Saturday, March 3, 2018


In recent years, this town seems very trifling in life force and spirit. Its heart has weakened and its tongue has lapsed lazily into routine complaints and canned rhetoric. More and more of its once pristine property is “developed,” meaning that cookie cutter adobe pretenders dot the landscape from the mountains to the gorge.  Taos once drew attention because it was earthy, instinctive somewhat dangerous, in the manner a wild animal is dangerous and just as beautiful. It still nursed from the tits of the ultimate cougar, Mother Nature. Taos was a Third World Country surrounded by but unfettered to mainstream America. Perhaps a romantic wish as much as a reality. 

A long time ago, I spent several nights a week at the Taos Inn, which I once referred to as the Living Room of Taos, a nickname that now appears on travel brochures and online ads for the Inn. All the local characters, their kids and dogs congregated there in the afternoons and into the evening. It was the place to unite in spirit, meet one’s fellow fallouts from the outer dimensions, and rejoice in our escape from toxic life depleting environments. After the Taos Inn, the hard-core drinkers made their way to El Patio, now known as the Alley Cantina. If they wanted to dance, they migrated south to the Sagebrush Inn. If for some reason a regular member misbehaved too pugnaciously to the point of being 86st, this person could be found the next night and however many ensuing nights at El Patio or Ogilvie’s bar (now The Gorge), until the sin was forgiven.  
Chamisa Moon

On non-working days there was the Taos Coffee Shop and before that Café Tazza. There was a community in each of these spots and often people stayed there all day. Someone would be writing a book, or sketching other clientele. In the evenings, there were poetry readings, belly dancers and plays. There were also more bookstores in this pre amazon and smartphone world. It seems that people must now arrange to get together. We used to expect our friends to be at the coffee shops like a kitchen in the house of an intimate friend.

It’s possible that I’ve simply outgrown the Taos I just described. People still move here and have a great time in this tri cultural town with a tinge of sophistication in trendy contrast to its small town intimacy. It still has many Art Galleries, several fine museums, great restaurants and proximity to the Taos Ski Valley. The ancient Pueblo is still at the base of New Mexico’s tallest, possibly handsomest mountain turning its nose up at its own popularity just as it always has. Yet even there much of the life force has gone underground.

At some point, the balance shifted and the page turned. It just might be that I’m the one that changed.  No, we’ve both changed. A long time ago I saw a cartoon in the New Yorker (they have great cartoons) of a chick that had just broken out of its shell. The caption said, “whew! I’m glad that’s over, but in the larger picture, which the poor chick couldn’t see was a bigger shell and then another and another. 

For a long time I’ve been aware that there are people dwelling in various sizes of shell--but sometimes I forget. It seems that it usually requires a shock of some kind to break our shell and send us to the next lifecycle. Perhaps like the chick some people feel the need to break through but more often, the shell is broken due to some external blow. Maybe there is also a time in between developmental eggshells when everything is calm and we are gathering strength, or maybe we are just living in a false sense of well-being.   

All of us live encased in layers of shells, and enlightenment seems to be the recognition that we just broke through one of them.  If we have done this before, we often look back on the now broken shell once vexing our development and feel either vulnerable or proud. We can look down on other little eggs with smaller shells still lost in the illusion that their shell encompasses the only reality there is. 

Some individuals panic and try desperately to put the only home they have ever known back together. If that doesn’t work, they live in denial. Sometimes they connect with others in a similar state of panic and make a belief system out of denial.

When the shell has obviously shattered, one may be floating in space without any orientation, at least so it seems for a while. If a person has enough faith or even curiosity, the fear will subside and exploration begins. I notice that baby animals have curiosity and not fear on finding themselves outside the shell or the womb. Fear isn’t really about the unknown but about what we believe we know about the unknown—thus, dangerous expectations. For this reason, it is common for first time spiritual hatchlings to attempt to bring old beliefs into the new condition. This happens too often with spiritual experiences. You can’t successfully mend a broken shell and crawl back inside.  

