Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mass of the Moon Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse, photo by Howard Brannen
The Lunar Eclipse going on today is extraordinary, and I just had to re-post this beautiful poem.  This is a cosmic event that could also be known as a Rite of Passage for many.  Denise Levertov imagined the Eclipse as not a phenonomena, but a Mass, a celestial event that moves us all in its orbit into the sacred. Blessed be.


Not more slowly than frayed
human attention can bear, but slow
enough to be stately, deliberate, a ritual
we can't be sure will indeed move
from death into resurrection.
As the bright silver inch by inch 
is diminished, options vanish,
life's allurements. The last silver
lies face down, back hunched, a husk.

But then, obscured, the whole sphere can be seen
to glow from behind its barrier shadow:  bronze,
unquenchable, blood-light.  And slowly,
more slowly than desolation overcame, overtook
the light, the light
is restored, outspread in a cloudless pasture of
spring darkness where firefly planes
fuss to and fro, and humans
turn off their brief attention
in secret relief.  No matter:  the rite
contains its power, whether or not
our witness rises toward it;
grandeur plays out the implacable drama
without even flicking aside our trivial
absence, the impatience with which we
fail to respond.

                And yet
we are spoken to, and sometimes 
we do stop, do, do give ourselves leave
to listen, to watch.  The moon,
the moon we do after all
love, is dying, are we to live
on a world without moon?  We swallow
a sour terror.  Then
that coppery sphere, no-moon become once more
full-moon, visible in absence.
And still without haste, silver
increment by silver
increment, the familiar, desired,
disregarded brilliance
is given again,

given and given.

Denise Levertov, "Mass of the Moon Eclipse"
from This Great Unknowing:  Last Poems
1999, New Directions Press

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cosmic Spider?

Here is something Eddie Bailey of the U.K. sent me - pointing out the way an illustration of the Earth's magnetic field is very similar to an ubiquitous  prehistoric symbol found among the Mississippian people of  ancient America (one that, interestingly enough, also occured in 2005 as a crop circle in Wiltshire, England.)  The "Cosmic Spider".....this motif can be related to "Spider Woman's Cross" and the archetype of Spider Woman, earth mother, creatrix, weaver of the threads of life, as well as midwife for each new age, found throughout the Americas from the Maya to the Hopi and Navajo.

As Mr. Bailey pointed out, 

 "The truth will cease to be stranger than fiction when we get used to it."........ "I realise symbols work on many levels or fractally.  It is said matter is condensed light, and Light is an electro-magnetic wave or particle.  The electric field and the magnetic field are ALWAYS perpendicular to each other - like a Cross on a certain level."

2005 crop circle of ancient American spider motif, Wiltshire, England

He also kindly shared comments by Laid Scranton, who believes that the "primitive people" of Africa, the Dogon people, not unlike  the similarity between the  "cosmic spider" of ancient America and the Earth's magnetic field in relationiship to our sun, seem to have created or intuited a complex symbol language as well: 

"The Dogon symbols and concepts relating to atomic structure so thoroughly mimic their scientific counterparts that, if our purpose was to refute their basis in science, we would first need to explain in some believable way the following extraordinary similarities:

• The po, which is defined in terms similar to those that describe the atom
Sene seeds, which are described in form and behavior as being similar to protons, neutrons, and electrons and whose "nesting" is recognizable as an electron orbit
• The germination of the sene, whose drawn images are a match for the four types of quantum spin particles
• The spider of the sene whose threads weave the 266 seeds of Amma, much as string theory tells us all matter is woven from strings. 
Likewise, there seems to be a relationship between Dogon cosmological drawings and the shapes of various Egyptian glyphs, yet among the Dogon, these drawings have never taken on the status of an actual written language.
Dada, the Dogon spider who weaves matter and whose name means "mother" in the Dogon language, exhibits many of the classical attributes of the Egyptian (and Amazigh) goddess Neith.  In fact, other ancient goddesses, like Athena, who are traditionally associated with Neith also are associated with spider symbolism similar to that found in Dogon cosmology. Such consistencies suggest that the Dogon system of myth could represent an early incarnation of the Egyptian myths."


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Circe's Lament and other Visitations

I used to write the occasional poem, but that doesn't seem to happen much any more.  Perhaps the Muse of Poetry has flown away, finding me uninteresting.  Fickle creatures, muses.  But here is a poem I wrote years ago inspired by a strange Muse - the Goddess or Enchantress Circe of the fame of the Odyssey.  Ulysses  landed on her island, and among other things, she turned his men into swine.   It was originally inspired by  Margaret Atwood'Circe/Mud Poems.** (see her poem below).  I've loved the collection since the 70's, along with her rendering of yet another Goddess/heroine connected to the Odyssey, her so very witty look at Penelope's point of view in  The Penelopiad .  Penelope, like Circe, has  a somewhat different perspective on the events of mythic history.
In my poems, it would seem that the voice of "Lexusturned up after writing the first poem, no doubt to protest the indignity of being just an ordinary sailor, with the misfortune to be caught in someone else's epic.


