To Some Extraordinary Graduates

“What do you notice?”

The first question of a Signum education.

Not “Do you know what I know?” or “Can you find what I taught you?”

But “What do you notice?”

Do you smell the wild thyme and sage and marjoram which grow over the path?

Do you watch with bated breath while those upon the path tread the belly-satisfying ancient steps of the Hero’s Journey on the Approach to the Inmost Cave?

Do you thrill to know that “thyme” from French, from Latin, from Greek, once meant a burnt sacrifice?

In these words about people and places and plots which are not real, do you find the comfort of Truth and the hand of the divine upon your shoulder?

What do you notice?

We enter into the unknown to discover its secrets

Not so that we can claim them,

We enter the exploration of secrets so that we might enter the other world

And thereby find a new way of being.

So that we might have the peace of a starry night sky right in our own soul.

Not to have the secrets, but to be the secrets.

The unknown has its own kind of night-beauty,

different than the beauty of familiarity:

a place of dreams and inward visions.

The call of the unknown is an invitation to imagining and storytelling,

Which we might refuse once, but never thrice.

And now that you have noticed, now that you have found what makes you gasp as the story unfolds, what wakes you up with joy, now you know what, so what, now what, feet to the fire, jot, think, plan, tell, meet the mentor, write, cross the threshold, delete, sift, shift, read, draw the map, write, delete, search, post, listen, exchange, find, sort, step off the path, bleed, sweat, weep — because if there are not tears on your face you are missing the point — write, delete, resonate, name the dragon, yearn, critique, receive, and hold in your heart that critique this deep can only be given by one who believes in you, turn around and encourage, step off the map, write, write, write, and armed with courage like a machete and with your battle-cry, go into the jungle you have made until all that remains are the beautiful bones — the granite outcroppings — the vein of gold revealed.  The one that was yours to find and shape and bring into the light.

All of you sport the muscles and the callouses of this work; each of you holds the grail.

Now turn that chalice in your hands.  What do you notice?

With grateful acknowledgement of inspiration by the unknown author of “Prayer of Darkness”

September 23, 2016

The Morning of Autumn

Do I begin from a place of balance?
Shall I begin from a place of balance?
So… where is this famous place of balance?

Equal night, equal day, harvest – yes!  
These I understand, these I celebrate, these I am deeply grateful for!

I can’t claim to begin from balance, stillness, all-in-order.  
But I can begin from a place of deep gratitude.  Here it is:

Thank you, beloved Great Spirit.
Simply thank you.
Always thank you.
I am grateful for this harvest, this privilege, this wealth in my life
I am humbled by the crisp of the apple and its juice, sweet, tart.
I weep with joy that there is food to give my family.
If I slice it one way, I see the star;
if I slice it another way, a quarter moon.
If I come upon Apple in the woods, 
some last sisters of an orchard hanging on with sass and spunk 
long after the farmhouse has gone to nothing but stone foundation
then I relish the bite and hard and small of feisty survivor apples
and know that my feast is shared with you,
with the Antlered One
with The Wild Family.
From apple to wonder to looking into liquid eyes unfathomable
which say that winter is coming.
Does it always come down to that?

I think it must.
Even in the joyful throes of gratitude and plenty, you tell me that winter is coming.

Maybe balance is not stillness.
Maybe balance is holding the last rays of summer sun in my hair and the first whispers of frost in my forward-looking eye.

If balance is motion, dance, juggle, then I can begin from balance.
Gratitude and worry,
Light and dark,
Summer and winter.

Here we go.