Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Finger, Two Dots Then Me - poetry by Derrick Brown


Here's a gorgeous spoken word/film a friend sent me, and I felt like sharing it.  Reminds me, just a bit, of  Drew Dellinger.

After the election I was quite depressed for a few days, feeling that I was living just before the Deluge, and every kind of mindless, greedy, banal evil was at work to bring it on just as fast as they possibly could.  In other words, Voldemort wins.

Then I woke up on one of those rare mornings when I seem to hear voices in my head (ok, I'm in good  company there).  This one said "Concentrate on the Ark Builders."  So that's what I've determined to do from now on.  Here's one of those Ark Builders.

by Derrick Brown

Lying together in the park on Seventh,
our backs smoosh grass
and I sayI will love you till I become a child again,
when feeding me and bathing me is no longer romantic,
but rather necessary.
I will love you till there is no till.  Till I die.

And when that electroencephalogram shuts down,
baby, that’s when the real lovin’ kicks in.
Forgive me for sounding selfish
but I won’t be able to wait under the earth for you
(albeit a romantic thought for groundhogs,gophers
and the gooey worms).
I will not be able to wait for you…
but I will meet up with you
and here’s where you will find me:
get a pen–
Hold your finger up
(two fingers if your hands are frail by now)
and count two stars directly to the left
of the North American moon.
You will find me there.

Written and performed by Derrick Brown, produced by Duality Films.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Divine Creativity

 I've been teaching a class this fall on clay sculpture, which I've been enjoying a lot. It's been a pleasure to see the class create.  So I found myself thinking about the divine nature of Creativity.

Creativity, to me, is the Divine made visible.  When we are Makers, the Divine expresses through each of us, whether we're making a mathematical theorem or a new recipe for lemon cake.  How can anyone look at an orchid, shamelessly pretending, in the hope of being pollinated, that it is a beautiful bevy of  magenta tipped butterflies in flight......without seeing the Goddess at Her easel? Without appreciating the gorgeous humor, and creative intelligence, behind all things visible? 

When I was a kid in a long-ago Bible class, I had an "ah-ha" experience.  I could not understand the "God" that was so often put before me as we plowed through the Book,  a God of terrible vengence. Even now, I shudder to think of children internalizing some of these stories as divinely inspired. How about this, for example?
"And  the Lord spake unto Moses, saying "Avenge the children of Israel"..............and Moses said unto them, "Have ye saved all the women alive?.......Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.  But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."    Num. XXXI, 1-18
I remember reading this, and trying to fathom how the noble Moses, made so visible by Charleton Heston delivering the Commandments......could be involved in what was actually being described here.   All those women, old ladies, babies  and little boys hacked up with swords,  the little girls carried off to be raped, sanctified by "God" and His prophet.   How could I reconcile this horror?  

Other options were needed, and like many others, it became a lifetime quest. 

And how sad that a fragmented history of the bloody genocide practiced in ancient battles, fought beneath the banner of a tribal war god sometimes called Yahwah........should appear within the same book as  "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27).  Or, and this passage, a favorite of mine, which is not from the Bible at all, but rather from the long hidden Nag Hammedi Gospels, attributed to the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (the Twin)*** :

"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you,  what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

There it is!  The Divine Creative Force, expressing in everything and everyone. Early Christians called it "gnosis", knowledge of God within.   Joseph Campbell called it your personal  "bliss"......... it's the joy of creation and discovery,  and if we bring it forth, it energizes and informs and expands our lives.  If not, the energy contracts, turns self-destructive, dark, stagnant, an interior place ripe for infection  physical and mental.  

Be that as it may, I think it's so important to not "give your power away", which can mean appreciating, in fact thoroughly enjoying, the gifts - powers -  that life has put on the banquet plate.

There's a wonderful passage in the ancient Sumarian stories of the goddess Inanna where she goes to visit Enki, the head of the Gods.  In a celebratory mood, he calls forth some heavenly beer, and the two get drunk together.   Enki gives Inanna many empowerments or gifts (called a "me") -  from the art of sexual seduction to the governing of cities to the making of cheese. At a Witchcamp I attended this cycle was ritually enacted.  As  Enki offered each "me" (I always found that ancient word for gift or power interesting), Starhawk, in the role of Inanna, said loudly with conviction and gusto:  "I'll take it!"

I think that's what you have to do, and it's not always easy.  Take it.   There are so many forces that discourage  creativity and talent  - one does not necessarily get love or acceptance for being "gifted", and so sometimes the quest is to hold true to those gifts and their potential for expression regardless.  And seek the place and time and community that can allows that.   I think of my own small dysfunctional family, and the kind of "dumbing down" I've always had to do in order to be tolerated by my envious brothers, who felt that success on my part somehow diminished them.  This is the nature of the competitive, heirarchical  paradigm that values "power over" instead of "power flowing".  The "winner" vs. the "weavers".

