Sunday, December 9, 2018

Yule Tree

View of the Sangre de Cristo
("Blood of Christ") mountains
from the East side.
In the shallow valley at the foot of the mountains
where Santa Fe is located and we live, we view this
southernmost subrange of the Rockies from the West.
This range contains "New Mexico's loftiest peaks."
After Thanksgiving and before the rain and snow that was predicted and came, we drove East past Pecos and into the National Forest to cut our Yule tree.

The dirt road was bumpy but our trusted Stella, our Prius, trudged along as we carefully negotiated the ruts. It was windy! Shasta jumped out of Stella but her foray was short-lived and she returned to nestle into the safety of her bed.

We tied our chosen Pinon pine to Stella's roof.

And began our slow drive home.

Before we cut our Pinon pine we considered where we might place it in our Casa Alegre home which is a considerable downsize from our West Sonoma County, California home. So upon returning home, Dwight secured on our front portal our chosen, lovely Pinon pine in the tree stand filled with plenty of water. Many lower branches were cut off and hydrated in a large bucket of water. 

Several days later we decorated our Yule tree with big snowflakes falling.

Our Yule decorations are modest compared to others in the neighborhood, but they suit us and our sense of simplicity.
Front door sway created
from some of the lower branches cut from our Yule tree.

In this midst of all the holiday hoopla, may we each rest, enjoy one another and

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


For our 31st Anniversary and Thanksgiving celebration we visited Taos, New Mexico. Driving to Taos we took the "High Road" and returning the "Low Road" which is along the Rio Grande. Our intended week long stay was cut short since the heat failed in the casita we rented and it was way too cold to remain in Taos. 

We did spend an incredible day at the Taos Pueblo which is an absolutely astonishing experience.

New Mexico is the only state that has three World Heritage Sites:
     Chaco Culture National Historical Park
     Carlsbad Caverns National Park
     Taos Pueblo
The state is petitioning for a fourth site at White Sands National Monument.

The Taos Pueblo gives one an insight into what life was like before "the white man" took over what is now the State of New Mexico. 

The Red Willow Creek is fed by a glacier lake located 25 miles into the Taos Pueblo wilderness. This waterway provides water to the 100 or so inhabitants of the Pueblo. These live on either of the creek in the South House, or Hlaukkwima pictured above, or in the North House (Hlaauma).

A multistoried adobe building on the North side of Red Willow Creek below.

"The adobe is a brick made of an earth, straw and water mixture formed and sun-dried. Each adobe layer is stacked with a mortar (adobe mixture) and sun-dried. Upon completion a coating of the same material is applied. The coating is continuously maintained to sustain the impacts of weather and deterioration." Below is a close up of the adobe:

The adobe structures are heated with incredibly efficient and very small fireplaces. 

Baking is done in out of doors adobe structures called hornos, introduced by the Spanish and perfected by Pueblo people to suit their needs. 

Some tribal members offer for sale food including fruit pies and preserves. The fruit is gathered from the orchards that are well established and productive. There is art for sale often with the artist available to discuss her or his work. 

As one enters one can experience the feel of the inside of these adobe structures.

Signs warn tourists of the private residences unavailable for entry as show in the above photograph.

The Taos Pueblo peoples who live on either side of the waterway have their own kiva for sacred ceremonies. The one pictured below is of the North House.

"Res" dogs abound. These four leggeds amble every where, in what it seems like to this One, a state of serenity.

Or we visitors notice them lying in the sun connected to their Mother Earth.

Guided tours are offered from 9:00 a.m. running every 20 minutes and lasting 30 minutes. Our guide was incredibly animated and passionate about his culture. He provided history and a window into how his present day Pueblo deals with the United States government: Taos Pueblo, like all Native Americans inhabiting "reservations", is a sovereign nation.  Our guide is pictured below:

The majority of the tribal members do not live in the old adobe structures but in newer homes with electricity and running water, some on tribal land and others off. The visitors' bathrooms are warm with flush toilets and very clean.

At the miserable last night we spent in the unheated rented casita, we had an emotional discharging

Sunday, November 18, 2018


Upon opening the window coverings early one morning after the recent  season's first snow fall, I deeply experienced an incredible stillness. Awareness permeated every cell of my BEing here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In the stillness the powerful sense of gratitude flowed over, through and all around.

Now a few days later the stillness remains. BEing here experiencing Winter at 6790', it seems to me since the trees and perennials have all pulled their qi downward and the animals' qi is concentrated inward stillness prevails. This particular location on Mother Earth offers a unique opportunity for experiencing subtle energy. It allows for deep healing that comes with BEing awake, aka conscious, moving away from the habits of mind, habits of daily routines and habits of going through life in a robot sort of way. It allows for early traumas to emerge from the subconscious and to then trudge down a path, often circular, rather than linear, towards whole BEingness. 

