Honoring the Mother on Christmas

Honoring the Mother on Christmas

I was raised a strict Catholic and therefore familiar with the Divine Mother’s appearance outside of Mexico City in 1531. She spoke to the humble native man she had chosen to be her messenger in his language of Nahuatl. Although intellectually I knew that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was Jewish still deep in me she was Catholic. I have come to believe she was a highly evolved being and clearly was a mystic. The celebration of her appearance, miracles and healings are celebrated in Mexico as a national holy day with masses and elaborate festivities each year. A unique tradition is the torch bearing runners seen on the thoroughfares throughout the country on December 12th.

 

I had planned to publish this poem on the twelfth but circumstances intervened. Now posting on Christmas makes sense since Christianity, as well as most other major religions, highlight the Divine as male. It is obvious to me that this world needs a resurgence of female qualities such as receptivity, empathy, nurturing,  devotion, patience and radiance. These attributes will lessen the massive suffering caused by the eons of domination by the masculine’s negative qualities such as arrogance, aggression, insensitivity and violence. The survival of the human race is actually dependent on us making this shift.

“She is not Catholic”, the wild-haired shaman announced.

Of course!

The Great Virgin is not Catholic I realized,

What does that archaic term even mean?

 

You are not Catholic!

You came to end the Aztec’s sacrifice of humans

Including many a infant,

Which can never be holy.

 

You came to stop the Catholic

massacre of a deeply religious people.

Missionaries forcing their beliefs and traditions on them

So Spaniards could worship at the altar of greed.

 

The indigenous survivors called out to their Divine Mother Tonantzin.

The soldiers to their Blessed Woman.

 

Distressed by the sobbing of her children,

Rivers of blood having soaked the precious Earth,

You came to a poor Indian at Tepeyac

An ancient native site dedicated to their Goddess of Compassion.

 

Juan Diego was pure enough to perceive you.

 

Again and again you dispatched this simple middle-aged peasant

To the bishop

Until he got it through his sophisticated and educated head,

Who you were and what you needed from him.

 

Your love is vaster than all of the oceans, Great Mother of Tenderness.

Su amor es gentle and unimaginably deep.

The Indians needed their Goddess’ protection and

The church was forced to acknowledge you.

 

Esta la Madre de Cristo,

You love us all-perpetrator and victim alike.

 

As I walked your shrine in Mexico,

Where fragrant Castilian rose gardens appeared magically during the winter frost,

Where water sprung from the parched desert to grab their attention,

The Catholic co-opting of you made me cringe.

 

You are greater than all these man-made institutions.

Spaniards and Aztecs now both bowed to you.

You brought unity to all your people,

This is the power of the feminine.

 

The beautiful accounting of Mary’s appearance was documented in the Nican Mopohva. You can read an English translation online at: http://ndclmurray.weebly.com/uploads/3/1/6/2/3162790/nican_mopohua_english.pdf

http://ndclmurray.weebly.com/uploads/3/1/6/2/3162790/nican_mopohua_english.pdf

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Save the world by healing the hideous

Save the world by healing the hideous

I published “Hideous Me” on Halloween after a long night as a grisly zombie. As I drove through the forest to serve as volunteer staff at our local “Fright Night” Extravaganza, I decided to stay in character all evening. The community celebration that gave license to alter egos and flamboyant ingenuity was housed in a historic miner’s foundry with large dim rooms, ramps and hallways and included a line-up of bands and a bar.

As the creature was parking its white Rav4, two strolling women noticed it. The older one enthusiastically began praising my costume, “You look awesome, that is SO-O-O-O creepy”. The stagnant turning of my queerly cocked head and catatonic stare unnerved her. This would be fun!

I staggered like an exhumed corpse towards the venue. Passersby were frightened, disturbed and/or admiring of my repugnancy. On entering the event a middle aged furry wolf gregariously introduced herself and asked for my name. My psychotic look jostled her. A few other volunteers gingerly attempted to interact, unclear if this was intended theatre, a result of poly-pharmacy or was this mute insane? Their palpable unease excited me to leave patterns of acceptable social behavior behind.

