Friday, November 30, 2012

Solarized Shamans and Petroglyphs

Well, here's a shift from the climate change articles I've been reading, which I kind of need to do.......  I love petroglyphs, and in the southwest there are plenty of sites where Anasazi, Hohokum, and Pueblo petroglyphs can be seen.

Click image to enlarge in new window One phenomenon I've always found interesting is the "solarized shaman" petroglyph, an image that can be found throughout the world.  I've also run across UFO researchers who claim that these images depict  aliens or people in space helmets, but it's much more likely that they represent shamans who have entered the ecstatic visionary state in order to commune with their spirit helpers, and also while under the influence of sacred herbs that altar consciousness, such as peyote.  

They represent the "halos" that ancient indigenous people no doubt observed around highly energized people, shamans and healers, who were in contact with the spirit world.  Just as we can observe energy fields around people, plants, and even objects with Kirilian photography, so did they.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Vicki Noble and "the Cassandra complex"


I belong to a group that includes teacher, shaman and artist Vicki Noble, who, along with Karen Vogel, created the Motherpeace Tarot.  She is also the author of numerous books, was the editor of UNCOILING THE SNAKE - Ancient Patterns in Contemporary Women's Lives, was a key presenter at the Goddess Conference I attended in 2011 in Glastonbury, and is on the faculty of the Women's Spirituality Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

With the U.N. Conference on Climate change going on, and the article by Chris Hedges I shared in the previous post, I've been feeling overwhelmed and despairingVicki kindly let me share her comments in response to the article, and my own questions.  I find what she said so helpful.  In the final analysis, all we can really do is ease the suffering, in small ways or great, and that suffering has to include ourselves.    Thank you, Vicki, for many years of dedication and inspiration for  so many, for your dedication to the return of the Goddess.

"I heard something about this (new statistics on climate change on NPR last week, and  the part about the anticipated temperature rise. It was so shocking, I thought I hadn’t heard it correctly, especially since there was no analysis or discussion at all, just a passing mention of the 3+ degree rise, and then on to the next item. It’s like a dream I also had last week, in which our whole population was standing at a “fiscal cliff” (I so hate that expression) waiting for an approaching tsunami, as if we were watching a movie. And so it does seem as if we are in a kind of trance state, waiting for the end of the world. (Paralyzed? Disembodied? Stupefied?)

Do you know that they have a medical name for what’s wrong with people like us who keep talking about these frightening possibilities, the inevitable consequences of our actions? It’s called the “Cassandra Complex.” I’ve got it for sure. You know, Cassandra of Troy, the priestess (“seer”) who saw what was coming and tried to warn the inhabitants of her city to no avail; she went crazy with the effort of holding her sight in the face of total denial. At least we’re talking to each other here—a helpful reality check—and taking whatever small steps we can in the direction of awareness, preparation, and change.

It’s a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse tonight, as the Mystery continues to unfold.  

In 1999 I left Berkeley after two decades, to move up into the redwoods near Santa Cruz, where I lived in a small cabin chopping wood and building fires in my wood stove, while I pondered the state of my global despair. I thought at the time that surely I am not the only activist left from the 1970s who thought we were going to change things more dramatically—and we didn’t. It was a crushing disappointment for me at the time and I suppose in all honesty, it still is—although I do my best to maintain peacefulness, rather than constant adrenaline. But when Monsanto makes some new inroad into killing off life on the planet, I am once again thrown into a dark mood.

The spiritual practices that I developed while up in those mountains—invocations to the Tibetan Dakinis of the four cardinal directions and the center—have become a mainstay of my current teachings, and at some point I received an answer to my fervent question of, "What should I be doing???"  The loving and very direct response to my question was: "There is nothing to do but alleviate suffering."  So I agreed to do that and came down from the mountains to teach and engage again. Just trying to stay present in the unflinching reality of Cassandra and the priestesses and prophetesses everywhere. Feminist activist spirituality, blessed be!"
 I felt like sharing another piece of guidance that helps me as well.  I received this many years ago (in 1992 actually) and it also seems timely........I keep the little picture below (that's pretty much its actual size) in a frame on my altar.  Of all the icons and magical objects I've collected over the years, it's one of my most important.

