There must justice for all or there is justice for no one.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I’m a native Oregonian; a state that has the lowest per capita church attendance in the country. It doesn’t mean we aren’t religious or followers of the spirit. It does mean that we’re hard to pin down when it comes wearing a label. And to be honest all of us, including the remaining Native Americans came here from somewhere else. Some of us just happen to have more family members resting in pioneer cemeteries around the state than others. Me? I’ve got three generations and various cousins planted in a lovely cemetery on the north side of Chehalem mountain above the other side of Newburg.

My genes are solidly northern European. Supposedly there’s a Cherokee in my dad’s family tree but I don’t have any proof so that’s a thread in my family tapestry that would be fun to claim but I can’t prove it. (shrug) There’s one German great grandfather; with a name like Kaiser I think I’m safe to assume he was German, not Dutch. The rest is Scots, Irish, English and Welsh. And heck, for all I know there could be a Roman or two in the family tapestry if I went back far enough. Hell, for all I know there was a British trader or two over the years who made it to Goddess knows where and left a calling card or two behind.

My dad’s family name comes out of Yorkshire in England and some of the Vikings settled there as well as Ireland so there just might be a Scandinavian sea farer adding a thread to the tapestry. Have you ever wished you could invite your DNA over for tea, muffins and a good long sit down?

Anyway I originally did this back in my early J Land career. I got it from another writer who has since dropped off the radar. The original template was designed as a stream of consciousness exercise. And Russ was right. You do end up where you didn’t expect to. For the non-Nothwesterners out there; the Hanford reach includes a free flowing section of the Columbia river and the Hanford reactor complex. One of these days the leftover radioactive contamination will probably reach the river and we’ll all start glowing in the dark.

As for the arms depot? They used to store nerve gas there. That wasn’t so bad. The stuff doesn’t go anywhere unless you blow it up. So, some geniuses in the Reagan administration decided to make the stuff “war ready’ and installed the rockets. The government built a very nice, state of the art incinerator to deal with the little darlings. And they finally did. So, guess whose little sister lives smack, dab in the middle that little piece of God’s little acre? So far they aren’t glowing in the dark.


I am from Douglas fir, hemlock, spruce and cedar.

I am from the Cascades, the Blues, the Siskiyous, and the Wallowas.

I am from clear cuts, choker cables, riggers and log trucks with one log loads.

I am from sandy beaches, basalt cliffs and mudflats.

I am from wild geese calling at sunrise, wrens in the thickets, and great blue herons on the other side of the river.

I am from the little creeks, the mighty Columbia and the Pacific breakers.

I am from tricycles, tetherballs, little sisters with skinned knees and a love for bugs.

I am from the ivy by the patio, the hydrangeas with dinner plate size clumps of blossoms and the garden in the back yard.

I am from a wringer washer, a concrete laundry sink and clothes full of the smell of sunshine.

I am from missionaries, Methodist hymnals and fairy rings.

I am from winter gales, spring showers, sunny summer days and autumn fogs and frosts.

I am from the Hanford Reach, the Umatilla Arms depot, and the Columbia Gorge where condors may soar again.

I am from logging towns with no mills, harbors with no fish, and farms being swallowed by urban sprawl.

I am from shelves full of books, an old flute and feeling out of step on the march to wherever.

I am from feeling like I’m on the outside looking in.

I am from seeing what no one else sees to see.

I am from hearing what no one else seems to hear.

And if you’ve reached the final lines of the exercise this may be why you’ll find me out hugging the local oak trees these days.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Beware, curious person thinking in public.

I think the tipping point this time around on the spiritual spiral was the intro to the first chapter of Joe Campbell’s Myths to Live By. Goddess, I love old Joe. He believed that if the ground your standing on isn’t sacred to you, you probably won’t find sacred ground by traveling half way around the world.

He describes a conversation overheard in a New York eatery between a boy about twelve or so and his mother that ran something like this with Joe’s comments in parentheses. (mine not his)

“Jimmy wrote a paper today on the evolution of man and Teacher said he was wrong, that Adam and Ever were our first parents.”

(My Lord, I thought, what a teacher.)