The things we can see are the same things that exist within us. There is no reality except the one contained inside. This is why many people live in delusion. They take images outside as sole reality, never realizing that they are linked to internal causes. Hermann Hesse

If a person is able to surrender to the shock of creation in action, another level of awareness reveals itself. Finally, (but never the final finally) the accidental space traveler notices that he/she is in another shell even though a much larger one. 

We hope the person is now getting the recognition that breaking through shells is the essence of creation. This journey progresses not via talent, education or personal charm, but by breaking through shell after shell after shell and thus participating in the surge of progress. Oh yes, I have never believed there was one creation and that’s the end. Creation is endless like the expanding universe. “As above, so below.”

A few years ago, I might have explored all this in a coffee shop but I’m even more curious than nostalgic so I’ll leave the outcome to cosmic powers. Taos like all of its inhabitants exists in the expanding universe. One of these days, it may wake up and break through its current shell. I will probably discover that it is even better than it was before--or, is it me changing. Maybe we are both ready to pop through another shell. “We are all related.”

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Alchemical Retort

I’ve given up depression, my favorite addiction. The revolutionary insight that brought this about was an unexpected and astonishing recognition that there is a choice. I recently discovered that happiness is an immense creative power both personally and as a cell in the body of earth---and that we can choose it.  For most of my life, I’ve allowed outer circumstances and their personal influence to set my moods. How is it possible to be happy in a world full of suffering, violence and injustice? Isn’t it even a justification of evil to be happy under such conditions?

The kind of happiness I’m referring to is the vibrant aspect of peace. In our current world culture, peace seems to be an empty and powerless state and frequently its only dynamic quality is the tension produced by holding disintegrative forces at bay. 

Closely related to happiness is beauty. Our world, and for that matter the universe is a glory of fractal splendor from the sub atomic level to the solar system outward to infinite universes. This is the truth of creation. Our world of struggle, corruption, death and taxes in the tradition of PQ’s tribe and in many esoteric teachings is the middle world.  In this middle world, we have the stimulation of dark versus light, destruction versus creation. It’s so easy to forget (or never know) that dark is the absence of light not it’s energetic equal, yet the tension of contrast is the dynamic of evolution.

I have all the material I would ever need to defend depression as an existential perspective. On sleepless nights, I can inventory all the inherited disadvantages, bad experiences, difficult circumstances, bad schools, oppressive religious background, family dysfunction, relationship heartbreaks and lost hopes.  After many false starts,   I have arrived at old age with nothing tangible to show for a lifetime of struggles and ineffective attempts to extricate myself from the situations and reactions that placed me in a bad starting position on this racetrack called life. I tried many times to turn lead into gold but the alchemical formula was a secret I never discovered—but perhaps it was never a secret but merely unrecognizable in the gloom.  Then I learned that sadness and depression were the very dynamic that kept the alchemical magic from working. Negative produces negative, not gold. 

I no longer feel depressed about the state of the world or the state of the country. I know I can’t change these things that play out over large swaths of time and involve the karma of nations over millennia. I can’t change the massive social storms brought on by this karma known as history, or the weather storms that physically act out our planets troubles. However, I can quit contributing to each hapless drama by succumbing to its mood. It is all too easy to be sucked into a black hole.  

As one must realistically expect with all addictions, I fall off the wagon now and then but there is amazing freedom in the discovery that there is a choice and I’m not just a victim of circumstances with the unfortunate position of being born into this world that is currently unfolding in an extremely dysfunctional manner.

Not only is happiness a life enhancing power, it has a healing effect on the personal environment that then radiates outward in all directions. There are many tragic, horrendous, cruel and stupid things going on around us, and they seem to be increasing exponentially. People without any mooring doing crazy things, corrupt governments, wars, confused and narcissistic leaders, human predators, “fake news”, all contribute to and seem to justify downward mood swings.

Some people respond to both irritants and defeats with anger rather than depression. However, it’s all depression in essence. Men often prefer anger while women more frequently prefer depression but they are both negative moods that lead to more negativity. There is already too much negativity. The reaction to negative experiences with negative responses doubles the negative power base until it is dense, dark sticky goo that entraps everyone who places a foot in it. It brings forth a mental image of the La Brea Tar Pits.  

