Findhorn: Ascending the Power Point

“…And over there is the Power Point,” said our co-focalizer Pat, waving her hand toward the forest beyond the Cluny parking lot. Dropping that provocative comment with no further explanation, she went on to point out the laundry, the Boutique, the downstairs 24-hour shower, and other necessities. But that bIMG_20160430_065735943rief mention left me determined: when we had some free time to explore, the Power Point would be destination #1.

It only took a passing mention at dinner to discover that five women in our group had felt equally compelled to see the Power Point. Despite the cold drizzle, we bundled up and sallied out across the parking lot, past the heart-shaped wisteria espalier and under the freestanding arch, with its path leading up the hill.

This was just a getting-acquainted trip for us, exploring our environment. The five of us laughed and joked about Woman Power, being unafraid – even eager – to encounter the nature spirits of the spot (or even the great god Pan himself!), but an undercurrent of awareness ran through our carrying-on: this expedition was calling forth a wild-woman face that we each carried hidden. Our IMG_20160430_065804821backgrounds were varied, international – Welsh, Spanish, Dutch, German, and American – and each of us was aware at bone level that past the budding arch, with its wind chime like a doorbell, lay genuine earth mysteries that transcended our individual cultures.

Instinctively, each of us gently touched the wind chime to ring as we passed beneath the arch. I was reminded of the Shuar community of Ecuador, who painted their faces before going into the rainforest to tell the spirits that they came humbly in peace.

The graveled path arced uphill, turning sharp left around a growth of trees and bushes to reveal two circles, set like an anteroom and sanctuary. My heartbeat quickened at the still air, the echoing song of sleepy birds, the feeling of expectancy. IMG_20160430_070004602

Instinctively we walked the first circle clockwise, past the Garden of Release and its fragrant flowering bushes. The flagstone path led on to the second circle, outlined in white stones, with a bench facing a simple altar to the Feminine beneath a young Scottish Pine. Silently we gathered in a meditative semicircle and offered an intention for the coming week, then one by one laid an impromptu offering – a feather, a stone, a fallen blossom – on the altar.

We recessed out in silence, feeling as if we had already accessed a Power Point, knowing that the actual destination still lay ahead. Our footsteps muffled by damp leaves, we followed the path as it spiraled uphill. “The path is a beginning of ritual in itself,” one of the women whispered, and I agreed. Like walking the turns of a labyrinth, this wide spiral was leading us inwardly deeper even as we moved higher, glimpsing the roofs of Cluny below us through the trees and the mountains far beyond.

Around and aroundIMG_20160424_172002788_HDR, walking, walking…there were shortcut trails directly to the top of the hill at intervals, and a couple of the women broke off to follow these, but the deepening feeling of ritual held three of us on the path. Finally we came to the summit, a clearing of holly, birch, flowering bushes and a simple altar of stones. “Love is the answer, Love over all,” said one woman in a hushed voice. Standing there, I felt the connection of earth, trees, sky, the Deep Feminine connection between us five. Smiling impishly at the rest of us, one woman howled at the nearly-full moon somewhere beyond the clouds, and we all joined in, embracing our wild Oneness with divinity.

Walking down, unwinding the spiral, I felt the ritual energy slowly releasing. Women began to talk again, one speaking of similar experiences at other earth sanctuaries, another sharing her worries as a Catholic experiencing things far outside church dogma. I stopped to admire a clump of lichen on the path, and another woman noticed a bee, somnolent from the cold, huddled on the path next to it. Carefully, reverently, we picked it up and placed it in the grasses to the side of the path. Down and down we circled, all five of us, till the path swung wide on the downhill stretch to the arch and wind chime.

After a brief discussion, the other women went on to explore another trail. My feet were still hurting from traipsing the mountain and streets of Edinburgh; I went in to rest and take in the evening’s experience.

It was only in my second week at Findhorn that I learned of the significance of the Power Point: its place among seven sacred hills in the vicinity; its association with the Divine Feminine; the significance of the trees that populated its slopes. But we had been introduced that night, and our impromptu sisterhood had tasted its mystery, and that was an experience to cherish.

 

 

Let Indigenous Voices be Heard at the Paris Talks!

