As Above, So Below

To walk the artist path takes many lifetimes.

W

For me, meandering its many twists and turns has been a metaphorical burning at the stake. Yes, I know; so fucking macabre. But the marrow of that which no longer serves me must die, a cleansing by fire. Hate then becomes love. Thus, a phoenix soars from the ashes of my inner critic’s toxicity.

So why do I further advance down this road? Each step is a fiery communion with a force much greater than myself — a force felt between heartbeats; a force seen just below the surface of my reflection; a force that co-creates with me on a regular basis.

For after the bonfire, when all that’s left is ash, beauty arises from its compost. This wild hearth is the awen of my words and images … as above, so below.

Dandelion Wisewoman

Rooted in Green Mountain Piedmont,

Near winter-melt cataracts

And cloistered ephemeral pools,

A woman walks forest paths —

The dandelion her guide home.

 

The locals seek her sage advice

Over herbal infusions

And garlic-sautéed garden greens —

A feast simple and sacred,

Her prayer to the Great Divine.

 

Amid spiraling sweetgrass smoke,

She channels nature’s wisdom

To apprentices young and old —

Always one with the roots of

Taraxacum officinale.

 

But now, with George at its threshold,

The Otherworld's veil unfolds …

So she puts affairs in order,

Counselled by the plant spirits

Her soul recognizes as kin.

Though an indeterminate time

Remains of her blessed Earth Walk,

Her teachings and love will scatter

In numerous directions —

Dandelion seeds on the wind.

The Dragon Rider

My somatic agony:

Intense bone-deep pain,

A blazing neuron bonfire.

 

Very fatigued, I seek

Inner soul caverns,

Where primal power awaits.

 

No compass points to True North;

My guide, intuition,

The Fates from hearthside legends.

 

Corroded chains shackle my feet,

Kith and kin my judges

With unsolicited advice.

 

Love for them liberates me;

No damsel am I

Enslaved by their private demons.

 

The downward spiraling path

Is fire and brimstone;

Then I face my soul spirit —

 

A shimmering red dragon,

Its twilight eyes

Seeing me unguarded and naked.

 

So I become one with pain,

Constantly dancing

On dragon’s back skyward.

One Misty Sunrise

There’s a local place I like to frequent for sunrise sessions. And I’m not alone. The land vibrates with power and calls people to meander its garden paths and explore its shores.

During a recent visit, I found myself surrounded by mist. A part of me frowned at this typical New England change in weather. But I then stilled myself and listened.

According to Celtic traditions, the mist is both a teacher and an indicator of betwixt and between, such as locales where we can speak to and connect with All-That-Is. To be able to do so is at the heart of many religions and spiritual paths.

Frank MacEowen, on page 13 of his book, The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers, recounts his own experience as a consciousness “ … that stirred within my soul that day the mist enveloped me. As it embraced me, I felt not only that I belong in the forest, but also that I belong to her."

Knowing this, I touched my silver Brigid's Cross pendant hanging just above my heart and reached out to the mist. She welcomed me, and I, her: anam caras walking the garden paths home — home to … belonging.

Siren's Call

New England’s coastline is steeped in tales about sailors lost at sea. But what about their wives, the women left to grieve at its edges? At best, they’re fragments mentioned in passing conversations. Their threads, however, are just as significant.

During this weekend’s creative session, I noticed how the tango between distressed widow and sea-as-lover simply took over. The land was offering me a glimpse of past lives: the harrowing progression from sadness to an all-consuming madness that has anchored spirits to place. And the sea, that siren, continuously chides themnow, just their shadows for something amiss in the relationships with their long-dead husbands.

So what happens when one mixes the aforementioned theme with an old Cape Cod lighthouse perched on high bluffs and the natural elements of partly cloudy skies, a setting sun, and a full moon? A haunting by F.K. Garland as the Lady in Black at Highland Lighthouse, in North Truro, Massachusetts.

In dreams I call —

A barnacled ode

Of wild waves and windy shores.

 They come to me

In search of . . .

Purpose, connection, home.

 I cannot specifically say,

For each sailor

Seeks something different.

 But the roots —

Well, they start with you:

Their wives and sweethearts.

 There’s something amiss

Between both of you,

And I …

 Their sea,

Their siren,

Their true lover —

 Will be there for them

While you haunt edges

Of wild waves and windy shores. 

Ghosts of Gettysburg

Jagged white lightning bolts

Illuminate green rolling farmland,

The Land of Milk and Honey split

By curving rough black tarmac,

A solid River Styx.

 

Thunder booms in static air,

Its canon fire echoing:

Past collides with present

On this warm May night

Seven score, sixteen years later.

 

Our history professors taught us:

The northernmost battle,

Three days of considerable bloodshed,

Thousands died on both sides

So, Lincoln said, a “nation might live.”

 

The surviving generations must endure

And dedicate themselves to advancing

The unfinished work, our liberty,

Of those who fought here …

Here on these hallowed hills —

 

Sun-kissed hills where people now walk

In Civil War regalia and red fanny packs,

Old Glory emblems and khaki hats,

Absorbing aura of this place

And laments of combat-weary dead.

 

Today, our country is divided

By isms and ego statuses —

Life a never-ending death march

Of unreachable Western perfection,

Far from history’s deepest lessons.

 

Until freedom sans persecution roots itself —

The heritage of all people,

Not just the proclaimed chosen few!!! —

We are the Ghosts of Gettysburg

Always searching for home.

Notre Dame

As above, so below,

As below, so above,

I am your Lady.

Under vast starry skies,

A cathedral, centuries old,

Of spire and vault,

Of buttress and rose,

Now ascends to Heaven.

As above, so below,

As below, so above,

I am your Lady.

Your prayers, now ash,

Scatter to the Four Winds

And rise — oh, they rise!!! —

Conveyed in multiple languages 

To the Many-Named Divine.

As above, so below,

As below, so above,

I am your Lady.

Mother, sister, daughter, wife,

Father, brother, son, husband:

I see through the eyes

Of all peoples on this planet

No matter their perceived status.

As above, so below,

As below, so above,

I am your Lady.

My foundation is still there, 

For you were deeply forged 

Within the fires of love and hope.

Join hands and rebuild strong

On ALL my sacred ground.

As above, so below,

As below, so above,

You are … Notre Dame.