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The Fellowship of the Spring

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Since time immemorial, people worldwide, including those from our own native wisdom traditions, have held water to be sacrosanct. Humans have long held pilgrimages to sources of streams, doused themselves in holy lakes, made offerings on riverbanks and shores of oceans.

These were not wanton acts of blind worship but reverence to a deeply-known recognition of humanity’s dependence on water and a keenly-felt gratitude for nature’s benevolence. Until quite recently these habits have been forgotten and almost lost.

By resuming these rites, we can start to re-kindle a sense of intimacy with the natural world and an appreciation of the interconnectedness of all life. By deeply caring for and paying attention to our waterways, we grow motivated to defend and protect their right to flow, unimpeded by pollution.

“The way we see our world shapes the way we treat it….if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water…if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity – then we will treat each other with greater respect.”

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The Iraqi Nights

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In Iraq,
after a thousand and one nights,
someone will talk to someone else.
Markets will open
for regular customers.
Small feet will tickle
the giant feet of the Tigris.
Gulls will spread their wings
and no one will fire at them.
Women will walk the streets
without looking back in fear.
Men will give their real names
without putting their lives at risk.
Children will go to school
and come home again.
Chickens in the villages
won’t peck at human flesh
on the grass.
Disputes will take place
without any explosives.
A cloud will pass over cars
heading to work as usual.
A hand will wave
to someone leaving
or returning.
The sunrise will be the same
for those who wake
and those who never will.
And every moment
something ordinary
will happen
under the sun.

Dunya Mikhail (born 1965 in Baghdad, Iraq) is an Iraqi-American poet based in the United States. In 2001, she was awarded the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing.[HERE)

 

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Jumping Mouse

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In Hyemeyohsts Storm’s vision quest story of Jumping Mouse (from book Seven Arrows), the little Mouse meets Frog, who is sitting on a lily pad at the edge of the Sacred River.

This beautiful tale (SEE ELSEWHERE FOR WHOLE TALE)  points to the essential wisdom of the threshold time of the Vision Quest. Prompted by the spirits of Nature, but under our own power, we jump as high as we are able.  Ultimately it is not what we see that transforms us.  It is the act of jumping, of reaching for the Sacred Mountain shining so near yet so far, that defines us and gives direction to our life quest.  If we do not gather all our strength and jump, we will never see further than the end of our nose.  By jumping we transcend our own limitations.  We enlarge the circle of purpose.

Taken from: The Wilderness Quest by Steven Foster & Meredith Little.  A handbook for adults, UK version adapted by Jeremy Thres and Caroline Wood.

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Homes, Houses

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“Hestia: goddess of fire, the hearth”

The first – born of the Olympians; symbol of the home, around whom the newborn child would be carried before being received by the family.

Some years ago a friend Sarah and I painted, every week. Our teacher Becky helped us enter the space of PAINTING FROM MEDITATION; detaching our conscious minds from our painting…inspired by British painter Cecil Collins’ paintings of visionary subjects. Collins attacked the great spiritual betrayal of love and the workings of life by the dominance of the scientific and technical view of life. He was inspired by poet William Blake. I recall my painting of Hestia. Squat figure, enveloped in Cerulean blue cloak, cross- legged on the floor, tending a small fire on the ground before her. I feel her presence now … safe, reliable, a defender.

Ref. Cecil Collins –  HERE

William Blake video ‘Room’ –  HERE

William Blake – Khan gallery –  HERE

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Trained to Hate

By | Blogs

Emotional correctness is about communicating compassion and mutual respect, not only with your words but with your intent and tone. I’m still an ardent fan, but I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to practise, catching myself slipping into anger and swimming in hate.

Especially in the last few years.

I was sort of trained to hate. Before I became a television commentator, I worked for fifteen years as a community organiser, fighting for policy reform on issues like lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, health care, criminal justice and immigration.

Right-wingers were my enemies, and I hated them.

… Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States of America made my blood boil. I couldn’t believe the level of hate he so readily and proudly spewed against Muslims, women, immigrants and African-Americans.