 In the fall of 1992 I was working on my own Tarot deck.  I went to a copy shop to make copies of some of the small paintings I had done for the series, among them my version of the "Hermit" card, which I called "Solitude".  It's actually a self portrait, and what the card means to me has to do with the journey of the soul through the darkness of ignorance, pain, confusion, and sometimes the "dark night of the soul".  When we find the light, kindle the flame, that illuminates the way we emerge from the darkness.  Very often this is a solitary journey.   But to simply illuminate the way for ourselves is not enough - having kindled a flame, I believe it's important to share what has been learned.  Perhaps the light we share, the warmth of the flame we contribute, can illuminate the path of another.  We are all pathfinders, and part of the journey is to share what has been learned along the way to  encourage others.   Even in the darkest nights.  What else, ultimately, is there to do?

Color copiers in 1992 were not as advanced as they are now, they often broke down, and copies were a lot more expensive.  So I wasn't surprised when the machine didn't do anything for a few minutes when I was copying this painting.  Finally it spit out a big piece of paper with only a tiny image in the center - the one above.  I called over the technician, who fiddled with the machine, and I finally got my copies.  It wasn't until I got home that I looked at the "mistake" and realized how extraordinary it was that of all things to focus in on, the machine had focused perfectly on the hand bearing a light.

We do get guidance, truly.  I do not know if I have always been true to this gift of guidance, but I never am without my little xerox "mistake", to remind me.

Blessed be.  May we all "bear a light", no matter how difficult.  What else can we do? 

**The Motherpeace Round Tarot by Vicki Noble and Karen Vogel was one of the first feminine, Goddess-oriented decks, designed to celebrate the Great Mother and Her peaceful, life-loving creatures. It was self-published in 1981 in Berkeley, California and later released in a U. S. Games version in 1984. Like the cyclical ways of nature, the round cards can take on many positions in a reading beyond the usual two choices - upright and reversed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2012 Reflections: "Stand Still for the Apocalypse"

"Humans must immediately  implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe's inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.

The 84-page document,"Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World  Must Be Avoided," was written for the World Bank by the Potsdam  Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and  published last week. The picture it paints of a world convulsed by  rising temperatures is a mixture of mass chaos, systems collapse and  medical suffering like that of the worst of the Black Plague, which  in the 14th century killed 30 to 60 percent of Europe's population.  The report came just in time for the 2012  United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar."
Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist 
The U.N. Conference on Climate Change is occurring as I write, and I feel urgently the need to think about the article above from many perspectives.  The Winter Solstice of 2012 is almost upon us, and I've been thinking about what this metaphor actually means.   (And if the world ends  in a little less than a month, I'll learn, if  only briefly, to be more literal and less metaphorical about everything).

But if the world doesn't end with a polar shift, or a vast meteorite,  on the 21st, it does not mean that the prophecy is not true.  Nor does it mean that the metaphor of Dawn and a New Age is not without truth and possibility.  They say that the truth can set us free, and enable us to begin to address the problems, and potentials, of the future. But right now, we're a civilization asleep at the wheel indeed.  Denial is not a strong enough word for the  negligence.  And that Dawn will arise, if it arises, from chaos and a great deal of suffering and loss.

Spider Woman is the creatrix/midwife who, in Hopi prophecy (and the Mayan Calendar and the Hopi Calendar are related) led a small number of people through the kiva (which could be seen as a birth canal) into each of the next worlds.  In some variations of the Pueblo creation myth, the last world ended with a great flood that sank the continents, and Spider Woman taught the few people who emerged into the 4th world (our world) to make boats to survive.**  At all accounts, I believe She has come when She was needed, to teach us the lessons of the great Web of Life, the Unity of all life.  To cast us a shining line.  And now the 4th World is about to end........I do not believe She has abandoned us now. But we must listen and act.
I grew up with the Apocalypse, even as I watched Neil Armstrong go to the moon, and the advent of the Computer Age. I was one of those kids that hid under their desks in the "event of nuclear war", and my father kept a closet full of canned beans and peaches, just in case.  In Berkeley we talked about zero population growth and recycled our paper bags and invented "bulk" foods at the Co-op.  We wanted to save the redwoods, the prairie dogs and spotted owls, to breath clean air.   But no one could have imagined that we could face this.  No one.

