A Little Story about Telepathy and Dreaming

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I am a naturalist and ethologist who has studied many animals and birds in their natural habitat; my 15 year study of Maine’s black bears is perhaps the best example of the work I do. I am a dedicated animal advocate and telepathic communication is part of many if not all of my interactions with both tame and wild animals.

A couple of months ago I wrote a story about the telepathic relationship between my dove, Lily B and me. I put it on my blog and every day there after I noted that a number of people read it. At first I didn’t pay much attention but after awhile I couldn’t dismiss the odd sensation that this story was traveling from country to country in a very peculiar way. One day I counted 11 countries whose bloggers just read one article, the story about Lily B. Bloggers continue to read about my dove on a daily basis. This morning, for example, someone from Egypt read it.

I recently sent Lily’s story to a couple of editors to have it published. One editor responded saying she wanted the story but that I needed to make some changes and that she wanted more specific examples of how Lily and I maintained our telepathic bond. “What kind of things does he communicate to you?” she wanted to know. She also requested that I include a conversation between Lily B and me to end the piece.

I did not know what to do since what I had written was a true story and I resisted fictionalizing it because genuine telepathy works in very strange ways.

I approached Lily B with my problem asking for his help. He was swinging back and forth in his basket that overlooks the birdfeeder in an east window. I reminded him that this was his story and that I really needed him to help me create a better ending to satisfy this woman’s requirements for publication. Lily B listened intently peering down at me with one or the other of his very beady eyes. In this instance I spoke to him in English, just as I would talk with another human. Lily made no comment regarding my request and I went back to editing the story in another room.

In about a minute I had a very clear phrase pop into my mind: End the story with the fire that almost killed me. Of course, I thought. “Thanks Lily.” I sent him my feelings of gratitude expecting the three short coos that came back almost instantly.

 Lily B and I communicate much of the time without words being spoken by either of us, or one of us, as the above example indicates. Sometimes I will have a clear thought about something, perhaps a new insight, and Lily B will respond with his characteristic three short coos if I am right.

He also communicates with me when I have a strong feeling about something that might happen (that is usually, but not always negative). This kind of communication occurs through my body and usually I can’t articulate what I am sensing beyond experiencing fear and free floating anxiety if it is something threatening, which leaves me in a strange kind of limbo, second guessing myself. If the fear will manifest in a concrete way I hear that triple coo. At this point I surrender, opening the door to acceptance, no matter how difficult. I have learned to trust Lily’s judgment on these matters because I am a writer who has been recording these exchanges with my bird for 24 years. Lily’s response about the fire was the perfect ending to his story because it was the second time in seven months that a threat to Lily’s life had come to me in a dream that manifested in a concrete way. Twos completed a cycle, my dreams had taught me over the years.

This second dream simply said that Lily B would die. I tried hard to turn this dream into metaphor and attach it to my spiritual condition. I couldn’t make it fit…It wasn’t until I accepted the fact that Lily B might really be facing death that he sounded a triple coo, the first time ever that he responded to my thoughts/feeling in the middle of the night. I was so heartsick that I couldn’t fall asleep again.

Ever since we had moved into this rental space six months ago I felt threatened by negative energy. Within the space of a month a house lizard I adored was squashed in the door by the property manager, a hummingbird broke his neck on one of the windows and Lily B was attacked by an unknown predator and almost died from the three – inch gash than ran from his eye to his breast. Something was very wrong with this place on a psychic level – something I couldn’t name but could sense. Now it was February and I hoped that I could move out by spring…

Lily had recovered completely from the trauma he sustained during the late summer so it seemed unlikely that he would die from natural causes even though he was so old. I was on high alert, but had no idea what threat my bird might be facing…

One night a few days later while sitting in front of the fire on a low couch, I heard a strangled coughing sound. Turning around I realized that to my horror that I couldn’t see my bird. He was engulfed by heavy smoke. Screaming his name frantically I tried to get to him on the ceiling fan where he was roosting. When I managed to reach him he wasn’t there and I couldn’t breath. Still croaking his name I heard a weak choking sound and followed it until I found my poor bird on the floor. Grabbing him frantically, I raced out the door and put him in the car and stayed with him until he began to breathe more naturally. I later discovered that the fireplace damper had simply shut down by itself. Miraculously, for the second time in less than a year, Lily B survived an attack that should have killed him. We moved out of the rental the next day.

