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Issue #2 - April 2015

Issue #2 – April 2015

Comments: When Issue #2 came out I hungrily read 8 pieces in a row and was stunned by the powerful combination of beauty and grief. The writers were able to do what is almost impossible - to speak of the horrifying truth of what is happening to the more than human world (as well as to us humans), to evoke the heartbreak AND also to have it all held in such shimmering beauty that I am drawn to come back to it again and again.

Thank you for creating a place where such incredible voices can be heard. It is so important.

~ Marilyn DuHamel, Ben Lomond, California, USA

“Homage to Bees” by Alexandra MerrillIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Alexandra Merrill’s “Homage to Bees” is the voice of a queen spoken from the depths of the hive. Through her words and images, this reflection states the case powerfully for new, holistic, models for leadership. By giving voice to the bees and connecting that voice to her own aspirations and fears, Ms. Merrill atomizes dualistic thinking and manifests the holistic philosophy she advocates so powerfully. No public-private split here, no misalignment between inner and outer here. In her words a Sacred Feminine becomes empowered by the sting of bees that can cure her or kill.

While traditional, masculine, models of leadership require holding onto power at any cost — even in the name of war — Ms. Merrill movingly invokes us to follow the example of bees to achieve mutual empowerment, those in authority willingly and lovingly ceding power and responsibility to those seeking it.

Ms. Merrill has set a high bar for leadership. With the universe of the bees as a model and the hive as their university, she has passed along the salvation of their sting to all of us.

~ Bryant Rollins, Jacksonville, FL

“Hommage to Bees” by Alexandra MerrillIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Leadership landmine lessons
Stung with shame to attend
Images heard inside of sound
Words dripping royal nectar
Wisdom healing hidden in venom
Lead Her Ship:
Step Into the Buzz

Thank you for Bee-ing!

~ Shirley Stetson, Jacksonville, FL, USA

“Cascading Memorials” by Ruth WallenIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: I’m so grateful for Ruth’s pointing out, so beautifully, how we need to support eachother in publicly grieving the mounting losses in our eco home, earth! I had a favorite hiking trail near our cabin in Kernville, CA. The beauty there filled my heart with joy. One of the too many, too big, too often forest fires in our parched So CA land decimated this trail…the trees will never recover. Now when I hike there, I cry and try to remember that natural fire is good for terrain…and imagine the new landscape arising…even as smoke from the next fire arises in my mind’s eye.

~ Penelope Andrade, San Diego

“Cascading Memorials: Public Places to Mourn” by Ruth WallenIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Just came across this, Ruth. Beautiful, sad, so common. Personally I try to keep focused on what we might still save and how, but I have thought of a performance piece of just sitting on a gallery floor and crying, for days…

~ Lynne Hulk, Ft Collins, CO

“Letter to a Yellowstone Wolf” by Joan KresichIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Thank you, Joan Kresich, for finding such heart-stirring words and images to remind us of our deep connection with all of life. What a wonderful practice--writing letters of acknowledgement (“You are seen and appreciated”) to our fellow beings, to our sisters in the plant world, and to the earth itself. I think I’ll try it!

~ Anita Kline, San Francisco

Comments by Sara Wright

“Dragonfly Dances” by Judy GrahnIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: I read this beautiful and moving testament to the way Nature communicates with us with a joyful heart. Judy bridges the gap between experience and language with such ease. Oh! I was struck by the way Judy learned to communicate with Nature by asking questions as a child. Whatever else interspecies communication is about it seems to begin with this sort of questioning. As Judy demonstrates so vividly Nature WANTS to communicate with us and gratitude for help is always appreciated.

“Grandmother Squirrel” by Carolyn Brigit FlynnIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Yes! Gratitude is the essential currency of all sentient beings – that and Compassion.

“Homage to Bees” by Alexandra MerrillIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: A moving testament to the power of the Bee Goddess…

“To Witness” by Gillian Goslinga

Comments: “Love is what awakens us to the life worthiness of others in death and life and calls us into right relationship with them. This kind of love is rooted in knowing how to keep company with.”

I lived these words without understanding when I first came to this (once) wilderness area 30 years ago.

Driving down a straight scar of a road that cut through wilderness I was stunned by the massive amount of road kill. Compelled against my will to get out of the car to witness each death was just the beginning. In time I learned how to honor the dead by burning the remains of whatever creature or bird I found. Still later, before burning I learned to honor the life of each animal by taking a wing or some fur, perhaps a quill… In retrospect I wonder if these acts helped the animals and birds become “kin”…Your beautiful essay is one I shall read again and again.

