Friday, November 30, 2012

Meditation Readings

During meals we are listening to the CD version of Clarissa Pinkola Estes' wonderful book Untie the Strong Woman.
I am now pulling out charcoal pieces that look like the Black Madonna and putting them in my garden!

Readings include: Give Us this Day, a Catholic Daily Office Reader (especially St. Barlaam and Josephat) and today St. Andrew -

Ponder this - this morning's reading:
In the Spirit of the Earth by  Calvin Luther Martin.

" It is not so much that something is conjured up in speech and art or artifice as it is that connections .... are made between things, or better yet, between beings.
There is a handshake.
Mythology maintains that all of creation existed first as thought, which was then uttered as speech, by which powers the primal beings took shape... Hunters think of humankind as the keepers of these formulaic stories, the narrators and symbolizers of the blueprint of creation. They believe themselves responsible for repeating these tales in order to keep them alive and further, to regenerate the system. Mankind, in fine, has the mind uniquely capable of imaging the vast yet interconnected network of creation and rendering it in language and material structure. In this sense, hunters view themselves as the historian-regenerators and artist-regenerators.
This, for them, is the great calling of our kind."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Monks in retreat this week

Even in retreat, the animals need to be fed, herbs need to be harvested, soap cut, and we still need fire wood upstairs in the barn. Chaz is bringing up a load on a frosty morning. It is a challenge to be completely silent at home - not away at a retreat center or monastery but in our very own hermitage. it takes some new skills to negotiate comfortable terrain in total silence. Third day now, of 3 - 4 hours of sitting a day, deepening our interior silence.
This is our schedule: 6:30 - 7:30 a.m., 11 - 11:30 a.m., 5 -6 p.m., 8 - 9 p.m. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Preparation begins for 12-12-12 through Winter Solstice

The Procession of the Equinox
It is a glorious fall day at Hazelbrand Forest Hermitage, with red and gold leaves whispering  like rain as they dance their annual pilgrimage to the feet of the very trees from which they sprung.  Now they are a magnificent multicolored carpet  spread out before us as an invitation to contemplate the beauty of this Earth, this Life, this very time in our history which has captured our imaginations and given birth to every possible scenario. Whatever your thoughts about 2012, it is evident that a psychic event is emerging in the Collective Mind, what Teilhard De Chardin called the Noosphere. What would we have it be? Doom and Gloom? Or the coming of the Cosmic Christ (Christ Consciousness)?  Our greatest prophets and visionaries, both ancient and modern, tell us we have a choice in this. Repent, turn back, purification and preparation, the 5 wise virgins (matt 25), new wine in new skins…  
Here at Hazelbrand, we will be joining thousands of meditators around the world in a prayer for peace and unity. Beginning on 12-12-12, we will be preparing for our gathering on 12-21-12, the last Winter Solstice of a 26,000 year cycle of the Procession of the Equinox through the 12 constellations of our Milky Way Galaxy, and ending with the alignment of the Earth with the Galactic Center. It is the beginning of the Third Millenium and a New Humanity.
We will be spending the day in meditation and sacred work, making incense and prayer flags. We will raise our prayer flags upon hand hewn cedar poles and set them into place with native white quartz rocks. Just above our humble pond and the central fire circle, they will wave to the Noosphere in greeting and profound anticipation of the coming of the Bridegroom. We are ready with lamps and extra oil. The geese are coming in already to join with us. The donkeys -- Moose and San Juan, are frisky and nervous. They are new here, less than a year, but Lance, our horse, is a veteran. They will all participate with us. The trees, the Alcovy River, the birds, the Earth herself, will be connected in the Nooshere in the most powerfully focused moment in the history of this planet.   
If you are a student of a spiritual path…the Four Agreements, The Celestine Insights, the Seth Books, mystical Christianity, Buddhism, metaphysics… all traditions… and you are drawn to inquire, please feel welcome to contact us on our blog at Hazelbrand Forest Hermitage.
-          Namaste,  Margaret

