• Category Archives Original Relation
  • See Beyond a Dystopian Future

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: New Snow. Cold. Christmas Eve. Ancient Brothers on Christmas. Animism. Joseph, his brothers. Jacob/Israel. Steel gray/blue Sky. Flocked Lodgepoles. Bears in hibernation. Elk and Mule Deer resting. Fox and Mountain Lions hunting. All wild neighbors adapting to the Snow and cold. Paul and Max. Kate, of blessed memory. Kep. Rigel. Gertie. Vega. Who left Shadow Mountain. Jon, too.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fire

    One brief shining: Diane gone to Taiwan, Mary and Guru traveled south to Melbourne, my son and Seoah dress for the cold in Songtan, Mark remains in Hafar, while I look out my window for Black Mountain, it’s not there.


    Asked the folks at the National Autonomous University of Mexico to send me a photograph of my adopted Axolotl, Gabriella. They obliged. She’s a beauty. In an Axolotl sort of way. When I get my phone cord up here to transfer pictures, I’ll post it here.

    This project has my attention, the reintroduction of Axolotls to the chinampas canals in Xochimilco. Next I’m going to support one of the chinamperos who farm the chinampas in the traditional way. As I wrote before, this kind of work prepares the World for what comes after climate change. I feel a need to support folks willing to see the future beyond dystopian writings and fever dreams. And my lev, my heart/mind, seems to always land on folks caring for the land, for wild creatures, exchanging the old ways, the bad ways for Earth friendly farming, for chinampas canals clean enough to host again the Axolotl.

    This work, a necessary part of the Great Work of our time-creating a sustainable presence for human beings on Planet Earth-does not push back against carbon emissions or try to change the minds of politicians. Though that’s so important and critical for Ruth, Gabe, Imogen, Max and all the grandchildren. It imagines a world once again attuned to the rhythms and needs of the soil, of Plant life, of Animal life, including but not privileging, human life.

    At this age I want to say Yes instead of No. I’m weary of the struggle against greed and exploitation, oppression and entrenched bigotry like racism and anti-semitism. Though again that struggle is so important for Ruth, Gabe, Imogen, Max and all the grandchildren. I’m searching, scanning for projects and ideas that will last, that will ensure food and healthy ecosystems, that have faith in the future, that build that future starting now.

    I can’t support them all and I can’t support the ones I do very well, but I want to have a link, a real connection to them. Money is one way. Making their work known is another. Finding those committed to this work and celebrating them is another.

    We can learn again to farm with the Land, not in spite of it. We can clean our Waters, protect Mountain Biomes, seed Ecosystems with Animals and Plants eliminated by human activity in the past. Five Oregon Wolves have dispersed this week here in Colorado, for example. This work happens on all continents, among all peoples. I love them for it.










  • Embodiment

    Fall and the Harvest Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Deep, vulnerable conversation. Healing. Colon back to on guard status and off active duty. Yay! Jet lag still dissipating. Blue day. Bright Sol. Green Lodgepoles. Scat in my driveway. Probably Fox. Olives. Simchat Torah. One of my favorite holidays. Dancing with the Torah. Friday: Forgot this yesterday. Mary, my physical therapist. Polio. Sister Kenny. Mary, my sister in Kuala Lumpur. Mark in Saudi. Seoah and my son in Korea. Diane in San Francisco. My close, yet so faraway family. Kepler. Kate, always Kate. Jon. Ruth, a young woman. Gabe. Rigel. My Star in the night Sky

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friends in Colorado, good friends

    One brief shining: A shiny blue Sky shone through the Bamboo mats on the Sukkah children’s hand prints on cloth decorating its slatted wooden sides, my Thursday mussar friends smiling as I came back after a six week absence.


    Interesting. Yesterday I sat in the Sukkah with the other mussar folks, Rabbi Jamie giving me a hug when I sat down next to him. We began the conversation with a meditation as we always do. And I got this feeling of sitting in one for thousands of years. As if this moment, the one I inhabited also, simultaneously, inhabited other moments in serial regression. A sensation of at-one-ment. Sukkot is an ancient harvest festival, the sukkah supposedly similar to the temporary dwellings farmers used during the hectic last days of the harvest before the winter rains. Probably not originally Jewish in origin.

