Sue and Ani at Wayland’s Smithy #writephoto #suevincent

Sue & Ani

Thursdays were days when Sue Vincent would post a photograph writing prompt challenge. In honor of this ritual, I have posted one of my favorite photographs of Sue, which I took two years ago during a shared trip to Wayland’s Smithy. It’s a photograph I hold dear. Filled with memory, magic and love.

I’m not sure if Sue knew I was taking this photo, but Ani sure did. The presence of these two beings made this afternoon extra special for me. Although I can count on my two hands the number of days I have spent with Sue, they rank among the very best of my life thus far. Sometimes you are lucky in life to encounter a teacher/mentor/friend who takes you under her wings and guides you in that gentle way to open your awareness to the magic that exists, but is not always acknowledged. I consider myself one of those lucky individuals.

I can’t tell you exactly when I first met Sue, or exactly how. But, I can tell you she entered my life just when I needed her presence. That is often the way these types of relationships occur. The teacher mysteriously finding the student, the student, the teacher, just when the moment is right…

If it were not for the internet, perhaps we would not have met, but I believe when there’s a will, there’s away. If you had told me twenty years ago that I would meet a woman named Sue who would lead me into the magical landscape of the soul and also the living lands of ancient Albion, I would probably not believe you. Yet somehow, one day, our paths intersected through our blogs, and the rest is our brief history in this lifetime together.

A lifetime that, I believe, stretches well beyond this one, to a far distant past when magic was not so extraordinary…

The photo featured in this post was taken just over two years ago. It almost didn’t happen, but somehow Sue managed to arrange an afternoon, packed full of magic, to take myself and a friend to Uffington. Here, Sue sits with her beloved dog Ani on the chamber of Wayland’s Smithy. It is, for me, a precious photo. The winged soul and her guardian canine in a place the bridges the realms of corporeal and spirit.

It is, most likely, our last day together in this lifetime. And somehow even though I’d like to have more days with Sue, it was fitting and perfect. As much as we may wish to, we cannot control the length of time we have with those we love and hold dear, yet when we review it, we often find that its length was perfect in its essence.

When I first learned of Sue’s illness, I cycled through the emotions of impending loss. There were moments when I decided it was wholly unfair, for Sue, for her family, for all those who love her, and for, selfishly, myself. Our adventures have only just begun.

But who am I to say how long a lifetime should be and when it should end? It is, instead, a choice to accept what one has been given and to realize the fullness of the gift wrapped in this temporary form. Knowing, at the same time, that infinity lies beyond the temporary form. For me there is peace in this knowing. When I look at this photograph, uncertainty disappears and faith takes its place. Although I may resist a plan that is beyond my control, with the surrender there is a doorway to the beauty of truth.

You can see it here. In the place of stillness, it opens. The winged soul bending down to touch the Earth, never truly leaves.

#Still #writephoto

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Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

Still

The body, subject to the mind,

reaches for more, grabbing at an illusion

never realized. It seeks to be sustained by want

collecting treasures to adorn it.

False garments of the self dim the light inside.

The body, subject to the heart,

becomes a vessel of love.

Its hands, stilled from grasping,

hold only peace, and its face

reflects the light of the sun

free to move through its skin

igniting the world around it

like a beacon of hope

 

For Sue Vincent’s weekly #writephoto prompt, #still

 

#Rift #WritePhoto #SueVincent

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Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

The rift began long before the stones

held our memories

You might say it began before time

when light divided darkness. Or

did darkness divide light?

There is a rift that runs through the human brain

creating the left v. the right

logical v. illogical, perhaps

yet one cannot exist without the other

The rift is our own illusion

eyes forgetting how to see

 the lines that weave

through life, stronger than our DNA

perfect cohesion defying density

if we could only see beyond

the rift, again

Created for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt #rift

#writephoto

 

 

The Return of the Feathered Seer #setting #writphoto #suevincent

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The Feathered Seer hovers above the stones. Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

Note: I started writing this post and then came across the #writephoto prompt post by Sue Vincent and opened it up to this image. Therefore, the blog post has now become my response to her weekly photo prompt

In April of 2017 I played the role of “The Feathered Seer” during the Silent Eye School of Consciousness’s annual ritual workshop weekend. Although acting is not my element, this role that I was asked to undertake did not feel like acting. It felt like home. Yesterday, I wrote about the concept of home and how I feel most aligned with that state of being when I am in England, walking the ancient lands. I have no doubt I have walked these lands, perhaps many times, in former lives. It’s a knowing so deep it goes beyond the visceral and straight to the heart of the soul.

