If I Tell You

If I tell you what I feel
Don’t be offended or take on some sort of guilt.
If I tell you what I feel
Don’t think that my feelings imply blame.

If my feelings rise to the surface
Allow space for the thought that they are mine
For in their expression, simply wish to be spoken.

As I learn to tell you my feelings
I will search for an honesty of expression
Sharing – simply sharing what is felt.

For without words coming to the surface
there will never be a way to know me.

I Don’t Know

I don’t know where I came from – really
Except that this form birthed from my mother’s womb.

I don’t know really – what comes after my body is no longer
able to hold who I think I am.

I don’t know really – what I am supposed to do
With this life I have been given
Except to be open to whatever comes along
or to what I create.

I don’t know really – where anything comes from
Or is going.
I do know really – that we all came from the same source
And will always be together.

Connection

When I deeply listen to you
It is as though
All the walls I have built around myself
Disappear.
That space between us
No longer exists
As a boundary between strangers.

The oneness of who we are
And the whole of who we are
Creates new patterns of being.
When I deeply listen to you
Understanding and a deep knowing
of our shared experience
Connects me to you in a way that is holy.

All that I Can Be

Oh, that my eyes be open
May I see to every side
Above and below me
Within and all about.

May my words speak my feelings
So that you can understand
The depth of my emotion
My joy and yes, my pain.

Oh that my heart be open
To give and to receive
May love be what moves me
in all that I can be

As the hawk flies above me,
May I be like he
My far seeing eyes missing nothing
As far as I can see.

As the sweet rose before me
Unfolds as it must
May I open fully
In love and in trust

As water flows over rocks
And down this wide stream
May words come like healing
Through prayers and in dreams

Widgets and Gidgets

Widgets and gidgets and wickety pop
Things I have and things I got.
Things of beauty and works of art
Things of which I am a part.

All collected and put away
To savor and hold another day.
Books and papers and magical things
Beads and baubles and silver rings,
All mementos of yesterday.
I touch and hold and wish to play
And dance the music of the past
All saved to make my memories last.

Wrapping and boxing I recall
Dreams and lovers, good times all.
Friends and happenings all come clear
These are things that make life dear.

So I’ll keep them a little bit longer
To make the future that much stronger
If I remember what’s said and done.
Then I’ll not fear what’s yet to come.

Watcher

red-tail

Watcher sits just behind my left shoulder,
His disdainful look ever with me.
I asked him once what I could do to make his job easier
And he declared quite vehemently, “open your eyes.”

Hawks see everything below them
Soaring as they do on high
Their keen eyes missing nothing
In their search for predator and prey.

Solitary creatures by nature
Territorial, sharing only with owl,
Hunting by day as owl seeks at night
Allowing no other intrusion.

Soaring majestically in your realm
You have chosen to enter mine,
Offering clear vision for what I miss
In my narrowly focused world.

It is like having an added sense,
A keen knowing beforehand,
Of what is coming
Before my poor eyes can see.

Let me take up my drum
And climb upon your back.
We’ll visit new realms on wings together
seeing with wonder the land below.

Treasured friend, bonded brother
You offer this gift of sight
You are steadfast and loyal
As you for me watch day after day.

Brother in spirit, may I be worthy
Of your loyalty and love,
For your gift of vision and clear seeing
I honor you and trust you always.

Inanna’s Return and Bread and Waters of Life

Most of us know the story of Inanna’s descent into the Underworld to visit with her sister Erishkigal. The reason for her visit is that Erishkigal’s husband has died and Inanna was a childhood friend of his and she will visit to pay her respects.  As she travels to meet her sister, Inanna must pass through seven gates at which she is asked to remove and part with aspects of herself so that when she approaches Erishkigal she is basically “laid bare.”

Upon arrival, her sister, who is angry because she believes that her husband loved Inanna, hangs Inanna from a meat hook to die.

