Sacred Sewage

March 22, 2023


Yeah. I sat with that myself. But if the poo fits, write about it.

My first week here in Ireland was filled with colleagues, musicians, healers, storytellers, Druids, artists, and time in a new sacred site. Well, beyond ancient but new to me. There was something of an initiatory energy in that sacred landscape that is still unfolding and clearly will continue when I return. Cahercommaun will be a powerful highlight of the Gatherings in May, June, and September.

This week has been filled with neighbors and networks, an electrician, a plumber, and a man who will sort out the septic system here at HazelWood Cottage. I’ve paid our wifi bill for the coming year, decided on the color to paint the cottage, and sorted out the logistics of getting the cottage power washed and painted…basically ticking through the list of things I hoped to accomplish. 

It’s tempting to name only one of these weeks sacred. 

Yet this week has been filled with storytellers and stories. Something inherent in hanging with the Irish. When I was trying to determine when our bathroom was installed, I talked with neighbor Mary who was around then and mentioned that I knew the cottage was built in 1952 and understood the bathroom was added nine years later. “Ah sure, no,” she said. “There were no toilets in Ireland at that time. They didn’t come in until the late 60s and early 70s.” It was a sweeping statement and perhaps not true for all of Ireland, but certainly plausible here in the West where many communities didn’t get electricity until the 80s. I was stunned. I was graduating high school and there were no toilets here? 

Now, our septic system has been a bit dodgy and required the occasional activity of opening up access to the septic pipe near the cottage and shoving 20′ of what was once a chimney brush through it to clear the clog. Not a pleasant task. But when John – I know, interesting name for this project – came to assess the situation he asked how often we needed to rod the system. Rod the system. There’s actually a name for this. Who knew? Ah, the stuff you learn.

Not exactly a sacred week. And yet, in a sense it was absolutely that. If not exactly sacred, absolutely in service to the sacred. For my whole purpose for owning this cottage is to support the sacred work I do here in Ireland, including stewarding the portal in the front garden. As I spend time aligned with the flow of sacred energies here, it’s important that I steward the flow of energies at the cottage. Water, power, and sewage. They all have to flow properly. And that’s what this week has been about. And so yes, sacred sewage.



Rooted In Tree Wisdom

March 7, 2023


Tomorrow I head to Ireland. To be with my tribe. To be with the land. To be with the trees. There, as here at MossTerra, the trees hold such deeply rooted wisdom for us and these times. I travel with the inspiration of Mary Oliver’s The Country of Trees.

Some will endure past the counting of years.
And none will ever speak a single word of complaint,

as though language, after all,
did not work well enough, was only an early stage.
Neither do they ever have any questions to the gods–
which one is the real one, and what is the plan.
As though they have been told everything already,
and are content.

Indeed. We have already been told everything. May we be content.


Life Without Connection

February 22, 2023


Provocative perhaps. Yet right now we are living without connectivity and, as we wander through our days with new rhythms, I’m understanding how connection and connectivity have been parallel threads in our lives. It’s been a gift to remember the distinction.

Last Sunday I received a very powerful healing from my spiritual teachers through a zoom call. Immediately after that transmission my zoom connection died here in my office, I had to restart my computer twice, and the wifi modem at the house died. Dennis insists there’s a link, I’m not so sure. But was it just coincidence?

Now, I’m rarely on social media, never on FB, and so spend very little of my day on line except for emails. But we haven’t been able to hop on and check the weather forecast over our morning coffee, Dennis hasn’t been able to watch those art creation videos he so loves, and argh…we are stuck half way through season six of Shetland. 

It took us a bit to come to peace with this loss of internet connectivity. But we soon realized that what we gained was a lovely connection to conversation, unread books, and just being. Admittedly our grace with this is tempered by knowing this is temporary. The new modem will be connected today. But it gives me a good perspective to hold while we climb back into connectivity. The perspective of life with differently meaningful connection. 

Life with connection. Now a richer life.

You might wonder how I’m able to write this post. I do have wifi here in my office. But am more thoughtful and intentional about how much time I spend here. A good thing.


If I Was Looking

February 21, 2023


I’m not. But if I was looking for a name or label for this sacred landscape that is now my life there would be many to choose from. There are threads of resonance in many spiritual traditions and even religions. There is also much accumulated baggage in those traditions as I’ve previously written about and so my choice is to step beyond all of that. There are no words to adequately describe this expansive transcendent energy, so I don’t attempt a description.

So no. I’m not looking for a name or label or description. But if I was, neo-Confucian would be tempting. I’d never even heard of this tradition before reading Karen Armstrong’s latest book, Sacred Nature. That the resonance is so strong is likely tempered by the surprise and delight of discovering the ancient Chinese origins of this wisdom.