The night this editor’s request arrived I also had a powerful dream (this was what motivated me to talk to Lily directly about the story the next morning) reminding me that I communicate across species and don’t have to prove it.

I am an animal activist for deer and other animals and it’s twilight and the deer show themselves to me. There are at least 3- or 4 bucks all with antlers. One buck is larger than the rest with a huge rack of antlers. All of the antlers glow – they are luminous – and the colors keep shifting – rainbow colors. The deers’ antlers are all speaking to me through their luminescence and I can understand what they are saying. I am fighting for them to keep the land untouched so that the deer, elk, and other wild animals have wild places to roam. People are destroying the wild places and ruining the habitat the animals need to survive. I hear someone talking about me. “No, she won’t take money.” People are decimating the forest, prairies and desert and the deer tell me that all the animals will soon be leaving for good, but they tell me without words.

I awaken from this dream in a state of profound grief because I can’t bear knowing that the animals will be gone. I also understand that wild animals are talking to me just like Lily does – without using words, reminding me that I have this capacity to know what animals are saying and feeling – not just the animals that I live with but all animals. And of course, thanks to Lily B, I can own that interspecies communication is a gift I have been given by the animals because their persistence and my attention helped make it real. Telepathy is the means by which this kind of communication occurs, and it is strengthened and works most effectively between species that have close emotional ties as I do with deer, black bears, red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, hawks, herons, rabbits, lizards, hummingbirds and now golden eagles to name a few wild animal friends.

Today, animal communicators/ whisperers are “in” and have become part of popular culture. What I note is that most of these folks have ongoing conversations with animals that resemble those between humans. I find myself speculating on how much of this communication actually comes from the animal in question, because in my experiences, animals don’t use long sentences and don’t discuss current world issues at great length.

On the other hand my friend Harriet brings up an important point when asked about her opinion regarding those who are skeptical about communicating with pets.

“Oh, my opinion about people who communicate with their pets all the time while simultaneously believing that they aren’t communicating with their pets: they have walls in the brain!”

Walls in our brains? Well I had one too!

Below: Lily B on his perch in our bedroom where we all sleep together.IMG_1465.JPG

Wildflower Fever: March

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This time of year I am on the look out for the first spring flowers and on March 1st I discovered the first desert dandelion (Taraxacon officinale) feeling absurdly happy that such flowers exist here in the high desert too! All parts of the dandelion can be utilized for food or medicine. The whole plant can be dug when budded and eaten in salads or boiled like spinach after the roots have been cut off. Save those roots and make a tincture for stomach problems!

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At the monastery in the cracks of a stone path I discovered a thicket of small magenta star-like flowers nestled in fern-like leaves. This plant is an Erodium from the geranium family. It is commonly called heron or storkbill because of its distinctive seed pods.

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Field milkvetch (Astralagus) appeared next, a single fetching purple blossom perched above the compact blue gray clump. Vetches are from the pea family and astralagus is used as a popular herbal medicine.

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Last week I was thrilled to find the bird cage primrose (Oenothera detoids) with its stunning flowers – snow white fading to pale pink – the flowers look as if they have no stems. Even the teardrop shaped buds lay almost horizonally in the center of a reddish rosette. These lovely wildflowers seem oblivious to low temperatures and hard frost, probably because they lie so close to the ground.

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The brilliant orange desert globe mallow (Sphaeralcea) caught my attention one day last week. It was hiding behind a large white stone, which no doubt, brought the plant into bloom before any of its relatives). I plan to dig up this one and plant it out back because with little care it can spread into a carpet of flaming orange.

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Yesterday, April 1, at the steep edge of a wash I discovered an unknown flower growing out of dead looking gray clumps. It had new sage colored leaves emerging with clusters of tiny white flowers opening to buttercup centers. Although I searched diligently I was unable to identify the plant, and so its name remains a mystery.

