One portrait and faculties of soul.

For many years I had only one photograph of my paternal grandfather, whom I had never met. From this one photo, I had to discern who he was. In time, two more photos appeared. I think of how it is now with daily portraits rolling by on Facebook. I appreciate the faculties I have had to employ feeling for my grandfather’s soul that I wouldn’t have had to use had I had the hundreds of photos that we have these days.
(John Paul McDowell– March 15, 1884, Glasgow, Scotland)


“Sometimes a wild god…”

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.

When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.

Words: Tom Hirons at Coyopa – Tom’s book, Sometimes a Wild God, which contains this and many other FINE examples of his wordsmithing is available via this link —> Please support artists & their work!

Acknowledging Worlds of Collective Perspective.

Raven on Eagle's pole this morning at sunrise-- 2.17.16, Anchorage, Ak
Raven on Eagle’s pole this morning at sunrise– 2.17.16, Anchorage, Ak

This morning after my nature meditation, I was thinking about how each individual  lives in a different world, and that there are also different worlds of collective perspective (worlds that groups of individuals “agree to” amongst themselves). When we take a vacation to another place/culture, we can feel so refreshed and awakened by a different collective perspective.

When we allow and encourage different collective perspectives to clash, the result is conflict. Last night I was watching cable tv for a bit, and the invocation to “be there” for the presidential election primary “town halls” came on.  This invocation was presented visually and aurally like the build-up for a boxing match.

Just as the media draws in viewers for sports, it draws them in for political discourse– in a way that mimics competitive sports. This approach, which continues into the “town halls,”  helps to create a sense of perpetual conflict. Instead of listening to and considering another’s perspective, we attack, defend, compete, and obfuscate.

When Hillary Clinton responded to a question about being paid highly for giving speeches to Goldman-Sachs, her response was something like, well, that’s just what they pay. In that world, it’s just the way things are.  It has its own validity no matter what you might think of it.

This election gives us a chance to check out different collective perspectives. To the extent that we can free ourselves from reaction– which is not easy in this climate– we can learn something.

The first step is to understand, as best we can, a world that is different from ours. It is a valid world for those who inhabit it. There is a kind of inner peace in acknowledging that. From there, as voters, we have a role in deciding what we ourselves align with for what we feel is the  “greater good.” We can also take it a step farther, and do service to encourage others to learn about the issues and to vote. (Voting is something that seems simple, but it is fraught with complexity.  Some choose to go even farther and work to dissolve the obstacles that have been created to keep people from voting– my perspective is obvious here!).

The over-arching goal, in my mind, is the most harmonious alignment amongst ourselves “to the seventh generation” and with Mother Nature. It is, however,  not so easy to achieve this in a climate of perpetual conflict.


“Tune into the core of your body.”

You are not the little personality you think you are—full of needs and quirks,” the Grandmothers laughed. “You aren’t a compilation of events and genetic material,” they laughed even harder. “Those are only connections you made once upon a time. As you awaken to the greatness of your being and move into oneness with the presence that you are, you will move through all that.”…

“Tune into the core of your body,” the Grandmothers said. “Whenever you occupy your center, everyone and everything connected to you lifts Every form of life is part of the same seamless whole, so when you accept the fact that you are an exalted being and allow yourself to lift up, everything lifts. Whenever you take this centered place and feel it, you salute the truth of life and the truth of life salutes you back.

from “Our Love is Our Power” by Sharon McErlane

“Everything has its own voice.”

Raven on Eagle's pole speaking melodiously-- 2.17.16, Anchorage, Ak
Raven on Eagle’s pole speaking melodiously– 2.17.16, Anchorage, Ak

The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be exploited. Everything has its own voice. Thunder and lightening and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees, — all these have voices, and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.

~ Thomas Berry

Words from one who has walked on the moon.

My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.

Suddenly from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slow swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth—home.

–Edgar Mitchell
Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut and the sixth man to walk on the moon, passed away on Thursday at the age of 85.

A wild woman.

11.22.15, Anchorage, Ak
11.22.15, Anchorage, Ak

A Wild Woman never believes, “It can’t be done.” She never talks herself out of the dream that calls to her, that tugs on her heart like the moon tugs the ocean. She is tracking, always tracking her own heartbeat to the place where it beats with the drums of the earthly pulse. Deep into the woods, down to the rivers edge, up the mountain side, and deep into the caverns, finally back to the ocean, in time to sing to the moon.

— Alison Nappi

Hanging in there.

When you are triggered, it can feel like moving a mountain to soothe the pathways of abandonment, and to stay embodied to the energy as it surges through your belly and nervous system.

Something is longing to be met, that is for sure. An avalanche of previously disowned feeling, emotion, and sensation, seeking some sort of completion that was not available at an earlier time.

It may seem that there is no way for you to close the loop, that it’s just too much. Open your heart into the too-much-ness, slowly, for very short periods of time, and then rest. Even for just a couple of seconds, use your presence to touch what is emerging – just enough to light up a new path, but not so much that you overwhelm or re-traumatize yourself.

Soften into your belly, into the panic, and take pause from the ancient belief that you must quickly understand, shift, or transform your immediate experience. See that there is nothing to ‘heal,’ but only something to hold. Offer sanctuary for the movement of life as it washes through you, and it will integrate and liberate on its own. Care for yourself in new and wild ways.

To provide a home for sacred metabolization is one of the greatest gifts of love that you can give – not just to yourself but to those around you. To reclaim embodied responsibility for the orphaned pieces of your psyche and soma is not easy and requires a lot of practice. But more than anything, it demands an unconditional commitment to seeing the entirety of your inner experience as worthy, as valid, and as the very seeds of the path forming around you.

Despite how difficult it can be, the fruits of this work are infinite, they are eternal, and to do this may be why you have come here: To make an offering to a weary world, and to do whatever you can to help others, to rest in their majestic true nature.

–Matt Licata