Tag Archive | animals

Sanctuary

Bojangles cat under hanging flowers 22 MAY 2018One of my greatest joys in life has been that of providing loving, compassionate care to animals, mostly dogs and cats. Caring for a multitude of animals, including those with special needs, has brought me tremendous heartache along with expansive joy and I wouldn’t change a single moment. All of these marvelous beings gave  (and continue to give) to me far more than I ever gave to them. 

Since some nearly thirty years ago, when I first became involved with animal rescue efforts, my dream has been to create a place of sanctuary for the animals, even if limited to that of a personal home-haven. This has been both a spiritual and emotional calling, and a healing journey for me as well as for the animals. I believe this is why three stray cats showed up during the past twelve months — to remind me that wherever I am, I can offer a safe haven to those who are lost or in need of care. 

With this realization of purpose, I feel blessed to have moved to and live in a place where I can again provide sanctuary.

Home Sweet Home 14 May 2018

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the human need to be “the only one”

We of the human species are unique in many ways, different from other species in our form and ways of constructing the world around us. All the Beings who exist in the more-than-human world are unique as well, each in their own ways. We can observe a lot of our differences, from external appearance to actions. What we cannot do, however, is know what any other species is thinking, feeling, or believing. We make guesses but we cannot know. This is one area that troubles me deeply about human ego.

cats on the porchI read widely across many genres of fiction and non-fiction, yet find myself curious as to why humans have such a tendency to proclaim that we know what other Beings perceive and conceptualize from within their inter-related experiences of living. I have lived intimately with dogs and cats for most of my life; I can try to guess what one of the blessed beings is thinking, but I cannot know their thoughts. Even people who have psychic gifts still process what they believe they are receiving from an animal or other natural Being, but it may not be entirely valid because they receive through their own context and human nature. This anthropocentric arrogance puzzles and, yes, annoys me.

It’s really very simple. You cannot know what I think, feel, or believe unless I tell you in some way, usually through human language. You can hazard a guess, especially if you know me well, but even in conversation or through writing, we can conceal or reveal only what we wish someone else to know. Why, then, would we presume to know what another species may be able to think, feel, or believe?

And yet, this presumption spills over into dialogue among people who ought to know better. For instance, this morning, I was listening to a podcast where the interviewer said, as if there could be no doubt:

It’s only human beings that have this curiosity to understand, ‘What’s that up in the sky? How do we fit into that? Who are we? Where do we come from?’

Really? Is that true? Maybe, maybe not. We have no way of knowing. Unless and until humans are able to converse with other Beings, we will never know. Let’s try not to keep putting ourselves in that special construct of creation that revolves around “it’s only human beings that [fill in the blank].” Let’s acknowledge our unknowing. Instead of saying “only human beings have [X]” let’s remove the “only” and allow our human qualities to express themselves on their own merit.

The Divine created all Life, all Beings, and only She knows the unseen landscape of each Being’s mind, soul, and spirit.

naked crooked tree early spring 2018

Awen

purple tree cleft dec 2017Imagine all the voices

through which the Divine

speaks and sings

to us as we wander our choices

and pluck their strings.

She sprinkles notes of song-ly stardust

across Akashic parchment.

Our cells hum the ancestors and

our blood rushes to meet our soul’s past lives.

The owls hoot of darkness met and

the hind^ daintily whispers of what is yet — to come.

pine tree ghost together with ivy oak DEC 2017Dogs and cats murmur into our necks

melodies of tales of long forgotten treks,

while the pine needles burst with

scintillating lyrics of creations to make.

Her sacred voice is All. Awen.

“the Awen [is] the living energy that stands behind the form” *

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*from Martin Shaw’s book Scatterlings

Mother Nature

Mother’s Day weekend was spent enjoying Mother Nature.

Seeds for wildflowers were scattered, Black-eyed Susan seeds were planted.

A tiny garden laid out, with hopes pinned on cucumber and zucchini seeds.

Sacrifice waTurtle Tortoise in the Grass 051517s made in the form of a tall tree whose trunk was damaging our roof.

Birds sang and flew around inspiring bright delight.

Leaves and grasses danced in the wind, dappling ground and deck with light and shadow.

Gutters relieved of decaying debris, releasing runnels of brown water down the spouts.

And this morning, a box turtle greeted me as I made my way to my Grounding Tree.

 

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.

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