The article linked above by Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author Chris Hedges is horrifying.  I think everyone should read it, just as everyone should see "An Inconvenient Truth", which by comparison, is quite polite. I think the time to be polite is over.  If  people have children or grandchildren, and have made that hopeful investment in the future, it's time to think about what they may face.
"A planet wide temperature rise of 4 degrees C—and the report notes that the tepidness of the emission pledges and commitments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will make such an increase almost inevitable—will cause a precipitous drop in crop yields, along with the loss of many fish species, resulting in widespread hunger and starvation. Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to abandon their homes in coastal areas and on islands that will be submerged as the sea rises. There will be an explosion in diseases such as malaria, cholera and dengue fever. Devastating heat waves and droughts, as well as floods, especially in the tropics, will render parts of the Earth uninhabitable. The rain forest covering the Amazon basin will disappear. Coral reefs will vanish. Numerous animal and plant species, many of which are vital to sustaining human populations, will become extinct. Monstrous storms will eradicate biodiversity, along with whole cities and communities. And as these extreme events begin to occur simultaneously in different regions of the world, the report finds, there will be “unprecedented stresses on human systems.” Global agricultural production will eventually not be able to compensate. Health and emergency systems, as well as institutions designed to maintain social cohesion and law and order, will crumble. The world’s poor, at first, will suffer the most. But we all will succumb in the end to the folly and hubris of the Industrial Age. And yet, we do nothing."

I'm not the first person to say it, but it needs to be said again and again, and be a required class and discussion in every school.  How can we teach the young geometry and literature, and leave them unprepared in every way for the reality of ecological disaster?  It's not a nice theoretical problem for them, it's their future.  Our civilization, which is now global, which affords us such unprecedented wealth, food, longevity, and not sustainable.  We cannot evolve to survive the technological age unless we can evolve spiritually to meet the challenge, and we're, according to some, plain out of time. 

A corporatocracy and the bottom line is not a fit, ethical, or visionary leader, and yet, that is what, essentially, we have rendered our power over to.  Our civilization is not sustainable.  Not because of wall street, or outsourcing, or devaluation of the dollar or the euro.  It's not sustainable because the polar ice caps are melting, and the snows of Kilimanjaro are almost gone, and we continue to burn coal.  Because too many life forms that weave the web of ecosystems are rapidly becoming extinct, and the Great Coral Reef is dying, and no one can imagine getting the kids to school without an SUV.  And because the environment wasn't even in the presidential debates.  

How does one, really, come to grips with this?   There are many who are trying, who offer hopeful seeds.  How can we break the "sound of silence", wake each other up and demand justice, not only human justice, but for all living beings, for the great, brilliant, blue planet that is more than our home, but our life and our mother and our own being.  For Gaia.............

**"Taiowa sent Spider Woman to talk to the people who still carried the Creator’s song in their hearts. She taught them how to build large boats out of reeds. This, they did, and when their boats were sealed, the waters began to flood the world. The noise of the rushing waters was incredible.  Large continents sunk and broke apart into small islands. Incredible rains fell. Then it stopped, and there was silence. The reed boats drifted the people ove r t h e s i l e n t waters for a long time.  When their boats finally stopped on a new coastline, the people walked onto the dry lands for the first time."

*** This morning I went to work on a shower I'm tiling in a trailor.  The tiles are in a box on a table outside, and seemingly hovering above the tiles in the box was a seed, the kind that you see drift by in a good breeze.  I was amazed that it stayed right there, until I realized it was suspended by a single transparent spider thread.  What a lovely metaphor........for me, for all.  To be the seeds, suspended and sustained by the Threads of Tse Che Nako.

Monday, November 26, 2012


 Recently I had one of those conversations about how, and why, the ancients went to such trouble to built temples and pyramids, from Gobekli Tepe (12,000 years old) to Stonehenge (5,000 to 6,000 years ago) to the astonishing discovery of a pyramid complex in Bosnia.  As always, the discussion includes the question "How did they do it?".

Some excellent work has been done (literally) by archeologists who have sought to answer this question about the Great Pyramid in Egypt, as well as the transport  and shaping of the huge megaliths that form Stonehenge.  It's been demonstrated how they might have done it with ropes, levers, and generations of people with a very fierce determination to get the job done. 

But many people believe that, just as the ancients understood the unique properties and geo-magnetic energy currents of sacred places in ways that we have lost, so too they may have had a capacity to move stone and work stone in ways that we no longer understand.

