Posts Tagged ‘circle of the moon’

The wild wind sweeps through the river bottom

May 19, 2014

Posted May 19, 2014—Written November 13, 2013

The wild wind sweeps through the river bottom . . . Honey is crazy with joy, and her canine exuberance is contagious! She runs with the wind like a whirling dog-dervish. She dances and prances and follows a thousand invisible scents. Little Chico scrambles to keep up. His whole Chihuahua being trembles with excitement! For a moment the wind is so intense that it kicks up the dry dirt and we pass through a cloud of dust. I’m aware that wind can blind us, can destroy all in its path. But here, so far, it’s a joyous, cleansing, healing wind that just blows the past right out of you and lifts you into the present . . .



I’m only just beginning to learn to listen to the language of wind

January 19, 2014

January 18, 2014, Ojai, California

I have only five minutes, but I want to describe the sound of the wind that sings here in the river bottom all night long.

Two nights ago, the wind was like the waves of the ocean, loud and energetic, like strong, deep breathing . . . inhaling, exhaling . . . reminding me of the time I slept in a teepee on a beach in Mexico. I long to sleep outside again, but for now can only open all the windows and rest where I can still see the sky from my bed.

Last night, as I looked up at the bright moon shining down, the sound of the wind was like the softest, gentlest, sweetest lullaby, like feathers, whispering.

Then this morning, when I wandered outside into the early light of dawn, with the moon still smiling down so bright in the palest blue-pink sky, as I turned in the direction of Matilija Canyon I stepped into a pocket of cold air, and here the wind grew louder. And I realize I’m only just beginning to learn to listen to the language of wind . . .


The full moon, reflecting the light from the sun, soars serene above it all

January 17, 2014

January 14, 2014, Ojai, California

The full moon, reflecting the light from the sun, soars serene above it all. Down below, we humans stew in our juices. Walking the bone-dry creek bed tonight, I felt the warm winds blow. The light of dusk is magical– it illuminates every dry yellow stalk, every fading leaf, and makes the rocks and dirt come alive.

Here in Ojai, the Valley of the Moon, the sky below the moon toward Meditation Mount was a strange pink tint–almost like there’s a fire somewhere. We’re in a drought, yet the water flowing out of the faucet lulls us to sleep. But when we step outside and sink into nature, we can feel the thirst of the plant and animal kingdoms–especially when the evening wind feels hot, as if it were summer.

I look up at the radiant moon and enjoy her beauty. I lean back over a backbender-shaped boulder and stretch my arms overhead and down the other side, leaning way back so I can see the landscape behind me.

I’m tired–bone tired. My spine and back ribs like lying down against the familiar hard rock–I can let go as the bones of my body rest on the rock. I can feel the “wings” of my body–my rib cage–spreading. I find the perfect crevice to support the back of my hard, bony skull, then press the soles of my feet deep into the ground till I feel rooted. My heart feels happy.

I can go home now and face the rigors of being incarnate. I can face my humble life of endless maintenance jobs–magnified as I get older– and hungry cats and dogs . . .


The last light of dusk

January 12, 2014

January 11, 2014

If you were wandering the hills tonight, I’m sure you saw it, too. The soul of Ojai reflected in the Pink Moment, the sky awash in blue hues, the ever-changing dance of colors in all four directions. And, amidst it all, the moon floating silently into her fullness.

The dogs and I wandered higher up than usual, in the direction of Lake Casitas, with me pausing often to whirl around and look back in awe toward Meditation Mount. Honey, my trusty guardian, running ahead, urging me on, and then patiently waiting while I stood still, soaking up the vast beauty of the landscape.

As it grew dark, the brightening moon accentuated the mystery of twilight. There was an uncanny feeling of the chains that bind you to the world loosening. I felt immersed in twilight –a feeling of being in between two worlds.

My reverie was interrupted by the awareness that it was getting dark. I sang and whistled to let the wild things know I’d lingered too long. With Chico on a leash and Honey running close by, we hoofed it back to civilization. The mountains were turning black, the horizon was ruby red, and in the last light of dusk the trail looked like a magical, winding, red road . . .

Photo Credit: Pink Moment, Jodi Brand                                       420152_10150741781489703_1319035889_n


The stars are like a portal . . .

October 3, 2013

October 1, 2013

It’s a dark, starry night. First the dogs and I wander, but I forgot my flashlight so we don’t go far. Tonight the river bottom is stone still, no coyotes yipping. I lock up the dogs and turn off all the lights, so now it’s pitch dark and I can see more stars . . . And, as I sit, the stars are like a portal, and I realize that my daytime life is just a dream, an obligation . . . it’s my contribution—what I do to keep my ship afloat. And now perspective comes . . . totally unexpected, but that’s what happens when you sit still long enough. Suddenly I remember last night’s dreams, or maybe it was the night before . . . the night dream world when the deep soul incarnate shows her true colors. It’s when the male and female energies merge . . . when the shadow side is allowed to live . . . when I roam the universe. For just a moment, the stars help me remember, and then it fades away. But even now I see my life and all the lessons, stripped bare to its very essence.


