The Feast of Santo Tomas



This morning I went up to the village plaza in Abiquiu to watch the dancers parade around the church with their saint who is also honored at this village festival held every year at the end of November.

This is one of the two Native American festivals that is honored each year by the genizaros who are mixed Spanish and American Indian people who embrace and practice the Catholicism that was once forced upon them.

This eclectic community is made up of descendants of Native American slaves. Those captured in warfare were brought here, converted to Catholicism, taught Spanish and held in servitude by New Mexican families. The young women and female children endured the usual atrocities perpetuated on captive females including rape at the hands of their captors. Some New Mexican male genizaros gained their freedom by serving as soldiers to defend frontier villages like Abiquiu from Indian raids. By the late 1700s, genizaros comprised one-third of the population of New Mexico. Ultimately these non – tribal peoples were assimilated into New Mexican culture.

The dances are beautiful to witness with the smallest female children dressed in predominantly white regalia some wearing a rainbow of ribbons. Adolescent girls were dressed in red and white and had painted red circles  inscribed on their cheeks; some of the older women also wore red, Many carried turkey or eagle feathers in their hands or wore them as headbands. Most wore face paint.

As the church bells rang out signaling the end of mass the dancers emerged to the sound of the drums as they circled the church and danced in the plaza. A single gunshot rang out repeatedly throughout the ceremony. Dexter, pictured above in full regalia, led the dancing along with Maurice whose footwork defies description. I think of Maurice as a bird who flies through the air only touching the ground momentarily with his moccasined feet. Drumming, chanting a repetitive refrain that can produce a light trance in those that are sensitive to the vibrations, the shaking of seeded gourd rattles and ankle bells were followed by what sounded like war cries that split the air.

This celebration has a very dark side to it and yet the participants were joyous, and it is clear that everyone had fun. Pictures are taken by everyone. A potluck lunch followed.

The wind was so intense that I decided to go home to get out of the cold feeling satisfied because I had witnessed the heart of this festival which honors Indigenous peoples as slaves who endured unspeakable treatment at the hands of their captors.

May the genizaros live on!

Turkey Tales


(male turkeys displaying for the females in my yard)


Right across the river is an ancient Pueblo ruin. Half way up the cliff a petroglyph of the turkey, a bird that is sacred to Indigenous peoples is inscribed on a rock with other storied landscape scenes…


When I first came to Abiquiu (the place below the cattails) I climbed the mesa to touch the carving, to be with, to reflect upon this particular petroglyph. The stone marked a holy place.


After being away for a few months I returned to find ‘my’ turkey defaced by uncaring people.


I no longer visit the ruin.


Turkeys are sacred birds to all Indigenous peoples who gather their feathers to wear in ceremonial dances. Wild turkeys like the ones in the picture inhabit the lowlands around my house in Maine, dancing and spreading their iridescent fans even in the fall for the females who are not in the picture but feeding close by under the bird feeder. In the winter they make hieroglyphics in the snow, and roost in tall evergreens by my brook. In the spring the mothers raise their chicks in the tall grasses that stretch down to the wetlands. They know they are protected here in this small sanctuary. I love the sounds they make – chortling conversation – and when they take to the air they resemble flying cannonballs, a sight that always makes me laugh.


Of course, these wild turkeys can be shot by hunters in and out of season because after all – who is going to stop them?


The second amendment and the religion of violence are intimately related.


Today is ‘thanksgiving’ for many Americans, the descendants of the colonists who took over this country, shot everything in sight –some species to extinction – and annihilated the original inhabitants, destroying their ceremonies, customs, language, stealing their land, selling the woman and children into slavery, forcing them to adopt a foreign patriarchal (power over) religion or die.


Perspective is everything.


From the colonists point of view – they won. Ironically, even the food that first sustained the starving immigrants was provided by Native peoples. Indian lands became their own, the animals and birds with whom the Native peoples lived with in harmony, respected, killed only ritually, and with gratitude for food, the Native understanding that all life was sacred – that all beings were equal and related; these ways of thinking were dismissed, crushed, denied, forbidden.


Three hundred years later little has changed. Americans have yet to own that they destroyed an entire culture, a people who lived in “right relationship” with the planet that supports them.


Surely, today, Indigenous peoples are not celebrating their takeover by the descendants of the original colonists; surely they are not cooking turkeys for what has become a feast of revolting gluttony when so many are starving throughout the world – and surely they are not grateful that their lands have been stolen, their women and children raped, murdered, or sold into slavery, or that their most sacred places are gone or up for grabs by corporate greed.