Along with this discovery, is the revelation that real power uplifts. It isn’t power over someone or something, which weakens and degrades a victim. True power permeates the life force with creativity and healing. This world we live in is the middle world engaged in an eternal battle between dark and light and we are grist for creations mill.   We get a detailed view of our situation when the inner lights are turned on.  There is always the choice of offering ourselves to the illusions of false power or pointing our attention toward an enlightened world.  Whether we know it or not we are involved in creating this world.  Now and then, I remember that our world and the universe are still in the process of creation, and we as cells in the body of earth can be healthy or diseased and thus influence the outcome. 

Depression often hides under other emotions. It can shelter judgement, unfulfilled expectations, loneliness, resentment and unexpressed desires, among others.  Depression is static at best and otherwise a downward spiral. Many people in our manic culture deny that they are depressed and take pills and illegal drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Others stay frantically busy, or perhaps overeat and oversex. I think in retrospect that I’m thankful that I didn’t deny being sad and sometimes in despair, it drove me to keep searching for the cure rather than a cover up. Behind sadness, pain, despair and rage is an unacknowledged drive to find peace and wholeness.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


We recently learned that our dear friend Carol must move from her beautiful space in Cottonwood, Arizona. Her landlady is selling the house. This news shook us body, soul and spirit. It was more than a place of retreat and special sanctuary. Carol’s extra bedroom was our physical grip on a dream. Cottonwood and Sedona became as familiar as Taos, and in many ways more nourishing and comfortable.

Seven years ago, we rented a sweet place less than a mile from Carol’s house, and moved in. I had inherited furniture that had been in storage and PQ had furniture from his house as well. We had a great time finishing it off with curtains, and kitchen things, and we bought and assembled a complicated computer table that proved that we could work together without killing each other. It was as close to paradise as I’ve been. We hiked the trails in nearby Sedona, visited the coffee houses, met interesting people, and of course, hung out with Carol. She had two friends who were also ex-pats from Taos, and in addition, we met many other beautiful people that became our new soul family.

It became necessary to move back to Taos full time yet we never gave up the idea of finding a way to live again in Cottonwood. We visited Carol whenever we could, which was at least once each season and occasionally she invited us to housesit when she travelled. We truly were as comfortable in her home as our own and without the angst or Sturm und Drang of Taos.  

I can see in retrospect that we came to the Cottonwood/Sedona area at the perfect time.  Everything opened to us and because of that, it is very difficult to let go. I didn’t even know Carol that well the first time I visited. We had a mutual friend when she lived in Taos and although we saw each other frequently, we were usually in a group. It wasn’t until she moved to Cottonwood and I visited on a long ago Thanksgiving weekend that our friendship began to deepen. 

Letting go of the drive down Oak Creek Canyon, lunch at Szechuan Chinese restaurant in Sedona, our favorite hiking trails, Tlaquepaque galleries, and the Old Saddle Rock Barn consignment store where we filled out needed furniture for our little casita and all the many other sustaining memories seems like exile from the Promised Land.  Even so, I must admit that there were signs that the structure of this dream was gradually dissolving.

Not finished and waiting for its soul.
Many people moved away or moved on, and our favorite haunts were also changing. In the meantime, family obligations, personal challenges with health and finances while holding some kind of spiritual center were more demanding. Taos kept our noses to the grindstone on every dimension.

So now, I flash back to remembering Carol’s almost round table where we had so many great discussions in the morning over coffee, watching out the window for wildlife passing through, the hummingbirds on the patio, or getting down to earth with the little lizards and their personal dramas. It was all sacred but earthy. Then there were our traditions: lemon pie and barbecue, or alternatively carrot cake. Even the local Safeway and Walmart became a part of a sacred process.  We could walk in as if we had never been gone and resume life in our alternative reality.

This loss is as profound and unexpected as the sudden death of a loved one and yet it comes with promises of rebirth.  Those of us emotionally involved in Carol’s move are already creating a group spirit within the process. We text back and forth, completing the finishing process while preparing for Carol’s launch toward new horizons. We can’t help but go with her in spirit. 