    Jews, who incorporated this festival long ago-and Rabbi Jamie says it used to be the primary holiday, not Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Days of Awe-imagine these sukkah as also representing the temporary dwellings used by the Hebrew slaves during their forty years in the wilderness.

    I love Sukkot and the holiday that immediately follows it, Simchat Torah, rejoicing with the Torah. Simchat Torah is tonight. I’m going even though it’s a second night out for me this week. During this holiday the Torah Scroll is removed from the Tabernacle, completely unscrolled, and the congregation, using prayer shawls to grip it, dances with the Torah. It marks the completion of the reading of the entire Torah in the old year and the beginning of the new year’s reading in Bereshit, Genesis.

    Not sure why I find Sukkot and Simchat Torah so meaningful, but I have for several years. I love the physicality of them both. The sukkah and the unscrolled Torah. The dancing. Eating in the Sukkah. An embodied way of celebrating our connection to the holy, to the divine that manifests whenever we open ourselves.

    Perhaps that’s it. The embodiment. The whole of me involved. Not just my head. I find the High Holidays very heady and so not as meaningful. Odd for me to say, I know. But maybe I need not an out of body experience of the sacred but an out of mind one. Take me out of the theological and the ethical and the political and let me dance with the Torah. Hey!


  • In the stranger we discover humanity

    Beltane and the Living in the Mountains Moon


    Friday gratefuls: Yesterday’s zero on posting. Hike on the Denver Mountain Parks Trail. Mussar and sadness around gun violence. Gabe here. Jon calmer. Ruth in the hospital again. Snow all gone. 7.5 inches. Wow. Bewilderment, Richard Power’s latest. Hawai’i. Money. Travel. Cumulus Clouds white over Black Mountain. Sol. Life-Bringer.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Gabe

    Tarot: Page of Vessels, Otter

    “As a person, Page of Vessels represents someone with an open and youthful approach to life. They are imaginative and playful characters. Otters may be mischievous, but their hearts are not malicious. Expect a surprise when Otter shows up to say hello!”


    The page of Vessels, the otter, reminds me to play, use my imagination for fun, enjoyment. Get some more mischief in my life. More surprise. More oneg, pleasure. More simcha, joy. Let my hair, what there is of it, down. Shake it all about.

    June 1

    Like most late season Snows, this one on June 1!, mostly gone yesterday. The rest will disappear today. Already 55 at 9am. All Moisture is good Moisture. Up here. Though. The Boundary Waters and Rainy Lake? Not so much. Water is not always where its needed. Watch for the Water wars to ratchet up here in the West.


    We had a powerful conversation at mussar yesterday about Uvalde and gun violence. Even our most conservative member, a Trump gal, was agin’ it. When will we ever learn?

    “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the stranger. 34 The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native-born among you; you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:33-34

    The mussar text from yesterday quoted this verse and a comment on it by a German-Jewish philosopher, Herman Cohen. Loving God. Got it. Love your neighbor. Got it. A member of the tribe. Someone like you. Not stranger. Love a stranger? In this verse Cohen says we discover humanity and God’s disposition toward our species. Love is not merely tribal, but universal.

    A strong rebuke to the gun worshipers who say, “Hate the stranger in your midst. And, if possible, shoot them.”


    Gabe is up here for a couple of days. I’m recruiting him to help learn lines. Also, to find that annoying beep. He tried to find it but like me, could not. Jon? Nope. Gabe loves Kep and wants to see him, work on jigsaw puzzles, watch TV, hunt for deer antlers.

    We’re going to a presentation on Israel at the synagogue this evening. I like getting the kids over to the synagogue as often as possible. Being Jewish is important to them, but that part of them is not getting fed right now.

    Ruth comes home tomorrow. Jon and she will come up here for a family meal after she gets released.


    There’s a Denver Mountain Parks Trail on the way home from Evergreen, maybe 3/4’s of a mile from 73. I talked about it last week. I’ve taken to hiking it after mussar. One of my two trail hikes during the week. After our conversation about loving neighbors and strangers we talked about saying hello to strangers and acquaintances alike when we’re out and about. Having just finished Overstory I suggested we include Trees and Flowers, Rocks and Streams.

