Monday, November 12, 2012


We returned to Taos from Cottonwood Arizona a week ago.  To my surprise , I had reentry problems.  Although the trip to Taos (home) was pleasant and so was the weather I experienced an upset stomach and sleeplessness the first night home.  PQ did better than I did and he is the one that finds breathing at 7000 ft. challenging.

I haven’t been up to par since I returned.  Four days ago, I slipped a disk in my back reaching for an item in the garage while PQ and I were beginning a long dreaded cleanup and organization project to make the garage usable as a studio.  Last night while lying awake, the subject of home, what it is and the emotions it elicits began running endlessly through my head but unlike that herd of imaginary sheep to be counted, it wasn’t making me sleepy. When I’m in Cottonwood/Sedona I feel light, free, surrounded in wellbeing and at peace.  Yet, I always worry about our Taos houses, imagine my neglected plants in distress and miss our favorite restaurants, running into friends and family at the grocery store or post office and the familiar presence of that fine elegant mountain that overlooks Taos. Either way, I’m pulled into pieces by the limits of time, space and funds. 

This calls up memory of a visualization introduced to me in a meditation years ago in which we were to imagine ourselves on a raft floating down a mountain stream while taking note of all the things witnessed along the way. Unfortunately, I ran into a snag immediately by conjuring an agonizing choice between staying in one place in a cozy imaginary cabin by the river where I would enjoy the familiar landscape through the changing seasons and befriend the native creatures that came to drink and graze. This possibility was nostalgically opposed to the allure of discovering new vistas while floating down the river. Perhaps this is a Gemini dilemma. Of course, I have a Gemini Sun with Moon/Jupiter rising in Cancer, the curious seeker vs., the homebody.

So how does this relate to home? The Encarta Dictionary explains that “home” is the place of birth, the place where a person, family or household lives, the place where an animal is indigenous, company headquarters, a sporting goal, native territory, and a place of refuge. However, to me home is a place that always dances several steps ahead of the seeker like a mirage. 

For some time I’ve experienced a recurring dream about home. Actually, it is about many homes. Usually it starts with the present house but then somehow I accidentally happen into the neighborhood of a house that I once lived in but then forgot.  Often there are several different homes in these dreams going back to my first apartment as an adult. As I rediscover each one, I recognize the piece of soul I left there and then I’m overwhelmed with nostalgic yearning for a loss I can’t replace. The dilemma is that I only have one body and limited time and space. I cannot be in all of them and time runs thin. 

Perhaps this thing about home is actually about consolidation. Maybe it’s like going through the garage, finding the things you forgot you had and then figuring out what to do with them. Right now the garage is piled to the ceiling on one side with boxes of stuff from my mom’s house, a few of things that grandma left with mom,  and things we had in our Arizona house that I hope to someday take back to another Arizona house. On the other side are tools, camping gear, paint, seeds and plant food.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot about art supplies, canvases, unhung paintings I don’t have enough walls for and stretcher bars. 

Someone Sent Me This Photo Taken at Their Colorado Home
I just realized that the garage holds the essence of all those houses/homes that I can’t choose between.  No wonder it nearly broke my back.  It’s heavy stuff.  What should I keep, what should I mourn and bury as dead and what should I dust off and bring into the house because I finally found a use for it? 

As far as literal homes are concerned, three places still pull on me.  They exist in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.  It’s a migration pattern. I was born in Colorado and lived there until 20 years ago.  It’s the place of family history personal crisis dashed hopes and wistful memories.  New Mexico is the land beyond the forbidden psychic border of family history, a place I chose on my own, where I ran the gauntlet, met my spiritual family and my soul mate.  Arizona is freedom, clarity and the place I first recognized as a land of ancient  dreams. But what to do about the dilemma of physical distance, place and time? Maybe it’s more achievable to stay with exploring the garage. No telling what kind of alchemical magic awaits discovery in there.  