Now that I’m several weeks into the process, I can see that living in Cottonwood again in a dream future made living here in Taos with its continuous struggles and dramas a motive for dreams of a promised land. For now, Taos is the process of life itself. For months, I’ve also fantasized living in a dream Zen-do for a few months to meditate and re-connect with my natural rhythms.  This is also not a constructive fantasy but a way to avoid mastering the high waves under our boat. However, on the positive side, all these fantasies are there to remind me not to lose my essence. Now must be the time to take on the challenge even if it doesn’t feel like it.

This “moving” (pun intended) event awakens an entirely new set of skills. Change is necessary or the senses, mind and spirit ride an old wagon down an increasingly rutted road.  I will end by saying that our spirit guides think highly enough of us to keep the rut from becoming so deep that we can never change direction.

I’m thinking we elders are shook out of our comfort zones and nostalgic reveries because our job isn’t finished and we need to keep moving toward our particular light, or become useless mummies even if well preserved. It’s not time for heaven on earth yet. Sometimes we only go into action if we must.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


My paintbrush jar is broken; PQ accidentally knocked it off the paint cart. Many of his actions are accidental and that is both a flaw and a saving virtue. There was a sentimental memory attached to the jar. I found it inside an abandoned cabin in the remote Wyoming woods when I was 12 years old during a camping/fishing trek.  It had survived many years and many moves all the way to Taos, New Mexico.Of course, I haven’t painted anything for two years.  It’s hard to get back in the groove and perhaps I’m not supposed to paint the same way. The last thing I painted still isn’t finished. Something didn’t go right and I don’t know what was trying to come in, so it waits in the garage for me to figure it out or do something entirely different.  

I write now instead of paint. They aren’t in the same groove, so I won’t claim writing as a substitute. I rationalize that PQ’s paintings have exotic appeal and sell better, but I know that is a shallow excuse. I walk into the garage and it pushes me toward the door. It just isn’t my garage yet. I fantasize studios where I will feel comfortable and more creative, but that isn’t going to come out of fantasyland anytime soon. So, it comes back to me and my issues with the garage, and painting. 

After I left the little house off of Upper Ranchitos, I almost quit painting. Before that I wished for a space where I could paint bigger canvases than my little laundry alcove permitted. Lack of space has been an issue for everything I don’t do, but maybe those tiny spaces start in my head, my soul, and my sense of not being welcome on this planet. I crowded myself into smaller and smaller spaces hoping I would finally pass the devil’s code. Then I realized that I couldn’t get small enough. My existence requires space and existence is the issue.  “To be or not to be” is always the base question. I’ve been trying to compromise by being an inoffensive little bit. It never worked out. It is essentially an attempt to lie successfully.  There are higher powers I fear offending.
Note that many so-called savage practices continue to survive and thrive in a more subtle form in modern times. As they become subtle, they also become more deceptive.  The Spanish may have convinced the Inca that since God made a blood sacrifice of his only son; they could discontinue the sacrifice of their children while receiving the same results. Now and then, however, it looks like God’s sacrifice may not have be enough to convince Mother Nature, who after all operates on the same dimension as her subjects.  

Sacrifice is an extremely complex topic.  We can sacrifice one thing to receive something else that we consider more important. Alternatively, we can sacrifice something that is standing in our way in accomplishing a higher purpose, or alternatively to protect ourselves from someone with more power, a kind of rental payment for the space we occupy. The cultures of South America seem to have used blood sacrifice to give energy to the gods, because blood was life force itself. It was insurance that the sun would have the power to rise each morning.

My paintbrush jar became an accidental sacrifice. Now it is up to me to discover what kind of medicine it represents. I love the Native American concept of “medicine.” It recognizes that there is an unseen, trans-physical aspect to making things right. Illness is a kind of sacrifice. The body is made sacred through its surrender to higher processes. Yet, it only works if one lays out the stage of encounter as a holy place. Sometimes healing involves allowing the body to die physically in order to make way for another form of existence and sometimes to undo the entrainments that manifest in sickness on this physical plain.

On one level, sacrifice is simply a type of sharing. Animals often bring their prey home to share with family members. I remember mom’s large Main Coon cat named Mickey. He often brought her half a mouse and deposited it in a place she couldn’t miss such as the middle of the kitchen. Blood sacrifices are the most powerful of all because blood represents the mystery and power of life.