I think wildflowers are the most astonishing flora in the world because they grow in the most unlikely places and require no care! When I was a child I used to pick bouquets of these (mostly) diminutive flowers with utter abandon. Now at 72, after having been a dedicated gardener all my life, I turn back to the wildflowers that once enchanted me because they appear without any effort or attention on my part, producing blooms that leave me with a joyful heart.

This year I saved the prickly pods of the wild Datura (Solanaceae) and during this last month I began to germinate the seeds… These seeds can be very stubborn about growing their first roots if one doesn’t have much patience, but I persevered! Last week I planted a few seeds indoors in a pot and I am wondering when the tiny roots will push down into the soil and begin sending up a shoot or two. One has broken the surface but the rest are still growing in the dark. I feel such a thrill seeing that first white root appear which sometimes curls back on itself or does the exact opposite – stretching itself out with abandon. In my imagination I see glorious clumps of trumpet like pure white or lavender tinted blossoms that take my breath away with their scent after a summer rain.

I also have been watching brittlebush, saltbrush, big sage, and countless other desert shrubs and trees leaf out creating a mist of gray green sage that hovers over the desert. Many of the fruit trees are in bloom and some are deliciously scented. Honey bees are pollinating the fruit trees. Our high desert has been blessed by rain, and every day, new shoots pop out of powdery red dirt. Although we had something akin to a hard freeze the night of March 30, at least here, down by the river, every plant seems intact.

I am confident that the month of April will bring me in contact with new wildflowers. The arroyos are running and there is still snow on the mountains so I am thinking that it’s time to begin walking in the washes to see who might be blooming there.

Katchinas come to life on April Fools Day

 

 

Hopi-Clowns.jpg Illustrations of clowns from: “Hopi Kachina Tradition Following the Sun and the Moon.”

I awakened this morning thinking about the sacred clowns that belong to the Hopi and the Pueblo people. These unmistakable black and white striped clowns are one of about 400 – 500 different Kachina spirits. Clown figures are present at many of the pueblo dances where they mimic individuals and help keep the people away from the dancers while interacting with individuals in the audience.

My first Pueblo experience with katchinas occurred at one of the winter dances. It was unnerving to watch as two appeared as black and white masked individuals, dressed in animal skins complete with coyote tails who struck the ground repeatedly with whips. One made a peace sign to me. Thrown off guard I had no idea how to respond. When I mirrored his action he laughed uproariously but also struck his whip on the ground! These “Whipper” or guard katchinas are scary individuals that are impossible to ignore.

The origin of kachinas is unknown. There is some evidence that points to a Mesoamerican origin; the similarity between the Hopi and the Aztec culture is striking. There are a few archeological hints that indicate that katchinas were present by the time the Hopi settled in Arizona in 1100 AD. The first katchina masks and dancers appear in rock art around 1325 AD.

By the 15th century masked dancers and carved katchina dolls had become part of the culture of various Puebloan tribes in Arizona and New Mexico. The masked katchina dancers impersonated the spirits who originally brought rain for the corn, beans and squash but eventually left the people and returned to the underworld (some Pueblo people believe the holy people return to the mountains).

When each dancer “becomes” one of the many kachinas, – chief/ elders who take part in the nine day ceremonies, warrior/guards, ogres/disciplinary function, runners/race with the men during dances, clowns/entertainers, and female katchinas/ mothers and sisters of other katchina spirits (all portrayed by men) are the six general categories of katchina spirits – it is believed that the spirit of the kachina portrayed enters that person’s body during the sacred rites that occur in the kiva before the ceremonial dances begin. To protect the individual from the power of these sacred forces many dancers wear a bear fetish under their regalia.

Katchina dolls are given to young girls by the katchina dancers. These dolls are hung on the walls to educate all the children about the functions of these powerful spirit beings (the boys receive bow and arrows from the katchinas instead of a doll). Ironically, early Christians perceived the dolls to be manifestations of the devil.

Although we have seen that there are both male and female katchinas only one katchina is actually danced by a woman. These generally all male ceremonies suggest to me that for the Hopi, although the clans may be matrilineal in terms of lineage, all spiritual power belongs to the men, strengthening the theory that the kachinas may have originated in Aztec culture. All other Pueblo cultures are also patrilineal.

