Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

Really Seeing a Tree January 2, 2011

I travelled much in my youth,

and continue to today.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts (near Harvard Square)

between the papers and discussions,

I walked outside

seeking asylum from the reeking of my mind

(my brain so numb I had to consult my notes

to remember my own words!)

The first time out all day.

A one-block walk was all I had time for. But grace

has a way of descending in strange times.

I met a golden maple,

glowing with evening light leaves

and I stopped, entranced. For years I stood,

looking up, feeling her skin, awed.

Looking at the dancing lights, looking at the bark patterns,

the movement, the subtle colors.

And Seeing,

falling into the beloved through the eyes.

It would take me the whole day

to draw the intricacies of this thumbnail-sized piece of bark

in as much detail as I could,

and even then that would not begin

to scratch the surface of what was there.

How long would it take to illustrate the entire trunk?

let alone the branches, the roots, the changing leaves,

the entire living body of this tree?

And then there are the changes!

Every day brings new differences —

“Oh no, I have to do the painting over again,

that leaf has been nibbled; another is yellow today!

And the third from the left is gone!”

Several lifetimes would be needed

just to observe this one tree,

and even then skimming, a thin summary

of its possibilities.

Amongst travelling people, strange shifts can occur in fall.

I have left lovers because I felt bored with them,

thinking I knew all there was to know

yet now

I feel ready to settle and be contented

just really knowing one tree, and

its birds who visit,

its leaf changes,

its singular song in the wind.

Falling into one millimeter of bark

at a time —

This for the first time is satisfying;

it’s enough.

Maybe I am approaching middle age:

Small things hold tremendous import

and easy ability to renew my soul.

– Tina Fields


Rocksong October 10, 2010


Tonight I go alone

to the Stone-People-Lodge

To the drumming in the lodge

To the people calling, chanting

down the bones of ancient eagles

and the deities of granite near

a pregnant fir tree humming,

offering sap that danced out freely

in the Dreamtime of our mothers

who perceive us in their future

which is Now, as we are waiting

in their lodge of seven colors

like a rainbow bridge of feathers –

insubstantial in our bodies;

only present in our yearnings

in our brayings

in our dreamings; there

our bodies they are gleaming

with the cleansing

and the healing

and the long-awaited joining

with the elder tribal peoples

sister raven

grandma mugwort

So then will come the sound of angels

tying all our lives together

in the falling of their fire

and the raindrops in their wingsong

Burning breathing

smokedeyes squeezing

as the tears release from from spirits

at the deaths of all our baggage

We are joined by silver navel cords

to all of Our Relations

we are dancing in the Moebius strip

of despairing elation

Dance the memory of Realtime

Dance the flow of sap in pine trees

Dancing out of sacred lodges

in the sun,

never alone.


This poem was written to the sound of an internal rattle while waiting for a ride (in a shopping mall, of all places) several hours before I was to go into my first Inipi ceremony with the late Wallace Black Elk. Everything that came in the poem also later came to pass in the tipi.  It was nice of the spirits to provide a program!


Artzybasheff’s Animistic Machines April 26, 2010

Filed under: Animism,Arts — BrujaHa @ 12:16 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Artzybasheff Machinalia

Animism is alive and well in the industrial world of Boris Artzybasheff.

After the Russian Revolution, Artzybasheff (1899-1965) arrived in America with no parents and 14 cents in his pocket. He began to work as an illustrator using an Art Deco style, then became heavily influenced by the representational surrealist movement.

His illustrations graced countless Time and Life magazines, loads of ads, and around 50 books, including Charles Finney’s The Circus of Dr. Lao and Dhan Gopal Mukerji’s Gay-Neck, which won him the Newbery.

One of his most famous books was his own, As I See. This book contains a section entitled “Machinalia.”

In its introduction, Artzybasheff says, “I am thrilled by machinery’s force, precision and willingness to work at any task, no matter how arduous or monotonous it may be. I would rather watch a thousand ton dredge dig a canal than see it done by a thousand spent slaves lashed into submission. I like machines.”

He says that, but while some of these do look like a happy little Disney world o’ machines, others look far more ominous to me. However, I’ll give the artist the benefit of the doubt for knowing his own subconscious along with his conscious approval of human liberation from drudgery.  Perhaps the machines’ expressions do not signify plotting the eventual overthrow of their soft, fleshy masters, as I suspect, but simply intense concentration on their work tasks.

See what you think.