View from our front window
the morning after the first
snowfall of the season.
View moments later
from our rear sliding glass door.
May we each grab hold of the opportunities that life affords each of us as individuals to awaken and to heal, becoming a luminous BEing. During negotiating this simple but not easy, bumpy path, may we all 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Samhain/Halloween and Dia de los Muertos

Day of the Dead Marigolds blooming at MuRefuge, October, 2012
For Witches, aka Pagans, Samhain or Halloween marks a new year. The New Year symbolizes new beginnings as the "Wheel turns" and cycles continue. It is said that at this time the "veil is the thinnest that divides the worlds" thus access to the spirits of those who have gone before, including our ancestors, is the easiest. 

In the Mexican culture the first two days of November is a time to honor the dead. Dia de los Muertos, rather than days of mourning, is a joyful celebration. It is a time to reconnect with the spirits of ancestors who are presently more available to offer guidance.  

Altars are created in both cultures and laden with pictures of those who have passed into the spiritual realm. For the spirits to partake, luscious foods are placed on the altars as well as flowers (often Day of the Dead Marigolds) for their enjoyment
No Day of the Dead Marigolds at MuRefuge 6790'
but Paperflower (Psilostrophe tagetina) is magnificent.
At this time of the cycle I am particularly sensitive to spiritual energy of my Gramp and Grandma.

Gramp ( my paternal grandfather )
in his deliberative state
who told me stories so profound.
These stories as I remember them
are reminiscent of Jean Auel's 
Earth's Children series of novels.

Grandma ( my maternal grandmother )
whose spirit was with me when I began my
process of awakening, aka
vibrating at a higher frequency, rather than my habitual state.
Her admonition was, "do your Work now
so you do not have to do your Work
on your 'death bed'."

Fall color abounds in Santa Fe, heralding the cyclical turning and the availability of our ancestral knowledge, support and connections. All of the below pictures were taken walking about our neighborhood in which we are so grateful to now live. Halloween now has a particular impactful significance since we arrived in Santa Fe the evening before. Halloween marks our first full day here one year ago. Dwight, Shasta and I have begun rerooting. We all are feeling vibrance from Mother Earth here at 6790' as the transplant shock has passed.

Burning Bush in full splendor across the street
at the home of two devoted Catholics
who have welcomed us with open arms to Casa Alegre and Santa Fe.

 All around the neighborhood Apricot tree leaves turning a spectacular golden yellow.
The ubiquitous cottonwood in Casa Alegre sporting Fall color
And the Aspen tree, beloved by all  for its stunning Fall color.
At this time of power those who have gone before "clamor for us to make a viable world." Perhaps it is no coincidence that midterm elections are almost upon us? Are you planning to vote?

So as we open ourselves, honor our ancestors and exercise our right to vote, may each of us joyfully

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


In the beginning, tucked in the dark womb of our mother, the urge struck us that we might venture out. At this same moment, our Mother tilted her bowl of life and poured us forward into our lives.
The journey begins . . . 
Flowers on Tsikumu
Are calling us.
We step forward,
The birds' wings
Fan our faces.
We step forward,
Tracks in soft dirt
Of antelope, bear and lion
We step forward, 
Our breath joins all
That is.
We joyfully step forward.
Mother of all things, 
Bless our journey
As we step forward.

Roxanne Swentzell, Santa Clara Pueblo, 2005

Since uprooting from MuRefuge in rural, residential West Sonoma County and rerooting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I have been struck with the contrast between the native peoples and the transplants' religious beliefs and practices. 
"... all civilizations have their origin stories" says JA Jance. In Santa Fe the evidence of differing "origin stories" abound: Pueblo, Spanish and others from Mexico. The native Pueblo people's origin stories are of emergence from the Mother (Mother Earth); evolving from her center thus each sentient BEing possesses a part of the Earth Mother's evolutionary force. This sacred energy connects all that inhabit Mother Earth. Stark contrast is in the origin stories of those of European decent where the creation stories are centered around the Omnipotent, aka God, who is apart from humans with the ultimate power and influence; human BEings are subservient to this force outside of themselves.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi on the Santa Fe Downtown Plaza and the small, tiny in comparison, churches in the countryside clearly demonstrate, to me, the differences between patriarchy and connection to Mother Earth. The Pueblo peoples have Christmas celebrations with their native dancing which are stunning and moving to take in in person. The Christmas singing in the cathedral, for me, was overshadowed by the stain glass windows depicting the horrific killing of Jesus and his resurrection. Questions came into my consciousness: How can one worship holding such atrocities? How can one honor a God that flaunts human "deadly sins" so that He can forgive the human? What patriarchy created such a brutal story on which to base a religion?

For me herein lies the difference between a religious practice (the latter) and a spiritual one (the former); and male domination (the latter) and matriarchy (the former).

The creation stories of emerging from Mother Earth seem to me to follow the evolutionary theory in which humans began as a microbe. The patriarchal religions want their followers to adhere to the belief of creation by a God in the heaven. BEing a "body" based person, the former resonates with me while to me the latter seems way out even for the most detached "head" types.