According to the Hopi oral tradition these mostly benevolent spirits emerged from the underground with the Hopi people when Spider Grandmother caused a hollow reed to grow up towards the sky. The reed emerged from the sipapu into the Fourth World. The people were able to climb the reed and enter the present world escaping from darkness. Today Spider Grandmother seems to have been replaced with Tawa, the sun god.

The katchinas (more correctly called katsinas) emerged with the people and taught them how to hunt and grow crops, how to behave properly, and how to heal illness by collecting and using plants and herbs. These spirits may represent virtually anything from the sun, mountains, clouds or rain, animals, trees and plants to crops like squash, beans and corn. Sometimes they manifest as flowers like morning glories or squash blossoms. Animal katchinas like deer, white bear and great horned owl act as advisors, healers, and educators. They teach the people specifically how to use herbs for healing and how to avoid danger. All 400 or 500 katchinas provide guidance of some kind. Each one has a particular set of characteristics and a distinctive personality.

Katchinas appear just after the winter solstice and remain with the people until the crops are harvested in early August at after which they return to the spirit world underground. While staying with the Hopi/pueblo people the katchinas help to bring precious rain to the desert so that the crops will flourish. The Niman or farewell Hopi dance of the katchinas occurs in July and is one of their nine – day festivals that includes sacred rites in the kivas and a public dance at its close. Messengers are sent on long journeys for sacred water, pine boughs and other objects. In other pueblos a similar dance takes place.

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I am finishing this article on a day when the rains continue to fall sporadically gifting the red earth with precious moisture. I think this year the katchinas must be working very hard, because the spring (female) rains have turned our desert a thousand shades of sage green.

Above: “Warriot Woman” (danced by a man) courtesy of Bruce Nelson’s Katchina Collection.

Spring Rain

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For the last couple of days we have had cloudy weather with a few irregular cloudbursts bringing much needed rain to our Juniper clustered high desert…When it rains earth tones deepen and the stones that line my paths standout like people. Perhaps they are Kachinas, after all.

Katchinas are on my mind because these holy people come down from the mountains to help the Tewa invoke the rain – gods that will help the crops grow. Squash, corn, and beans remind me that the Three Sister’s technology lives on. The Katchinas have been around since the winter solstice but they stay hidden until the spring dances begin…

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Acequia (above)

Some fields are already plowed and the acequias are brimming with rapidly flowing water. Every morning I awaken to the sound of my dove Lily B’s cooing and as soon as I step out the door I am serenaded by the song of flocks of red winged blackbirds and the rasping sound of cactus wrens. The cacophony is so intense that it drowns out the mating songs of the white crowned sparrows, finches, chickadees, nuthatches, canyon and spotted towhees, white winged and collared doves. But the magpie announces himself in a startling way, not just by his stark black and white coat, a dress with tails, but also by his sharp staccato call. It seems as if the birds take over the earth as the seed moon and spring equinox pass by in March. Last night’s crescent moon sliced through a midnight blue night sky.

I am obsessed with frogs because at this time of year the wood frogs are already croaking if winter in the northeast has been mild. This one has not. Last year I arrived in the desert too late to listen to the frogs that only appear during the first monsoon flooding of early summer. Frogs and water are intimately related, and all frogs and toads begin their lives in still pools, as eggs that hatch with the heat of the rising sun star. May the frogs live on!

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Red Willow river overflows her banks, whitecaps whirl in spirals as she rushes by in the morning mist. This river brings precious moisture to germinating seeds who will soon be emerging from winters’ sleep.

I am preparing Datura seeds for planting, imagining the lavender tipped trumpet shaped flowers, glowing pearl white at twilight while thanking the sky with their scent. Every drop of water that falls from the sky is a prayer for life.

Below: Sunset

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I weave bits of big sage into my braids so the perfume wafts into my nose, even as I breathe in the sweet scent of spring. I am filled with gratitude to be living in a place where the songs of birds, the planting of seeds, a warming sun, and the greening of sage and desert scrub fit together like a mosaic whose pieces complement one another with such perfection. Nature is the artist whose cycles of creation never cease to amaze me. Filled with wonder I give thanks for life.