Is levitation of stones only something that can happen in a fantasy novel?  How about the Sufi temple just outside of Pune, India, whose members have been "levitating" a stone weighing 170 pounds daily for many years?  They are very specific about how they do it - they work in groups of 11, and have a sacred song/mantra they together chant while performing this remarkable feat, which a participant (V.S. Gopalakrishnan) described as "very light":

"No single person can lift any of the stones from the ground with all the ten fingers, heavy indeed as they are.  How do the stones ‘levitate’? The word ‘levitate’ is perhaps a misnomer because they do not go up from the ground by themselves. Then, what is the miracle about the stones? My younger son of about 10 years and I were keen participants in the mystery-act. Any eleven males (including boys) could stand around the big stone lying on the ground. Each person has to simply bend down and ‘gently’ touch the stone with just one index finger. The touching has to be in the bottom half, not the top portion of the stone. After the eleven people thus touch the stone, all of them have to utter, in unison and loudly, the expression, “Kamarali Darvesh”. My experience was incredible. The stone rises up to eight feet before falling to the ground. While the stone was rising, your index finger feels very light and there is no pressure on it. It was as if some spiritual force through the eleven of us was guiding the stone to rise up. Why does it fall after going up eight feet or so? It is because our finger can no longer touch it above that height."

The author of the Blog above commented that  he believed any group of people could, like in "Table Tipping", perform this feat of levitation,  but we are no longer able to group together and concentrate together in such a manner - that the combined energy of the group is needed.

And then there's the Latvian emigrant Edward Leedskalnin (1887 to 1951) , a small and solitary man who managed to carve and raise huge blocks of limestone  to build the monument that's come to be called  Coral Castle in Florida. He was also known for his theories on magnetism.  Like Simon Rodia in Los Angeles who created the amazing Watts Towers in his backyard, Leedskalnin's life work was creating his "castle", but unlike Rodia, no one can figure out how he did it, as the mysterious Leedskalnin worked at night, and was very secretive about allowing others to see him at work.  He commented that he "knew the secrets of the great pyramids", but if he did, he never shared them and took them to his grave.


File:Coral Castle 3.jpg

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks Giving

image by Joel Barker

As I contemplate the end of November, the immanent closing of the year ~ the only place to arrive at is  GRATITUDE. No matter how I complain, finally, Gratitude is the soil, the enzyme, the only appropriate medium to plant any seed in.  And the tide that takes us to sea as well......

by Eleanor Lerman

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, "Last night,
the channel was full of starfish."
  And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reflections on Loss of Community

"The paradox of our time in history is that we spend more,but have less, buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We write more, but learn less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait"

George Carlin

I find I am reluctant to sell my motor home, because it represented a dream I had of finding a more friendly life in a small town in New Mexico. I don't know if it would have worked out that way, but I think it might.  But the truth is I can't leave Tucson now not only because of responsibilities to my mother, but economic realities as well.  And yet, I've never really felt "at home" here, never really been able to find any kind of lasting community. 

I once had an astrologer do an Astro-Cartography chart for me.  Turned out the worst places I could be in the world were Phoenix and Indianapolis, with Saudi Arabia being a bad choice too.  Well, I'm only 100 miles from Phoenix ..........but if I went to New Mexico, or back to Northern California, would things really be different?  I'd  over 60 now, and the world is a different place.   I think it's very difficult for many people to find community now, and loneliness, in spite of our "instant connections" is increasingly pernicious in American society.  And its something no one talks about, because it's both subtle and embarrousing.  If you feel isolated it must be your fault, right?  

I come from a generation and time that lived in communal houses, and was big on co-ops.  And yet, all these years later, I find myself living in a house in a neighborhood where I know no one.  When my mother lived here she never knew her neighbors, and they don't want to know me either.  

I don't know when it happened, but I don't send out emails about my new work, blog posts, or even interesting tidbits of information any more because......well, we all know that it would fall among hundreds of emails.  The assumption, somewhere along the line, I came to make  is that no one has time to read my emails any more, and if they do, they don't have time to respond.    And yet........I remember when I used to write long letters to people, when people did that.  

I feel the same way about calling people  unless I have a specific reason to exchange information. In the "Information Age" that's a real BUZZWORD.   The serpentine undulations and spiral logic of the art of conversation are lost in such a world that values "information" and "getting things accomplished" above all else.

I go to the coffee shop now and confront rows of impregnable laptops, and it seems to me that the days of just hanging out are over.    I join groups and listen to speakers, but that never seems to become one-on-one either.  You listen, everyone gets their 1.5 minute of question and answer, and then you go home.   If I find it frustrating, it's because I'm an anachonism already. 

The function of this blog has been to explore connection, the often invisible strands of Spider Woman's Web.  But I like to have my occasional rant about dis-connection as well.
"Americans' circle of close confidants has shrunk dramatically in the past two decades and the number of people who say they have no one with whom to discuss important matters has more than doubled, according to a new study by sociologists at the University of Arizona. "The evidence shows that Americans have fewer confidants" said Lynn Smith-Lovin, one of the study's authors. "This change indicates something that's not good for our society. Ties with a close network of people create a safety net. These ties also lead to civic engagement and local political action."