For thousands of years, civilizations have seen: when the forests are clearcut, the climate changes. The temperature rises, rainfall decreases, catastrophic weather events increase, deserts spread across the land.

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon know this – and they are fighting to save their sacred lands, not only for the sake of their cultures but also for the sake of life on Earth. The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples protects them in theory from forcible relocation, but this protection is being overridden with coerced, sham agreements, military evictions, and the kidnapping, torture, and assassination of their activists. And the destruction of the rainforest continues.

A climate conference without the voice of these indigenous peoples – the people who intimately know the forest and the natural balance from millennia of personal interaction – a climate conference that doesn’t make a priority of protecting the Amazon and all its lives and cultures – can not succeed in averting climate chaos.

Be a climate leader and defender of indigenous rights! Join Amazon Watch to ensure Amazonian leaders’ meaningful participation at the 21st session of the UN Climate Talks in Paris this Winter. Help me support Amazon Watch by making a contribution.

The process is fast, easy, and secure and it benefits a great cause.

If you can’t make a donation right now, help me reach my goal by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter! Or, even better, email your family and friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to my page!

Thanks so much for your generosity!

“Joyous Repentance” by David Sparenberg

As we sink deeper into darkness approaching winter solstice, poet-playwright, actor, director & author David Sparenberg offers this breathtaking video “inviting all Sufis, Gypsies, poets, alchemists, mystics and lovers to come and have a look. This is an alternative to violence video, to the cult and culture…”

Taking the Risk of Sharing Our Stories

Four years ago, in the midst of studies towards my Master’s degree, I birthed the precursor of this blog on the free WordPress platform. What a journey has taken place between that time and this!

At the beginning, I had no idea of where the journey would take me. I only knew that I was waking up to the reality – not just the single, catechism-shattering experience that I’d had in childhood,  but the everyday, sublime-and-mundane Reality —  that we exist in a conscious cosmos.

And along with that awakening came the calling to, somehow, integrate and share both that experience and that Reality.

Thanks be for the circles, and friends, and teachers, who shook me free of the Catholic-schoolgirl impression that such an experience was bizarre and unique, and the Reality…well, theologically incorrect at best! It’s taken a long time for me to realize that that experience is both archetypal and universal, and that it genuinely reflects REALITY, the mystical core of both shamanism and religion, and the guiding ethos of this inter-aware, interdependent creation.

It’s a challenge to stay in that awareness, and to share the journey from a place of personal authenticity, seeking, and ongoing discovery, when the risks of vulnerability and spiritual self-revelation are terrifying. And a very humbling task indeed, in the knowledge that the personal discoveries that are cracking open one cage after another in my mind are the mystical equivalents of 1+1 and a-b-c. It’s a wild ride between “wow – this must be shared!” on one hand and “who do I think I am?”on the other.

I’m deeply grateful for – and challenged by – the teachers who have encouraged me, affirming that each person’s shared story validates the experience of others, and gives others the courage to share their own experience in turn.

Looking at the mess we’re in as a species – and the devastation we have wrought on this planet – the human journey is about waking up to recognize and choose to walk in Sacred relatedness with the nonhuman awarenesses and wisdom that surround us. This awakening and re-connection to our brother and sister beings, I believe, is the key that can ultimately save life on Earth.

So to affirm, and live, and share, the truth of Sacred inter-being, at whatever bare-beginning level one understands and experiences it, is no longer an option but a necessity.

This blog traces some of my own path, and the events and people whose work speaks most deeply to me. It is one step in the evolution of a project further exploring the experience of conscious connection to the Divine embodied in creation.

I invite your sharing of your journey in response!

Heal the Land & the People? Racism says “Not Here!”

Three years ago, a friend returned from a conference, thrust a book at me, said “You must read this!” – and shifted my perspective on the world.

The book was Cosmosophia, by the Rev. Dr. Theodore Richards (see my Great Reads page for a review). Shortly afterward I contacted Dr. Richads directly… and that was the beginning of a rich connection. Since then I’ve studied under his direction, and helped to promote his work, and have been deeply moved by his writings on the Wisdom Education tradition, and the way he has been putting this tradition into practice in the Chicago Wisdom Project.

