Anamchara the soul friend who shares your joys and sorrows, your challenges and struggles as you walk the path of your spirit

Friday, December 28, 2012

IT'S ABOUT TRUST

Realized something today. Probably brought to the surface by my Advent reading. I AM NOT A LITERALIST.  And I'm strictly an amateur here. The original sin was not eating the fruit. When Satan (whatever he/she is) basically said "I know something you don't know." Eve didn't say "that's very interesting let me double check with the Lord, I'll get back to you." She didn't trust God, she trusted a stranger.

Look around us. Lack of trust is choking us to death.Be afraid of the elected hired help; they;re out to get you. Be afraid of your neighbors, they might hurt you, kill you. You need to get them before they can get you. And for too many women in too many countries that fear is very real, and the authorities that are supposed to protect them don't.

 Listen to this year's crop of losers. "It's not my fault." "Our message is good, we just need to package it better."

And the newest? From Mitt's oldest son no less. Now here this. Daddy didn't really want to president. Well, kid, you could have fooled me.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

SOUL OF A RIVER


THE SOUL OF A RIVER

A few years ago I invested in the 1990’s Cousteau River Journeys DVD’s. Four of the episodes followed the Danube from headwaters to the Black Sea, with emphasis on the environmental degradation along the river in the former Soviet states. Chemical plants that dumped untreated waste into the river. The dangers of aging nuclear plants that weren’t that well built in the first place. Run off from contaminated ground water along with gas leakage into the atmosphere. Local economies based on fishing and farming were stressed out by the pollution.

The diversion of the river into man made channels to improve navigation, while destroying local economies based on the wetlands and marshes.

So, where is the soul of a river? Is it just the river? Or does the river and its soul stretch beyond the channel and the meandering blue line on a map.

The river is the ocean that gives up its moisture to the rains and snows.

The river is winter ice and summer sun.

The river is snow, rain and hail.

The river is the tiny veins and capillaries of water that stretch beyond the banks and below the river bed.  Searching, seeking, seeping into the deep rocks and the deep roots of the mountains. Finally finding the way to new streams and new tree roots. Coming into the sun again, pulled into the sky a thousand miles from where the rain last fell.

The river is the mountains, home to the springs and rivulets that join to form a torrent.

The river is the animals that depend on it for water and forage, the trees that shade the banks and shelter the birds.

The river is the disappearing marshes and the migratory birds that nested in the reeds.

The canals are the river and so are the drying wetlands that used to hold back the floods.

The dams we build are the river and so are the fish blocked from their native spawning grounds.

The river is the disappearing, sick and mutated fish and the villagers and fishermen who depend on them not only for their livelihood, but for tonight’s dinner.

The river is the untreated chemical waste that leaches into ground water. It’s the sewage from overburdened, aging city systems.

The river is the rain falling through air contaminated with radiation from nuclear plants that couldn’t be built to withstand every possible risk.

The river is us.

The last episode ends with a group of children including one of Cousteau’s grandchildren flying kites along the river bank to remind us that they will have to live in the world we are creating.

(Words fail me sometimes. I have the vision in my mind but can’t find the words to express what I see)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

THE PRAYERS OF STREAMS AND STONES...AND MONKS


Two similar visions of the relationship of the natural and spiritual worlds form opposite points of view. Rae Beth is British; a self described wild wood mystic within the Wiccan tradition. John Howard Griffin, author of Black Like Me, was a friend of Thomas Merton and was chose to write his biography. Unfortunately he was only able to work complete the material about Merton’s hermitage years before his death.

“….One who speaks for the tree roots and stone. Who speaks with the tree root’ and stone’ voices One who speaks as the grass and rivers. Who speaks as field and woods and hills and valleys and salt marshes and waves and tides. Yet who speaks as what is close to home. With the mouse’s voice or the seagull’s or the fox’s or the badger’s. One who speaks in cadences that go beyond the darkness and beyond stars, encompassing what is immeasurable. One whose entire being vibrates to the spirits’ words in nature, like a reed at dawn in a pool where trout swim.”

Rae Beth in The Hedge Witch’s Way

“The very nature of your solitude involves you in union with the prayers of the wind in the trees, the movement of the stars, the feeding of the birds in the fields, the building of the anthills. You witness the creator and attend to him in all his creation.”

John Howard Griffin biographer of Thomas Merton’s hermitage years. He spent time in the hermitage used by Thomas Merton at the abbey of Gethsemane and kept a journal during that time.

Rae Beth writes of one of her familiars, an old cunning man who lived in Britain over a thousand years ago. He spoke to her of prayers. He said that we must know all the prayers of the world around us; of the birds, beasts or fish. I can understand the idea that a sparrow or a fox might pray; but the prayers of streams or stones?