I cannot recall how it happened.

I was on fire, I do remember that,
my imagination a tropical sunset
inflamed, exultant

and for one shining
Hallelujah of an hour
everything I touched

You squeal your indignation
through ruddy snouts:

It was a misfire, I swear it.

In the splendor of my exuberance
this was nothing I anticipated.

Tell your handsome Captain
I will petition the Gods this very day.
I have grown old, absent minded

in my solitude
my spells go astray

be patient, dear ones.
Meditate upon this dark, fertile
squalor of sensuous mud
you find yourself
so horizontal in.
This low rooting through an
odoriferous cosmos of fragrant compost.

Are you so undone
by the base pleasure of it all?
This nosing, snorting self-knowing,
the delight of a half fermented carrot?
Never a sow smelt so sweetly fecund before
nor was love so simple.

Surely we have become sleepy,
half-drowned by the lethargy
of our two-legged dignity.

Consider this, if you will,
an interlude of primordial grace.



All I wanted
was a touch, a kindly word,
a little ease.

Eight long Gods' forsaken years
on the stinking boat, and before that,
war, war, war, blood
and lamentation.

Who are you,
to name me thus?
Is your worth and wit
so much greater than mine

to dole out shame,
because I dared to love you
in my clumsy way?

Did I not bring you flowers
admire you from afar?

HE is adored by Goddesses,
hears the Sirens sing his wild praises,
returning at last to patient little Penelope,
his pretty kingdom.
Ballads, sung at last
beside his flowery grave.

Me - bale, Lexus, bale!
hoist the mast,
and don’t piss on the foredeck.

Who are you, to unmake me thus?
To twist and shape me
as suits your capricious humor
because my face is unlovely,
my gestures naive?

Who are you to judge my folly?

what magnitudes I glimpsed,
what private splendors
lived once within this breast?

Lauren Raine (2000)


There are so many things 
I wanted you to have.
This is mine, this tree,
I give you its name,

here is food, white like roots, red,
growing in the marsh, on the shore,
This is mine, this tree,
I give you its name,

here is food, white like roots, red,  
growing in the marsh, on the shore,
I pronounce these names for you also.

This is mine, this island, 
you can have the rocks,
the plants that spread themselves flat
over the thin soil,
I renounce them.
You can have this water,this flesh, I abdicate,

I watch you, 
you claim without noticing it,
you know how to take. 

Margaret Atwood   (1972)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cowspiracy - a Very Important Documentary


One of the most important documentaries I've seen in a long time is COWSPIRACY  - The Sustainability Secret, a film by a group of young film makers from California.  They point out a very large "elephant in the room" that very few people are talking about, because such a vast economic system is behind that "elephant".  But everyone should know about it, because it's something we can do, every single day, that can actively make a difference. 

Recently the United Nations has recommended a vegan diet as SIGNIFICANT TO ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY.  The U.N.!  Regardless how people may feel about animals, and the health benefits of a vegan diet, if they care about climate change and a future for their children, I believe this is very important information.

The movie is available on Netflix, and elsewhere.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wendy Griffin "Crafting a Voice from the Darkness"

I'm currently taking an online course at CHERRY HILL SEMINARY, where I'm also the current Resident Artist.  The Course is Voices of Gaia, with Wendy Griffin Ph.D.   Wendy Griffin  is an extraordinary voice for Mother Earth, Gaia, Pachamama.  I was delighted to find (via the course I'm taking) this moving and urgent presentation on U Tube, which I saw when I attended the Conference in January this year.  I am further delighted that Wendy will be invoking Pachamama at the Parliament of World Religions in October.

She summed up succinctly the reality of climate change, as well as pointing out (since we are a culture that places value on money) the economic, political and social consequences coming as well…….the increasing numbers of refugees driven by the loss of habitat and resources (many speculate that the situation in Syria actually  reflects the drought they have suffered for a decade), the rising of all kinds of tribal wars and religious fundamentalism  as populations become increasingly stressed.

She spoke of the "prevailing narratives of our times, the stories we tell ourselves, the myths that we tell today" which include the fact that "our current economic system depends upon indefinite expansion - and a belief that progress through development is the ultimate good and improves everyone's lives."  And that "technology and science will save us".  She pointed out the truly terrifying denial of climate change on the part of Exxon Mobil and the oil industry in support of fracking and the oil sands of Canada.

I was moved and heartened to hear Wendy comment that "instead of these old myths what we need is a new narrative …..toward the behaviors that can create a sustainable, global civilization".    Because "re-mything culture" is at the heart of what I feel the Pagan movement can uniquely address itself to, the very reason I joined the movement so long ago, finding existing structures inadequate. 