An important aspect of the CWP vision is to help children connect not only to their inner wisdom and their ancestral wisdom, but also to the wisdom of the land through practicing permaculture: the Project has been working for some time now toward starting a permaculture farm in Baroda, Michigan.

Having studied permaculture with the Earth Activist Training, I’ve personally experienced the magic that this integrative approach to agriculture and human culture can work…not only in healing the land, but also in healing and empowering those who work the land, as well as raising the consciousness, sustainability and resilience of the surrounding community. It’s work that affirms the message of Martin Luther King, Jr. at its deepest meaning: that we are one people and we are all related to every other being.

So it was with shock that I read the following blog post from Dr. Richards this morning…and I ask you to join me in supporting his petition:

Dr King’s Work Continues: Forty-eight Years Later, Still “Not Welcome”

Dr King’s Work Continues: Forty-eight Years Later, Still “Not Welcome”

“NOT Welcome!” read the email. I stared at it for a while. We were not welcome to build our farm in Baroda, Michigan, apparently. Even though, in the same email, the neighbor claims he does not know what we are doing. [“It is not clear to me what the complete objectives are for this project, who will be ‘farming’ this land, and why you thought it would be appropriate placement in my front yard! NOT welcome at all.” – Gregory Davis]

But hey, I thought, this is just one neighbor. No big deal. But then I got the call from Mike Moran. Mike is running the farm in Michigan and had just returned from a hearing with the town board. A dozen or so neighbors had showed up, bringing pictures they’d printed from our website, bringing wild accusations about what our plans, bringing, most significantly, fear and ignorance that we’d been taught was a thing of the past. I’d seen “Eyes on the Prize.” I knew that when my wife’s family moved to a white neighborhood in Chicago in the eighties she’d faced similar prejudices. But this was 2014. Dr King’s birthday is celebrated as a big, collective “thank you” for getting rid of this kind of thing, or perhaps as a “Day of Service” where people do nice things like feed the homeless. But addressing issues of systemic racism and exclusion are not really part of the narrative.

(read more)

Please sign this petition to ask the town of Baroda to give Wisdom Farm a fair hearing.

Theodore Richards is the director and founder of The Chicago Wisdom Project. He is the author of several books, most recently Creatively Maladjusted: The Wisdom Education Movement Manifesto, finalist for the USA Book Award. His second novel, The Conversions, is to be released in October. He is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including two Independent Publisher Awards, The USA Book Award, and the Nautilus Book Award. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughters.

The Challenge of Bearing Loving Witness

This past Sunday, a sparkling and bone-chilling day, I went out to the woods with a good friend – a wise man in precarious health, who walks with Death pacing his footsteps. We were going in hopes of meeting with others, to join in a loving circle for the Earth. We waited; no one came. Eventually we went to the spot we’d chosen for the ritual, and after some heart-to-heart conversation on the way things were going in the world, offered our own energy-gifts and prayers to the Mother, and left.

I am still processing the non-event. Was it my (admittedly fuzzy) directions? The short notice? The distance to drive? The chilly temperature? Or was it a simpler, deeper reason: fear of the event itself? Fear of stepping out of LOA lockstep and admitting the truth of what is happening, much less taking any steps in response?

I’d begun my invitation by doing the unthinkable: pointing out the dire situations we’re facing on all too many fronts, and the likelihood that some “negative” feelings (i.e., grief) could quite possibly be involved, and the need for prayers and love to be gifted to the Divine embodied in this precious planet in such devastating pain.

(I’m intentionally not addressing the scientific reasons for the event, which are abundantly documented in brilliant sites such as the Science and Environmental Health Network, Helen Caldicott, M.D.,  Words for a Better World, RAN.org, Commondreams.org, and many others, all of whose articles I share on Facebook.)

But why come out for such a sad purpose? Crowds have come out in positive action against Keystone XL, Monsanto, and fracking. CEOs, local and national legislators, SCOTUS and POTUS, and world leaders are barraged by incessant petitions. The planned removal of the fuel rods from Fukushima’s damaged Unit 4 requires trained nuclear engineers and operators willing to sacrifice their lives (or health at the very least), not ordinary citizens.

What can the ordinary person do beyond what is being done?

LOVE THE EARTH. Over and over again, this is the guidance I am receiving: LOVE THE EARTH.