What does water dream of and pray for? Does the drop of water in a tiny brook remember when is was part of a mighty ocean? Does it remember being a snowflake, a glacier, or a tiny drop of rain? Does it remember being another tiny rivulet? Flowing from rivulet, to stream, to mighty river and finally to the sea. Does it remember being caught up by the warmth of the sun only to become a new drop of rain. Does it remember the long fall from cloud to earth, the sinking into the soil, the slow drift into tree roots, the release from leaves into the air and back to clouds to fall again.

What does a stone remember? Does it remember when its atoms were part of the primal lava flows? Does it remember further back when the atoms were formed in the death throes of a super nova? Do the atoms remember their lives in a cliff face being ground down by relentless breakers? Does it remember the endless pressure as the sandstone was thrust again into daylight or carried down into the heart of the earth to return again as a lava flow?

Imagining the dreams of a bird, badger or fish is difficult enough for a human. Normally we see water, grass or stone as inanimate, unaware. To imagine their prayers; that is a mystery.

EVERYTHING THAT IS, IS ALIVE


I'm not sure who originally wrote this, Caitlin Matthews or Tom Cowan but, I believe it was Meister Ekhart,  it is a beautiful vision. 

Everything that is, is alive.

Life forms did not come into this world. The life forms of the earth are a natural product of the earth, as the living planet is a natural product of the living universe.

Life in any form is part of life in every form. One, indivisible. The terrestrial spark is connected to the most distant star, just as the collective consciousness of the earth is one cell in the infinitely greater intelligence of the universe.

It is said that no one can know the mind of God.
Yet we are the mind of God.
And so we dance for joy.

We dance to the music of life, which ripples and shimmers across the universe. Even in the coldest depths of space, something is dancing the dance. Something is part of the music.

Every molecule of air on the earth has its part to play in the whole. Millions of life forms dance in what appears, to human eyes, to be empty air.

Air is not empty.  Air is alive.

The angels of the air sing the songs of the spheres. 

A VISION OR A NIGHTMARE


Daughter I tried to follow the old ways. The paths of the Great Mother and the Bards. There were no temples of stone in the green lands. Groves of beech and ash and oak were good enough for the walls. When the sun shone clear the roof was a thousand shades of green, gold and blue. And when the mists came no one was sure where this world ended and the Otherworld began.

Perhaps we had less freedom than your world offers, but we had a place in our families. If there was food and drink for some there was some for all even if it was only bread from the good earth and clean water from the streams. Our bards told the old stories so that we knew who our families were and the stories of the God’s and heroes.

Now, I watch through your eyes and I grieve. The sacred groves where we sang our songs and celebrated the wheel of the seasons are gone, fallen to the saws and bulldozers. The green is gone, the skies are glowing brass and the clouds bring no rain. The grasses that welcomed our steps are burned and brown. What the Mother created to feed her children men breed to withstand their poisons. The water we could dip from our streams with no danger, you must filter, boil and treat with chemicals. Your land is dying and what it grows kills. You sing no songs. Your bards are as silent as your skies and seas.

Daughter, listen to your heart, try to learn the old tales, rediscover the paths I walked and the songs we sang. Live for the children of the earth, as we tried to live for you. 

SHAPING CREATION


A non-traditional Celtic take on the traditional Trinity.

Cruthaitheoir (noun): creator Cruth (noun):shape. Cruthigh (verb): to create, to shape.

Honestly, I have no idea how to pronounce the Irish and the net wasn’t much help. In any case when most of us use the word create we mean to bring something into existence. However, the less common definition of create is ‘to bring into a new form.” And, the root word cruth in those Irish words means to shape. Shaping implies that you are working with something that already exists.

In the Celtic mythology stories that have survived, there appears to be no creation myths as we understand them. One of those in the beginning there was  a Void, a cosmic Egg, something that wasn’t there and then it was there, somehow. Something created from nothing.

Since those eternally curious scribes in the ancient Irish monasteries  translated, copied, and recopied every written scrap they could find it seems unlikely to many scholars that any creation myths they found wouldn’t have been recorded even if they were cleaned up to give them a less pagan cast.

Or, perhaps, the Celts never had an “in the beginning” story to start with. The universe didn’t have to come “into” existence because it has always existed. This does answer one problem. If the universe is created, who created the Creator? If somehow the universe has always existed then the Creator has always existed, does exist and will always exist. Creation then becomes a reshaping of what already exists, not the creation of something out of nothing. In this universe even the big bang becomes a reshaping of a “something” that already existed. What that “something” was or is we don’t know. Perhaps as humans with human limitations this is something we can’t know or comprehend.

And where does the raw material for reshaping come from? For some, like the writer Tom Cowan, the raw material the Creator works with is the Creator itself. (arrrrgh! Pronouns describing the indescribable are such fun to try to use.) This ever changing, ever shifting, and always becoming universe is made not only by the Creator but from the very essence of that Creator.