I remember feeling dumbfounded when George W Bush was re-elected in 2004 … I may not have consciously categorised Bush voters as less than human, but I certainly thought they were less than American and certainly less than me – less smart, less understanding and, ironically enough, less compassionate.

I didn’t think any of that was particularly hateful.

I just thought I was correct.

  • From The Opposite of Hate: a field guide to repairing our humanity by Sally Kohn, Algonquin Books 2018, pp 1-2.
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Grenfell Tower, June 2017 – Ben Okri

By | Blogs

I could not get that burning tower out of my head. Bearing witness seemed the only thing to do. Three days after the fire I made my way there. Many years ago I used to live nearby and the tower was always in my periphery. I saw photographs of the dead before I saw the tower itself. Their faces were everywhere. They stared out from the undeniable reality of their lives. They were alive when those pictures were taken, alive like you and me. There were pictures on ordinary white paper, with their names below, sometimes their ages, and then the word MISSING. At that time their families still hoped they would be found. Seeing those faces on the wall, faces that were fresh with life, faces that were serious with a sense of the insurmountable problems of life, faces of a young couple that showed them happy and in love—I was quite overcome. Even before I had walked a few yards, I was already fighting the tears.

Acknowledgement – FT 8 June 2018

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Don’t Worry About a Thing

By | Blogs

Three Little Birds

PLEASE CLICK ON BLOG PIX OR BLOG TITLE TO SEE THE VIDEO LINK

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYi5aW1GdUU

Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Saying’, (this is my message to you)

Singing’ don’t worry ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin’, this is my message to you

Singin’ don’t worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh
Every little thing gonna be alright, don’t worry
Singin’…

Bob Marley

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Outrider Anthems’ Festival of the Dark

By | Blogs

Last year saw Outrider Anthems’ Festival of the Dark unfold in Reading. With a small team, we brought over 24 diverse events to the town, hoping to stimulate a shift in consciousness. It became apparent this would be subtle rather than seismic, and indeed most major cultural, political, religious and corporate bodies shunned or ignored the festival. And yet, it was powerful.

To use a yoga anaology, it’s all about ‘micro-muscles’, deep internal muscles not reachable through dynamic exercise and obvious stretches. So one sits in almost complete stillness, focussing on small micro-movements. It feels slightly foolish, disappointing; how much more satisfying to be panting after a few hearty rounds of Salute to the Sun. Yet if one is attentive, the deep workings can be felt; if one envisions the movements, they make sense.

For those feeling overwhelmed by noise, despair, rage, preaching, and shouting for desperate action, exercising of the deep internal spiritual muscles through yoga, meditation, breathwork, gardening, stillness, then hone one for the power of dynamic action.

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Goat Yoga

By | Blogs

Goat Yoga is ‘big’ in the US apparently; rapidly gathering enthusiastic joiners in the UK. From the imaginative response to her own challenges, Lainey Morse 45, from Oregon, has brought happiness to scores of people.

One such Goat Yoga class was featured by Kate Humble on her BBC Programme endorsing small- scale new ‘farm’ projects.

Another series of classes is promoted by Dartington Dairies ; an offshoot of Dartington Hall inspirations, over many years. ( The Dartington Trust founded in 1925 by Dorothy & Leonard Elmhirst is well worth researching as a transformative heart- land for thousands of visitors seeking inspiration around the arts, social justice and sustainability. ”It attracts people with big ideas who want to transform the world”).

And the facts: Petting animals releases stress-reducing hormones including serotonin ; there’s a similar effect from yoga practice.

Read about Goat Yoga – HERE – Goatyoga

Dartington Trust  – HERE – Dartington Hall

 

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The dark nurtures growth

By | Blogs

Glory Falls

Glory falls around us
as we sob
a dirge of
desolation on the Cross
and hatred is the ballast of
the rock
which lies upon our necks
and underfoot.

We have woven
robes of silk
and clothed our nakedness
with tapestry.

From crawling on this
murky planet’s floor
we soar beyond the
birds and
throught the clouds
and edge our way from hate
and blind despair and
bring honor
to our brothers, and to our sisters cheer.

We grow despite the
horror that we feed
upon our own
tomorrow.

We grow.

Maya Angelou

Poem from “I Shall Not be Moved,” Bantam Books

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