"We need to create an understanding of how the world works as a global culture ….. We need to draw on ancient archetypes and tell ourselves new stories....and pagans are in a unique position to do this...........we understand the power of archetypes, the (power of myth making), we create these in our rituals."

I am in no way denigrating the progressive theologians. activists, and spiritual leaders associated with diverse  faiths  who are addressing climate change and the  humanitarian concerns of our times as we rapidly emerge into a global culture with a global crisis.  I am a great admirer of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and also of Pope Francis.......and so many others who have stepped up to the call of the time, great leaders.

But we are also confronted with religious forces that are fundamentalist, medieval, oppressive in their world views, and  DO NOT include evolution, climate change, women, or cultural diversity in their narrow worldviews.   And like it or not,  they have a lot of power.    Witness the power that evangelicals have within the USA, people who take the Bible as the literal truth, and wish to impose this "truth" on everyone else.  In South Carolina, for example, I recently read that some schools are not allowed to talk about fossils found locally because the age of the fossils, unfortunately, disagrees with the Biblical notion creation's timeline.  

Sadly, this kind of  "truth" also de-sacralizes the Earth and embodied existence (which, since women are generally the means by which people enter the world with a body, provides fuel to the scapegoating of half the human race as well.)   These fundamentalist religious structures were perhaps useful during the dark ages, or to wandering Semitic tribes 2,000 years ago, or the fall of the Roman empire,  but they have not evolved to be appropriate to the crisis of our time.

As an emergent religion neo-Pagans are uniquely gifted with the ability to "re-myth".    Our very creativity is our strength, and our reverence for Mother Earth is the mythos we can further.  The "new narrative" Wendy speaks of  is a task we're up to, we are weavers together in the great work of creating a  "webbed vision".  

And as Wendy pointed out in her presentation as well, this "webbed vision" has to be active, not passive, and certainly not fatalistic.    If the Earth is our Deity, then our actions upon the earth (which includes member of our species as well as all other Beings of the Earth) have to be seen as either desecration or reverence. 

While I was reading I thought of one of my favorite books, THE GURU PAPERS by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad.  They speak of how many contemporary religions, from evangelical Christianity to aspects of Buddhism to "Guru traditions" to "A Course in Miracles"….. are in their essence   "renunciate" theologies.   In these systems  divinity is placed "elsewhere", be it the heaven or paradise that awaits the faithful ("be in the world but not of the world"This is a prime theme in religions that are  patriarchal, with authoritarian deities such as the Old Testament Yahweh.  Or , more subtly, the message is  that "this is not real", and hence "the real world" is to be found in some diviine, other-worldly abstraction once we are "purified", "enlightened",  or have our conciousness raised sufficiently.    

Human beings are myth makers, and religions are mythic, archetypal systems that help people to concretize the ineffable.  What are needed desperately now are myths/religions that are appropriate to the crisis we have been born into, that are "embodied", that sanctify again the great Community of Mother Earth.  We can't afford "somewhere else" religions, not now.

“Hope now lies in moving beyond our authoritarian religious past in order to build together a sustainable future for all the interwoven and interdependent life on our planet, which includes the human element.  We will have to evolve now into a truly compassionate and tolerant world – because for the first time since the little tribes of humanity’s infancy, everyone’s well being is once again linked with cooperation for survival.

 Our circle will have to include the entire world.”

Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bridgit Mask

"Brigit never really left Her sacred places. The women of Kildare still refer to her in the present tense.  The Catholics made Her Saint Bridgid, but She is really the ancient Celtic Goddess, the same one Great Britain was named after. Fires are still lit in Her honor, Brigid's well is still sacred. You can feel Her still immanent in Ireland, continuous from the distant past - the Lady who never abandoned Her people, even when they were driven from their homelands to the New Worlds."
Diane Darling

I am Brigid, Lady of the Celts
Creatrix of the Island of Ireland
Midwife to new life in the spring.

Leave a cloth outside your door -
For I shall be abroad on Brigid's Eve
I am Lady of the Flame, Mistress of changes

Feel my hand on yours as you craft your lives
I am Lady of the Well, the deep well
That reaches into the darkness and rises to the light

I am the fount of Inspiration for poet and bard
Call me by my many names: Breezh, Bridey, Brigit, Breed
Sweet Mary of the Gaels, midwife to Christ
When once again amongst us he is born.

I am with you, children of the children of
The Lost Isles, the Western Shores
Far flung, far from your homelands -
I have not forgotten you.

Remember me when the poet sings
When the cow rises from the calving
and the fever leaves the brow.