One of the best examples I can think of is this. A giant star is mostly hydrogen with some helium and an almost undetectable scattering of heavier elements. It lives its life, burns through its hydrogen fuel in a few million years, explodes as a supernova and seeds the universe with star stuff. The carbon that builds our cells, the oxygen we breathe, the iron in the steel that holds up our skyscrapers: these elements were forged in the heart of an exploding star. This star stuff reshaped, renewed, becomes new stars, new planets and wonder of wonders; us.

Cowan, who works with Celtic and shamanic traditions took the more traditional trinity and reworked it using the image of shaping. So the trinity becomes The Shaper of life, the Shape of life, and the Shaping of life. These three are truly indivisible, no one of the three can exist without the other two. It sounds really odd to say it but this trinity does work. And in a strange way we become not only the Created but the Creator. We are the Shaper, the Shape and the Shaping itself. (I know, my brain is feeling a little “sprained” right now.)

And he rewrote an old Irish prayer using the trinity of shaping.

Shaper of life, above me and below.
Shaper of life before me as I go.
Shaper of life, at my sides and
I know that You circle me around
And around and around.

Shape of life, above and below.
Shape of life before me as I go.
Shape of life, at my sides and
I know that You circle me around
And around and around.

Shaping of life, above and below.
Shaping of life before me as I go.
Shaping of life, at my sides and
I know the You circle me around
And around and around.

Sacred Three, above and below.
Sacred Three before me as I go.
Sacred Three at my sides and
I know that You circle me around
And around and around.

From Yearning for the Wind  by Tom Cowan

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

IS IT TIME TO START OVER

Mucho news stories on gay rights and other controversies etc over the weekend. With the expected comments for the fundagelicals. It’s against the Bible, so on and so forth ad nauseaum. And I really am getting nauseas. When are we going to have freedom FROM religion in this country?

“ Why do we have to be tolerant when they are pushing their beliefs on others?” This is the final sentence from a comment that HP deleted. The fundies either don’t realize or just don’t give a damn that this sentence can apply to them as well. Yes, I know freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution. At least the part about the government not establishing a religion, Why DO the rest of us have to be tolerant when the bigots hide behind the claim of religious freedom to spread their hate?

I was raised with the idea of I protect your rights and you protect my rights. But, that’s not how it’s working out these days. The fundies insist on their protections and they’ll think about protecting the rights of the rest of us if they feel like it.

I’m coming round to the idea that Christianity as we know it in this country has to be replaced with; I’m not sure what. Perhaps some combination of the beliefs that were suppressed in the first centuries combined with the best of the old religions. But, what we have now is pure poison and it’s destroying us.

We’ll have true religious freedom in this country when a Druid can be elected president…or a Muslim

Sunday, May 6, 2012

IS IT TIME TO START OVER?

When will these fundamentalist nutjobs figure out that the MODERATES they almost despise are THEIR best protection? That protecting our rights are the best protections for their rights. And I don’t suppose that it will ever sink in that the rest of us, who just happen to be the majority can be pushed just so far and no further.And

And no, we'll try not to push back. That doesn't solve anything. But, very big but, we simply won't follow your path. Perhaps when you finally find yourselves at the end of a dead end road you'll realize that you're welcome to join the party but you can't call all the tunes.

Approximate dates of the most radical fundamentalists

Seventh day Adventists-1863
Four square-1927
Fundamentalism-1920’s
Pentacostals-1900’s
Charismatics within the mainline churches-1960’s
Methodist offshoots-mid 1800’s

And some of the rest of us

Wicca-early 1900’s
Neo druids-mid 1800’s
Celtic reconstruction-1980’s
Other pagan reconstructionists-mid twentieth century

Most of the ultra conservative fundamentalist Christian groups are not much older than the neo pagan reconstructionists. And I believe they can’t stand it. I guess they cling to Biblical literalism to give themselves the illusion that their groups have a history to stand on.

Just finished Tom Cowan’s Fire in the Head on Celtic Shamanism. His discussion the similarities between the experiences of trained shamans and the charges leveled against the so called witches during the great persecutions. The ability to shape shift, the visits to the Otherworld during trances, the so called devil worship.

I could never wrap my head around the reports out of that period. Whole villages with almost no women, not even girls. The attacks on the local healers. Ok, take the reports with a handful of salt. The reported death tolls are still out of sight. One thing makes sense. It wasn’t witches or heretics the hunters were after they were out to break the old religion and these guys were real pieces of work.

Lying was ok. Cheating was ok. Even encouraged since informers got a share of the convicted “witches” property. What if Christian belief had never taken a deep hold and large pockets of the old religion had remained throughout Europe? It wasn’t witches the hunters were after it was the remaining followers of the old ways. If it was Goddess worshipers they were after it would make a twisted sense to go after any female old enough to have begun to learn.

I’m just about ready to call for wiping the slate clean and starting over. Try to find a balance between the old and the new if it’s possible. Learn what we can of the old ways and go back to them if it’s not.