In the past seven years I have stood by the deathbeds of my husband and my mother, dying of congestive heart failure, and beside the coffins of two aunts, who passed after battles with cancer. In this same period, I have held six of my cats while they died or were put to sleep (due to old age and cancer). I have received a hard education in bearing witness to the passage of a beloved.

While I do not believe that the planet herself will die, it is widely recognized that we are in the midst of mass extinctions in the sea and on land…and that these may quite possibly include the human race. Whatever life forms will survive or evolve out of these devastating earth changes will be very different from those we know now.

Like it or not, to be in any real sense human, we must recognize all that is in the process of passing.  Today’s blame-games and denial seem tantamount to squabbling over our Mother’s impending change, projecting the blame for all that is failing in her body…all the physical abuse and depletion she has suffered over the centuries of sustaining her greedy, willful children.

To clarify: not standing with her as we did at my mother’s bedside, engaging in the painful yet comforting interactions of apology, forgiveness, deep listening and loving and blessing, but rather retreating to another room to stage cathartic psycho-performances focused on her worsening condition and our own self-blame or self-justification, or the imperative of gouging one last demand from her.

What a horrible, futile way to spend the precious time as it ticks remorselessly past.

What if, instead, we humans chose to spend these days in intentional appreciation – yes, sending petitions, protesting, taking all the outward “warrior” actions, but also setting aside time to be spent as gently and sensitively as humanly possible, loving and nurturing  the Earth and her beings in the face of death.

Nearly two years before, I had taken another approach with my husband as he lay drugged and unconscious, fighting massive sepsis two months after heroic, experimental heart surgery. I engaged full-scale in LOA strategy, refusing point-blank to believe at any time that death was a possibility. I gathered teams of Reiki and other energy practitioners, and called on our worldwide community for prayers at each “bump in the road.” When the drugs could do no more, hearing the doctors’ urging to turn off life support was like reaching a sheer drop-off at the end of an elevated expressway …I was still racing ahead, but with nothing beneath me…falling, instead, through open air. There could be no conversation, no exchange of forgiveness and blessing – only my repeated “I’m sorry” between sobs as I watched his heart monitor slow, then flatline. It took months to come to terms with the reality of his passing. I still struggle to connect at a deep level, inwardly bracing myself for loss yet again.

But these were the deaths of single human beings…not the death of massive numbers of individual humans, plants and animals, entire species, ecosystems, even potentially life as we know it on Earth.

How do the two connect? As I see it, faced with death, we have four basic options:

  • To despair, blaming self and others, wallowing in the expectation of loss
  • To relentlessly and remorselessly deny the inevitability of any ending
  • To value life more highly and live more purposefully, resisting death as long as possible while seeing it as the wise advisor who gives meaning to life
  • To connect with a larger picture in which nothing happens in isolation and everything is connected, in which death may be the gateway through which an individual’s – or a species’ – influence and impact transcend the body…as I came to see it was for my mother and husband.

It is easiest, least risky, least painful, to choose the first two, focusing on the patient as object or victim, focusing on the external body, disease process, and overwhelming physical needs, imagining and projecting the patient’s experience (or distancing oneself with the platitude “I can’t imagine what you must be going through”), or worse, speaking of the patient as if s/he were an empty, unaware thing in the bed, rather interacting directly with the whole person as a total mind/body/spirit entity.

It is terrifying to engage with another human being as they stand with their toes curled at the brink of the unknown…hanging ten at the drop edge of yonder …how much more terrifying to engage directly with a planet whose compromised ecosystems are in similar condition…  especially when this whole culture is based on the belief that the Earth is an unaware, unconscious object? Couldn’t this be done by indoor workshops or energy circles, safely in centrally-heated rooms?

My experience: reading a hospice handbook on the dying process – even doing a guided visualization on death — is very different from standing at a loved one’s deathbed with eyes and heart open. Reading of a rainforest being slashed and burned is very different from sitting in a secluded glade and feeling the screams of a single tree being dismembered by loggers, or struggling through deep muddy tire tracks and crushed underbrush to touch the stumps and shreds of trees hauled away. Reading even the most heart-wrenchingly written petition on the death of our watersheds is very different from standing on the cracked earth of a dried-up streambed and bearing witness to the dying trees and silence of wildlife dead or fled.

