There's a lot about New Orleans in Archive 2.
Thursday 21 June 2007, 13:57
Solstice! It is grey and chilly in Holland today.
I am beginning to get some perspective on my time and experiences in Germany and how I am feeling. I am more exhausted than I can ever remember being. I feel like I have been severely beaten for days; sore, achy, tired. I am rediscovering my own aliveness.
I relate to life through my body. I am of the earth and am very identified with Earth. The energy in different places has an effect on me. The earth in Germany is soaked in the blood of centures of violence and torture, and especially the attempted genocide on my tribe, my relatives, in the last century. It’s real. I feel it. It’s not a cognitive experience, it’s an embodied experience. The kindness of my friends there is real and I treasure those friends, but it doesn’t change the reality of the history and how that works in me.
Maybe for someone with no Jewish ancestry, it would feel different. Maybe other Jews have had similar experiences...I would love to hear about them if anyone wants to share.
One thing I am learning, which I can articulate at this point is that, despite my lifelong pursuit to see humanity as one, right now I see that we are made up of different groups, with real differences, some of them possibly irreconcilable. I have always rejected this view as an impediment to peace, but now I am thinking...it’s true. There are real differences. What that means for the possibility of peace, I do not know.
I want to make Jewish food, chicken soup, kugel, who knows what else.
Tuesday 19 June 2007, 12:26
Back in Netherlands. Sunny day. Spirits much higher, body recovering. Processing the experience of going to Israel for the first time and feeling super strong, and then going to Germany for the first time and losing energy and vitality alarmingly needing to be completely taken care of by German people, myself being a person with mostly jewish ancestry. I experience a lot in my body. That’s part of my connection with Earth. What happens in my body as I travel, is a pretty dead-on energy reading of the place I’m physically in and my relationship with that.
Tuesday 12 June 2007, 18:22
Learning continues. Physical infirmity sucks. I’ve had nearly two years without chronic pain and it was lovely. Now I am working through this acceptance that, for the time being, there is pain and weakness, and that’s just the way it is, until I get back to the fabulous acupuncturist in Oregon whoo cured my last bout of long term nerve pain. It’d be funny if it weren’t such a drag, how easily I get comfortable with comfort, and have to relearn acceptance of discomfort each time it returns. OK, I get it! I can laugh at myself.
I’m still in Germany. I will be here for another 5 days, at which point I will head back to the Netherlands. I’m looking forward to seeing friends there. There are also four workshops lined up which I’m looking forward to.
Ask for a minimum fee when accepting workshop offers
Earth is beautiful loving Earth in Germany as anywhere else (releasing the shadow of genocide which is not so much a German thing as a human thing)
Kindness is a gift to accept as much as a gift to offer
Fear narrows vision
Pain can stimulate fear
The flow of life is always there, it’s just a matter of remembering
I’m not getting any younger
I’m sure there’ll be more to reflect on once I move on.
It is definitely getting to be time for me to settle down again. It’s been almost three years since my mother was killed, and just over two years since I sold my house and closed my practice and hit the road. Now comes time to plant myself again. It’s looking like California and Crete are the places I most want to be. There’re people and projects in both places, so I think I’ll be transcontinental for a while. That should prove interesting.
I return to the US in two months. I can hardly wait to see Lasky dog and Chloe cat!
Saturday 2 June 2007, 17:03
The learning is sinking in. I feel back in the flow. This morning I dreamed I dropped back into the flow. My back is much better. Last night for full moon I made contact with Earth here, and the ancestors of this place and of my flesh. I realized I had been avoiding this. I felt the love from and for Earth here. I reached back through time to the recent atrocities, and through the human and animal and plant life of this northern forest place, back to dinosaurs and arboreal forests, past ice ages. I felt the life of the place and how it is in me, as my more recent ancestors are from this part of the world, just some hundreds of kilometers from here. I felt the cultural developments that led to the centuries of brutality that were here, were all over the continent. It stopped feeling so personal and is integrating into the aspect of my consciousness which identifies with everything, and with nothing in particular.
It is valuable for me to maintain a broader contextual perspective, but that becomes more challenging when my body hurts and my mobility is diminished. It’s pretty basic. That’s a whole level of challenge that is set before me from time to time.
I’m learning something about the nature of fear, and about my fears. Besides clouding vision, fear can occupy a weird kind of hidden space. My fears are specific, and I manage to keep them hidden from myself enough that I don’t think about them much, but when they come to the surface, the feeling of falling and bracing for a hard landing, is right there.
The visions of possible futures that I like are becoming clearer. The idea of leaving Turtle Island has been a source of sadness for me. I really love Earth there, and have communed and been fed by so many amazing places onn that continent, this body is mostly made of material from there. I have vibed into Earth there, drummed, sung, danced, loved, gardened...most all of this physical life has been there. She sent me out with so much to draw upon, and I do. Today I also realized...I can go back there if I choose to, even when I live on Crete. I felt relief inside me when I realized that. Duh.
Thursday 31 May 2007, 11:25
The sun is out...second day in a row! It’s a relief. I had hoped when the pressure lifted my back would improve but it’s a slow process.
I’ve just had a week of the worsk lumbar disk inflammation I’ve experienced in years...and it’s not over yet. Mostly I’ve been unable to stand and walk, with gradual improvements from traction, some gentle movement work, applying dry heat, and not pushing myself at all.
The friends here have been amazingly supportive, making sure I am fed, giving me a space to relax in and just be, which is what I’ve been doing. I have my distractions like the computer, books, music, but I also have spent time just sitting and thinking, and just being in my senses. Birdsong provides a constant background.
I have been in Germany for just over three weeks. My experience here has been a mixture of first some work and encountering a really disappointing situation, then coming out to the countryside here and hanging out with friends, then this back injury thing. When I first got here, and for the first 10 days or so, I was very aware of “being in Germany” with all the history that carries. Since being somewhat laid up I’ve been taken care of by Germans, including neighbors offering help and suggestions. I came here after a very intense piece of work in Israel and was extremely vulnerable, first to encounter a poorly organized workshop set which mostly didn’t happen, putting me into a financial crunch, combined with the weather and other physical factors causing my lower back to go into major distress, putting me in the position literally needing other people to help me survive. This experience is humbling. Add to that the next...
I’ve been traveling for 26 months. I have spent all my money. I have a few smallish jobs but not a lot of income. I have no place I call my home in that personal sense of a room somewhere. Friends are all over the world. Now what? Where do I go and what do I do? The options are wide open. This reality that my body can stop me in my tracks and lay me low, I have no “health plan” or retirement plan, and I’m not getting any younger, scares me some. I cannot put myself back into a job situation like I had before. I don’t want to own property or have that kind of responsibility. I really just want to do my work of teaching, writing, being in community, gardening, and such, in a warm climate that is easy on my body. If I really move to Crete, can I make a go of it there? I can get DSL and teach online. I can do web work. I can network and teach in Israel and Europe, but those are very occasional gigs. I can offer workshops on Crete. If Moira is also there we can do some of this together, and if it works out find a property to do a project on...but the projects are not dependent on this. We can also rent a pasture and tent in it for workshops. I need to make some kinds of provisions for health care, since I may be needing to be a recipient. If I stay in the US I can be in California, but I’d need to create a warm dry winter living space. I suppose I could insulate the yome and make it into a warmer space...it’s already dried in. I can do what I want to there but it’s in the US which is a consideration, and who else will live there? I need to be in a warmer dryer climate much of the time, so I am seeing my real options as California, or somewhere out west in the US, or Greece. The northern climes are not going to be good for me in the long run.
Now my faith is being tested.
Saturday 26 May 2007, 9:43
Last night I attended a neighborhood party. There were 25 or so people there, including a Dutch guy with his two teenaged sons. Their mother died a couple of years ago. She was Phillipina, so the boys have asian features. The father and I talked and ended up discussing, of course, how things are happening in the world. It was so interesting to me to hear what he had to say. He is aware of global climate change, the pointlessness of working for “the man” (my lingo not his) and he is responsible for his sons, and feels he has no choice but to work for the money to provide for them. He also expressed deep concern, to the point of tears, over what kind of world his childrenn will inherit, and their children. At one point I spoke to the youngest one about how his generation will need to learn things that his father’s generation hasn’t learned, about water and energy conservation, growing food and making peace. This boy is probably 12, just prepubescent. He listened, and his father asked him if he understood and he nodded.
I also had a conversation with another neighbor. This guy is Chief Engineer on a container ship which sails in the Pacific. He is on his way to Manilla in a week to start a 6 month stint. We ended up talking about how shit is wasted through modern “waste” processes, and how people could be growing more of their own food and fertilizing the ground. He also shared with me some of his thoughts about how separated people are in “western” societies, whereas he has seen, in the “far east” how people are often more communal in the ways they live with and near each other, and share.