To give the reader just one example: think of 85% of Bear Ears monument a holy place sacred to most tribes in the southwest taken over by this current administration. This president supports the “chaining” of thousands of acres of forest, and rights of way for new roads and utility lines through the iconic Indian Creek landscape even in what is left of the monument. The plan fails to map out strong protections for priceless cultural sites in Bears Ears and fails to lay out a plan of co-management with the Bears Ears Inter-tribal Coalition as it was originally designed.


Throughout the country BLM lands, the public lands that once belonged to all American peoples have been desecrated, overgrazed, ruthlessly logged, opened up for fracking, oil extraction, mining and every kind of abuse of power.


Economy ‘trumps’ the living breathing planet on which we depend for life.


Rape of the Earth has become normalized.


Indigenous peoples understand that what we do to the Earth we do to ourselves. Americans as a whole have no concept of what the above statement means, or can even imagine what the consequences of Earth abuse might endgender.


And then I think of the millions of turkeys mindlessly slaughtered to provide so many with meat for ‘thanksgiving’ and I weep.


I close this narrative with a quote from Terry Tempest Williams that mirrors my own Indigenous perspective. I have Passamaquoddy roots.


“Whatever I know as a woman about spirituality I have learned from my body encountering the Earth. Soul and soil are not separate. Neither are wind and spirit, nor water or tears.”

Eyes of the Night


(Beloved Cottonwoods frame the predawn in front of the Casita)


“Eyes of the Night”

Benign or Suspect?

Here is a question

worth pondering.


“Eyes of the Night”

peer into dark souls

uncovering hidden agendas

exposing the worm.


“Eyes of the Night”

are not fooled

by words forcing fake

kindness through preaching

or shaming.


“Eyes of the Night”

(that seek to harm)

are turned back

on themselves

by the Powers of

Great Horned Owl.


“Eyes of the Night”

ride on the wings

of falling stars

Earthing destructive Fires.


“Eyes of the Night”

split the sky in two at midnight

The Great Bear

spills her Grace before dawn.





Working notes:


Often I will read a phrase like the one repeated above and suddenly a poem materializes out of the Great Beyond. I don’t pretend to understand the process, but I honor it.


I have always been most comfortable during this dark time of the year, perhaps because I am a poet and a dreamer, but also because I am a naturalist and these long nights give the discerning eye a chance to visit with creatures who are invisible during the day.


Here in Abiquiu, the Great Horned Owl is my nightly companion as are the stars overhead, seemingly so close that I could touch them. The high desert stillness is rarely broken except by the coyotes that sing love songs to stark reptilian mountains and to La Llorona, the Spirit of the River, like they did last night.


Every morning in the predawn hours I walk to our river to watch the sky catch fire embracing this magical space in between worlds, offering my gratitude for what was and what will be.

I am usually home by sunrise…

Tree Stories


(one of author’s paths… including the one that opens to the little field)


I have always loved trees and as a child often found refuge in the fragrant branches of old maples and oaks. Does the reader know that every kind of tree has a scent of its own? My grandmother’s sweetly perfumed golden apple tree attracted the deer on moonlit nights as my little brother and I watched with rapt attention when the bucks moved in to feed while we counted the points on each rack of deer antlers…


Our first tree houses were constructed high up in the uppermost branches of the white pines that swayed precariously when the wind blew too hard. These old trees also “whispered” when their needles touched and I imagined then that they were speaking in tongues that I could decipher with ease. The scent of pine pitch is a fragrance I cherish to this day. Many of these magnificent White pines were scattered around the 50 acre pre-Revolutionary farm that belonged to my grandparents, and like the 200- 300 year old sugar maples that ringed the field and shaded the house in summer, I loved those old trees but took them for granted.


By mid- life I no longer took any tree for granted. Maine logging was devastating the trees around me. I became a fierce tree advocate writing articles to address destructive logging practices and to educate the public in the hope that these practices would help save Maine trees… all this writing occurred in between the spaces of teaching at the university level, accruing further degrees, and counseling.


When I first purchased ‘my’ land in western Maine thirty – five years ago, the mixed conifer and deciduous forest had been cut just a few years before and many saplings were slowly regenerating. An open field stretched down into the valley to meet one of the three brooks that bordered the property. This area was also protected by the forest. A clear spring bubbled up in a nearby copse of trees.


