i stroll across the harvested cornfield on the way home from my meditation with the mother hemlock tree in shelter valley. i come to a halt near the massive old oak tree by the fence line & peer up at the clear sky. i see a hawk flying low overhead, firmly grasping a writhing snake in its powerful talons. i stand amazed, fixed in place, watching. i know that this is an omen. a week later, standing on the lawn, i see & feel the hundred year old oak tree crash to the ground in the field with a great sharp crack! it shakes like an earthquake beneath my feet: yet another omen. something big is coming, i think to myself. it is getting close. it is just two more weeks until the world trade towers are brought down, using hijacked airplanes as fearsome juggernauts of destruction. of course there are omens. there are always omens when we are part of something this big that needs the balm of our healing energy helping to mitigate the shock & damage. some of us have the ripe destiny to invoke positive & strengthening blessings from divine helpers, & not to give in to anxious fearfulness. Shiva, You can always use us as first responders, although our response is energy, not words or physical activity. we drench the noosphere with healing, with compassion & kindness. You have placed us here as buffers against the travail of these hard times, Shiva. we are the unlikely assistants in this rugged aftermath of covid too, whose quiet service goes unnoticed, yet forms the foundation for all that follows in this birthing time.
art, writing, self expression
a lifestyle choice
in the nineteen-seventies someone gave me a silver star pendant in exchange for a spiritual reading. they told me that was the only way such a token of power could be obtained: by being given to one. it could not be purchased in stores. it was inscribed with various arcane alchemical symbols, & i treasured that star & wore it for years, feeling quite blessed. many adventures unfolded during that high time, & life transpired in its storied way of travel tales & many lessons learned. then, years ago, it came to pass that the time was upon me to give that inscribed silver star to my youngest daughter, whose given name is summer star. i had promised it to her. its time with me was done, & the opportunity to serve next moves on to my distant daughter in oregon. i hope she wears that star with a happy heart for the benefit of the whole world. such gifts come with a responsibility that cannot be ignored. destiny will certainly see to that! everything comes wrapped in its own birthing story, & all stories are pointing beyond themselves alone to the full deep meaning & message. they are like holy guides showing the way. ah Shiva, so casually are magical treasures passed onward! how vital it is to be fully aware in order to honor such a visiting dignitary, who may well appear as merely decorative, until one can see beyond the visible surface. it will also come about that all such things will eventually be put aside, as awareness moves farther past the "thingness" of life. Shiva, You are here to welcome such deep-seers to join the ever- growing group of people who bless & rejoice & pray & focus on the good, the true & the beautiful. it is a lifestyle choice: choose the way of love, for love itself has chosen us as its own, forever.
how easily my certainty is swayed! these ups & downs wear on the the body, which is not intended to be a yo-yo in the capricious hands of the elemental spirits! it is offered as a gift to You, Shiva, with all the imperfections which are natural & unavoidable in this realm. i don't ask for the way to be smoothly easy, Shiva, only that You stay near me, invisible by my side, enfolding me in Your essence, holding me close to You like Your child. when i feel You near, i can rest in that knowing, & i rejoice in opening the heart's door wide for You. the banner of love is already hanging in its place of high honor. i take my position standing steadfast by it, & i will not be moved, Shiva, except by You, for i am Your own distant relative returning after a long wandering pilgrimage, having come full circle in this chapter of the endless story. now i am without certainty, which is more fragile than i had imagined. yet love remains, for it is the solid foundation upon which You firmly stand established, Shiva. it is this love which i invoke when i ask You to remain, enfolding me deep in Your Being, deep into Your Holy Essence.
with all the many hands of my heart
Shiva, i forgot that Your timely cameo appearances are often coupled with deep inner need & suffering. such profound intensity sends powerful impulses throbbing, cascading through the ethers, which serves as Your invitation. it calls You to me. thus, You explain the usefulness & value of suffering to the awakening soul seeking non-attachment. You tell me that the more powerfully impacted the ego is by things, the less able it is to maintain its iron-strong grip on its favorite worldviews. over time & repeated impacts, the ego becomes more & more unsettled, & therefore more likely to diminish. it becomes weary of hanging on, & can consider other possibilities & perspectives. what is the ego? the ego is the mind's devoted interface tool, the product of primal biological survival instincts. it is convinced of the absolute necessity that the body continue to exist. the ego is a survival strategy, determined that it must be right. when the body is worn down by sufficient suffering, especially the low-level continuing suffering, attachment to the known & certain weakens & decreases. new space opens up in the mind, & humble inner purification takes place deep within the unexplored mind & in the heart. the thoroughness of this purification is necessary to bring the hidden darkness to light & to move through it with dignity & bravery. hold me through this one, Shiva! hold me tightly! together we can comfort the bewildered personality who kneels in exhaustion upon her knees in weary & sincere prayer & mantra. this is in Your hands now, Shiva. i am as powerless here as a small child, except to cling to You with all the many hands of my heart, as what once seemed to be two is now known to be One.