It was a fun and interesting evening. Apparently this was the first such gathering in this neighborhood, so it was really an event.
The weather has become cloudy, rainy, damp, and my bones are really feeling it. This kind of northern weather really screws with my arthritis, and my spinal disc problems. I cannot stand up or walk without sciatic pain down my left leg, as bad as I’ve ever had it. Not fun. Once I am living on Crete this won't be an issue!
Monday 21 May 2007, 17:36
It's getting warmer here in northern Germany. The sun is out, the bugs are flying, the birds are singing, and I am continuing my visit in the woods with my friends. They've been very kind and welcoming. I had three workshops scheduled in this area, two of which were cancelled due to participants dropping out, and one I taught but made no money, so I am relying on these kind friends to house and feed me for the time being. It's a very weird feeling of dependency, and also very loving to be cared for.
Here is a new photo, taken on Crete in early April.
This is an intense time for me. I have some alone time in a quiet nice place, which makes space for all kinds of things to come up.
I am in this experience of not earning the money I thought I’d earn from three workshops, two of which have been cancelled and one of which was a zero sum. As a result I have enough money to contribute some towards food and to get back to the Netherlands, where my next paying gig is at the end of June. The two friends who live in this neighborhood have very kindly offered to feed me and put me up until I go. I’m here working on a project with one of them, Reclaiming Crete, and also keeping the possibility of doing some kind of Pagan Cluster action for the G8 which happens not so far from here.
The European Reclaiming folks are in various parts of the community building process. Cultural idiosyncracies and imprints often inform our actions significantly, and I am seeing that in myself, my communications, expectations, and perspectives as well as in the folks I am meeting and working with.
The question of the moment is, where lies the responsibility for the traveling teacher’s bed and board, a bag of tobacco, train fare? Is it my job to make sure I have everything handled? Well of course it is. And when people are enthusiastic about an event and then back out near the last minute, what of the teacher’s care then? If I were traveling with cash reserves I’d use that to live on, but I’m not. There is the energy that goes into putting requested workshops together, when people have said they wanted it, and then there is no energy return in the form of money because the workshop doesn’t happen. So I am baffled because I think it’s my grown up responsibility to manage these kinds of things effectively, and at the same time I came to the region by invitation to offer workshops which 8 months ago people told me were wanted, but which fall apart at the last minute.
Some friends says...charge more, be strict about deposits and not lowering fees for people so easily. I see the practicality in that. I’ve had this idealistic hope that somehow I don’t have to do that, that people will come through with what they say, that I will somehow be “taken care of” by workshop revenues. I guess that was unrealistic.
Then I think...geez, why should I have enough to eat and a good place to sleep, so many people don’t have either. I know I like being that comfortable, and it makes it easier for me to do what I do if my body is fed, rested, and not hurting. Is what I do really good service to the world? Should I be doing something else? Is this money thing feedback for me to use in re-evaluating and adjusting? Seems so.
I’ve been able to get a closer look at the privilege I’ve enjoyed in my life, in terms of little things like...almost always enough food, good food, ability to wash clothes easily, transportation, and all the other creature comforts which most people I know take for granted. People in Europe also take things for granted, but there is also a different scale. The people I know snack less, do laundry less frequently, are often conscious of how much electricity they use, how much water, gasoline, etc. Israel is a different picture that I can’t characterize simply, as my experience is very limited. Things are changing in North America and a lot of people, who aren’t accustomed to it, are paying attention to these things more, and I notice the aforementioned differences here. I am comfortable and happy with a lot less than I once had, and I have the feeling that I will continue in this direction.
So, more questions, more observations, not necessarily any clear answers.
Wednesday 16 May 2007, 13:18
This is my second full day in Ottersberg, staying with a friend in a little wooden house in a wooded neighborhood. Another friend lives nearby and I’ll be staying with her part of the time I’m here too. It’s raining today. It’s very green here, and quiet except for the birds and some gentle wind.
I’m in discharge mode, to use some RC lingo...feeling a lot. This is the first quiet peaceful alone time I’ve had in a while, and I’ve been having so many strong experiences...I am someone who needs time to think about, feel about, integrate. So that’s what I’m doing. It’s a relief to have time alone in a quiet green place, to be able to listen to my ownp thoughts, and to take time out from the intensity of the work.
I’m also rereading one of my favorite books, InGathering by Zenna Henderson. If you’re looking for a great read, get it!
Saturday 12 May 2007, 17:25
Today was day two of an Iron Pentacle workshop. It’s going well. The group is very small which is more work than a larger group, and the people are sweet and real about the magical work. This one won’t generate any funds for living on...I am learning that I have to ask for a minimum amount of money when people organize workshops for me to teach. I never really want to have a set fee because I don’t want people to be put off and not participate. I’m re-evaluating this money process.
I am not in my full strengthhere right now. The moon is waning, I’ve been changing climates, from Holland's cool damp to Paris' hot and muggy to Israel's HOT and dry to Germany's cool and damp; and I’m in a place that holds a lot of really intense history some of which I feel directly conencted to as a jewish person. I do feel horrified. I purposely scheduled Israel and then Germany because I figured the juxtaposition would be a good piece of work for me. It is. It’s hard to describe. I feel really exhausted. I have also been going full tilt for a number of months, so that’s a major contributor to feeling exhausted, and I need country time. I see that people drive rudely and dangerously. I see people not smiling in the street. I also do see people smiling. I am staying with people who rescue animals, and they told me that regularly there are poisoned sausages or meat with razor blades left in the bushes in the parks, and that dogs go for these (apparently this is who they are intended for) and get badly injured, sick, and many die a horrbile death. The city of Hamburg is lush with parks, and I saw 2 police vans and 6 police in a park where people were walking their dogs. It’s another place with the same contradictions I’ve written about in previous entries. Human culture is unfolding similarly in a lot of places; alienation, violence, denial, consumerism, corrupt politics with military industrial complex at it’s heart, etc. etc.
So I wonder what my ancestors think of me being here, and doing this work here. I wonder about the ancestors of this place and all of the history that exists in this region going back thousands of years.
I shared with the friend I am staying with that I am processing on some deep level this trip to Israel and this trip to Germany and it’s taking some energy that would otherwise be available for other things like, not napping. It’s good to identify this stuff. It keeps unfolding.
Friday 11 May 2007, 12:09
I’m in Hamburg, Germany. I’m staying with some folks who have been teaching me about the level of totalitarianism in Germany, from cameras and listening posts in the town to the regular protests and high level of police brutality. I’ve seen some videos that look like a war between police and the people, and I’m told this happens on a regular basis.
I am also encountering that regularly occuring issue of money. Many people in Europe have talked with me about the different ethos about money between Europe and the US; less donation mentality in Europe. This is impacting me because I am in Germany to teach workshops that, as things stand now, will end up providing me with no funds to live on. I plan on addressing this in the workshops, because I am without savings and have asked friends and family for funds in the last few months and am reluctant to do so again right now. But I need money to take trains to places where I am teaching, and money to buy food. So anyone wanting to contribute to my upkeep, please let me know. I will be pursing this matter in the work itself as well.
Monday I will go to Bremen and stay in a country place with friends who live next to the forest. I am hungry for this quiet rural life, and can hardly wait to get there.
Monday 7 May 2007, 8:01
I came to Israel to teach a workshop, to meet people, to learn about the place and what’s happening here.
The workshop took place from Thursday through Saturday at a permaculture farm in the south. The farm is a beautiful funky place where people live in tents mostly, and mixed medium structures. We met in a round mud building with beautifully sculpted walls. I slept in a small mud dome building. There are composting toilets, and lots of food growing which was prepared for us in delicious vegan meals.
The participants were Israelis, mostly people in their 20’s. In addition to the workshop material, we spent time discussing political issues among other things. I received an education about how life is in Israel. I asked lots of questions and learned that contrary to the media portrayal, there are many people here who want peace. There are many places where jews, muslims, and christians live side by side peacefully. There is a lot of propaganda on the television and in the press to keep people in a state of conflict.
I heard bombs going off in the distance...10 miles away. I heard helicopters on their retaliatory runs, and gunfire. I was made aware that there is poverty in Israel, homelessness, drug addiction. This is a theocracy. The state subsidizes religious people to live in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The territories are not considered part of Israel so that the Palestinian people there will not have rights as citizens; the right to vote, benefits of health care, education.
