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

Friday, October 15, 2010


As I try to make sense of my confusion, I keep running across the same thing. The old "My spiritual tribe is right, and everyone else is wrong." Frankly, I find a piece here, a piece there, another piece on the other side of the river. LOL

I do still enjoy Thomas Merton. He wasn't afraid to confess his confusion in public.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Tom Cowan echoes the tale of the meeting of King Bran of Ireland with Mannan Mac Lir in his retelling of the tale of two Irish hermits.

The first hermit left his lakeside hut early one morning and rowed out into the water in search of fish for breakfast. Perhaps he was reciting a Psalm or two or just rejoicing in the day when he looked up and spotted his neighbor. He had also left his hermitage and was coming towards him. This would not be a problem except for one small thing. The second hermit was not rowing a boat towards his neighbor; he was walking straight across the lake. They met and each regarded the other. The first hermit managed to get his synapses to start firing again and asked “what are you doing out here? The second replied “I need some flowers for my altar. What are you doing trying to row a boat across the meadow?”

The first held up his hook and line and told his neighbor he was fishing for his breakfast. The second pointed to some shrubby flowers along the shore and suggested that the fish might be biting over there. The hungry fisherman caught his breakfast and his neighbor returned dry shod to his chapel with an armful of flowers.

Creation is full of magic. Perhaps sometimes my fish filled lake turns out to be your flower filled meadow. Take the blessing for what it is.

From Yearning for the Wind by Tom Cowan.

Thursday, September 23, 2010



I am your mother, do not neglect me!
Children protect me-I need your trust;
My breath is your breath, my death is your death,
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

I am your nurture; do not destroy me!
Love and enjoy me, savor my fruit;
My good is your good, my food is your food,
Water and flower, branches and root.

I am your lodging, do not abuse me!
Tenderly use me, soothing my scars;
My health is your health, my wealth is your wealth,
Shining with promise, set among stars.

The Creator is our maker, do not deny,
Challenge, defy or threaten this place.
Life is to cherish, care, or we perish!
I am your mother tears on my face.

Adapted from a prayer by Shrley Erena Murray in a UMW study guide for mom's church women's group.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The days are getting shorter; the nights longer and cooler. Morning mists and clouds soften the trees and streets. The season of reflection and preparation for the turning of the year is upon us. Some find places to reflect in the desert or mountains; others withdraw into the silence of their hearts. May they find refreshment and peace.

There are times when the spirit deserts me and my heart is empty. May the Holy Ones help rekindle the fire. May they remind me that those around me can help me keep the fires of hope burning.

I ask blessing on all who are seeking for justice, for all who suffer the laws delay: may the Holy Ones bring the gift of merciful justice to those who are innocent yet stand accused.

Inspired by Caitlin Matthews

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Granted it takes about an hour and a half to get to the coast and another half hour or so to actually get to beach unless you want to perch on the jetty in Florence but a girl can dream, can’t she?

I mantle my soul in the mercy of creation,
Light of heaven above me,
Life of earth about me,
Love of ocean beneath me,
May the mercy of creation
Surround and encompass all beings
From fall of night
To crack of light,
In the perfection of peace.

Sovereign of the Stars,
Compassionate Queen of the Night,
I enter the refuge of sleep.

Caitlin Matthews in The Celtic Devotional

Monday, September 6, 2010


Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the children of the earth.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

The air is precious, for all of us share the same breath.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

This we know, the earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

This we know, all things are connected; like the blood that unites one family.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

Our God is the same God whose compassion is equal for all.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

We did not weave the web of life; we are merely a strand in it.
Every part of the earth is sacred.

Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.
Every part of the earth is sacred for all belongs to our Creator.

David Adam in the Rhythm of Life


You will realize that doctrines are inventions of the human mind, as it tries to penetrate the mystery of God. You will realize that Scripture itself is the work of human minds, recording the example and teaching of Jesus. Thus it is not what you believe that matters; it is how you respond with your heart and your actions. It is not believing in Christ that matters; it is becoming like him.

Attributed to Pelagius

Imagine how much time, argument and bad feeling we'd have saved over the centuries if the advice of this "heretic" had become the foundation of the church.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Look at the animals roaming the forest: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the birds flying across the sky: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the tiny insects crawling in the grass: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the fish in the river and sea: God’s sprit dwells within them.