The wisdom of the imagination is very different from the wisdom of the heart and spirit connecting to the wisdom of the Earth – in the moment, on the spot, having the courage and vulnerability to bear witness to devastating realities and listen without theory or preconception or interpretation to the guidance of the Earth regarding appropriate and necessary action in response.

What results from this distancing, I ask? Consciousness can be righteously raised in theory with no resulting actual action, personal cost or long-term outward effect.  There are those who say that the brain does not know the difference between reality and ritual (or process)…while this may be true for some, I have not experienced this beyond a very limited degree. A guided visualization or process, like divination – I say – is necessarily limited by the inward filters of the person visualizing…unless support is given to weaken those filters and facilitate an opening to new insights.

I say – for Pity’s sake – it’s time to go out to the woods and the water, to love, to grieve and to bear witness, to invite the wisdom of the Earth to speak in sacred space, and to listen!

At the very least, this wisdom can speak of meeting extinction with dignity, “not go(ing) gently into that good night.” At best – witnessing the Spirit-based actions of Idle No More, who is to say that Earth wisdom, if humbly and sincerely sought, may not guide us to answers? And who has not heard of the “exceptional patients” who were given weeks or months to live, and who, supported by love and prayers, made a miraculous turn-around?

The next Loving Circle will be offered on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, again at 2:00 p.m. The place in Maryland will be announced within a day or two. Watch for the Facebook event and Calendar event here.

Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples Council Statement on Fukushima (reblogging)

Reblogging from http://www.indigenousaction.org/indigenous-elders-and-medicine-peoples-council-statement-on-fukushima/This Message Must Be Heard!
October 31, 2013
Council Statement
This statement reflects the wisdom of the Spiritual People of the Earth, of North and South America, working in unity to restore peace, harmony and balance for our collective future and for all living beings. This statement is written in black and white with a foreign language that is not our own and does not convey the full depth of our concerns.The Creator created the People of the Earth into the Land at the beginning of Creation and gave us a way of life. This way of life has been passed down generation-to-generation since the beginning. We have not honored this way of life through our own actions and we must live these original instructions in order to restore universal balance and harmony. We are a part of Creation; thus, if we break the Laws of Creation, we destroy ourselves.

We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, have no choice but to follow and uphold the Original Instructions, which sustains the continuity of Life. We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to be exploited.

We speak on behalf of all Creation today, to communicate an urgent message that man has gone too far, placing us in the state of survival. We warned that one day you would not be able to control what you have created. That day is here.

Not heeding warnings from both Nature and the People of the Earth keeps us on the path of self destruction. This self destructive path has led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Gulf oil spill, tar sands devastation, pipeline failures, impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and the destruction of ground water through hydraulic fracking, just to name a few. In
addition, these activities and development continue to cause the deterioration and destruction of sacred places and sacred waters that are vital for Life.

Powerful technologies are out of control and are threatening the future of all life. The Fukushima nuclear crisis alone is a threat to the future of humanity. Yet, our concern goes far beyond this single threat. Our concern is with the cumulative and compounding devastation that is being wrought by the actions of human beings around the world.

It is the combination of resource extraction, genetically modified organisms, moral failures, pollution, introduction of invasive species and much much more that are threatening the future of life on Earth. The compounding of bad decisions and their corresponding actions are extremely short-sighted. They do not consider the future generations and they do not respect or honor the Creator’s Natural Law.

We strongly urge for the governmental authorities to respond with an open invitation to work and consult with us to solve the world’s problems, without war. We must stop waging war against Mother Earth, and ourselves.

We acknowledge that all of these devastating actions originated in human beings who are living without regard for the Earth as the source of life.
They have strayed from the Original Instructions by casting aside the Creator’s Natural Law. It is now critical for humanity to acknowledge that we have created a path to self destruction. We must restore the Original Instructions in our lives to halt this devastation.

The sanctity of the Original Instructions has been violated. As a result, the Spiritual People of the Earth were called ceremonially to come together at the home of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle. These Spiritual Leaders and those that carry great responsibility for their people from both North and South America came together with the sacred fire for four days at the end of September 2013 to fulfill their sacred responsibilities.