I was invited to go to Jericho, which is on the other side of the green line, for a concert on Saturday night. I found out from three Israelis, one of them an Arab, that I could go but no Israeli’s would be permitted to go with me. I heard from an Israeli man who happens to be a soldier and a refusnik (we met on the plane from Milan to Tel Aviv) that it would be fine for me to go with Israelis accompanying me. Conflicting information. I contacted the people who invited me, and received a message from them (on Sunday, after the concert) that in fact an Israeli had gone with them to Jericho with no problem. I didn’t go to Jericho in part because logistically after the workshop we needed to get my co-teacher back to her home, and also because none of the Israelis I was with felt that they could go to Jericho. The Israelis, and me, were hoodwinked by the government policy to discourage Israelis from crossing the green line, from being side by side with Palestinians.
Here’s what I learned. It seems that there is a concerted investment, on the part of the government, to keep Israelis from feeling safe in Palestinian territory. It seems that there is an investment in maintaining the conflict. Peace is avoided. People coming together is discouraged. As an american I know that the US government is controlled largely by the military industrial complex; greedy warmongering weapons producers and sellers. This has been a significant part of the US for decades. I see that the Israeli government, too, as a puppet of the US and recipient of military and other “aid” is also controlled by the military industrial complex.
The ongoing conflict here is usually defined as a cultural and religious one. While it is true that these are ingredients, the stirring of the pot, the maintaining of the fire under the pot, is signifcantly due to the military industrial complex. Money is made by making sure that the Palestinians and Israelis stay at war. Yes there is a racist aspect to it. Yes there is a fundamentalist religious zealotry which is subsidized by the government which contributes to the war. Israel is, after all, a theocracy, as the US is gradually becoming. But more than anything it looks to me, with my limited information and exposure, and perspectives which are still being formed, that the war here is intentionally maintained for the profit of the world war mongers; for example, people like George H.W. Bush, former president of the US and currently premier weapons salesman for the Carlyle Group based in Washington, D.C. There is a new war plane, the F-22, which the US is going to provide to Israel soon. It is postulated by some here that this will be used by Israel to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities, thus allowing US interests to be served without direct US involvement, much as when Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear installation years ago. Of course this puts Israelis at risk of retaliation from neighboring Arab states, but it covers the US ass and accomplishes the goal of keeping things in this region unstable. US oil interests are of course prominent in this equation. We know now that lots of oil is “disappearing” in Iraq...gee I wonder where it’s going? Is Haliburton siphoning it off for sale on the balck market or to fuel their evangelistic mercenary army? How is the Bush family pocketbook doing through all this? Are they profiting anywhere near as much as they did when they invested heavily in the nazi steel industry in the 1930’s and 1940’s? Probably more!
OK, by now anyone reading this is beginning to get the point. It’s complicated here. I do not, by any means, have the whole picture, but it is clear that the world is being lied to about what is happening here, and why. It is clear that, like wars all over the world, there are huge profits being made by the warlords in Washington, London, Moscow. It is clear that the people of Earth are manipulated, using propaganda, economic pressures, and religion, to hate and be in conflict with “others,” all in service to the warlords. Blood and money are what people like Cheney and the Bush’s are after. They spend the money and, what, drink the blood? The blood of young soldiers is poured upon the earth to serve their greed for conquest. This isn’t new. The church of rome has done this for nearly two millenia. Think of the crusades, the inquisition, the ongoing parasitic relationship the church has with poor catholics all around the world, sucking money out of them to maintain religious hegemony. So it is with capitalism, one of the world’s other major religions.
The young people who attended the workshop are, for the most part, trying to find the inspiration to make change. They are swimming upstream against a strong current. They are fighting the indoctrination they’ve received in schools and which is continually pumped into the group mind via the media. This group, euro-descended mostly middle class israelis, and aware of their status, vocalized wanting peace. Many of them had beein through experiences of dialogue with Palestinian young people who also want peace. Most of them had also served in the Israeli army, and talked with me about those experiences; not all combat experiences. I met a young person who is queer identified and not in a binary gender box who is currently serving in the army at a checkpoint, and is the only soldier at a checkpoint who refuses to carry a gun.
There are people in Israel doing personal magical and political work to effect change. Some of these people know each other. I bet dollars to donuts that there are many many more doing this work as solitaries, in relative isolation, unaware that they are not actually alone.
Wednesday 2 May 2007, 21:56
Today I visited Mt. Tavor, and the Sea of Gallilee. I arrived in israel 2 days ago, just in time for a wonderful Beltane ritual in a field under the full moon and stars, in Hadera, where I also spent the next day with the woman who is co-teaching the workshop with me. We planned the workshop details yesterday, and then I came to Karmiele, which is in the mountains north east of Haifa.
I have heard of Israel for most of my life from family and friends, and of course in the media. I have been told I would immediately feel at home here, and that the people would seem familiar to me. This isn’t exactly what I’m experiencing. The land is beautiful desert, with places of various agriculture, settlements, towns and cities. There is a familiarity there since I have spent time in other desert places, but the land doesn’t resonate in my bones the way Crete does. The people do have a quality that is like me however, as a jew. There is a boistrous quality to conversation, people interrupt each other (which I have always struggled with) but unabashedly so. That’s actually comfortable to me. I don’t feel like I have to “tone it down” the way I usually do. I see similarities. I have also not spent most of my life around lots of other jewish people, so I feel something like relief to be around people who are somewhat similar, but that’s where it ends. I have encountered nationalism in a person that i didn’t expect it from, and also a lot of openness and a strong desire for peace in others.
I see fear in people’s eyes. I hear a kind of ennui insome people’s voices. There is pressure. There are metal detectors and guards at the entrances to shopping malls.
I have not been to the occupied territories, and probably won’t make it on this trip. I am, however, aware that not far away there is violence, strife, oppression, activism, struggle. I don’t fully understand the politics here, and Israeli’s tell me they don’t either. I am getting some bits of clarity though, and have ideas for peacemaking. The ideas need development, and I will be talking them over with people here and elsewhere for some time. I do feel called to come back here to work with permaculture, magic, healing, and peacemaking. That call is strong. It’s not a “call home” but it is a call nonetheless.
The workshop starts tomorrow. We have 48 hours roughly to do work that could easily be a weeklong workshop, or more. I have some performance not-quite anxiety but apprehension. I hope the work is good for people and that i do a good job. The woman I am co-teaching with is a powerhouse, but the material is mostly my invention so I’m taking the lead, but I am SO glad to be working with her as she knows the people who are coming, and she lives here, and she’s clearly a powerful priestess.
More to come...
Thursday 26 Avril 2007, 16:34
This has been a fantastic day. I slept until I was done. I went out for cafée and pain au chocolat. I walked through the west part of Paris to Bois de Bologne, a large park. I took my time. I found woods where fairies are. I met and spoke a little with a Guyanese guy who knew of Nevis. I went to Palais de Chaillot...fabulous view of Tour Eiffel. I walked back...sore feet but no new blisters! I must have walked 6 miles.
Looking into people’s eyes as I walked, I saw that many look but don’t see. Some looked back briefly. In the park, as I was leaving, saw a woman enetering the park paying homage to a tree...we shared a smile.
I asked myself about the sadness I sometimes feel. I discern between the personal sadness and the response to feeling vibrations of disruption. I felt the hive activity, and it’s place in the greater whole.
I though to myself at one point, how nice it would be to share this experience with someone. And I knew...I am. I didn’t feel alone.
Now I’m back in the apartment eating wonderful food, relaxing.
I love my job!
Monday 23 Avril 2007, 12:24
Finally alone in this room for a day. Space. The sadness comes welling out. Tears, body shaking. What a relief! The image as I sob, this body in this room in this city on this land, this continent, this earth, the feelings sending waves out of me, concentric circles of release, vibrating out from this little tiny spot in the cosmos, rippling out like a sphere, out into the space between the worlds, between the planets and stars and galaxies.
Working with this pentacle of freedom comprised of the pentacles of iron, pearl, and air...
...running it through me..head, right foot, left hand, right hand, left foot, head...feeling the meaning of the words as they echo inside me...feeling how I do and do not live these principles...seeing where I get stuck in local reality as if I were really just this person with this name when really I am/we are the great IS expressing itself by taking these forms.
I read the news. I see the people on the street. I read things said by people in “my” community. I read an amazing piece by Larry Kramer.
Why do so many of us cling to our smallness? Why do so many of us fight to stay disconnected? What a hard way to learn.
Friday 20 April 2007, 11:22
I’m still in Paris. I have 10 more days until I fly to Israel. I’m also still nursing blistered feet. Both feet have one patch where I am down to just a few layers of skin. Literally blisters formed upon the raw skin under the first set of blisters. I went walking before my feet were really ready. Next step is tape over the raw skin (once it’s not too raw) and then I’ll be walking around again. It’s been good, actually, to be in the apartment, focusing on workshop design, think, stuff like that.