this weird world of stories
some things just stubbornly insist on happening, mo matter how many
corrective measures we take in full sincerity of purpose to change
the outcome. we do all that we know how to amend it, without result.
we term it destiny, fate, karma, yet still we determinedly work to
change it to a desired agreeable outcome. we are called proactive,
take-charge, fired-up, & are encouraged in our actions by the opinions
of others near us & by all we have ever learned in society.
repeatedly we throw ourselves into doing what it seems to take to
obtain our chosen outcome, yet somehow again, so strangely, still nothing
changes in a fundamental way. words are said, promises are made, new
plans are put in place & yet, amazingly, nothing different happens.
this is the point at which we need to realize that vaster forces are
in motion & they are beyond individual efforts to change, no
matter how sincere our urges or how deserving of merit we are.
we are now in the midst of a lesson we need to learn, although we may
not be aware of it. this is the time to be the detached observer
& to stand back, unattached, as events play out, watching carefully for
our cue to act & the timing of the action. we are not in control
of events, although we can learn to adapt & flow without resistance.
we learn to be grateful that we can grow in awareness & compassion,
even here in this audience participation comedy-drama.
it's called maya lila, the laughter & play of this weird world of stories
that hint not to take it all dead seriously. a strong sense of humor
becomes an excellent survival strategy down here in the maya
of jagat, a place where we must learn to turn to the higher powers for
help. the whole universe is waiting for us to mature & take our place
as co-creators with the Holy Ones, such as Shiva, who is no doubt
cheering us on at this very pregnant moment of opportunity.
a magical, mutual transglobal blessing
You sent me upon a mission, Shiva, more than forty far-flung years ago. to begin the calling, You impress me with signs & wonders to get my full attention. in a vision, great portents are placed before me, cosmic symbols: a ring of fire emerges from a total eclipse, soaring to circle orion, then the pleiades, where etheric shapes come forth; a pale golden square that slowly sinks into the receptive earth at my feet; a translucent silvery bell that enters my heart chakra; a glowing angel thrusts his hands into my heart area, smiling. i am stunned speechless. i know this is big! information is now downloaded to my awareness. i am shown that the angel is preparing for birth as a human & that i owe gratitude to him. i am told that i will remember him from this vision & that he will remember none of it. he will appear, through his speech & acts, to be an ordinary young man, yet he has a special destiny, & i am to encourage & mentor him. no details are given & this is all i know. i am alert to find him, to encounter him, & the years pass by. decades elapse: forty years have now passed, yet still i look for that human angel. my circumstances become limited as disability necessitates living in a nursing home. nonetheless, that vivid vision lives urgently within me, still calling, even as the body nears eighty years of living. one day after the removal of a cancer, i seek musical comfort from a new singer sincerely belting out a deeply feeling version of Your Shiva Tandava Stotram, the song that is the most meaningful of all to me. i listen to more than thirty different versions by various singers, Shiva, & his is truly the very best. i feel that this is quite important somehow. though the vision has not yet been remembered, i am so impressed by his version of the Shiva Tandava that i contact him to encourage him. he is but twenty years old at this time, living at home in india, & i live in the usa. it takes me months to recognize him as the angel in my long-ago vision, now here in his human form. i am painting a canvas of Shiva with dark blue skin & hair. in a flash, i see this as a photo negative of that pale angel in the vision. it is my singer! then, when in video chat while we talk, he reaches out with both of his hands towards the phone, which from my angle appears as if his hands are reaching towards my heart center. that's when it really, vividly hits me: this is he! this is the one whom i have been waiting for & looking for all these many years! of course, i naturally love him. my heart has been prepared long ago for this very time. he easily accepts my love & cautious confession about the vision. he is mercifully open to it all. i have shared with him twice a day now for five years & have been his confidant & counselor through many ups & downs. we speak on video chat most days. i have sat with him through his time of dengue fever & typhoid. he has sat with me through my husband's death & my covid episode. we help each other. he is twenty-five now & i am eighty-one, yet age just doesn't matter any more. i don't really know what my task with him is, but this i do know: that i am to be available to help him in whatever way i can. he has certainly helped me! he is a rare young man, open-hearted, tender & kind. he is also an amazing hindustani classical music singer with a master's degree, preparing for his doctorate. it is a path of uncertainty & i am his encourager. he is also my encourager, & the bright light in my life, an expression of You, Shiva! i am deeply touched that You have given me a dear, faithful companion whom i see every day, someone who sings, laughs & blows me kisses & makes silly faces to get me to laugh & be silly too. thank You, Shiva! i have thought that i am the one to be here for him when truly, he is quite equally here for me as well. it is a magical mutual transglobal blessing! both of us, Shiva, in our own ways, are here for You, writing bhajans for You, & carefully weaving Your living presence throughout all our poetry & music. we love You, Shiva, as we love each other, innocently, with a pure, sweet, spiritual love that emanates straight from the hridaya. our deep gratitude flows like a river to You, Shiva, a holy, hallowed river.
