Gratitude Womb of Dark Moon

GratitudeWombGoddessGratitude for the blessing of this life, the gifts uncountable in their number and numinous darkness, as the moon falls into her black mood of reflection unseen by human eyes though felt; I feel her endarkenment as a sweet nectar in which I float within safe space — womb. Here is the origin of my life and I am entranced whenever I am returned to the unlit peace and seclusion, listening to muffled voice, thrumming to a heartbeat of “out there,” a vital force unseen, floating in a brew of life-giving nutrients as I lay curled within human mother and more-than-human mother. I could be the spiral of galaxies as easily as spongy-flesh of unformed creature.

Gratitude for reflective love, as every year since the new millennium began its turning is icing on a cake of life that touched the stars and sank into despair; those emotional tandem bicycles spinning wheels of possibility. For then, after finding myself in Gaia, she brought a tangible masculine form for love into an opening, into a space that was left vacant by the acceptance of the Infinite in a guise I’d always known but was untitled, like a book with a missing cover that had fallen away through the ravages of time. Through love a new cover has been crafted from soul and smoke, from sifting sands and a magic cavern always in transformation.

Gratitude is the heart of being born into a tribe of kindred spirits rather than one of blood, for this dance is a masquerade ball among smiles and capes, hugs and warm fur settling into the curves of my body, releasing into the peace of transparent presence formerly hidden. Only this.

Gratitude as I wait for each word to emerge, as I trust it will, and this is another gratitude that flows on its own from Source and gains momentum and individuality pounding through the muscles and nerves from top to tip, from head to digits, and among the swirls of ink-become-mystery. I don’t know what I’m going to say until the words reveal themselves, a mystical process that lies within the space that is neither mind nor hand but apparently emerges on gossamer streams flowing in the subtle space near my heart.

Gratitude that my womb has never been empty, though it has never grown a child, rather within the space where a vacancy sign has been blinking off and on for decades lies a cauldron of creativity that flows unending and I manage to cup my hands occasionally, drinking the nectar that pools therein and shapes itself into forms of an imaginary world. If it is true that we dream the world into matter, then my dreams are part of a new beginning led and held by the ancients of bygone eras who whisper, their words spiraling in the cartilaginous labyrinth of inner ethereal ear, an oceanic conch shell so long out of its unity that silence and solitude are the filaments I need to form the framework in which to listen … and create.

Is this litany of gratitude a gift of time and age or one that has always been humming since the womb? Across these musing vickers of neurons is the wholeness that joins hands, jumping from one dark thread-trail to another, always present, only revealing themselves in the glowing tip of a temporary wand of incense, the seed within the womb of life.

Welcoming Mawu

MawuSculptedSerpentineElephant2015She observes in stillness, but her head is tilted to the side, a state of curiosity in her witnessing so that I am not uncomfortable with a confrontational gaze, not unnerved by too intense a watchfulness.

She listens with a sweet sort of inclined attention, with a flow to her posture that welcomes story and presence without the intimidation her size might otherwise instill upon my essential timidity. I am a mouse before her giantess nature of peace and communion in the wilderness in which we both live.

She is ancient angelic behemoth, swaying to celestial harp and earthly rhythmic drum, composing songs of pulsing heartbeat and twinkling embrace.

She is the songstress of the land – her sister of ocean is whale. Do they sing to each other in circumference, their vibrational melodies meeting in the air that both breathe?

She speaks through the text of landscape, through feet that sense sound, through a long snake-like trunk that touches and caresses.

She has a message for me; she holds healing and wisdom and beauty so easily balanced.

She is listening to me, hearing me into a more powerful presence.

She removes obstacles and blockages that inhibit creativity and flow.

She is ancient wisdom.

 

My fascination for this sculpture was a mystery. I’ve rarely been drawn to the elephant as a spirit guide though I admire them as I do all creatures. When women in Circle were speaking of how important the elephant was to them, I couldn’t relate. When Ayurveda classmates were embracing Ganesh, I felt only slightly drawn. But when I saw this large sculpted elephantine figure carved out of dark green serpentine stone, I was captivated, our spiritual convergence at hand.