I want to acknowledge Sara Wright’s response to my essay. Thank you for sharing with us how you honor the animals who lose their lives on roads you travel. You ask if you made them kin by observing funerary rites and keeping relics from their mangled bodies? My answer is yes, you have. You made them spirit kin by freeing their souls in your gestures of respect and love. I honor you for witnessing their deaths so. I am glad you wrote in. You show me how it can be done. Blessings! ~ Gillian Goslinga

“trinkets” by Dana Anastasia

Comments: Until we recognize that every non human being is sentient how can we tap into the fields that hold the memory of their living and dying?

“Elegy for the Cranes” by Susan Marsh

Comments: I have returned to read this poem many times and each time it seems more beautiful and more mysterious.

“Dreaming the Future” by Valerie Wolf

Comments: Valerie. Although I do not consider myself following a shamanic path I have been celebrating earth based ritual for thirty years allowing my dreams and visions to guide me through each ritual… I live in deep communion with the land and over many years have received the same messages that came to you on your vision quest. Like you, I have resisted knowing what I know and don’t want to know.But I have finally accepted that it is my job to witness and grieve the destruction that is already upon us. Again and again, almost daily I am told by trees, animals, plants that only heartfelt compassion could have healed… behaving with compassion towards all beings including ourselves will not stop the destruction — first we have to live and die through the holocaust we have created.

More Comments: One more comment after yet another reading of this powerful narrative. It is also my experience that the spirits have not given up on us. In dreams, through visions, and experiences with Nature’s creatures, trees and plants I learn that it is my job to stay with the process and to let go of the outcome — whatever it might be…

“Cascading Memorials” by Ruth Wallen

Comments: It is time for me to write about the trees again. I notice that my grief is cyclic and ongoing, the only relief I experience is when I write – (though I can hardly bear going into that tree place again i know I will) We are the walking wounded if we love the land and it is a beautiful witnessing/expression of that love that I feel looking at your art work. Thank you

“Editorial” by Lise Weil

Comments: The most exciting part of DM is that every article has to be read over and over… savored like good food, and with every round comes new insight and understanding.

I feel wonder over the fact that there is finally a place where ongoing Earth grief can be woven into something more. Too see the words “matching our ways of living with our deepest values” reminds me that it is my dreams and experiences with Nature that keep me on this track.

“Our Dreams and visions need to be grounded in the horrors of ancient and current realities.” Without acknowledging those deep roots there is no hope for those of us who live in the truth of what we witness and what we mourn. We are made invisible by other people’s lies.

More Comments: I have been obsessed by Lise’s Editorial, compelled to keep re-reading it until I finally got it. The reason that editorial is so powerful is because Lise has tapped into the powers of “The Woman Who Weaves All the Threads Together” helping us to do the same.

“The Music of Grief” by Cynthia Travis

Comments: I need to read this article a few more times before making comments beyond this one: This is the most compelling article I have ever read on the necessity of grieving.

“This Moment the World Continues…” by Jan Clausen

Comments: One more comment. What a great question to be asking – “how to approach literature when humanity may not be at the center”

More Comments: Species suicide – the fear that no matter what I say or write won’t make a difference haunts me, although I find it impossible NOT to think about species suicide. Unfortunately I also cannot help but feel Earth’s devastation every time I open my eyes. And still I must make the attempt to write. Thank you for articulating the difficulties we face.

“When Earth Becomes an It” by Robin W. Kimmerer

Comments: Deeply moving article Robin.

Reciprocity is indeed the thread that binds us together and the language of environmentalism is an “it” separating us from Nature even as we pretend we are participants – a point I try to make any chance I get.

“Prophecy and history have converged” as you say.

One other point. The People of the Seventh Fire need to return to pick up stories, animals, plants, people – these are our roots – without which we cannot stand on firm enough ground in order to make any choice to move forward.

Thank you for the re-telling of one of my favorite creation stories.

~ Sara Wright, Bryant Pond, ME

“When Earth Becomes an ‘It’” by Robin W. Kimmerer FlynnIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Last night, my partner and I attended a documentary film screening about the Russian River in Northern California. A questionnaire asked what our greatest concern about water was. We wrote: “Our relationship with ki.” We were hoping for an inspiring film to help us further meet our kin – the streams, rivers, and lakes around us.

The opening lines of the film stated that animals have long TAKEN from the river. What!? No! My friend! The animals have long RECEIVED! Here, Robin, I see the way that language is subtle and dangerous.

Included in the history of the river was information about the Native people’s practices and relationship to it – all using past-tense verbs as if they don't exist anymore. They do! They still TEND and CARE for the river. PRESENT TENSE! The filmmakers carelessly remarked that Native people didn’t depend on the forest of California – all while projecting the same image used on the cover of Kat Anderson’s book “Tending the Wild” all about FOREST MANAGEMENT of Native Californians!

AH! From that point on, I knew that these filmmakers were not discussing the river from a relational point of view – but rather the liberal, environmental perspective that promotes a separation from nature. A We–can–only–protect–nature–by–removing–ourselves mentality.