Shiva of infinite name & form
Shiva of infinite name & form, You are everywhere within our sight. You guide our journey invisibly, You remain close all through the long night. as iron is called by the magnet, Your wholeness calls out to the fragment! You are the distant thunder booming in the far hills of the searching mind. Shiva, You show Your face in the clouds & we leave our distractions behind. as iron is called by the magnet, Your wholeness calls out to the fragment! Shiva, You free us from delusion to reveal the holiness hidden in the playful changes of maya, & all that we still call forbidden! as iron is called by the magnet, Your wholeness calls out to the fragment! Shiva of infinite name & form, You are everywhere within our sight. You guide our journey invisibly, You remain close all through the long night.
a mystic dialect of OM seldom heard
instead of a warm breeze on the first day of spring in the ripe countryside, we receive a new world fully gift-wrapped in thick soft heavy snow. i stand beneath my meditation tree, a full mature hemlock whose thick branches protectively extend all the way to the ground. they guard the inner holy chamber here in the temple of the green sun in safe shelter valley. most of the trees in these thick woods have already leafed out, so when the surprise snowstorm rushes silently in during the predawn hours, all the various trees & bushes are transformed into strange creatures from another realm, frozen in mid-step. but the most mesmerizing thing i notice is the sound that the wind makes as it gusts through the trees. i have never before heard such a sighing, murmuring whisper rushing from the play of the wind in the snow-covered leafy branches of the trees! i stand entranced by the untimely swirling flakes. i bask in the sweet aloneness, soothed by the temple of the green sun. all sound is softened, blended into the continued soughing of the wind in the boughs of the trees. this is the time to go deep within, to plumb down beneath the surface of the mundane in a rare inner archeology to reveal the heart. this is when the world pauses & i'm standing on the edge of everything i have known, poised to take that next step forward. all around me the white cloaked trees stand as dignified sentinels. the wind links us in a shared meditation, giving voice to the trees in a mystic dialect of OM seldom heard. ah Shiva! thank You for the precious gems of memory that we share from Your akashic records. that rare magical spring equinox under the calm quiet cover of snow always soothes & uplifts when i visit it. this is a sweet healing. is that You, Shiva, whispering in my ear? or the soughing of the wind in the snow-laden branches? or perhaps they are really much the same thing, upon deeper reflection. You are always guiding me towards seeing the wholeness that includes all the parts. guide me now, Shiva, please guide me from deep within.
a sparrow flies to the window sill early this dawning–a small humble bird–& he erupts into song! i mean that he seems to puff up & grow enormous to my inner sight, & then he just explodes into singing, like a crystalline shower of rainbows & stars! it is dark enough to see the whole extravaganza, almost a surreal fireworks display, a musical magical frolic of the best music & light show that i have ever witnessed! the sparrow's song transports me instantly to the revered pure land, where beauty, kindness & affection are themselves a language, a heart-spoken silent speech. i have just enough time to draw in a deep breath of this purity & love, & now i am standing by the window again. the song sparrow, looking in at me from the window sill, winks at me, a broad exaggerated, knowing wink! i quickly wink back & grin because, Shiva, i would recognize You in any disguise! thank You for giving my day a festive beginning. thank You for this big smile stretching wide across my face!