Postscript: When I finished this post I went for a walk along the river and on a bench sat two stones that weren’t there before. I think the Katchinas must approve of this prose because they left me evidence of their presence!

Silver Maidens of the Garden

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Above: big sage drying – picked middle of March 2017

Artemisia is a large genus of plants that appears in one form or another in gardens or in the wild throughout the U.S. It grows in temperate regions of both hemispheres. I first fell in love with Artemisia in Italy where I gathered large fragrant bouquets of wild wormwood from the hills of Assisi and brought them back to perfume my room. When I moved to Andover I planted the same species and within a couples of years I had huge swaying seed tipped plants springing up in the fields around my house. If Artemisia likes an area you can plan on its ability to re –seed itself and eventually takeover your garden.

Common names include mugwort, wormwood, silver mound, dusty miller, sweet annie (an annual variety) and sagebrush. Most species are perennial. These plants are known for their hardiness and the powerful chemical constituents present in their essential oils. Most species have strong scents and are bitter tasting which discourages some herbivores like our cottontail rabbits from eating them.

Artemisias are often grown for their silvery – gray foliage and for their aromatic, culinary, and medicinal properties. They have alternate, sometimes deeply divided leaves and the flowers are hardly noticeable. These plants are a great choice for rock gardens and other sunny, dry landscape sites.

The aromatic leaves of some species are used for flavoring. An example is tarragon, which is widely used as a culinary herb. However tarragon has difficulty wintering over in our climate.

The plant we call “garden sage” and use in cooking is not an Artemisia/sagebrush but a European Salvia. Although it doesn’t taste or smell minty, you can call it a mint because it is in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is related to a host of important culinary herbs, not just clary sage, spearmint and peppermint, but also plants as diverse as lemon balm, catnip and oregano.

Members of the mint family can be recognized by the combination of a square stem and aromatic leaves, both of which garden sage has. No other plant family has square stems and aromatic leaves. Flowers of all mint family plants are similar in structure, if you look closely.

Artemisia absinth is used to repel fleas and moths. I notice if I rub the plant on my skin it gives me some protection from bugs. (most pungent Artemisias are natural flea and bug repellents). The fragrant stalks when picked in the fall make a wonderful sweetly scented smudge. This species also re-seeds itself in odd places. It is also used in brewing beer and wine. The aperitif vermouth was once made with wormwood. Absinthe, a highly potent spirit also contains Artemisia. Some teas are made from the leaves of these plants. Other species besides Artemisia absinthe are grown as ornamental plants and they can all be recognized by their lovely gray – green leaves that provide such a wonderful contrast to other garden plants.

The compound Artmisinin and its derivatives taken from Artemisia annua are used today to treat malaria.

The same Asian Artemisia, sweet annie in English, and qinghao in Chinese is widely used in Chinese medicine.

I cannot write about Artemisia without discussing the sagebrushes although we don’t have any of them growing in the wild in Maine.

Sagebrushes or sageworts, are a large genus in the same daisy and ragweed family, Asteraceae.  Common American Artemisias include prairie sagewort, Afrigida. big sagebrush, A. tridentata, and Louisiana sagewort, A. ludoviciana. There are 37 species of Artemisia native to the lower 48 states, and another 7 in Canada and Alaska. They are herbs and low shrubs of dry regions with aromatic leaves, some pleasant to smell, some not. Like other members of the aster family, what looks like a flower is actually a group of tiny flowers. The Artemisias are wind pollinated, so the flowers are inconspicuous and usually the color of the leaves. (Note that, although the leaves are aromatic, the stems are not square). Prairie sages’ closest relatives are ragweeds and asters.