The event director pointed me to the ID table at the room housing the bar’s entrance. She gave me brief instructions after another volunteer informed her “she ain’t talking”. A cute male volunteer approached the table to chat but quickly became concerned with my lack of engagement. “You will need to interact with people to do this job” was met with silent staring. He brought the director back immediately who actively pursued conversing with me.

Despite the theme of the night in a community riddled with artistic types, it became obvious that 911 might be called or I would be escorted out soon. I made friendly eye contact, took out my fangs and reassured her that I could be a social human despite my oozing facial wounds and yellow black-tipped talons. I did resume full zombie mode as I staggered to the bathroom, danced later in the night and as I dragged myself back to the zombie mobile well after midnight.

The shadowy streets were crowded with sexy bears, pirates, robots, clowns, barbarians, several wild creatures, a robust tall blond pussy grabber and the usual assortment of tramps. Amphitrite and her consort Poseidon had emerged from their marine environment to encourage more creative expression in the too controlled and monotone terrestrial one. A joyous exhilaration buzzed through the various groupings and the bars overflowed with smiling costumed customers. My embodiment of the human dark side or “pain body” (as Eckhart Tolle refers to it) continued to startle some and disturb others. Again behind the wheel, I decrepitly crept along staring at passersby projecting an eerie predatory energy.

As the dawn light tickled me into the reality of this world, I realized I had given life to a long ago entombed aspect or maybe I been acting out a piece from the collective unconscious? Posting the writing allowed a deeper owning of that bizarre and socially rejected energy. Anxiety intermittently arose after publishing it. It was far from my most popular writing but unexpectedly a tickled joy appeared as the days went on. This zombie was thrilled to walk again in the world after its long torturous exile.

I was born in “Pleasantville”, USA in the late 50s and I never trusted the extreme emotional suppression of that decade. At 8 years of age my mother told me her domesticated friend was found babbling incoherently in the corner of their living room by her 9-5 husband. I still have a clear image of their clear plastic covered furniture. “Why, what happened?,” I asked. Her absurd reply was “she had a nervous breakdown, it just came out of the blue”.

What are other results of suppressing our individual and ancestral baggage? We distract and numb ourselves with mall shopping and incessantly “clicking our lives away” on ever changing technological devices. We ignore the horrifying fact that we are destroying the ecology we are dependent on. Rates of strange autoimmune disorders and other chronic degenerative illnesses are increasing but they are very profitable for pharmaceutical companies and “the health care industries”. Recently, for the first time in decades, our life expectancies began to decline!

Our families and communities are disintegrating as the rates of serious addiction and mental illness are on the rise. Serious attachment disorders plagued us and interfere with healthy human bonding and the astronomical divorce rate. May the days become increasingly rare that someone who is “doing just fine” shockingly takes their own life.

I am gratified with the growing awareness of the need to own our “shadow” and be more open with each other. I am heartened with the increasing value of authenticity and learning how to communicate honestly and empathically while we get more skillful supporting others in the throes of emotional pain.

It is evolution that we can be vulnerable in a therapist’s office, our support groups and in personal growth workshops. Can we substitute the rote “How are you?”, “I am fine” banter and start answering truthfully? “Fine” in recovery programs is an acronym for “Fearful, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional”. Can we say, “I feel sad today”, or disappointed, lonely, anger or am possessed with toxic shame? Can we also be joyous without the comment “what are you so happy about?” Are you truly interested in knowing what is happening inside your friends, loved ones, co-workers and neighbors?

It is known that suppressed anger or rage is simmering deep in the depressed. In 2012 it was estimated 13% of US citizens were on antidepressants. (1) Society obviously prefers depressed people instead of angry ones. Depressed souls often need to express and move through anger/rage to become happier. Are we interested in learning how to assist people to safely and responsibly release rage before they get a weapon and go on shooting sprees?

