Red cliffs

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Within the red cliffs

Walk the feet of Shiva

Through the eternities of endless eons

In the sacred smoke of the kiva

Snow-

Flakes falling

Within the perceptive

Eyes

Of the pygmy owl,

Reflecting skies

Where green dragons

Sail over the seas and all the caves

Long gone,

Waves

Washing up along the coast

Where still,

Knives

Gleam

Of thieves

Hiding in the dark,

Ninja lives,

Deceptive

Whiffs –

A spark

Of whispered words,

Clever,

Sly eyes smile.

There is the space

Where

The rainbows

Rest

A while

Before the startling storms that howl

Before the white-throated swift’s nest

High up in the rock

Gathers up the errant wings – lost almost.

All the hills become

Encircled in weaves

Of patterns within the mist

Of gray stone.

Within the rain ahead

Flocks

Of night

Rain, loud,

Bold,

That never cease,

Unerring

In their treks of flight,

Within the black armies of the castled kingdoms,

War drums

Of the cloud.

All is here now,

The bow

Of the lone,

Ghost

Ship cuts across the furrow,

And all falls

Suddenly quiet.

Torrents cease.

Winds let go.

All returns

To within the peace

Of cliffs deep red

As the autumn

Moon

In the forgotten dimensions

Of forever. Soon

Will the wild paws

Of the forest

Lions,

Tiptoe

Again, with grace

In the clear singing of the dawn

With the moon-

Enchanting meadows

Gone,

Now turned to gold,

Held in the entrancing feathers of the sun,

While rags of clouds stream

Onward to the dance.

September 10, 2021

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Where now is the mist-ringed bell

green trees on mountain
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Where now is the mist-ringed bell

That tolls over the wandering wave

Of the gray

River?

The moon a sliver

In the sky?

Who can tell?

Where now the branches of the nagalingam tree that sway

And brush along the cool earthen banks,

Home of shy,

Determined snails,

Before the dawn of being,

Long before the chaos

Of disrepair

Grumbled through the dark hall

Of the subterranean cave.

Where now is the brave, ascending song

Of the gold-eyed buffalo burr,

Who clung to the canyon wall,

In the fierce, railing wind,

Her petals beaming in the sun,

The one

Proclaiming victory for the day,

Where now the call

Of the giant whales

Who dive beneath

The cliff rising from

The moving waters of infinity

In the indigo

Deeps

Of joy – whales who play

With their children, ocean games

In the seaweed-flowing mystery

Of their sparkling blue sea –

Where now the curious

Goat who leaps

Among the white patches of winter snow

Along the steep

Hill of the cedarbreak?

Where now the songs

From the ranks

Of all the charming, twisted juniper trees,

Their bark that curls around like smoke,

Whose wisdom

Belongs

To the light,

The moonrise,

And the night,

Who spoke

In the ever-whistling wind,

But then were felled by a cold-axed blow

Of barbarity and lies.

All their songs are fled away

To the far, far mountains of freedom

Where they echo,

Echo,

Gone

To the long

Hills,

Where God always sings

In the wandering dawn,

Waiting for the tumult and the chaos

To have ceased

On the ending day

When flames

That have hissed high

At long last fade,

Scattered away

On the winds,

Lost in the trills

Of birdsong

And the swarm

Of the bumblebee.

Then, in a world that has glided out of the gray mist,

The heart of the wild geese

Will sound once again,

Free,

As the flight

Of the numinous

Rose-winged beauty

Of the dragonflies

Along the lilting, frog-enchanted lake,

Humming.

Hear now the wings,

The presence

Of all the beings,

Released –

Watched over by the bright,

Night-shimmering form

Of Hamsa, the swan who flies

Over the green forest

Of yore,

Reawakened by her

All-knowing essence,

Beginning anew,

In a magic country,

The land of evermore,

Eternal, true

And ever-now,

In the mystical hour of the gray dawn.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Reflection

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“Perhaps the relevant stage is not the real world at all – but rather the world of fantasy, of art, of stories, of myth – myth is the best way to express it – this is the world of the spirit – of magical life.

“The “real” world, meaning the physical world – is not real at all – it is going, going, gone – on the way out – it is dead – a stream of images — and only the ethereal world of meanings and relevance is actually real or relevant. It continues.”