As I had done two years ago with an African figurine (both were found at the Tucson Gem Show), I first turned to a book* for a name. As soon as I saw the name and its short description as “Moon goddess and creator of all things,” it felt right.

 

I call her Mawu.**

She came from Zimbabwe.

 

MawuElephantSculpture020915b

As I sit with her, as I research her, evidence linking us is revealed.

The blend of sculpting an elephant from serpentine stone is a blessing, the properties of each an invocation upon the other, stone and symbol further stabilized and amplified by the sacred exaltation of Mawu.

Mawu is a Creation Goddess whose fecund energy interconnects with those of the elephant’s longevity and serpentine’s property of cellular regeneration.

Mawu’s symbols of seed and clay align with the elephant’s affinity to the earth, as a grounded and grounding Being, and with serpentine stone’s ability to assist in healing the earth through it’s association with elemental beings.

Mawu, “after creating the earth and all life and everything else on it, She became concerned that it might be too heavy, so She asked the primeval serpent, Aido Hwedo, to curl up beneath the earth and thrust it up in the sky.” In this respect, she is aligned with serpentine stone in its ability to work with the powers of Snake.

Mawu, a lunar goddess, “arrives on an elephant’s back, expectant with spring’s creative energy.” Within this mythology, she is clearly affiliated with the strength and feminine powers of Elephant.

Of particular interest to me, as I continue seeking ways to adjust to Desert Fire, is that Mawu “is the one who brings the cool nights to the hot African world.” This attribute is exceedingly welcome!

All three – Mawu, Elephant, and Serpentine – impart the quality of Wisdom.

There are many more healing and supportive qualities I need that flow between this symbolic and energetic representation of Goddess, animal, and stone. The above are just a few.

_____________

* Conway, D.J. The Ancient & Shining Ones: World Myth, Magic & Religion.

** Now, a sculpture from South Africa (Zimbabwe) carries the name of a West African (Benin) Goddess. The name Mawu is from myths told by people in the former Kingdom of Dahomey, now known as the Country of Benin, in West Africa. Benin borders Bekina Faso, which is where the sculptor who made my bronze figurine lives.

Trees and Dreams and Frames

MaineTreeRootsTrailReflections on songs and trees, dreams and frames …

I love this phrase in one of Carrie Newcomer’s songs: “I am the fool whose life’s been spent // between what’s said and what is meant.” I find it honest and humbling; that as a writer (or even simply in my vocal communications with others) I am seeking to convey the authentic me and, through that process of honesty, to recognize the other and honor their journey as well as my own. Whether the Other is human or more-than-human matters not; all are equal, vital, precious, for we all rely upon each other for  creating a vibrant — or tarnished — whole. The words can be perceived either as real reference or as metaphor, speaking of people or spirit, of Muse or Divine; they and we are interchangeable, depending upon each moment. A dream or a real moment?

When Newcomer sings the line, “There is a tree beyond this world // in whose ancient roots a song is curled,” I’m captivated by a deep knowing of this tree and song/story as both tangible and etheric. From the mythic Tree of Life beyond this world to the multiplicity of forest and woods harboring trees of mystery and diverse magnificence, that each tree has the potential to become ancient within its lifetime and containing the generational wisdom of all those who grew before it. When I next walk among the trees, will I see all the songs/stories nestled among the roots? Will they be whispering to me of what they’ve witnessed and experienced, the conversations they’ve heard of secrets because no one thought anyone was listening? Imagine if our world does exist upon an energetic template and that the “other world” is here in every moment? Imagine the energy flowing sweetly into feet, spine, heart as we hear the song of the universe?

Old dreams may not be meant to come true — perhaps they fulfilled their purpose by being unmet. Clinging to old dreams — the past is passed — doesn’t allow new ones to manifest. I write about old dreams, setting them free through stories, and thereby further my healing through knowing them on a deeper, higher level. People change; we all do, even if we resist seeing our change, because nothing remains the same. That’s a gift of hindsight. The one who desired the old dream is gone. Who is she now? Maybe parts of the dream remain the same, just as the innate nature of the person remains, but the composition has grown richer. It is a powerful experience to observe this, albeit scary at times.

