Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Travel Notes

"A girl, my lord, in a flattop ford" forever checks out the lonely hitch hiker in Winslow, Arizona
Travel notes #1:

From the Grand Canyon and Sedona, where I visit my friend Linda and view the Grand Canyon over lunch at Mary Coulter's famous Bright Angel Lodge.  To be honest, there is really no way you can describe the Grand Canyon.  It is so huge, so vast, so amazing, that you can only look down into its depth in utter wonder. 

Stopped in Winslow, forever immortalized by Jackson Brown.  His youthful self stands forever on the corner there, lonely in bronze, always waiting with 7 women on his mind.  

Went to  see another one of Mary Coulter's hotels (the woman architect who was a colleague of Frank Lloyd Wright and built the beautiful hotels visitors to the Grand Canyon stayed at on their pilgrimages West.)  La Posada was her favorite.  Sadly this amazing building sat vacant for over 40 years, until it was bought by an artist couple in the early 90's, who restored it, brought it back to life.

It is also Tina's studio, and her surrealistic paintings are well worth seeing as well.  

No such trip in the dry vastness en route to Gallup should be without a visit to Meteor Crater, the best preserved meteor impact crater in the world, or at least, so they tell us.  And it's indeed a humbling sight to see, and to touch as well, that heavy stone from outer space.  Our tour guide had lived there, beside the crater, for 15 years...............one of the "care takers" of that great hole in the ground.  I wondered what it was like, to be a caretaker for something like that.  He loved it there; each place has its voice, it's "numina".  But it would not be my place, I think...................

To Nogal Canyon, my friend Georgia's handmade Earth Ship house, and a visit to Carrizozo in New Mexico. We visit an artist's home in Lincoln, out in the middle of nowhere really, beautiful place to dream and make.  

  A visit to another tiny village along a dusty road, we visit a lovely garden that is an Iris and Lily farm, and the beautiful Sanctuary of San Patricio, where I walk the Labyrinth.  There is no one there but us, we walk unhindered, make a lunch, all the doors are open, we look in the quiet rooms and think what a wonderful place to have a retreat it would be, sit and meditate in the old chapel.   There is a big feather found on the Labyrinth path, which I take as a gift, a "magic spell for the far journey", and that feather travels with me now, east. 



 I offer my gratitude to the Goddess as She manifest here, ubiquitous, Our Virgin of Guadeloupe, the Catholic Madonna standing in her Vesica Piscis, the Lady so many millions make pilgrimage to, who is also the most ancient Aztec Earth Mother  Tonantzin, finding another form to manifest, just as she has done for 35,000 years, ever since people began to paint her vulva along with mammoths and cave bears.  All return to the Mother, even if they don't know it!  But, of course, I keep these thoughts to myself, and keep on driving.

A check in with the UFO Research Center and Museum in Roswell, where I buy a bumper sticker, and regret that I won't be there this year to hear Stan Friedman and colleagues discuss the Roswell Incident, as they have been doing together for some 40 years.  Then the long, hot drive through the Bible Belt, strange billboards warning me that I better get "saved" before it's too late and their "Merciful God" will gleefully impose an eternity of very painful torture on me because I don't believe in him and him alone.  Hmm.  This contradiction should be obvious to even the most devout, but, apparently not. I keep these thoughts to myself as well. Oklahoma with its terrifying storm fronts, now there is a not-so-merciful God I definitely believe in, and fortunately can drive away from.   Kansas, a night spent at a nameless rest area somewhere in Missouri. 

Here I am, on this Life Loop, following the lovely touchstones of my herstory,  reclaiming little bits of memory, people, all the stories that each Place holds that become me.  At last, I wake up to suddenly realize how GREEN everything suddenly is - the trees are tall, there is a green carpet underfoot, there is even a robin warbling and hopping.  

The terrain has changed, I'm going East, the spirit of Water makes her presence felt again.  

I have a synchronicity to note as well (since this is a journal)...........an aquaintance I haven't heard from in years writes to tell me about an amazing, bright and talkative little boy she met in Brooklyn this summer while she was doing face painting at an outdoor festival.  She painted his face, and was amazed at how charming he was, and got to talking with his father as well.  She mentioned that she had done the New York Renaissance Faire, and he mentioned that his wife's mother had done it for a while as well.    She realized, in the course of speaking with him, that she was painting my grandson's face..........which is kind of amazing, since my daughter and I have been out of touch for 6 years now (the reasons aren't necessary to go into here).  