Decades ago I awoke one Sunday morning and afraid I would wind up in a psych unit. Though I don’t remember the circumstances exactly, I remember praying for help in that motel room and the idea came to call my family doctor. Admirably he listened and then invited me to attend church with his family. Though I didn’t resonate with his spiritual path, his extending himself eased some of my suffering. I then called an experienced healer and body worker I knew and he met me at his office. I found myself dramatically releasing rage from a past life of being tortured and killed in the times when powerful women were being burned alive. I was stunned that I left his office feeling peaceful. How many people wind up in ERs or psychiatric institutions because there is no one skilled enough to help them express their pain safely? What do we do commonly? We sedate people which will never solve anything and actually may add to it.

I endeavor to create a wiser society where people have permission to responsibly express the “darker” aspects of themselves. Are you ready to join me?  Only in this way can we integrate these fragments back into a more wholesome and functioning self, community and world.

  1. Mad in American Website. https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/11/percentage-of-americans-on-antidepressants-nearly-doubles

 

Edited by Roberta Willaims, Santa Rosa

 

 

Strange Gratitudes

Strange Gratitudes

This Gratitude Weekend I am grateful for things I normally wouldn’t have thought to feel thankful for. Of course it is easy to be appreciative for the well built home my partner left to me surrounded by natural beauty, a healthy body, the availability of wholesome food, the health of my family, good friends etc. But I am also grateful (filled with greatness) for painful experiences this year that were profoundly challenging. This holiday weekend, a year after my partner’s first hospital stay, I am grateful for his unusual illness and death because it humbled and crushed me in a way not many experiences could have.

I met with Francis Rico, my spiritual mentor, four months after my sweetheart had transitioned. We sat in the backyard of a nurse friend’s in Santa Rosa. It fittingly happened to be Memorial Day. “I have no idea what this is all about”, I exclaimed to him with dismay. I was feeling victimized and still in shock from Jeff’s passing which had been an ordeal. He replied quickly and a bit casually, “I know what this is about, it has brought you down to your foundation”. I heard myself utter, “Huh?” as my head cocked as a trying to understand dog would. “Grief is the foundation of this world” the most fulfilled being I may have ever interacted with declared. “Foundation of the world?”

I expected an accomplished spiritual guide to say, “Peace is the foundation of this world” or love or happiness but not the dark, moist heavy cloud of lament which most modern humans seem intent on trying to avoid. “We live in an impermanent reality. Here people, places, things, conditions and circumstances are forever changing so we are constantly grieving. We are continually losing things we love and cherish. Grief is the basis of this world”. I sat there on the lawn chair stunned.   “But you are the most joyful person I have ever met!”. I knew his beloved cat Angel had died around the same time as my sweetheart had. When I reached out to Francis with my pain he would share his. Francis was deeply affected by Angel’s passing and had even sent me a photo of the gray creature. “I know you were heartbroken when Angel died but when we were in Mexico in March your energy wasn’t heavy like mine”. He never mentioned his “pet’s” death to the group while on our spiritual exploration at the pyramid complex of Teotihuacan. I did notice he frequently used cat analogies in his lectures which I had never heard him use before. He was obviously still processing the beloved feline’s passing from this realm. “That is because I completely accept my grief”, the talented shaman shared which pointed to the resistance of mine.

Early one forlorn morning after this heartwarming session with my mentor, I sat back at my empty home with my notebook and pen. I quietly asked Spirit, “What is this intense time about for me?“ A very long list flowed through the pen: His death had began my publishing debut of my writings and poetry; a friend had set up my first blog for me a month after his death. I accepted deep in my gut that physical life is temporary. I had realized fairly early that trying to spiritually bypass my pain wasn’t going to work no matter how hard I tried to be feel better. I learned I could prolong my anguish with common thoughts such as “This shouldn’t have happened, or he was too young to die, or he should be here now or what did I do wrong to deserve this?”.

Another gift was learning to love more with fewer conditions. I had strove to be a supportive partner and meet Jeff’s many needs as best I could but I also had ample opportunities to accept and be with my own fears, fatigue, overwhelm and despair. I realized how dependent I am on others since I wouldn’t have even survived without the loving support of innumerable others that I reached out to several times every day during this grueling process.

