Awaiting Joy

The_Joy_of_SongI  feel deeply blessed, for I have had the opportunity to learn from, and work with, shamans and healers from many traditions and parts of the world. At the center of their practices and lives is the necessity of speaking up for those who have lost voice, including the Earth; feeding, clothing, and educating those who cannot do so for themselves; and awakening joy in oneself and those whose lives we touch.  They showed me that kindness, gratitude, and Joy are the sacred heart of living and healing. I am profoundly grateful. Continue reading

Caring for Earth: A Gift and A Burden

Winter BerriesIt has been snowing, intermittently, for most of the past week. We have also experienced freezing rain, sleet, and, very briefly, just plain rain. It is warm, compared to the historical norm, resulting in the periods of mixed precipitation rather than just snow. Had it been all snow we would be housebound.

I’m sitting by the wood stove. It took a while to get it roaring; now the heat is finally taking the chill from the house. I appreciate the deep warmth that comes from burning wood, and the high-efficiency of this stove; we get warmth while using relatively little fuel. The dancing flames are a bonus.

My parents remembered the winter evenings of their youth, spent by open hearths, with fondness. Stoves and fire places were not efficient; they required many chords of wood be gathered, split, and stacked each year. Families carefully managed their lands, maintaining the health of the trees, water, and soil upon which their lives depended. To run out of wood for cooking and heat was to suffer, and in winter, to risk death. Gifted persons felt and respected the pulse of the land, dreaming the flow of energy and information through the biosphere; this helped them survive difficult times. Continue reading

Advent: Waiting with Mary

Snow_Heavy_BoughsToday is the third Sunday in Advent. Now the nights are long, and snow covers the ground and bends down the trees. The cold has settled in. These are the conditions that are celebrated in carols and text at Christmastide. They are also the imagined context for Mary’s long journey of pregnancy, and , with Joseph, to Bethlehem. Continue reading


SnowfallToday marks the second Sunday in Advent. Yesterday was a day of rain and snow, with temperatures in the mid-thirties. This morning is cold with broken cloud. As I type the snow line is working its way down the mountains.Last night darkness fell early, even by our northerly standards, giving us a taste of how short the days must have seemed to the early European Christians. Surely they readily drew parallels between their traditional concerns with the waning sun, and the new religion’s focus on the brightly shining son of god. Were not they somehow the same, at least in metaphor and experience?  Continue reading