I have been following events in the US. The terrible events in Virginia are, of course, very disturbing. What I don’t see in the commercial media is any analysis of the context, just information about the shooter, the grieving, profiles of the dead. I have not watched any of the videos or crime scene sensationalism which seems to be what most media outlets are presenting to the public. The fear mongering is really disgusting. Honestly, I don’t know how the media wonks can sleep at night knowing that they are pumping this toxic stuff into the minds of millions. It’s a disgrace.
I wrote to a couple of friends this morning “When I'm in my small local self I feel sad and scared about the world. When I pull out to spirit, to global cosmic view even, I am more amused and loving, and see a longer view.” Traveling makes it easier to be in the latter state more often, but as I settle into a place, and I have been here for 9 days, I feel the rhythm of that place and become more engaged in the personal aspects of existance.
I wake up around 9 or so, have a cup of coffee, clean up the kitchen from the night before, check email, go out for bread, cheese, fruit, juice, come back, read, write, listen to music, etc. I know which boulangerie to go to, which fruit stand and grocery store, so I walk knowing where I’m going. The initial wonder of “I’m in Paris!” has changed to “I’m in another big busy city.”
Going down to the center of the city is different because the grandeur, the river, the iconic sites, are there and command a different kind of attention. I don’t know that I would ever come to see them as commonplace, no matter how long I was here, but who knows.
On the 30th I fly to Tel Aviv, to be in Israel for a week. I’ll be teaching a workshop on three pentacles; iron, pearl, and air. Also I hope to see some permaculture sites, make contacts for possible future visits.
Monday 16 April 2007, 14:33
Yesterday we went to Musée D’Orsay. Today the friend I am staying with is working, his roomate is still asleep, his sister flew back to the US this morning after stopping in Paris for the weekend en route from Riga. I just came back from a walk around Monmartre and surrounding neighborhoods east.
Musée D’Orsay is amazing. The building, like The Louvre, is magnificent. We saw the Impressionests of course. I learned more about Impressionism yesterday than in the whole rest of my life. I saw works by Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, and many others whose names I don’t remember right now. Wonderful, amazing, like eating very rich food; dense, pleasureable, can’t do too much at once. We spent about 3 1/2 hours in the museum yesterday.
My feet have a tendency to blister, and since the Louvre I’ve had some big blisters to contend with. It makes walking a bit tender and tentative, so I am taking periods of not walking, just hanging out in the apartment. This is actually fine because Paris is a lot, and I need a calmer place to be in between explorations.
Saturday April 14 2007, 17:36
In the Italian Painting collection on display at the Louvre, there are some basic themes. Much religious iconography, Christian and Pre-Christian; sacred imaginings, saints being martyred, Mary and child, greek youths at wat, heroes being slain, Napolean crowning himself Emperor, it goes on and on. I spent two hours or so and saw the tiniest fraction of what’s on exhibit, which is 10% of the actual collection.
The theme of what I am calling “the death of beauty” prevailed in the paintings I saw. Beautiful martyrs, one with a Fairy attending, one with a horseman and a shadow attending as her halo hovered over her drowned face while she floated, bound, in the water. There was a painting of two Greek youths, one with a spear about to throw it at the other weilding a sword...both naked except for helmets, beautiful...and between them a maiden in white with her hands stretched out, palms towards the combatants, to stop them. Incredible.
The death of beauty, though; the connecting of suffering and divinity and beauty, is such a setup for people. Either we are beautiful and good and we suffer and die miserably, or we aren’t those things. Firstly, this is binary...humans aren’t binary. Second, These don’t seem like healthy choices to me, either of them.
If we are in a process of returning to concenus societies, and obviously we have a ways to go, it’s important that we see ourselves with a greater sense of dimensionality. There is a saying in Feri “I would know myself in all my parts” which pretty well says it. If we at least strive to know ourselves in all our parts, then we can learn to accept each other.
Saturday 14 April 2007, 10:50
Yesterday consisted of good food, lots of walking, amazing art, and more of Paris.
Strawberries are in season and I’ve been eating them for breakfast the last couple of days. Crossant, pain au chocolat...somehow it’s all a little more delicious just for being in Paris. Bread, cheese, wine, etc...
We went to the Louvre at 6 when the price goes down on Fridays. It really is an amazing place. The palace itself is just massive, the pyramid is amazing, there were probably a few thousand people there...and of course art.
First we saw some egyptian tablets and funerary objects. Then we went upstairs to the Italian paintings.
OK it may seem cliché to go see the Mona Lisa, but a friend of mine told me I really had to see her, so we did. She really is amazing. I get it. This painting is working on multiple levels. It’s beautifully painted, and she does have the famous enigmatic smile, but there’s a lot more to it than that. She follows you with her eyes as you move through the room, and as she follows, as one moves in the room, her expression changes. Close up it’s a beautiful painting, but from 3 or 4 meters back it’s a three dimensional almost holographic image. Also, her gaze, with dark silent eyes, offers an experience of being seen deep in one’s soul by this placid kindly-looking woman. I also looked at the people looking at the painting, and one can see in some faces, this relaxed, trance-like state taking over while they gaze at her and she at them.
I had forgotten that a statue I had heard of since childhood is also in the museum, so coming upon Venus de Milo was a really wonderful surprise. It is a full body experience for me to be in the presence of these objects, to have even the tiniest sense of their pasts. More art to come.
My feet are blistered and my back is creaking, so today I’m going to lay low, which is fine. I feel very paced and not rushed about Paris. Plus, it’s such an intense place, personally taking it in gradual doses feels pretty good.
Oh and yes, thank you Brooklyn friends, I did have the best falafel of my life yesterday in the Marais.
Wednesday 11 April 2007, 10:01
Paris! I got here yesterday evening, visited with my friend some...then we went walking; Sacre Couer, Notre Dame, the Seine...just a taste of this huge stone and flesh city. You can feel the limestone of the foundation of the place. And the river. It’s hot. It’s full of people.
I feel myself adjusting to this new experience...I’ll keep you all posted on that.
Tomorrow is my 47th birthday. I never really believed
my life could take the turns it’s taken. I am so happy with
the choices I’m making these days. I continue to meet wonderful
really interesting people. It is amazing to see these palces on
Earth that I have read about and heard about and dreamt about. There
is the amazingness of them and the ordinaryness of them. Life is
life wherever one goes. Paris is just another city, another place
of human habitation built on a gorgeous spot, and it’s Paris
the grand beauty.
I learned last night that Paris is laid out in a spiral...I was immediately thinking, urban witchcamp walking the spiral from power spot to power spot...wow!
Monday 9 April 2007, 8:34
I’m back in Holland for a few days before proceeding on to Paris. I just spent a week on Crete which has fast become one of my favorite places. There are too many good things to say about the place so I won’t go into detail right now, but the sun and the people and the food and the pace and the ancient sites...wow!
It’s interesting to be back in “civilization.” I checked in with some news media to see more of the same. No surprise there.
I did have some experiences on Crete which I will share in a later blog entry. Suffice to say that glimpses into the distant past, and learning more about the process of patriarchy over the last 7000 years, along with what I already knew about how things are now on Earth, all coalescing in my mind into some clearer visions of humanity’s trajectory. There is more than enough reason to have hope, faith even, that we are on a path which leads not to ultimate destruction but full circle, back to experiencing wholeness and connection. One of the keys to unlocking this future is our individual and collective will to be fully who we are, despite the immense efforts made to distract us, consumerize us, militarize us, commodify us, etc. So feel your heart sisters and brothers! It’s one big family on earth, and as more and more of us see that, feel that, and be that, the sooner we can get beyond these illusions that the many mad underdeveloped powermongers want us to believe in.
Make eye contact
Eat good food
Wednesday 28 March 2007, 14:13
Spring is here. Skies are blue, the sun is shining, there are more birds, flowers are blooming, leaves are unfolding. It’s beautiful. yesterday we worked in the garden in Arnhem planting an herb spiral and some other edibles, and a teenaged girl planted a fruit tree in the garden as part of her birthday celebration. That was also very sweet. I threw my back out carrying bags of compost, I thought I could do it but...well I have learned my lesson. No more lifting.
Last weekend was the Iron Pentacle workshop. It went very well. The work was sincere, people did the work they needed to do. It felt good to start getting back into the swing of teaching. It’d been since last summer and I realized I needed to “warm up” a bit. I also had a co-teacher who is skilled and kind and who I like.
I continue to visit, in conversations in the teaching, in community, questions about how we function, as humans, in community, in diversity. Conflict seems to be such a relevant part of our experience, and yet so much of it seems divisive and counterproductive to me. Certainly we grow through our internal conflicts, or at least we can. Our external conflicts are, by many spiritual disciplines, seen as manifestations of our inner conflicts, so looking at the world, what does that tell us about ourselves? Does it suggest that by working on our inner conflicts we can resolve the outer ones? Are there evil people, or only evil deeds?