During this time it was revealed that the spirit of destruction gained its’ strength by our spiritually disconnected actions. We are all responsible in varying degrees for calling forth this spirit of destruction, thus we are all bound to begin restoring what we have damaged by helping one another recover our sacred responsibility to the Earth.

We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, offer our spiritual insight, wisdom and vision to the global community to help guide the actions
needed to overcome the current threats to all life.

We only have to look at our own bodies to recognize the sacred purpose
of water on Mother Earth. We respect and honor our spiritual relationship
with the lifeblood of Mother Earth. One does not sell or contaminate their
mother’s blood. These capitalistic actions must stop and we must recover
our sacred relationship with the Spirit of Water.

The People of the Earth understand that the Fukushima nuclear crisis continues to threaten the future of all life. We understand the full implications of this crisis even with the suppression of information and the filtering of truth by the corporate owned media and Nation States. We strongly urge the media, corporations and Nation States to acknowledge and convey the true facts that threaten us, so that the international
community may work together to resolve this crisis, based on the foundation of Truth.

We urge the international community, government of Japan and TEPCO to unify efforts to stabilize and re-mediate the nuclear threat posed at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. To ensure that the Japanese government and TEPCO are supported with qualified personnel and information, we urge the inclusion of today’s nuclear experts from around the world to collaborate, advise and provide technical assistance to prevent further radioactive contamination or worse, a nuclear explosion that may have apocalyptic consequences.

The foundation for peace will be strengthened by restoring the Original Instructions in ourselves Prophecies have been shared and sacred instructions were given. We, the People of the Earth, were instructed that the original wisdom must be shared again when imbalance and disharmony are upon Mother Earth.

In 1994 the sacred white buffalo, the giver of the sacred pipe, returned to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people bringing forth the sacred message that the winds of change are here. Since that time many more messengers in the form of white animals have come, telling us to wake up my children. It is time. So listen for the sacred instruction.

All Life is sacred. We come into Life as sacred beings. When we abuse the
sacredness of Life we affect all Creation We urge all Nations and human beings around the world to work with us, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, to restore the Original Instructions and uphold the Creator’s Natural Law as a foundation for all decision making, from this point forward.

Our collective future as human beings is in our hands, we must address the Fukushima nuclear crisis and all actions that may violate the Creator’s Natural Law. We have reached the crossroads of life and the end of our existence. We will avert this potentially catastrophic nuclear disaster by coming together with good minds and prayer as a global community of all faiths.

We are the People of the Earth united under the Creator’s Law with a sacred covenant to protect and a responsibility to extend Life for all future generations. We are expressing deep concern for our shared future and urge everyone to awaken spiritually. We must work in unity to help Mother Earth heal so that she can bring back balance and harmony
for all her children.

View the original statement with signatures here (PDF): COUNCIL_FUKUSHIMA_STATEMENT_OCT_2013.(http://www.indigenousaction.org/indigenous-elders-and-medicine-peoples-council-statement-on-fukushima/council_fukushima_statement_oct_2013/)

Representatives of the Council

Chief Arvol Looking Horse
19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe
Spiritual Leader
The Great Sioux Nation

Bobby C. Billie
Clan Leader and Spiritual Leader
Council of the Original Miccosukee
Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples

Faith Spotted Eagle, Tunkan Inajin Win
Brave Heart Society Grandmother/Headswoman & Ihanktonwan Treaty Council
Ihanktonwan Dakota from the Oceti Sakowin

7 Council Fires
– ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES TO FOLLOW –
Number of Views: 1100

 

Loving Circle for the Earth

Trees from the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada, cut and stacked like matchsticks to make way for a new Tar Sands excavation.

I usually do something at this time of year around the Day of the Dead/Samhain/All Souls, toward honoring our ancestors. This year, however, I have been haunted by accounts of the dying of the ocean…the razing of the forests for Tar Sands and toilet tissue, for oil and hydropower…the massive injustices being perpetrated by the U.S. government.

I’ve been silenced by sheer overwhelm at the enormity of the social and environmental destruction…and I have heard so many others expressing similar feelings of overwhelm and despair.

The words that have kept coming back to me are: “We need to be loving them in their passing.” Not only fighting to save the beings that are dying, the species that are being extinguished, the planet herself in the vast wounding of extraction and contamination, but also sending them specifically LOVING energy in the recognition that it may be too late.