I feel the life force returning

September 21, 2013

With the cooler foggy mornings, my vows to leave hot Ojai evaporate. Still riding on the full moon energy, I follow a trail of coyote droppings and rabbit pellets into the riverbed. While Honey and Nubio snarl and charge at each other, and then run wild, I find a perfect spot for a long, deep Uttanasana, yoga’s restful Standing Forward Bend that brings the head below the level of the heart.

At first I practice with my feet embedded in gravel. After Uttanasana comes Vrkasana, Tree Pose. Outdoors in Nature is the best place for balance poses, where your eyes can sweep the landscape and then focus on a tree. Then I balance on a smooth, flat rock. Now the standing foot is more anchored and steadiness comes.

462701_10150741764309703_1020063683_oThe shapes and surfaces of Nature make the best props. I find a flat stone that has the perfect slope for placing the feet so heels are slightly up, raising the pelvis higher, and a boulder in front of me to help lengthen the spine. I begin to notice more and more coyote droppings on the stones and boulders all around, as if they had a full moon gathering here. Chico wisely sticks close to my heels.

Honey and Nubio settle down beside me. I feel the life force returning. Last night I felt a little lonely and lost so I caved in and turned to YouTube. I felt like I’d reached a new low–opening a can of organic chile beans like the proverbial bachelor who can’t cook for himself. I doctored it up with vegan olive oil spread and Gomasio sesame seed salt . . . and then turned to the screen for comfort.

I stumbled onto a Dateline episode entitled “Married to Mother.” I half expected a segment on being married to a mama’s boy . . . or a domineering mother-in-law. But as I watched the chilling true story of the greedy narcissistic nurse who gave her handsome, altruistic doctor husband a lethal injection and then set their house on fire, it soon became evident that “mother” was a typo. The real title was, “Married to Murder.”

I confess I watched three true-life episodes of unbelievable greed and cold-blooded murder where one of the spouses murdered the other. By the time it was over my life looked so sweet, I stayed up another hour gratefully washing the dishes and mopping the floor. I fell asleep on my old hippie mattress, looking through the window up at the bright full moon . . .

All this I quickly scribbled in my journal, sitting on a rock, enjoying the quiet, cool fog . . . writing yoga . . .

420152_10150741781489703_1319035889_nIt’s a new day –so far, so good!

Tonight, as the soft summer dusk fell

August 10, 2013

Tonight, as the soft summer dusk fell, I walked the dry brown landscape, surrounded by black mountains sharply outlined against the sky. I was struck once again by how the streams of light and darkness in this world flow simultaneously, seemingly without rhyme, reason, or mercy.

What is it that gives life to that stream of unceasing atrocities and horror that flows through every segment of society? After so many centuries, so many lifetimes, so much suffering, why has this stream of cruelty not dried up?

Tonight, with Venus and the crescent moon shining high above and crickets singing away, buoyed by the boundless love of my dogs and the magic of an Ojai orange margarita made by my daughter—out there in the boonies, out in the open, out in nature—I cast all my worries to the wind, stepped into the stream of light, and quietly watched as day turned into night.


The holy full moon rose last night in all her shining glory

July 23, 2013

The holy full moon rose last night in all her shining glory. I saw her peeking triumphant through the trees, but was too tired to walk to an open spot where I could enjoy a full view. I had barely enough energy to follow the dogs in the creek bed, and missed the magic of her first appearance. But a little later, after settling the pack in our den and resting with my legs up the wall, I felt an uncontrollable urge to finish the cleaning started earlier in the day. It’s been like this every full moon as far back as I can remember . . . my feminine spirit wants to clean and feather her nest.

I was all out of dog and cat food anyway, so I justified a slow drive out of the river bottom on this holy night for the mundane task of shopping at Vons for cleaning supplies—which normally can wait. In my ideal universe, commerce would stop on the full moon. Time would stand still. We’d all be transported out of our earthly concerns. Crime would stop. Sins would be forgiven. It would be a night of love and pleasure for those so inclined. Or a night of prayer, meditation, magic potions, yoga, dancing . . . whatever might attract us as we move through the stages of life. At the very least, all humans would stand in awe and bask in the moon’s light, as we surely would if this were a once-in-a-lifetime happening.

Every month, the cycles of the moon remind us that we are in this world but not of it. That we are part of nature, and transient passengers on Planet Earth . . . All this was in my mind as I stared at the moon’s bright yellow orb, all the more dramatic when seen from the Vons parking lot. Before heading inside, I attuned to the moon (at least I imagined I did) and felt the fatigue of the day start to dissipate.

The funny thing was that I then became aware of a banjo playing. Live music at Vons? Yes, a lovely young free spirit was sitting on a stool near one entrance and playing, as shoppers dropped dollars and coins into a basket on the ground. The sight of her was so natural and friendly, so humanizing; it gave me the feeling of being in a foreign country. “Really,” I told myself, “the main difference between Vons and the colorful bazaars and open markets of India or Africa is the packaging and the obscene amount of choices.” But the young mother and father with the newborn in the baby carrier, and all the working parents with their young children, were essentially the same, struggling to survive.