Friday 23 March 2007, 15:27
Today is a day to rest, not go anywhere, get caught up with email and such. Yay! I am in need of such a day. Tomorrow and Sunday I co-teach Iron pentacle, and then a week of basic chill before heading to Crete.
Wednesday at sundown we held a Spring Equinox ritual at Stenenhoft, an abandoned pier in the old Amsterdam Harbor. There were 12 of us. The pier is a sandy spit out into the Amstel River. In summer it’s a beach.
We had a fire, and called back the light. We drummed and danced and sang. It was beautiful. A variety of people came. Some are Reclaiming witches. Some are from Asatrud tradition, and some probably from other pagan paths. There was a contingency of queer anarcho punx too which was really great. There were circles around Earth celebrating the equinox and calling out to the change in seasons. There was drumming around the world. I received an email which said:
...some informations about tomorrow's equinox. It seems some native american people (in mexico - i don't remember their name) have a prophecy that the day 8000 drums will be played at the same time, the real healing of the earth will begin, so the proposal is to drum at the time of the equinox (this night at 1:00) or tomorrow at noon...
Wednesday 21 March 2007, 14:48
It’s been nearly a month that I’ve been in Holland, nearly one full moon cycle. I am getting a feel for the place, the land which is really a giant wetland, and the cities which exist in spite of the swamp they are built on. There is so much water, and it informs everything from the roof lines to the agriculture to the emotional tone. Riding on the train one sees huge fiellds with polders, ditches dug the width of the field for drainage, and they are full of water. Larger streams connect the polders, and occasionally there is a larger yet stream with wider earthworks to conatin them, and these are at a different level than the polders in the fields. There are ducks, geese, swans, and other birds, in the water and in the fields. When I look at the clouds, whether it’s raining, snowing, or hailing, they feel like oceanic clouds, the kinds of storms one would encounter at sea.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city. OK I said it. I actually like another city. Someone said to me yesterday that it’s easy to feel the magic and fall in love with the wild, but it’s harder in the cities, the implication that it’s needed in the cities but it’s harder work.
Tuesday 20 March 2007, 21:40
I am enjoying myself so much. Today I went with some friends to the Biblioteca Philosophica Hermetica, a library of a variety of hermetic and esoteric texts, some over 500 years old. There is so much there! I looked up a few things and wrote down a few book names, and I saw a most fascinating Kabbalistic Tree of Life with each Sefirot being a wheel of paper with ten names on it in arabic, so each wheel could be turned showing different possible configurations. It comes to 100 billion possibilities I think. Much to ponder there!
I’ve been having discussions with people about the concepts of evil and good, why people react to difference, about intention and action and activism.
Tomorrow evening we are having a public Equinox ritual in Amsterdam by a pier in the harbor. We will be drumming, and someone posted to a list today that there is a native north american prophecy about 8000 drums on equinox, so we’re going to do our part.
I have a dear friend in Vermont and today I met her sister who lives here; a radical queer anarcho punk awesome person. Very fun!
I continue to delve into the rifts between pagans here in Holland, and to learn different people’s stories. I perceive good intention, magical talent, and commitment, and also projection, unclear communication, and reaction. These seem to be key issues in how humans stay disconnected from each other.
I am enjoying walking down the streets of Amsterdam, over the bridges, along the canals. Like New Orleans, another watery city, the city is circular. Amsterdam is a series of concentric rings...canal, streets, another canal, more streets...so it starts to feel familiar to me in that there is this meander around which the city is formed. It also helps to make it confusing to get around, but today I walked a lot, with a map, so I am seeing how the city is not really that big, and it’s starting to make sense.
Monday 19 March 2007, 14:05
Yesterday was our first workshop in Amsterdam. This was on creating ritual and developing priestessing skills. There were ten participants and two teachers. It went well! It was fun, enjoyable for people to be together doing this work, and it seemed to me that the participants were able to learn and discuss skills, practice them, take some chances, and make some connections.
This morning it snowed for a while, big flakes. I went to the dentist. I got lost of course walking, but finally took a taxi, and of course it was very close to where I was. The taxi driver was Morrocan, and was born in Tangiers 3 months after I was there with my father and two of my brothers in August 1969. That was a fun connection...small but personal.
My mouth hurts a bit now that the novocaine is wearing off. I had three small areas of decaying erosion drilled and filled by a guy practicing “American Dentistry.” He was trained at Baylor. Anyway I had emailed him photos of my teeth courtesy of my great dentist in Vermont, and so he was ready to go when I got there. It took, maybe an hour. That cost me €170 euros, which is around $230.
So now my mouth hurts and I am going to hit the sack for a while.
Tuesday 13 March 2007, 10:59
Yesterday was quite great. I am visiting with a friend who works in Utrecht as a manager in an agency which coordinates multiple centers providing service to homeless, addicted and ill people. We visited a day station where people can have a shower, get clean clothes, eat, sleep, use drugs in a clean safe environment, get clean needles, all based in a harm reduction model. It’s been open for 5 years and one of the most interesting things, to me, is that as the population has changed (by going through this day station, and some proceeding into hostels where life gradually becomes more and more stable) the approach of the facility is continully re-evaluated and adjusted to fit the needs of the folks being served. The model is horizontal power sharing as much as possible, really standing alongside people instead of above them.
We also visited a hostel for alcoholics which has opened a couple of months ago. It’s a former police station that has been beautifully redone inside to be comfortable and cozy, while affording people privacy, access to laundry and bathrooms and kitchen, and a safe place to drink. We met a guy there who told me how much better it is for him to be living somewhere safe, and how much it helps him. i could see that he had become more engaged with life having a place to live. A basic thing, which many people take for granted, but when you have no sense of a place to be safe, that taxes a person mightily.
Then we were given a tour of a home in Baarn by two directors of agencies involved. This place serves people with serious physical illness, many of whom are also addicted. Some have HIV. It’s in a great house in a very posh neighborhood, with nurses and a doctor always on staff as well as social workers.
These descriptions don’t do justice to the caring person-centered flexible yet defined qualities. There isn’t a punitive backdrop, or an expectation that people should be choosing to “recover” from their addictions, or become abstinent. Rather there is an intention of meeting people where they are, providing opportunities for varieties of care including self care; treating people with respect and recognizing their dignity. The results so far seem to be that a significant number of people (who go through the process of first the day station and then into safe healthy residential experiences) do gradually internalize the stability that is around them in these settings, and do take better care of themselves, whether or not they continue to use.
After this amazing day of seeing these places, meeting people and learning, mostly in Dutch (my friend translated quite a lot and I understood a little, and folks did speak english some of the time) we went back to her home. This woman is one more amazing person I am fortunate to know. Her home is beautiful and open, with many paintings she created on the walls. The paintings are moving, powerful, beautiful, many with mythic subjects. The son of my friend is 11; somewhat otherworldy, incredibly perceptive and sweet, with depth that I imagine contains resources for a very interesting life.
I slept there last night, and now I’m on the train back to Alkmaar. Tomorrow the friend I am staying with in Alkmaar will go to Leiden to see his daughter who is at university there, and I will accompany.
In the last few days I’ve been in Middleburg, a very old city, the forest near Arnhem, Utrecht, Baarn. Springtime has arrived in Holland and there are starting to be Magnolias in bloom, daffodils, crocuses, and tulips are just starting in some gardens. I’ve taken the train a lot and also ridden in cars, and seen fields, dikes, woods, lakes and rivers, cities, farms, and lots of people of course. I continue to drink it in.
P.S. There is a really sad but important story at commondreams.org...link.
\Monday 5 March 2007, 14:22
Last night I met with some of the folks organizing and co-teaching with me in Holland this month. We met in Amsterdam at a woman’s apartment. The city is filled with large apartment buildings, and this one has space in a courtyard where there are some garden beds in a brick structure, and some potted plants like bamboo and fir trees. I saw some balconies facing into the courtyard that had hanging boxes with plants, but mostly I saw space that could be put to good use growing vegetables herbs in boxes, and even fruit trees in tubs. Urban gardening exists but I think it would be incredibly useful in so many ways if it were to really catch on. Some of the factors include, less expense for food, less fossil fuels being used to transport food, the satisfaction of growing food, the community feeling that occurs when neighbors are out gardening, the option of growing organic food, reduction in C02 due to more plant activity.
Our meeting was good. I learned some more about the pagan communities here. There are many different traditions being practiced within the Nederlands, and they are not all in good graces with each other apparently. It’s that old human story where we are more alike than different, but we focus on differences, which can create alienation and even hostility. I wonder what it will take for us humans to “get it” and make the qualitative changes in ourselves, to get past this destructive and wasteful cycle.