The study compared data from 1985 and 2004 and found that the number of people with whom Americans can discuss matters important to them dropped by nearly one-third, from 2.94 people in 1985 to 2.08 in 2004.
Researchers also found that the number of people who said they had no one with whom to discuss such matters more than doubled, to nearly 25 percent. The survey found that both family and non-family connections dropped, with the greatest loss in non-family connections."

Recently I  re-connected with two friends from college.  One I haven't seen in 25 years, the other in 10.   She said she was coming to Tucson for a concert and the Dia de Los Muertos parade.  I made up the guest room and  looked forward, I suppose, to a long discussion about where we've been since graduate school.  Instead we rushed to the parade, spent a lot of time trying to park, had time for a brief drink, then they both rushed to their concert, and I got an email a few days later saying how great it was to re-connect.

Well, I guess so.  That seems to be how it's done these days............?  Kind of like Facebook.  Abreviated, condensed.   Why should I be disappointed?

The busy, busy, busy  indifference of our world is sometimes amazing to me.   I pulled up a few past entries I wrote on the subject. I think creating community is a very important endeavor today, but it's not really easy at all, because the drift of our culture is going in the opposite direction.
May, 2010:

 Yesterday I saw something that happens everyday, but it stayed with me.

 I was looking for a post office, which I found.  There was a long line, and a nice looking gentleman, with a badge that said "Allesandro" was the "maitre'd" of the operation.  In the section between the postal tellers and the long  line was an older woman in a wheelchair.......I could see that she often came to the post office because she knew everyone's names, and in that unfortunate and busy place, she was trying to engage the tellers and Allesandro with conversation by asking a lot of questions about mailing options, asking where the bathroom was, and making some personal comments in the hope of response.  The people in line were annoyed because she was taking up time, and space, and the tellers smirked.  Finally she apologized, and told everyone she was "under the influence of legal drugs", meaning I assume painkillers, and away she rolled, looking embarrassed, down the street.

I didn't think she seemed like a crazy person............on the contrary, she had an intelligent face and a pleasant voice.  She was just desperately lonely, and here was a place with people who were "familiar", and where the hum of  activity was going on.  She was like a stray dog, hoping for a scrap of affection or attention in a place where she surely wasn't going to get it.

Did I do anything?  No, but I sympathized.   I have a better social mask than her, and I have legs and a car, so I'm better off.  People like the Post Office lady have fallen through the cracks.  Am I the only one who saw her, was she invisible to everyone else?

 I should have asked her  to have coffee with me.  Maybe I would have found her disturbing, or it would have taken "time from my busy life".  But I might have learned something, been touched in some way.  I suspect, if I had, she would have looked at me with something akin to terror or suspicion, and refused. Maybe I should have tried anyway.

Here's another entry I found that kind of addresses the issue as well.  I still miss the "Tempe Beach". 

 August, 2008:

Tempe is the home of ASU, a mega-university, and is part of the vast sprawling urban complex that Phoenix has become. But my memories there go back to when I was a child, and one of my fondest memories was  the "Beach".

Back then, Tempe was just a little college town, and in the '50's, only rich people (very few of whom lived in Tempe) could afford a private swimming pool. The Tempe Beach was a huge public swimming pool that took up a whole block, and in the summer, when it was too hot to swim in the day, as soon as the sun went down families arrived with towels in hand, to swim, and eat hot dogs and ice cream from stands at the "Beach". It was a riotous scene of kids in plastic swimming caps and boxer shorts leaping in and out of the pool, a legion of life guards, flirtatious college students posing for each other, and young families socializing at picnic tables.

The "Beach" is long gone, and private swimming pools are  common now, and people can swim with all the "privacy" they could want in their own back yard, along with spending a lot of time and money maintaining that privacy (not to mention the enormously wasteful water use all this "privacy" requires). But I think, even with the obsession Americans seem to have with insulating themselves thoroughly from contact with "strangers" - that there are a few people like myself, who remember the color, fun, and crowds of the "Beach".

The demise of the "Tempe Beach" reminds me of the demise of the "diners" my mother still remembers fondly. Breakfast, for her as a young working woman, involved a whole community of people cooperating to share an experience called "breakfast". Her eggs came with a waitress, cooks, dishwashers, and the regulars she got to know by virtue of eating there regularly.  A  disposable egg mac muffin and a throwaway coffee alone in the car on the way to work may be more convenient.......but is it better? 