    Along I went. Hello. To the thick Ponderosa. Hello to the Bluebells peeking from the Grass. Hello to the great slab of Granite covered with Moss and Lodgepole Roots. Hello to the Stream running happily. Singing to me as I hiked. Hello to the Wild Strawberry. To the thorny wild Berry Canes. Hello to the tall Pine climbing up straight as a mast. Hello to the Rocky Stream Bed that gives the Water a crashing, foaming moment at the end of the trail. Hello to the small Pond and the Waterstrider on the Pond.

    This was more than a casual exercise. It made me feel I was among friends, no longer strangers these Plants. These Rocks. This Water. It might feel silly at first. That’s ok. Silly is good. Otter already told us so. You could give it a try.


  • My Cauldron

    Fall and the waning crescent of the Michaelmas Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Greg Lell, starts today staining the house. Susan, who will care for the dogs when I go to Minnesota, comes at 10:30. Marina Harris and her crew coming today to clean. RJ working on how much money I can spend. Coyote HVAC next Monday. Kate, always Kate. Those two Mule Deer Bucks. The beginning after the ending.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The World, #21 of the Major Arcana

    Tarot: The World


    Bubbling and churning. My life a cauldron, happily. Eye of house stain. Leg of house cleaning. Fingernail of dogsitter. Horn of Mule Deer Buck. Feather of mini-splits. Bits of redo and redesign of kitchen. A dash of Orgovyx. One major arcana. A pinch of the ayn sof. A sprinkle of Stars. A slice of Woolly Mammoth Tusk. Two measures of Aloha. Tears of grief. Stir with family and Congregation Beth Evergreen. Simmer for a season or two.

    Not sure of much these days. Which suits me just fine. My path has companions worthy of Chaucer. A location worthy of poetry. A destination unknown.

    My ancientrail, my life, has begun to reknit itself, reconstruct. The base of this reknitting? The love and life I had with Kate. Her smile, her laugh, her sharp insights, her deep knowledge and compassion. Her kindness. Not gone, here, right here in my soul. Her hand in mine until the end of time.

    She found this house. She earned most of the money I receive monthly. She encouraged me to leave the ministry and take up writing. We were brave together. Adventurous. We loved each other and left imprints on each other’s souls.

    Now I have to walk this ancientrail without her physical presence. I wish it were not so, but it is. As I put a few touches on the house, learn methods to access the occult, manage my cancer, exercise, spend time with friends, read, write, paint, I’m living forward, not looking backward.

    Changing the house a bit will help me say, yes, this is my place, too. It will never be other than our place, but no ghosts allowed. Only good memories.

    The whole Tarot, Kabbalah, Astrology, Judaism journey has me on a strange side road from that of the skeptic. Where it leads is to mystery, of that I’m sure. How it will affect my life? Unclear. Maybe a lot. Maybe only some. Tincture of time. (a favorite phrase of Kate’s)

    When I came up for closing on this house, October 31, 2014, three Mule Deer Bucks greeted me in the back. We stood with each other for a long time, not moving, seeing each other. After they left, I knew the Mountain Spirits had welcomed Kate and me to their realm. Samain.

    Yesterday, two more came.


    They came on a day when Black Mountain was aflame.

    I got up this morning and let Kep out and he chased one of the bucks who had stayed the night. The buck cleared the five foot fence as if it wasn’t there. Kep was pretty damned proud of himself. He never barked.

    Back to that pot. Double, toil and trouble, cauldron burn, cauldron bubble.


  • Uh-oh. Changes.

    Lughnasa and the Michaelmas Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls:  Orgovyx. Biologic Pharmacies. Money. CBE. The New Year. Rigel, sweet girl. Kep, happy boy. Dan Herman. Rich Levine. Alan Rubin. Marilyn Saltzman. Jamie Arnold. Judy Sherman. The Ancient Ones on peregrinatio. Safeway pickup. Cool breeze last night.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Dan’s honey

    Tarot: Ace of Swords


    from Tarbell

    Big news. $800 a month co-pay for Orgovyx. Not my first encounter with the predatory pricing of American pharma. Kate had a drug, I can’t recall the name right now, that was $500 a month. I’m applying for assistance. Yes, that’s enough, with the hit I took from going to one social security check and losing a third of my pension, to bite. In the decision making process between Orgovyx and Lupron. Lupron has a higher incidence of cardi0-vascular side effects. But, it’s only once every three months and covered by insurance.