Then the survival importance of home struck yesterday.  I’m still a bit shaken by it. PQ called me from the driveway with a voice that indicated that I should come at once.  He said, “There is a dead little dog here.”  It was lying at the base of the sand pile left over from making  our patio.  He was almost hidden in fallen willow leaves and faded grass that blended with his long wavy tan and black coat. I recognized him as the little dog that walked by our front door the previous day.   What could have happened?  I had assumed he was one of my neighbor’s dogs. She has several.  I called her and verified that it was the animal I’d seen the day before but it turned out that he was new to the family. She offered him a home when his owner, a colleague wasn’t able to keep him. She was shocked and thought probably she accidentally ran him over the night before.  She had parked her Jeep only a few feet from where he lay. She called and called for him that night but never found him. When uprooted from our home place, we often falter like a leaf blown from a tree. The energy body is discordant with its environment and bad things often happen. How easy it is to lose things important to us even when we are away from home on vacation, but being ripped up from the our emotional roots can also be life threatening for people as well as animals.

Santa Fe Rainbow from Last Week
I suppose that what I’m getting at is that home is the center of our personal mandala. Everything else radiates out from the center, and without an earth based center we flail about emotionally and spiritually. However, a visit to Santa Fe a few days ago broadened my sense of home.  It is a place I love to visit the way one visits a favorite friend or relative.  Its the home of somebody else but I feel welcome at the door. The home of dear friend or friendly relative is another design layer on the mandala, after all, we are also visitors for the time of our life on Mother Earth.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Autumn in Taos Ski Valley Canyon
It has now been two weeks plus since the Grof Holotropic Module on Jung’s Red Book. This is the first workshop I’ve indulged in since the writing workshop (I think that’s what it was, memory is faded) I attended about 15 years ago. Interestingly, the Taos Ski Valley was the location for both of these events.  This one hosted by the Columbine Conference Center, but next door to Austinghouse the location of that earlier workshop. However, we took our meals at the Austinghouse dining room, not a particularly interesting coincidence in itself, but personally meaningful. The need to be there was about an instinct to loop back and pick up some lost pieces of self that I’m going to be needing; well, maybe not lost but placed in storage long ago and almost forgotten. 

To compare life to a house with many rooms, I am on the threshold of an unused room on a different floor. Of course, I want to furnish it with appropriate furniture. Stepping through an unfamiliar doorway whether in time or space is a mixed experience as there is doubt about leaving the old, uncertainty about the unknown and apprehension mixed with excitement.

It has taken these two weeks to get some perspective on the workshop experience. Getting up in semi darkness, hitting the road as the sharp air and early light enhanced the spectacularly golding foliage on the drive through Taos, past Arroyo Seco and up the canyon, to arrive each morning in an altered state.  In this semi-conscious condition came the encounter each morning at 9:00 am with words, ideas, and fellow seekers from diverse realities.

My Gemini self slurped up Monika Wikman’s insightful and inspiring introduction to Jung’s Red Book, with the enthusiasm of a starved cat on Tuna. The breathwork, which was the foundational work of the module was good and I reoriented many core issues, but it wasn’t the full diet for a hungry soul.  In the process, I was reminded that I need regular contact with fellow seekers and practitioners and although I do not yet know how to bring that about, I’m increasingly aware of the limitations of living in a small third world country like Taos.

This was the first time in three years that PQ and I have been apart for more than a few hours. He did fine on his own, even though we were also coping with the recent death of our truck and he had to deal with the insurance company and various other technicalities that we usually handle together yet he faithfully drove me up the canyon every morning and back home every evening in our one vehicle.  Each day was unique in the wild animals encountered on the way and the constantly changing autumn foliage. This drive was itself a powerful ritual that brought a new piece into our relationship, and synchronistically enhanced the workshop. 

Being in my old hero Carl Jung’s company again was inspiration for renewing my quest for a navigable path along the border between modern and indigenous psychic territories.  Jung’s use of Alchemical symbols and dreams rekindled my desire to translate the thought forms of native medicine and vice versa.  Jung used persecuted philosophies and techniques disrespected by both the church and the current beliefs of scientific materialism to heal modern people whose souls were unfulfilled within the psychic vacuum of our modern world. Many people are suffering from the loss of connection with their roots, as well as with the planet that hosts them and all the natural processes they share with their fellow beings on Mother Earth. However, Indigenous people often have malnourished souls due to the suppression and oppression of their ancestral connections, but I don’t think Jung’s alchemy would work for them directly without cultural translation, and I know of no one who has attempted to do this.  Jung was an inspired and powerful medicine man but his language and images are of arcane European derivation.  I went to the workshop in hope of reigniting the pilot light under the vision that originally brought me to New Mexico.  Experience tells me that after descending into the basement world of the unconscious, the experience of this workshop will continue to rearrange the furniture in my personal psychic basement, but I’m really waiting for a light that will reveal the stairway leading to the top floor.   
Now I’m back in my Taos world, drinking coffee with PQ on the patio each morning, eking the last bit of fall beauty from the too fast approach of winter.  Each morning the plants around us lose a bit more of their color as they withdraw for winter.  The vultures have gone south and hawks have taken their place.  Coyotes yip and howl a bit closer each night.  Just before the workshop, our new animal friend suddenly reappeared. The white kitten came through the latia fence for a visit. He now wears a collar with his name and phone number on it. He is obviously well cared for but still visits each morning. Yesterday his ginger tabby friend came with him, and we watched them stalking imaginary prey and chasing each other up and down the cottonwood tree.  Isn’t play the way cats learn to catch their prey? Perhaps the white cat is a new teacher for the White Deer. Both animals are unable to hide in the normal way of their species due to their neutral but stand out lack of color yet one is predator the other prey.  