The Feathered Seer is a part of me, woven into my being. She is my guide, but she is also me. Through the ancient lands she follows me, and I follow her. She takes my hand and leads me so I will remember. And, I believe, so that others will remember too.

In physical form, she adopts the form of the pileated woodpecker. That other-worldly creature who flies through the woods with her red head, calling the soul home to the roots of being, and drumming the language of the ancients back into the heart.

Last night she came to me during dreamtime as I stood atop a sacred Native American hillside. Flying her feathers of darkness before my face to peer into my eyes. Weeks prior, she had arrived in physical form. Flying before my path before the Silent Eye group gathered at Castlerigg.

Do not be afraid to see… she tells me

#writephoto

 

 

Castlerigg from a distance #acceptance

 

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Castlerigg at dawn. Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

I went as far as the hills in dreamtime while they gathered to greet the dawn below. Disappointment comes in many forms and sometimes it reaches out to hold the hand of acceptance. I’m not going to lie. This has not been an easy one to come by. The land at Castlerigg calls to me in a language the predates words. It speaks to the very heart of my being and fills me with the irrepressible longing for home. Yet, it is not my time to return here, and I know when it is, this body I wear must accompany my spirit. Sometimes the cells need to remember wholly and completely. And, Casterligg has called my whole being to be present someday. But not yet.

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Photo Credit: Lara Wilson. I love how the blurred image reveals the faces in the stones.

 

I didn’t know you wanted to go so badly, my husband told me afterwards. After he overhear words spoken with my dear friend who was there. I had, though, already chosen the hand of acceptance months ago, although sometimes I held only its finger tips. What do you do for yourself. I mean, only for yourself. You know, just for you? A friend had asked me a week before while the tears called despair rained from my eyes.

England, I told her. I go to England.

Yet, I was born here in New England. A cruel irony it can seem at times when one feels like she belongs in another land. This, though, is where I am, right now, and I have chosen to take that hand called “acceptance,” along with the belief that there is a purpose for me being here, and not there, for most of my time. This past weekend, instead of visiting a landscape that feels like home, I was home with my family. And, that was okay. More than okay. Love is limitless, even when it feels as though it is being pulled apart by longing.

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The season of long shadows. Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

I was here, but also there. You were never not with us, my friend assured me. I called your name as I walked up to the circle, you must have heard me.

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The hills that called me home years ago, still enfold me in wait. Photo credit: Lara Wilson

I was hovering in the hills, though. The stones below obscured by the body of giants. They called me back home before the stones did. Opening the body of the goddess to enfold. I can stay here for awhile longer. I can wait. Even though the head of the dragon beckons in stone.

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There is a deep sense of comfort knowing how much these stones and the land is loved, even though I am pulled with that longing. I read gratitude and love in the face of the stone gazing at Sue Vincent, while the guardian stone reminds me of the slow time of patience. Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

My lower body has been vibrating all week. Kundalini. The roots healing before the rise. We are often called to tend to the roots first. Healing the core of stability. Of origin. Our roots that bind us to one family, before we can return to another.

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Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

Acceptance holds my hand. I have taken her grasp in a firm embrace and she is becoming a part of me. I can wait. You asked for patience, did you not? I am reminded.

How lucky I am, that I can return to this place that feels like home. That I can allow myself to become lost only to become found, over and over again, filling each cell of my being with the memory of home. Until we meet in this lifetime, Castlerigg, I will hold the hand of acceptance.

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Photo Credit: Lara Wilson

A special thanks to Lara Wilson for lending me the use of her gorgeous photographs, and  to her, as well as the others who were at the Silent Eye School of Consciousness event this past weekend for taking me with them in spirit. 

 

Shadows #writephoto prompt #SueVincent

A shadowed fortification
Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

“There are too many lines.”

“Free yourself.”

“Metal bars rising from the earth. Stone pillars capped before they reach the heavens.”

“It’s only an illusion.”

“I can see light filtered through the shadows. A window hovering above a shut gate.”

“Fly to it.”

“I have not wings to fly.”

“Then climb the walls. Scale the spokes.”

“I fear impalement. Death, even.”

“Then stay imprisoned if you must. Or welcome death.”

“But I can see the sky beyond. It’s so vast. I can feel the breeze lifting my breath. Inside me, there is a voice that wants to sing with the birds.”

“Then sing.”

“I have not the voice for song.”

“Then be silent.”

“Silence is lonely. I have no one to talk to. No one to hear me. No one to answer me.”

“Who do you think I am?”

 

Written for Sue Vincent’s weekly #writephoto challenge. Click here if you’d like to participate. 