As the wise William Shakespeare wrote, in MacBeth:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

  • Thoughts, true or not true, from Jack

© 2021

The truth of Agni

flight dawn landscape sky
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The truth of Agni;

Fire consumes the illusion.

Trees walk on the black way

To the stars,

Trees who remember,

With the stones,

The earth’s enchanted bones,

The beginning and the ending,

The faces of the stones rise,

Red, gold,

Patterned in scars,

Walls of stone, tall,

Remembering

All

The dragonflies

And the elven folk

Of long ago;

No one believes

In them now

Though

They sang the truth of the stars.

In the ending – skies

Of gray

And white – oppression.

The smoke of time,

The embers

Of existence,

The age of blindness,

Of existential crime,

Treachery,

And war

Going now,

On the winds of time.

Shiva dancing both time and eternity,

In the stark

Winds that clear the smoke

Of being.

Soon, the bough

Of the oak

Will climb

Into the shimmering rain

Of Indra.

There, the face of Shiva

In the gold

Trees – twinkling among the leaves,

In a world so old –

That came before —

Yet shines again –

Now

In the ever-glimmering rain,

In the train

Of flowers,

In the arc

Of ancient powers.

***

Written August 7, 2021

© Sharon St Joan

Before the moon will write

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Gone

Now, the cloud-wandering

Of the winter night,

Before the moon

Will write

Her comments

Across the pale

Rock

Invoking

Those untraveled moments

Yet to be, when soon

The silver, ambling feet

Of quail

Will flock

To greet

The sky-winged

Innocence of dawn.

Written around 1990

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Before and Again

photo of stream during daytime
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Do you hear

The standing stone that sings

Again, as it did in the shining days

Before time eclipsed the starstrands

Of eternity?

Closed now the crypts of concrete flowers

Papered

With the dead photos

Of gray kings

Winding up their own

Long, white-wintered

Year.

But out through the windows

Past the gates

Lie far, fair lands

Of bright bells

Which ring,

Triumphant always

As the sunlight and the shadows

Fall

Along the hawthorne tree

There the mist encircles the hills

Where the great-pawed panther dwells

And gaily plays

Gathering spells

Amid the wildrose bowers,

While red-winged blackbirds call

Forth anew those long-lost

Powers,

The angels of ancient hours

And goldfinches fly, exultant, like petals tossed

And blown

On waves of rain showers,

And, out there

The king of apple blossoms waits

For the day of spring

Holding moonbeams in his hands.

Written around 1988

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

More about praying for rain and the nature of the universe: a prophecy

adult tiger
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Sometimes one must pray for rain for days and even years.

God Is not limited by our time frame. He/She does not abhor death – beyond death there is peace and even joy.

God exists within, around, and beyond the universe. A small part of God is the universe. The spiritual exists – it is unseen because it is not a material thing. It is spiritual. The physical world comes into being – but unfortunately, the physical world then sometimes runs amuck in all directions all by itself – and hence there is pain and evil – because of the separation and alienation from the spiritual.

The physical universe comes into being when a division takes place. Suddenly, there is more than one.  There are two. This second entity may not really be real because only the One is real (think of the Hindu concept of maya). Yet physical reality has appearances – Newton’s apple falls to the ground — in the sunlight, it is red; it is heavy, and it falls; one can watch it fall and hear it hit the ground. To us, it is solid and real, one can even taste it. It manifests as physical. Yet it is missing something; it is not spirit, though spirit may be within it and may dwell within it – and may even be trapped within it – according to the concepts of the gnostics.

Because there is division – there arises incompleteness – a lack of wholeness.  If you divide the train from the engine, something important is missing. Some essential things have been left out.  From this lack arise the deficiencies of the physical universe – pain, suffering, harm, death, illness, and evil. These arise from and are the consequence of the separation – the division that has taken place in order to bring about the universe – the separation (leading to alienation) between the spiritual and the physical. The wildflower is very beautiful, but after summer is done, there is no ongoing source of life and nourishment, and the flower dies. The life within it has gone. It cannot exist apart from the source of life which sustains it. (I do not mean that dead flowers are not beautiful; certainly they are, but theirs is a different beauty.)

When the physical universe – especially as the world of nature – is still inhabited by spirit – still in touch with its essence and its soul – it has profound beauty – the flowers, the majestic rocks, the ocean waves in their endless patterns, the grace of animals and plants. (The ocean and the rocks are also alive.)