Yesterday PQ and I took a drive, which I’ve discovered is always a good time to talk about the things that everyday life obscures.  For the first time I shared some of these thoughts with him and it helped me to be clearer about what the workshop brought to my attention.  Now, alchemical transformation, synchronicity, playful practice of hunting techniques and my personal relationship with the essence of the indigenous world are all tumbling around in my psychic innards and it’s a process that my conscious ego self has little control over.  I feel that I’ve taken on more than my little self can digest and now I have to rely on my guiding spirits. Everything is to be continued.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Yesterday was our FIRST anniversary, but what a strange day.  From the beginning, chemtrails filled the sky, and there was a dirty gray heaviness that we couldn’t shake.  Chemtrails used to make me sick immediately but in recent years, they usually have little noticeable effect.  Nevertheless, there was something unreachable about the day.  It was almost as if I was only half-present and couldn’t get all the way through to one dimension or the other.

We drove over to Ojo Caliente and around the loop to Espanola, up the canyon and back home. PQ suggested we do the hot springs but I literally could not stomach the idea of being in hot water. Our big splurge was lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Espanola and picking up a few small items at the super WalMart. Everything seemed blah.  I realized the restaurant wasn’t as good as I remembered, and the super WalMart seemed uninteresting (there wasn’t anything I couldn’t leave there even if it was free), and full of obese people who looked as disconnected as I was.  We did see PQ’s sister Bernice and her granddaughter at WalMart and that was our only social connection of the day.

The evening before was energetically the opposite; clear and sharp.  This year we attended the Big Photo shoot and Artists mixer that photographer Lenny Foster organizes at the KTAOS Solar Center each year. This event is a party and group photo shoot for all the artists of Taos. Although we didn’t stay long, we saw many people we know and enjoyed both the Damm Band (that's their name) and the splendid view of Taos Mountain.

This morning is almost back to normal, but not quite. Something changed yesterday, but I can’t put a finger on it.  Neither of us was upset about the strangeness of our anniversary day, we have many wonderful days together, but something definitely moved us sideways from one energy field to something different.  I considered denial since I like the way our life is now, but it wasn’t an option.  We definitely are at the trail head of a different walk.  

I know there is a shift in life style in the works; I just don’t know what it is. About ten days ago PQ said, “I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I want to get my hair cut. I’m ready for something new,” so we went to Nicole, a lovely Dine’ hair stylist and barber. She knew something of the native tradition and after the cut carefully swept up the hair, placed it in paper bag and we took it to the Rio Grande above  the John Dunn Bridge and sent it down the river with prayers.

We can’t legally rent either of our houses, mine is a Habitat for Humanity house and his is a HUD house on the rez, so that’s not an option for generating enough income to spend the winter in Arizona, but PQ really needs to be at the lower altitude. Maybe we should buy lottery tickets. Nevertheless, I sense that the options are wide open and anything I can imagine isn’t big enough. Something different is trying to break through the muck and I’m working on a little more faith and courage.  Eventually the Earth will turn over enough times and I’ll look back at now and wonder why I couldn’t see through chemtrails and silly habits. I hope!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Sitting outside on the patio there is palpable Taos ambiance blowing softly west from the canyon caressing subtle flickering sounds from the Cottonwood and Aspen in front of me, everything else is still, extraordinarily, mystically still.  PQ is watching one of his deadly TV dramas and I didn’t want to succumb to a TV trance so here I am outdoors with the laptop. Nature rules beyond the front door and I have to concentrate to see what I’m writing because of a big cloud behind me that is reflected on the computer screen with more authority than the Word page I’m working on.