Raise a glass of golden mead to Brigid,
Lady of the Celts.

by Diane Darling (2000)
Photographs courtesy Thomas Lux

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Music For The Mabinogi

Here's something I never thought to find on the Web, but I was wrong, a piece of very obscure music Robin Williamson wrote for a production of the Mabinogion,  in 1984, the ancient tales of the Welsh Pantheon.  In 1984 Robin Williamson and theatre company 'Moving Being' staged a 3 hour production of the tales form 'The Mabinogi'.  Some of the music was later released on an album by Robin Williamson.

I listened to that album (which is also below) so many times for years and years.......

To me, this music transports me to another time, a mythic realm populated with the Fey, with Rhiannon, with Lugh, with Pryll, infused with a kind of haunting bitter sweet magic that calls across the years and from some high, half-glimpsed green place in the calling woods. 

Robin Williamson 1984 Production of 'The Mabinogi' 

Robin Williamson - Music For The Mabinogi (Full Album)   

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Black Leopard and the Animal Speaker

So many of my friends have seen this, that I didn't think to post it before, assuming it was seen by all.  But this video about a famous South African animal communicator is so extraordinary I just had to post it here..........

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Amaterasu Omikami Mask


 by Mary Kay Landon 

Hail and Awake!
You children of the blue, brown and green earth,
You who tread in space and time.
I come to you today from My shining abode
In heaven
Far away yet so close.

I am Amaterasu Omikami,
The Great Woman Who Possesses Noon,
Ruler of heaven,
Queen of all nature’s forces,
Goddess that is the Sun.

Golden, gleaming,
Startling, luminous,
Fierce — and gentle,
I light your way,
I warm your bones,
I stoke your tired feet,
I fire your imagination.

Without Me
And My brilliance that is so benificent,
The rice and all the other green things of the earth
Would wilt and die.
And there you would squat
At death’s door
Cold — hungry — wicked —
Doomed —
To a fate as premature shadow
In the valley of the dead.

I know, for it almost happened —
Just once.

My drunken brother Susanowo
So angered Me with his bloated pride
I took leave of you.
And hid My light self in a cave,
Refusing to move,
Refusing to come out
Even though outside
I knew
The dark air grew cold,
The plants no longer yielded fruit,
And the World began to die.

All this I nearly allowed —
But the other gods and goddesses,
Facing death, as well,
Gathered outside My cave.
They summoned forth an eight-armed mirror
And hung strings of jewels on the branches of the Sakaki tree,
They muttered ritual sayings,
And the voluptuous young goddess Ama no Uzume began to dance.
She danced —
And danced,
And danced
Whipping up an ecstasy so great among the gods and goddesses
That they began to laugh
And laugh —
Louder and louder


Finally I peeked out of the cave,
Demanding to know —
What the fuss was all about,

And then I saw Myself.
In the mirror.
Amazed by My beauty,
Stunned by the luminescence
Streaming off My brow and filling the world
Turning it once again green,
And coming back to Me
In this reflection.

Today I, Amaterasu,
Goddess of the Sun,
Come to you from My shining abode
To bestow upon you two gifts:

But with these gifts
You must also take
The eight-armed mirror.
Hang it outside your cave.
And aim it directly at your soul.

As I had done before you,
You must venture out of your cave,
Out into My light, My air.
And you must open your eyes,
Into that mirror,
And allow ME
To introduce


As if, 
For the first time.

Welcome home.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Inanna Mask

INANNA:  The Great Goddess of Sumeria

I am the morning and evening star 
I go down into darkness and arise dancing
I mount the sky to my high throne
The starry heavens are the robe upon my shoulders

I am the loud-thundering storm
The rain upon the land,
The shimmering midday heat
The welcome floods that feed the thirsty land

At the end of day, all creatures lift their eyes to me,
Make love in my name. 
And when sweet sleep has ended
I fill the bedchamber with day.

Once,  I went below
To my sister, Ereshkigal
To the the Queen of Death.

She took my  lapis measuring rod
She took my life into herself
She hung me to rot upon the wall.

But Ereshkigal could not bear the pain of living.
She traded my corpse away
For the promise of healing.

But I arose reborn:

And I returned to the above world.
I took back my rod
And  my crown and my lapis sceptre.
Every year my lover  Dumuzi
Leaves me grieving
to return to the halls of my sister.
The land mourns for Dumuzi.
But he is too is reborn, 
the shepherd of the fields and the  soil
To plough his seed into the Queen of Earth and Sky.

I bring you many gifts:

I bring the arts  of allure and delight,
And flax and cream and barley for your table,
I give you paper and pen, the book, the art of speech.

Oh, my people!

Parade before me in your finest robes,
Sing to me with your drums,
Make offerings to me,
Of incense, sweet-smelling cedar,
Fine, fat sheep, long-haired sheep,
Butter, cheese, and dates.

Return with Me from your shadow lands.
Use my gifts with honor.

Enter My House,
Eat from my table,
Sleep in my bed.
Take unimagined pleasures.

By Mary Kay Landon

painting by John Singer Sargeant