rainy season which could start as late as August… something that the USFS has yet to publicly admit.  The fact that the Forest Service press releases describe the 500-plus firefighters now based here as being “kept on the sidelines” due to terrain and weather conditions, is a pretty clear indication that neither the existing fire management policies nor fire fighting technology and resources are adequate to the task.  After decades of complete suppression and fuel buildup, it is impossible to simply write off a fire as a process of nature, and both when to do control burns and when and how to suppress wildfires needs to be figured out while there is anything left of the drought stricken mountain West.

Whitewater-Baldy Fire and Anima Sanctuary

  • Whitewater Baldy Fire flames as seen from Glenwood, 20 miles south of us, May 25
  • As always, the winds will be the factor in the speed as well as direction of the fire, and hopefully the 40-plus mile per hour winds of the last few days will at least slow after the weekend.  Following a course towards the Northeast would destroy some wonderful forest but threaten the fewest human abodes.  Whenever it blows due north, the edge of the blaze is being driven straight towards us.
    Truthfully, it is hard to imagine that this latest inferno will not have already reached and singed our reforested canyon in the upwards to two months that it could be before the monsoons roll in.
    And no matter what the evidence, it is impossible for me not to imagine that this land that gives to so many, might somehow again be spared.

    WhitewaterBaldy Fire, Late Afternoon May 25
    Last year’s Anima Fire Fund was suspended even though the protective measure were undone, because the immediate threat from the Arizona fire had ended… in some places only 7 miles from our property’s edge.  Now with all gratitude and humility we are opening it back up for donations.  We would prefer that any help come primarily from folks who can really spare a contribution, so we’re not causing any hardship by accepting the gift.
    Project Progress
    Monies raised last year paid for the purchase of a high-volume water pump and storage tank, plus wages and much of the needed pipe.  The pump has already been used to fill the water storage tank twice, water which has been used by Loba for the kitchen and washing as well as keeping our few planted beds green.  The main pipe lines have been laid and much of it covered, and the smaller feed lines to the sprinklers are nearly half done, lying in dug ditches awaiting fittings and burial.
    Project Needs
    To effectively prepare for the possible arrival of the Whitewater/Baldy fire, we will need to be able to invest in:
    -3 more high pressure hoses with quick release fittings
    -Modification of a small trailer for permanently mounting and easily moving the pump
    -Additional pipe and fittings
    -Fabrication of an external fuel tank so the pump can power the sprinklers longer, unattended
    Any additional monies raised will be used to try and purchase heat-reflective wrap to cover and protect our guest cabins, the Gaia and Gifting Lodges.
    This may or may not be the fire that finally gets us, sweeping away the green wildness we have grown.  But even if it does, then with the help of those of you who contributed last year and those who can help now, we may have only bear the expense of protection instead of the cost of replacing school infrastructure, belongings and home. Thank you!
    To contribute to the Anima Fire Fund, either send a postal money order in any amount to:

    Gretchen Geggis
    PO Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830
    or make a PayPal instant payment by going to:
    Enter the amount as a personal “gift” and send to:
    (Kindly Share)