Samhain Blue Moon, Full Moon in Taurus

“Listen to the howl of our spiritual

brother, the wolf, for how it goes with

him, so it goes for the natural world.”

— Oren R. Lyon,  Traditional Circle of Elders

We live in a time when our brothers and sisters are being shot,

when are sacred lands are desecrated.

May we lift up our voices for the natural world.

May we lift up our voices for peace and justice, equity and inclusion…

Harvest Full Moon, October 1, 2020

All the warm nights
sleep in moonlight

keep letting it
go into you

do this
all your life

do this
you will shine outward
in old age

the moon will think
you are
the moon

Jacob Nibenegenesabe,_a poem from The Wishing Bone Cycle: Narrative Poems from the Swampy Cree, trans. Howard Norman (1972)

Virgo New Moon, Western Bluebirds…

photograph by Hayley Crews

“Western Bluebirds, American Robins,” is a poem I wrote for the virtual 2020 Peace & Justice Fair in Vancouver, Southwest Washington.

With gratitude to New Verse News, you’ll see the posting of the poem on their site along with the link to the recording from the Peace & Justice Fair this month.

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves in climate crisis. In the Pacific Northwest our skies are thick with smoke and grief. The air quality index is hazardous at 427. We wait for bird song in the mornings again.

May we be ready to start anew this New Moon. “it’s time for a fresh start….. the New Moon is also square to the Nodes suggesting that we are learning an important message for this time….. the Sun’s Square to the Nodes and trine to Saturn remind us that we must take responsibility…. we can’t wait and hope everything unfolds as it should…. We’ve got to walk the talk…” Leah Whitehorse.

Penguins, Color Lines

With gratitude to TheNewVerse.News for publishing a poem today that emerged from a virtual Willamette Writers Resilience workshop with Claudia F. Saleeby Savage.   The New Verse News presents politically progressive poetry on current events and topical issues.

See Saturday, August 8, 2020 6:00 AM:

Activist Janaya Khan, explores equity and inclusion, learning from penguins.

Day out of Time

Black Bear Eating Dandelions in July

“According to the Mayan galactic calendar,” Stephanie Austin writes, “July 25th is The Day out of Time, marking the end of a yearly cycle and the beginning of a new one. Similar to a new moon and a new year, this is an excellent time to reflect on how far we have come, to express our gratitude for what we have, and to set new intentions.”

These days bears have been visiting in my dreams. I have seen bears in the wild in Alaska, the Teton & Beartooth Wilderness areas, and on the Yakima Indian Reservation. Brown Bears, Grizzly Bear, and Black Bears. The most recent was when we heard snuffling in some thickets, and a young bear emerged with black berry juice on it’s chin.

Now I have a couple of bear paintings that emerged this summer inspired by a line up of hand sewn teddy bears that my father created in his retirement. My little bear painting accompanied by one of my father’s hand sewn Teddy Bears may be found in the The CAVE gallery Art in the time of quarantine…. bears honoring my father and all those who have crossed over.

Bears show up in the West for me on the medicine wheel, a place of mid-life, late summer to autumnal time.    A deep time of honoring, listening, taking in salmon, black berries and honey for healing & sustenance in the midst of global trauma.  May we find time to care for ourselves as we care for the world.

Scorpio Full Moon, May 2020

Black-faced ibis

“’Where there is sorrow,’ wrote Oscar Wilde, ‘there is holy ground.’…  [grief] enables us to walk in this world with its realities of life and death, how it shakes us and breaks us open to depths of soul we could not imagine. Grief offers a wild alchemy that transmutes suffering into fertile ground.” — Francis Weller

Francis Weller’s book The Wild Edge of Sorrow is on my studio bookshelf, the spine slightly sticking out of the line of books.    I am grateful to have known Francis Weller as a friend, colleague and mentor for nearly a decade now. As a poet and writer, this early winter through spring has been one of witnessing and accompanying others in the incredible journey of grief and loss.   Of listening to the deepest places, which is the path of poetry.

Happy news in the midst of grief: Before the Sun Rises is a Nautilus Silver award winner in poetry —  announced publicly this week:

Black Swan at Salmon Creek, Shelter in Poems

Photograph by Paul Downs, Salmon Creek, 2020

This Black Swan (native to Southern Australia) has been seen along Salmon Creek trail. May you find shelter in winged ones and poems, needed medicine for our spirits.

The Academy of American Poets has a new Spring project entitled “Shelter in Poems.” I am honored that an edited piece of my short reflection was included in their first post. As we enter National Poetry Month, may you have time to read and hear many poems that bring you courage, inspiration and hope for the journey.

Unexpected Snow

In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.
— Howard Thurman

“Fasten your spiritual seat belt”  – Stephanie Austin, Port Townsend, WA astrologer, often writes.

The last two mornings, unexpected snow! Flowering plum, daffodils, crocus, and early Spring flowers are already blooming.  A few deer in the yard eating birdseed out of the bird feeder and off the ground along with the Varied Thrush, song birds, squirrels and rabbits.

Each day of this global crisis I return to my perennial reminders to myself and others — now is a time for each one of us to access our spiritual and wellness practices, creative and gratitude practices, mindfulness and meditation practices.  From these centering practices we bend to offer extra compassion, lovingkindness and care to ourselves (in every aspect of our lives) and to those around us.  To remember our North Star, our compass, our guiding light. 

Many are reaching out to offer support and care in the midst of this pandemic. Grateful to be in conversation with poets, writers and activists at AWP, with on-going conversations about how we care for ourselves and others:

There are many new on-line resources for poets, writers and community activists as well as those seeking connections. Look for invitations from YES! magazine to join in online conversations about solutions arising in your community and family, and to share ideas with others The Greater Good website http://Greater Good and others resources for wellness during this challenging time. Moreover dear colleagues Francis Weller, Wisdom Bridge and John Fox, Institute of Poetic Medicine share much wisdom.

May we take extra time to be in the natural world, to listen to the deer, the Spring migration of wild birds, the animals who gather in our yard.   In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear…

The deer arrived and the birds start singing before first light… may we keep them singing in our hearts.