Body and head (+ heart) 
are the three "centers"
in many esoteric spiritual practices.

Prehistoric Santa Clara Pueblo cliff dwelling of Puye
Earth mother, star mother,
You who are called by 
     a thousand names,
May all remember
     we are cells in your body
     and dance together.
You are the grain
     and the loaf
That sustains us each day,
And as you are patient
     with our struggles to learn
So shall we be patient
     with ourselves and each other.
We are radiant light 
     and sacred dark
     --- the balance ---
Your are the embrace that heartens
And the freedom beyond fear.
Within you we are born
     we grow, live, and die ---
You bring us around the circle 
     to rebirth,
A Roxanne Swentzell sculpture
Within us you dance

As Murphy Brown, resurrected from the 1970's, provides laughter for the crazy making chaoticness that abounds not only in this country but all over the globe, may we all continue to

Saturday, October 13, 2018


The Congress giving the go ahead for Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court is nothing short of a debacle. I had so hoped at least the female Republicans in the Senate would see his negative effects on women and children thus voting against this man's appointment. I fear for all children, women and people of color going forward.

Since we moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, we have gotten in the habit of watching the PBS Newshour. I am no longer interested in hearing nightly about Trump and his followers in Washington, D.C. This habit has been broken for my own well BEing after flashbacks occurred over this horrendous debacle. 

To discharge all the emotions we have stored from living in a patriarchically dominated culture, may we

Sunday, September 30, 2018


The antics, or as Kamala Harris says "sham" and "disgraceful", unfolding in our nation's capital are troublesome to say the least. I believe it marks a crossroads in our county. As David Brooks, during the last "Politics Friday" on the PBS Newshour, relates, thousands of years of male dominated behavior over women and children has now culminated at this point and time. It is an opportunity for this country to "wake up" and deal with the atrocities foisted upon other humans (blacks and others of color, women and children) by the dominating white "privileged" males.

With my personal history of living with a father who was a product of this rank and file, I have experienced the abuse, both scary and life threatening, a man can inflict upon his children and wife in the privacy of our home. What a stark contrast to the public demeanor he was lauded for! Parents and children of the community were so impressed with the time, energy, effort and stellar molding that he did of impressionable youngsters as a coach.

As many learned and wise individuals well aware of the dichotomy between one's personal and professional lives have pointed out about our country's important figures, these men of privilege may have stellar professional lives and hide the private, outrageous personal behavior. We as citizens seem to be okay with this dichotomy, voting into power these men while denying that they may be capable of heinous acts.

And listening to Bret Kavanaugh defend himself last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I was reminded of a man who attended the same nursing school as I did in Omaha, Nebraska, in the mid60's. The rumor was that this male student drank a lot away from the dormitory and that he did not remember anything between consuming his first drink and his awakening the following morning. I decided I would tag along one night of drinking and see for myself: he did not remember anything he said or did once he began drinking. I was astounded. So when this present nominee for the Supreme Count adamantly declares his innocence, I question whether he too does not remember his words, actions, behaviors once he began drinking in high school and college.

On the front page of the Santa Fe New Mexican on Friday appeared a picture of Christine Blasey Ford and one of Bret Kavanaugh. 

What a stark contrast in the still shot of each: she in pain of remembering and him arrogantly outraged that any woman could hold him accountable for his teenage antics since he had performed his job "top notch" . . . well enough to reap a Supreme Court nomination.

For me the contrast was between one who is "awake" and dealing with all of life by accessing trauma from her subconscious, bringing it forward to present time and  discharging what has been trapped and one who tapped into his survival mechanism, lashing out with anger. In the Oriental Medicine way of looking at the human, the liver system houses anger. This system protects by attacking with massive amounts of explosiveness, thus denying the possibility that reality is anything but the public "face". This way of going about in the world is, to me, sleep walking. It is not surprising, from my perspective, that some spiritual ways of viewing sentient life elucidate incarnation: one has repetitive or serial lifetimes on earth, until awakening, dealing with the trauma and discharging the embodied emotions from the trauma, has occurred.

My friend Courtney questioned, as she began her process of awakening, why all humans did not choose this path. And as I initiated my healing by awakening and dealing with the early trauma in my life, people often commented, "you are so courageous." It seems to me very few humans are willing to take the simple but not easy path of awakening because it is so much easier to slide by day after day in a habitual way of hiding from oneself.

So Brett Kavanaugh has chose the easy way. He has become respected for his professional life and is now on the cusp of whether he will be handed the ultimate prize.

On the other hand, Christine Blasey Ford has taken the path of awakening and healing herself from her teenage traumatic experience that has colored every day in her life since.

This dichotomy epitomizes for me the stark party line divide that has fractured our county. Will we choose the path of awakening or remain asleep? This individual and collective choice will make a difference in our country from this day forward. Which of these persons will we, each of us Americans, "believe"? 

To discharge our individual and collective emotions, may we each