March Moons



Last night a Moonflower blossomed.

Hovering over bare branches

she rose quickly

into a pale blue sky.

Guilded in gold at twilight,

Moon turned iridescent,

pearl white by nightfall.


Will a month of double moons

bring high desert’s thirsty

trees, scrub, and grasses,

first spring flowers,

water they desperately need?


Do both hold Promise?

Or does one

cancel out the other?


Is the Hare hiding

behind his Grandmother

beckoning to the unwary?*


Or will winter buried toads

emerge to bask under

fragrant spring rain?


Beware an offer

of too much light

without shadows,

or reversals in Time.


Endings and beginnings

are always ambiguous.


March Light lengthens out our days.

Winter’s soft shadows fade

into cerulean blue –

a blazing white star

brings warmth, but all too soon

stares red earth down

cracking parched ground.


We can lose sight of ourselves

even as sprouting seeds unfurl,

reaching towards god’s eye.

At high noon no shadow is cast –

a dangerous time for

those who refuse to reflect

upon the necessity

of winter darkness.


This time of introspection

precedes a fierce

“Coming of the Light.”


At the equinox two halves

are wed as One.

A cautionary note

for those who would

cast away dark selves

to take wild flight

seduced by the fire

of the rising sun/son.


  • In many Native Indigenous traditions (as well as those from other countries) the Hare lives with his Grandmother the Moon. Hare is a trickster figure who is capable of reversals. He can turns the world upside down in seconds.

An Unquenchable Thirst


(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


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,


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.

Avanyu, Spirit of the Rivers


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,


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



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.


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




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!

The Crush Cage



What does it mean to feel psychologically and physically unsafe?


This question has been much on my mind of late and this morning I found myself writing random notes to answer my query.


First I typed that I feel psychologically and physically unsafe when my body is in deep distress from exhaustion. When I don’t have the luxury of being able to experience my feelings and allow them to flow through me like the 70 percent of me that is made of water I am literally floundering above an unknown sea walking on air … I am also forced to live on a hard military edge of “might is right” where it is impossible to feel fatigue. My body becomes rigid, stiff, and headaches, backaches, stomach troubles, and free floating anxiety peak, creating a negative feedback loop that results in insomnia that had become so severe that I was unable to sleep, relax, or even rest to relieve the exhaustion that held my body and mind hostage to another person’s insensitivity and self absorption. My pleas for help went unanswered. Serious physical illness became a threat, and recently my body succumbed to that indignity as well.


I am a sensitive, perhaps a mystic, that is, a person who is keenly attuned to others, both human and non –human beings, as well as to her surroundings on both a mind and bodily level. Does this tendency make me “difficult” as I have been so harshly accused?




I do know that because of this predisposition I am unable to protect myself from sudden noise, the worst form of psychological assault that I personally experience. Trapped in a house where incomprehensible slamming of cupboards, pots being smashed, screen doors screeching, wood being rammed into a stove, frightening thumps and buzzers going off at midnight are just a few examples that come to mind. Hyper -alert, my body goes rigid with unpredictability. As anger surfaces it has no place to go because I have no control over the timing of the threat I am facing.


Victimization is the unfortunate result.


Many of us also know that sleep deprivation is also a form of torture and can actually result in death.


To have this basic physical need for sleep so wantonly dis respected is not just painful but makes it clear that human invisibility is the core of the problem. As a living being I do not exist except as someone’s bizarre fantasy. Over the past two months I have witnessed myself disappearing – literally – withering away like the plant that I loved as a sister who did lose her life to this travesty. As my own physical situation deteriorated I was simply ignored.


The second most devastating feeling of not feeling safe develops out of a fundamental lack of respect for a person’s ideas and beliefs. When one person holds truth with a capital “T” and is always right there is no room to express opinions, to share ideas, to have different priorities. This process is insidious. Not to be heard at all is a kind of death, and after a while a chilling silence pervades the empty places where love is not. Without mutual respect friendship cannot survive.


Physically, sleep deprivation leaves me feeling unsafe, but emotionally, not feeling heard or seen destroys my sense of self.


Because I am a person who finds beauty in all of Nature there is another facet to this emotional tendril of feeling unsafe. Nature has sustained me throughout my life and has been both mother, father, sister, brother, lover, and when I am told that I have no aesthetic sense – “that I love everything indiscriminately, that I am common” I feel indescribable grief. I am in love with Nature. To speak of the astonishing wonder and beauty of swaying grasses, sunrises and sunsets, a sea green river of red willows, waxing moons and a starry firmament is to invite ridicule and perhaps this is the most devastating, certainly the loneliest aspect of attempting to cultivate a viable friendship. I learned quickly to shut up.


My guess is that a pervasive feeling of safety, or the lack thereof varies greatly with each individual.


In my case simply putting words to my feelings re ignites my capacity for joy, and returns what was stolen from me by this cruel and devastating experience.


That, and getting out.




(1) I noted as I wrote this reflection that I had difficulty staying in one tense while writing. My sense is that my experience is still too present and that this is what is causing the confusion.

(2) The excruciating photograph was taken by someone who has witnessed what horrors the Asian Black Bear is subjected to as s/he spends her entire life crushed in a cage where the animal cannot stand up or move as a crude catheter is inserted into the animal’s belly to extract bile that is used in Chinese medicine. Some of these animals live fifteen years before they eventually die.

As I was writing this reflection the image of the “crush cage” inserted itself into my mind and I couldn’t get rid of it probably because it’s how I’ve felt over the last two months… However, next to the suffering that these animals experience my own vignette becomes insignificant.

Most amazing is that these extraordinary animals when rehabilitated (by Animals Asia an international organization initiated by the work of Jane Goodall and Marc Bekoff) not only forgive their oppressors but learn how to love humans. They also learn to play and experience joy after years of unspeakable abuse. Forgiveness is divine it is said. If so, animals are our teachers, and anything becomes possible.