From the adult, presumably the mom: “Well, teacher was right. Adam and Eve were our first parents.

(What a mother for a twentieth century child)

From the kid “Yes, but this was a scientific paper.”

(And for that I was ready to recommend him for a distinguished service medal from the Smithsonian)

And this is so familiar: mom’s retort? “Oh, those scientists! Those are only theories.”

And the kids’ retort? “…….they found the bones.” I wonder if the adults around this kid ever managed to convince him that what he thought was proof was actually a demon trying to trip him up.

When Antiochus, the Greek influenced ruler of Palestine, tried to outlaw the Jewish faith in the second century BCE he ignited a firestorm of rebellion. Problem is that when the rebels threw out the Greek bathwater they threw out the baby of Greek science and research. The scripture and mythology that was codified and became the basis of Christian scripture were the old Babylonian and Persian stories with their seven days of creation, conflicting creation myths, great floods, centuries long life spans and tales of bloody invasions and burning cities.

By the second century BCE a Greek named Aristarchus had already deduced that the earth was a sphere revolving around the sun. Another Greek, Eritosthnes, working in Alexandria had calculated the circumference of the earth to within a few hundred miles. Not bad for a scholar who paid someone to pace off the distance from Alexandria to a village on the equator called Syene and worked out the numbers with basic Egyptian geometry; sticks, strings and a brain. And still another Greek, Hipparchus had calculated both the size of the moon and its approximate distance from the earth. Hipparchus also created the first star charts with fairly accurate calculations of stellar magnitude.

Frankly I don’t think there was ever a chance to meld Greek experimental philosophy with early Christian philosophy. Part of the problem lay with the Greeks themselves. What started with hands on experimentation and Socrates infuriating questions morphed into the “don’t get your hands dirty; we can understand the world by thinking about it” philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Unite that with some early Christian bishops who advised their priests to discourage their flocks from asking questions about the faith for fear of weakening their faith and frankly I believe you finally end up with……well what we’re stuck with now.

Any chance that thoughtful, inquiring Christians might get together with thoughtful, inquiring Pagans ended when Justinian closed their academies and outlawed the rites and festivals of the old religion.

Thursday, September 17, 2009



Look to the Earth
And to the Skies
The Sun, the moon and to the stars
You who would be wise.
For they contain the full measure of man
The height, the breadth, the depth, the span
Of his entirety.

Look to the Earth
And to the Skies
And watch them turn
Like pages of a Holy book
But one untouched by human hand.
You who would be wise.

Look to the Earth
And to the Skies
For in that which can be seen Without
Can true knowledge come
Of unseen mysteries that lie Within
To you who would be wise.

Look to the Earth
And to the Skies
Spring and Summer,
Winter and in the Fall.
Watch life begin, unfold, then fade and die
To rise anew
Time and again for Time Untold
You who would be wise.

Look to the Earth
And to the Skies
And in your looking, learn this mystery
That you who look to the Earth
And to the Skies
Shall be given eyes to see
Shall be given eyes
To make you wise

By Kenneth Meadows in Earth Medicine.
To Native Americans medicine means wisdom.
So, wisdom from the earth; if we could just shut up long enough to listen.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


If there were a line in the universe with the Patriarchal spirit traditions that include the Judeo/Christian/Islamic beliefs on one side and the older Matriarchal/Goddess spirit traditions on the other: my path would resemble, well I’m not sure what it would look like.

I guess the closest description would be a crazy, wobbly spiral. I find myself on one side of the line, time passes I try to find my way on the other side, more time passes and there I am again. A few years ago I began exploring the more goddess centered traditions including the wildwood mystical path explored Rae Beth and others. Then I wobbled back to the other side of the line in what has turned out to be a last ditch effort to walk the Christian path I believed I was born to. And all the inner voices went silent. It felt like I was trying to move upstream in the rapids. And I can’t go on this way.

There are Christian writers I deeply respect including Thomas Merton and Matthew Fox but when I try to walk their road, I run into a brick wall and I can’t get past it. If there is a call to that path I’m not hearing it. My road leads another way. And, this place, I hope is where I can explore are those other wonderful strands that sing to me.