The living beings of nature are subject to pain because of the separation that brought them into existence as separate beings – no longer entirely whole – apart from the original unity – which is God. The farther removed one is from the spiritual – the greater the chasm – the more prone is the physical world to suffering and disaster.

With the arising of the mental plane (which can be useful, but which is mostly an agent of disruption), there is further separation and further evil – such as we see in the modern human world. – war, chaos, hatred, injustice, disease, tyranny, and cruelty – and an irrepressible drive to rise above and dominate the earth. But, one may say, these things have always existed. But think for a moment – that is not so. Think of the innocence of deer, of flowers, of the rolling hills – who all existed before human beings.  The natural world can be dramatic, even destructive, but it is not cruel. Even tigers are not cruel; they kill only when they are hungry or to feed their young, out of fear or defence sometimes, but never out of malice. The tiger is as innocent as the deer.

Only human beings have the capacity for intentional cruelty, and cruelty is intentional – the word itself implies intent. As human beings, it is our task to leave behind the tyranny we exert over the natural world – and instead to bring about a re-unification of the physical with the spiritual – in union – to re-unite that which has drifted – or exploded — apart.  We must learn to perceive once again the true reality of the natural world – it is inhabited by spirit. Nature is an expression of God.

The mistaken assertion, espoused in the Old Testament that “man was made in the image of God” is a false teaching and goes along with much of the rest of the Old Testament that portrays God as a tyrannical being. If you don’t think so, you may not have read it lately. Parts of the Old Testament are soaringly beautiful – such as some of the psalms and parts of Isaiah – these express the true wisdom of these people, but the rest was written by somebody else. It all contrasts sharply with the portrayal in the New Testament of Jesus as a teacher of love and kindness. The Old Testament prophets spent quite a lot of time persecuting the Canaanites who followed the old religion and were always going up into the hills to worship trees — as if worshipping trees were a horrible thing to do. Unfortunately, much of the underpinning philosophy of our culture derives in part from the dominance expressed in the Old Testament. We have lost sight of this, but it is so.

Worshipping trees, who are sacred beings, is actually quite a good thing to do.

Nature is a part of God, and when we are able to become ourselves a part of this truth – truly able to perceive it – then we perceive the original peace of the unity of the two halves that seemed to have been split apart (though this was always an illusion). The physical and the spiritual will be brought together again – will be one. This is the mystical truth. It can be glimpsed distantly – intellectually. It can only truly be seen mystically.

This is the truth of mystics the world over. We can discover this by looking to the ancient worldviews – the knowledge in the traditions of the ancient land of India, the cosmic understanding of indigenous and tribal peoples all over the earth. They hold the remnants of truth that our modern world has left behind and destroyed. We must once again look to them for the truth – and salvation.

The genocide of the earth’s native peoples – like the war against nature (it is the same war) — has been a scourge attempting to kill truth and beauty in order to make way for a force, alien to nature, that seeks only dominance.

It has run its course. Many of those who might once have perpetrated the lies supporting this war have now turned against it.

For those ancient peoples of the earth who have guarded fundamental truths over so many eons – for them, along with their brothers and sisters of the natural world, and the earth itself, there will come again the brightness of the light and the dawn ahead.

© Sharon St Joan, July 2021

How to pray for rain (and other things)

light dawn landscape mountains
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You can do a rain dance. Sing to the rain. Write a poem about rain. Read poems about rain. Visualize rain. Remember rain.

One of the best ways to pray for rain is simply to pray for rain. Ask God or Buddha or Jesus or the rain spirits or the Great Spirit – or whoever you pray to or talk with – to send rain. It can also be your grandmother who has passed on, your guardian angel, your animal spirit guide, or the rain itself, the clouds, or the sky.

One way to do this is to talk with the land itself. Here in the west, it may be the land and the rock cliffs that we see on the horizon. Ask the land and the cliffs to call the rain. Clearly, some communication has broken down somewhere, so it would be good if they get back on speaking terms again.

If you live in the eastern U.S. or elsewhere in the world where there is an abundance of rain, probably the last thing you would wish to do is pray for more rain. One can pray for sunshine too!

In the case of the western U.S., many living beings need rain — insects, baby birds, the wildflowers that have not bloomed at all, and the trees that have grown brown patches. Trillions and trillions of beings all over the western states are profoundly in need of rain. In some regions, this is the worst drought ever recorded.