the gulf of mexico
for those who come to the gulf of mexico, he is the great comforter. his warm enfolding arms soothe & support, & his broad white beaches heal & delight. primal peacefulness laps the sand within the waves that have traveled untold mystic miles & miles to gently greet all who come for this healing. the peace is absorbed into the gracious sand to be shared in the swelling, streaming surges of surf, the soft susurrus of wave whispering to wave. just to sit on the sand & watch the waves as they slowly roll in will calm the clamoring heart. searching through the sand can reveal amazing tiny treasures: dainty diatoms, etched sea glass, smooth water-sculpted minerals that resemble the magical jewels worn by mermaids. driftwood of all varieties invites inspection, & rare sea shells are hiding nearby, just waiting for a curious hand to uncover & discover them. the gulf feels like a venerable dear friend & a wise teacher who is always ready for another willing student. i am such a student, & have been an observer of the gulf since i am a small child. he is my first teacher & i honor him greatly. the gulf of mexico is one of Shiva's forms that He takes on to be accessible to all who may be called to Him, as i was. it is a gentle introduction to a companion who is as free & available as water & air. thank You, Shiva, for being manifest in all the great natural things of this living earth: holy mountains, deep oceans, rivers, fertile plains, huge clouds & sky wonders of all kinds. there is nothing we can touch that is not somehow touching You too, Shiva! i am sincerely counting on this fact!
not every flower will be a friend
Shiva, when You include me with You to gather dhatura flowers to consecrate a new natural Shivling by the waterfall, You bring back rich memories of my shamanic learning time in nature. two-thousand-seven is my year of growing the shamanic power plants dhatura inoxia & metel, plus brugmansia. these are especially liked for their trumpet flowers, & is why i am interested in growing them. i am aware of the dangers of consuming these powerful plants, which is why i hope to get to know them through meditating on the flowers. it seems like a discreet way to encounter & greet a masterful mind-altering holy plant. dhatura stramonium grows wild in the fields out here so i don't cultivate it. i do find that the south american dhatura plants are hard for me to grow! i find that salvia divinorum, which is known to be challenging to grow, seems to be friendly to me for it thrives, with strong large leaves. the dhatura plants & brugmansia, however, persist in being sickly & stunted in spite of my best educated efforts. the plants do come from a trustworthy grower so their refusal to thrive is mysterious. they basically & stubbornly just don't want to grow, seeming to sulk. summer & fall begin to blur together, yet no flowers have bloomed in my small dhatura garden. the ragged plants are sadly bug-chewed & fungus ridden, obviously in terminal decline. i have quite given up on them too. nothing that i do seems to help those plants. it is evening now, darkness is near & i am returning home after meditating in the woods by the field. as i saunter down the pathway that goes through a rugged overgrown wild patch by the fence, i smell a strong rank peculiar odor, akin to rotting leaves. it seems to swirl around me like a noxious invisible mist. i hurry through it, for it feels aggressive, invasive, unfriendly. i am eagerly headed home now, right at the end of this pathway. i enter the screened-in front deck where our two indoor cats are lounging, enjoying the evening. it is almost dark now &, suddenly, the rank green smell descends upon us, surrounding us on the deck, & the cats absolutely freak out! one is climbing the screen & i pluck him off & toss him inside. the other cat dashes quickly inside too. it is definitely time to remain inside with the doors shut! i have a very strong feeling that the south american plants have now informed me of their final decision that they will not be my allies. i quite agree with them. not every flower will be a friend. but the dhatura stramonium, whose blooms Shiva & i gathered lately, is friendly. that's why Shiva chose its flowers for the Shivling. the shamanic path, in fact, brings me to the sanatana dharma, as the unity of all existence becomes clear & life-changing within me. Shiva, Your divine presence steadily supports, although Your identity & name take longer to find in my heart. i had to be available for purification first, stripped down to essence, & bereft of all i thought i knew, before i could meet & see You truly, & the real heartfelt dharmic journey could at last begin.
