Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Return of the Black Madonna by Matthew Fox

"The Black Madonna", Lauren Raine, 2018

How the Black Madonna
Is Shaking Us Up for the Twenty-First Century

11. The Black Madonna Calls us to a renaissance of culture, religion and the city. Isis often wears a regal headdress that symbolizes her name as meaning “throne” or “queen.” Erich Neumann has written about Isis as “Throne.”

Without a balance of male/female, heart/head, body/spirit truly happening at all levels of education from childhood to professional degrees? How will a renaissance happen if education is left behind? What role will art play when the artist too lets go of the internalized oppression of the modern era and recommits himself/herself to serving the community and to serving the larger community of ecological sustainability? [31]

Saturday, November 14, 2020

A River Runs Through Us (Revisited)


"Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. "

Norman MacLean, "A River Runs Through It"

 I continue to return to old posts in this Blog,  to see again my course and journey,  perhaps to do some necessary "soul retrieval" as I prepare to make some very major changes in my life now, and equally,  physical problems  that (of course) none of us are ever really prepared for.  I will be retiring from the business of being  an "innkeeper" to create a more solitary, less demanding, and more contemplative life.  I've been craving this for years and re-reading posts here it's obvious I wanted a change for quite a while..   The synchronistic world seems to be encouraging me on this (more on my synchronicity stream later).

So here is a post from about 7 or 8 years ago that has been worth re-visiting for me, and perhaps others who may read this Blog will enjoy it as well.  The River is such a significant metaphor, expressed so powerfully by so many artists and poets and writers.  Their words, as MacLean says,  "are under the rocks"  dimly glimpsed beneath the currents of our lives, arising again when needed.  

"Home" used to be a van with a travelling cat, now it's suddenly a 3 bedroom house with a yard.   I don't walk out into the desert as I once did, calling for vision,  and when visions come anyway, too often now I have to put them at the bottom of the laundry list that some times seems to be my life.  Sometimes, I have to admit, my heart is somewhere else, in Glastonbury listening to the Numina of the sacred springs, the Lady of Avalon.  Or walking the Camino.  Or in Bali, listening to Gamelon in the dense, lush tropical air............ And yet........there was a time when I felt the gathering and transmission of vision was my job, my work in the world.  I don't know any more.    Everything changes, we change, we are each complex and many layered.  And  a "river runs through us".  

I have a good friend, an actress, who recently left me  a long message on my answering machine.  Almost 60, she wondered if we came into the world with a destiny, and if so, she is going through that threshold where she wonders if she might have "missed"  hers, not done whatever it was she was supposed to do, leaving behind her a wake of dissatisfaction.  To me she is an extraordinary, beautiful, accomplished woman.   How can I respond to such a thing, on a phone, or an answering machine, or an email?  Why does it seem we no longer live in a world where such a profound conversation can be had over a cafe table, and a bottle of wine, deep into the night, perhaps joined by others?  I don't know.  Sometimes I don't like "today's world", it seems so strange to me, not what I imagined I would be doing, or living, as I push the borders of old age. 

"Dreams.  They are never where you expect them to be."
......Shirley Valentine

But thinking about that conversation, I wanted to say that I no longer believe in "destiny".  We Americans are so materialistic, and grandiose, that the idea has come to mean some "great thing", so that if you aren't having a retrospective at the Met, or running an orphanage in Uganda, or in the Fortune 500, people somehow feel they've "failed", discounting all the glorious, beautiful, soul deepening experiences they've had.  I might add that I feel that way about marriage as well - it is not always a great failure if you have not succeeded in having a "Golden Anniversary".  We are together for as long as we are together, and learn from that shared experience, and share love for as long as we shared love.  Sometimes the ending of a relationship is what has prepared one for the beginning of a more mature or  fulfilling relationship later.  Sometimes that relationship is with one's self.