I promised the trees then, that as long as I lived on the land this forest would remain untouched, and that I would allow nature to take the lead. A commitment I kept.


Nature chose to create a white pine forest that sprung up as if by magic populating the old field with pine seedlings. White pines grow fast when they are young, and soon I was creating a complex web of pathways so that I could continue to walk and snowshoe as the forest grew and flourished. As the pines arced over my head emerald mosses covered the ground beneath my feet. My beloved Black bears began to use these paths so regularly that a thin line appeared in the center of the well-shaded and protected trails.


Even on the hottest summer days I continue to meander through the pines that keep the ground moist and fragrant. One path borders one of the brooks, another opens into the remaining field, a small area bordered by wild apple trees, chokecherries, wild cherries, beaked hazelnut, and hobble bush. This protected open place has a northeastern exposure that allows me to converse with the stars and a rising full moon. In the winter the mountain catches fire as alpine glow spreads her wings across the horizon.


During the days of spring and summer the heart shaped leaves of white violets with their striped lavender tongues, masses of lupine, lemon lilies, deep blue iris, milkweed balls, goldenrod, and finally deep blue fall asters provide me with continuous blooming until once again I mow the field so that the deer and rabbits can graze until snow blankets the wheat colored ground. Around my log cabin white pines provide mothers with “bear trees” and a myriad of fruit trees and maples provide deep summer shade, the latter creating the most beautiful autumn colors – gold and crimson leaves that are a sight to behold.


My life is inextricably woven into the weft and warp of the trees around my house (and trees in general – here in New Mexico where I am currently spending the winter it is the cottonwoods that I fiercely advocate for), and I am so grateful to nature who creates tree sanctuaries for me and for all the animals and birds that so depend upon them for life.


Just a few days ago I saw a video on You Tube about bear biologist Dr. Lynn Rogers who is a friend and also a mentor. In the video we learn that Lynn has a white pine (located in Mohawk State Forest in Massachusetts) that has been named after him. This tree has a girth of 11 plus feet and is a hundred feet tall.


Back in the nineties Lynn formed the White Pine Society to save the remaining 2 percent of the white pines in Minnesota. He wrote a bill that did not pass but helped to raise public awareness about the relationship between Black bears and white pines. Female mother bears gravitate towards these trees for a number of reasons. They provide an open area free of snow early in the spring, and with their rough bark are ideal trees for cubs to climb to escape predators, and to hone their climbing skills.


The Wilderness and Parks Coalition honored Lynn for “crusading to preserve and regenerate Minnesota’s depleted white pine forests.” At the same time the Eastern Native Tree Society named the giant pine (mentioned previously) after him.


It is heartening to know that during this time of earth devastation, climate change, and general disregard for nature that men like Lynn and women like me advocated for and continue to advocate for those trees and creatures whose voices have been stilled by corporate greed and indifference.

When the Cranes Come

IMG_3160 2.JPG


When the Cranes Come

I remember who I am –

A woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I listen with rapt attention

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I am pulled into a primordial field

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I know I must fly with them

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I remember that community is real

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I believe hope can be restored

I am a woman with wings.


When the Cranes Come

I lay down in frost – covered reeds

At peace with Sand -hill Cranes.


Working Notes


“By paying attention to what is real and true and authentic we come home to ourselves.” I paraphrase Terry Tempest Williams words although I have used these very same words myself.


Paying attention to Nature is just what I do. It is my primary survival tool. My joy is hidden here in experiences of the Now. Paying attention also forces me to witness heartrending Earth broken-ness, and this witnessing leaches the life force out of me. This anguish has no name.


When I am pulled into the “field” of Sand hill Cranes I undergo a mystical transformation.


There is something about these most ancient birds that live together in peaceful community, who stay together, who migrate in family groups, who look after one another that “call” me to them in a way I can’t comprehend, but feels so familiar… like a dream I can’t quite remember.


What I do know is that I must follow them. I must allow myself to believe that there may still be hope.


These last years have been impossible because I am witnessing earth destruction daily through the loss of so many animals and plants, polluted air, water and soil. So much slaughter. The earth is going up in flames – Fires rage, destroying the forests that allow us to breathe, and drought cracks open the earth, withering the most resistant trees. Dust chokes desert air.