all who yearn for wholeness
"why are we here?" i ask Shiva as we stand in the long shadows of the early evening. He has brought us to the field by the old house in the far north carolina mountain countryside where we lived years ago. i miss that rustic lifestyle now, living in a nursing home. Shiva hands me a woven basket. "let's go gather some dhatura flowers for the Shivling," He says. there's a healthy stand of dhatura bushes growing near the end of the field where the mountain begins to rise up to the sun. they are large sturdy plants, some about as tall as my shoulders. the rough, jagged, dark green leaves surround the medium-sized pale lavender trumpet-shaped flowers. there are many lush & glowing flowers standing out palely in the dusky dim light of twilight. the blossoms will bloom throughout the night, & then wilt by morning, repeating the same process each night all through fall, even into the frost. they are hardy survivors, these wild dhatura stramonium bushes. yet the flowers delicately allure, & Shiva loves them to be nearby, these curious ghostly wildflowers, mystical & oddly scented. we carefully remove the trumpet blossoms from the bushes' branches. the plant is strongly green-smelling, definitely a wild scent: nothing is cultivated here! as darkness falls, Shiva & i carry our dhatura flower baskets up to the woods close to the waterfall. we each fill a flask from the waterfall to pour on the chosen stone, which is a tall husky one, & it loves being cleansed & sanctified. we place the dhatura flowers on Shiva's favored stone, which is thrilled, happy indeed, for Shiva Himself is here, placing His own hands on this new Shivling. the stone becomes so filled with healing that miracles of everyday blessing move closer. mist from the waterfall adds a dreamy touch to our worship. it sets a hallowed & blessed mystic mood. we softly begin singing bhajans & mantras, & the raccoons come now to join us because they love our singing. next, a fox & a young bear amble over, & the flying squirrels sail overhead, soon joined by the pair of small warbling owls who grace the cool night with their strange song. Shiva & i sit by the sacred Shiva lingam, which is richly decorated with many dhatura blossoms. moonlight now shines down upon us all, highlighting the beauty of the natural Shiva lingam & its blossoms. the animals are all gathered around us as we sing the ancient praise songs of the holy guardian beings, affirming their on-going magical presence, encouraging them. Shiva gazes over at me & winks. i wink back. "I brought you here," says Shiva finally, "to show you that you have been following me for your whole life without realizing it. you have cherished my things: the wild places, the animals, the mystery of consciousness, the open sky, the mountain you stand upon, the dhatura flowers." Shiva regards me warmly. "you are mine, made of my own true essence. our destinies are entwined." we fall silent & bemused, opening to the timely new awareness now spreading its roots down deep within. the dhatura blossoms keep on releasing their subtle consciousness altering pheromones. Shiva & we, His charges, share communion. the night is young & blessed by Shiva to heal all who yearn for wholeness.
my first ufo
i'm seven years old when i see my first ufo. i'm by a tree
in front of our housing unit at the air force base, looking way up
in the tree to find a hummingbird nest. i have seen the hummingbird
flying in there, so i am sure there is a nest high in the branches.
motion in the sky beyond the crown of the tree grabs my attention.
i see a small silver disc shining in the blue sky, & i forget
about the hummingbird nest in a flash. my eyes are focussed upon
the silver disc, moving in ways i have never seen before. in full
flight, it suddenly reverses direction, zooms a bit, then swiftly
changes direction again! i know that this must be a ufo!
as my mind lights up with this awareness, the ufo makes a few
more full speed direction changes & then, it fades swiftly to mist.
it disappears. i study the sky for a while longer, but can't find
the ufo anywhere. i'm excited by this small & quiet
adventure, treasuring it silently in my heart, not wanting to
disclose it to my parents. i have learned to keep the most important
realizations to myself by now. what i do not know is that my
father had been on the air force investigative team that viewed the
ufo at roswell, new mexico, in nineteen forty seven.
my mother & i were there, but we knew nothing of the ufo
incident then. it was held in top secrecy from all at that time.
in my later years, i sometimes do wonder if that first ufo
i see is checking me out because i had been there too, at roswell,
new mexico at that ripe time of top secret alien presence.
i remember the afternoon there when i noticed that the workers
building a new house have left the basement door open when they go home,
& i am quite eager to explore this new territory. as i
stand at the top of the steps & look down into the basement, i am
struck by how very dark it is. i choose to ignore the darkness, &
i step down yet another step deeper into the basement. now the
darkness is intense, most powerful, & it seems to be pushing me
away from it. i'm determined to explore, so i step another
step deeper into the cool darkness, moving resolutely onwards.
suddenly i can't take the pressure from the darkness any longer.
i am done. this is it. the body leaves the basement much faster than
it entered. in fact, as i leave, scrambling as fast as i can up the
stairs, i feel my first touch of a deep dark absolute fear. i feel that
i am being driven out of this basement. I run all the way home.
have i tuned in to the alien's terror as they deal, injured, with
aggressive official questioners? have they warned me away? i have
wondered about the compelling quality of that primal fear that
can push me from a place of such absolute darkness out into the light.
i have seen more recent ufos too, again moving in ways that
our human aircraft have not yet quite mastered. perhaps Shiva has an
elite fleet of spacecraft docked in Mount Kailash to prepare us for change
to come? He is certainly helping me to maintain alertness &
focus, especially through these poems, for which dharma i am grateful!