#writephoto

The Way-stone #writephoto #SueVincent

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Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

Most saw it as a the remains of a tree covered in moss and simply passed it by without a second thought or glance. Others saw it as something more, and those were the ones it watched. Two faces, one above and one below, with a breadth of life in between. Those that linger the longest hold the most memories, and the Way-stone had been there for centuries, cataloging each movement of the grass and the many feet that had pressed down the green to feel the touch of Earth’s body. The Way-stone had seen trees come and go; an entire forest felled for man before roots pushed their way to light once again, as all life will do. Those men had seen the stone and thought it curious. There was one, though, who stopped each day and lingered with his axe in hand, waiting for the others to pass by unaware.

The Way-stone watched him. Noticing his pause of understanding. The way his eyes saw through the green to the life it hid, and how his heart fluttered through memories of a forgotten time. Each day the two faces in the stone watched and wondered if the man would pause just long enough in his daily routine of felling the trees around him. If he would sit, perhaps, or stand near enough to be beckoned.

There are two directions one can go, and an infinity of possibilities in between. So it’s written on the Way-stone’s visage. The man with the axe sometimes looked to the sky and saw the blue expanse and wondered what was above the reach of his eyes. More often, though, he looked below. He seemed to see those penetrating eyes that watched him and studied each action and reaction. He seemed to know he was a guardian to the path held deep inside where most dare not venture, thinking the surface was all there was or could possibly be.

Then, one day, the man with the axe stopped. The others had gone home and the blue above had deepened to indigo. The first stars had broken the veil of darkness and the man with the axe, who had no one to wait for him, drew close to the tree-like stone covered in moss. He laid the axe nearby and sat upon the cool ground. His back was turned toward the well-traveled path into town, his eyes level with the the green eyes before him.

“Show me the way,” he whispered as he reached his left hand to gently touch its soft side where it broke through the ground below.

Waves of heat pulsed through his skin and the lids lowered upon his eyes. The man felt a drawing inward, experiencing a complete absence of light before the entire universe  held inside opened before him and he surrendered into its embrace.

My contribution to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt Way-Stone

#Bones #writephoto prompt #suevincent

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Photo credit: Sue Vincent

They said it was a sacrifice,
but isn’t all life?
The tree pulled down to make paper to record our words
The hay threshed to fill bellies
Some say even water is alive
The clouds spilling it to the ground only to be swallowed
by some body that will eventually die
Only the bones linger
Hardened by structure
Fused to bear weight
Once stripped of the vulnerable layers they expose the effort
of resistance as a catalogue of time
We like to date our years lived
We like to think about lifetimes
in terms of expansion
The vulnerable layers we shroud
with creams and clothing designed to hide
and deny this thing we call age
But, when we strip ourselves down to what is left
Beyond the hardened bones that remind us of death
as a loss and that thing called density,
we are left with the essence itself
That bit of life that lingers over and over again
The cycle repeating itself to rebirth
in another form. Experience depends
upon this essence, as does growth and death
It is said that when the body dies,
the weight of the eternal essence can be recorded
after it leaves the form which held it close to call it a life
by itself. We can look at the dry bones and see the loss
of what once was, or we can follow the essence
back into the dance of life. Imagine
a breath of memories swirling into another form,
or perhaps dancing in eternity’s ocean
The individual heart eventually stops
That’s simply the law of nature of life in form
An idea that might make a single beating heart
skip into the throat to hide for want of eternity
of the individual. We don’t like to think
about nonexistence as we define our existence
but what of that pulse that beats through all life?
Can you feel it?
No one can say they cannot,
or have not, because
it is that essence that lingers
The before form and the after form
So you can study the bones and marvel
at the loss, or you can study the essence
that beats the eternal heart and recognize it
as your own too.

 

For Sue Vincent’s weekly #writephoto prompt challenge

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#Faraway #suevincent #writephoto prompt

When I saw Sue’s writing prompt photo from this past Thursday, I knew I would likely participate, but something told me to wait. This morning, I opened my inbox to her post from Ani and was graced with a quiet space to sit with what it had to offer. As Sue’s posts have a way of doing, I felt that familiar​ call to a faraway home that is, perhaps, not so far away.

 

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Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

Your cells hum with the memory of a faraway home

Can you here it?

It sounds like sand moving through water

They move through you like a tide

Your body the cave

The womb inside emptied

Waiting for the flood

To fill it whole again

Life returns in cycles

And your body hungers

For the return

To grow the fertile seeds

Oh, I have seen you, before

she whispers light back into your cells

I too have been waiting in this darkened cave

Eons passed in a chasm of hungered silence

But it is nothing to me, only to you

I understand the tides

I understand the cycle

The long leave

Before the return

Birth is always a memory held inside

Your fertile ground

And I am here always

Waiting without desire

To welcome you home

Again

#Inspiration #3.2.1 Me Challenge

Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo kindly nominated me for the 3.2.1 Me Challenge, giving me the word “Inspiration” for my topic. Thank you, Sue. Do check out her response to the challenge, “Time.”

