Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

I interrupt this virus for a cuteness interlude March 30, 2020


We now have 12 baby chicks in the living room. It’s amazing to witness how much they change and grow every day – sometimes, it seems, every hour! Only one day after I took this photo, some of them had suddenly sprouted teeny but real wing feathers.

No matter what else is happening, it can help to remember that Spring coming on is the ultimate good ground of our reality.

What loveliness have you encountered in the past few days that remind us of life, warmth and light returning?


Cute chix March 2020


Insight from a Partial Eclipse August 21, 2017



96% totality experienced.

Even at that much shadowed occultation, the sun offered a surprising amount of light.

The profound takeaway I got is this:

If we consider the parallels between the larger natural world and our own psyches, it’s a sweet reminder that even if we’ve sabotaged our lives a lot through our own BS patterns, our pure original nature still shines more brightly than we realize.



Winter Solstice December 21, 2013

Niwot sunset*

Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere: it feels like winter is just getting started. Here in Colorado, the late December days alternate between relatively mild with lots of sun and below zero with violent winds or snow, then back again. It’s as though the earth is kind here, slowly giving us a chance to get used to the idea of the coldest season being real. We’ve just passed autumn: winter still feels new. The ski season is just revving up. We haven’t begun to resent the bitter cold of January or dread the bleak eternity of February, March, and beyond.

What I love about Winter Solstice time is the widespread reminder that even though it feels like it’s just getting started, the reality is that after today, winter is on its way out. Frosty Elvis is leaving the building.

It doesn’t seem possible, but that’s the truth. No wonder people from time immemorial have celebrated the return of the sun, with its light and warmth and life they bring to every being here on earth.

Every winter holiday that I know of has light as a central motif: the Hanukkah candles; the Christ Child as the light of the world; the Kwanzaa festival of lights; the idea of celebrating a New Year now (instead of in spring when on the surface, it would make a heck of a lot more sense to celebrate new life with the return of new growing shoots), and even secular Santa with his reindeer’s glowing nose lighting the way to bring abundance to the young and innocent.

We put human faces on it, but these holidays are all really about this vast, fundamental celestial dance that ultimately determines life and death for all of us fragile beings on earth.

Imagine living in a subsistence culture, or any human culture during much earlier times. If it’s cold too long, all of the plants die. The animals then starve too, and/or freeze, and there is nothing for you to eat. The firewood is buried beneath meters of frozen snow, so now there’s no real way to keep warm unless you prepared by making stacks during warmer times – but even so, for how long? And what if your fire goes out? Worse, what if the warm times never come back? The idea may sound childish, but that was the reality during the Ice Age… over the course of generations, it never did! No wonder we humans need the hope that yes, even though it sure doesn’t feel like it at the time because each one goes for so long, the seasons flow in a cycle, not an eternal line, and Spring will indeed come again.

Food, gifts, and gathering together are also part of this – another reminder that life isn’t always going to be spare. Fear begets hoarding and separation, shrinking away; whereas generosity begets some abundance for all, at least in the heart.

Some of my friends in Morris troupes got up today before dawn to dance up the sun. I will call contradances this evening as part of the Solabration festival in Denver, which also features group singing, potluck feasting, storytelling, a Mummer’s Play, Xtreme juggling and more low-tech offerings both silly and sublime. Trees have been brought into our homes and honored with gifts of ornaments and yes, lights. They are evergreens, another symbol of eternal life. In a sea of bare branches, they remain supple and ever green. Gifts await beneath their boughs. People bring ridiculous numbers of cookies to work. We put on fat that can tide us over if the winter lasts too long.

Light, warmth, sharing, possibility, hope. We can make it through another dark time.

Tonight is the longest night of the year. In this darkest time, celebrating the Solstice offers a reminder of the physical reality that really, things have turned and it’s getting easier now. It’s not just wishful thinking: it’s Science! 🙂  The Sun bought her ticket and packed her bags, and has just begun her long journey back to us. Already tomorrow the world will begin to lighten up.

It might not feel like that for months, but just hold on. Watch the skies. Go outside first thing in the morning and last thing at night before you go to bed, and notice how things are changing. Pay attention. The gratitude will come.

Midwinter is a cusp time: both dark, resting, & quietly contemplative and also a tender new beginning. The energy of all earth begins to quicken now.