We went then to the Hexencafé at Café Mono. There were probably 20 or 25 pagan identified witchy people there from various traditions. Some were garbed in moderate goth costume. Some folks knew each other and engaged in vigorous conversation. I was introduced to a group of people, but after the introduction they didn’t seem interested in having conversation and went on their separate ways into other discussions in the room. That was interesting to experience. I am still not sure what to make of it.
I feel very much that I am in a stage of gathering information by meeting people, listening to a lot of Dutch, watching how people behave and how they live here. So I am not in a place to draw conclusions as I am just starting to gather the pieces to the puzzle. It is interesting, however, to see how busy and even hurried people seem to be. This may be just because I’m seeing mostly urban life.
I did meet a dentist on the Tram last night. He is an American, from Hong Kong, practicing dentistry in Holland. I will email him the photos my dentist in Vermont took, and see what he says about repairing my teeth.
So far, if I am to sum up the last week being here, I do feel a little like a fish out of water, but not like I am gasping for breath; more like finding feet and legs to stand on, gradually. Last night I took the train from Amsterdam to Arnhem at 22:22, the the bus in Arnhem across the river to near where I am staying. I got lost, and walked from 00:15 to 1:45 today when my friend, who couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t back yet, called and talked me through finding my way to her house. That was interesting, to be out late at night in a Dutch town, really lost. I didn’t get freaked out at all. I figured I could always just sleep somewhere and call my friend in the morning (I didn’t want to wake her up by calling). Things I saw while walking: ducks from the canal snoozing on a grassy median, rabbits crossing the street, trash in drainage ditches, very little traffic, no police.
I guess that’s it for now. Oh one more thing. My class at Beuna Vista University in Iowa starts today, with 29 students. This will be fun and interesting.
Saturday 3 March 2007, 18:55
Today I attended a workshop in Amsterdam led by Ton van der Kroon. The topic was interesting; the spiritual implications of current Dutch political and environmental policies. The most interesting part of the presentation, to me, was looking at the country as a human body, looking at the spiritual energy flow in the country through the model of chakras. One of the points made was that Netherlands (from the point of view of the presenter) tends to focus from the heart chakra up, not focusing on the “lower” chakras. One of the reasons given is that Holland, a land of much water, is in some denial about that water, problems with dikes as well as problems dealing with feelings (which are governed by water in a number of metaphysical frameworks). Certainly there is water everywhere here. The fields have puddles of standing water. There are drainage ditches and canals all over. There are large parts of the country that were reclaimed from the sea; dikes built, water pumped out, Earth transformed. Apparently, too, there are dikes which are not in great shape or which will be inadequate for the job of keeping the sea out should sea levels rise (which is happening as a result of global climate change). Also it turns out that, like New Orleans, the people responsible for the dikes do not always pay them the necessary attention. More and more I think government is, by it's very nature, corrupt and irresponsible, wherever one goes.
Interestingly, much of the discussion included acknowledging the problem with being more in one’s head than in one’s body, yet the speakers stayed in their heads. I am new here, so my observations are based on a small amount of time and are culture-bound, but it seemed to me that people were on the edge of their seats to have a more embodied experience, but it wasn’t happening. We did, after lunch, form a large circle and people had the opportunity to speak to the group.
The whole thing was conducted in Dutch, which also presented challenges for me. I understand a little bit, and some words are close to their english counterparts. I also was fortunate that the friend I was with did some translating for me. All in all it was a good experience. I feel very much that I am gathering information, having new experiences, and just allowing all that to collect within me.
Yesterday I went for a walk to a lake in Alkmaar. This is right next to a farm, behind the housing area where my friend lives. The walk was wonderful. It was quiet. I foillowed a canal to the lake where I saw birds, woods, mud, people walking together and with dogs. It was a pleasure and grounding for me to experience the land by myself, not rushing to get anywhere. It’s beautiful.
I still have to find a dentist and take care of my teeth. I did receive an offer to help pay for it, but when I replied to the person I didn’t hear back so if anyone is thinking I should have emailed them by now, please take a look in your spam filter. My mail might be there. Or, drop me another email to let me know you haven’t heard from me, and them either check your spam filter or set your email program so that it will not reroute email from me into your spam filter.
Now I am in Arnhem for the night, back to Amsterdam tomorrow for a meeting about the workshops I’m teaching this month, and also to attend the Hexencafé, or Witches Café, a monthly gathering.
Thursday 1 March 2007, 17:56
This is my third full day here. It feels at once familiar and unfamiliar. I see that people in Holland lead busy lives. There is plenty of traffic, but the cars are generally smaller and more efficient than their american counterparts. The towns and cities are densely populated, and space tends to be used efficiently. Houses are smaller. Most people have a backyard, some have gardens, but also there are yards with no gardens. There are community gardens, and there are large patches of green between apartment buildings in town that could become gardens. When one takes the train from Alkmaar to Amsterdam, one sees farmland right next to industrial or dwelling spaces.
I am slowly doing things. Last night we went to Amsterdam to eat in a vegetarian place that is in one of the squat buildings. These are buildings that used to be schools, or factories, or something else, and which were appropriated by squatters to live in when they were vacated. They have been fixed up I am told, and this place was a very inexpensive not at all fancy place that also serves as a performance space. One of the people I was with used to live in a squat and commented that she was seeing mostly people in their 30’s and older, whereas at one time she would have seen more younger people. We speculated about what this might be an indication of. Where are the punx?
Friends have sent me dutch poems to translate to help me learn the language. I am coming along slowly. There are a number of sounds which we just don’t use in speaking english.
Tomorrow will be another easy at-home day, but Saturday I will go to a workshop in Amsterdam. At the moment I cannot remember what it’s about, but it is put on by a man called Ton van der Kroon. Sunday, also in Amsterdam I will meet up with some of the folks who are organizing and who I will be co-teaching workshops with later in March.
I haven’t gone adventuring on my own yet. That’ll happen on Sunday I imagine.
Personally I am well. I continue to have chronic pain associated with my neck; nerve pain in my right shoulder and arm lately, but it’s manageable. I will see a dentist soon. My energy is good. I miss Lasky and Chloe, and think of them often. I am aware of how different it feels to be in this heavily populated place, compared with the great big open spaces in western North America. I feel how nourished I am by land without people on it, but this is a different experience and I’m into it.
Tuesday 27 February 2007, 12:27 PM
Today it is raining in Alkmar, Holland. I slept long and deep, thanks to Melatonin. I am hoping to beat the jet lag, so far so good!
It’s wonderful to be here with friends, and feels quite normal and somewhat familiar since I’ve been here before. Now to learn dutch.
The workshops planned for me to teach are proceeding. Enrollment on the dutch workshops is a bit low at this point, so we are all hoping more people will sign up. The workshop in Israel is picking up participants and looks like it will happen. I have no idea yet about the german workshops.
I have been playing with Skype and it’s pretty amazing to be able to send and receive voicemail just talking into the computer, so send me messages!
Now to eat something.
Monday 26 February 2007, 10:42 AM
Heathrow Airport...we left JFK more than 2 hours late, so I missed my flight to Amsterdam...waiting for the next one in 2 hours or so.
I have a new US phone number through Skype, where people can leave me voicemail or we can talk through the computer in lieu of a phone call. If someone reading this wants that information, give me a holler at email@example.com
Friday 23 February 2007, 4:33 PM
Here I sit in Brooklyn, in the vestibule of friends, waiting for them to get home from work. I was out on the front steps for a while, in my somewhat tattered jean jacket and hoodie, smoking, hanging out in the cold. It’s a city neighborhood, people coming and going, talking on cell phones, deliveries, pretty quiet.
The last couple of weeks have been amazing. Lasky and I arrived in Vermont and have been visiting lots of people and places. Being with with family and friends has been a love fest. I see people growing and changing. Many of the people I visited are parents, so I spent wonderful time with nieces and nephews, and other great kids, seeing how much they have grown and who they are becoming. That’s been especially nourishing. I am grateful to know such amazing people as those I just visited. One of the things I noticed is that the people I know are doing the same work I'm doing, in a variety of forms, from building a roof garden in Brooklyn to home schooling to making art space available, to making film about and to inspire self expression, developing oneself as a shaman, and on and on. It's all the same work, in my perception, because it's all about some form of sustainability, ecologically, spiritually, psychologically, socially.
I also observed changes in me through the process of visiting. I’ve been away from Vermont for almost two years, had many experiences, met lots of people, been places, and of course I am changed. I value connections with people more than I ever have, and I am surrounded by people with whom I share love. I feel them wherever I go, and it’s quite amazing and wonderful.
I’m traveling with a backpack (too full) and a travel guitar my brother sent with me. I fly on Sunday. I am looking forward with lots of excitment and big smiles to arriving in the Netherlands and seeing friends there.