The sand has shifted beneath us and as we rub the grit from the corners of our eyes, waking to the new day, our vision clears and our song is a fraction different, the breeze dances upon our skin with a fresh rhythm, and the taste of the orange peeking over the horizon is sweet again.

I slow down, ease up in chasing both day-dreams and night-dreams, opening instead like a flower that trusts this moment, knowing the dreams will reveal themselves to me when I cup my hands invitingly to catch them when they fall like mist-become-dew on delicate petals.

Being present does not necessarily mean one is to ignore the past or future but to be grateful for special days of remembrance and trust in plans for tomorrow. In another song of Newcomer’s, she sings to “frame my life by before and after.” Yet the frame is permeable and can be replaced or changed by the healing of our hearts so that what was tarnished is gleaming, what was chipped is mended, what was burnt is sanded and painted, what was deeply damaged is replaced with a new fragment from the gift of gratitude and forgiveness. We gather what has been scattered and create a charming, unique frame that shows our jagged journey to authenticity, love and wholeness … being a personal testimony to anyone who has been ashamed of their own raggedy, crooked frame.

The joy that is the background of my spiritual presence becomes more solid at the same time it is slipping away in the passage of this life, pouring through fingers that celebrate the river’s flow for what it is. The background of joy is the container for compassion and pleasure while holding just as much reverence for melancholy and death. This is the Divine within and surrounding me, holding my sadness and grief, transforming them when relevant into peace, happiness, and a little game of hopscotch being played by butterflies among the cosmos.

A Light in the Window

scroll window candlesI felt a flicker this morning, a balancing of dark and light in me that was gently encouraging; a candle lit in the darkness, a “light in the window.”

My light cannot be seen during the brightness of day, but at night, as I sit at an ancient scarred table in a small cabin with wax paper for windows instead of glass … there, the imaginary candle burns with a dancing magic of illumination upon my efforts.

We each reveal a unique balance — mine just happens to lean more within quiet night and soft glow of tiny candle flames resembling fireflies leading me down an invisible path. I trust and follow. What else can I do? To resist or conform to the glare of daylight brings dis-ease and spreads an oil-slick of crimson toxic wounds.

Even in my despair, I can’t give up on all these stumbling foolish souls who mirror my own human faults and I theirs … I have to trust that we all do our best amidst our joys and grieving, our roles and mysterious symbols dreamt behind the lenses of eyes blue or green or brown that echo a smile or frown or the pain that leaks out.

I remember the soft light of walks in forests dim where canopies hold their arms over my head in blessings falling on head and shoulders. Accept one’s nature and thrive. I feel my mouth widen, a smiling secret into the fading light of day where twilight takes over and breathes a dusky scent of relief, the sigh of restful peace turning into imagination where worlds expand beyond horizon or barrier of present world events to glorious potential future.

Presence is dangerous at times for the melancholy nature; the world becomes overwhelming. Did Snow White have the right idea when she naively succumbed to the wickedness and fell into dreamland until she was once more strong enough to awaken through a powerful love? We all need to sleep, to dream ourselves and the world into new possibilities. There is no shame in this, to die to the present moment so one can awaken renewed.

There is no shame when one lays claim to the shadows of familiarity, scribbling stories of possibility, by the dancing flames upon a sturdy tubular candle that a serpent winds around, spiraling up and down upon itself — I feel it inside, massaging joints, creating flow and encouraging movement of love, compassion, awareness, witnessing, imagination.

In the dark, by candlelight, there is a spark that lends the hand the will to write upon waiting parchment a story of what might be. What is be-coming.

There is a light in the window that can only be glimpsed at night.

Three Dreams

I’m relatively new to actually making the time to consider what my dreams may mean to me, though I’ve recorded them sporadically for over a decade. Because I found last night’s dreams particularly compelling, I thought I would share them here. Perhaps they may encourage someone else to … follow their dreams.

