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Dialoguing from the West
To "bear" a lineage
Deep in the midst of winding things down here on our farm, and preparing for a big transition, I wanted to let you in on what I’ve been up during my absence from this space.
In mid-June I was honoured to be invited as a guest, to join in on a 3 day Anishinaabe Ikwe water walk, around a local lake. (I am the one on the far right with the red scarf.)
Here we are walking on day 2, through the local tourist town. It was powerful to pray for and show gratitude to the water… to feel how much we need water, and how much it sustains us. How much water is at our mercy now, and how much we are at water’s mercy. Our fates are intertwined. I could also sense with deep tenderness and without judgement, the unseen wound of the West, masked by privilege, very deeply, as we walked through the town.
This photo was taken by Elder Bev Jones.
There are just 3 songs left to finish recording for my folk opera album Hiraeth. A dear seamstress friend has co-designed a costume with me, for an upcoming film project that interprets the whole album. Most of the costume elements are in place, but there are a few more that have to be created.
Writing, recording and storyboarding the video for Hiraeth (which I can’t wait to share with you in early 2023!) has been a deep, deep act. It has revealed a schism that most of us know is there, but because we’re so out of touch with our own roots and history, we don’t know how to name it.
Throughout the next year and a half, I will be very focused on releasing Hiraeth into the world, which is the initial step toward expressing what I am talking about. But it appears I have stumbled upon a more focused area of research.
If possible, I will be digging, especially in the West Country of England, for the unique presence of nonduality and integral (evolutionary) thought in the Western Mystery Tradition. This includes the importance of working with oral tradition, records of trance states, legends, as well as other modes of examination, other than (but not excluding) archeology/modern modes of measurement.
I am very interested in exploring an ancient claim that the Druidic tradition prophesied the Christ child… the star in the East, and that Joseph of Arimathea may have even brought the young Jeshua to the West Country, where he would have encountered (and been influenced by), a Druidic culture, not yet occupied by Rome.
And yet another point of interest is that at least Celtic Europe quite possibly once saw the Mary’s as the presence of Triple Goddess at the foot of the cross.
This is a photo taken by the late Jim Forest, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. He labeled it The Three Mary’s, Italian, 14th Century.
And yet another point of interest is the possibility that all this personifying of gods and goddesses in the saints, is in one aspect evolutionary… and really about a new cycle… the age of conscious incarnation.
With all of this, comes the corruption. The cover ups. Placing St Michael as a violent barrier between the ancients and the new arisings. And with all of this comes ample reason to throw in the towel.
However, inside of this exploration could be an integrality and evolutionary wisdom that might offer tools to reconcile an age-old schism carried in the West, and could better prepare us for compassionate, active, serenity, as we weather the epochal storm (and evolutionary change) we have now fully entered.
As I dig deeper into my own ancestral heritage, I realize that for many of us Westerners (though not all), when we leave the West, and attempt an Eastern mode of seeing, often what happens is we can reap the contemplative benefits, without having to speak for the history of that religious expression, and without having to take responsibility for the corruption in our own lineage.
To “bear” a lineage is no walk in the park.
I really think that “cultural appropriation” is a thing, because the work of holding responsibility for the Western lineage is very, very, deep, and very hard work. So deep, and often so triggering, and so severed, that it has been abandoned by millions upon millions of people, who are now wandering about, as spiritual and cultural vacuums, often with the means to purchase experiences. This does not mean that we cannot learn from the East, or from indigenous teaching, North and South, and it doesn’t even mean we ought not to convert, or embrace other traditions. It just means that Westerners have, and can therefore dialogue from, an earth-based, mystical, and monastic heritage. Just knowing that could create a seismic shift in the never ceasing crusading and policing that our material culture has produced.
What if this “lost West” includes what Cynthia Bourgeault calls Agape = Eros + Kenosis? In not “squandering ourselves” as she says Jesus did after his 40 days in the desert, who and what is squandered in our stead?
Anyway, those are some inner workings and stirrings that have arrived especially through the making of Hiraeth… a work of art I look forward to ecstatically serving you with.
(And I’m pretty sure I was born to serve you ecstatically, dear listener!)
Speaking of which: here is a sneak peek VERY ROUGH MIX of Abwoon/Pater Noster, a piece from the folk opera Hiraeth. It begins with the first lines from the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer (Abwoon = Abba/Amma) and enters into a beautiful round with the Latin Pater Noster… then a bell starts ringing… the tragedy of time keeping/the beauty of monasticism… then you will hear soldiers marching in time enforcing a surface version on the world… but something I want to hold is that the Abwoon will never leave us or forsake us.
In other news: the pilgrimage and concert tour in the UK in Sept/Oct, is shaping up. It looks like I will be joined by my bardic friend Malcolm Guite on the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, where we will perform a concert at the end of the 140 mile St Cuthbert pilgrimage. I am also in conversation with Findhorn Foundation about a concert in Universal Hall.
Please watch for an announcement for how you can support the Hiraeth album-length music video. (I am exploring a crowdfunding option.)
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Also, in the midst of our transition from our little farm, we are considering offering a ‘free plus shipping’ opportunity for all physical inventory. (Potentially not pressing off more in the future). If we decide to do that, it will be announced soon.