Perhaps, from this perspective, a true  "Destiny" was to learn to love someone hard to love, a difficult child perhaps, or to learn to have patience with yourself.  Perhaps you met your Soul Mate, and your destiny was not to be together, but to experience the gift of loss or even conflict.  Perhaps "destiny" is to do something difficult, and fail, never knowing how many lives you touched and enriched in the process, and not knowing until much later how you were deepened by it as well.  Perhaps it's to connect with others through the mesh and warp and woof of synchronicity, never knowing consciously what gifts you've given each other, what waves and ripples of creative force you've sent out into the world.  We're dreamers and dreamed, and ultimately "a river runs through us", unfathomable, ineffable, splendid.

The quote above has always been so beautiful to me that I wanted to meditate on it for a moment, take a look into the depths of these waters. Perhaps Norman Maclean is speaking about what  storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estes * called "Rio Abajo Rio, the river beneath the river of the world".   Looking back at a post about this from 2010, I felt like quoting myself again............perhaps "El Rio" is also what Jung called the Collective Unconscious, I don't know. But Estes' speaks of the great River of Story, the universal waters flowing beneath the surfaces of all things.

In her book Women Who Run With the Wolves *** she writes,
"Each woman has potential access to Rio Abajo Rio, this river beneath the river. She arrives there through deep meditation, dance, writing, painting, prayer making, singing, drumming, active imagination, or any activity which requires an intense altered consciousness. A woman arrives in this world-between worlds through yearning and by seeking something she can see just out of the corner of her eye. She arrives there by deeply creative acts, through intentional solitude, and by practice of any of the arts. And even with these well-crafted practices, much of what occurs in this ineffable world remains forever mysterious to us, for it breaks physical laws and rational laws as we know them."*

 Why must we evaluate the value of our lives in such material terms of "accomplishment"?  Of "enlightenment"?  Why not think also of what has been our "endarkenment"?  Whether tapping, if only briefly, the wellsprings of El Rio in grief, creativity, meditation, or through the sudden psychic upwelling that can happen when the so-called ego cracks and splinters, it is always a blessing when the waters are revealed, for they remind us of the greater life.

"There's a crack in everything:  that's how the light gets in."
........Leonard Cohen

In her book Meditation Secrets for Women, Camille Maurine writes, 
 “The realm of the soul is not light and airy, but more like mud: messy, wet, and fertile. Soul processes go on down there with the moss and worms, down there with the decaying leaves, down there where death turns into life. Deepening into soul requires the courage to go underground, to stretch our roots into the dark, to writhe and curl and meander through rick, moist soil. In this darkness we find wisdom, not through the glaring beam of will, but by following a wild, blind yet unfailing instinct that senses the essence in things, that finds nourishment to suck back into growth.” (p. 211)

If the river of story has a voice, it's a voice that contains all voices, human and planetary, and the song it sings may be Om, may be "Nameste", I am Thou.  What we ultimately bring to that song cannot be measured or valued in any terms we might try to wrap words around, try to put into some kind of list, some kind of materialistic order.  If there is any "point", a "destiny", it might be, as Estes, a Jungian psychologist, believed,  to  instinctively participate in some way, find some way to open a pathway, a well spring, for others.
"...[W]hat Jung called 'the moral obligation' to live out and to express what one has learned in the descent or ascent to the wild Self. This moral obligation he speaks of means to live what we perceive, be it found in the psychic Elysian fields, the isles of the dead, the bone deserts of the psyche, the face of the mountain, the rock of the sea, the lush underworld - anyplace where La Que Sabe breathes upon us, changing us. Our work is to show we have been breathed upon - to show it, give it out, sing it out, to live out in the topside world what we have received through our sudden knowings, from body, from dreams and journeys of all sorts."

Perhaps all of our individuality, our uniqueness, is a gift we can only experience here and now, a great adventure.  I respectfully submit that this is  the work of the SEER, residing within each of us.  Remembering that a "river runs through us",  the  River beneath the River of the World.
 "The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were  opening out.
it seems as if things are more like me now,
that I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can't reach.