The cold interior climate felt energizing, and I quickly filled my cart. The KeVita lemon ginger sparkling probiotic was on sale. Each time I go there it seems there are more “green” products, like the liquid laundry detergent packaged in a recycled-cardboard compostable pack. No plastic! Safe for our greywater system. As I stood engrossed in reading labels, I suddenly heard a familiar laughing voice say, “Wake up!” It was Dvorahji herself, one of the many people whose calls I haven’t returned, so here was our golden opportunity to chat.

Snoop that I am, I noticed that her cart was shamelessly loaded up with KETTLE brand potato chips! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stared at those bags, wanting to buy one, but the ascetic in me won’t allow it. But if someone as enlightened as Dvorahji buys a dozen bags, surely I can have one!

“Where are they?” I interrupted our conversation about the plight of homeless dogs and why we need a No-Kill Director. She pointed me in the right direction. There were at least six kinds, so I read all the labels. “Why have I been depriving myself?” I silently asked. According to the label, these were non-GMO, all natural, all organic, made with the finest natural ingredients. I grabbed the honey dijon flavor and made my way to the checkout stand without further ado.

The checker was a friendly woman I’ve known for many years. It was after 9 p.m., and here she was, probably in her mid-sixties, like me, working away, standing on her tired feet, being so cheerful with every customer, reminding me how to slide in my Vons member card, and ringing up every item without any mistakes. I smiled and thanked her—the least I could do.

On the way out, I dropped a dollar in the banjo player’s basket. I hope she is well-received wherever she plays. Our world needs more street musicians.

The moonlit landscape was so bright I never turned on the extra-bright headlights. After being car-free for many years, having a car in which to go shopping spontaneously is still a novelty. I stopped to check on my parents—just a quick peek through the window. My mom sat in her bright sundress, reading her Dutch newspaper. My dad was eating alone in the kitchen. In their old age they’ve metamorphosed into a couple of night owls.

I cruised downhill into the black river bottom. The moon was now high in the sky. I’d lost my will to keep on cleaning, but I unpacked the cloth bags and hoisted the kitty litter out of the trunk. The cleaning supplies still stood at the ready.

It’s all too much, this hustling to pay the bills, feed the beasts, clean the den . . . but now came the good part of living alone. Every few months for many years, my lifelong friend Karen has brought me piles of amazing books that she finds at garage sales and used-book stores. In the morning, as I was running off to teach, she had handed me a fresh stash, so six new memoirs sat waiting on the bed. One, Atomic Fragments: A Daughter’s Questions, is by an Ojai woman, Mary Palevsky, and is about (I gather) her parent’s involvement in the creation of nuclear weapons. Just reading the back covers allows me to see my life from an ever broader, more cosmic perspective.

My cats were already nestled deep in the comforter. I tore open my bag of honey dijon potato chips, so crisp, so tasty. I’m happy to confess that by midnight I’d eaten almost the whole bag. I read and read. No one cared when crumbs fell on the sheets. I was twelve years old again, and this time no one told me when it was time to go to sleep . . .


Photo Credit: Michelle Lopez-Dohrn

A light unto oneself

June 20, 2013

It’s a wild, whirling, windy, summer solstice night! There are pockets here in the river bottom where the wind blows from the direction of Matilija Canyon with such fury that I feel like I’m walking into a powerful storm—a wonderful, cleansing, ecstatic cosmic storm. I don’t resist the power of the wind—just reach for my earlobes to make sure my earrings don’t blow away.

I turn my face toward the sky so I can feel the wind on my skin like a thousand kisses . . . I stretch my arms wide in all directions, breathe deep, spread my rib cage (the wings of the body), and open my chest to the full force of the wind.

When I turn around, I feel the force of the wind on my back and she pushes me home. Then I look up, and there is the feminine face of the Moon Goddess, the Mother of the Universe, smiling down on me. We might be tiny little human beings in a vast infinite universe, but women, through all the stages of life, are forever connected to the cycles of the moon.

And we might even say, since we’re aiming to balance the male and female (sun and moon) aspects of ourselves, that men, too, are attuned to the cycles of the moon.

All the while that I’m teaching my yoga classes, usually laughing as I encourage students to face the layers of hidden pain and stiffness buried in the body, I also try to convey that Hatha Yoga is not just physical Yoga. The Sanskrit word “ha” stands for the sun, and “tha” stands for the moon. . . The moon being the reflected light of the sun, consciousness (tha) is the reflected light of the soul. Knowing and realizing this for oneself is Hatha Yoga.

On this cosmic, windy night, that to me is the meaning of being a light unto oneself.


Full moon on my birthday, May 24

May 25, 2013

Tonight I caught the first glimmer of the moon peeking behind the Ojai mountains. She knows this is her valley, the Valley of the Moon, and that we welcome her. Soon she rose all plump and juicy, like a messenger from the cosmos . . . For a long time she stayed connected to the mountain, as if reluctant to let go. She waited, and then she rose again, ever so slowly, vibrant yellow in the still blue sky. The river bottom landscape shimmered as if covered with a layer of gold fairy dust . . . and everywhere I looked I felt the Goddess smiling.

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