(If you find prayers to be nonsensical – please just take it easy! Billions of people have already said at least one prayer already today. This has been happening for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of years. It’s okay for people to have differing points of view.)

So – to continue – when praying for rain or anything else, some ways of going about this really help and others are a hindrance.

For example, listening to a negative inner voice that repeats endlessly “This isn’t working. See, there’s no rain.” “This is very silly.” Or imagining what things will be like in five years or even next year without rain. Or dwelling on suffering.

Our mind is not always our friend. Often our mind is a chatterbox, filled with negative gossip and irrelevant, even harmful thoughts. This is just a fact. Our mind announces to us that it is a superior being and that it knows best. It takes us away down very negative paths where we do not wish to go, all the while insisting that it is being “reasonable” and “rational” – “more intelligent” than you are and vastly superior. The human mind has its uses, when working out technical problems and other mental tasks, but it is not actually the essence of our being. The mind is not our truest reality or our innermost spirit. We can see this for ourselves just by watching where the human mind so often takes us. If we are not watching carefully, our minds take over the intuitive part of our being, and the mind issues proclamations which tend to be negative – fears, doubts, ridicule, depression, and derision. Unfortunately, this is compounded by our modern worldview which tends to discount any sense of the sacred that comes from our innermost being – and instead elevates the human mind.

Our Innermost being is often more perceptive than our mind. Fortunately, many people do know this, and with practice, we can learn to be in control and use the mind as a tool, while not falling prey to its compulsive tendency to babble negativity. Be vigilant. Remind yourself that there is no obligation to listen to your mind’s negative chatter. This chatter is not the truth. The truth lies within the higher, truer realms of your being, is intuitive and tends to be more perceptive, more peaceful, and more observant of the reality that lies in the present moment – not the past or the future, neither of which are really here now.

Our innermost being is open to great knowledge and clarity when we do not let the cobwebs of the mind get in the way. This doesn’t mean that we should forget the intellect and try to be stupid. Not at all, our intellect can be enormously enlightening. The intellect is not the same level as the mind, which can be just negative, and we can notice this distinction very easily once we get the hang of it.

So, when praying for rain – or anything – instead of allowing our mind to try to keep tabs on “Is this working.?” “Why hasn’t it rained yet?” just remind yourself that you are under no obligation to listen this voice. Prayers can take time. Communication with the beings of nature doesn’t always go according to our desired time frame. Our mental demands are not helpful; only our love and reverence for the sacred spirits of the universe and nature — and God — are beneficial and helpful. 

When we are on the path of walking within the mystical reality of being, of being in touch with the leaves of the trees, the mist in the mountains, and the creatures of the earth, we just need to keep walking, resolutely and unwaveringly. If we have been slowed down somehow or even stopped, or if we find we have fallen off the path and ended up in the brush down a ravine somewhere, then we need to get up, get back on the path, and walk on – not turning aside, and never, ever, giving up.

God (in whatever way we may see Her or Him) always answers prayers. It’s not our job to figure out how or when – only to be in alignment with the beauty of the universe – to stay on the path, in reverence, trusting in grace, grateful for the Presence that walks with us.

© Sharon St Joan, July 2021

Stars and rivers

northern lights over mountain and forest
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You are,

And you become still,

The white star

Cast in the slivers

Of the ashwood tree

And the Black Madonna

Who swings on the gold swing

Of your rose-ringed car,

Carried through cities old

As the emerald wings of time,

Unbent.

Where are you in the wandering

Whisper of the canted

Tide

Along the rock-cut

Ghost-shelled

Shore,

When only

gulls can hear the ringing

Echo

Of the soft-belled

Singing

And the murmur

Of the many-lilied morning,

Of the waves that tiptoe

Back into the sea?

Forest voices, green-mossed, among the damp sod,

There you unfold

The unsuspected peace

Of the day

Of clouds,

Of gray

And wind-boned shrouds,

Of rain, from where bands

Of brave geese,

Hurtling,

Climb

Above the northmost hill

The blue Himalaya.

In the winds, you stir

Beside

The ever-present,

Southern rocks of Arunachala,

The mountain that is God.

The quick-footed magic,

The dragon-bright beauty

Of the cosmic

Dance of Nataraja,

And the truth of all that ever is or could be,

All are held

Then and now, and evermore

In the starsent,

Moon-enchanted

Rivers

Of your hands.

©  Sharon St Joan May 18, 2013