Even as a young child, I knew that I was a sacrificial offering.  The biblical account of Abraham’s divine instruction to offer Isaac his only son as a burnt offering to Yahweh haunted me for years. At the last moment, Yahweh conjured a sheep as a replacement sacrifice and saved Isaac’s life. Although I couldn’t pin it down, I knew that I too was a sacrificial subject. My little sister died in infancy and I used to wonder if I was supposed to be the one who died instead.  That event changed everything about my family and I was emotionally on my own from then on.  Mom went into a zombie like trance that she only recovered from after I was well into adulthood and dad kept a somber distance and thereafter preoccupied himself with practical problems easily solved with a hammer, saw or shovel.

Sacrifice has two obvious sides: gratitude and fear. The powerful one who gives can also take away without warning.  While the Inca’s sacrificed their most beautiful children, the Aztecs often gathered sacrificial victims from war and raids on neighboring tribes, and it seems that the Great Sun became hungrier as time passed. The Spanish found it easy to conspire with victims of the Aztecs for obvious reasons and it seems reasonable that colluding Aztec enemies were the hidden key to Spanish victory.
Inca God Viracocha

Perhaps misfits of all kinds are prospective sacrificial offerings. The correctional system is full of people who take punishment for acting out the weaknesses in society. This is not to excuse violent and dishonest behavior but often the person who ends up in jail is the product of a long line of family and social dysfunction festering in the background that goes unpunished.  They take the rap for a whole host of angry and miserable people who are never punished, at least not by the law. There are also many ways of offering a sacrifice and even suicide is often a sacrificial gesture.  There seems to be a primal belief that we humans are not in good standing with higher cosmic powers. One way or another we need to cajole and flatter the cosmic forces to leave us in peace or protect us from our enemies. Yet, who will protect us from ourselves. Those forces seem to be hungry for blood.  The primary question is if it will be enemy blood or the blood of a beautiful child and I suppose that depends on the projected character flaws of our deities. 

This topic unexpectedly took this blog over and I know I’ve opened the door a crack to a very dark room, much more than I can handle today, there is a lot more to learn on this subject. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017


I sense a backward trend. No, there are not obvious indications but I’ve learned that when I begin to feel something insistently and frequently, a new dawn is probably only a few degrees below the horizon.

The frantic race to bring greater and greater technical progress to the human population has reached a dangerous level. Cell phones have so many features that I’ve lost interest in learning how to use all the bells and whistles. There are still other things in life for which I'd like to leave some space/time. As we drove down the canyon on our way to Albuquerque and another showing of “Awakening in Taos” the other day, I was remembering the days when I had no electronic guidance to find a destination only the written address and general road information. As much as I enjoy playing with Seri and asking her questions on my iPhone 7, I can’t honestly say that I do any better at finding locations. It is actually more a game than a necessity.  I’m a Gemini, and I enjoy figuring things out and pushing buttons but I also enjoyed putting my intuition to work and I’ve noticed that when in computer mode, my intuition is turned off.

We drive computerized vehicles that were assembled by computerized robots, and still other computers can interact remotely with these computers on four wheels. The question of how much technology is too much may depend on the individual as well as that individual’s culture and generation, but the race to computerize everything and every function is in full swing. I remember my first computer. I loved it because I type fast but also hit a lot of wrong keys and with a word processing program, I could quickly delete and correct. It could do astrological calculations too and that cut hours off of preparing a chart. I don’t want to go back to calculating astrology charts by hand, partly because math is not my thing, but I remember that the time it took to manually work out the positions and relationships of the planets focused my attention until I became organically connected to the individual chart and the cosmic environment that a client lived within.