What are the odds?  Once more, I'm blessed to remember that, no matter what goes on on the surfaces of our lives, we're all really connected, a part of each other, at the roots.  

So, on to the summer's adventure!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Summer Solstice

The Buddha’s Last Instruction

“Make of yourself a light,” 
said the Buddha,
before he died.

I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal – a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.

An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.

The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.

No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.

And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire –
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something 
of inexplicable value.

Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

I woke early, on this longest day:
the light rose among
 the green conversation 
of  trees, a fading star, exultant starlings,
  two grey squirrels 
performing their morning ritual
greeting the only God 
they know,

the Sun


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Masks for Tara?

 I am writing from a coffee shop somewhere just past Wichita, Kansas, on my way back to New York and Vermont.  So much I want to share...........wonderful photos of the Grand Canyon, places I've been, alas, no time.  But I do see an email from Prema Dasara, and the possibility opening again of doing a series of masks for her "21 Praises to Tara".  I wrote about this in 2010, and did create two models, but the timing wasn't right for the project.

Prema Dasara has traveled throughout the world, creating devotional dances based upon the Tibetan Prayer, the "21 Praises to Tara".  It was my privilege to attend one of her teachings in Portland (hosted by Goddess dancer Lena Grace  and her husband Jack).  Prema and her students are bringing the Blessings of Tara to many places with their prayers that are  mandala dances devoted to the 21 different aspects of the Divine Tara. It's powerful work, and I have admired Prema for many years.

As I noted in my previous post, there are potent synchronicities for me about going back to Vermont, back to New York, back to visit my friend Jewell at "The Source".  It was with Jewell, doing energy work in 1997,  that White Tara  manifested so strongly in my spirit, imagination, art, and dreams.  So, whether this opportunity materializes or not, this is wonderful.   How wonderful that this thread should suddenly re-weave itself into this journey................a circle!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Synchronicity and the Road

Pre-historic Mississippian culture gorget
West Kennet crop circle, 2009

 'For Jung, Tarnas noted, “all events, inner and outer, whether emanating from the human consciousness or from the larger matrix of the world, were recognized as sources of potential and spiritual significance.”

I thought about that last quote for a while. It seems that once you recognize coincidence as meaningful, once you’re in the flow of it, the inner self and the larger outer matrix whisper constantly to each other. All we need to do is listen."

Trish MacGregor, Synchrosecrets Blog

I love the wonderful blog on synchronicity created by writers Trish and Rob MacGregor, which never fails to give me insight and affirmation of my own experiences of synchronicity.   So I take the liberty of quoting above from that blog.

I will be teaching at Sirius Rising and at Starwood this summer, as well as at the Studio on Broadway in Newburgh, NY (more on that later). I've also been wanting to visit a shamanic healer who has been very influential for me, Jewell, who lives in Shutesbury, Mass., a new friend also in that area, artist Valerianna, and the Sirius Community, also in Shutesbury.   I've been feeling very stale, and have felt more and more strongly that I had to get on the road, to refresh, get into flow, open up, connect.   I have many responsibilities here, so getting things together to leave is no small task, and I was planning on leaving the first of July.  But I've been feeling so strangely agitated that it seemed a long way off.  

Last week I was sitting at a table talking with someone about my Spider Woman project, the meaning of the myth to me.  During a pause in the conversation, I noticed a transparent strand with a tiny spider.............no one had noticed except me as it dropped down to hang right at eye level!   Later that day a little spider was seen hanging right in the middle of my windshield...............The next day I received a phone call from a friend in Sedona, inviting me to come up the following week (now) to see the Grand Canyon, visit Sedona, and possibly attend a Hopi ceremony.   I said yes!
 "I let my life be guided by a strange language that I call “signs”. I know that the world is talking to me, I need to listen to it, and if I do so I shall always be guided towards what is most intense, passionate and beautiful. Of course, it is not always easy.
If you trust life, life will trust you."
          Paolo Coelho

One last amazing synchronicity:  just the day before yesterday I received a order for a large Green Man mask (the Green Man, of course, symbolizes the return of life in the spring)The mask is to be sent to..................Shutesbury, Massachusetts!    There are hundreds of little towns in Massachusetts – what are the odds!  So, I leave feeling encouraged by the universe. Jewell's  center in Shutesbury is called “The Source”, and all she does is about Earth spirituality.   