So on Saturday, while I was on a woods-walking retreat, the guidance came: to offer a Reiki/energy sending afternoon this coming weekend in an outdoor setting, specifically focused on sending LOVE via whichever healing modality(ies) we practice, to those beings/elements of our earth, known and unknown, that are so direly on the edge…or tipped/tipping already.

Part of this may look like grieving, and I suspect that some grief release may be involved for what has already been lost. But the deeper intent is to give the sort of love and cherishing that one gives a hospice patient – aware that all things end, that our species is responsible for too many ends, and loving fiercely those beings that remain.

Just that – LOVING. And who knows but that such love might make a difference?

So I’m inviting you to join me in spirit or in person on the afternoon of Sunday Nov 3, at 2:00 in the Avalon area of Patapsco State Park (see the location info below) for a meditation/healing circle for the Mother.

We’ll begin with a brief song/drumming ritual to unite our energies and intentions, and we will close with song and drumming, so please bring a drum or percussion instrument if you have one!

If you feel so called, you might also bring a small natural object (e.g., a stone, a crystal, a pine cone, a seashell, a handful of tobacco or cornmeal, worm tea, etc.) to charge with your loving intention and give to the Earth.

Or if you aren’t nearby, and want to take part at that time at a distance, please join us remotely. To register for this event, please go to https://www.facebook.com/events/175404279330553/.

Please share this invitation! For more information, email me at philahoopes @ gmail.com.

Thank you!

“Someday someone will isolate the frequency of love and build a machine to transmit it. Calling it Smith’s Healing Rays, they will charge to beam it at our injured parts. And we may forget it was ours all the time. But for now, we will call it TREE.

The fabricated TREE will not be as effective as what we can develop within ourselves. For TREE is individual, each person sending that love particular to her/his being and no computer can simulate the variety, tenderness and efficaciousness of the heart. TREE is particular, but it is also collective, not the act of one person, but of several, not exclusively an act of intimacy, but also of community. And TREE is not what we have associated with healing, the sucking into our own healthy bodies of a disease occupying another, but rather the loving saturation of the other body with the healing light originating in the heart.”

– Deena Metzger, TREE: Essays & Pieces

_________________________________________

Here is the webpage for the Avalon area of Patapsco:

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/central/patapscoavalon.asp

We’ll meet at the Visitor Center and then go from there – for this reason, it’s important that you arrive at 2:00! There are two places where we could do the actual circle – at the Cascade Falls nearby, or right by the Patapsco. We’ll need to play it by ear, depending on the number of people (partiers, hikers, etc) in the area at the time and the energy of the group.

Patapsco State Park – Avalon Entrance
5120 South Street
Arbutus, MD 21227

Link: <https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode&q=Patapsco+Valley+State+Park%2C+5120+South+Street%2C+Arbutus%2C+MD+21227&aq&sll=39.21972%2C-76.704998&sspn=0.110648%2C0.200157&vpsrc=0&ie=UTF8&hq=Patapsco+Valley+State+Park%2C+5120+South+Street%2C+Arbutus%2C+MD+21227&hnear&radius=15000&ll=39.247941%2C-76.68354&spn=0.110604%2C0.200157&t=m&z=12&iwloc=A&cid=14954589578245953755>

 

 

A Christ for the Spiritual but Not Religious?

This may come as a shock to those of you who know me – an Earth-based spiritual edgewalker who’s clenched her teeth, swearing silently “I will not bolt, I will not bolt” when she hears a minister edging too close to standard-issue Christian doctrine, and who shies away from enmeshing dogmatic constructs like poison ivy.

And who, for years, has been seeking to bridge the psychological chasms between a “heretical” childhood vision of the Divine conscious oneness of creation, versus evangelical-charismatic teen and college years, versus a near-vocation to the convent, versus an adult life drawn to Earth-based and indigenous spirituality, along the way witnessing too many spiritual manipulations and abuses across too many denominations, and grieving helplessly over the injustices done to the First Peoples of the world as Western Civilization proceeds on its rapacious way, mowing down primeval cultures and ecosystems like blades of grass.