Along with zooming around taking care of the details of the impending Xmas etc. extravaganza, you may wish to take the opportunity to align your life with these large natural energies. The ancient Taoists would certainly applaud this notion. Unless you’re a salmon or we’re talking political metaphor, isn’t it wiser to ride strong river currents in the direction they’re going instead of fighting to go upstream?

Here’s one way to work with the energies of the winter solstice. Sit quietly, preferably outside. Feel the earth breathing. This day offers a pause: the cusp of earth’s autumnal in-breath (pulling in to let go and rest) and her spring outbreath (birthing new life). Take some time to consider your life. Where have you been this past year or more? What structures, qualities, etc. have served you that you find precious and want to keep and grow further, and what would you like to let gently and naturally fall away like dead leaves? Finally, what new sources of light would you like to bring into your life at this newly waxing time of unlimited potential?

Merrie Solstice.


Hello Again, Bornean Rainbow Toad! July 16, 2011

This bejeweled toad, feared extinct since 1924, appears to us once more!

According to Discovery News, the endangered spindly-legged Sambas Stream Toad, a.k.a. Bornean Rainbow Toad (Ansonia latidisca) was last seen 87 years ago in 1924.

“Prior to this recent sighting, only illustrations of the mysterious, long-legged toad existed, after collection by European explorers in the 1920s.  Because of this, scientists believed that chances of finding the species alive were nearly impossible and it was listed as one of the “World’s Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs.”

The toad was found in the remote Gunung Penrissen mountains of Western Sarawak, which form a natural boundary between Malaysia’s Sarawak State and Indonesia’s Kalimantan Barat Province on the island of Borneo. The value of such wild corridors should not be underestimated. If not for the place, this toad (and who knows how many other species?) would likely never have been seen again. And amphibians are critically important to healthy ecosystems.

Dr. Indraneil Das of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, touched to find this toad once more, reminds us, “Thrilling discoveries like this beautiful toad… remind us that nature still holds precious secrets that we are still uncovering.” Then, lest listeners discount the find as trivial, this scientist, no doubt thinking about the incredibly enmeshed interdependency of this planet’s natural systems, added: “Their benefits to people should not be underestimated.”

(Thanks to Jamie K. Reaser for bringing this to my attention.)


Only One Voice March 26, 2010

Filed under: Arts,Spiritual Ecopsychology — BrujaHa @ 5:20 pm
Tags: , , ,

Sometimes the life of a changemaker, even when dealing in gentle aspects like education and consciousness shift, gets rough. Bucking dominant norms can sometimes make a person feel quite alone. So we seek out kindred spirits for bolstering and comfort and inspiration to continue going. But what if they’re hard to find?

The following poem was written by the Carmelite nun Jessica Powers.

I carry it around in my wallet for emergency purposes.

/ l \

Only One Voice

Only one voice

but it was singing

and the words danced and as they danced held high

oh with what grace their lustrous bowls of joy.

Even in dark we knew they danced but we

none of us touched the hem of what would happen.

Somewhere around a whirl, a swirl, a pirouette

the bowls flew and spilled

and we were drenched, drenched to the dry bone

in our miserable night.

Only one voice

but morning lay awake in her bed and listened

and then was out and racing over the hills

to hear and see,

and water and light and air and the tall trees

and people young and old began to hum

the catchy, catchy tune

and everyone danced and everyone everything

even the last roots of the doddering oak

believed in life.

/ l \

This poem came to me 15 years ago in a chapbook published by other elderly Carmelite nuns with whom I became friends. The illustrator of the chapbook, Sister Marie Celeste, had been cloistered for most of her 70-odd years but in the last few, she and her comrades realized that the increasingly difficult world situation meant that God really needed them to work in it now, instead of contemplating its troubles from behind the walls. They risked excommunication over this struggle but ultimately won out.

Thus I had the incredible privilege of studying alongside them while completing my BA at Old College in Reno, Nevada, a short-lived experiment begun by Father Jack Leary, the Jesuit priest and intellectual who had previously founded New College of California.

In an interesting twist of fate, in later years I came to teach at the North Bay branch of New College. And I read this poem for my students at every graduation ceremony. So the wheel comes around, and the bardic gift goes on.

Do you have a favorite first-aid poem for the soul?

/ l \