I recalled and recorded three distinct dreams through the night; the first and third dreams were of me rescuing/helping a small young boy (one boy appeared as my younger brother, the other boy became a little dog), and the other, the middle dream, was of me ending up alone on a couples cruise.

The Two Boys

kids3            Dream One: a young boy who looked like my younger brother was having seizures – the symptoms were being viewed as signs of “possession” by the doctors – I was trying to help heal him with energy and natural remedies

Dream Three: It was night, and I was on the other side of a park, near a building, when I saw bad men break several life-size glass reindeer that shattered into hundreds of pieces large and small – the men saw me and started chasing me and a little boy (who was clothed in pale blue pajamas with ‘feet’) across the grass as we ran toward my house – as we ran, the boy transformed into a little dog that I scooped up into my arms while running – I reached my home, which was well-lit, before the bad men could get us – we were safe inside and the bad men didn’t try to enter

Were these two dreams pointing to my need to make peace with the young masculine principle I carry within that was destroyed by patriarchy? To find a way to recover that innocent masculine principle, to resurrect its power for love?

It is interesting that these two dreams of young boys – very rare for me to see boys in my dreams – came on Christmas Eve. I don’t identify as Christian anymore (I’m a spiritual eclectic with a Pagan foundation) though I do believe the story of Jesus is a powerful and potentially healing one when heard from the feminine principle perspective instead of through the lens of patriarchy. And, as it happens, the birth of the baby Jesus is honored tomorrow, while the seeds of solstice have already been sown. Is the spark of the masculine principle joining the seed of the feminine principle?

I have always felt maternal and/or nurturing toward my younger brother, and perhaps I feel it even more now that he is challenged by physical illness. Plus, I have always had a strong desire to protect and help the young, which is extended to both genders and to all innocent life. Maybe these two dreams came to inspire faith … faith that we can succeed in protecting the innocent and resurrecting the masculine principle to its original pattern, before it became the domination power principle of patriarchy?

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 2.36.06 PMIn the third dream, the bad men shatter and destroy the beautiful glass reindeer in the dark of night, in the realm of the feminine principle. What else do the reindeer represent? This glass is clear, cold, smooth and appears solid but can be easily broken. The reindeer represent the myth of Santa Claus, a story created for children/innocence. The bad men perhaps represent patriarchy shattering the innocence of our stories and dreams, shattering the bond between masculine principle and feminine principle? Santa Claus is also linked, however, to whether we are “good” or “bad” and, thus, whether we will receive any “reward.” So shattering those symbols which pull/carry the patriarchal father-figure could mean that Santa Claus has no effect anymore?

Also in the third dream, the boy transforming into a little dog is perhaps a personal motif for me (because of my passionate devotion to dogs) to be able to visualize the innocence that remains inside the masculine principle? That it can be rescued and taken into hearth and home? It would be easier for me to let a dog into my safe space, rather than a male, even when that male is a boy.

A Couples Cruise

Dream Two in the Middle: My husband and I were on a cruise ship – we got off because we were thinking about incorporating an overland drive for part of the vacation – while we were considering the option, he drove home to check on things – we decided not to do the drive but he was too far away to make it back to the ship before it sailed – I got on alone and finished the second part of the journey by myself, a single on a Couples Cruise

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 2.50.02 PMThe third dream, that fell in the middle of the other two, was uncomfortable – which is odd because it wasn’t as overtly traumatic as the other two dreams. The two aspects that feel most important are that of cruise (water, sailing, travel) and that, because of a joint decision, I ended up alone/single in a group of couples. I could unravel this dream in many directions, because it feels like there are a lot of threads. It feels scary to even write about this dream, like it was an omen or premonition. Maybe that’s because I fear the separation could be permanent? But it wouldn’t be, because it was a cruise ship – a temporary journey space. Cruises are not life but rather a liminal space as are most vacations, pilgrimages, and travels. I feel better already, having consciously realized that.

In some ways, the dream mirrors what he and I have already discussed: my solo travels while he stays at home to take care of things. The fact that it is a “couples cruise” is odd, but perhaps that merely represents metaphorically the need for me to write both sides of myself, to witness and “marry” by masculine principle to my feminine principle?

