Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Give Thanks for Mercury Retrograde

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.. For the first time in many years, I spent the day with friends and my own family, but no-one from my family of origin.  One result:  I ended up appreciating how precious my family of origin is to me!

For several years now I've actually been enjoying Mercury Retrograde.  The transit seemed to become less stressful after I turned a corner in the healing process, so that at last there was less I needed to clear up from the past than I wanted to experience in the present.  Here's one of the more useful posts i've seen on the positive aspects of Mercury retrograde.  Enjoy, and, as my dad used to say, "happy days!"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Getting Ready for Samhain

I'm very excited about Samhain this year.  On Halloween, I'm going to celebrate my 55th birthday with a special gathering of a few witchy friends—and at the same time, celebrate and inaugurate the beginning of the writing of my memoir American Witch—the story of the long strange trip that brought me to be here, on this blog, writing to you all about the beauty and power I find on this magick path and in this sacred world.  If you enjoy this blog, please send a thought my way on Sunday night as I officially start out on this project.  After 40 years of focusing entirely on poetry, it's scary and electrifyingly intense to be embarking on a big nonfiction book project—but I feel lots of support and love and encouragement from many quarters.  So I say, "Bring it on!"

And then last night, I performed my poem "Samhain," from Eve, as part of the Halloween show at Poets Theater of Maine. The promotions described it as a "ritual poem," and it felt that way, perhaps more than any time I've read it in the past.   Was it the costume—black cloak, white dress, amber beads?  Was it the fact that for the first time for any poetry performance, I worked with a director, Assunta Kent, to prepare?  Was it simply (and not simply—very importantly!) that I was truly "off book" and able to channel the words to the audience without the interference of the page?  Was it that my daughter was part of the performance, acting the part of my "young mind" in Kent's staging?  Whatever the reason, it was a special way to usher in the season of this profound New Year in the pagan calendar when the veil between living and dead feels so thin, because it brought me close to my beloved Grandy, described in the poem (you can see a photo of Grandy and me in an earlier post here).  May you all find beautiful ways to bring meaning to the season by connecting with those you love, living and gone.  Here's the poem.  Blessed be, and Happy Samhain!


In the season leaves should love,
since it gives them leave to move
through the wind, towards the ground
they were watching while they hung,
legend says there is a seam
stitching darkness like a name.

Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil

that hangs among us like thick smoke.
Tonight at last I feel it shake.
I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.

I move my hand and feel a touch
move with me, and when I brush
my young mind across another,
I am with my mother's mother.
Sure as footsteps in my waiting
self, I find her, and she brings

arms that have answers for me,
intimate, waiting, bounty.
"Carry me." She leaves this trail
through a shudder of the veil,
and leaves, like amber where she stays,
a gift for her perpetual gaze.

from Eve

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Yoga, Sprawl, and the Black Earth Institute

I'm getting ready to head out to the annual retreat of the Black Earth Institute, where I have the honor of being a Senior Fellow this year.  It's always an extraordinarily inspiring weekend, with powerful presentations by Fellows on their work in progress, hard-hitting and urgent conversations, and, not least, memorable wine from BEI founder Patricia Monaghan's homegrown organic grapes.  How fitting a way to acknowledge this time of rich, succulent early-October ripeness.

It was at BEI that I met Cristina Eisenberg, which that ultimately to my writing the play "Wolf Song."  The theme of our readings for this year's discussions is "Hope and Renewal"; who knows where this year's conversations may lead?

This year, one thing I plan to talk about is my passionate belief in the ideas expressed in this talk by James Howard Kunstler.  Kunstler's book THE GEOGRAPHY OF NOWHERE was what I was reading when I gave birth to my daughter.  That book seemed to point the way to a more inhabitable world. 

It's easy to live in the head and forget the importance of the physical.  Poetry, particularly the rhythms of of formal poetry, reminds me constantly that the physical IS the spiritual--and in the last few months, as I've been getting back into doing yoga after a long hiatus, I've been reminded that this is true in every sphere, not just that of poetry.  And it seems to be, in turn, the gist of Kunstler's urgent message for the architecture of our public realm.

Poetry, yoga, the built environment: sphere inside sphere, all working towards greater balance and harmony.  It's a challenging time right now for all of us on the planet--but what beautiful, and increasingly sustained, glimpses we keep getting into more hopeful and renewing ways of living.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Merry Mabon: Equinox Invocations and Andy Goldsworthy at the Beach

Mabon was glorious this year.  For the first time, I cast a circle by using the invocations to the directions I wrote to structure my new book of poems.  It has taken me two years to get up the courage to use these invocations, maybe because I was so afraid they would sound forced instead of magickal.  

But they did sound magickal; they worked!  

Compared to a normal circle, where we just improvise our invocations according to the spirit of the moment, this time I felt a significant difference: the circle was much more tangible. What a special feeling to create a magic space out of words you have crafted; it reminds me of how I felt after writing the Rune poem in the ancient Celtic form of Rionnard tri-nard.

Later, Glen and I went to the beach, where I thought about Andy Goldsworthy, one of my favorite artists, as I found myself crafting spirals and tunnels. Then we walked along the beach and found that other humans had left very similar traces--more sacred circles, silently invoking their own sets of four directions.  

We humans are amazing creatures!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Chant for Lammas--and my Garden

photo by Georgia Etheridge

Happy Lammas, All!  Here is the lammas chant from Calendars.  Though it says two voices, we performed it the other day in four groups of voices, just moving through the poem three times, and it worked out great.  If I can get the technology down, I'll also add the audio version from the Calendars CD

                                                LAMMAS CHANT

                                                   (August 1)
                                                      (two voices,  alternating)

Fill the earth's belly full.

Fill the earth's belly full.
Bring the food, bring the grain.
There are cold months ahead
Give them peace in the ground.

Bring the food, bring the grain.

Fill the earth's belly full.
bring the food, bring the grain.
There are cold months ahead.
Give them peace in the ground.

There are cold months ahead.
Give them peace in the ground.

Fill the earth's belly full;
bring the food, bring the grain.
There are cold months ahead.
Give them peace in the ground.

From Calendars (Tupelo Press, 2003)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Among the Goddesses review

Yay! Here's a nice little review of Among the Goddesses!

And if you like the book, here's the page where you can like it on Facebook--it has some fun information too!