Rainier Maria Rilke

Meditation Secrets for Women:  Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner Peace
By Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche, Ph.D., (HarperOne, 2001) 
(p. 211)

* (p.30, below)
** (p.96, below)
*** Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs, Hardcover, 560 pages, Random House Publishing Group, 1992

Friday, November 13, 2020

Kali Dancing


Chaos Is A Seedbed


Kali stomps out Her dance

Her necklace of skulls

Clatter out a drumbeat

Swinging around Her neck


Chaos Her first gift

Chaos uprooting the obsolete

Chaos uprooting the corrupt

Chaos uprooting illusion


Kali roars and hums by turns

Her chaos magic streaming

Wave of light from Her fingertips

As She rips open illusion


Chaos Her first gift

Chaos uprooting the obsolete

Chaos uprooting the corrupt

Chaos uprooting illusion


Listen to Her raucous laughter

Goddess face of eternal change

Her chaos tilling the soil

A seedbed prepared for the future



In Her Image Studio

Our world is in chaos,  and Kali is indeed dancing these days.  I agree with Deborah's poem and share with her my hope that from this chaos a new world and civilization will eventually arise. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

PS: Biden and Harris Won!


Huzzah!   A  hope for return to sanity in government,  for being part of the international community again, for containing the Corona Virus,  for Science and the Arts and Education,  for women and people of color and immigrants and refugees, and for the environment.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Election 2020

"Noam Chomsky has argued that Donald Trump represents not simply a threat to democracy, but to the planet itself. Chomsky situates the possible re-election of Trump within an era that he terms “the most dangerous moment in human history owing to the climate crisis, the threat of nuclear war and rising authoritarianism.......The underlying forces that created the conditions for Trump to win the presidency became more visible after 2016. In the midst of both an economic and a health crisis, he has sowed social divisions and resurrected the discourse of racial cleansing and white supremacy."

I have not had the heart to write much in this Blog, being preoccupied with the election.  I am not normally very political, but since the arising of Trump, I have become so.  Even as I write we have been removed from the Paris Accord, and Trump wants to end our part in the World Health Organization(did anyone actually get a choice in this?  Is this what America actually wants?)  I don't know this country any more, at least, my faith in a "united states" is ended as I watch the rising power of, in essence,  American fascism (what else can I call it?

My father was in Europe during WWII.  He never talked about it, but I vaguely remember some black and white snapshots he had of ruined buildings, and in the 50's, when I was 10 and we travelled in Europe he took the family to Auschwitz.  I didn't understand what that meant for many years, but I now  know it was important to him that we know what had happened, that we remember.  He worked in teacher's colleges for most of his life, and believed that education was essential to a functioning democracy, as well as free discourse and good journalism (in the late 50's he ran a small Democratic newspaper called the "L.A. Free Press").  He would utterly appalled if he could see what is going on now.

I think about the sad spectacle of poor people in Kentucky or Florida waving Trump flags and screaming about the evils of "socialist" Democrats as Trump and regime gloat about how they will eliminate the Affordable Care Act.  I receive Medicare, because I am over 65 - my recent operation cost over $250,000.00!  If I didn't have Medicare I now be losing my home.    Even so, I have some hefty "co-pays".  

What I find so frightening, is that just about 50% of the population is just fine with an authoritarian leader who blatently is corrupt and immoral as well, and an authoritarian Republican regime that enables him, even though most of them know he is not only corrupt, but incompetant. But he is rich, and this seems to be the only criterion that matters. Not people dying from a plague, not the very real reality of climate change, not our standing in a global community, not science or education or women’s rights or human rights or protection of minorities. Just money.

I am encouraged that Biden has a lead, and here in AZ we’ve seen the state go blue, and many good things happened locally (Mark Kelly, the astronaut and husband of beloved Gabrielle Gifford, replaced corrupt Martha Mc Sally, bills supporting education passed, a native American has been elected) ……. but what this election has revealed about America is profound.