  I've seen this operate in groups as well, groups that do not know how to facilitate or address this unconscious collective shadow aspect  (a friend who prefers to remain anonymous calls it the "mediocrity prerequisite").    I do not mean to sound harsh, but many people live in toxic spheres where they are being energetically rewarded for being stupid, uncreative, or a "victim", and punished for not being so.  For not using their divine "Me"'s.  And I guarantee that if you live that way long enough, you will demand the same currency from others.  

I've been privileged to encounter many who are busy expressing the Divine Creative Force***** joyfully , in all kinds of ways, and sharing what they have.  May we all, like Inanna, loudly proclaim:  "I'll take it!"

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you. 

 -- David Whyte
from The House of Belonging
     ©1996 Many Rivers Press

****  Elaine H. Pagels further commented that: 

"The Gospel of Thomas also suggests that Jesus is aware of, and criticizing the views of the Kingdom of God as a time or a place that appear in the other gospels. Here Jesus says, "If those who lead you say to you, 'look, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds will get there first. If they say 'it's in the ocean,' then the fish will get there first. But the Kingdom of God is within you and outside of you. Once you come to know yourselves, you will become known."........Here it says, "It's inside you but it's also outside of you." It's like a state of consciousness. It's hard to describe. But the Kingdom of God here is something that you can enter when you attain gnosis, which means knowledge.....The secret of gnosis is that when you know yourself at that level you will also come to know God, because you will discover that the divine is within you." 

Read more: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/thomas.html#ixzz1dtGPBd2t

Reverend Bill and the Stop Shopping Choir

Reverend Billy attempting to Exorcise Demons from the Bank of America (2009)

I have become converted and Born Again, and as such need to share  the Gospel of  Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping to this post..........an evil empire of  souless robots with vast demonic armies of corporate lobbyists may be taking over the world, but  at least I can take control with the Reverend.............and all my friends get hand knitted scarves for Christmas.

I hope they like them. 

Trailer for Reverend Billy's movie:  What Would Jesus Buy?




Thursday, November 13, 2014

John Oliver on Net Neutrality

Cable companies are trying to create an unequal playing field for internet speeds, but they're doing it so boringly that most news outlets aren't covering it.  John Oliver explains the controversy and lets viewers know how they can voice their displeasure to the FCC..........he is so hilarious and right on!  

After viewing this, which apparently almost everyone everywhere has already except for me, I googled some articles about lobbying efforts on the part of the two largest providers, and came up with the chart above.    

I am changing my Verizon account to Credo Wireless - they have no record whatsoever of trying to end Net Neutrality.

 Thanks to the MacGregors for  John Oliver video. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Ice Hotel - 25 Years!

"Creativity is our lifeblood. Every winter for almost 25 years ICEHOTEL rises again and every time with brand new art and design. It’s about being inspired by ice as a material – our imagination is constantly challenged and so is our vision of art.  Our hotel is more than rooms and beds; it is an art project made of snow and ice that is totally unique. At ICEHOTEL we work with frozen water from Torne River. Rising from the lake Torneträsk, Torne River is one of the few rivers in Europe that has not been used for industrial purposes and is therefore a unique source. Its natural beauty and special history is an inspiration to us and is something we believe can never be found in artificial ice."
Here's a wonderful work of art (that you can sleep in or drink in or get married in too) that is being constructed (again) right now in Sweden - the wonderful "Ice Hotel"!  To learn more about this renewable work of art, visit their website:   http://www.icehotel.com/art-and-design/art-at-icehotel/.

What could possibly be more magical?  It's like the Snow Queens palace brought to life and form - how I would love to see this year's Hotel under the Aurora Borealis. 

Art takes shape

The construction period at ICEHOTEL takes place between October and December each year. It takes approximately eight weeks to finish the construction of the hotel (and six weeks of work before and after this period). It requires about 1,000 tonnes of frozen water and about 30,000 m3 of “snice” (snow and ice; ice particles from Torne River mixed with air. “Snice” resembles snow in that it is white and used for insulation, but structurally it is stronger and purer than just snow.)
The art of ICEHOTEL is created in sections and each artist spends their time here in intervals. During the last week before the hotel opening all 40 artists spend time in the hotel together. 

Each room is filled with the right amount of snow and ice, using a cutting list and calculations based on the drawings from the artists. Eight weeks later ICEHOTEL is ready and the river has turned into a work of art.  The rooms and hallways are built in a classic oval shape, which is the strongest construction shape due to its self-supporting nature. It is especially noticeable when the hotel melts – instead of collapsing, the roof and walls just become gradually thinner until the sun cracks through.
ICEHOTEL opens its gates for visitors in December. During the following four months the hotel and art exhibition will attract around 50,000 people from around 80 different countries.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Found at the Checkout Counter, next to People Magazine..........