While Inanna was in the Underworld, Ninshubur waited three days for Her to return, and when she did not, because she thought all was lost, Ninshubur began to mourn for her. She visited the temple of Enki who agreed to help her. Enki knows the nature of the underworld and its rule by a jealous, anguished Erishkigal.  As a god he has the power to create and facilitate. From the dirt under his fingernails, he creates the kurgarra and galatur, instinctual, asexual creatures endowed with the artistic and empathic talent of being professional mourners, capable of mirroring the lonely queen’s emotions.  These little asexual creatures represent the attitude necessary to draw a blessing from the dark goddess. They were commanded to go to the Underworld where they found Erishkigal in the throes of agony and reeling from the misery she has caused. When she moans, they moan with her, appeasing her anguish by the echo of their concern, affirming her in her suffering.  Enki has understood that complaining is one voice of the dark goddess, a way of expressing life, valid and deep in the feminine soul.

When she observes their sympathy she will offer them a gift. They are to ask only for the corpse of Inanna and, having received it, are to resurrect her with the bread and water of life.  They perform the task of bringing Inanna back to life, reviving Her with the gift of the bread and water of life. But as they prepare to leave they are stopped by Anunna who tells them she may not leave unless someone comes in her place.  Inanna agrees to find someone and is allowed to leave.

She returns to Demuzi, her new husband, only to find him enjoying himself, drinking, feasting and making music while she was suffering. She was so enraged that she decides Dumuzi should be the one to take her place in the Underworld.  She directs the Anunna to seize him, which they do. Dumuzi desperately pleads with Inanna to relent, but she turns her back on him. He then appeals to Utu, but he too forsakes him. Dumuzi is carried away.

Inanna’s descent into the Underworld is the Sumerian mythology to explain the Dark Times and the seeming absence of the Goddess.  It is at Imbolc (the beginning of Spring – our Ground Hog Day) that Inanna is given the bread and water of life.  This is the promise of returning life, the first stirring of the Bright Goddess’s return to us. She has not yet returned to her Temple, nor has she chosen Demuzi to be Her replacement.   She is alive – and returning.  It will be at the coming Spring Equinox that Demuzi will be taken to the Underworld.

Hail Inanna!  Blessed Be the Gift of the Bread and Waters of Life!

Retrieved at Inanna, An Opera of Ancient Sumer http://www.craton.net/inanna/main.php?action=synopsis

Retrieved at Library of Halexandria http://www.halexandria.org/dward385.htm

Perera, Sylvia Brinton, Descent to the Goddess, Inner City Books, Toronto, Canada 1981

Water, Spiritual Source

We are creatures of water.  Water is our original source as well as what makes up at least 70% of our bodies. It is part of every cell and fiber in us and is our essence.  What if water were the common denominator weaving all of life (earth, animal, human, and plant) together? Is it what connects us all?   It is pretty incredible when you realize that the water we have here on Earth right now is the same water that has always been here.   Do you suppose there are messages contained within water?  Do you think it is possible for our ancestors to speak to us through water?

When I think about water I am immediately taken down memory lane to the various “waters” I lived near or visited.  As a child I spend several summers on Hermosa Beach in Southern California where the intertidal zone reaches far out, gently sloping to deeper waters.  There is an abundant kelp forest off the shore there in the warmer Southern California waters.  For a child, kelp was the food for imagination, as we dressed ourselves in it, becoming sea monsters chasing each other about! In addition, I found pleasure in popping the pods, which sprayed seawater upon bursting.

I most remember the sand crabs tickling the bottoms of my feet as I walked out to deeper waters. The feeling was often so disturbing that I could not walk any further but had to swim!  What fun we had in scooping up great handfuls of wet sand as the waves receded and watching then squiggle and squirm to get away.  We never hurt them but allowed them to bury themselves in the sand when we released them.

As a teenager, I lived in Carmel where the intertidal zone is different.  There was very little shallow area as the ocean bottom dropped quickly. This caused very different and very dangerous currents for swimming.  There, we had far less kelp.  The kelp did not make it to shore because of the harsher impact tides against the coastline. The water was also much colder here.