    Can’t imagine what folks do who don’t have resources at our age. And, that’s the bulk of us, I understand. What if you had to choose between rent and your cancer drug? Or, between food and your cancer drug? Self-triage.

    On the other hand life is valuable. Sure. And, I want to do what I can to sustain mine. Let me see? Universal health care, anyone?

    Boy, that Safeway really steps up. I put in a pick-up order for 8 am. They sent me a text at 6:00. Ready. Come whenever. I’m glad. It makes the morning simpler.

    Barring more illness on Jon’s part or another wreck on Ruth and Gabe’s, we’ll finally distribute some of Kate’s ashes at Upper Maxwell Falls this Saturday. When Jon, Ruth, and Gabe can make it. Ruth told me she wanted some of my chicken pot pie so I’m making some on Friday. It’s been a while. Usually makes four to five full pie tins. Freeze well, too. I’ll give her two and keep two here. A good incentive to actually cook.

    This will be the last of the family remembrances originally planned for August 18th. I’m planning a Kate offrenda for Dia de los muertos. I’ll burn a yahrzeit candle. (a twenty-four candle burned on the death date, but it seems appropriate.) Mix up the cultures a bit.

    Which brings me to Yamantaka. The mandala at the MIA. Where I learned to accept death, my own. Long meditations on my corpse. Greeting the change, the transformation with excitement. Still sad. Yes. But also, what a moment!

    Realizing I’ve been such a flat-earth humanist for so many years. Death=extinction. No god. Life is absurd. Don’t give me any of that metaphysical stuff. Changing.

    Oddly, part of the stimulus for the change is a Korean tv show I’m watching, Hotel de Luna. It’s on Netflix. Instead of seeing a psychologist, Seoah saw a mudang, a shaman. Kate and I met him. The Korean worldview is a complicated mix of ancient folk traditions and high-tech, global capitalist culture.

    Near Seoul, Kate. April, 2016 Visiting Seoah’s mudang

    Hotel de Luna includes an Asian emphasis on ghosts, vengeful ghosts, shamans, an afterlife, and reincarnation. I’ve always dismissed reincarnation. Part of my existentialist, humanist, empiricist worldview. But. Kabbalah includes reincarnation. Buddy Mark Odegard once said he believes in reincarnation. The Buddhists, do, too. Hindus. None of this is evidence of more than a human desire to continue life in any way. Or, is it?

    I’m beginning to open myself to the idea. What does it mean? What could it mean? I can feel the consolation it brings and consolation is pretty important. I know that right now. What about my embrace of the Great Wheel? Was I a Druid in a past life? Or, at least a believer in the auld religion?

    When I mentioned how hard I find the idea of synchronicity, Jamie said, “Ah. The inner skeptic.” Yes, exactly. What if the inner skeptic needs an equal, perhaps stronger inner believer? What if I could find him again? I knew him once, right after college and on into seminary. He got a lot of learning from Christian mystics, ascetics, the Celtic Christian Church. He saw Jesus, Moses, and Abraham perched together on the sliver of a crescent moon while meditating.

    I miss him. That guy that could embrace the irrational, the possibility of an Other World. And not cringe. Not shrink away. He was a bad boy of the Enlightenment. Oddly, the place I’ve retained most of him is in my Taoist thought. Wu wei? Yes. Sometimes. Follow the chi? Yes. Always. Experience the contradictions of consciousness and dreaming? Oh, yes. Follow the I-Ching? Yes.

    Then there’s this Tarot. How can it be so damned meaningful, so consistently? Sure, it evokes archetypal thoughts, realizations. Yes. But, where do those archetypes come from? Is it the collective unconscious?

    Changes on the horizon, I can feel them. Not there yet. The inner skeptic is still ascendant, but maybe not for long.


