An Unquenchable Thirst

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(you can’t see it but I took this picture during the brief moments of rain)

 

A gust of wind

sweeps wild grasses.

Charcoal gray skes

bend flat mesas.

Moments later

raindrops fall.

Moisture seeps

through cracked ground

offering

parched Earth

a few seconds of relief.

 

Sand shifts colors

reddening before my eyes.

Standing at the door

to breathe in scented water

I invoke the Horned Serpent.

Has Avanyu,

Guardian

of the River,

heard the People’s prayer?

 

Not today.

 

Too soon the sky is blue,

and I struggle to

give thanks for

this momentary pause

in a year of ceaseless drought.

 

Working notes:

 

This morning when the leaden clouds sailed across the sky hope rose unbidden as I tasted the air for rain. Winds rattled windows – for a few minutes drops of precious water mixed with snowflakes drifted by… Too soon it was over, disappearing like a dream, leaving barely a trace. No tree root received precious life sustaining moisture, and within the hour our desert was once again swept bone dry by a relentless west wind.

 

Climate Change is making me crazy.

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Avanyu, Spirit of the Rivers

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Author looking at a petroglyph site near the river. Avanyu is represented with and without horns in between images of the Cloud people.

 

I dreamed about you last night:

An antidote for metal spikes

rising out of unhallowed ground,

bloody wooden spears that impale,

leaving lifeless bodies

in their wake.

 

I need you.

 

Gift me with the knowledge

I need to deal with

Double moons,

Reversing, dirty rivers

(behind my back)

spiked metals

and baby blue.

 

I need you.

 

Spears of hatred

wound and fester

create illness,

susto,

disharmony in

spirit, soul, and body.

 

I need you.

 

Black Serpent

you are the manifestation of

the Spirit of Life

your belly blesses the Earth as

you slither on hallowed ground.

 

Our desert needs you.

 

Mother of the Flowing Waters,

You are the Source of Life,

Under your care

seeds swell and burst

red willows are tinted green

Cactus sprout buds in winter –

 

Our desert needs you.

 

Your image is pecked in stone

on all the surrounding mesas.

Horned, you spiral skyward

calling the Cloud People

To gift our Earth with rain…

Won’t you sing to them again?

 

Our desert needs you.

 

Red Willow River is under siege

from drought

Her stones are no longer hidden

under sea green water.

The desert floors cracks

beneath my feet.

 

Our desert needs you.

 

Come to us,

Spirit of the Living Waters

Mother of the Fertile Earth

Come to us

so that we may be healed

of wounds brought on

by those who have forgotten

that You are the Source of Life.

 

Working Notes:

 

Avanyu is an ancient Pueblo Tewa deity who is the Guardian of the Waters. He is usually represented as a horned or plumed serpent with curves that suggest flowing water or sometimes as the zig zag of summer lightening. Avanyu appears on the walls of canyons and in caves high above the rivers of New Mexico.

 

Avanyu is probably related to the Feathered Serpent of Meso America.

 

I also believe that the Amazonian River Serpent, Yakumama is another manifestation of this most powerful deity. Yakumama according to Amazonian Indigenous mythology brought the people down to earth from the Milky Way leaving them with food, plant medicine, and a way to contact her through visioning so that the People might thrive. Sachamama is the corresponding Serpent Guardian of the Amazonian Forest, the sister of Yakumama.

 

I personally believe that Avanyu has a serpent counterpart. Last spring I was struck by the number of snakes (both poisonous and non- poisonous) that I encountered in the spring. Those snakes carried a “charge” (energy spike) for me that indicated that the Water Serpent has a desert counterpart.

 

In most cultures the Serpent represents the Life Force.

 

In this time of Earth destruction and political insanity we would do well to honor the Spirit of Life while we still can.

The Big Bear Moon/ First Light

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Blood Red Sunrise.

a precursor of

a coppery round moon

to come?

Ominous perhaps,

But also Nature’s phenomena

manifesting at perigee,

ending a month of double moons –

tricksters who take bites out of each other

wearing skulls with sharp spikes.

 

We honor the Great Celestial Bear

who climbs into the Northern sky

escaping Orion’s wrath,

his need to slaughter

turned back on himself,

a directional reversal…

She steers the wheel towards

First Light.

 

She is forever free to roam the night skies.

Shuddering, his power waning

he slips below the horizon,

a mole gone to ground.

With the approaching spring season

She Rises!

A Datura moon seed taking root…*

She is:

Queen of the Star cracked heavens,

Mistress of the Fire,

A pure white fragrant moon blossom..

Goddess of the coming Light.

 

We Crown her with candles

Birth poets, artists, from her Visions.

Her waters flow, purifying our thoughts

Healing broken souls – susto* –

– illness –

brought on by “power over”

and the obsession to be right.

Our Lady watches over her namesakes

as black bear cubs snuggle deep in furry wonder,

ascend the mountain of her warm black body to play.

Listen!

It is The Great Bear’s heartbeat

that drums the Spring Song,

a refrain we long to hear…

 

 

Working notes:

 

  • the Chumash Indians celebrate January’s full moon as the moon that is sacred to the visionary plant Datura. In honor of this moon and the coming of the light I am rooting some Datura seeds. Amazingly, when I started this process two days ago I never expected to see a rootlet appear within 24 hours… it normally takes 3 – 8 weeks to germinate these seeds. I surmise that the rootlets appeared because this moon is sacred to Datura plants and they know it!

 

  • Susto is a Spanish word used to describe “soul loss” or the weeping soul, a diagnosis that Indigenous medicine healers use when treating a child or adult whose soul has literally never incarnated in the body, or has fled its home because of severe trauma. PTSD and anxiety disorders fall into this category. Western medicine treats the physical body and excludes both spirit and soul so people do not heal.