Well, I do have to add that somethings are, indeed, better.  The Tempe Beach was, in its early days, segregated.  That's a huge change for the better.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Just some pictures......

Earth Shrine Icon #12 (2012)
"The future enters into us, 
in order to transform itself in us,
long before it happens."


Just felt like posting two images, one a recent sculpture (thank you, Charlie, for letting me turn your hands into a tree), the other a photo my roomate, Amaranta, took of sparks over a bonfire she attended at Halloween.  She seems to be, like my friend Ginny, another person who has orbs show up in her photos (they never do in mine).  This image is beautiful in its own right..........almost, a kind of dance.

Photo by Amaranta Kozach
"Don't just do something.  Stand There."

The Book of Grace

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More "Numina" Masks..........


I’ve had a lot of names.  It doesn’t matter what you call me.
Call me Tse-Che-Nako,  "the One who makes the world"
with the stories I spin.  Call me  Spider Woman, the Weaver.

Listen, I’ll tell you something.
 Because you came  to the red desert
empty, listening to the wind.

When the Third World ended, I wove  a long thread
And led the people through the Kiva to a new world.
A new world is being born again.

 It’s time to weave a new story.

Walk out into the desert and sit beneath a cholla.
Listen to the ones that live here.
Stories like threads woven into the land.
Stories that wrap themselves around old bones and pottery shards,
that fly, or run on four legs.
Stories written in the rock.
And cracks in the land like a spider web,

full of light.
Once, you could see the Web
as plain as day.  Each shining thread 
touching each thread.

You say you can't see it.
Well, take a look around!
You don't need to climb a mountain to get the big picture.

All of its snaking rivers and twining roots
Are inside of you.  All those threads
come right out of your hands
and  your hearts
and go on forever

into the Earth,
and into each other,
and into all your stories,
into everyone you'll ever know,
into all those who came before you,
and all those who will come after you.
Desert Spring:  "Our Lady of the Arroyo"
I keep making "Numina" masks, because they keep suggesting themselves to my heart.   I don't know what to do with them.........they have no "voices" yet, or people who want to use them. I'm left with hoping that they will suggest their own use .........that they'll have an impulse within them to lead me somewhere else. Now doesn't that sound strange.......but I think that's a bit how Spider Woman works.

In a recent post, while asking this question about this weird collection of masks I seem to be making, I found a comment about a story written by Rob MacGregor (I often visit their fascinating blog on Synchronicity):
"Lenore is an artist.  She sees faces and people in trees, rocks, water, etc.  She draws what she sees, then painstakingly removes whatever traps the faces / people and frees them to move on to whatever is next."
I think that's a pretty elequent way of talking about art, and a good bit of advice for me!

Giving Birth to Spring

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Patricia Monaghan


when I choose, I’m blood-young again,
I rise fresh as washed granite
from foam, I love whom and when
I choose. Here I stand, pomegranate

in hand, ripe as a bud but old, old

as rock, unshakeable now, a power
essentially female and free

Hera Renews Her Youth", Patricia Monaghan
I am very saddened to learn today  of the passing of Patricia Monaghan I saw her just this spring at the Women and Mythology Conference in San Francisco, which she was instrumental in creating and coordinating. I also remember her from years at the Starwood Festival, and the community I love so at Brushwood Folklore Center.  Patricia has contributed so much to the Goddess community, the Pagan Community, to consciousness,  and to waking up the world. She will be very much missed.
Thank you Patricia.  You've given all of us so much.   I wish we had more time with you. 

trees, in general; oaks, especially;
burr oaks that survive fire, in particular;
and the generosity of apples
seeds, all of them: carrots like dust,
winged maple, doubled beet, peach kernel;

the inevitability of change
frogsong in spring; cattle
lowing on the farm across the hill;
the melodies of sad old songs
comfort of savory soup;
sweet iced fruit; the aroma of yeast;
a friend’s voice; hard work
seasons; bedrock; lilacs;
moonshadows under the ash grove;

something breaking through

—Patricia Monaghan

 From "Voices of the American Land":
Patricia Monaghan
Patricia Monaghan  is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Homefront, on the impact of war on families, and many works of nonfiction including The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit. Among her literary awards have been a Pushcart Prize and the Phoenix Award for environmental poetry.