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vigil of All Soul’s Choral Evensong


Vigil of All Soul’s Choral Evensong: 
On the Other Side of Language
Nov 4 2012 E. Church of the Epiphany, Atlanta, Ga
The Rev. Cynthia Hizer

The First Lesson  Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Some years ago the old Indian Jusuka was dying. His family and friends came close to say good bye. Friends who had been his helpers and teachers and protectors. Friends like wind and rain, and fox.
Wind had come to Jusuka when he was a nine-year old boy, and had taught him the wisdom of weather. Fox too, had found the young boy freezing in the woods, and took him back to the fox den until he warmed up and then guided him back home.
It might seem strange to be able to communicate with such noble beings who we love but who don’t speak our language.
Remembrance, is a kind of language, like feeling; it is primal language.
In the same way, the circle of life that we honor tonight is not unbroken by death. Jusuka, and now we, are able to communicate on the other side of language.

So tonight, we set out pictures and light candles and sing songs and invoke the mystical journey of our lives.
On this night we pause from our grief over the natural rhythm of things, we pause to remember, to unbind our minds
This All Soul’s remembrance,  – Sanhain it is called in the Celtic language, or Halloween.
This holiday is found in so many places that it cannot be ignored, it cannot be reasoned away. We can dress up in costumes and go to parties, we can make light of it with goblins and witches, but beneath that veneer our true work, waits.
In this metanoia, this remembering, we return to a scene of life with our beloved, and stop there, and relive it.
Enter into it and allow time to stop. The moment becomes eternal. We start with our grief, and the silent space there where we stop holds the seeds of our healing.
I had one of these moments this weekend, remembering my grandmother, Anna, who gardened barefoot, and planted peanuts in northern Indiana. I didn’t really appreciate this until I moved to the South.
I remember her rough garden hands, her old Indian hands, and her focus on the soil, and her focus on me. And me covered with mud, like her. Mud to mud, earth to earth, dust to dust, we were. This mud we shared, was a communication, a language on the other side of language. And I knew that she lived.
 Our reading from John tells us this clarity is for those who see and hear and believe – and they will pass from death to life. Right now, the veil between this world and the next is thin, so we have a particular clarity.  It is a veil removed, a gossamer sheet of silk or maybe a rough piece of linen that that covered all the nations all the worlds all the peoples and tonight,
it opens for us.
and yet, while the veil the sheet the cloth that is lifted, covers all the people all the nations, it is on this mountain that the lord stands with us in this moment. This mountain, this ICU unit this hospice room where death seemed so real. It is on our very own mountain that God brings this clarity of life.
Tonight, our candle lighting and music help open the portal, lift the veil to hear this voice and see  things larger than hearing and seeing -
What do we find in this opening tonight?
We find our Beloveds – doing fine.
Eating a feast and drinking well-aged wine and rich food filled with marrow. We see them not in sadness, or loneliness or coldness of winter, but luxuriating in the warmth and glow of the resurrected light  - with that warmth spreading and enveloping them in the clarity of this night.

And on this mountain we see our own tears being wiped away by this Lord who has spoken across time and space, in a different kind of language.

We see this Light enveloping us also. As we enjoy the rich fare and remember the mud the love the connection. In this remembering, the shroud, the veil, the sheet that was cast over all the peoples, over all the nations, is destroyed.
It is destroyed by the power to remember.[i]
Because our love is stronger than death.
On the other side of language, like Jusuka speaking to fox and wind speaking to him, anyone who remembers will swallow up death forever.


[i] Inspiration derived from the creative work of Elizabeth Cunningham in her song “Resurrection” in her rendering Passion of Mary Magdalen;

Thursday, November 1, 2012

first fire

We are ready for winter - good fire and plenty of tea and cups - and M just brought up the first of the frankincense soap!