How can I convey the anguish of living with an emaciated man who could not eat for the last two months of his life, who was barely surviving on the liquid food being pumped into his veins and whose neck was a horrifying chartreuse? A previously very athletic and active man now sat day after day staring at “Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives” and other curious food shows all day long pre-occupied with when he would be able to eat again.

I had a myriad of reactions to the bizarre situation we were in and how drastically our life had suddenly shifted. I had never realized how difficult it is to be living with someone who is severely ill; I often required reminding that the physically distraught can be dismissive, demanding, irrational and not uncommonly do criticize their intimate caregiver’s best efforts. I also had to learn to silence the internal voice that would harshly comment that I wasn’t meeting the voice’s idea of what an ideal selfless saint should be like.

But on this Thanksgiving I will be grateful to have loved and shared a life with someone who became gravely ill six months after I had moved in. I am grateful that I learned that there are many physicians who are uncomfortable with death and see their role as a “death-fighters” even when that perspective causes more distress for the patient and their family and wastes billions of health care dollars. I am grateful that wiser and more loving physicians are to be cherished and supported. I am grateful for us having been surrounded by nurses that were accepting of dying and death as a natural process and were technically skilled and emotionally helpful. I will be grateful for this peaceful and beautiful home and the other ways he made sure I was taken care of. I will be grateful that probate will be coming to an end soon and that I am motivated to teach people how to avoid the expensive legal process of mind-numbing paperwork; the last thing grieving families need is coping with boringly complex paperwork that can be avoided. I will be grateful to have more experience in communicating with spirits and accepting their ongoing love and support of their earth bound cohorts. I will be grateful for all the meals, housing, errands, caring conversations that were bestowed upon us. I will be grateful for his lovely memorial on Valentine’s Day this year and all who shared their shock, grief and love with us. I will be grateful to have been thrown into this “aloneness vision quest” that has brought me deeper into myself and taught me how to better support people in the throes of loss.

I learned I cannot connect with everyone through happiness but grief is a universally shared experience that all relate to. I am grateful to have accepted that some people couldn’t be there for us because they were unable to deal with the intensity of our pain and that I worked to not take it personally. I am grateful to know that anciently based cultures are wiser with helping their members move through the process of dying and mourning. Some of these cultures relieve these distressed people of any responsibilities for one year as they keep an eye on them and care for their needs. I am grateful that I have come to realize that life is not the opposite of death. Birth is the opposite of death. Life is greater than both of these. And my list could go on.

The Course in Miracles states, “All things work for the good except in the ego’s judgment”. I am glad I kept this beneficent thought in mind even when it was almost impossible to believe.

Hideous Me

Hideous Me

Hideousness hesitantly attempts,

A breath through her rigid and dust filled throat.

The quiet scratching of bloodied cracked nails begins inside the cheap coffin,

Long decayed and rotted flesh claws through the heaviness of earth.

 

Wounds dripping with gangrenous ooze,

Maggots feeding on the ancient debris of torture,

Putrid crusted scabs,

A heart so fractured it is incapable of relating.

 

Precious pieces driven deep underground,

Tormented parts frozen autistic,

These aspects I have worked hard to keep locked away,

Silent screams of agony longing for my loving touch.

 

Confused and deformed me,

Dragging her limp foot along the dark streets,

Revealing what most work desperately to keep at bay,

Abandoning seduction to lure them in.

 

Women parade their glamorous and sexy selves,

Black feathered elegant creatures or even an iridescent jellyfish

Flashing her sublime azure-white light,

My blackened jagged fangs staring at them.

 

This Samhain I embrace and celebrate Death and Horror.

Warmed by the growing cultural fascination with zombies and vampires,

Who acknowledge shattered skulls none can ever reassemble.

Can you smell the nausea of putrefying flesh?

 

Amber leaves are falling with eternal grace this morning,

Tall pines dance and sway with the stormy winds.