 

In the Indigenous way of thinking the spirit surrounds the soul and body protecting it from harm, but trauma creates holes in spirit and the soul takes flight, leaving a person lifeless, depressed, without normal defenses to fight depression or disease. Returning the soul to the body and healing the holes in spirit is the medicine person’s job.

 

I witnessed this process of soul recovery firsthand when I was working in the Amazon. Until then I had never heard of susto but the moment I did I understood that it was part of my history. This discovery has changed my life.

 

Now I understand that when severely traumatized as I have been recently due to sleep deprivation that soul loss becomes inevitable, and that it takes awareness, patience and attention to spirit, soul and body to recover what was lost. I am still in the process of recovery at the time of this writing.

 

It is critical to note that anyone who has an intimate relationship with Nature and has plants and animals will also see negative changes in these companions. During this last episode of mine I lost a dear friend and sister, a passionflower I have loved for many years (13 years). I watched her in horror simply withering away before my eyes.

 

As a therapist I have been blessed to be able to help others recover from soul loss  due to severe trauma. In my experience, the older one is before being diagnosed the more difficult it is to recover completely – but speaking for myself it was a relief to pinpoint the problem.

The Gate

I walk through the creaking gate

under a pre dawn sky

Ice cracks,

splits still air.

Ducks rise up

over serpentine waters.

Geese gather in v formations.

Every tree

spreads her crown of bare branches.

The sky begins to shiver.

I breath in golden

crystals of New Born Light.

 

Every morning finds me at the river’s edge in the inky darkness of a pre dawn sky giving thanks for the return of my joy and the gift of living in such a hallowed place.

Desert Snow

 

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Shark gray clouds

swim across the sky

before daybreak.

Is the river holding her breath?

Prickly cholla is gesoed

pearl white.

Desert sage and scrub wear

tender winter coats.

Raccoon ‘s midnight identity is

revealed through

sharply etched foot prints

circling the Russian Olive.

Bird hieroglyphics

create patterns – a new language

written in wonder

on wet ground.

In the distance higher mesas

accumulate thick layers

of silver light.

I sweep away an inch of fluff

from my door –

no backbreaking shoveling here,

just my joyful heart singing…

High desert

soaks up sweet moisture

plumping out withered limbs,

her thirst quenched for a moment

as cottony clouds slide by.

A few star filled snowflakes drift

by my window…

Even the patches of blue

breaking through

a thick gray dome

cannot dim my enthusiasm

for this watery gift at dawn:

 

Blessed, Desert Snow.

 

Working notes: It is hard to believe that I would long for snow as much as I have coming from Maine where snow is never welcome, especially now with climate change and the perennial freeze -thaw that makes walking and driving a nightmare, not to mention the amount of daily shoveling required to simply get out of my house and up my hill!

But here in Abiquiu, New Mexico we are in a drought and all moisture has virtually been absent for months. To wake up this morning to paths painted white and drifting snowflakes was pure joy!

Prayer to the Cloud People

 

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Dawn is streaked

with scarlet ribbons

pearl white, slate gray.

Purple shadows cast omens

above the trees,

rippling over the river’s ebb and flow.

The sunstar is absent

though an eerie glow seeps

through fur clad clouds.

 

Geese fly over my head

so close I imagine

I can see glassy ebony eyes.

And ducks in gay abundance

sail by as I scan the horizon

for cloud laden ice crystals.

So many shapes

to choose from on this

hopeful gray winter morning

as I conjure up falling snow.

 

Working notes:

We have been without precipitation for many months now, and the parched cracked high desert is deeply distressing to witness for many of us.

I also believe as Rupert Sheldrake postulates, that all Nature has memory and that S/He hears the prayers of the people when their hearts are opened on behalf of the Earth.

I appeal to the Cloud People in this time of deep distress, in the hopes that either rain or snow will grace the mesas, cast white shadows on the undulating reptilian mountains, coat the scrub with life bringing moisture and soften the hard ground that only the gophers are able to move as they negotiate their tunnels six feet underground.

Little Bear Moon Invocation

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Bb

Oh my dear one

may you be dreaming deep

in a secret mountain cave of moss and stone.

I lost the thread between us

when I left you

home alone.

The hunting season continued

and I don’t know

if you survived.

When I lost touch

with you, I lost myself.

My thick fur fell away

and exposure

to ice and frightening cold

swirling confusion

has left me numbed,

paralyzed, and barely sane.

On this eve of the first of the year

when a Luminous moon rises round in the night

do listen for the Owls

who will be singing a future for us both…

 

Know too that

I wrap my arms around you

by way of Tree Roots

who are always crackling underground,

and beg

this dreaming sky orb, our Mother,

to keep us bound as One.

Perhaps

she will even gift me

with a new coat of furry black skin?

I so long to return

to my soul body kin…

 

Know sweet bear that in the spring

when the first shoots turn green

I will meet you at the brook

if only we have both survived

our present separation.

 

If you come back to me I will

intone a heartfelt prayer that

after our brief meeting

your journey will

take you due North – far away

from those who would harm…

You must listen dear one:

You must be on your way

as soon as the first berries ripen…

in order to have

a chance to live through another year

as the black bear you are meant to be,

Wild and Free.

 

I love you Bb.

 

Working Notes: This year’s full moon falls on January 1 and in the northern part of the country where all black bears hibernate, this first full moon of the year is called the “Little Bear Moon.” Why? Because it is this month that most bears including polar bears and grizzlies and black bears give birth to their unborn… some under tree roots, some on the tundra even under snow, some in caves. Usually two to three tiny cubs are born to a mother who is alert and totally responsive to her young. For more information and videos please google the American Bear Center or WRI in Minnesota.

This invocation is dedicated all bears but especially to the one I love.