"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.
i am enraptured by the songs of the mountains! their huge throats are
vastly deep & they reach up high where the air is cool & refined.
the earth itself offers up its sacred bass voice to these mountains.
they sing divine mantras & wordless praise songs of celebration
& they hum OM ceaselessly. sometimes i can feel it in my bones.
they hum OM ceaselessly & this pervades my very cells, provides
a foundation on which i can stand firm, be open to receive. thus
receiving, i myself become kin to the tall singing mountains,
sustaining the foundation of this ephemeral existence.
Mount Kailash is Shiva's beloved abode because He honors
that holy mountain's primordial song. sometimes i can hear the
two of them harmonizing all through the night & long into the morning.
i hold their song dear & i softly weave my voice in also.
the stones by the Dead Sea are rich with fossils & color. everything here
is brilliant & intense with power: the clear blue sky overarches the
bright blue-green of the Dead Sea. huge flat boulders rest in wadis & on slopes
near the rising tawny cliffs of Mount Yishai. they are dense with fossil shapes:
ammonites, trilobites & other nameless ancient creatures set in stone.
one can walk upon them, those primordial beings who were alive just
as we are now. presently they are wedded to stone, partnered close in a
fixed slice of time, paving the great pavilion of the House of Detachment.
being a friend of stones, i am at peace in the House of Detachment, as
i sit musing long hours with the fossil beings, dreaming with them as they
dream with me. they tell me "dark" & "cold," "bright" & "warm": their sharing is pure &
simple, innocent & primal. it feels like cool air wafting from a well.
our genes blend subtly. we dream together & i tell them about Shiva,
earth's holy caretaker who is known by His shape in stone. Shiva is the
earth reaching up to the sacred sky, sun & stars. He is like a finger
pointing toward the mystery, i tell them. He is a great stone column,
a divine lingam. Shiva is mountains, obelisks, towers, standing stones,
& cairns worldwide. they all announce & reflect Shiva's signature presence.
we who love Shiva see Him everywhere. He is generativity
& new life. He is rest & formlessness, decay of the old & outworn.
the fossil beings dreaming with me understand Shiva. they recognize
what it is to be of-the-earth. they span millennia of risings &
fallings, of villages & kingdoms. we are all cousins, here for a while
peering into the mystery, wondering & pondering together
in the House of Detachment, abiding in Shiva's enduring presence.