 

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The seemingly inert forms of rocks inspire me, even those found in New England. In this photo, taken at Acadia National Park in Maine, I can see dozens of faces, each with a different story to tell.

 

Did you know “inspiration” not only means “that which spurs creativity and action,” but also the “intake of breath?”  I rather like the link between these two definitions. What inspires you to breathe life in? Fully and completely, capturing its essence as you do so? Connecting your life to its life…Your form to another’s…

I think, perhaps, the key is a connection. Finding that which sparks the synapses to fire across the bridge of singularity. That moment when we inspire the breath and say to ourselves, “ah ha, there is a certain something here I need to explore,” and in that exploration don’t we inevitably discover something about ourselves? A deep-seated longing, perhaps, that we now cannot ignore?

While looking up quotes on inspiration, I came across these words attributed to Bob Dylan,”Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.” I find this rather sad and tend to disagree with it. Are we really that disconnected from life, and, one could extrapolate, the source of the air we breathe?

Mr. Dylan seems to be implying that inspiration is an elusive object, which is hard to obtain. I tend to think of it as just the opposite. Inspiration, I find, is everywhere, waiting for us to take notice. To take in the deep inhale of its life into our cells and allow them to spark fresh awareness. It’s a sad thought to think most of us spend our time breathing stale, shallow breaths without any sense of wonderment, but maybe Bob is onto something here…

While searching for actual quotes on inspiration (rather than “inspiration quotes,” which seem to occur in abundance), I came across this an interview with Ray Bradbury that appeared on Fresh Air, where he stated, “It’s lack that gives us inspiration,” he said. “It’s not fullness. Not ever having driven, I can write better about automobiles than the people who drive them. I have a distance here. … Space travel is another good example. I’m never going to go to Mars but I’ve helped inspire, thank goodness, the people who built the rockets and sent our photographic equipment off to Mars. So it’s always a lack that causes you to write that type of story.”

Again, I find myself in partial agreement. Lack of oxygen quite literally causes us to inspire, adding more air to our lungs. Bradbury, though, seems to be talking about what spurs creative inspiration. The lack of knowledge, causing us to seek. I suppose if we were full of all life, of all the answers to each and every question out there, there may, in fact, be nothing to inspire us. Why draw the breath in if the lungs are already full?

A full brain has nothing else to learn, but really, is that ever really possible? I may think I know the mechanics of driving, having driven for nearly 3 decades, multiple vehicles, with automatic and standard transmissions, yet I was still inspired to drive recently in England and found there was much to be discovered in this adventure of driving on the wrong left side of unfamiliar roads.

The ordinary became extraordinary, as I pushed past fears to find wonderment. Yet one need not, I believe, try driving on the opposite side of the road in a foreign land to find inspiration, one need only look with a little more depth at familiar surroundings, or breath in a little more air.

I often say I travel to England to find magic. In this ancient landscape, there is much that inspires me. It’s virtually effortless to find inspiration there, for me. Yet, here in New England, I find it is easy to fall victim to the mundane, or the Bob Dylan syndrome if you will. Yet, I realize, that is my fault, and not that of the landscape. There is magic in each blade of grass if you are willing to look at it more closely and marvel at the intricacy of its creation. Even the rocks here have much to offer, even those not aligned to the stars.

The key lies in the word itself. Allowing myself to inspire life, and breath deep its essence, even if that life is seemingly inert, there is always something new to take in and discover. Endless layers…endless molecules of air. The lungs always seeking more breath after exhaling that which has not been absorbed by the body.

While writing this post, a male cardinal appeared outside in my Rose of Sharon bush. It created quite a scene, as it flew in and out of the blooms and around the nearby foliage, as though it was trying to get my attention. Later, I thought about the cardinal feather I found years ago and had studied closely in a meditative state as part of a lesson with the Silent Eye School, discovering the feather was not merely red-orange, but filled with all the colors of the rainbow. “Now that’s something to write about,” Sue replied to my discovery.

One might say it was a joy to discover the rainbow in the red feather, and so I’ll leave the post with this word, “joy,” as the next challenge for three nominated bloggers if they choose to accept: Andrea Stephenson of Harvesting Hecate Julianne Victoria of Through the Peacock’s Eyes, and Colleen Briggs of Fragments of Light. Please write a post about “Joy,” including two quotes on the subject and nominate three other bloggers to blog about a word of your choosing.

Thank you again, Sue, for the “inspiration!”

 

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