I endure – waiting – no longer believing any action will be enough to stay the human greed, hatred, warmongering, lies, loss of decency, compassion, humility.


That is, until I see the Sand hill Cranes flying overhead with their gray gracefully curved wings, their long legs floating behind them – during those precious moments I am filled with inexplicable hope and joy – I once again experience wholeness.

The Cranes have whisked me away…


It’s interesting to note that I finished this poem, opened the door and seven Cranes were flying over the house…Sometimes I literally experience myself being being lifted into the air when they are flying above me.

Sand Hill Cranes 2019


(early morning at Bosque del Apache)


All month I have been on alert listening for the calls of the Sand hill cranes as they continue their migration south. Last year a good number of cranes spent the winter here landing in the neighboring field to find food, and roosting down by the river in the riffles…


This year, except for a few sightings and an occasional singular “brring” call by a few, the cranes have been absent. The artificially controlled river is so unnaturally high that it is ripping the shore away in chunks; the torrents of raging water are drowning the riffles where shorebirds once landed to rest or fish. Even the solitary heron has moved on. It is hardly surprising that the Sand hill cranes are not staying overnight even if they pass by overhead.

I also suspect that the cranes’ migratory routes have shifted.

Sandhill Cranes have begun breeding in the fields around the Saco River in Fryeburg, Maine, not far from my home. Some research suggests that these birds have broken away from the eastern flyway. They were first sighted in Maine about 20 years ago and I am delighted to know that some may be making Maine their breeding ground.

We do know that one of the consequences of Climate Change is that many migratory birds are shifting their routes or not traveling as far south as they once did. The cranes used to have three distinct flyways that flowed into one great artery the further south they traveled, and conversely fan out with some cranes flying as far as west as the eastern coast of Siberia during the northern spring migration. These days it is hard to predict what may be happening.


Although it is almost the end of November I have only seen one good size flock of twenty cranes flying over the house; this group was traveling due west. I have seen a few in very small groups of two, three, and five in number, and my neighbors and I had a couple in their field.


Seeing and hearing Sand hill Cranes has to be one of the the greatest joys of living near the river in Abiquiu, and I keenly miss their presence and haunting calls.


This year’s trip to the Bosque del Apache assuaged my loneliness. For one whole day I was steeped in wonder and gratitude that such a place even existed (I almost forgot that this refuge is also open to hunting. This “create a refuge and then shoot the animals” is normalized behavior for all state Fish and Game organizations).


To have so many cranes and snow geese along with harriers and other raptors, eagles, ducks, herons, sliders, fish, deer visible all at once while listening to crane and geese cacophony put me in state that I call “Natural Grace,” where nothing but the immediate present matters. At one point I met a couple who asked to take my picture. When I asked why they both said in union -“Why, you are so beautiful, you look like you belong here.” Evidently, the cranes had transformed me! The day was perfect – absolutely no wind and temperatures that were so mild that I was able to sit on the ground watching cranes/snow geese through my binoculars until the sun finally set,and many groups of cranes and snow geese had taken to the sky. I recorded the birds calling out to each other, and now whenever I listen to my tape I am transported back in time to that wondrous day. I am so grateful to have been there.

We know from fossilized records that the Sandhill Cranes are one of oldest birds in the world, and have been in their present form for 10, 30, or 60 million years (depending on the source). They have apparently maintained a family and community structure that allows them to live together peacefully and migrate by the thousands twice a year when unfortunately many are shot along the way. Sandhill Cranes mate for life, and in the spring the adults engage in a complex “dance” with one another. During mating, pairs throw their heads back and unleash a passionate duet—an extended litany of coordinated song. Cranes also dance, run, leap high in the air and otherwise cavort around—not only during mating, but all year long.

In their northern habitat, the female lays two eggs a year in thick protected areas at the edge of reed filled marshes. Before nesting these birds “paint” their gray feathers with dull brown reeds and mud to reduce the possibility of being seen by a predator. Born a couple of days a part, the second chick rarely survives. The fuzzy youngster that does (if it survives the first year – delayed reproduction and survival rates factor into the difficulties inherent in crane conservation and to that we must now add Climate Change) stays with its parents for about three years before reaching sexual maturity and striking out on its own, but even then the adult stays within the parameters of its extended family, and it is these families that comprise the small groups of cranes that we see flying together. During migration, a multitude of these groups travel together. There are no leaders and often it is possible to observe what looks like an unorganized random group or diagonal thread made up of cranes flying above the ground. In every roosting place there are a few cranes that remain awake all night alerting their relatives to would be predators.