In Grace of Ancient Land award winning poet, playwright and essayist Patricia Monaghan writes of and from the Driftless area of Southeastern Wisconsin. The poems reveal the unique typography of stream-cut valleys and limestone-crowned hills that rolls out in a 600 mile swath of forest, farm and field. Patricia Monaghan opens to us the heart of this virtually unknown magical geography. Across wilding orchards, to a blaze of "prairie grasses/pink and scarlet in the dying sun" the poet’s attention is precise, awed, unsentimental. 

Within these arcs Patricia watches light fall across the meadow pearling the hissing woodlands:  
 "the dust-blue grapes ripe among the sunset plums
   was grace itself . . . 
   the embrace of  the unsought present"

Sunday, November 11, 2012


All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

David Whyte 

4 years ago I went to Puerto Rico, where I encountered a tropical storm. My life in Tucson, post monsoon season, is placid, safe, dull, perhaps that's why I dreamed last night of Puerto Rico, of storms I have had the privilege to meet (and survive). Intensities…….that’s what the tropics are, life at its most vibrant, virulent, creative, predatory, colorful………impossible to be in the midst of that potency of life and not become intoxicated with it. Intoxicated or terrified, take your choice. Perhaps, in retrospect at least, experiences can be, well, kind of like meals. How did they TASTE? Did they fill, were they nourishing, spicy, sweet or bitter,  or toxic, making one slow, dull, digestive.
"The world is not with us enough - oh taste and see!" the poet said (Denise Levertov this time)  and it's true.

I remember I had a room with a balcony at the top of a hotel  in Rincon. I arrived  off season to visit someone, and had to find a place to stay unexpectedly.  I  felt a bit like a character from Stephen King’s “The Shining”, with a whole hotel to myself at night, empty bars ringing with the ghosts of bands and booze and laughter and sex, below me, two levels, empty blue pool, palm frond chairs, wind, wind, wind, the wet, heavy tropical air, wind blowing over wicker tables. As the storm advanced across the dark ocean, the lights went out, and there were no candles, or even an attendant to ask about candles.

So, I sat in the state of Storm, with nothing to do but witness.

I do not think I shall ever forget standing on the balcony, the intense heavy silence, sounds of the koki frogs, a woman calling for her dog in Spanish “Limon, Limon!”, and watching the sudden illumination of lightning as it revealed an advancing mass of  clouds, rolling in from the distant ocean. I could not but be awed by the truth of that moment, our lives, our plans, our hopes and imaginations of what is existing in the brief moments between those storms.
I know that sometimes
your body is hard like a stone
on a path that storms break over,
embedded deeply
into that something that you think is you,
and you will not move
while the voice all around
tears the air
and fills the sky with jagged light.

But sometimes unawares
those sounds seem to descend
as if kneeling down into you
and you listen strangely caught
as the terrible voice moving closer
and in the silence
now arriving

Get up, I depend
on you utterly.
Everything you need
you had
the moment before
you were born.

~ David Whyte ~

(Where Many Rivers Meet)

Friday, November 9, 2012

History of the Department of Peace in the U.S.

I posted this article a year ago, and think it's worth posting again as the second term of Obama begins.  It looks to me like this is an idea whose time has come  (and gone - and come - and gone - and come.....)    In asking why we don't have a "Department of Peace", I was  amazed to learn the long and dedicated history of people and times who have, in fact, tried to create just that.  It was first proposed in 1793, along with the founding of the Constitution

  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The history of legislation to create a Department of Peace

The peace movement in the United States has a proposed legislative history that dates to the first years of the republic:

1793: Dr. Benjamin Rush, Founding Father (signer of the Declaration of Independence), wrote an essay titled "A plan of a Peace-Office for the United States". Dr. Rush called for equal footing with the Department of War and pointed out the effect of doing so for the welfare of the United States in promoting and preserving perpetual peace in our country. First published in a 1793 almanac that Benjamin Banneker authored, the plan stated (among other proposals):
--Let a Secretary of Peace be appointed to preside in this office; . . . let him be a genuine republican and a sincere Christian. . . .Let the youth of our country be instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and in the doctrines of a religion of some kind; the Christian religion should be preferred to all others; for it belongs to this religion exclusively to teach us not only to cultivate peace with all men, but to forgive—nay more, to love our very enemies.
--To subdue that passion for war . . . militia laws should everywhere be repealed, and military dresses and military titles should be laid aside. . . .
1925: Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters, at the Cause and Cure for War Conference, publicly suggested a cabinet-level Department of Peace and secretary of peace be established.