Thursday 15 February 2007, 1:08 PM
Vermont in the snow...how beautiful! Lasky and I are in Burlington where over 2 feet of snow has fallen in the last 36 hours. It’s cold, crisp, and really nice. Lasky keeps eating snow with gusto!
Being here has consisted mainly of visiting with friends and family, which is very gratifying. I have also taken the opportunity to do some health related things for both Lasky and me; eye doctor, vet, dentist.
Dentist...I went for a cleaning this morning, first time in a couple of years, and was dismayed to find out that three of my molars have the beginnings of decay at the gumline. I need about $700 in dental work. Yikes! I don’t have $700 right now. So this blog entry is a fundraiser for me. I need to come up with whatever I can towards this bill so I can prevent my teeth from decaying further.
Certainly there are plenty of people in the world who do not have access to good dentistry, so I consider myself fortunate to have a dentist I know is skillful and good.
If someone reading this feels inclined to help out with this, give me a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 6 February 2007, 9:46 AM
Lasky and I are nearly to Vermont, we’ll be there tonight. Chloe is in Montana with a friend.
Yesterday I spoke on the phone with a woman I know from my time in New Orleans. She was one of the local people who jumped into cooking for the clinic during it’s first few months in existance. It made such a difference knowing there would be a real meal waiting after a long day’s work. Anyway when I met her she’d just become responsible for her 2 year old great-grandson, cutest little guy. In our conversation this strong determined woman confided in me that she’s getting exhausted. She just buried her daughter (the boy’s grandmother) and she’s starting to feel worn out. The upshot of this is, she needs financial assistance. If anyone reading this is inclined to want to help, please email me and I will give you the information of where to send funds. I know it wasn’t easy for her to ask for help, and I’m really hoping I can channel some in her direction.
Friday 19 January 2007, 1:38 PM
It’s a very exciting time for me personally, and for all of us if we look at the amazing possibilities and opportunities for creating and being part of change focused on sustainability. The EAT is coming to a close in a couple of days. It's been such a privilege to work with the wonderful talented teachers of this course and the amazing participants. The levels of creativity, intentionality, and willingness to envision, in this group, is what I’ve been longing for.
Optimism; who knew I could tap into it like this!? It feels really good.
From here we (critters and myself) to Oregon, Washington, Montana, Wisconsin, Vermont, then...Netherlands!
I close with this thought. We are all part of the solutions, whether we know it or not.
Sunday 7 January 2007, 2:08 PM
Today we start EAT. It’s fun and exciting that people are coming from all over to take this course. I’m biased, but I think it’s one of the most important and valuable two week courses out there right now in terms of relevance,effectiveness, and good vibes.
Then on with traveling.
A friend said to me in an email she feels like we’re riding a tidal wave. I feel that I am experiencing the effects of so many things that I'm not even aware of, but which we're swimming in a sea of.
Monday 25 December 2006, 9:51 AM
Before I go back to bed for a while, trying to get rid of this nasty head and chest cold, I wanted to notice a few things.
The Israeli and the Palestinian Authority are talking again and making moves towards peace, and I noticed how tentatively hopeful it makes me feel. I wonder how much of it has to do with the loss of support for Bush & Co. in the US, causing Israel to reconsider their options...pure speculation that.
The solstice ritual a week ago Sunday focused on the breaking and putting back together of a vessel of light. That is my daily task, and I am the vessel. Every day I can feel broken by the blows the world hammers down, and every day there is the opportunity to put myself back together, albeit in a somewhat different form, and refuse to let the hammer blows destroy me.
Sometimes I see people who are so shattered by their experiences, they break utterly, or it takes longer to put themselves back together. I am grateful for the strength I do have, for the strength of my friends, family, and community; for the strength of the many who are dedicated to the work of healing in it’s many aspects and forms.
Christmas has never been “my” holiday. I grew up in a secular Jewish household, and am a practicing pagan. I do, however, honor the deep yearning for peace and sister/brotherhood that noncorporate Christmas celebration speaks to. The gluttony of materialism that is Christmas to many (most?) americans is anathema to me, but the prayers for peace are not.
This past autumn I taught Psychology of Gender online to a group of rural Iowans. It was a good experience, and issues of religion and belief did come up a few times. There were people in the class who have (had, if I did my job right) absolutes about what mold other people must fit into, in this case relative to gender. Even though I disagree and can see some folks as wearing blinders, I recognize that even the most rigid fundamentalist right-wing queer-hating people are trying to find their way through this world. They may see me as misguided or a sinner, and I may see them as wearing blinders and cruel, but we are all in the same boat. The person deserves my respect even if their beliefs do not; beliefs which lead to practices which are hurtful to others, like parents throwing their teenaged children out of the house for being lesbian, gay, or trans (which happens more often than one might think). But the person, the vessel of light, deserves to be seen and honored. That means the racist cop in New Orleans, or the gay-hating Archbishop in Nigeria (I’m just waiting for the revelation that he has sex with boys to come out, as is so often the case with these vehement gay haters) and the list goes on.
So my Christmas message is to me and to everyone...let’s remember that we are all vessels of light and see each other that way. How might that affect the world?
Sunday 17 December 2006, 11:08 PM
I’m driving back to the ranch with 10 chickens in a dog crate in the back of the truck. We just completed a Solstice ritual in Sebastopol. It was good. Lots of good friends, good work, and fun.
I met a woman at the ritual with whom I had a very interesting conversation. I shared with her the theory or idea I posted here on this blog recently about focusing on changing the violent behavior, whatever the feelings. Great discussion. I knew when I posted it that I wasn’t saying what I meant to say, but it was the best I could do at the time.
Here’s the crux. I’ve been learning and practicing metaphysics for decades. I continue to meet people who are focused on those concepts and experiences and practices. The thing is, when one is living safely there are a whole bunch of factors which make space for exploring transformational work which is different from when one lives in constant danger. What I saw in New Orleans; the ugliness of racism and economic violence, reminded me of the ugliness I saw when I went to a KKK rally in Vermont (I had to see it for myself, and it was the experience that taught me the meaning of the word ugly).
I am struggling with reconciling the reality of human cruelty with the magic and transformational work I also know to be real and true.
So there you have it.
Sunday 10 December 2006, 3:28 PM
It’s been a very intense few days since my lasy blog entry. I appreciate the friends who’ve reached out to me. Thank you.
I spent yesterday with a friend who I shared time with in New Orleans. That shared experience bridges a communication, understanding, and empathy gap I sometimes encounter with folks who did not share that experience. It was a great day.
I’m having a few realizations. One is this. Striving for peace and harmony and universal unconditional love sounds great, but at this moment in the world I see a window in focusing not on how we feel but on what we do. In other words, if people want to hate and be angry, go for it. Feel whatever you feel, but no hitting, no starving, no terrifying, and no enslaving of others. If we could just stop those behaviors, even if people feel crappy towards each other, at least they wouldn’t be killing each other with the overt violence of war and interpersonal violence, and the structural violence of oppression, degradation, and dehumanization. I understand that our feelings are part of how we manifest in the world, and ultimately staying in hate is not a healthy solution, but moving away from violence seems to me a critical step. You can legislate behavior, but not feelings.
The second thing I realize is that despite my many years of solitary living, my hermit-like tendencies, and my curmudgeonly attitude at times, I really would be healthier and happier living in a room in a house with other people than I am living in a lone structure on some land where there are others, but there is no hub, no hearth. Home and hearth is what calls me.
All this on the even of my trip abroad. How ironic, and yet comforting.
Friday 8 December 2006, 12:23 AM
This is a hard one to write since I don’t usually say this kind of thing to other people, and here I am broadcasting, but I know my friends read this so I’m putting it out there. I’m feeling pretty rotten these days. Really depressed. I look at what’s happening in the world, most people in the US still going through the motions, and elsewhere too I imagine. And yet, the environment is starting to crash, the politics are brutal and corrupt, and it’s really getting to me. I feel pretty hopeless, despairing even. I used to think I was alive during this time because I could make a difference, but I don’t feel that these days. It’s not that I feel I have nothing to offer. I do, but like most of us it’s on a very small scale.
All I ever wanted was to live on some land with some people, grow a garden, share in community, love and be loved.
Tuesday 21 November 2006, 9:44 AM
Headed into the belly of the beast for a week...Sacramento, SF and LA. It’ll be good to see people but those environments are alien to me...it’s work to maintain balance in the fray.
I heard today that a NASA climatologist, speaking in London, said we have 10 years to make drastic changes to our environmental impact or we face global catastrophe. So I’m sitting in a coffee shop enjoying a croissant and a mocha thinking how, in a short time from now, this will all be obsolete, unthinkable even, and yet most people are just going about their business. It’s fascinating. I never formally studied social psychology but the behavior of human in groups is amazing. The ability to maintain denial even when we know what’s going on, both as survival in order to keep functioning, and as self-destruction since our denial perpetuates the destructive behavior. It’s quite something.