Perhaps this dream is bookended by the other two for that specific purpose, in which case they become a series to build the whole?

Viewing All Three Dreams in Sequence

In the first dream, the young boy has seizures – a violent dis-ease that shakes everything up and makes one vulnerable, unable to resist or escape anything that might happen to him. Patriarchy dominates men as well as women, and, in a way, it is a debilitating cultural disease. However, in the second dream, by “marrying” masculine principle and feminine principle in love, and honoring that commitment to be joined yet honoring individuality also. Later, in the third dream, the feminine principle is able to rescue/help the masculine principle and carry it to safety and home.Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 2.44.56 PM

These three dreams, that at first glance seem so disparate, come closer and closer together the more I reflect upon them. And I will continue working with them.

Currently, as an over-arching theme, all three seem to be pointing toward ways in which I can re-envision and thus heal my sense of the masculine principle within me and, thus, see it differently in the world as well, possibly supporting a personal faith that we can also heal our global culture.

We can return to Peace on Earth.

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 2.51.47 PM

depaceminterris.org

 

Reflections on Absence

IMG_3755The Day After Death is always strange with its aura of absence, of wondering whether I did the right thing, made the best choice. I’m never one hundred percent sure. Was it too soon or too late? Was it for them or me? Was our life together as mutually rewarding as it could be? I experience a lot of second-guessing and anxiety along with the simple, deep awareness of absence.

Responsibility and Resilience — to accept the former and trust that the latter will find its way into the cracks of a well-worn heart.

The Day Of Death is spent inside the process of being present for another soul’s transition, and after she has gone, there is this pause of emptiness and feeling lost, as if the world has stopped spinning and we are all suspended like a dream on a slender thread that could snap at any moment. But then the turning starts up again and I’m dizzy with the new unfamiliar absence.

I eat. I always do in times of stress, whether grief or joy, the extremes seem to require ingestion of the present experience which is mirrored by food and eating. When grieving, though, I often eat until I’m sick, until my body screams in protest and I slump in defeat, until the pain in my stomach challenges the pain in my heart, and I feel a sort of vacancy of breath. A form of suspension of belief.

But the Day After Death is different than the Day Of. For me, it’s not heavier but lighter, as if I am not tethered very securely and I am witness to all the emptyIMG_3754 space around me, as if the distance between objects has been magnified and what once took me three strides to reach appears to be a three-day journey. Sounds seem to come from far away and yet when they arrive are as claps of thunder, shattering.

The absence creates expanded space yet I don’t feel alone — it has the effect of bringing me closer to the infinite Oneness that is all of us, our entire Universe that is uncrowded and possibility stretches into Ever After until we begin again.

Within the space that is holding the absence of body, there is a stronger presence of Spirit. I inhale the curious blend of absence and presence, and peace envelopes me in a pink cloud of cotton candy. Time becomes irrelevant, and, when I button both ears closed, silence descends.

Silence doesn’t bother me nor does it make me feel alone, whether in the woods, on a mountain, or out walking in the desert. The absence of human construct and noise is a balm to my mind and senses.

IMG_3753Proposal. A brief venture into the desert today, to be away from the cover of home, car, or buildings — exposure. To walk away, into the desert of revealment and the withdrawal of protection or ability to hide. To, just for a few minutes, be in the absence of cover instead of the absence being inside me.

_____________

Yesterday, Guinevere, a sweetheart of a cat, died (with the kind assistance of a vet who makes home visits). Two months ago, Pooka the amazing Corgi died (also with assistance). Guinevere was the 14th cat I’ve lost, and Pooka was the 7th dog. It never gets easier, and can be especially hard when more than one loss occurs within a short period of time, but I wouldn’t change a thing — I’m deeply grateful for every single one of the precious creatures who has graced my life. I’m truly blessed.

