Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Goddess goes to the Women's March

I am very pleased to be participating in the Women's March here in Tucson (I wish I could go to D.C., but am not able to).  I am amazed and delighted to see this march occuring not just in cities across the U.S., but around the world.  This is what the Arising of the Goddess looks like.  And I'm also delighted that some of the Masks of the Goddess will be marching in Oakland, in Northern California, in Phoenix, and in Tucson.  Thank you!   Because it is the power of these Goddesses, within every woman and within the world, that may very well be what saves the world.

CNN Article:  

Info on many related marches happening around the world, and how you can join them:


Sister Marches are solidarity events inspired by the Women's March on Washington, and organized by volunteers around the world. If you can't make it to Washington, D.C. on January 21, join or host a Sister March near you.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Vijali and the World Wheel


Many years ago I saw Vijali Hamilton become GAIA, as she began her "World Wheel" project, a series of artworks she co-created around the world with many people.  She has been weaving the World Wheels for over 30 years now, and has founded the World Wheel Center near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I am in awe of Vijali.  As she says of the origins of her life work,  
"The motivation for the World Wheel came from an experience in the mid 70’s when my perception of ourselves and the world shifted, and the Unity of life stood revealed. The next few years were a search for a way to live within this web of life that connects all life.  Specific ideas for the World Wheel came to me in a dream. I saw myself carving sculptures out of the living rock and involving people from many cultures in a process of ritual in a giant circle around the world. The circle itself represents Unity in the sense that each spoke of the wheel has a quality that is unique and distinct from every other spoke of the wheel. And yet it is from these differences that harmony arises, from these differences that the whole is created."

Vijali as "GAIA"


I felt like sharing her work here, because of late I need to remember the visionaries I've met and known, I need to remember and honor the visionaries, period.   

Perhaps one of my favorite points on her first Wheel was when she went to India, where she met a group of Baul musicians, and ended up staying in their village, and creating with them.  

Here's what she had to say about it:

Creating A Mandala House For A Village — Falling In Love with a Village 

West Bengal, India

"In West Bengal, India, I fell in love with a group of destitute Baul folk musicians who were singing for money on the train. I kept giving them coins to stay in my compartment and eventually they invited me to their village.

They were as generous as they were poor. When the villagers heard that a guest had arrived, they spread a mat under a tree for me. Women brought spiced tea, and the children of the village put jasmine garlands around my neck and danced and sang. A full moon appeared and the night sky shimmered with stars. It was one of the most beautiful evenings of my life.

I asked them the three questions I ask in every country. They answered, "We come from the womb of our mother. We really come from the mother who is the Earth. We are part of the Great Goddess. Our essence is the Great Kali." I also asked, "What is the imbalance in your lives and in your village?" They replied: "We are exhausted and under strain all the time because we have to go out and wander so we can make money. When we come back, we don't always have enough money and food for our families." And my third question, what could heal their problem? They answered, "To really love our singing and not worry about the future. Just to keep on doing what we are doing, but give up anxiety and be God conscious every moment of our day."

They found a hut for me and I moved into the village. I became aware that the tribal village was made up of mixed castes. I kept imagining them all sitting down in one circle. Finally I saw what was needed - a communal house, a commons where they could come together, practice and perform their music, have their own pujas (ceremonies), and hold school for their children. This is how I came to build the Mandala House in the village.

At first the Bauls just watched. According to the caste system they only sing, they don't do any physical work. But as I, their honored guest, worked with the low castes in the mud, someone came to help. Then his brother came, then the father, and pretty soon someone else in the village would stop and say, "Oh, my goodness, you don't do it that way; here, let me show you." And they would help. That's how it happened."

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Amaterasu and the Return of the Sun

Hail and Awake!
Children of the blue, brown and green Earth
I have come from my shining abode in Heaven
I am Amaterasu Omikami - 
Great Woman Who Possesses Noon
Here is a gift for you:
A mirror, to draw you from your cave of sleeping
To see yourself in all your wonder:
Allow me to introduce you - to yourself!

Mary Kay Landon

A wonderful story for the time of the Winter  Solstice comes from Japan, the tale of Amaterasu,  Goddess of  the Sun.  I felt like sharing it again..........

Angered by her vulgar, violent brother Susanowa,  god of storms,  Amaterasu Omikami fell into despair about the ugliness and the ignorance of the world.  She retreated to a cave, and refused to  come out. And so, deprived of her warmth and light, the world began to die.

All the deities and spirits came to the mouth of her cave, and begged the goddess to come out. But Amaterasu Omikami, withdrawn into her dark musings,  would not, and all the pleas of those gathered could not persuade her to return to the world.

At last, the little goddess Uzume placed a mirror at the entrance to the cave.  Then Uzume, known for her high humor, began to dance. Her dance was so bawdy, so absurd.......that everyone gathered had to laugh, in spite of their dire circumstances. They laughed and laughed and laughed!