Artzybasheff Machinalia
Making of Steel: Charging the Open Hearth

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Tapping a Heat of Steel

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Filling Ingot Molds

Artzybasheff Machinalia
The Soaking Pit

Artzybasheff Machinalia
The Blooming Pit

Artzybasheff Machinalia
The Rod Mill

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Hydraulic Press

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Stranding of Wire Rope

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Weaving of Fence Fabric

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Wire Drawing Machines

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Spring Forming Presses

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Wire Cloth Looms

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Navy’s Mark III Calculator

Artzybasheff Machinalia
Executive of the Future

(Thanks to my original source for many of these illos: Stephen Worth, ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive)


Animistic Architecture April 3, 2010

I recently attended the 30th annual conference of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness (SAC), a subsection of the American Anthropological Association, held this year at UC Berkeley’s Faculty Club.



This is a lovely old building very appropriate for such a gathering of psychonauts; one of those made by master architects from the last century with one foot in the Dreaming.

In its rafters are dragons…


UC Berkeley Faculty Club's rafter dragons

Tim Lavalli presenting beneath the rafter dragons
Tim Lavalli presenting beneath the dragon posts


…and even the door catches on the floor seem sentient.


UC Berkeley Faculty Club sentient floor hinges


Faculty Club floor in context. Would you have noticed their   faces?

Here a view of those door catches in context.  Would you have noticed their faces?

(Look along the line where the two wood grains meet. They’re right in the middle, where the doors will come together.)


A lot of speeches and discussions have taken place in this place. (For a description of one of them, see my post Molecular Dancing with Water.) If everything in these lovingly-crafted buildings, even the seemingly-inanimate bits, is looking back, does that mean they’re also listening? And if so, how much knowledge must they have amassed in their years here at this center of learning?!  I would not want to have to argue with them, that’s for sure.

Delights like these little faces in the architecture are everywhere; the world is just waiting to open its petals before your imagination.



Enter the Corporocalypse January 25, 2010

Folks, the Corporocalypse is upon us.

Have you heard? The Supreme Court just ruled to allow corporations full financial rein to support or oppose new senators and presidential candidates. This will send us even further down the road to what my father would call “the best government money can buy.”

We must challenge this. Some might say that it’s not that different from what we have now, yet it does contain a huge difference in that it openly and formally condones such corruption. This will mean the end to government as Lincoln celebrated in his Gettysburg Address, “of the people, for the people, by the people” — or maybe not, if we just forget about real people and instead consider corporations the important ‘persons’ in question.

Corporations are officially “people” too, after all; a status granted by law. And as Orwell once observed, some people are more equal than others.

This trouble has been building for a long time. In fact, Thomas Jefferson saw it coming!  In a letter he wrote to George Logan on Nov 12, 1816, he warned, “I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

The deep leverage point for change here is to ***eliminate corporate personhood.*** This is an idea whose time has come of age NOW.

Corporate personhood is a travesty of law that should never have been allowed to come into existence. It gives corporations the rights of persons, but without the accompanying constraints on their behavior that a live person in community would naturally have. In other words, there is no reason for them to behave ethically, or even caringly. Joel Bakan trenchantly observed that if we examine corporate “persons'” behavior psychologically, according to the standards set forth in the DSM-IV, their dominant personality is that of a sociopath. Not someone you want to live anywhere near, let alone confer any power over your life.

The concept of “personhood” is an interesting one. Many indigenous peoples consider other animals or plants to be “persons.” For example, the Lakota have terms for many recognizable oyate, which means “people” or “nation.”  “Tree people/nation.” “Bird people/nation.” And even more specific tribes, such as “Eagle-bird-people/nation.”

Our current laws do not recognize the personhood of these other beings, these relatives in other-than-human bodies, but they do confer personhood on what is essentially a business fantasy. To me, this suggests that something has gone horribly wrong.

How about we reverse this? Let’s make laws that protect our relatives of other species, whose well-being ultimately benefits our own, and eliminate those laws that protect only the interests of a few greedheads whose inventions are ultimately threatening not only our ability to self-govern, but the health of the earth herself, the very foundation of our existence.

As Gloria Steinem noted, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

It’s time to stand up for the world we want to live in. You can begin by signing the petition penned by the excellent organization  Write or call your congresspeople. Other ideas? Let’s make a fuss here instead of just taking this dangerous nonsense yet again. More than we might imagine rides on it.


“Green” January 11, 2010

“Green,” we say, meaning one or all of these hues, plus dozens more.

Our language is so inadequate for the deep sensory experiences!

Here’s to the delicious vast richness of green.