There is no creature on earth in whom God is absent….When God pronounced that His creation was good it was not only that his hand had fashioned every creature; it was that His breath had brought every creature to life. Look too at the great trees of the forest; look at the wildflowers and the grass in the fields; look even at your crops. God’s spirit is present within all plants as well. The presence of God’s spirit in all living things is what makes them beautiful; and if we look with God’s eyes nothing on the earth is ugly.

From a letter by the British religious teacher (and accused heretic) Pelagius to an unnamed friend found in Listening for the Heartbeat of God by John Philip Newell. It is said that he also taught that since God is present in all Creation if we were to follow Jesus’ instruction to love our neighbors and ourselves we would have to love all of Creation as well.

I’m trying to imagine what such a world would be like. I can see the glimmer on the other side of the hill. But, when I get there, it turns out that the glimmer is behind another hill.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Elements was a revision and reposting of a journal entry I did back in January ’06. There is a method to my madness. I needed it to explain this next entry because the earth shifted the next day.

I was thinking about the journal entry; reflecting on it. The phrase “ the whole planet is alive” came to mind. That fitted; it was the theme of the entry after all. That’s when my personal axis tilted and headed for the border, because the sentence completed itself…..with no help from me. “The whole planet is alive; and screaming.”

And just for an instant there was a mind bending sense of “wrongness.” Sorry, that’s the best I can come up with. There was a jumble of sounds and images; a slide show on the fast track. A jumble of sounds and images. Continental plates grinding, forests falling, winds howling and bottomless, endless grief. I was near tears and shaking. A very early morning break was taken as I tried to pull myself together. While I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, I’m thankful it’s only happened once. I’m not sure how many repeat episodes I could stand.

I suspect that some of the individuals we judge as “insane” may be tapping more deeply into this sense of what we’re doing to our planet and ourselves and they just can’t take the pain. Is this attempt to communicate always there and were drowning it out with drugs and/or the pursuit of whatever’s currently having its three minutes of fame? Or do we choose to believe it’s the devil tempting us and we run in fear seeking the nearest guru/pastor/talking head for reassurance that all we have to do is believe in what they’re selling and everything will be all right? Oh, there’s a devil all right. He’s called fear and we’re choking on it.

This happened four years ago and I still get the shakes when I remember it. It scared the hell out of me then and it’s scaring the hell out of me now. I had an overwhelming sense that the scales are tipping and it’s not in our favor.

I’m also convinced that the answers we need won’t all be found in the organizations that run the churches, mosques, synagogues, ashrams or political parties. Too many groups are too invested in defining who belongs and who doesn’t. Too worried about what might be happening in the bedrooms and not enough about what’s happening in the boardrooms. Too tied up in the power games. Too busy screaming that they have all the answers that they can’t even hear the questions.

So damned scared that if someone else gets a little “more” of something they’ll end up with “less.” Somehow we have to tap into the individuals that realize that the balance needs to be righted. That if we concentrate on what really matters, there is enough to go around.

We matter simply because we are here. Each of is unique. Each of the over six billion people on this planet is unique and none of those six billion is expendable. The refugees from civil wars and environmental degradation are just as unique and special to Creation as the mighty among us.

What some of us can’t seem to admit it that the universe matters simply because it exists. Too many are chasing the next big thing; believing that by possessing whatever it is they’ll somehow be judged more worthy in the eyes of Creation. And too many have so little that just surviving takes every resource they have. Too many can’t find or make the time to look up or look around and too many others can’t find the strength or the hope. And when hope runs out, what’s left?

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Several years ago the company I used to work for became involved with one of those motivational gurus. A big bucks guru. Last time I checked his website the DVD version went for a cool 10K. Ouch. The guru shall remain nameless. I was low enough on the totem pole that I managed avoid being shipped clear across the country. I guess this routine works for some folks but, the more I heard the less I liked what I was hearing. From the descriptions I heard it seemed to be a cross between a mini boot camp, revival meeting and a rock concert. We got a little taste of the program at an office meeting and when I asked one “graduate” what the loud music was supposed to accomplish I was told it was “part of the program.” To be honest, after several years, I still haven’t figured out how keeping me up most of three nights running, or trying to fracture my eardrums was supposed to improve my team building skills. I guess this why they paid him the big bucks.