"This is the way the World ends, 
 not with a bang, but a whimper." 

 T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men" 

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Feast of Samhain 2014

I'm getting ready for my annual "Feast of Samhain", and having fun decorating the altar with Marigolds, a precious bottle of honey Mead, a remembrance of all the good things we are so generously given in life, and most of all, a remembrance of all those who came before us to bring us here, and give us the Gift of Life.  
 Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of  thousands.

-Linda Hogan*

As always, being in full glorious irritable  Cronehood now, as the stores abound with ghouls, vampires, and witch silhouettes on brooms, I grouse at the loss of this important holiday for most people, the sanctity of "Hallowed Eve" replaced with scary ghosts - although, costume balls and trick or treating is something truly worth doing, and I'm sure the visiting Beloved Dead enjoy it all as well!

Witches on brooms!  Hah!  The meaning of the broom was an ancient folk tradition of "sweeping away the Bad", sweeping out of the house the bad energies, illness, and spirits that weren't "welcome to the Feast".

And the ghosts...........well, that's what the Feast, like Dia de los Muertos, is all about:  inviting the Beloved Dead to the party, setting the place of honor at the head of the table for them, drinking their favorite wine and preparing their favorite dishes, and lovingly telling their stories, jokes, and singing their songs. 

 Among those who we've lost this year, my brother Glenn, and my friend Jeff Rosenbaum, a prime creator of the Starwood Festival and A.C.E.  Jeff, I am somehow certain you're visiting a whole lot of Feasts, and all of them raising a glass to you.   And Margo Adler, author of Drawing Down The Moon, and my friend Sandy Wentz........

And there are those who have left, and are leaving, this World who also, most urgently, must not be forgotten.  

"The Sixth Extinction"

My wise friend Joyce sent me a lovely blurb today from an astrologer in NYC which I take the liberty of reprinting here.  I especially like her use of the Rumi poem, and her mention of Persephone, the Goddess of both Spring and Death, eternally moving in a Circle.  

I always leave Pomegranates for Persephone on my Alter.  For some reason, words are not with me these days, and the well of poetry left me years ago.......but every year this time I remember a poem I wrote for Persephone that I still love, and enjoy sharing that here once again as well.


When all the names are gone
when there is nothing left
for memory to feed upon
November hides
an unborn  promise.

All the wastes of love and time
Become, at last, alchemy.
To ferment their healing, here
in these nigrado depths,
becoming  albedo,
the medicine.

    I offer now bread, red fruit, red wine.
    To life.

To the harvest that was,
the  kisses of summer past
fragrant  as  petals on the wind,
 to the poet and the bard, the mother  and husband,
laughter of children, the confidence
of  bountiful fortune.

And to those outcast as well -
the inarticulate, the lost,  the hungry  and fallen.
To every transparent lover
wandering these bardos in their solitude.

To age and youth, light and dark,
Tenderly entwined in their embrace:

Come to the table, all.

Here is a rich conversation
harvested from the last living garden.
A dappled pear, an apple, a ripe pomegranate
A butterfly in its chrysalis, sleeping.

The slow rebirth of color
    deep in the depths of this dream.

The sundial will circle once more,
The wheat has new life in it yet.

    The blessing will be given.


Fall Astrology Café   
by Virginia Bell

 Halloween October 31  "The Season of the Crone"

Called Samhain (summer's end) Halloween is the Celtic New Year and one of the
four cross-quarter holidays (the others are Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas). It is
said to be a time when the veil of the astral world is lifted, the psyche is
unfettered, and anything is possible. The pagan idea used to be that the crucial
joints between the seasons opened cracks in the fabric of space-time, allowing
contact between the ghost world and the mortal world.

This is the time of the Crone, the witch, and the weaver; the time of year to
honor our ancestors and to connect with them for guidance on the year ahead.
Decorate your altar with photographs of friends, family who have passed over as
well as your heroes and heroines. The last day of October is the beginning of
the year's dark season. Traditionally, it is the time Persephone returns to the
underworld to take her place with Pluto her husband and her consort. Like
Persephone we now begin to turn inward, to go deep and connect with what is
real. At this time we can access the unknown and the unseen. What is it you
desire to bring to consciousness? Remember, what is freed at Halloween is
conquered and integrated. Open to the deep rivers of your wisdom and intuition.
Surrender to the space between the worlds.

It is your turn now.
You waited, you were patient.
The time has come,
for us to polish you.
We will transform your inner peal
into a house of fire.
You're a gold mine.
Did you know that,
hidden in the dirt of the earth?
It is your turn now,
To be placed in fire.
Let us cremate your impurities. 


*Thanks to Virginia Bell Astrology

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