On this recent drive down the canyon, I remembered that Mabel Dodge Lujan ‘s first trip to Taos from Santa Fe took 17 hours in an automobile of the time on the then primitive road up the canyon. It takes an hour and a half now (unless my husband is driving in which case it takes an hour and 15 minutes).  I know 17 hours seems like a trial of fortitude, but there is another aspect that we seldom consider. I remember the time I had car trouble in the canyon, had to get out and wait with time to kill for a rescue. I felt the moving air, heard the river spilling over the rocks, and took notice of the insects and lizards scurrying from hideout to hideout in the aromatic sagebrush. In times like this, I realize how little I now experience on this same trip that Mabel took a hundred years ago. It changed her life. I take this trip sometimes several times a month, and although I never tire of it, my senses regard it as a high-speed visual experience. Not so different from watching TV.
Mark Gordon, Producer and PQ
at latest showing of Awakening in Taos

As humans, we are heading down a slippery slope and slicker and slicker technology is greasing the slide. On some level, most of us suspect that this is the case, but it’s an addictive state of mind. The issue is how best to use technology without being used by its marketeers. Seduction is right at the center of the technology age. If you are seduced, it is because someone wants something you have and he/she can’t get it without deception. I suspect the hypnotic transfixion on technical gadgets is designed to keep our attention short and narrow and thus allow little time for depth perception.

I don’t believe the problem is technology itself. It is a powerful tool and its fun, but few of us humans are evolved psychologically or spiritually enough to use it wisely or to recognize when we are being used by our tools and toys. The question is; who owns whom. Devices own many of us, and this is especially true of the so-called Millennials. 

I believe the mind control leaders have hijacked technology.  They are using it to put a wedge between the organic world and we humans. When we become alienated from our connection to the living world and secede to an electronic version, we have lost our souls. For some time, it has troubled me that the heart chakra awaits discovery in a world that values cleverness and ambition but seldom connection . It is always involved in our well-beingness, though not valued in this lickety-split culture. I’ve long believed that those who control our society from behind the stage curtain are originally responsible for this situation. By making sure that the masculine elements of competition and aggression are in control, it is much easier to separate us from our human emotional connections, distort our instincts and encase the heart in a hard steel cover. Masculine and feminine qualities are equally necessary in a balanced world.

I recently received an email from a group that does online seminars and workshops to raise consciousness and promote spiritual growth. The leaders of this organization are admitting exhaustion and frustration about how to go forward. They are reaching the end of energy and resources. Since they are asking subscribers for insights and creative ideas about how to go forward, this thought came up immediately: I don’t join many of these online groups and probably will never join another one.  The immediate thrill of being able to communicate with hundreds, maybe thousands of people with one online connection seems awesome but it’s like tasting a delicious meal but not swallowing. It’s not nourishing.

People need to get together physically and be involved in 3D interaction and focus. Anything else is a teaser and as such is better than nothing is but not completely satisfying and not optimally empowering. I’ve been involved in live groups and still hunger for this, not just workshops that end and you never see each other again, but ongoing groups where all the dimensions of life can be encountered and developed heart to heart. The operative word is development.  I can certainly envision a small group of like hearted people using the shared information of a podcast or book as a springboard but the alchemical power of interactive minds cannot be replaced electronically. Nobody ever imagined that corresponding by snail mail is as satisfying as a face to face relationship even though it keeps that physical contact alive in the senses. Despite the magic of instant contact with people anywhere on the globe--even Skype with a screen view of the person I'm talking to is not a totally satisfying substitute for physical presence.

 I envision people beginning to use technology rather than serve technology. It’s a marvelous tool but a dangerous and abusive master.  We don’t exist to support the economic system, although it’s obvious that the corporate world perceives us as prey. I’m hoping a new more critical Sun will rise on the mass culture of electronics while I’m still in this 3D world.

During the Q & A that followed this latest screening of “Awakening in Taos,” the sense of  family involved in its creation was very strong. My direct involvement came at the very beginning but I’ve loved witnessing the story grow from hatchling to fledgling and getting to know the amazing people involved in its creation. As we sat on stage answering audience questions, I realized that our group is an entity in its own right and this initiated another awakening in my own heart to send out vibes of love and appreciation in all directions. There are two stories here--the one that resulted in well crafted and powerful story on screen and the creation of a team of humans melding their skills, passions, dramas and personal history into the visual soul print of Awakening in Taos. The protagonists of this story have a new life and renewed purpose because of this team joined at the heart as well as the mind.