Having figured out where I didn’t want to go, I found myself trying to put where I was coming from into words. I believe what still troubles me the most is the effort to keep us all running so fast we don’t have time to think. To keep the man made noise so loud that we can’t hear what the world around us is saying.

Anyway, this is what I came up with. If you were to bet that I never shared any of this with my former co workers, you’d win. I believe what still disturbs me the most is the idea that you can do it all by yourself. The old visualize success; you’ll succeed and it’s your fault if your vision doesn’t come true. That may be true to a point and motivational speakers pushing the idea do keep the money circulating. But, nobody and I mean nobody makes it alone. So here I am. God/dess help us all.

For the old Celts the elements were Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Each element has a voice; but it can’t sing without the others. Without Earth in the form of the moon there would be no tides; no waves save those from the great storms. Without those waves caused by the tides there would be no hiss of wavelets meeting sandy beaches. The great booming roar when tons of salt water meets two hundred feet of black basalt cliffs would be lost or muted forever. Without the mountains to form cliffs and steep falls the roar of the waterfall would not exist. Without the rocks and stones in their beds, rivers and streams would lose their voices.

Fire has a quicker, harsher song. Without water to make steam and sizzle, without wood to burn, Fire would have almost no voice. As lava flows cool the rocks grind together and the escaping gasses hiss and twist. Take away the fire from the earth’s mantle and these voices fall silent.

Air has a voice when it meets Earth and what grows from the Earth. The sighing of the trees, the lonely whistle around the cliffs, the cry of the gulls carried inland from a windy beach, the rustle of the grasses. These come together to make a chorus when the Air sings its songs.

Earth sings some of her songs alone; the sounds of rocks falling and sand or gravel rustling when you walk across them are earthly solos. But many of Earth’s songs are sung by what grows from rocks and soil or swims in the rivers or seas. But, without Air to carry birdsong or Water to carry whale songs the world would be a quieter, lonelier place. Let us join our songs to the songs of Earth, Air, fire and Water. Together these are the songs of Creation.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Small flock of geese flew over this morning just at the sun was clearing the horizon. The bodies were still in the dark while the wings were moving in and out of the sunlight. A true blessing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I've had "company" the last couple of mornings while I've been working in back. There's a deer track along the upper part of the hill. Yesterday it was a young black tail buck watching me watching him. This morning it was a couple of older fawns, their spots fading as summer wanes. At least I think there were two: or there was one youngster who like going in circles through the underbrush. They make far less noise than the squirrels as they move through the underbrush.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Who would have thought that loud chittering I've heard from the hill and trees is actually the sound of a ticked off squirrel. A human that loud would break the sound barrier. LOL

Friday, August 6, 2010


In the early mornings the geese fly over the weed seeking me. They chatter and honk; exchanging goose news on their way to whatever stretch of the river is calling in the early morning mists.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


There’s a wonderful little scene in Rumer Godden’s novel, In This House of Brede. An irrepressible novice assigned to kitchen duty is overheard letting her fellows in the novitiate know what’s on the evening menu. “Sister Hillary, we don’t discuss the refectory until it is time” or words to that effect from the novice mistress.

How many of us can keep our minds focused for more than a few minutes at a time? Brede Abbey is a fictional community of Benedictine sisters fulfilling the call to pray unceasingly. When it’s time to have dinner, you concentrate on dinner. When it’s time to pray you concentrate on prayer. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have trouble getting through the Lord’s Prayer without part of my brain attempting to veer off on a tangent. Pick any of the following as you try to concentrate.

Our Father Who art in heaven
Hallowed by Thy name. (do I need to water the tomatoes)
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven. (rats I forgot to pick the blueberries)
Give us this day our daily bread (hmmm, it’s time to bake rolls again)
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us (does that include_____?)
And lead us not into temptation
But, deliver us from evil. (fill in the blank on this one)


Thomas Cowan illustrates this beautifully in the intro to his first meditation in Yearning for the Wind. A teacher who combines Celtic traditions with Shamanism he spends a great deal of time outdoors. How many of us find ourselves in Cowans’ shoes. We’re in a lovely woodland grove. We’ve finally made it to the beach. And where is our brain? It’s balancing the check book, wondering if the roof will make it through another rainy season, or Cowan’s favorite; is it time to wax the car before winter.