Today, after late breakfast in the old north side Diner, we stopped at the post office. I overheard, “I’d like to get outa here but I don’t have a stash.” Me too!  But I think we are here at least until next month, It's a complicated blessing, Great Spirit willing.

Nevertheless, magic is still alive right here in Taos. Last week’s kitten problem came to a good conclusion, Taos style. After posting his description on KTAO’s “Lost and Hound,” a woman called about a cat. It was confusing at first because the name of one of my friends displayed on the phone but the voice was not hers. To make it worse, the phone was crackling and cutting out.  She called again and I made out among more crackling and cutting out that she would recharge her phone and try again later.  This was great news but still not a sure thing. It was getting cold and windy and I had already decided to let the little guy spend the night in our garage. With that in mind, I rummaged through my garage stuff and found the litter box and a cat bed that hadn’t been used since Joe and Missy passed to the other side almost five years ago. Then it occurred to me that this woman is the current contact of my phoneless friend who has messages left on a friend's phone. This had to be the number of one of her friends who offered the use of this phone number for messages, thus I had my friend’s name connected with this number on my iPhone contact list. Wow, Taos is still a small town.

Just before this call, I’d invited kitty inside.  It took him awhile to believe that I actually meant it, since before we had stopped him on the threshold. We don’t have a screen door and nature can and does walk right in. He really is a respectful kitty and after a few no’s hadn’t tried to get in again.  He purred on my lap awhile before I set him down on the sofa.  There he curled up contentedly next to PQ and I saw anxious wariness in PQ’s body language over the possibility that this cat and I might make our connection permanent. 

About an hour later, the woman called again and asked for a description of the cat.  Sure enough, everything fit.  Then she asked for the location and was surprised to discover that we only lived a block away.  Apparently, he wandered to her door over a week ago and she took care of him until he disappeared.  Where he came from before that is a mystery, as is his reason for coming to our house, since she seemed kind and was thrilled to have his company. She said she would sponsor him until his original owner turned up, but really hoped she could keep him permanently. I know he has good karma in addition to his mojo considering the timing for this pickup. If it had taken a day longer, we would probably have taken him to Stray Hearts, our local animal shelter. I was already suffering grim guilt-ridden images of this very social soul alone and abandoned in an impersonal cage. 
Autumn Sunset Magic on Lamento del Coyote

Autumn in Taos displays even sharper contrasts than that usual gorgeous cerulean sky full of billowing clouds of magnificent height and stunning clarity.  But on the ground the contrast is even greater.  The volcanic bulges on the other side of the gorge look calm because we are used to them but there is still unrest and lots of heat beneath the surface.  So much change in autumn! It also seems to be the season of feral people with backpacks and wild hair looking for a place to crash, just like the loose dogs and cats.
 Taos  may be harsher than untamed nature, more like a bobcat caught in a steel trap.  There is some civilization on the surface but it looks tamer than it is.  Instead of history, there are layers of time like painted wood exposed to the elements.  As the layers peal and crack, the essence comes to surface.  It can be cruel here, just as nature can be cruel, but nature is cruelest when thwarted like a chained dog that becomes a snapping fangs, foaming mouth monster.  Here the injustices and imbalances of the human world lie naked and vulnerable beneath the almighty Sun, heart of our universe. We yield sooner to nature’s authority than wealthier more civilized places.  

The systems of the surface world never have worked smoothly in this uncooked land.   Electricity goes out often, the internet suffers frequent glitches, old plumbing and wiring is a breath away from death and with every storm, DirectTV breaks up into tiny squares and goes blank.  An exception occurred this spring when someone shot the receiver. 

After being out of town for a while, reentry is always a bumpy road. I get impatient with the poorly stocked WalMart that has replaced our town plaza as a community meeting place since the old plaza became a tourist trap, and the  home spun traffic rules, the above mentioned technical challenges, and of course the inconveniences of poverty.  However, there is something important flying in the ether hoping to find a landing spot on my brain. I suspect it has to do with the importance of this place despite its untameable annoying qualities.  The padding between dimensions is very thin here and it hurts when you’re lying on nails. That is important. The deadening of senses and sensibilities in that other world needs our special quirky medicine. But I know there is more trying to get my attention and I will have to wait in patient anticipation for the revelation.