Zhang Zai, 1020 – 1077, was the ancient sage who created this sacred path. I use the term sage even though neo-Confucians never claimed to be sages and actually believed that if you think you are a sage, it’s a pretty sure sign that you aren’t one.

The neo-Confucian vision is expressed beautifully in what is known as the Western Inscription because Zhang literally inscribed these words on the western wall of his study.

Heaven is my father and earth is my mother, and even such a small creature as I finds an intimate place in their midst.

Therefore, that which extends throughout all the universe I regard as my body and that which directs the universe I consider my nature. 


The inscription continues with all people are my brothers and sisters and all things are my companions. Things. For the ancient Chinese, ‘things’ had a very different meaning than an inanimate object without life or consciousness. Quite the opposite. For them ‘things’ (wu) was everything around us and they believed it all holds a sacred quality or essence; plants, animals, water, air, earth, stones, and the cosmos.

What Zhang Zai inscribed on his wall is so simple and yet so all encompassing and expansive. There is such elegance in this. Such truth and resonance.

While I’m not looking for a label or name for this journey of mine, Zhang’s words are compelling. A wonderful reminder that the essence of my sacred landscape is just this simple and powerful. 


Zip Lines & Life Lines

February 17, 2023


Disaster strikes and the bright media spotlight captures our attention…before the news cycle moves on, taking our attention with it. Lucky us that we don’t stay long with the energy of that trauma. But for those at the epicenter, it is months and years before their lives begin to move beyond the trauma of the tragedy.

In the aftermath of California’s recent storms, a washed out bridge would cut off many residents in the small community of Corralitos from food and supplies. But as the rains came down and the bridge washout became eminent, a local resident had a plan. He built a zip line just a day before the bridge was destroyed. Although residents say accessing food and supplies is now a six hour ordeal, the zip line has become their life line. The creek will have to recede before engineers can asses the bridge let alone rebuild it. The zip line won’t be obsolete any time soon.

Governments move slowly, often too slowly to provide a meaningful response. And that’s if they aren’t corrupt. In Turkey, after a quake in 1999 killed more than 17,000 people, an ‘earthquake tax’ was imposed with the intention of providing a disaster relief fund. As the death toll from Turkey’s recent quakes is expected to reach 56,000 according to a UN emergency aid official, that fund estimated at $36 billion is no where to be found. 

When we rely on governments and organizations, those populated with people we don’t know and who don’t know us, to keep us safe we so often find our faith is misplaced. When we expect government and even corporate laws and regulations to come to our rescue we can encounter layer of lies, finger pointing, and abdication of responsibility piled on the layers of trauma. Just ask the residents of Palestine, Ohio. Just ask the residents of Jacksonville, Mississippi. Just ask….the list is endless. 

After the media spotlight moves on, when I dig around for the ongoing story, I find it’s community coming together that provides the necessary physical, mental, and emotional support to navigate the trauma. Community. Common unity. People who hold a shared purpose of survival in the near term and long term. Neighbors taking care of neighbors.

And I think of the Irish. OK. Yes. I often, and some would say always, think of the Irish. But like many other peoples around the world, they have suffered incredible traumas of war and famine. Community is the tap root of their resiliency. And they are resilient. 

Although not all traumas are from natural disasters, it seems the Earth is shifting in ways that will continue to impact our lives. Her movements and her weather patterns seem an acceleration of impending tragedy. As these changes and resulting disasters, as we humans will name them, continue to land we can wring our hands and hope that someone out there will rush in to save us. Or we can join hands as community. I suggest the latter is a more effective life line.


The Geography Of Your Destiny

February 15, 2023


I’ve shared these words of John O’Donohue many times in various formats. After I published the post yesterday they again wandered through as so very appropriate. It’s all about soul wisdom. Honoring to it. Opening to it.

There are so many words of wisdom from so many sage individuals that land when they are needed. I find these words are always needed. 

If you work with a different rhythm, you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more importantly, it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.

John O’Donohue




Harmonies Of Hope

February 14, 2023


There are many ways to connect with the divine. Music is one of them, especially when that music is a harmonizing of soul. Singing and music are integral to our spiritual gatherings in Ireland as we join our voices and souls to the harmonies of the land and sacred landscapes. Our ancestors knew this magic. Sacred music is a divine inheritance of every culture and spiritual tradition.

Yesterday I wandered up to Seattle to see my niece in concert. It was a performance of the University of Washington Symphonic Band which I learned is comprised primarily of students who are not music majors but who want to keep music in their lives. Their majors are all over the map. From environmental and earth/space science like my niece, to software engineering, bioengineering, physics, nursing, marketing, psychology, industrial design and more. 