As an adult, I lived for a while in Ventura, perhaps 100 miles north of my childhood home.  My favorite beach to visit was at a spot where the river came down from Ojai Valley and met the sea at Sanjon Beach.  The water, as it came onto the beach, was very slow moving, somewhat boggy and sadly, not very clean.  Many seabirds loved it and found good fishing in those waters.  Smooth river rocks covered the beach, which became sand over years of time.  I did not swim there but loved to sit on an old log and just feel the salt air and watch the birds.

As a young teenager I lived next to a lake in Massachusetts.  We were the only residents who lived there year round, the remaining houses serving as summer homes for families living in Boston.  Also, all around us were wet boggy areas filled with grasses and cattails.  In the winter, the lake and bogs froze over providing wonderful spots for ice-skating.  If you walked though the boggy areas, you could find open clearings where the grasses and reeds prevented the wind from disturbing the surface. The ice was as smooth as glass – pure black ice.  That is where I practiced my twirls and spins without fear of hitting bumps.  If you walked out far enough on the lake, you could also find patches of smooth ice.  You had to be careful of bumps and ridges coming out of nowhere.  Along the shoreline the ice was frozen in waves from the wind hitting it as it froze.  The lake and the creek running into it, provided homes for many grasses, water plants, fish, snakes, and turtles.   In the summer, I would often swim out to the center of the lake with my rowboat tied to my ankle by a rope.  There I could sit and sun, and read my book or fish for a while. At times I swam across the whole lake (about one mile)to visit a friend.

While living in Georgia, I lived in a log cabin out away from civilization on an acre and a half with a year round creek running beside the house and a pond in back.  The pond was man made and I don’t think it had been there long enough to develop much plant life.  It was however, a haven for insects and frogs! In the spring, the Spring Peepers put on a performance every evening, singing and chirping – peeping sound back and forth across the pond.  About a month later, the American Toads joined them, sending beautiful tones out across the land.  It was like a symphony between the Spring Peepers and American Toads!

One incredible moment was when a great blue heron flew in over the pond, swooping down and settling on the shore.  He took my breath away!

Some mornings I would take my coffee down to the edge of the creek.  There I would sit in my swing and listen to the rushing water.  All along the banks grew talk grasses and in one place were beautiful yellow, water iris.  I never saw any fish in the creek but I could not get very close to it because of the steep bank.  The bottom was clear but there was moss on some of the rocks.

Here in Austin, right in the middle of downtown, we have Lady Bird Lake, a man-made lake created from the Colorado River.   It is what makes Austin the lovely city that it is.  Greenbelts and parks are everywhere.  The bridges that span across it are the nesting grounds for the largest bat colony in the world.  All along the shoreline trees come right down the edge.  Most are Texas natives.  The city stocks it with bass and sunfish.  When I visit, I find ducks and other water birds, the most spectacular of which are the cormorants that sit high in the tree tops, diving into the lake for their food.

Water plays a huge role in my spiritual life, in that it calls to me to be close.  I am at home in it and beside it.  I learned to body surf with my father before I could swim.  Later, at the age of fourteen, I began teaching others to swim. After attending the Red Cross Aquatic Academy, I trained water safety instructors for the Red Cross and lifeguards for the U.S. Army.

The ocean is my biggest love.  For me it is the most nurturing and welcoming.  It is not however, all peaceful but can also be terrifying!  When I lived close enough, it was Mother Pacifica who took my pain into her healing waters.

Lakes can substitute but to me they are just not the same.  A running river makes a better substitute.  It is clear to me why so many rivers and seas are named for goddesses as they are most holy and nourishing places, teeming with new life.  There are other water spots peppered throughout my life; these are but a few and those that standout the most for me.  I am more than 10 miles from any water sources that I know of and those are very hard to get to for me.  To my body, this feels like a loss, that something is missing in my life.

