Sunday, May 18, 2014

Desert Summer ........

The long, hot, introverted summers of Tucson are, like the long winters of the North lands, a time to go inside (quite literally), retreat.  After you get over the rigors and limitations of  The Inferno, and provided you have a good cooling system, you can quite learn to enjoy this time.  The snowbirds are all gone, the students are gone, and Tucson is a much quieter place. Everybody is up by 5:00 when it's cool, and by noon you're inside.  After the sun goes down people go out again, the cafes open, music is hear from bars, people like me are in the yard watering the plants and having a glass of cold wine.  The hot desert moon hangs, intense in the heat, over all, and walks in the surrounding desert can be very magical indeed.  Just bring water, water, water, because one quickly learns here that without water, there is no life.

Hot or not, it is still summer, and the adapted life of the desert is responding.  The giant saguaros produce a  crown of beautiful white flowers which quickly become sweet purple fruits (native people make wine and preserves from them) full of birds tearing at them. The desert doves make their mournful call, but actually it's a mating call.  The veneer of greenery in the desert dies back, waiting for the monsoons to come in July, when suddenly, , the vast storms roll in every afternoon, thunder and lightning, pour down floods that disappear within an hour or two...............and almost overnight the desert greens with seeds that have been dormant all year, waiting for this time.

It's easy to live inside of apartments, cars,  cyberspace and televisions today, immune to the subtle voices of nature, the "great conversation".  I remember when I was living in upstate New York, and suffered from asthma.  Every morning I would walk out into my garden and there would be mullein plants, springing up in very odd places I had certainly not planted them.  A herbalist friend remarked, seeing this phenomenon, that the spirit of the plant was trying to help me out.  Mullein is specifically useful to people with lung problems, both as a tonic and as an herb to smoke and breath.  A true Medicine Plant, a generous plant, responding to my need.   How often do we take the time to thank them?

I had that same experience with "fairy circles", also in New York.  We lived on 40 acres, and I remember, being very involved in Pagan spirituality, I was eager for "signs" in the fields of Devas.    I left offerings, I talked to the trees.  And sure enough, there were a number of times when I would take a walk and see grasses grow up in pretty clear circles.   Fantasy on my part?  Maybe, but other people saw the  "circles".  I like to think the fey folk were saying hello.
Mushroom Fairy Circle (not my picture)
The Desert too has its spirits, its Numina, and if you listen, you can converse with them.  Friendliness has much to do with opening the conversation.  Ever since my Night Blooming Cereus cactus put on such a spectacular show a few weeks ago, I've been patting the cactus in the morning, thanking it for giving me such beauty.  I'm absolutely astounded to see a multitude of new buds on it now, and thrilled with the prospect of a new show of these rare, ephemeral blooms once again.  Coincidence?  Maybe the cactus just likes me, and is responding to my great appreciation for its artistry.  Why not?  As an artist myself, I know I respond to appreciation.

Night Blooming Cereus
I've decided to give myself a "retreat" for a while,  and one of the things I'm going to do in the course of the next few weeks is work on a new book that's called "The Goddess Suite - A Community Portfolio of Excerpts from Performances, Rituals and Writings 1998 - 2014", which will archive the materials I have for communities in the future who may wish to use them.  I still receive emails from people who are interested in working with the Goddess masks, and along with my friends Mana, Annie, and Macha, I believe it's important to archive and share as much as I can the processes we all developed in working with sacred masks, ritual theatre, and telling and inventing new stories about the Divine Feminine through the art of the mask.  What I think is humming underneath this project is the possibility of me returning to working with groups directly myself. 

I think, every single day now, about what happened last summer when I was visited by the spirit of an African Songhai shaman - I think about the call he left me with to "revive Yemeja".  Yemeja has been called   the "Mother of the World"........ as an artist, as I keep saying to myself and to the other artists in my network, we need to take seriously our job, our unique power to "re-myth culture".  As the New Stories Foundation points out, so much of what happens in the life of humanity has to do with the stories we tell about the world and ourselves.  We need stories about the Great Mother, the Goddess with a Thousand Faces.  If I can help in this endeavor, I will.  So, I'll just keep on keeping on, and see what seeds get planted now in the quiet time..................

Found Poetry:"The Barbed Heart Finds Refuge Among the Palos Verde Forest"

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