I wonder and fear what will become of the liberal environmentalists. If they succeed in barring us from using, visiting, existing with nature – what will become of it and us? The oaks are already vanishing in California – from Sudden Oak Death and neglect from their human caretakers.

How do I bring the message to these leftists that nature is waiting for us – waiting for us to fulfill our roles tending and caring for it? We need to eat from her, sit with her, commune with her, and know her – as well as craft policy, regulation, and limits with how we receive her gifts. What sort of patriarchical, obsequious spirit has motivated us to protect a land we don’t even know?

I want to know my kin, and to serve kin with my gifts – but how do I bring others into this practice as well?

~ Ellen Pearson, Larkspur, CA

“Grandmother Squirrel” by Carolyn Brigit FlynnIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: What a shimmering piece. I was drawn in by your story and deeply moved. Weeping in awe, grief, and thanks. For you, your story, and the wonder of the living world that holds us all. I have new eyes.

~ Julie Gabrielli, Baltimore, Maryland

“Editorial” by Lise WeilIssue #2 – April 2015

Five Haiku to Lise Weil in Montréal

To Cetus I pray:
Grant me the gene memories
of Earth’s singing whales.

The Pleiades yield
magical capacity
to ancient wishes.

Orion eases
modern insecurities;
I grow more primal.

Ursa roars wildest
grammars of animacy
that I may bear grief.

From Virgo’s house
cmes the polemical fist
of stars, of stardust.

~ Karla Linn Merrifield, North Fort Myers

“The Music of Grief” by Cynthia TravisIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: This writer has an amazing connection to humanity’s primal collective consciousness and it seems the archetypes of life, death and transformation speak to her personally in her dreams.

I was struck by her amazing humility in describing the cultural differences and customs.

She gets you thinking not only about what is going on in western Africa, but also about our own internal resources, behaviors and customs concerning reconciliation with death and death’s trauma … and our need to clear the passages of our body’s sensitive receptors and grieve.

Looking forward to reading more from her.

~ Stephanie Jourdan, Woodland Hills

“To Witness” by Gillian GoslingaIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: I so greatly appreciate the courage of Gillian to continue to feel Life. Your connection with the natural world/creatures will continue to deeply inspire us all.

~ Hunter Lilly, Babson Park, FL

“Homage to Bees” by Alexandra MerrillIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Beautiful piece Alexandra, a true testimony to your ability to transcend the mundane and bring experience to the level of profound awakening that defines you as a teacher.

~ Gary Wheeler, Rockland, ME

“Homage to Bees” by Alexandra MerrillIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: What a powerful recounting of an incredible not to be repeated challenge.
I felt the courageous return from the bee attack.
A life lesson to remember. Another Alexandra’s teaching to remember…

~ Reyna Joe, Curaçao

Comments by Patricia Reis

“Infiltration” and “Prey” by Sheila MurrayIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: The poem Infiltration tells us what it is like to make love with a river – how there is no separation in the coming together… and how that knowing is carried into places where separation is the name of the game – them not us!

Prey is another version of no-separation – one becomes what one does – lives what one is. In this fierce and wise poem we are asked to look at how all our actions “stitch” us irrevocably together.

“Homage to Bees” by Alexandra Merrill

Comments: I read this article last night. The bees swarmed my sleep – they buzzed my bed –

I became beeness with them. That is the gift of Alexandra Merrill’s Homage to Bees. What she brings back from her deep encounter is beeyond… beelief. It takes an enormous amount of wisdom and courage to make honey from this experience, and to bring such sweet knowledge of bee living into the woman hive, so we, too, may learn their lessons. The art adds another glowing dimension to her Homage.

“Fleshing the Hide” by Nora Jamieson

Comments: I read Fleshing the Hide not knowing where I was in time and space. For a few blessed moments, Nora Jamieson’s work allowed me to enter another unbounded realm – where separations between living and dead, animal and human, sleeping dream and waking dream are seamlessly and delicately woven.

~ Patricia Reis, Portland, Maine

“Homage to Bees” by Alexandra MerrillIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Alexandra I have known two scores
She engulfs in faith, with flaws
All that she encompasses around –
Of heart, mind or harmonic sound

My meditation at Dalada Maligawa
Was all hers at the tooth relica
For don’t know how to honour you –
Real, tall, a replicated Angelou

~ Mehroo Kotval, India

“Dreaming the Future” by Valerie WolfIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom. Not all can dream with such inspiration and purpose.

~ Ursula Hutloff, San Francisco

“Grandmother Squirrel” by Carolyn Brigit FlynnIssue #2 – April 2015

Comments: Such a beautiful story, I have never read the full one that is here. So good to hear it again, Grandmother Squirrel. And to see that you are walking the path.

~ Valerie Wolf, United States