Sagebrush is not a desert plant but is a resident in areas that get 7 to 14 inches of rain a year. Big sage and other Artemisia species are dominant plants of the Great Basin covering some 422,000 square miles in eleven western and Canadian provinces. The shrubs are found from 4000 to 10,000 feet in elevation. Sagebrush ecosystems have the largest habitat range in the United States. Big sage often grows in areas like the cold desert shrub or in juniper and pinion pine woodlands. The perennial shrub (that often looks like a small tree) grows from 2 -7 feet tall. The young stems are smooth and silvery but as the plant matures the stems turn gray and the bark starts to grow in long strips. The plant provides food and habitat for a variety of animals like the sage grouse, pronghorn, birds, the pygmy rabbit and mule deer. It also creates habitat for many species of grasses and herbs. Besides providing shade and shelter from the wind, the long taproot of sagebrush draws water up from deep in the soil, some of which becomes available to these surrounding shallow rooted plants.

Damage to sagebrush and other Artemisia species that grow in our gardens results in the release of volatile chemicals that are used to signal a warning to nearby plants, so others can protect themselves by increasing the production of repellent chemical compounds. This plant to plant communication extends over long distances, and is probably not the only way these plants converse. It has been argued by some that the actual “brain” of the plant is in its underground root system where most exchanges take place (see Stephen Buhner’s work). What I find so compelling is that sagebrush and many other Artemisia species appear to behave altruistically putting the lives of the whole community of plants before that of the individual.

Many Indigenous peoples use big sage as a medicinal herb, most notably for smudging. Zuni use the plant vapors for body aches. Navajo use big sage to cure headaches. My three favorites for smudging (when I am in an area where I can find them growing wild) in are Artemisia frigida, Artemisia ludoviciana, and Artemisia tridentada, (big sage), but none of these plants grow in Maine, and I refuse to buy Artemisia because I don’t know how the plant was harvested.

Unfortunately, some areas of big sage are under siege because the plant is picked, bundled and sold indiscriminately by entrepreneurs as “the” Native American purifying agent. In the Northeast we can gather Artemisia plants from our own gardens to make a smudge by bundling the stems of Artemisia vulgaris or Artemisia absinth together in the fall. We also can gather cedar bundles to purify the air in our homes like local Indigenous peoples once did. I put sprigs of cedar, Artemisia, or balsam on my woodstove to clear the air. Each is an effective antibacterial remedy for airborne bacteria, and also purifies by putting negative ions back into the air.

In mythology the Greek Goddess Artemis is Mistress of the Wilderness, protector of wild animals, who apprenticed young women to become “bear women” that is, young girls who learned how to become self directed individuals before they could marry, or dedicate themselves as priestesses to one of the temples. This is a practice we would do well to resurrect today for young girls who often lose themselves at adolescence. This goddess who presided over childbirth was also a protector of all women, and all animals. With so many restrictions being lifted off the protection of wild animal species I am invoking Artemis’s power by writing about this plant that has been named after her. Animals and plants need all the help they can get. Dark days lie ahead.

I also find it curious that Artemisia, (wormwood) is the name of the star in the Book of Revelations. This star is cast into all the waters (by an angel) making the water bitter and undrinkable. When we recognize that water is the source of all life this prophecy becomes a chilling reminder that we must not continue to pollute our waters.

River Muses

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As the river rises with spring melt from the mountains, Abiquiu dam opens flooding the river to overflowing. The men come to clean the acequias or ditches that will bring life bringing water into the fields to irrigate the crops. All the farmers share this precious water, and having “water rights” determines whether crops will thrive or perish…

Every morning a shimmering golden orb mirrors the river whose serpentine shape and echoing voice welcomes me as I walk out to feed the birds and walk my dogs. I respond to her rumbling roar of water on stone with a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of water, the rising sun, and a new day spent in this place of unimaginable beauty.

I have fallen in love with a river.

What Spirits decreed that I might live here for a time?

For months I climbed to the ruin of Poshuouinge to glimpse the serpentine path of water meandering below wondering what stories the river held close to her heart. Generations of Tewa speaking Pueblo peoples lived here along the river’s banks, women digging mud, shaping pots out of wet clay, creating art with agave brushes, men carving swiftly flying arrows, clearing the acequias, planting, harvesting, hunting giving thanks for the river’s generosity…people struggling to live in harmony with the land they called “Mother.”

Yet there was much suffering too. Too much blood was shed. Children and women were stolen by those who believed they had more “rights” than others, people who used other people and earthscapes for personal gain. Yet the People endured and some live on today in Pueblos scattered along the river.