Sitting in that concert hall and watching the joy on stage I was struck by their passion, their passion to sustain this connection to music and harmonies at a time when their lives are clearly headed in professional directions that don’t often dance with the music. And this landed as such a great hope for me. That these young people, who will inherit and navigate the complexities of our current world, might stay connected to the intrinsic harmonies that flow through all life is just so hope-filled. And in this they will, as Rassouli paints, stay in touch with their immanent soul.

No. I have no illusion that any of those musicians on stage would name this as the reason they joined the symphonic band. But I choose to believe that somewhere deep inside they know this to be true. I choose to believe that they intuitively know their music is a lifeline to the harmonies that flow through our world, harmonies that will continue to enrich their lives and, in turn, our world.

What flowed through me in that concert hall were not only symphonic harmonies. What flowed through me were harmonies of hope.


A Sense Of Sage

February 13, 2023


Someone venerated

for the possession of wisdom,
judgement, and experience.


When the chemistry of wisdom, judgement, and experience become alchemical, merging with mysticism, those who embody these energies are known by many names. We call them shaman, wise woman, mystic, prophet, medicine man, medicine woman, and sage. There are many other names in cultures around the globe.  But why sage?

There is an understanding that these individuals, thus venerated, hold a depth of knowing and alliance with the natural world. And it’s global. The following poem is from what is considered China’s oldest mystical text, The Original Tao, written in the 4th century BCE. The reference here is to the energy of Qi; the energy that pervades all life, harmoniously linking the plant, animal, human and divine worlds, and enabling them to fulfill their potential.

The vital essence of all things:
It is this that brings them to life.
It generates the five grains below
And becomes the constellated stars above.
When flowing amid the heavens and the earth
We call it ghostly and numinous.
When stored within the chests of human beings,
We call them sages.

So, why sage? Doing a bit of etymological exploration, the word comes from the Latin salvus which means safe and in good health which reflects the healing and curative properties attributed to the sage plant. In English folklore, sage is said to grow best where the wife is dominant which, it seems to me, speaks to an interweaving of the plant and wise women. Healing and curative powers are generally attributed to those venerated within the many mystic archetypes, those who embody the energy that pervades all life. 

Sage. It makes sense. 


Winged Wisdom

February 11, 2023


If we had
the good sense
of a goose.


Another piece of wisdom emerged from the archives of my spiritual community in Boise. When the sister found and shared this, it spoke to me about the changing nature of my relationships and circles of relationships. I wrote a post about this in my Crone blog, Invoking Goldilocks.  

Consider geese flying in a V formation. 

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following.
By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71%
greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

When we are in community with those who share a common direction and a sense of purpose, we get where we are going more quickly and easily because we are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag
and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation
to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds immediately in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation and unity with those who are headed the same way we are going. This doesn’t, of course, mean we all think alike. It just means we sustain our unity with those flying in the same direction with the same sense of purpose. 

When a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot,
or falls out, two geese will fall out of formation and follow down
to help protect it. They stay with the goose until it is either able to fly
or until it is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with
another formation to catch up with their group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another and cherish relationships with who are going in our direction. Like all animals in the natural world, geese have an internal navigation system and ways of communicating that we can only begin to understand. Perhaps we don’t need to understand beyond knowing they exist. 

Those of us who are called to a deep sense of spiritual purpose are of the same species, the same tribe. And although we may move from one flock to another from time to time, we all share that same internal navigation system. The same homing instinct. The same call.

Honk. Honk.


That Our Stories Become Myth

February 8, 2023


Am currently reading and in love with another book. Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World by Karen Armstrong. There is such resonance flowing from these pages and clearly inspiration for a few blog posts.

I’ve written lately about myth and the importance of these larger-than-life stories in our lives. There are so many stories and myths that carry the energies of anger and hate spewing from the media and social media these days. It’s important to find, create, and share the good stories. As Karen writes…


We need good myths that help us to identify with our fellow human beings, and not just with those who belong to our ethnic, national or ideological tribe. We need good myths that help us to realise the importance of compassion, which challenges and transcends our solipsistic and tribal tribal egocentricity. And, crucially, we need good myths that help us to venerate the earth as sacred once again, because unless there is a spiritual revolution that challenges the destructiveness of our technological genius, we will not save our planet. 

On her latter point, I believe the Earth will take care of itself. It might take a long time and be possible only when we humans are no longer around. Perhaps much battered and bruised, she will survive. We may not. 

It’s we who are in desperate need of the good myths. And those always begin with story. The seeds of myth are sown in stories that resonate through generations, stories that reflect our highest and best nature, stories that call us to be in right relationship with the sacred, the Earth, and each other. 

We are all of us storytellers. Hope lies in our stories, the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we tell family and friends, the stories we tell our communities. We are called to craft and share those good stories that they might become good myths. Mythic. It’s what we storytellers aspire to.