    Ace of Swords:

    “Keywords: Clarity. Clean break.”  DTB

    For example. I drew this card before I wrote this post. I didn’t look at its meanings until I finished. I mean… How?

    The two commentaries below are from the Rider-Waite card, but the Druid Craft card I drew differs from it in a way especially important to me. This is Excalibur, lifted up by the Lady of the Lake. The intellect (the sword) rising from the unconscious.

    The Dawn breaks at an inlet between the Loch and the Mountains to either side. I can see those Trees as Birch or Aspen. The Flowers look like Blue Bells. Both Minnesota and Colorado have the unaltered Natural World as substantial aspects of their identities. Birch or Aspen. The Mountains. A Lake.

    This card speaks directly to my inner world. The Celts, Jung, my two favorite places on Earth. Appropriate that it should signify a break through. There are dark clouds there, too, and a Bird, maybe a Heron? The Heron is the on the card for the King of Vessels in the Wildwood Tarot.

    I drew that card two nights ago. I’ve begun drawing a card at night, something to meditate on before I go to sleep.

    Here’s a description: “As a bird that welcomes the dawn and often lives alone, the heron is known for its awareness and spiritual thoughts that its creator offers. This bird, defending ancient secrets, is said to stand at the gate between life and death, acting as a mediator between the Celtic’s journey of the soul to another world and reincarnation.”

    Don’t understand how these things can be so closely linked, but perhaps that’s the point. I don’t need to understand, but accept.

    “New ideas, new plans, intellectual ability, victory, success, mental clarity, clear thinking, breakthroughs, ability to concentrate, communication, realising the truth, vision, force, focus, intensity, stimulating people and environments, new beginnings, new projects, justice, assertiveness, authority, making the correct decision.” Tarotguide.

    “As with all the aces, the Ace of Swords indicates that one is about to experience a moment of breakthrough. With its sharp blade and representing the power of the intellect, this sword has the ability to cut through deception and find truth. In layman’s terms, this card represents that moment in which one can see the world from a new point of view, as a place that is filled with nothing but new possibilities.” Labryinthos

  • I am

    Lughnasa and the Chesed Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Helen Reddy. I am Woman. The Women’s movement. Cancer. Its sequelae: pet scans, orgovyx, friends reaching out, fatigue, persistence. Shortness of breath. Family. T-shirts. Living in the moment. The Day. A Day. This Day.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The voice of the 1960’s

    Tarot:  Prince of Pentacles


    Watched I am Woman. A biopic about Helen Reddy. Got drawn in by a snippet of the movie in which Tilda Cobham-Hervey sings Delta Dawn. Didn’t know that was Helen Reddy. I’ve been listening to it in my head for weeks now, since I thought about a parody featuring the Delta variant.

    Not a great movie, but a good one. My anima is strong, perhaps even dominant. Movies which feature women overcoming obstacles and flourishing speak directly to me.

    Many tears. Why? Well, sixties music almost always moves me, reminds me of the passion, the wonder, the promise of those magical years. Speaking truth to power. Yes. Especially when the vulnerable do the speaking.

    Remembering Kate. Her determination to go to med school. The Dean who tried to turn her away because “You’re already married to a doctor.” Her determination to conquer the obstacles in her life: back pain, sexist managers, a lost voice, her final illness. A strong, smart woman. Ill-used by many of the men in her life. But always, always getting back up and going on.

    Cleansing, the lacrimae. Sacred waters. Draining pain and sadness and nostalgia. Bringing me into the present after a trip through the past.

    Got a lot done over the weekend. Money stuff. Pruning. Cleaning. Writing.

    What is a good use of time? A key question for those raised in the success obsessed American culture. I still clip articles about improving my productivity. Why? That ancientrail, my highest potential, trapped me in a long and narrow tunnel, one I’ve struggled against, embraced, knelt down and crawled through on my hands and knees.

    All those novels. Unpublished. Kate wanted me to publish before she died. All that injustice. Still there, seeming deeper and more entrenched now, after all the work. That damning number, carbon in the atmosphere. Still rising.

    And then we die. Leaving behind an unjust world, a world heating up behind human endurance, creative works birthed but never raised into adulthood.