I think it’s significant that these very ancient birds have survived so long in their present form. I’ll repeat my original question: Could it be that the cranes understand the value of living in community in a way that has become foreign to humans who seem hell bent on embracing the values of competition, power, and control on a global level? Perhaps we could all benefit from watching Sand hill cranes with rapt attention.


Art as Healer



A number of weeks ago the man who owns this property hacked off the limbs of some graceful arching cottonwoods, destroying forever the cathedral –like arches that I walked under every day as I gave thanks for these Matriarchs of the Bosque, while carrying the knowledge that there will not be a new generation of these trees to replace the old ones that die. The high desert is drying up and young cottonwood saplings must have adequate water to live long enough to produce the deep taproots that will nourish the trees from below.


Being with/under and feeling the benign presence of these gracious cottonwoods for the past three years has taught me more about how important it is to focus on feeling gratitude for now than any other feature in this high desert.


Witnessing the destruction of the arches while walking under the weeping chopped up arms initially unhinged me.


At first I made up a little song to sing to the broken trees when I walked under them, knowing of course it was too late. Nothing could restore those dead arms.


Gradually, I came to the understanding that the cottonwood cathedral, a prayer place so sacred to me, also reminded me daily that being emotionally present for these trees helped me to balance the destruction of the natural world that I saw occurring all around me.


When I dreamed that in the distance I could see a magnificent cottonwood with her graceful bare canopy whole, and opening like like a flower, it seemed to me that the soul of the cottonwoods was trying to comfort me.


I had no idea what I was doing the day I picked up a bare limb and brought it back to the house, positioning the cottonwood right next to my steps so I could see it every time I walked in or out of the house.


Next I gathered boulders to ring the base of the dead tree. The slim trunk sitting on its bed of stone felt just right…


When the seasonal wheel turned into November I retrieved tiny clear crystals from my closet and placed them on my Norfolk Pine inside the house. Rainbows danced over the adobe walls. I also ringed the base of the pine with white lights. This is the time of the year I honor the life of all trees as part of my spiritual practice.


The very next day while coming up the steps I had a strange insight about the dead cottonwood limb. Honoring the life of all trees was no longer enough. Now I needed to honor trees in death.


That afternoon I wrapped white lights around the severed trunk and lit up ‘the tree’ at dusk.


Over the next few days I placed scalloped heart shaped cottonwood leaves around the trunk attaching them to the wires that held the lights… Just yesterday I realized what was missing. I needed an empty nest to grace the amputated limb.


A trip into the Bosque provided me with the latter. The cup was nestled in a few branches of desert scrub. When I attached the nest to the sawed off limb obscuring the work of the deadly chainsaw it finally occurred to me that I was creating art.


I dug through layers of dead cottonwood leaves until I found their flower –like shells – the seed casings that once held cottony balls of fleece – those seeds of the future that could no longer take root.


When I placed the petals in the nest I added four more stones, not just to anchor the empty pods down, but rather to reinforce the reality that stone ‘eggs’ cannot give birth to new life. A base made of Boulders made the same point.


Last night when I lit the ‘tree’ with lights that shivered like cracked stars I felt like I had unintentionally created a new sacred space with my sculpture.


And for the first time since the severing, a sense of peace permeated my once bereft body, soul, and spirit.


Art not only bridges the ordinary world helping us to access the sacred; it heals in life and death.IMG_3228.JPG

Under a Canopy of Bears



Two mourning doves

greet me

at dawn,

fluffed and huddled

on a pine strewn floor

Mist blankets a forest

that creeps ever closer

towards the door.


The strip of red cloth

tied to a branch

is a prayer

for life or a painless death.

Bears are under fire.


I am embraced by trees

whose leaves

are tattered and worn.

All are bowed,

bearing ripening fruit.


Clusters of emerald grapes hang from

my bedroom window

The light is scattered – soft

green, sifted gold

filaments stream

through heart shaped leaves.


I sleep under quilts

on these cool nights

snuggling into

silky softness

feeling the gentle

rise and fall

of my dogs breath.

Except for them

I am alone here

and content

to be so.


I awakened last night

breathing in

deep woods air,

slow moving waters,

The scent of this

valley stream,

sudden showers,

keeps my senses keen.


