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

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

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

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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

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

Hanuman, you are there

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Hanuman,

Eyes of the green-rolling ocean waves,

Eyes of the beauty of peace, blue

Essence of being,

Your world is true.

Then, we knew you before,

And remember you from when this earth began.

You ride on the wind,

Through the star-

Bending branches of destiny.

Your heart braves

The upheavals of all that should not be.

You – the soul of all being.

You are the iron-gray rocks of eternity,

You sing in the sky;

You shine, effervescent, In the sun.

You walk in the moon-winged, far-raining

Night of gossamer petals.

You fly,

On bright sandals,

Hanuman, son of the wind,

Soul of eternity,

Near the hawk, sharp-shinned,

Hovering to scan

The long, winding shore.

Where

Would you go, Hanuman?

There, in the great-souled trees of all-being,

Among the startling leaves – green in the spring.

Always, you are there.

Never far,

Always there,

Hanuman,

Son of the wind.

Always there.

In the sharp wind that runs by the circling sea.

© Sharon St Joan, June 2021

Hanuman, son the wind

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Hanuman,

Son of the wind,

Forest-eyed,

Sent to free

Entangled innocence from rusted snares,

From the bitter clawhold of Ravana,

To guide the gold-winged butterfly,

The shy, dawn-eyed doe,

The nagalinga tree

Of skylit flower,

The brave host of bears

On the oak-hallowed hill,

The bright-songed messengers, in flight,

The belled, meandering cow,

The redwoods of ancient girth,

The moon-

Finned

Minnows

Of silver gill,

Out from the chasms of desolation

Of a world gone awry

Back to the far, far

Reaches of the beginning – before ever time arose

Back to the shining lake of the mountain height

Hidden unseen in the green land of the star

Where mists of joy run

Like horses on the white river, wide,

Where the spring cactus unfolds gold and red.

A day to bring the innocent out, away

In the boat of the canted bow

That fled

Across the storm-bent sea

In the gale-churned hour.

Do you remember your flaming brand

And the fire that went up to swallow

The iron-souled city of Lanka?

Hanuman,

Savior of the innocent, hero-son

Of earth and star,

There  –  hear the call of the raven chime

From the canyon of ill-kept time.

Soon

Hanuman,

Son of the wind,

Breath of the earth.

© Sharon St Joan

Interested in India? You might like to visit http://www.forestvoicesofindia.com and sign up for the free newsletter.

After a while

rock formation
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Tall,

To the sun

And the moon they rise,

Pillars

That hold up the land

Of the stars,

In the early morning

Of time.

Where the chime

Of butterflies

Rings in the mist

Of clouds,

Where the horses of the wind climb

Archaic hills, peace settles,

Free from the shrouds

Of thought bewildered.

When the grinding wheels

Of the rattling cars,

The careening cart,

Of the manic race of beings that never stops

Have stopped, unspinned,

And fallen down

From the lofty wall,

Their memory lies

Quiet,

Dimming,

In the cheerful company

Of ghosts,

In the sooted

Shambles of empires

Cast

Under the snapping heels

Of fate.

Then

The coyotes

And the ever-knowing raven

Will run again

In gladness,

Across the red rock sand.

The wild hills, free now,

As the lilies

Of eternity

Who bow

In the wandering wind

By the bright

And undiscovered

Sea.

After the horns

Of many winters

Have fallen silent,

The husk

Of time

Discarded,

The aspiring rose will lift

Her head again

Among the rocks, resilient,

In the ice-enchanted

Spring.

The wind will sing.

Stones

Will shine, blessed in the twinkling

Emptiness

Of night.

The crow

Hops

In black

Clouds that inhabit

A sky of joy;

Coyotes laugh last

In the dance of the dusk,

And the ancient,

Earlier folk

Walk

To take back

The sacred mountain

Stolen

So long ago,

Now that the age of the unholy

Will be ended and done,

Gone

On the smoke

Of the fleeing mist.

Under a delicate crown

Of forest

Leaves, mice play

Among their catch,

The silver

Trinkets of the dead,

And talk

A while of feats of yore.

Herons glimmer,

One-footed,

On the green, tree-

Shouldered river.

Such an ill wind

That blew

Into the bones

Of the soul

Of men,

And stayed, corroding

The core

Of history,

Such a grim, unseemly game,

Like thorns

Lodged in the heart,

But when the scales fall

Away,

One by one by one,

Then

In the end there are only

The plain, rain-lit,

And the rose that flowers anew,

The innocent petals

Of nevermore,

And the farmer’s boy

Who whistles

In the strawberry patch,

By the lop-sided shack,

Where the corn stalks grow,

His blue

Hat adrift

On his head,

In the town

With no name,

Where the raven rules, with the snow-

Winged geese.

The sun holds the empty bowl,

Blessed be his ashen fires.

Agni, the one

Who returns

All

Back to the beginning.

Set the burning

Lanterns

Out and wait

In peace,

From within the rock and mist

To hear a killdeer call,

To sail away

To a far and luminous shore,

Known so well from long before,

On the flaming ships of dawn.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

Within the snow

Within the snow,

Eternity.

Within the tree-topped circles,

Flocks

Of red-winged blackbirds

Singing silver reeds of song.

Beyond the words,

The clear

Bright

Voice of the moon speaks,

The voice of all that is and might

Have been.

Above the long

Waves of the ever-turning, white-pounding sea,

Seagulls

Seek

Peace.

Rains

Run by the crease

In the page

Of the dusted year.

Beyond the clouds of storms, of bursting rifts of light,

The bitter winds of jagged rocks.

Beyond the thought forms, tumbled, broken,

Remains

The peace of the One

Who is only

There in the deepest mist

Of the great forest

Beyond the many worlds that come and go,

Within the heart of basalt rocks,

Within the soul

Of the jaguar and the tadpole,

The lily and the dandelion,

Within the black night

Of wonder

And the snow

Falling on the juniper

Branches and the flowering gold sage

Of eternity.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021