Friday, May 4, 2012

THE ICE MELTED AND I FELL IN

I'm more convinced than ever that it was Brighid calling me just before Easter. Now, to balance that with the Quaker side, at least for now. Some folks have managed to do that. Whether that will include me in the end? Time will tell.

It helps that traditional Quakers fall outside the Catholic/Protestant split. And some of their teachings are closer Eastern Orthodox than to the western churches. What I'm trying to figure out right now is whether the some of the Celtic beliefs (ongoing creation, the presence of the holy within that creation) are unique to the Celts or if they brought them with them when the tribes moved west out of the area just west of Central Asia. I suspect that they are shared beliefs and when the western church grafted Greek and Roman philosophy onto the early church it cut off those branches. Too bad. I'm really falling in love with the picture of a continually evolving Creation.

Which brings me to Easter weekend. I'd been reading. It's kind of hard to read anything by an orthodox writer. Not because of the theology, but the constant references to people I've never heard of. The early teachers, the desert fathers (an mothers), saint so and so, blessed whoever. It's confusing but you get a real feeling of continuity. Which brings me to the family tree. There's one branch that goes back to early third century Armenia. And several great grandfathers (about four dozen times removed, probably related to most of Western Europe) helped build the church in Armenia. Far enough away from Rome to get away with being the first national church.

Then there's the branch from eleventh century Kiev. Including some prime examples of folks who were named as saints strictly for their church building activities. Because great grandmother Olga had ways of dealing with her enemies that did not include prayer and reconciliation. She was a pistol, that one. Not sure what any of them would make of me. They followed their hearts, I'm following mine.

Which brings me to Saturday before Easter. Do I get visitations contemplating the trees, birds and flowers? No, I get them sitting in car, parked in front of the credit union waiting for mom. There they were, the whole damn family. Quakers, Puritans, Russians, oh my. But, without the blue highlights of the lady on the cliff top that I believe was /is Brighid. The group has been falling off since then until there's one figure left. A shadowy gentleman who may owe more than a little to Rae Beth's cunning man and Merlin from King Arthur. So, is he here to give me holy heck for straying from the path or to lead me to a new one. Tom and Rae? I could use a little (a lot) help here.

A CELTIC PRAYER


This is an adaptation of a Celtic prayer I found in the book KNITTING INTO T HE MYSTERY.

May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within and light inside the darkness within.

May the blessed sunlight shine upon you and warm your heart ‘til it glows, like a great peat fire, so that strangers may come and warm themselves and that friends may come.

And may the light shine out of the eyes of you, like a candle set in the windows of a house, bidding the wanderer to come in out of the storm.

And may the blessing of the rain be on you – the soft, sweet rain.

May it fall upon your spirit so that the seedlings of light in you shadow may spring up, and shed their sweetness on the air.

And may the blessing of the great rains be on you, that they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave there many a shining pool, and sometimes a star.

And may the blessing for the earth be on you – the great round earth who carries all; the great round earth whose suffering has already become radiant.

May you ever have a kindly greeting for people you pass as you are going along the roads.

And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly, your kin and all creatures.

Blessed be

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

THE SPIRIT OF THE LAND

“For the Celtic peoples, the land was inspirited, able to reflect whatever was done upon it. The concept of land as inert, unable to respond, was foreign to them. There was also a sense that not every inch of the land could be used for human purposes, that some was to be set aside as sacred to the spirits of the land.

The prosperity of the land, the abundance of flocks and herds, the fertility of fields and orchards; all these were dependent upon the sacred ordering that gave respect to the spirit of the land. This intrinsic knowledge arose from the land itself and was mirrored in the way people behaved and believed. In an age when few of us actually work the land with our own hands, this knowledge is now retreating and we begin to see the products of the soil as commodities rather than as inhabitants of the natural order.

The land and its inhabitants speak to us of spirit and sacred order if we will listen to them. It is in the patient tending and listening that those who have worked the land for generations know when a plant or animal needs particular things, and when some profound wisdom is being conveyed. If we make the spaces for those moments of transmission, create opportunities for communication between ourselves and the land, we may begin to embody the sacred orderliness that maintains our whole ecology.”

Caitlin Matthews in The Celtic Spirit.

If we don’t listen to, and defend the land and the other creatures who depend on it will turn against us. It’s two years after the oil spill in the Gulf. They’re finding shrimp with no eyes, deformed fish and shellfish.

Dow and Monsanto create plants that are “herbicide and pesticide ready.” And the weeds and insects are text book examples of natural selection in action. Wildlife officials kill predators like coyotes and the coyotes respond by producing larger litters. And if they don’t the out of control prey animals eat themselves out of house and home. It takes years for the landscape to recover.

If we defend the land, the land will defend us. If we don’t. If we ignore the spirits of the land, water, air and the animals who depend on them; we all lose.