Sunday 19 November 2006, 12:44 PM
I’m looking for someone to underwrite or donate server space for the clinic website. Our server space has vanished into cyberspace, and with it the website. I’m talking about the Common Ground Health Clinic in New Orleans. I’d love to have a link here to the website but...it’s gone. I manage the site, so if you can help please email me. We need 300 mb of server space ASAP. Thank you!
Friday 17 November 2006, 12:41 PM
It’s sunny today. Good thing because Lasky got skunked last night and we’ll be spending the afternoon dealing with that. Stinky dog!
My financial situation is changing. It looks like I won’t be employed by Johnson State College teaching online after December. That means my income drops to zero until the EU tour starts and my next class in Iowa begins in six months. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it freaks me out a bit to have no income. I have enough in savings to live for a couple of months.
Anyone wishing to support me in my endeavors is invited to do so by visiting my virtual storefront on my homepage. I’m hawking electronic copies of my book, relaxation cd’s, and alice in wonderland cd’s and dvds.
Monday 13 November 2006, 1:17 PM
It’s raining. The green is coming in. There’s a fire in the stove. Lasky needs tick checks often.
Chop wood, carry water.
I’m finding a different way to settle into this “in-between” time, planning. It looks like I’ll be teaching through Buena Vista University in Iowa again, online psychology classes. Dates and workshops are falling into place for Europe. So far it looks like:
March 3 Arnhem, NL- Guerilla Healing
March 17-18 Amsterdam, NL- Elements of Magic
March 24-25 Amsterdam, NL- Iron Pentacle
May 1 Jericho, Israel - Men's Conference
May 3-5 Adamama, Israel - Men's Conference
May 11-13 Bremen, Germany - Iron Pentacle
June 1-3 Bremen, Germany Shapeshifting/Edgewalking
It’s pretty amazing and exciting to contemplate. I’m also working internally in my daily practice, which is my life, on the material for these workshops, which adds a quality of intention to my awareness that feels good.
I’ve been reading the commercial media online, and listening to KPFA some. It’s really something to me how people want to have a deep sigh and relax into “the democrats won, we’re ok now” which seems absurd to me. These trades back and forth between the two parties, are nothing more than a PR event so people won’t see how much it’s the same people and motives behind both parties. Nancy Pelosi, with her new helmet-head hairdo, will prove to be a serious powerbroker. She reminds me of Margaret Thatcher in that she’s going to be ruthless in her seeking and acquiring more power.
It’s all pretty appalling to me. There was a time when I believed in the democracy of the usa but I don’t think it exists, so how can I believe in it? Smoke and mirrors.
A friend remarked to me that Pelosi’s “no impeachment” is just quid pro quo for the republicans not tampering with the election enough to really change it this time, as they did in 2000 and 2004. Astute observation, probably true.
Sunday 12 November 2006, 2:02 PM
A quick note to invite people to visit Post-Katrina Portrait Series. This is the work of a young man named Francisco who has been in New Orleans drawing since shortly after the storms in 2005. The art speaks for itself. Check it out.
Thursday 9 November 2006, 3:36 PM
Interesting elections. It’s nice that the republicans got their asses kicked, but the democrats are as corrupt as the republicans so it’s a hollow victory. The fact that Nancy (prowar!) Pelosi has promised no impeachment is the proof. Bush & Co. are criminals. They have violated national and international laws, and Pelosi thinks it’s her place to pardon them?? She should be tarred and feathered...literally.
I notice too that the corporate press ignores Bernie Sanders election to the senate as an independent. I haven’t seen a single story on that.
Dear reader, don’t be lulled into complaceny by this so-called victory of the american democracy. Bullshit is bullshit, whether it’s wearing a republican button or a democratic one.
Wednesday 1 November 2006, 2:38 PM
It’s the start of another cycle. Winter is arriving here, which means fog from the ocean, rain, temperatures in the low 40’s even high 30’s at night and 50’s to 60’s during the day. I celebrated Samhain twice, once at The Spiral Dance in San Francisco on the 28th and once on Samhain proper, here on the mountain.
It’s odd to try to describe my outlook these days. I meet nice people, even really wonderful peoplee. I am aware of so many folks doing the good work. I am also aware of the suffering and violence and greed and corruption that drive “western civilization.” And I see people freaking out in our society. I hear people saying the same things I say, about so many things. There is awareness. I also detect, and feel myself, a sense of net loss in all this. It feels like the forces of repression and corruption are gaining more ground all the time. It’s not so much that I feel hopeless emotionally. I look at the world situation and assess it as pretty dire. If humans are going to turn things around toward survival, it’s going to be by the skin of our teeth and we better get with it.
The elections coming up certainly present an enigma at this point. It’s impossible to know how much of the election infrastructure has been gobbled up by Republican Corporate controlled electronic voting machines. If it’s true that this just continues to increase, we can look forward to even more blatantly fixed elections that 2000 and 2004. Friends say to me, oh if that happens people will rise up, but I don’t have faith in the citizenry of the united states to do that. I wish I did.
I feel so frustrated and sad, watching the real natural world being encroached upon by the humans, with all our cruelty and disregard for the sacredness of life, and not being able to stop it.
Wednesday 25 October 2006, 12:00 PM
Two things are really bothering me. One is the rigged elections in the united states. It just pisses me off that these fucking asshole criminal “politicians” and corporate degenerates are allowed to do this shit, and that people just let it happen. Fuck that. Fuck you corporate politico pieces of shit traitors to your own humanity.
The other thing is California apartheid. I know a lot of light skinned people here don’t see it, but it’s so in your face. I swear 95% of the people doing the serving, waiting on, and hard outside work, are brown skinned, in California. It’s so blatant.
The year is coming to an end. Samhain is here. The dead are more easily heard and seen. Mine certainly are all around me. I feel strength from the survivors who got me this far, and from Earth, as much as I feel repelled and deeply disappointed in what I see around me that humanity has manifested. Is this really the best we can do??
Monday 9 October 2006, 11:37 AM
It’s been a while since my last entry. There was also a fire at the building adjacent to where my ISP is housed, so my web sites including this blog were down for a week. But I’m back!
Actually I’m still here in western Sonoma County in the mountains. Today is a hot sunny day, the 3rd in a row after two days of fog and rain. The moisture is so needed by the land and the animals and people here, it was anticipated and welcomed. The yome where I sleep, however, was not dried in enough to prevent some small amounts of water from coming in at the corners. In the last few days I have remedied that by putting in a floor of planks, and some more water barrier measures at where the yome meets the deck. I am sure to be dry now! The next step is some kind of small heater, probably to burn wood in, so that when it’s cold and damp outside, inside the yome we can be warm and less damp.
It’s been amazing to spend so much time here. I’ve been here for going on 7 weeks now, which is the longest I’ve been in any one place (except for New Orleans) since leaving Vermont. I feel my awareness and love sinking gradually deeper into this place. The land here pours forth her energy, there for taking in if one reaches out for it. I feel nourished by the beauty, the quiet, the animals (deer, hawks, vultures, lizards, lots of smaller birds, wild pigs, wild turkeys etc.) and just the spirit of the place.
It’s also wonderful spending time w/the friends who live here, doing projects like garden stuff, chicken yard stuff, harvesting apples and pears, eating fresh from the garden and greenhouse, and drinking the spring water. The woman who “owns” the land is someone who travels for her work, so her time here is especially precious to her. We’ve gone on some walks, hikes with climbing actually, which have been just gorgeous.
I feel myself in a state of gathering, shedding, and preparing. Plans for next spring’s travels in Europe and the Middle East continue to develop. So far it looks like I’ll be teaching at least 5 workshops in Holland, Germany, Belgium, and Israel. I imagine at least one or two more workshops may emerge, and hopefully a witchcamp. That’ll fill 6 months! The plan at that point is to return here to California and be more long term on this land.
I’ve ingested very little media in this last period, and it feels good. I know the crazy shit is all still going on, and that the USA is descending into a more blatant tyrannical cruel fascist state, but that’s what I foresaw and have expected so...no surprises there. Peak oil is either here or coming soon, and my instinct to hunker down asserts itself regularly in my thoughts.
As Samhain approaches I am again more aware of the many dead who are part of my life, appreciating them, and of the many living in my life, and appreciating them.
Wednesday 20 September 2006, 6:57 PM
Equinox is here...time to reflect on balancing, which is possible if fleeting.
Here are some new photos. This is the place I’m staying right now in the mountains of western Sonoma County in California.