In Celtic spirituality, the spirit of the land is often embodied in water — in springs, rivers, lakes and later, the sacred or holy wells. The people associate the surface and underground waters of rivers and tributaries as well as all the lands drained by them, with goddesses. Local rivers are the mothers of the clans and the bestowers of health. In Her arms, She carries the overflowing cornucopia of the abundant, giving land.

From Living River …..

“Flowing like a river, like a river to the sea
Love flows through you, and it flows through me…”

I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had to be in or near water. I am profoundly grateful for the spiritual connection it brings to me.

The water right now is the same water from the beginning. It holds within its depths all the energy since the beginning. Imagine how strong this energy is!  The closer we can be to this energy, the stronger the connection.   Is it any wonder then, why we seek this water?  We yearn for the ocean as a child for her mother. When I stand next to a rapidly rushing river, I am thrilled.  The clean cool surface of a pond calms me.

Water is a spiritually nourishing mother, a healer and a source for inspiration.  The message is one of abundance and permanence.  It is no wonder some call Her, Goddess.

The Body of Goddess

In the earliest of times, I believe humans did not see themselves as separate from all that was around them.  All of life was interdependent.  I see this in my own practice today.  When we are born, we are born to a mother.  Our lives are solely dependent on her for survival.  We are birthed by her, nourished by her, protected by her, and sometimes forced out to experience on our own, by her.  She is at first, our own Original Uncultured Mother.  Once we move from her shelter, we begin to experience our world in the same way, looking not only for what nourishes, what protects and what shelters, but also for what we need to be mindful of for our own safety, those forces far out of our control.  Those forces, which were uncontrollable, the ancients held in high esteem, and honored with reverence.

We might see her in all the symbols around us.  If we look at the Earth as the Body of the Goddess we might see her soil as her skin, her rivers and streams as her blood, flowing just as women’s blood flowed.  We would see the oceans as the waters of life bringing forth new beings, sustenance for all.  At the same time, these oceans could be seen as her mighty power, taking and giving with the tides, those same tides controlling the cycles of women’s bleeding times.  We would see the mountains as her breasts, the snow melting and running down her sides into the rivers and streams as her nourishing milk.  We often describe our earth Goddess by saying, “her flesh is the soil; her hair is the trees and other plants.  Her bones are the rocks, and her breath is the wind.  She lies, her limbs and body extended, and on her body, we live.  When it is cold, she shivers; when it is hot, she sweats.  And when she moves, there is an earthquake.”  We see this carried forth in mythology, once written language was developed.  Look at Danu who was the mighty Danube River; Cailleach Bheara, found in ancient Scottish and Irish mythology as the maker of mountains, lakes and rivers.  In Co. Meath, Ireland there is a set of chambered cairns on a hill, which is known as Sliabh na Caillighe, which means “the Hag’s mountain,” or “the witches’ hills.”  Finally, David Leeming, in his book, Goddess: Myths of the Divine Female, describes the cave, “a mysterious damp orifice … maternal wombs … vulva slits, all connected to the mysteries of birth and the source of all life.

In my own practice today, I feel very connected to these ancient people in the ways that I honor the sacred.   I have, for the most part, shed much of my dualistic thinking and reconnected to the whole in my reverence for Goddess.  In my daily living, I find physical ways to immerse myself in her.  When I am able to be by the sea, I stand in Her sacred waters. If I cannot do it in person, I do it in my mind.   Each day I feel Her breath on my skin, and bend to feel the soil at my feet.  I listen to the birds, and on occasion, I am blessed with wild animals at my back door.  The trees are a very real part of my life – my friends – my kin!  From all of these I look for messages to guide my life.  I know that I am dependent of all that surrounds me.  I look to the Sky above me, to the Seas surrounding me, and to the Land beneath my feet, and most importantly, to She Who is the Sacred Fire infusing and inspiring us all.  She is my Original Uncultured Mother.