BELTANE

Song of Beltane

I am the calm, I am the quickening.
I am the intoxication and the force,
I am the silence, I am the singer,
I am the bright pavilion and the feasting,
I am the wedding couple and the bed,
I am the morning chorus and the heartbeat,
I am the goal to which all paths are led.

by Caitlin Matthews

Life breaking free. Exuberant. Joyous. Unfettered. A “hey we made it through another winter!”

Celtic summer, Beltane. And it’s a balmy fifty degrees in Dublin. In fact their extended forecast is similar to ours. Temps in the fifties and partly cloudy. Maybe the beginning of summer isn’t tied to a date, it’s based on hope and the belief that the sun will shine and it will warm up. Eventually.

The rhodies are blooming, I think the snow damaged the dogwood blossoms, they’re sparse this year. If you get behind and don’t trim your rosemary it blooms in the spring with a beautiful blue violet flower and the bees love it. They also love the blueberry blossoms.

Don’t have space for great bonfires. Don’t have any sheep or cows to drive between them to give them good luck in the summer pastures and there’s not a maypole in sight. So what. In Oregon summer is more of a promise than a certainty so I’ll go dig out that last bottle of sparkling cider, put on David Arkenstone at his raucous best, light a candle and raise a glass to summer.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

CREATION DIDN'T STOP ON THE SIXTH DAY

Look at the animals roaming the forest: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the birds flying across the sky: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the tiny insects crawling in the grass: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the fish in the river and sea: God’s sprit dwells within them.

There is no creature on earth in whom God is absent….When God pronounced that His creation was good it was not only that his hand had fashioned every creature; it was that His breath had brought every creature to life. Look too at the great trees of the forest; look at the wildflowers and the grass in the fields; look even at your crops. God’s spirit is present within all plants as well. The presence of God’s spirit in all living things is what makes them beautiful; and if we look with God’s eyes nothing on the earth is ugly. Attributed to Pelagius of Britain late fourth century/fifth century.

“If God were to stop speaking the whole created universe would cease to exist. In the rising of the morning sun God speaks to us of grace and new beginnings, and the fertility of the earth is a sign of how life wells up from within, from the dark unknown place of God.” Born in the early ninth century this is from the teachings of John Scotus Eriugena, John the Irishman, from Ireland. John taught that all Creation speaks to us with the voice of God. He echoed an earlier voice from the island fringes,

And an English Orthodox bishop, Timothy Ware seems to echo the assertion of Tom Cowan, a Celtic shaman that Creation is less a bringing into existence of some “thing” from no “thing” as a reshaping. And that God can no more not create than he/she can cease to exist.

I wonder if this way of looking at the world can be traced back to the area just west of Central Asia where the Celtic tribes and the tribes that overran Greece after the age of Homer are supposed to have originated. It’s a way of looking at the world that seems almost alien. We were and are taught that God created the world. Finito. Believing that Creation is ongoing pulls the rug out of a lot of assumptions. Creation becomes fluid, Infinite. Tantalizing. Blink and the world changes.

Or careful or you might find a Goddess taking up residence in your imagination, keeping watch on the seascape until you finally answer the door. At least she had the grace not to roll her eyes with an “it’s about time.”

Friday, April 20, 2012

TIME AND TREES

Not a poem. Perhaps a wish……or a memory. I've seen pictures of ancient oak trees in Britain. Huge, thick trunks topped with gnarled branches. Any symmetry the tree had was lost long ago. But they hang on. They do hang on.

Do you remember?

You were an acorn, fallen from a great branched oak; a nimble pawed squirrel tucked you under leaves in a nearby clearing, and you lay forgotten under the winter snows. The Spring sun was warm, the showers were cool and welcome. The hard shell around your infant self cracked, and you began to grow. Your roots worked their way into soil rich with time, old leaves and moss. Your leaves remembered the sun; you’d felt that warmth before. Seasons passed with a rhythm as old as time; the days grew longer, warmer, brighter, and you stretched towards the sun.

The long bright days came and went; the days grew shorter, cooler, greyer, and you drew back into yourself as the sun was lost in the mists. The cold times passed, your leaves grew green and full again.Birds came again to dart through your branches and build their nests. The small, scurrying, furry creatures helped themselves to your wealth of leaves and seeds. They took shelter in the lower branches as the storms passed from spring to summer again.

Your roots threaded their way through rich soil, hard pan clay and rock; you touched other roots, and sensed the whispers and memories of trees that were old when your parent tree was still a seed. Your seeds were carried to other clearings, reached towards the sun and shaded the earth. The decades of leaves enriched the earth, while mosses grew on your weathered bark.