That search finally found its fulfillment in the ancient/post-modern Creation Spirituality teachings of theologian/author/activist Matthew Fox…and never more so when he said that the Earth, women, GLBT people, people of color, and indigenous nations are being crucified on the cross of modern Christians’ shadow-Christ. This priest, I knew in that moment, saw what others could or would not. Two years later, I was managing his website and helping to promote his work.

Even so, it was a stretch for me to attend the first in the newest series of trainings that he and author Andrew Harvey are co-directing, the Christ Path Seminar: was this just Christianity in a sneaky new wrapping, a new form of pious deception, I wondered? No – knowing the integrity that both of them demonstrate, that was impossible.

It was a worthwhile and healing stretch, as it turned out, as I listened to the two authors deconstruct the pop-Christ for a deeper, truer, more integral cosmic Awareness, and reframe Jesus from a schmaltzy best friend/copilot to a potent advocate for justice and compassion for all, and especially for the most vulnerable. I found myself reconnecting to my earlier, forgotten experiences of Jesus-connection, forgiving and integrating the see-sawing spiritual path of my past. Yes, I was (and am) still a solitary, Earth-based, spiritual edgewalker, but a door that had been shut in my soul was now ajar.

So why am I sharing this?

For the past six months, I’ve been promoting the Christ Path Seminar. True to Drs. Fox and Harvey’s teaching techniques, these weekends engage participants, on-site and online, in learning and practices for the mind, body and spirit, exploring questions such as:

And true to Drs. Fox and Harvey’s commitment to the Gift Economy, making this transformational content available to all, registration for the trainings – both on-site and online – is only $50 plus whatever donation you choose to add, based on the value of your experience.

If you want to get a sense of the passion and eloquence of these two master-teachers’ offerings – enough to make this Earth-based “spiritual anarchist” come back for more! – check out the DVDs of their first Christ Path weekend – just $50 for the full 12-DVD set, 20 hours of recorded content.

But more important, do sign up for the upcoming weekend, “Cosmic Christ and Youth – the Occupy Generation,” featuring guest speaker Adam Bucko of the Reciprocity Foundation – a transformational educational refuge for homeless youth in NYC. Adam Bucko recently collaborated with Matthew Fox in the soon-to-be-published book, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation (Sacred Activism)

I guarantee – there will be no altar calls, but lots of challenges to your preconceptions and invitations to step beyond them into a new, broader and deeper experience of the Divine. Truly a worthwhile and inclusive experience to be savored again and again, whatever your faith tradition.

Supporting Those Who Support the Change

For a long time now – going back to this site’s .wordpress.com days – I’ve been promoting occasional events and organizations that spoke deeply to my heart and soul. And today, after a weekend of life-changing personal shifts, SoulPaths is taking the first steps toward its next incarnation – celebrating those who are driving the Great Change our world so badly needs.

I’m thrilled to share the news that Starhawk, under whose direction I spent a life-changing two weeks studying the principles of permaculture design at Earth Activist Training – Starhawk, the culture-changing voice of Goddess spirituality and earth consciousness who led ritual at the WTO protests in Seattle and set up the (permaculture-based) camp for Occupy at McPherson Square in DC – Starhawk, who’s held a vision for empowered, peaceful, grassroots actions for decades now, has now published her book on the topic…

Starhawk will be offering a telecourse on Empowerment Through Collaboration: How to Create Transformative Community through the Evolver Network and Living Mandala, July 2 through August 6, online as a webinar.

Whether you are a street activist, a Transition Town participant, or working out the principles of sustainable living with an intentional household or eco-village, in this course you can “learn how to make your participation in groups, in all of its aspects, an expression of your highest ideals.”

If you have any desire at all to help create the global change that is so badly needed, don’t miss this training. She and her guest speakers will be giving interactive mentoring on topics such as…

  • The Balance of Power and Responsibility
  • Communication and Trust
  • Empowering Leadership
  • Conflict, Trauma, and Dealing with Difficult People
  • Meetings and Facilitation

Oh – and in the interest of full disclosure, yes, as an ambassador of the Evolver Network, I will receive a small commission if you do sign up…..but that’s not why I’m making this announcement. I’m making it because Starhawk’s work is profound and powerful, because it is helping to create the peaceful change our world needs, and because it needs and deserves to be shared widely. Seriously – don’t miss this training.