Om Tare, Tu Tare, 
From you, the demons of delusion fly
Praise Tara, whose fingers adorn her heart
Light radiates from a wheel in Your hand.
Caroline Myss talks about learning to think in symbolic terms, as did Carl Jung, who coined the term "synchronicity".  If we begin to think of not only our dreams, but also the often amazingly synchronized experiences of our  "awake dreams" in symbolic terms, as Trish commented, "the inner self and the larger outer matrix whisper constantly to each other."    There is a lot for me to ponder in this.  Not the least, that in a sense, the beginning of my fascination with Spider Woman began with Jewel, at her workshop on shamanic theatre, where I first began to "personify" Spider Woman.  It was, in fact, the "Source".  Not only that, but when working with Jewell all those years ago as I recovered from a messy divorce, I had one of the most profound visionary experiences of my life, my "vision of Tara" .  That was a very profound experience that also set me on the path of Compassion, and the Goddess.  Again..........THE SOURCE.

So.  It is time to return again, not only to Vermont and Massachusetts, to New York where I once lived,  not only to see my healer and friend Jewell,  but, to The Source. 
 And.............the Greenman, the source as well, the source of renewal of life in the spring.  Here is a poem I wrote about The Greenman, so long ago, and on an enchanting summer day in Vermont:

Remember me, try to remember.
I am that laughing man with eyes like leaves.
When you think that winter will never end, I will come.
You will feel my breath, a vine caressing your foot.
I am the blue eye of a crocus opening in the snow
a trickle of water, a shaft of light among the trees:

You will hear me singing
among the green groves of memory,
and the shining leaves of tomorrow.

I'll come with daisies in my hands,
we'll dance among the sycamores
once more

Lauren Raine 1996

I've been rushing around like crazy trying to get things done, and lo and behold, today is the day, car is packed, and, with Spider Woman as my Co-Pilot, I'm ready to leave for points north, and then points very east, just about as east as I can go until I run into the Hudson River.   May She give us all............a finely tuned Webbed Vision.  Blessings of the Journey to all my friends who read this.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Connected: An Autobiography about Love, Death and Technology

"We as humans have accumulated so much knowledge.  Why do we have such a hard time seeing the bigger picture?"........for centuries we've been declaring independance:  perhaps it's finally time to declare our interdependance."
One of my favorite books is Leonard Shlain's 1997 "The Alphabet Vs the Goddess".  It was my privilege to meet Dr. Shlain briefly when I was living in Berkeley, and his book was influential for me.  I was saddened to learn that he passed away in 2009, and in many ways, this provocative, funny,  and delightful film by his daughter, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain is a tribute to him. 

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m42q61LX0H1qc0rb4.jpgAs someone who follows the Trail  of the Spider Woman, ever wondering at the new ways She has found to remind us of the Web, I'm nevertheless from a generation prior to computers, cellphones or even, heaven forbid, color xerox.  So I don't always know what to think of all this.  I remember last winter I went with some friends to an expensive Indian restaurant.  As we enjoyed our food and ambiance, we all noticed, at the candlelit table next to us, a well dressed young couple.  Both of them sat with heads bent over the little illuminated boxes in their hands, tapping away on them, and we had to admit, this was another generation.  We figured they were probably talking to each other.

"Have you ever faked a restroom trip to check your email? Slept with your laptop? Or become so overwhelmed that you just unplugged from it all? In this funny, eye-opening, and inspiring film, Director Tiffany Shlain takes audiences on an exhilarating rollercoaster ride to discover what it means to be connected in the 21st century. From founding The Webby Awards to being a passionate advocate for The National Day of Unplugging, Her love/hate relationship with technology serves as the springboard for a thrilling exploration of modern life…and our interconnected future"

To watch the film for free! :  http://connectedthefilm.com/