1926/1927: Kirby Page, author of A National Peace Department, wrote, published and distributed the first proposal for a cabinet-level Department of Peace and secretary of peace.

1935: Senator Matthew M. Neely (D-West Virginia) wrote and introduced the first bill calling for the creation of a United States Department of Peace. Reintroduced in 1937 and 1939.

1943: Senator Alexander Wiley (R-Wisconsin) spoke on the Senate floor calling for the United States of America to become the first government in the world to have a Secretary of Peace.

1945: Representative Louis Ludlow (D-Indiana) re-introduced a bill to create a United States Department of Peace.

1946: Senator Jennings Randolph (D-West Virginia) re-introduced a bill to create a United States Department of Peace.

1947: Representative Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois) introduced a bill for “A Peace Division in the State Department”.

1955 to 1968: Eighty-five Senate and House of Representative bills were introduced calling for a United States Department of Peace.

1969: Senator Vance Hartke (D-Indiana) and Representative Seymour Halpern (R-New York) re-introduced bills to create a U.S. Department of Peace in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The 14 Senate cosponsors of S. 953, "The Peace Act", included Birch Bayh (D-IN), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Alan Cranston (D-CA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Edmund Muskie (D-ME). The 67 House cosponsors included Ed Koch of New York, Donald Fraser of Minnesota, and Abner Mikva of Illinois, as well as Republican Pete McCloskey of California.

1979: Senator Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii) re-introduced a bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace.

2001: Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) re-introduced a bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace. This bill has since been introduced in each session of Congress from 2001 to 2009. It was re-introduced as H.R. 808 on February 3, 2009 and is currently supported by 72 cosponsors. In July 2008, the first Republican cosponsor, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) signed on.

2005: Senator Mark Dayton (D-Minnesota) introduced legislation in the Senate to create a cabinet-level department of peace a week after Dennis Kucinich introduced a similar bill in the House.

And we still don't have a Department of Peace. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Secret Life of Things

Long may you run
Although these changes have come

With your chrome heart shining
in the sun
 Long may you run
.....Neil Young
First, of course, hooray!  We don't have Romney for president, and there is still hope that America may become a more humane, sane country.  If he had won, I'd be writing about my immanent move to New Zealand or Panama..............

So, a domestic matter that I felt deserved a bit of Dia de los Muertos honor as well.  It's time for me to let go of my "$3,500.00 Home", Lucy.  I can't afford to maintain her as a "second home", so it's time for her to hopefully find a new owner who will enjoy her as I have.  Housing may be going up, but Lucy cost me $3,500.00, was and is low-energy (at least, when standing), recycled,  remodeled (by me), had no mortgage, no property taxes, and if I didn't like the neighborhood, I moved her.  I realize motor home housing is not that good for people living in cold climates, but for people in the Southwest, and particularly seniors on a low budget, it's a solution to low cost housing.

I've had some happy times in Lucy, and although she isn't much up to long road trips anymore, she can still be settled somewhere and be a nice home for someone.  And what I think about as I sadly prepare to place ads is how I hope I can find someone who will appreciate my old home, take care of her.  Be friends.

We are such a disposible society, hardly  anyone understands my thinking in this way.  And yet, "things" have a kind of life as well, and deserve honor and gratitude for the service they've given.   Whether a house, or a car, or a teapot, things are infused with the energy of those who have owned and used them.  A fortunately enjoyed item can emanate peace, or comfort, or want to touch it, sit in it, sleep in it, eat off of it, look at it.  It just feels good and you don't know why, and that "mana" one feels goes beyond design.
The disposibility of our culture has not only caused environmental destruction, but it's also caused us to lose this sensibility, a kind of "6th sense" that tuned us to the "secret life of things".

For example, people used to inherit collections of precious china, cups and saucers that were proudly brought out to serve tea to guests.  Those teacups (and I have a few of my own) are infused with the ancient aroma of ancestral tea leaves, and the hands and lips of people long gone.  Imagine people sitting to tea, eating their cakes and enjoying the lovely patterns of flowers on the cup in their hand, colors emerging from the amber liquid of the tea?  As a child I used to play with those fragile little cups and imagine their use and history.  How can a disposible Starbucks cup of coffee even begin to compare? Or how about my 75 year old sewing machine, which still works?  Think of the women who cherished this precious machine, kept it oiled and replaced the belts over the years, the changing fashions that were constructed for parties and work under that needle?  

So, my old mobile home, my friend.  Thank you for years of shelter and good dreams, for meals cooked and roads wandered.  Long may you run.