The life of a tree covers generations of men, but finally even a great tree begins to fade. Branches break away and the canopy of leaves begins to thin. Your life is drawn down, back to soil enriched by your leaves. And the sunlit clearing opened when you fell, your children begin to grow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

WE ARE THE RIVER

A few years ago I bought a set of Cousteau documentaries that included a four part documentary on the Danube. They followed it from the headwaters to the river’s mouth, telling the story of the damage. Especially what has come to light since the break up of the old USSR. Watching those programs birthed a journal entry and that what I’ve been reading since birthed this.

It gets so frustrating. I can “see” what I want to say. Can’t always get the words out.

So, where is the soul of a river? Is it just the river? Or does the river and its soul stretch beyond the channel and the meandering blue line on a map. The river is the ocean that gives up its moisture to the rains and snows. The river is winter ice and summer sun. The river is snow, rain and hail. The river is the animals that depend on it for water and forage, the trees that shade the banks and shelter the birds.

The river is the disappearing marshes and the migratory birds that nest in the reeds. The canals are the river and so are the drying wetlands that used to hold back the floods. The dams we build are the river and so are the fish blocked from their native spawning grounds. The river is the disappearing fish and the villagers and fishermen who depend on them for their livelihood. The river is the untreated chemical waste that leaches into ground water. It’s the sewage from overburdened, aging city systems. The river is the rain falling through air contaminated with radiation from nuclear plants that couldn’t be built to withstand every possible risk.

Perhaps the fish, the streams, the stones, the animals don’t need to prayers to bring them back to “God” whoever or whatever that may be. They never left. But there are other prayers. Thanksgiving that the water is clean, the sun is bright, food abundant. And there are prayers that cry out for justice. That those who have the power to destroy remember that they are part of the river too. That they will work to build, not to break. To create, not to destroy.

And in that spirit, the Gulf of Mexico is part of that river, and it’s screaming.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BRIGHID'S FIRE

Brighid of the wolves,
Brighid of the wild wings,
Brighid of the fire,
Brighid of the forge,
Brighid of the song smith and the poet,
Brighid of the hearth and the meadow,
Brighid of the woods and streams,
Light my path and grant me your protection.
Blessed be from the beginning to the end of time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

WE ARE CREATION

Perhaps the cunning man was a many times great grandson of Amerigin.

From the Song of Amergin

I am the wind that blows across the Sea;
I am a wave of the deep;
I am a roar of the ocean;
I am the stag of seven battles;
I am a hawk on the cliff;
I am a ray of sunlight;
I am the greenest of plants;
I am the wild boar;
I am a salmon in the river;
I am a lake on the plain;
I am the word of knowledge;
I am the point of a spear;
I am the lure beyond the ends of the earth;
I can shift my shape like a God;

Amergin the Bard was one of the sons of Mil, the semi mythical invaders of Ireland who displaced the Tuatha de Danaan. Not just any wind, but the wind that blows across the sea from shore to shore. Not just any wave, but a wave in the sea far from shore. Not just any sound, but the roar of the great, rolling waves that break against the cliffs driven by the salt laden gales. A oneness, a claiming of Creation that sings through the generations.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A WORLD OF PRAYERS

There were a lot of things running through my mind last weekend in the run up to Easter. Enough that it's going to take more than one entry to explain a few seconds.

“One who speaks for the tree roots and stones. Who speaks with the tree roots’ and stones’ voices. One who speaks as the grass and rivers. One who speaks as fields and woods and hills and valleys and the salt marshes and waves and tides. Yet who speaks as what is close to home. With the mouse’s voice or the seagull’s or the fox’s or the badger’s. One who speaks in cadences that go beyond the darkness and beyond stars, encompassing what is unmeasurable. One whose entire being vibrates to the spirits’ words in nature, like a reed at dawn in a pool where trout swim.

Picture a living world of tree roots, grass roots, little streams, big streams, great oceans, waters seeping into the deep rocks, recharging the headwaters of rivers and streams. The world is alive with whispers.

Wildwood mystic Rae Beth wrote of one of her familiars, an old cunning man who lived in Britain over a thousand years ago. He spoke to her of prayers. He said that we must know all the prayers of the world around us; of the birds, beasts or fish. I can understand the idea that a sparrow or a fox might pray; but the prayers of streams or stones?

What does water dream of and pray for? Does the drop of water in a tiny brook remember when it was part of a mighty ocean? Does it remember being a snowflake, a glacier, or a tiny drop of rain? Does it remember being another tiny rivulet? Flowing from rivulet, to stream, to mighty river and finally to the sea. Does it remember being caught up by the warmth of the sun only to become a new drop of rain. Does it remember the long fall from cloud to earth, the sinking into the soil, the slow drift into tree roots, the release from leaves into the air and back to clouds to fall again.

What does a stone remember? Does it remember when its atoms were part of the primal lava flows? Does it remember further back when the atoms were formed in the death throes of a super nova? Do the atoms remember their lives in a cliff face being ground down by relentless breakers? Does it remember the endless pressure as the sandstone was thrust again into daylight or carried down into the heart of the earth to return again as a lava flow?

