Metamorphic: for all the Wild Ones

For we cannot think like Indians; at most, we can think with them.  – Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Cannibal Metaphysics

As far back as I am able to think, to remember, which is a kind of thinking, there are memories of places, of plants and animals, of a kind of light and air, the smell of water on leaves, root and dirt, the strange sight of lava flows reaching the sea, the band of white coral touching blue ocean, of roads leading through orchards, of flowers against the sky, of moss-covered rocks and river pebbles.

I have these myths.  These are my myths.  Continue reading “Metamorphic: for all the Wild Ones”

Nickering

I’ve heard that the Bedouin celebrate the birth of a foal as an event second in importance only to  of emergence of a poet, which seems an admirable way of looking at things to me.  After weeks of anticipation and nervousness, I am celebrating the birth of a tall, black filly with one white foot and a star on her forehead. Continue reading “Nickering”

Pastoralist Propaganda

Of late, I’ve been under the spell of the Mongolian film-maker Byambasuren Davaa.  She has made three movies: The Story of the Weeping Camel, The Cave of the Yellow Dog, and The Two Horses of Genghis Khan (Das Lied von den Zwei Pferden).  I’ve only seen the first two of Byambasuren’s movies, the last was not released in the US.  Her movies are a fascinating blend of fiction and documentary; the actors, humans and non-human, are themselves, they don’t even play themselves, they live their own lives but there is a movie camera and a story that they act in.  Sometimes they think of the camera for a split second, as real people would do Continue reading “Pastoralist Propaganda”

The Soul of All Things from Richard Rohr (CAC) posting…

Am not sure how to embed external links into this effort having tried before with mixed mostly poor results, so with full attribution want to post this work because i believe the thoughts are so central to what this website was meant to explore

The Soul of All Things
Monday, March 5, 2018

“As we saw yesterday, the modern and postmodern self largely lives in a world of its own construction, and it reacts for or against its own human-made ideas. While calling ourselves intelligent, we’ve lost touch with the natural world and, as a result, lost touch with our own souls. I believe we can’t access our full intelligence and wisdom without some real connection to nature!

My father, Francis of Assisi (c. 1182-1226), spent many days, weeks, and even months walking the roads of Umbria and letting nature teach him. Francis knew and respected creation, calling animals, sun and moon, and even the weather and the elements his brothers and sisters. Through extended time in nature, Francis became intimately connected with non-human living things and came to recognize that the natural world was also imbued with soul. Almost all male initiation rites—including those of Jesus and John the Baptist (see Matthew 3:13-17)—took place in nature, surely for that reason.

Without such recognition and mirroring, we are alienated and separated from ourselves and all of nature. Frankly, we will not know how to love or respect our own soul. Instead, we try various means to get God and people to like or accept us because we never experience radical belonging. We’re trying to say to ourselves and others, “I belong here. I matter.” Of course, you do! But contrived and artificial means will never achieve that divine purpose. We are naturally healed in this world when we know things center to center, subject to subject, and soul to soul.

I think of soul as anything’s ultimate meaning which is held within. Soul is the blueprint inside of every living thing that tells it what it is and what it can become. When we meet anything at that level, we will respect, protect, and love it.

Many human beings simply haven’t found their own blueprint or soul, so they cannot see it anywhere else. (Like knows like!) Instead, most religious people are largely conformists. There’s nothing wrong with conformity as such, but when it is only meeting reality at the external level, and we do not meet our own soul, we have no ability to meet the soul of anything else either. We would have done much better to help other Christians discover their souls instead of “save” them. My sense, after being a priest for almost 50 years, is that most Christians are trying to save something they have not even found.

They do have a soul, but it seems to be dormant, disconnected, lacking grounding. They are not aware of the inherent truth, goodness, and beauty shining through everything. If God is as great, glorious, and wonderful as all the religions claim, then wouldn’t you think that such a God would make that wonderfulness available? Such connection and presence is as freely available as the air we breathe and the water we drink. This is surely why John the Baptist moved his initiation rite out of the temple, away from the priestly purity codes (of which he was well aware), and down by the riverside in the wilderness. Jesus “submitted” to this off-beat ritual, which we now call baptism. Yet now baptismal ceremonies are most often held in church buildings, usually disconnected from anything natural except the water itself.”

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Soul, the Natural World, and What Is (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2009)

Once in a while you win

It was a clear warm early fall day in Vermont almost 50 years ago. Was walking with my wife to be through the mixed fields and scrub trees struggling to reclaim the once tended pastures, following or climbing over the old stone walls that marked forgotten boundaries, a few miles from the nearest farms, drawn on to finding “the right place” as in “you will know it when you see it”, in no hurry. The nights had been cold enough to color the trees, brief flame before browning and dropping for the fast approaching freeze. After an hour or two we stopped to soak up the early afternoon sun, warm our bones, and bask in the stillness, so different than our life in Boston a hundred miles away. Here we were silent too, a prayer to the beauty, a revery to a different distant time. We were blissed and blessed.

After a spell a loud clumsy crashing noise, the breaking of small downed branches, interrupted our meditations. It was quite dry, even the grasses crackled. First thoughts a drunken bear or moose, drunk or shot. The noise went on for some minutes, seemed longer, and finally a figure emerged from the scrub to the east, a 30 something guy all decked out in the latest brand new dark green forest camo carrying a shiny compound bow and broadheads, a pack, and bedroll, standing out in the dry yellow grasses. We had not moved or spoken. He stood stock still when he finally saw us sitting there about 50 feet away.

I decided to break into the silence that descended when he stopped. “What are you doing?” “Oh, huntin’ deer, seen any?” He was a coupla days unshaven, so trying to size him up a little more I asked how long he had been at it. “This is the third day” he said as he came closer. So not letting my eyes leave his, not wanting anyone unknown near us with a silent quite deadly weapon, i replied that we had seen a couple yesterday down in the shallow draw about a mile to the west. He thanked me and continued on toward the west, finally crashing and crackling his way out of earshot. There wasn’t a breath of wind. Amazing how far sound travels in silence.

Turning to my gal i said “must be lost and blind too, out of his element”, and nodded in the direction of the two young does with their spotted fawns that were bedded down for the afternoon about 20 feet away to the north, heads up watching us for a few seconds before curling back up and closing their eyes again.

Confronting Extremism

A recent conversation with a fundamentalist Christian has left me  wondering why it seems we fail to recognize the dangers of extremism?  Americans expect Muslims to call out radical Islamic extremists, but we seem unable or unwilling to do the same in the case of Christian extremists.  Christians who deny the reality of climate change, who believe that humans have a God-given right to exploit the earth no matter the consequences pose a danger to society.  I think it’s time we talk about that.

Continue reading “Confronting Extremism”

Eve Asherah

The Tree

My daughter brought home her art projects at the end of the semester last year.   For her final Illustration class project she had drawn a poster of a great tree spreading its limbs into the upper reaches of the page. Stacked beneath the roots of the tree were a pile of rectangular books. Continue reading “Eve Asherah”