I am gathering memories

for a basket made

of reeds to take

with me when I

leave this sanctuary

made holy by

Love and Bear Attention

over so many years.


I knew before

I arrived, that summer

carried threats –

One cannot change what is

Or what will come to be…


There were high points:

Beloved bears,

meeting an ‘old man’

who loves them,

kayaking on the pond.

Picking wild roses by the sea…

The horizon was unbroken as

I heard the words

“I am looking into eternity.”

Blessed rain – I listened to

Tree roots glowing, glistening

underground –

hyphae pulsing light.


A dark cloud hangs heavy

over this weary body.

I am closing the gap

between a life that has been

mostly lived and

the Great Unknown.

Five lives,

  • only two are human

hang in a balance

I cannot comprehend.


And yet

With the advent

of  autumn and

the turning of the wheel

Silence births peace

A fall flowering –

a thinning of the veil…


Across the brook a single maple

turn crimson and gold

a few painted leaves

drift like the butterfly

whose deep orange coat

signals a time to journey south.

Not just this leave – taking

but others are ahead.


The children I bore are gone –

the pain of intolerable loss

ebbs with this change of season.

Green frogs cheep,

nubbly toadlets trill

cardinal clicks abound.


Fields of yellow goldenrod,

purple asters,

spiraling passion plant tendrils

and a beloved yearling’s visit,

attach me to knowing

that to be Present is enough…


Later this fall

after the carnage ends,

I will take refuge

under a canopy

of tree roots

carved out

by black bears.


Working Notes:

The bear slaughter in Maine finally comes to an end November 30th and I am counting the days… So many bears are dead including the ones I loved and cared for – one I mentioned above. Continuity of life for Black bears simply doesn’t exist in Maine. Most bears are shot as yearlings. This year each hunter can kill two bears… There is simply no relief from the heartbreak.

The Pomegranate



It is mid November and shiny crimson Pomegranates catch the discerning eye in food markets; even Walmart carries them!


Why do these beautiful and very ancient fruits appear during this dark time of the year?


One answer to this question is that in the northern hemisphere the fruit of this deciduous shrub ripens anywhere from September to February. The reverse is true in the southern hemisphere when the fruits ripen during March, April and May. It is important to remember that in the southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed, so in both northern and southern parts of the globe these fruits appear in the fall, during the darkest months of the year.


Pomegranates are native from Iran to northern India and have been cultivated throughout the Middle East, Asia and the Mediterranean region for millennia. (Today they are also grown in California and Arizona, so they no longer need to be imported). The shrub was domesticated as early as the 5th millennium BC. Pomegranates were the first trees to be domesticated in the Mediterranean.


Because I have a background in mythology I am very familiar with the myth of the Greek Persephone who was abducted/raped by Hades and swallowed up by the Underworld in the autumn for a number of winter months. The myth varies but in most renditions while living in the darkness Persephone was seduced by Hades to eat the seeds of the Pomegranate; she ate a few without the foreknowledge that partaking of this forbidden fruit would insure her cyclical return to the Netherworld each fall.


The popular explanation for this story is that Persephone’s descent mirrors what happens in the fall during the agricultural cycle after the fruits of the harvest ripen, all plants and trees lose their leaves and winter spreads her wings over the earth.


Curiously, I have my own story about the Pomegranate and later some notes on being a Persephone Woman. My dad was Italian and didn’t come to this country until he was twelve years old. He worked for an international company in New York as an aeronautical engineer and sometimes brought home unusual gifts for his children. One night he arrived with a most beautiful fruit that he apparently procured in an Italian market in the city. (In retrospect I think he was deeply attached to his Italian roots, though he embraced the so – called “American Dream” and became a very successful businessman).


When he held out the Pomegranate (I was between age three and four) I had the following visionary experience:


I was transfixed by the color, shape, the smooth coat of the “apple,” as the Pomegranate is sometimes called turning it over and over in my small hands with awe and wonder becoming one with the fruit. When my father took a knife and sliced open the pomegranate iridescent crimson beads bled and stained the wooden cutting board bright red, I initially shrieked in horror at the sight of my own blood, but soon calmed by my father’s voice encouraging his daughter to try the seeds, I trustingly complied, loving the tart sweetness almost as much as I loved the deep crimson color.