At last, with so much raucous laughter, even Amaterasu's dark thoughts were interrupted with sheer curiosity.  She opened the cave door just a crack, and peeked out.  And at that moment, her radiant,  face was reflected in the mirror. At that very moment, she saw how beautiful she was - and rememberd how much joy and laughter there still was in the world.  And that is how Amaterasu left her cave of dark despair, forgot about her anger and disillusionment, and joined the dance, shining again in all of her glory.  

There are caves of darkness into which we all retreat. Sometimes we need to do that to heal.  But sometimes we forget how to come out of those caves, we forget how to laugh.   For a day, a month, too many years, perhaps a lifetime. Sometimes, it takes the little tricksters to pull us away from those abysses of the heart.  In order to see how beautiful, how valuable, how important the light in each of us really is.   Then we find the the will to rejoin the hilarious, heartbreaking dance of life - and once again,  be the Sun.

Mana Youngbear  (2004)


Laura Janesdaughter (1999) 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Beannacht ("Blessing") for the New Year

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the Earth be yours,

May the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O'Donohue ~

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Greenpeace holds a historic performance

with pianist Ludovico Einaudi on the Arctic Ocean (English)


What will draw world leaders’ attention to the dire effects of climate change? If not the plight of the polar bear, perhaps a beautiful, mournful piano composition played on a floating platform off the coast of Norway? This video showing Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi playing his “Elegy for the Arctic” has been making the rounds, with thousands like actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier sharing it on on Twitter to say, “Let's change the world, starting at the top.”
The video was shot in collaboration with Greenpeace, who shipped the piano up to the Arctic from Germany. They’re currently running a campaign to get government officials to create the first Marine Protected Area to safeguard 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean at this week's OSPAR (Oslo-Paris) commission in Tenerife, Spain. When ice is falling off a glacier in the background as Einaudi plays, one sees how this performance could inspire action. And if not among leaders themselves, it’s extremely affecting for their constituents, bringing them to a place they don’t often see but whose wildlife and climate play an important role in global ecology.
As Tech Insider notes, climate scientists often point to the melting ice of the Arctic as an important warning sign for the rest of the planet. Polar regions across the north of the planet have been melting, and a viral video featuring a gorgeous composition is an excellent way to move people. “I'm crying, the most touching piano performance I've ever seen so far. Yes, please save the earth. Save us,” says Twitter user Elma Alfiah.
Einaudi himself is 60 and was born in Turin, Italy; he’s historically been open to inspiration and collaboration, releasing an album in 2001 inspired by traveling to Africa and working with a German electronic group in 2009. That openness of creative spirit is evident in this composition. “I’ve been about to see the purity and fragileness of this area with my own eyes and perform a song that I composed on the best stage in the world,” he said in a statement before the performance.  Whether OSPAR is listening remains to be seen.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Reflections on Patriarchal Mind, Despair and Hope

Yes, I know it is Christmas, but I celebrated the Solstice a few days ago in grand style, and today, I made the mistake of going to Facebook and reading some of the news feeds.  Frankly, ever since the election and the scary people rapidly being put into power to determine the fate of America and the environment......I've felt shell shot.  I don't know how to get my hope back,  I feel the tides rushing very fast now.  With every chest thumping, fist pounding gesture, and every impulsive, bullying tweet the new president makes, I am reminded of the famous words of Louis IIIIX, just before the French Revolution:  "Apres moi, la deluge."  

With the power to incite devastating war, with the urgency of environmental destruction  ignored and denied, with every indication of repression, bigotry, and misogyny arising even before Trump takes office..........what hope is there?  Is this something that will bring forth reaction and ultimate change?  Or does it mean the real irretrievable splintering of this country?   What do people like me do now, besides trying to be as  kind, and generous as possible?

Trump and his cronies are already talking about "increasing our nuclear armaments" and enhancing the military.  The Military in the U.S. already receives some 60% of the tax dollar.  And this country has an arsenal of nuclear arms that could easily destroy every single living thing on the planet some 50 times over. This is the farthest imaginable extreme of the patriarchal mind.

I've marched against Vietnam, and against the invasion of Iraq, each time seeing the streets of San Francisco swollen with 300,000 people. Yet the wars went on.   Why do we still have no control over the militarism of our country?  Why is the new administration pulling out the phallic spectres of bombs so gleefully?  Why does no one seem to notice the elephant in the room?

When I was in Bali I used to go to the Temple of Hanuman to feed the grey monkeys that lived in the forest there.  It was a common sight to see the little females struggling to forage with an infant on their breasts, and an older child hanging on for dear life to their backs.  One day I turned up with a bunch of bananas, and a very big alpha male monkey sauntered over, walking very much as a human bully would, bared his considerable teeth at me, and grabbed the whole bunch out of my hands.  I wasn't going to argue.  He sauntered away, sat down with the entire bunch, and all the rest of the monkeys gathered around, hoping he might drop something. 

I remember thinking, damn, I sure hope, as a very large tribe of naked monkeys, we can evolve beyond this.  