    Tarot cards speaking to my anima, encouraging her, telling her to dive in, create, dance, sing-the High Priestess, the Lady, even the eight of Pentacles. Today, again, the Prince of Pentacles. That’s the patient, methodical, practical approach guy. Speaking to my animus.

    Animus and anima working together, literally yin and yang, vibrating, humming, feeding each other, feeding off of each other. My neshama emerging, cheering them both.

    I am Woman. I am Man. I am. Both.

  • Half the Sky

    Imbolc and the waning Megillah Moon

    Monday gratefuls: The Ancient Friends: Paul, Tom, Mark, Bill. Women. Diane, Mary, Kate. Marilyn. Tara. Eve. Sarah. Anne. BJ. Women’s History Month. Chili. The writers for Billions. And, Vincenzo Cassano, Sisyphus. The golden age of television. Covid. Covid relief bill.

    Sparks of Joy: Dr. Thompson. Rigel snuggling. Vaccines.

    Women’s History Month. Starts today. Women hold up half the sky. Mao. Without women there would be no humans to hold up any portion of the heavens. At all. Glad to know this month exists. A lot we don’t know. Read The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner. 1986, but still explosive.

    Hard to imagine today, but a central issue of the student revolution of the early 1960’s involved the doctrine of in loco parentis. A college or university would act in the place of parents. But, only for women students. Sexually segregated dorms, curfews, clothing restrictions. Got rid of that one at Ball State.

    So much. Women expected to take all the responsibility for the consequences of sexual activity. Whether it was a reasonable decision or not, I took this seriously at the age of 26 and had a vasectomy. It did not seem then, nor does it now, that only one partner bore responsibility for reproduction.

    As a direct result of that decision, Joseph entered my life, so for me it was a resounding success. I did try to have the vasectomy reversed, my first time ever in the hospital after polio. And, it worked. Sort of. My little guys were not very energetic. It had been 7 years of r&r and I guess they didn’t see any point in going back to the hard work of swimming all the way to the goal.

    So many fronts. Child rearing. Domestic chores. Glass ceilings. Internalization of the oppressor. Domestic violence. STD’s. Unwanted pregnancy. Ratio of men to women in so many professions, workplaces. Or, in lower paid jobs, women to men.

    The work far from done. The U.S. still has not had a female President. The Denver Post reported yesterday that the number of women on corporate boards in Colorado has moved toward the national average. Not far enough.

    I see hope in our granddaughter, Ruth. Smart, politically aware, no bullshit. Yet, knows how to sew, cook. Women have come much further than men in this ongoing revolution. We males have so much work to do.

    Generation Z, Ruth’s generation, has come of age in 45’s despicable term in office. They’ve seen the patriarchy in its unapologetic form. At its ugliest. Will they remember? I believe so. The country almost took a turn, may still, toward a crude reversion to male dominance. Reactionary politics, MAGA, always include returning to an era of privilege. For men. For white men in the U.S. For those who believe only a special minority can rule, should rule.

    Every male heart needs close examination, by men. Especially those of us lucky enough to be born white. We need to peer into the dark recesses of our assumptions about women, about people of color, and put them aside, forcefully. I do not believe we can purge them, that is become pure feminists or anti-racists, but we can know them and choose not to act on them. We can do that.

  • Still here. Still ok.

    Winter and the beautiful waning crescent of the Moon of the New Year

    Ordinary time. Is there any such thing right now?

    Saturday gratefuls: Kate. A good night’s sleep. For both of us. Much needed. Rigel keeping me warm. Kep the good boy. Impeachment. 25th Amendment. Resignation. January 20th. All. Subway last night. Beef stroganoff tonight. Easy Entrees, thanks Diane and Mary. Life. Its wonder even amidst its difficulties.




    Whoa. Yesterday was tough. I slept from eight last night to seven this morning. All the way through. Thankfully. Feel rested and ready for today. Grateful, really grateful.

    Kate’s still worn out though the oxygen situation has resolved. She’s already fatigued from whatever has been going on for the last three weeks, then to have an insult like the oxygen concentrators gave her was hard. She’s still asleep. I’m glad.