Is this why the river tells me that I too must be steadfast, make peace with a troubled past, leave land that I love deeply, come to live here as a child would, trusting the river’s ebb and flow?

Is this why I have met such generous hearted people, people I could come to love?

Did the river draw them to her just as she calls to me now?

These questions haunt me because Place has a kind of Power that works invisibly through Fate and body/mind pulling a person into relationship with a particular element – like the water of this river – but this power never uses words to communicate. Instead, Nature calls her red winged blackbirds to sing their hearts out as I listen fervently for confirmation.

These black robed muses are answering my call.

It is up to me to make the choice to believe these birds whose Presence I see and hear, but whose message I cannot as yet feel.

The Seed Moon – A Time for Ritual and Reflection

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Guardians…

Early Sunday morning the moon will be full and if I am fortunate I will be able to watch her rise over Red Willow River… a river that I have fallen in love with… (I did)

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I think of the Indigenous peoples who have marched in Washington in protest of a pipeline that if completed will pollute their drinking water. The political situation has never seemed more frightening than it is today.

Water is Life – simple and profound.

Every spring I honor the rising waters… and the importance of this element to all living beings. All sentient beings including humans are made of water.

In Maine where I come from, the dreaded white gaze of a March sun is reflected on heaps of snow. The noonday star hurts my eyes and brings on another round of depression because of the ongoing drought… every single year.

Here in Abiquiu I feel joy and I think about water because there is so little rainfall over all. Even desert plants need water to thrive. Each day I see that at the base of many plants there is new growth. I have already seen diminutive wildflowers in bloom. At the monastery big sage has 4 inches of new growth and the scent of this plant is intoxicating.

Two of these big sage plants sit outside my door listening to the river’s song.

Last weekend I saw an Indian man rub the sage onto his hands and body like a prayer. I repeat the gesture with big sage, giving thanks for the changing seasons.

This is the month to celebrate the rising of the waters. This is the month to pray for rain… Here in the southwest I don’t feel alone because the Pueblo peoples have ceremonies that call down the rain gods every year beginning with the Katchinas that arrive around the Winter Solstice, but remain invisible until First Light, when they appear as part of the purification process…In March the night dances dominate, and these are secret ceremonies that no doubt have everything to do with water. Next month the dam will open, and the acequias will be cleaned, so that the precious river water can flow into the ditches to irrigate the fields in this valley. How can I not be aware of how critical water is to all life…?

The Redwing blackbirds have just arrived. Robins are singing from the cottonwoods as talkative and clown-like magpies in black and white coats swoop down from those same branches. I don’t know if the redwing blackbirds will move on, but I hope not. I long to hear the songs of these black robed women with wings… The desert floor is covered with tiny bird prints – bird hieroglyphics – towhees, sparrows, juncos, nuthatches, woodpeckers, chickadees, cactus wrens, scurry around drinking water, swallowing seeds, pecking fat, seeking temporary safety and shelter in the prickly shrubs and vines. The shining rust colored feathers of the relentless redtails soar overhead hoping to spot an unwary avian relative. Yesterday a kestrel flew into the thickly branched tree (whose name I don’t know) scattering well hidden white crowned sparrows. Interesting technique!

I am happier here than I have ever been…I have a life with Nature, with her flowing river waters, her white moon, her wild birds and with her people – I am not alone – even the politics of this place seem to suit me.

 

  • So let the desert and the moon and stars know than I feel gratitude flowing through me on this Watery Full Moon. I give thanks for my beloved dogs, for Lily B who is napping on his perch in our bedroom, for finding good and generous friends…I call out greetings to a white moon who rises in the east and brings the birds home…

 

  • I ask to stay with the process I am in… to be present for myself.

 

Keep me honest with myself… to keep listening to the truth of my body…

 

I honor Grandmother Moon and her grandsons. remembering my own beloved grandmother, thanking her for loving me fiercely.

 

I bless each of us with water from Red Willow river and thank her for bringing us to this place.

Guardians, thank you for your presence here…IMG_2878.JPG