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Dark Times Filled with Light

The following piece as been waiting  unfinished since before the Solstice.  That turn has come, the holidays have given their warmth and lightening and now, I send it as a hope for how we proceed in the New Year.


The book,  Dark Times Filled with Light, by Argentine writer,  Juan Gelman. has been sitting on my bedside table all during the months of November with its plunge into the abyss. I bought this before my trip to Argentina in 2014 to get a poetic feel of a country plagued by political and cultural strife  Now as Advent deep and cold, nears it Apogee, just past the turn of Solstice, I find a little time to write and ponder.

Besides Hillary’s stunning defeat and the real fear and loathing that so many of us feel as we watch a dystopian novel unfold before our eyes, there is also like the book title tells us, Light.    Every time this thought crosses my mind, I pledge to notice it, infuse it with hope and await its meaning.

But first the dark.  It ‘s time is here.  Beloved Leonard Cohen, who exited just a moment after the election left us with “You want it Darker” .  a song that to my listening, says: clearly, God, you want it darker, I’ll turn off the light.  In the chorus he chants the Hebrew,  I am here, which I take to mean,  being with, abiding,  I don’t know enough about staying with the dark, difficult, unresolved.  And that is the only thing this moment has clearly called for.  I don’t think that it has been time to dig deep for compassion or to try to make a hellish, ignorant situation brighter by good works or by  any of the tricks my personal history has taught me.  It is time to abide.

That said and experienced,  I found that Light emerged.  Deeper conversations, solidarity, shared grief, something warm and glowing right where the psychic blow landed in my solar plexus.  I’ve had Ideas for action for Standing Rock, an incipient call to a virtual circle to hold all of this , the dependable through-line of my work planned through the world next year.  This isn’t blinding, blissful light, but clarity and love and the sort of inextinguishable presence that we need just now.

In mid December, Lauren Artress and I presented a workshop on ritual and ceremony on the labyrinth.  One of our elements was sending everyone into the cold, dark night to find their luminata.  These luminata were made with cutout bags, sand and small LED lights ( no fire due to regulations).  The glow of those luminata and the need for each of us to find our own, has sustained me through the season.

May you find that glow somewhere in your solar plexus as we go on in this next uncertain year.  Mayimg_1015 we meet in ceremony, in the circle, in the heart now and always.

On the Brink

I’m reminded of the old 60’s song, Something’s happening here… so ominous and prescient.  Everyone I know is anxious.  I need a deep dive into my consciousness to remember the peace I felt at last week’s beautiful Women’s Dream Quest or the moments in September on the labyrinth at Chartres or the forest in Peninha, Portugal or amid the stones at Avebury.  But yes, writing those words brings me back to what is essential.  This is my practice until Wednesday.  I hope it helps.

I was just speaking to my friend about how many articles we had both read trying to understand the phenomena of the Republican candidate as Michelle Obama so elegantly names him.  Why? What have we missed as a culture? Is this the shadow of the American psyche as Chopra suggests, the just desserts of a greedy nation built by desecrating and decimating the land and lives of our indigenous brothers and sisters.  Is this about the inevitable misogyny  that rises with our first Grandmother president?   The chaos and ugliness are raw and disturbing.  The gulf is wide.

And in the midst of this, I read, primarily on FB, about the growing movement at Standing Rock.  The First People of this land, this turtle island , are gathering.  They are singing and praying.  They are capturing the imagination of those of us who have long and guiltily known about their plight. They are publicizing the insane use and transport of fossil fuels. They are reminding me of the debt of gratitude I owe to Native American Spirituality .  I bring that spirit into every circle I dream, calling the directions, calling the totems, remembering the love of land.  When I go to the great standing rocks of Stonehenge, and Avebury,  my indigenous soul reverberates, remeimg_1055mbers what it is like to love the land  and want to protect the water.  Something is happening here.

Hillary is woman, a mother, a grandmother.  She talks about it taking a village to raise a child.  I wonder if she knows that  it takes a circle to raise a tribe, that it takes a practice of prayer and ceremony to heal a nation.  I pray that she does. That along with progressive policies (Thank you Bernie) , a steady hand on the wheel of power, her cooperative experience of governing, that she will know that she has to rely on the power of the sacred feminine to take us to healing.  I sense that she will have the Obamas (so very much gratitude to their steady, beauty, wisdom and grace) in her circle.  Her kindly VP will be there.  A circle of people who have dedicated their lives to public service will be there.  And we will be there.Photo by Cindy A. Pavlinac,

Last Friday at the Dream Quest
we drafted a letter to Hillary with our blessings and prayers.  Many of us wrote and we sent it off.  The last thing we wrote was:  You are part of our circle.


Pilgrim Consciousness

This year, I have a room which looks out onto the world from the Chartres Cathedral hilltop.  Other years my room has faced in toward the magnificent spires entirely in the thrall  of the bells and cathedral life.  This change of physical perspective has me thinking  about what it means to take all that this sacred place inspires in me into the world.

Nearly two weeks into to my autumn journey, I am thoroughly in what I would call pilgrim consciousness.   I don’t drive a car or cook my meals.  There are loving and inspiring people to teach, chat with, laugh with.  Every day beauty and sacred space nourish my soul.  The familiar haunts of
Chalice Well, Stonehenge, Tintagel, Avebury and now Mary’s house at Chartres are like beloved old friends.  I feel welcomed into their beneficent embrace, nourished and inspired.  The crazy world of American politics and the omnipresent dire straits of global crises are still here but somehow the anxiety I have been feeling all summer softens in the presence of the ancient places.

Certainly pilgrim consciousness strengthens compassion, puts prayer, meditation, mindful appreciation in the forefront of mind.  Surely being alive to new experiences, awake to sorting out language, custom and daily life brings on beginner’s mind.  Compassion, aliveness, beginner’s mind…. these are the tools of change.

So I want to bring this consciousness back to the daily world… to the forthcoming Dream Quests and therapy sessions, to my relationships, to my politics.  I want to look out from my perch, filled with the Mother’s love and send hope, harmony and love to you all.