    As long as I can stay rested, healthy, get my workouts in, see friends and family on zoom, I am ok. Though on occasion I get pushed right up against my limits. I imagine Covid is helping me since I don’t get out, am not around sick people. Or, when I am, I’m masked. Odd to consider, but I’m sure it helps.

    Life continues, no matter. Until it doesn’t, of course. That is, even when an evil bastard like Trump is in office, we still have to eat. When a rampant virus rages, we still have to sleep. When a family member is ill, we still love each other, support each other. Life is a miracle and wasting it, well, please don’t.

    Got an article about building a computer. Something I’ve always wanted to try. Might just do it. Also read about an experiment that proved quantum entanglement is not instantaneous. And one about the lost merry customs of Hogmanay. And about lyfe, the idea that life might be, probably is, existing in forms we carbon based life forms might not recognize, even if it’s in front of us. And another on why water is weird. And another on why the universe might be a fractal. (thanks, Tom)

    No matter how proximate or distant disturbances in the force, science goes on, literary folks write books and articles, the past remains a source of inspiration, and the future a source of hope. No matter whether life has meaning or whether it is absurd (as I believe) the secondary effects of this strange evolutionary push into awareness persist. And, yet they persisted.

    Lucretia hangs in the Minneapolis Institute of Art, ready for witnesses to her dignity, her sense of honor, and her tragic fate. Goya’s Dr. Arrieta, not far from her, documents gratitude for healing and the comfort of ancestors. Van Gogh’s Olive Trees teach us that perspective differs from person to person, yet each perspective can be beautiful while remaining unique. Beckman’s Blind Man’s Buff embraces the mythic elements of life, helps us see them in our own lives. Kandinsky. Oh, Kandinsky. His colors. His lines. His elegance.

    Mt. Evans and its curved bowl continues to deflect weather toward us here on Shadow Mountain. The light of dawn hits Maine first, as it has for millennia. The polar vortex slumps toward Minnesota.

    Roman Ephesus. The last standing pillar of the Temple of Diana. Delos. The Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The ruined temples of Angkor Wat. Chaco Canyon. Testimony to the ancientrail of human awe. Of an eagerness to memorialize wonder.

    It is, in spite of it all, a wonderful world.


















  • New Grange. Stonehenge.  Chaco Canyon. Goseck Circle. (Germany) Tulum.

    Winter and the Moon of the New Year (and the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn)

    Monday gratefuls: The Winter Solstice. 30 days. Cottagepie from Easy Entrees. Family. Friends. Lights. Jacquie Lawson’s Nordic Advent Calendar. Magic. In an old guy’s heart. Songs. Gifts. The wonder of children.



    Ah. Can you sink into the darkness? Feel its fecund cape wrap round your shoulders? Comforting. Nourishing. Deep. Deep as the depths of your soul. Deep as the depths of time, even beyond time, to the Hawking period before the universe began to expand. Deep as the love you feel for those close to you. Deep as the bounty of mother earth is abundant.

    The longest night. It comes to you. The sun low in the sky, the day shortened. Cold weather, perhaps. Early on in humanity’s adventure with the stars they knew. The sun had begun to flee. Even at the height of the growing season, on the summer solstice, the nights had begun to increase in length.

    This gradual, oh so gradual, slipping away of the light. Would it continue until the night became all there was? How would the crops grow? The animals get fed? The people stay warm and fed?

    But, yes, I imagine they also knew. Last year, too. And the sun returned. And the year before that. Let’s see if we can find the moment, capture the day. That way we can assure each other that the sun will not stay away. Let’s build monuments in stone and wood that capture the light of that day, or the position of the stars on that night.

    New Grange. Stonehenge.  Chaco Canyon. Goseck Circle. (Germany) Tulum.

    This suggests to me that far from being frightened on this night of nights, the ancients anticipated it, probably looked forward to it. But, they also wanted to be sure it would happen again and again, so they spent vast resources ensuring they would know its arrival.

    Can you imagine the celebratory feelings when, just as the stone alignments had predicted in the past, the sun came again through the slot, lined up with the stones? The shaman was right! We would get another growing season. See! Life could go on. Ancient science comforting the masses, just as contemporary science comforts us now with vaccines.