My sky a comforting mottled moist gray,

Destruction, followed by the inevitable and expansive renewal, is well underway.

My Mother

My Mother

My Mother

Is the birthplace of ancient peoples

The Great Womb of all Creation

Dark, hidden and eternally nurturing.

 

My Mother

Gave birth to all that is.

The ten thousand things

As Lao Tzu would say.

 

My Mother

The black soft empty velvet blanket of infinity

Or the rich blood nest women weave each month to receive their unborn

To nestle in and be nourished by.

 

My Mother

Gave birth to Jesus

Gave birth to the Light, to Buddha, Krishna, Rama, Sita and every avatar ever known,

Gave birth to the pure Christ Consciousness in us all.

 

My Mother

Comforts me

Is always there for and with me

Is me.

 

My Mother

Has been ignored for ages

Because She, like women, have been disrespected for way too long

But She is always there, She is your Mother too.

 

Nevada City, Ca

4am, a thundery Monday

 

October 15th

October 15th

I heard of my sister’s death just twelve hours before.  I believed back then that suicide did not end your pain. I had been taught that to take your own life was the most grievous of sins, a deplorable act against both God and humanity and that your despair and personal hell stayed with you on the other side. I was imagining she was still in intense emotional distress that was now worsened with guilt and remorse for the additional wreckage she just left behind for us, her friends and all who knew her from years of past involvement in recovery.

 

3am

I awake

Pitch black

Alone in the small rectangular spare bedroom of loving friends.

 

I want to crawl in their bed and be held,

But not sure that would be welcome.

 

Freaked out,

Desperate for comfort,

I phone a sweet and loyal friend.

Shocked, she struggles to absorb and empathize with my news until

I am again somewhat calm and let her go.

 

I lie on my back

In that dark room

Unable to see anything but gruesome images

Of her last moments flashing over and over again in my mind.

 

Suddenly the room fills with brilliant Light.

Gorgeous rays of yellows highlighted with pale rose,

Indescribably more subtle and vibrant than any in our world

Fill me with beauty and awe.

 

The apparition is completely absent of form

But I know

This is my sister.

 

She is thrilled,

Beyond thrilled.

I lie there stunned by how happy she is,

She is back Home.

 

Without word or thought,

She is clearly more than okay.

 

Later her message dawned on me,

“You are Light,

Remember you are Light”.

 

 

My sister died

My sister died

My sister died,

7 years ago tomorrow.

A dramatic passing,

She left the way she had always lived.

 

“So tragic”, they said over and over,

All shocked and completely horrified.

My younger sister took herself out well,

This beautiful woman wasn’t calling out for help or playing games.

 

The neighbors heard firing of a gun

As she used her artistic garden’s statues

As targets

until she was satisfied the kick of that weapon was mastered.

 

An upscale sunporch in northern Georgia,

An elegant patio chair,

Her last Marlboro,

Pools of blood and bits of brain is all she left.

 

October 14th, her beloved granddaughter’s 6th birthday.

The young child lived there with her.

My determined sister was found in her cozy blue and white fleece pajamas

when they arrived home on that gray and drizzly evening.

 

My sister died,

7 years ago tomorrow,

The shattering by her dramatic death,

Invited me to stay open, be vulnerable and become more real.

 

Maureen Frances Siegfried Moltz killed herself in northern Georgia after a four year secret relapse into opiate drug addiction after having a hysterectomy. She decided that life on codeine was easier than life without it and being a nurse was writing herself illegal prescriptions. Maureen had been clean and sober in AA for eight years before that surgery. She had returned to 12 step programs a few weeks before her demise but found withdrawal exceedingly difficult and painful. Demoralized by her inability to withdraw successfully in addition to all the personal problems that were building in her life I imagine she thought she was doing her family a favor by checking out.  Or maybe she had found a way to express her unhealed rage?  She died three months before her 50th birthday. This unique, adventurous, willful, energetic life of the party was living with her husband, son and granddaughter at the time of her death.

We hold you in our hearts and honor you today Maureen and we love you…