Imagining the dreams of a bird, badger or fish is difficult enough for a human. Normally we see water, grass or stone as inanimate, unaware. To imagine their prayers; that is a mystery.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I SAW HER FACE


“I don't know who she is, this woman who appears when I close my eyes. She's bathed in star light, spirit light, I'm not sure. She's standing on a headland, waves crashing on the rocks, facing into the wind, hair blown back like a cloak trying to break free. Her skirt kilted, feet sandal shod. Sometimes gulls circle overhead. Other times she has her hand on the head of a large dog or maybe it’s a wolf.

Until today I thought she was an avatar of me, my spirit sister. Now? I'm not so sure. I wonder if it's some racial memory. An ancestor. A woman born, Goddess, how many centuries ago. And where? The highlands? The Western Isles? Who are you, lady? Will I ever see your face?”



I made this entry back in February and surprise of surprises I actually got a comment on the entry and I took it to heart. The entry suggested that it might be Brighid (Bride) the triple goddess of Ireland and the Western Isles, patroness of healers, poets and craftsmen.

The choice made, she turned and looked at me. Shit, now what?????????????????? I may go knocking on the universe's door, I don't expect anyone to answer.

Since then the vision is still there, but not as strong. As if the waiting was over. Since then I’ve discovered that the wolf is one of the animals sacred to the Goddess. I guess that answers one question. Years ago, when Coldwater Creek was a lot more eclectic I fell in love with a pendant of a wolf with a pine tree and full moon. Fell in love, isn’t quite strong enough. Pulled right into the page was more like it. When my folks asked me what I wanted for my birthday I pointed to the necklace and said “please.” I have a feeling I’ll be wearing it a lot more often.

Now all I have to do is reconcile the pagan goddess with what happened over Easter Weekend. That is, if I can cobble together some kind of entry that doesn’t make it sound like I’ve tap danced right over the edge.

Brighid,

You are a woman of peace.
You bring harmony where there is conflict.
You bring light to the darkness.
You bring hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
And may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God/dess has made.
Brighid, you are a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us,
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body, and spirit.


Amen and Blessed Be.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

GOD'S WILL

Thomas Merton asks:

“How am I to know the will of God? Even where there is no more explicit claim on my obedience, such as a legitimate command, the very nature of each situation usually bears written into itself some indication of God’s will. For whatever is demanded by truth, by justice, by mercy, or by love must surely be taken to be willed by God. To consent to His will is, then, to consent to be true, or to speak truth, or to at least seek it. To obey Him is to respond to His will expressed in the need of another person, or at least to respect the rights of others. For the rights of another man is the expression of God’s love and God’s will. In demanding that I respect the rights of another God is not merely asking me to conform to some abstract arbitrary law: He is enabling me to share, as His son, in His own care for my brother. No man who ignores the rights and needs of others can hope to walk in the light of contemplation, because his way has turned away from truth, from compassion, and therefore from God.” In The New Seeds of Contemplation.

If I was to judge the Republican candidates by Thomas Merton’s criteria, I’m afraid they would all come up short. Very, very short.

Monday, January 23, 2012

JUNGIAN INSPIRED ARCHETYPES

Jungian inspired archetypes

Any of these archetypes can include male/female overtones.

Self/feminine/anima: This corresponds to the female ego, the individual, mothering, birthing, beauty, receptivity, or acceptance. Common symbols in nature would include complete meadows, forests or habitats. Individual trees, plants, a totem plant or animal. Feminine archetypes can include caves, holes in a tree or a tunnel. They may also include blossoming plants, archways, bushes, nests, eggs, pods, ponds or lakes. The night, the moon, water and/or female plants or animals. If you know enough about plants to know the difference between female and male plants.

Self/masculine/animus: This corresponds to male ego, the individual, fathering, initiating, organizing, fertilizing. Common symbols might also include complete landscapes; meadows, forest or other landscapes. Individual trees, or plants, your totem animals or plants. Common symbols in nature might include seeds or pollinations. You man dream or see tall trees, or plants, the sun, stems of plants fire or mountains. Your dream or vision might take place during the day and include male plants or animals. Again, that’s if you know enough about plants to tell the difference.

Fourth is the hero. This can correspond to facing difficulties in a positive way, overcoming them or healing some illness or injury. Common symbols in nature would be healing plants and herbs. Coming across immature plants or animals. Being caught in a storm or coming across half grown or struggling plants or animals.

Fifth is the adversary. This can correspond to being an agent of change, facing the unexpected, tearing things down, or facing an obstacle. You may confront stinging or thorny plants, storms, overgrown areas, swamps, natural disasters, erosion, struggling plants or animals.

Sixth is death and rebirth. This can correspond to endings and beginnings, some kind of sacrifice, a crisis or new life. You may confront marshlands, the cycles of the seasons, perennial plants, bogs, environmental changes, border areas or natural intersections.