That was it. I have no other recollection attached to this visceral/ visionary experience. At the time, of course, I had no idea what had happened; it was only later that I could name the visioning. I had been transported into a mythical dimension, re – experiencing an ancient storyline…


When I first learned about the myth of Persephone in my late 30’s I was studying to become a Jungian analyst. I was stunned when I re-lived this ‘lost’ memory I didn’t know I had. What did this experience mean for me I wondered uneasily.


Gradually, other excruciating and repressed memories surfaced. My father’s seemingly senseless violent outbursts that terrorized me, his road rage, attempted rape by cousins, boyfriends, enduring unspeakable violence at the hands of my children’s father, and then my repeating the pattern with future men always against my will until I chose celibacy as a way through – or out.


Reluctantly, oh so reluctantly I owned that I was a Persephone who had unconsciously entered into a relationship with Hades, or Poseidon, a mythical pact I had little control over. I knew by then that archetypes are empty patterns of energy/information that must be lived through by humans who are pulled into their fields for good or ill.


It was only then that I forgave myself for my earlier transgressions, which I now understood were also orchestrated by forces that would always be more powerful than I could ever hope to be. This is where we see the limits of free will, so dear to the American psyche.


Initially, I thought that by developing awareness around this destructive pattern I might be able to transform it, but this was not to be. Instead, periodically I still continue to live out this storyline.


The trigger this week involved a betrayal by unknown women. These women were digging for dirt and pulled words/phrases/individual writings out of context to pass along to someone who then passed harsh judgment on me. This double hit threw me into a state of shock for days because these women had never met me, distorted what I had written and used parts of my work to attack my character, my honesty, politics, my belief system, twisting information to suit their personal agendas and god knows what else. My friend’s harsh judgment based on what others said devastated me.


At first my grief over this violation mushroomed, and all I wanted to do was hide. (by the way the Latin Volare is the root of violation which means to be treated violently).


But I am familiar with my own process; first holding myself accountable for my mistakes, then grieving, feeling my anger, and finally resolution as I let go and decide how to move on. It is a constant source of irritation to me that this kind of experience comes out of the “blue” and strikes from behind while I am diligently trying to work through “the problem” whatever it is. I am never prepared.


For the first time I am questioning my “naiveté.” Am I really that naïve or is something else going on? I am an honest person. I am not devious, and I have spent most of my life serving others ( human and non human) in one capacity or another as an educator/professor, counselor, writer, and advocate. Perhaps my lifetime focus on others has left me vulnerable to those whose intent is to harm? I don’t know.


This morning I awakened with firm resolve, no longer feeling like a victim (this violation could not have occurred if I had not written so honestly– my 50 percent).


I went food shopping and when I saw the shimmering scarlet Pomegranate I bought it, understanding that by doing so I was acknowledging that once again I am choosing to align myself with Persephone, and by extension, my own Fate.


I can’t change what happened but I can REFUSE to accept these harsh judgments made by others just as I make the choice to move on. This is where I see the power of being a “Persephone Woman” emerging out of the depths of my unconscious and Deep Time.

Nailed to the Cross



Stunned – Numb,

I peer through the veil

into the dark souls

of those

who crucify

the innocent.


Whose own agenda

is deeply suspect.


I have done nothing

to deserve such treatment.


I am not that much

of a fool.


Rake me over the coals.


Make connections

that don’t exist

but don’t expect me

to comply.


I opened my heart

And was scorned.


Like the bears

I seek solace, safety,

relief from violation


beneath the roots

of dormant trees…


I have been

nailed to a cross

of dreams.


Working Notes:

I take full responsibility for the fact that I write honestly and openly… and by doing so risk being judged and misinterpreted, but this doesn’t change the feelings of violation I experience having my politics, my relationship with nature (read: religious beliefs), and my work as a woman’s advocate scrutinized and judged so harshly by people who don’t know me personally and take my words out of context using them to condemn me.


I looked up the word violation. The Latin root is Volare which means to be treated violently, which is exactly how I experience this kind of invasion.

The common dictionary meanings follow:

The failure to respect someone’s peace, privacy, or rights.

To treat something sacred with disrespect

Literary definition is quite precise – rape or sexual assault


Postscript 2:

When I use the word CONTEXT I am referring to the separation of the particular from the whole ie – taking a word or phrase that someone has used and using it as a weapon while disregarding the rest of what was said or written.

The U.S has become a low context culture and this kind of distortion is common and “normalized” – which makes it even more deadly.