“We who choose to surround ourselves with liveseven more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Yet, still we would live no other way.”  – Irving Townsend

Flourishing Transplants

[the following is a rough-draft excerpt from my nearly completed manuscript titled “Desert Fire”]bougainvilleaagainsthosue One of several Desert Gifts is nearly year ‘round Bougainvillea blossoms! Is there any important difference between the gifts received by being in the desert and those gifts that are indigenous to the desert? The Bougainvillea is not indigenous to the Sonoran Desert (also referred to as Sonora) — it is a South American native though it has become naturalized here — yet its blooming provides great joy through color, profusion, vibrant energy … a transplant that has found a home here and relishes the arid climate, the heat as well as the cooler temperatures of winter’s onset. I am a transplant, too, and my infused creative energy can be mirrored to some extent by that of the Bougainvillea. I can’t remain for long in direct sunlight — unlike the Bougainvillea — but the autumn shifting brings forth a bounty of energy from me likened to the fresh, clean, bright, heather-weight bracts that laugh mischievously among their chaotic community. My recent research has helped me see Sonora through a softer, more accepting lens, to admire her and her Beings of all forms for their ability to thrive and dance! To acknowledge that she isn’t “out to get me” like a bandit who wants to rob me of my juiciness. Instead, she encourages me toward recognition of the need for self-nurture and self-realization of what I need so that I can flourish. Sonora was willing to play the devil’s advocate, to portray herself as the villain, until I could see that the true villain was inside me … my fears and insecurities and lack of self-awareness in certain qualities. She helped me see the wisdom of being able to live anywhere because to thrive comes from inside myself, not from external situations per se. Those without self-reflection can be destroyed whether they live in the blistering heat of the desert or on a tropical island ignoring the lava flowing straight towards them or in the north woods ignoring a tree that is crashing down. So, maybe it’s okay that the Bougainvillea bring me joy in them, myself, and the ability of Sonora to cause them to thrive. Which brings me full circle to my desire for travel, to wisely intuit when I need to go away to absorb the emotional and psychological nutrients I don’t have around me — just as the Archaic hunter-gatherers moved around. Finding my inner Wise Woman, she who guides me not to blame Sonora — or any other external factor — but to listen to how our frequencies sing together at different times. Are we discordant or harmonizing? When not in accord, do we need a little time away from each other? I had been resisting planting Bougainvillea in the courtyard because I didn’t want to encourage bees to be so close by … but does the joy of the visual flowering splendor outweigh the fear of the bees? I still retain a fear of bees though it’s nowhere near as intense as it used to be. Bees — fire, intensity, inflammation, heat, swelling, pain. Again, the fear of these things can constrict my breathing — my prana — more than anaphylactic shock would. A childhood wasp sting — and my bad reaction to it — seems to have elevated this fear of being stung, of having venom pumped throughout my system without my permission or any control over it. In turn, this also translates to my fear of scorpions, a separate desert topic in and of itself. Even mosquitos cause large red, itchy welts to rise up on my skin and stay a long time. My body and mind do not react well to fire … easy and frequent sunburns, severe headaches, photophobia, nausea from any kind of over-heating. That kind of fiery intensity easily overwhelms me. Combine this susceptibility with the hot flashes and night sweats of menopause and what happens? Ash results. However, Sonora reminds me to be self-aware, to either remove myself from exposure at its height or be sure to know the remedial scenarios to dissipate the heat, whether that is silence during an argument, drinking water in the shade, or simply remaining in my home-cave.  During the most intense fires of life, it does not do me — or anyone else — any good to go up in flames and disappear into the vastness of the desert, my bleached bones to be found later tossed around by coyote pups at play in the mirage of life. The key to all of this is knowing, accepting, embracing myself as a non-native of Sonora and reducing my expectations that I can be someone I’m not. Here, I’m a transplant, and my purpose requires a different approach, a different amount of fire — only a small amount of fire that is held gently, cradled close to my heart like a stone warmed to a sweet, moderate temperature that soothes and creates sparks in imagination and spinal fluid so that body and mind flow within the subterranean streams feeding all life in the desert. I say Grace … thank you, Sonora. How do each of us handle the Fire in our lives? Are we comfortable with intensity? Do we, in fact, relish the heat? Or do we shy away from the flames?