Hollywood churns out distopian movies now that are all about a ruined world, with roaming bands of warriors fighting for alpha male status - endless mythos of a "hero" fighting it out, and ending up, like that grey monkey, for a while, with all the bananas and the best females.  Until, of course, the next alpha male turns up with bigger firepower.  This is the adolescent male fantasy that absorbs virtually all "action" films, and tragically, all it can imagine for the future is endless war and competition, although, if we're lucky, there is a certain pause in the action when the hero finally gets the girl. 

But this is the  foundational mythos that millions of boys (and girls) now addictively act out with video games, video games that will prepare them someday to push buttons that launch drone bombs to far away places, never seeing in their minds or hearts the face of the children, women, old people upon whom they will fall.  They don't see the ruined faces of the children of Aleppo, a tragedy unfolding even as I write, they don't remember for one moment the faces of the dead of Kosovo, and bodies piled high in Vietnam, or in the pits of German concentration camps or the killing fields of Cambodia.    None of this has been hidden, it's all been documented in living color for the past 50 years.  And yet nothing changes.   

This is the imbalance in the human psyche taking its continual toll.  Has it always been like this?  No.  Marija Gimbutas and others have demonstrated that past cultures have existed for long periods of time, their economies and values, reflected in their art and their buriel remains, not based upon conquest and war.  The his-story of humanity is not all the domain of the violent  patriarchal war gods.    This is what happens when the Goddess is removed from the sacred vocabulary.

Pray indeed for our country now,  if the alpha male chest thumping of Trump has any substance to it.  Pray for the ravaged earth our descendants must live on.  And for the millions of innocents who will experience our bombs along with the violent tyranny of their own tyrants.  And the thousands of  youth who will not become doctors, or parents, or artists, or gardeners, or environmental activists, but who will die as soldiers. 

When I feel stressed, thanks to Netflix, I now escape into Star Trek.  Yes, there's a lot of fighting there, but there is also, especially in the earlier versions, a lot of hope that I no longer see in our media. I was fortunate, I see now, to live in such a hopeful time.  Inherent in Star trek was the firm concept of a noble crew and captain, and a society that sought to explore "where no one has gone before" with the Prime Directive, leaving behind a home world without poverty or injustice. The recent "Star Trek" movies, featuring new actors portraying younger versions of Kirk and Spock, feature brilliant special effects - but nowhere is there the effort to teach some kind of morality, ethics, or human relational  interest that was a concern in Gene Roddenberry's earlier series. It's like a video game - endless bang bang and blow 'em up.  I imagine most young people find the "moralizing" of old Star Trek shows boring indeed.  But if stories can't help us to learn how to be human beings, what does?  

We all know now we're not going to the stars.  2001 has come and gone, and unlike the vision Kubrick had, we didn't go to the moon in that year.  Instead we went to war, again, and then again.  And we have learned very little about how to live together on, and preserve, our beloved Mother Earth.  Mostly I cry for the loss of so much that is beautiful, and I cry for the future, for our children and their children, who are not going to the stars or the moon, but rather will struggle to survive in the debris of our  civilization, a civilization with so many wonders, so much possibility.  Here's another  email I recently received, from a woman named Ariadne:
"I'm not hopeful about the future. It's clear that this civilization will not survive the effects of climate change and the many other consequences of our pollution, overpopulation, greed and lack of empathy. Nor should patriarchal civilization survive, but it's unlikely to die without a catastrophic collapse. The survivors will be trying to scratch out an existence in a biologically depauperate world.  To me, Goddess is Nature -- the Universe and the Earth. She does not need us; we need Her. But I think the evolutionary experiment on Earth of combining large brains with testosterone has been a fairly quick flop -- managing to exist for only a quarter million years before evolving to extinction.  It's a big universe, and no doubt there are other experiments in "intelligence" under way elsewhere. Life will go on here on Earth for hundreds of millions of years after we are gone."
"GAIA" (1986)

Should I mince my words, for fear of offending, not share the anger and despair of people like Ariadne?  I already have friends who are telling me to "chill", to calm down and stop being upset and political, who are talking about some variation or other of "everything happens for a reason."  I think the people of Aleppo, or the people suffering in Mongolia right now as the permafrost melts and they can't farm anymore........would find no comfort in such mysticism.  Yes, it is important to not lose one's center.  But I do not think I will calm down.  

I pray for real guidance, in spite of it all.  We all know what good and beauty  human beings are capable of - we celebrate Martin Luthor King for what he accomplished, and Susan B. Anthony, and FDR, and so many others  who helped to make a  better and more just America, the America that was capable of inspiring the world.  People who represented that evolution beyond patriarchy, an evolution toward cooperation.   No matter what, we must hold on to these principles, these possibilities.  I do not believe in mindless "positivity".  But  I do believe in finding ways to go forward with love,  with compassion, and with generosity -  if not always hope.

"Dove of Sophia" by Hrana Janto.