Seventh is the journey. This can correspond to movement, development, or aging. You may confront pathways, hills, mountains, rivers, streams, animal trails, the wind, growth, or perennial plants.

Friday, January 6, 2012

WHO IS SHE?

I don't know who she is, this woman who appears when I close my eyes. She's bathed in star light, spirit light, I'm not sure. She's standing on a headland, waves crashing on the rocks, facing into the wind, hair blown back like a cloak trying to break free. Her skirt kilted, feet sandal shod. Until today I thought she was an avatar of me, my spirit sister. Now? I'm not so sure. I wonder if it's some racial memory. An ancestor. A woman born, Goddess, how many centuries ago. And where? The highlands? The Western Isles? Who are you, lady? Will I ever see your face?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

THE SOUL FRIEND

Can you really call a blog a soul friend? Not really, but since the closest thing I have to an anamchara lives half a state away, this will have to do for now. I have other blogs, but this one is for speculating, standing on bridge, looking over the edge.

AS LONG AS ONE IS LEFT

"If they ever take away our radio, suspend our newspaper, silence us, put to death all of us priests-bishop included, and you are left alone-a people without priests-then each of you will have to be God's microphone. Each of you will have to be a messenger, a prophet. The church will always live as long as one baptized person is left alive."

Oscar Romero, quoted in Messengers to the Kingdom by Jon Sobrino S.J.

I begin to understand by Romero scared the bejeesus out of some of the Vatican Curia in the three years he was archbishop of San Salvador. And I wonder how closely Morris West, author of the Clowns of God, followed the persecution of the church in Central America. Because he echoes that message in the novel. When the time comes, the little people, the lay people will have to carry on the work and the sacraments of the church whether they are ordained or not. Imagine how well that went over with old men who had spent their lives climbing the ladders

THE GREAT JOY

"Nor are the tidings of great joy announced in the crowded inn. In the massed crowd there are always new tiding of joy and disaster. Where each new announcement is the greatest of announcements. Where every day’s disaster is beyond compare, every day’s danger demands the ultimate sacrifice, all news and all judgment is reduced to zero. News becomes merely a new noise in the mind, briefly replacing the noise that went before it and yielding to the noise that comes after it, so that eventually everything blends into the same monotonous and meaningless rumor. News? There is so much news that there is no room left for the true tidings, the “good News,” the Great Joy." Thomas Merton written for the Advent season in 1967

I can't imagine what Merton would make of our 24/7 news cycle and "reality" programming.

WHAT IS FAITH

This was written by Thomas Merton, a Cistercian monk, social critic and prolific author, as a preface to his collection of essays in Faith and Violence. He wrote it for the Advent season of 1967. His last as it happens, before his death in Thailand in 1968. Merton was writing at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and the beginnings of the opposition to the Viet Nam war. Now we’re faced with the one percent vs the ninety nine percent, occupy Wall Street, the war on terrorism; doesn’t seem that much has changed in the forty odd years since Merton wrote this essay. “The Hassidic rabbi Baal She Tov, once told the following story. Two men were traveling through a forest. One was drunk and the other was sober. As they went, they were attacked by robbers, beaten, robbed of all they had including their clothing. When they emerged, people asked them if they got through the woods without trouble. The drunken man said: “Everything was fine;; nothing went wrong; we had no trouble at all.” They said: “How does it happen that you are naked and covered with blood?” He did not have an answer. The sober man said: “Do not believe him he is drunk. It was a disaster. Robbers beat us without mercy and took everything we had. Be warned by what happened to us, and look out for yourselves.” For some “faithful”-and for some unbelievers too-“faith” seems to be a kind of drunkenness, an anesthetic, that keeps you from realizing and believing that anything can every go wrong. Such faith can be immersed in a world of violence and make no objection: the violence is perfectly all right. It is quite normal-unless of course it happens to be exercised by Negroes. Then it must be immediately put down instantly be superior force. The drunkenness of this kind of faith-whether in a religious message of in a political ideology-enables us to go to life without seeing our own violence is a disaster and that overwhelming force by which we seek to assert ourselves and our own self interest may well be our ruin. Is faith a narcotic dream in a world of heavily armed robbers, or is it an awakening? Is faith a convenient nightmare in which we are attacked and obliged to destroy our attackers? What if we awaken to discover that we are the robbers, and our destruction comes from the root of hate in ourselves?” Abbey of Gethsemane Advent 1967 I read this for the first time several years ago. Rereading this tied to my own searching it really shook me this

DABHAR

Dabhar is Hebrew, often translated as the creative word of God. If you take the first few verses of the book of John it gets very interesting. In the beginning was the creative word of God and the creative word of God was with God and the creative word of God was God. And the creative word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1: 1,14. In a world that relies almost exclusively on the creative written word; we forget the at the very beginning God spoke and there was light and all of Creation.