Posted in Books I love

Ah Sunflower!

Yesterday I read a quote from Yeats on the Symbol Reader’s wonderful blog about symbolism, astrology and Jungian mythos and transformative imagery (my tortured words.) Yeats (for my money, the greatest poet of the 20th century,) spoke of the “one adventure that is the image of his secret life,” and the necessity to preserve its motivating influence.

I won’t bore my readers with details of the “adventure” which opened the door to my own secret life-the door to which I feared I’d long since lost the key. Monika’s post reminded me of it- reminding me not to squander the gift on the same distractions which mired the lotus eaters in forgetful apathy .

Many years ago I encountered a book that (while I struggled to understand its convoluted thought) transformed my inner life. It was Henry Corbin’s book on Ibn Arabi called: Alone with the Alone.

He begins with citing the ancient philosopher Proclus’s meditation on the heliotrope (sunflower.) This flower exemplifies, in its continual sun-ward orientation and movement following the solar path, the method of theophanic prayer.

( I think of The great poet Rumi who, in grieving the death of his teacher Shams [the Sun,] began turning as he composed his verse. This lead to the inception of the Mevlevi Sufi order.)

Corbin speaks of the phrase which opens each Sura of the Koran: Bismallah er Rahman er Raheem, (we begin in the name of the One who is most merciful and compassionate.) The spirit of theophanic prayer is not a petition for deliverance from evil, but a practice where all actions are begun with full awareness of our reciprocal bond with the creator. It is a recognition of interdependence. By intoning this prayer, the faithful proclaim their allegiance to the primordial pact which confers existence upon both Lord (Rabb) and vassal. Our breath is united with the existentuating breath of the all-merciful and allows knowledge of God by a mutual sharing of essence. 

As in Buddhist teachings, it stresses the breath-inhalation, exhalation and the vast space between.

I’ve come to see that all creative work depends on this. It reminds me of the need to strike the right balance of egoistic intent I project upon the world, with a receptivity to what the world has to say to me. This holds true in painting, writing and human relations.

This is the wider perspective Yeats’ words reminded me of-that which makes true, angelic inspiration possible.  It is a creativity motivated and vivified by a wish to benefit all beings.

I thank the Symbol Reader for reminding me.

Posted in Old Hand's northern voyage, Uncategorized

The Angel of Pole Pass

DSC02659log page pole pass

We left Jones Island with the start of the ebb on a calm, overcast morning and headed south-east toward our first way point at Steep Point on Orcas Island’s East side. I’d plotted our course through one of the San Juan Island’s most treacherous passages the day before. Our track was to take us into the middle of the labyrinthine Wasp Islands, through Harney Channel to East Sound in time for our dance. I’d cross-referenced Captain Jack’s and the Canadian Currant Atlas and, with a sharp pencil, drawn our course on the chart with the way points and estimated arrivals times.

I was actually a bit proud of my fore-sight, and hoped it might inspire in Lily a greater trust in my navigational skill. Lily had given me a T-shirt that said sharp and focused. Maybe she thought it might help.

When we reached Steep Point, the next way point appeared on the GPS screen directing us somewhere south-west into some nasty-looking rocks. Since our intended track was south-east, I knew something was wrong. Major anxiety set in.

The ebb was taking us east past a small Island to starboard, while ahead a few miles, was a small opening toward which a sailboat was motoring.

At Lily’s suggestion (she was remaining unusually calm in all this,) I followed. As we neared, the pass actually appeared smaller. A torrent of green water flowed over the jagged rocks to starboard, when suddenly I saw a woman in the cockpit of a C-Dory next to us beckoning with a reassuring look and a gentle movement of her arms.

Samuel Lewis

I’d gotten only a fleeting glimpse of her, but her radiant image will forever be etched in my memory. The waving motion with which she guided us rocked with her boat like a movements of a Sufi Zikr. It was an angelic vision guiding Old Hand’s errant crew through the twisted channels of the world toward salvation; to chasten pride of seamanship and forgetfulness of the true purpose of our voyage-of which we might lose sight while navigating the labyrinthine island passes.  Though our “navigation” of Pole Pass may have been unintentional, it reminded me of our deeper intention.

After all, we are emissaries of the Dances of Universal Peace, come to bring the message of unity as taught by Hazrat Inyat Khan and Samuel Lewis-to bring the wisdom traditions of all faiths into full body awareness through the ancient tradition of sacred dance.

Thank you bright Angel of Pole Pass. For you there shall always be an honored page in the tattered log of Old Hand.

Posted in Old Hand's northern voyage, videos

East Sound storm

Lily hurt her foot when we docked at East Sound for our dance.  Then yesterday, a storm blew up from Southeast, blowing a good 35 knots with gusts to 40.  Old Hand took a hammering at the public dock while Lily lay below getting seasick.  But the local EMT team were there in no time to get her off the boat, up to the nearby Oddfellows Hall where we had a wonderful event despite Lily’s injury.  It was a sweet circle praying for peace in this stormy world.

Posted in Old Hand's northern voyage, Uncategorized

Old Hand’s voyage to the San Juans 3

Lily and I have been making flyers and organizing our September 22nd Dance of Universal Peace in East Sound, Orcas Island.  Our voyage has a direction beside that which the winds take us.

From the vantage point of the Doctor’s Office coffee shop (it was an actual doctor’s office), I watch all manner of craft and float planes enter and depart Friday Harbor.  Old Hand lies anchored in 9 fathoms off the Oceanographic laboratories on the north east shore.

We are leaving later today for either Spencer Spit or Fisherman’s Bay on the north end of Lopez Island before our event.  it’s not really our event, but  part of a tradition-a spiritual community that exists all over the world.

Here’s Lily leading a song/dance she wrote based on the Amitabha meditation.  I may have gotten a little to free with the effects, but you can maybe get the jist of it.