    Never in my lifetime have we needed the message of the winter solstice more than this year, this 2020 of cursed memory. As the virus claims more lives, infects more people, remains dangerous especially in the richest nation on earth, we need a sign. Tonight is that sign.

    Darkness need not lead to despair. These depths, this night, this virus, are not static. Just as fecund darkness enriches all plant life in the fallow season, so does the light of creation shine each year to enrich the plants in the green time. We know that because tonight teaches about darkness and its twin, the Summer Solstice, teaches us about light. Both necessary. Like the symbol of the Tao.

    Rising right now, in the Covid darkness, vaccines have begun to dispel the fear and show us that yes, this pandemic can and will end. We are victims neither of darkness nor the glare of a sun that will not set. The earth teaches us this lesson every year. The Great Wheel turns and so do all the vagaries of life.

  • A Wandering Soul

    Samain and the Moon of Thanksgiving

    Sunday gratefuls: Paul’s birthday. Mark Ellis. Mary. Diane. Rigel, keeping me warm. Dr. Bachtel. Cod fingers and steak bits. Onion and Cucumber salad. A Colorado blue Sky day. Colorado road builders. Jeffco snowplow drivers. Whoever invented concrete and macadam. Britain. Wales. Scotland. England. Isle of Man. Druids. The Holy Isle. Castle Conwy. Hawarden, Wales. St. Deniol’s residential library. Chester, England. Horse racing there.

    I have my toe in the Christmas Spirit pond. Not fully there, but it’s coming. Feels wonderful. Getting ready to dive into some research on Yule and the Winter Solstice. Where most of the Christmas traditions originate. I love learning about Celtic and Northern European religious traditions. Their pantheons. Their myths and legends. Snorri Sturluson. Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Tolkien’s work. Beowulf. Not sure why but these traditions resonate with my inner life. As does Taoism and the lifeways of the Japanese. Much more so than the New Testament or the Torah. Seems strange that it would be so. But, it is.

    Even Diwali and Holi. I’d like to experience Holi at least once. Throwing colored powder at each other to celebrate the riotous colors of spring and the triumph of good over evil? Yes. Messy, beautiful, ecstatic.

    Buddhism doesn’t do it for me either. Except certain aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. Yamantaka. Bardo. Again, not sure why. Thin soup for me.

    Those traditions that find animacy everywhere like Shinto, many Native American traditions. Yes. Roman and Greek myth, legend. Yes, not in a soul way, but as story, as ancient layers below this civilization in which we live.

    Perhaps my soul never left the time into which it was born. Maybe during the journey out of Africa when all things were miraculous. When all things moved and lived and had their being right alongside those of us on pilgrimage to humanity’s future. Or, maybe some shamanic ancestor moved directly into this body. Wondering what it was like far from his or her time.

    Whatever the explanation. Once I began to see, and then shed, the totalizing myths I’d been steeped in from birth… Well. I can’t unlearn the fragile and human created nature of them. The scent of fear in them, attempting to make certain an uncertain world. Building meaning for lives out of tissue paper and sealing wax. Like the Catholics who built their English churches over Celtic holy wells. Tried to absorb enough of the Faery Faith to draw the Celts away from their pagan practices. It worked. For a while. As Judaism and Islam work for a while, for many. Zoroastrianism.

    Not sure about Hinduism. It seems to want those most early, most primal connections with this place. Great stories like the Ramayana and the Rig Veda. I don’t know it well enough. Maybe never will. The Mahabharata. Many mystical practices. Lots of color and fun. Also, the dark side of caste, of killing Muslims.

    This month though, the time of deepest darkness, has inspired so much wonderful music. Story. Celebration. At least for those of us in the temperate latitudes. And, I revel in it. Going down with the longest night into the well of my soul. Coming out to light an evergreen tree, hang mistletoe, holly and ivy. Santa Claus. Elves. Snow. Cold. Icicles. Sleighs. Horses with halters. Fire up the yule log. Wish I could lift a glass of grog, or ambrosia, or single malt scotch. But, alas no.

    Guess this is my Sunday unsermon. Leaving one way and seeking others.