Permanence of Place

Permanence of Place

by Anya Arthen

Crisp is the air
breathtaking,
the colors of fall.
Birds in flight high above the treetops.
These are not the geese.
Small wings beat
flutter, flutter, soar
they disappear out of view.

The sun starts to play on the color speckled leaves. It is taking its time to cross over the horizon and then the rooftops of the neighboring homes.
We are a spiral winding. 

Permanence of place.
There is something special about stepping outside and sitting with the same trees, the same blades of grass, the same earth, Every Day. 
I’ve known this conceptually.
In fact I’ve been encouraged to build these connections by various teachers of my spiritual path.
Logically, conceptually, I understood. 
But, I did not truly feel it, until the slowing down of the world brought on by a pandemic forced me to find respite in place.
So I would venture out, grateful for the privilege of the slice of nature that surrounds me. I would sit observing, breathing, being, with the trees, the grasses, birds and rodents, rocks and soil, with dew, frost, rain, and sky.
And today I sit here once more, feeling a deep sense of connection, reverence, and awe.

Photo by Anya Arthen

There is a familiarity between me and this place. One that could only be created by being together with intention – with breath, awareness and gratitude. 

Permanence of place.
In the ever changing world of an ever changing life my soul holds the imprints of the wilderness I have had the pleasure to embrace. 

Thick brambled woods, heron standing in a swampy, mucky pond. Fields of wild cornflowers, bell flowers, daisies, so tall I could get lost in them. Innocence. 

Next came the ocean, the vastest body of water I have ever encountered.
From the shores I played on you could see an unreachable island, a smooth, rounded, out-jutting — perhaps the back of an ancient creature dreaming.
The full moon would rise out of the ocean so large you could almost touch her, sending her reflection on gentle waves out to shore.

The ocean was my growing up, it was playfulness and lust, it was pleasure and laughter.
Though I didn’t know it in these words at that time, the ocean was a place of release. It is where I would turn, to transform deep anger or sadness. Walking up and down the shores along the path where salty water barely touched the sand, ever shifting with the coming and going tide. 

And now I am back in fields and forests and with trees, working together to build permanence of place.
Place, where I — where we — can live with intention.
Place, where one day I hope to see the tree branches shake with the laughter of children.
Place.
Permanence of place.
As permanent as anything in this world can ever be.
A place to root my being to.
A place to spiral through time with.

You can find more of Anya’s writing on EarthSpirit Voices by clicking her name below. You can learn more about her work as a naturopath at Earthen Medicine.

Descending

Descending

by Walter Kittredge

Fall hides its sinister side in gaudy colors
But gay asters and goldenrods can’t conceal
How hard it sets me on my heels.

It dims my light and steals my warmth
Drawing my spirit inward in receding shades of gray
like the tumbling down falling leaves now fading away.

Birds soaring south in tumultuous flocks
leave a smattering of the hardiest to stay,
but none to wake me before the morning clock.

Squirrels gray and red put thousands of acorns to bed
For their wintry slumber beneath a leafy blanket heap,
Under mine I steal an extra hour of dreams asleep.

You’ll find my bones buried one day as I found a deer’s,
Laid to rest in my favorite forest deep
Returning forever, for the land to keep.

Photo by Walter Kittredge

Morwen

poem by Donovan Arthen; Snake Woman chant by Starhawk

Snake woman shedding her skin

A teacher, a drummer, a flutist, a mother.
A lover, a leader, a wise woman born.

Snake woman shedding her skin

Heartbeat, opened love, embracing and playing, praying for what was always acted upon.
Loving the earth, drumming for peace, building connection, drawing threads together.
Giving voice to what was silent, challenging what seemed easy, a warrior of rhythm, rights, and responsibility.

morwen

Photo by Afon Art

Shedding
Her pain

Shedding
Her fear

Shedding her skin

Shedding
Her attachment

Shedding
The form we know

Shedding her skin

Snake Woman shedding her skin.

Two Feathers drift on breezes now
Rustling leaves
Caressing hands and faces
Soothing and smoothing rough skin and painful wounds

Two Feathers float on a river
Carried by the current toward a mystery unknown
Shining with droplets reflecting the brilliant sun.

Two Feathers fan the fires
As drums echo and feet slap the ground
As song erupts from hearts
And magic is made within and without

Two Feathers sit on a mountain
Finding stillness and quiet
Seeing and feeling more slowly
Beholding the expanse of the world that they are.

Two Feathers are woven into a web
Rooted in earth and sky
Now she is everywhere
Now she is everything.

Deep Peace Meditation

by Deb Banks, daughter of Janet

This piece was written for Deep Peace, our celebration of mothers, in 2018.

Close your eyes
And settle your mind
Taste the spring air
Smell the wet soil
Hear the stream full and rushing
Feel you feet on the ground
Our roots go deeper than
We will ever know

Hidden from our view
Roots, seeds and all manner of being
Are held by our Earth Mother
Until it is time to arise

Never too early
Never too late
Always arising at the moment
When She knows
It’s time
She does not think
Or overanalyze
If the time if right
It just is

She does not stop to worry
If all the pieces will fall into
Their proper place
They will

She does not fret that it will not be
Easy
It won’t

IMG_0921She is not afraid
Of failure
It’s not a matter of being perfect
She isn’t

Each time
The beings arise
They are
Different

Reshaped
By their
Experiences
Never the same
And no two ever alike

A flower with
A slightly different color
A berry that is sweeter
Because of more rain
All perfect in their
Imperfection

We don’t seem to question this
About our Earth Mother
We trust in the system of Nature
To Know.

How would we be different
If we trusted
Ourselves to know
When that time
Was right
To arise?