He jokes that Mother Nature has her ways of regaining his wandering attention: it usually involves a well placed root or a tree branch up side the head to remind him that it’s time to get out of his own head, wake up and smell the pine trees.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Lost track of this blog for awhile.

So here I am with a laundry list of spiritual explorations. To be worked through in no particular order.

When I started this blog I really thought I was ready to spiral off the reservation. Trouble is that as I searched for a place to spiral into I realized that I knew very little about the faith I was raised in. I still don’t, although I now understand why religion, especially Christianity is not taught in a non religious context in school. With all those lovely heresies from the last two thousand years floating around the student’s parents would have a real field day. As in “you aren’t teaching that to MY kid.”

And as I explored possible places to land I realized that many of the non traditional groups have almost as much trouble with possible “heretics” as the rest of us. Decisions, decisions. So, I guess this is as good a place as any to work out all that wonderful confusion.

One thing I am sure of, between the reading list I’ve been working through and the family tree explorations, is that the Christianity we have now is as much a result of politics, good PR, and good generalship as actual spirituality. Which is a bummer actually, and I’m still spiraling.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


If you follow the calendar of the Celts Spring begins tonight. Bit hard to believe that the world is turning green when you live back east and digging out from the latest assault from the snow gods. We had a break in the rain today and suddenly the first light purple crocuses are actually open. You have to catch them quickly before the sun goes away and they close up.

The birds have actually been singing and the squirrels are busy as ever. Someone in the neighborhood has at least one specimen of poultry; we’re treated to regular, hearty doses of cockadoodledoos during the day.

Welcome to Imbolg and thanks for the reminder that it’s time to start cleaning things up and plan for new growth, inside and out.

I make the encircling
Of the many colored winds:
Black wind of the cold north,
Pale green of southwest,
Red wind of southeast,
Grey wind of northwest,
Purple wind of sharp east,
Clear wind of the dear west,
Speckled wind of northeast,
White wind of warm south,
Yellow of the veering wind.
The encompassment of the winds
Protect and surround me
This spring day.

Caitlin Matthews

Careful of those winds, you’ll find a rainbow where you least expect it.

Cross posted in Walking With Hope.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Thomas Merton was a Cistercian monk and a priest. He was a writer before he entered the monastary and it didn't slow him down. He went from fervant conventional convert to semi curmudgeonly commentator. He wrote about civil rights, civil wrongs, the insanity of trying ensure national survival by using weapons that would destroy the planet and non violence. And was the first to admit that he had more questions than answers. He received permission to attend an ecumenical conference in, I think Thailand, in 1968. Apparently he stepped out of the shower onto a wet floor that had an ungrounded fan sitting in the water. The real irony is that a man who preached non violence came home on a plane full of Viet Nam casualties. I suspect he would have appreciated the irony.

And that's the scariest part of the whole scenario-the people with the swords and the bombs believe that they have the "answer" and God help the rest of us. Personally, all I can speak to is what seems to make sense to me, right now. I can't presume to tell anyone else that it will work for them. Except to say that hurting another person doesn't solve anything for anybody.

Blessed be.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I’ve never seemed to hear the music that most other people here. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually felt the presence of God (whoever or however you define “God”) inside the walls of a human built sanctuary. My spiritual search still feels like I’m hiking towards that glow on the horizon with a herkin’ great pebble in my shoe and no matter how many times I take the shoe off and shake it out it won’t stay put. The darn thing moves around. Its size and shape seems to change with every step. So I keep marching along; stopping every now and then to shake out the pebble that magically finds its way back into the shoe before I have time to take the next step.

I have a shelf full of books on various flavors of Christianity, neo-paganism, pagan Reconstructionism, Wicca, shamanism, Celtic traditionalism, druids……you name it; I’ve at least looked it up on the internet. And discovered that, guess what, the various flavors of pagans don’t really get along any better than the rest of us. And why am I really not surprised? The “I’m right, and you’re (whoever you are) wrong” attitude is depressingly universal. One or two pieces will really speak to me and the rest leaves me cold.

And then I find this:

My lord God
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really understand myself.
And the fact that I think I am following
Your will does not mean I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
Does in fact please you.
And I hope I have the desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the
Right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may
Seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear for you are ever with me and
You will never leave me to face my troubles alone.

By Thomas Merton

And then I think that maybe I’m not the only one who hears the music.