I invite you
To open

Open
To the possibility
That you
Know

Open
To that which is in you
Ready to arise

Open
To the possibility
That this time
The story may be
Different

Open
To the hope
That we can sense all around us

Open
To the mystery
Of what is to come

Open
To yourself
And Arise!

Last Night the Rain Spoke To Me

We read this at the EarthSpirit Beltane in eastern Massachusetts as part of the ritual and I loved it, so here it is for you!  This is an excerpt of a poem by Mary Oliver; the full text is published in her book, What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems.

Last night

Photo by Shawn Nystrand

Photo by Shawn Nystrand

the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud…

That’s what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished…

Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain –
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

Taking Flight

by Oriana Miller

Shhhhhh   Can you hear that?
There’s a keening just outside your door!
Does it make you fear me?
Or do you choose to look upon the pinking autumn sky?
Shhh Can you hear that?
There’s a rhythm on the waters edge!
Does it make you feel alive?
Or do you look for a mossy ledge upon which you may lie?
Shhh Can you hear that?
Such a clicka clacking in the air!
Does it help you to see me?
Or do you trust yourself to take that leap and begin to fly?
Shhhh Can you hear that?
There’s a silence in the herding.
Does it make you feel their strength?
Or do you need to search for me and look into my eye?
Don’t shy back or fear what lies ahead
But step out with the greatest pride.
For you must remember your Twilight story
About how the Reindeer are forever by your side.
(painting by Starwind, photo by Jennette Carter)

Earth Father

by Starwind


We sing of the Mother
The Nourishment
The Beauty
But lately
I am reminded
Of the Earth Father
While the Mother rages
In storms
In Change
In all the ways of nature
It is the Father that reminds us
To be Stable in the midst of change
To be Still in the midst of fury
To protect the gifts
The Beauty
The Nourishment
In times of stormy rages
Shelter from the storm
Bedrock to rest upon
Hunter
Farmer
Teller of stories
Wisdom Keeper
Yes, Earth Father speaks to us
A different language
If we are still within
Listening…
(in memory of Chet Sawyer)

Winter Court

by Starwind

Gently they move
Silent under star light
Drawing what nourishment they can
From moss, lichen, grass, leaf
Their hooves breaking the frozen snow

Gently they lift their heads
Watching me pass
Barely curious
But obviously concerned

I feel their gentle eyes
I sense their Knowing
The brightness of their spirits
Their sadness that I am sheathed in metal
Instead of running with them

How I wish it was we
Who could remember
To be gentle

How to move
Silent under star light
Drawing what nourishment there is
A gift to us
A gift from Her

In what manner do we Honor
Both Gift and Giver.

Choose wisely.

Bear Elements

by Dick Huntington

(Kodiak photo by USFWS)
I gaze at the sun
And it tells me,
“Feel my warmth;
Be healed in my FIRE.”
I lift to the sky
And it tells me,
“Feel the AIR,
Softly Kiss your face.”
I lean on the Tree
And it tells me,
“Come be touched
In places you cannot reach.”
I walk in the WATER
And it tells me,
“Be no fountain
When the well you need.”
I lay with the EARTH
And She tells me,
“Rest here in me
To be reborn — again.”

And so we came together at Twilight Covening, this time as Bears, or to be more exact, as KODIACS; each new clan-mate arriving from singular and divergent points on the cosmic compass. Under our Clan Leader’s gaze, we accepted and acknowledged each other as family and quickly moved into Magical Space. Those of us who had known each other for years and those newly arrived, it made no difference for now we were one, litter-mates, cubs of the same Mother.

All of our Clan Time was spent outdoors in the open, connecting directly with the Elements in pursuit of our pre-stated goal of finding the source of all of our needs for renewal. We worked as individuals and together within the clan structure and even with some of the other clans to extend our connectivity.

The core-central theme of our leader’s teaching was that we don’t so much heal the Earth as we must learn to interact with it responsibly so that it may heal itself and thereby heal us. She told us, “Everything is about relationship. Learn to trust yourselves, each other and a loving universe.” And so too we are connected each and all to each and all.

This is real human magic, true Earth magic; useful, sustainable and necessary; brought to us by competent and caring masters of the mind – body – spirit connection.

My deepest thanks and fondest regards too all at EarthSpirit, the hard working staff and leadership and to all my newest family members. WOW! A family wherein you get to pick your relatives. Will wonders never cease?

Still Life

by Starwind

Wednesday night
Running late
I noticed the sky was an odd shade of yellow
And started looking

I arrived to get Robin (late)
And emerging from the car
I found it
An enormous double rainbow
From horizon to horizon
Surely an omen, and a really good one at that

The drive to Twilight, as usual
Was peppered with anticipation
Arriving (late) I was afforded the opportunity
To be still
To truly Arrive
To breathe in the Mountain
The trees
The chipmunks

The Work was deep
The Work was true
The Work was
Good Medicine
And it was over too soon
Far too soon

The glowing moon grew
With or without our Dance
The Pearl of Wisdom
Reflected in our spirits
Sparkling in our eyes
A treasure beyond worth

Packing the car (again)
Hitting the road (again)
The drive home was slightly melancholic
Until I started watching the sky

The sun was setting
The moon was up
The clouds were shredded
Like a milkweed pod
Swollen to fullness
The Work was released
Each tiny seed
Tossed to the wind
Trusting the spirits to carry them
To fertile ground
Safely home

The sky swirled
Colors swelled
A tiny patch caught my eye
Glancing eastward
Another tiny patch of color
The sun, glowing white
Much like the moon had
Smiling, watching us dance

I drove
And I watched
The rainbow form
Bracketing our work
Before
And after

Still life
Pearl with Rainbow Frame

(October 12, 2011, Moon in Aries)