May
11
2024

Sneak Peak at Wisdom of the Tarot

Tarot

FREE virtual session on Sunday, June 9 at 6pm ET / 3pm PT (time zone converter). 

Benebell Wen interviews Mary Greer, Carolyn Cushing, and Terry Iacuzzo about the ingredients they are bringing to mix into this year’s creative cauldron that is the Omega Institute’s Wisdom of the Tarot week held August 5 – 9 in Rhinebeck, NY. 

We’ll also do a Wisdom Reading—Rachel Pollack’s technique for reading cards for the collective/soul-level topics—to discover the essential gift the Wisdom of the Tarot week offers. To conclude, participants will be led through a reading to uncover the next step in their Tarot learning journey.

As at Omega, everyone is welcome from absolute beginners to seasoned practitioners. 

Session will be recorded for sharing with those who can’t join live on June 9 at 6pm ET (time zone converter). 

Click Here to Register for June 9th Zoom

May
7
2024

New Moon Gateway: Unusual Teachers

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The arrival of the new moon stamps the moonth with an initiating energy that shifts and develops through a cycle of growth, fullness, and descent. The May 7th new moon (exact at 11:22pm ET, time zone converter) invites us to encounter the wisdom of the Tarot’s 5th Major Arcana.

Often named as the Hierophant, images for this card traditionally include a leader and followers engaged in a religious ceremony. Who is in charge is made very clear in these images: the Hierophant is larger than other figures, elevated above them, and dressed in the most elaborate clothing. Hierophants’ work and teachings might be spiritual, but they are very much of the world, shaped by their culture and society, and enmeshed in the politics of institutions.

Some modern deck creators have reimagined this figure to highlight wisdom teachings suggested by this arcana but obscured, you might say, by the Hierophant’s elaborate robes. In the Gaian Tarot, for example, the Hierophant becomes the Teacher and “the institution” the Teacher serves (rather than leads) is nature.

In this image the Teacher may be the humble human figure holding flowers.

Or maybe not. 

Coyote could be the Teacher appearing to deliver a message. They are very vocal after all. They yip and bark. We hear them howl at night, perhaps more so on a full moon when they take advantage of increased light for moving around or hunting. They could be calling us to speak out or to attend to our own lunar practice.

Heron, who is also in the image, speaks to us in a much quieter way: standing still, throat raised but silent. Heron is patient, waits for just the right moment to claim their wants and needs. They move between water and air; their feet in mystery, their wings raising them to gain a new view. Their call could be to listen more, cultivate patience, take stock of the full picture, or wait for the right moment to make a move.

Coyote and Heron are not the only Teachers. We can’t  overlook the plants here: dandelion, garlic, nettles, comfrey, and yarrow. They may be small but they are powerful healers. Seek them out in the wild places where they grow and learn from their beauty and persistence. Learn something of their medicinal uses and see if one offers something you need. [FYI, nettles and yarrow are our weed wisdom teachers during the earth and air weeks of Walking the Ways of the Summer Light, the Solstice-hinged retreat in ever day life beginning on May 27th.]

With so many Teachers, how can we know which one is best to follow? There are multiple strategies for connecting with the just right Teacher.

We can work with the card image to be guided to the right Teacher. In my Tarot sessions and e-readings I often ask people to identify the first place their eye goes when they see a card. The detail, aspect, or creature that first captures their attention has special importance and offers a message of meaning.

But we don’t have to limit ourselves to the cards. We can take our seeking out into the world. If, for example, you drew the Teacher card in the morning, you could wisdom wander your way through the day paying attention to what plants and animals cross your path. It is wonderful if you can take some time in a park, a wild place, a cemetery, or a botanical garden, but even amidst the human-built environment you can be on the lookout for plants and animals. If someone offers you a dandelion tea or you see a picture of a coyote, this could mark the arrival of your teacher.

A third way to find your Teacher is to look to the larger patterns of the season or the stars. That is what I do to find the guides for these newsletters. I look to the astrology of the moon’s position and translate that into its Tarot correspondences.

And that brings us to a final teacher suggested by the Gaian Tarot Teacher: the Tree.

A tree is central to the Teacher image and also to the passage card of the moonth. Today’s moon is made new at the point in the astrological Wheel of the Year that passes through the 6 of Pentacles/Earth. In the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, the Six of Earth is Pine. This lunar alignment suggests that collectively we might benefit from learning from trees in general and Pine in particular at this time.

The description of Pine in Joanna Powell Colbert and Latisha Gutherie’s Herbcrafter’s Tarot companion booklet offers guidance for practices and capacities to cultivate in this moonth:

Pine is an evergreen tree that keeps its needles all year, providing medicine, material for baskets, and shelter for forest creatures. It is a living embodiment of everlasting life. As the pine is gracious with its resources, be generous with those in need. Honor the people and the land that have provided you with the foundation, security, and resources on which you now rely. Gather the community together and teach what you know.

Pine shows us a teacher that sits within a circle of connections. Pine provides for the beings who visit its branches or travel over its trunk, but pine is provided for as well with nutrients from the soil, water from rain, and the food-making kiss of the sun. Though Pine towers in height, it is nurtured by reciprocal relationships that make life possible.

This is how “the institution” of nature functions. Reciprocal relationships are its laws and traditions, its rituals and prayers.

Sadly, the evolution of our dominant human institutions—both religious and political—have moved us away from nature, placed us humans above our fellow beings, pushed us out of the circle of connection.

Can the connection be re-made? Can we find our way through the passage of Pine back into the circle of connection? Could it be possible for those of us most enmeshed in the systems based on disconnection from and dominance of nature?

I hear a Yes in answer to these questions coming from our final guiding card offered by the new moon moment: The King of Pentacles. 

There are some lovely re-imaginings of this card with images that more directly show the human and natural as part of a whole, but my musings today draw me to the iconic Rider Waite Smith version.


a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley and retrieved from Sacred Texts. Deck available from US Games

Though on the surface this image is one of structure and echoes the idea of a King standing above and apart on a throne, the artist, Pamela Coleman Smith, has layered subversive wisdom into this image.

Spend some time gazing at this image and you’ll find it hard to see where the King ends and the natural begins. His robes covered in green leaves and fruits just fade into the plants that surround the throne. This king is inseparable from nature.

The throne is steadied by 4 bulls. In ancient Crete the bull was revered, and, as Ellen Lorenzi-Prince writes in the Minoan Tarot companion book: The bull is the [Goddess’] archetypal lover, as by his virility and potency he quickens the sacred cow to calf and to the production of milk.” The bull is the catalyst for the overflowing of life that comes from the Great Mother, from the earth itself. 

Finally, that which is highest in this image is not the tower or the crown, but a small red flower. In reality, the flower crowns this king. The flower may hold the utmost power.

If a king, that now quintessential symbol of institutions and dominance, can be carried back into the circle of connection through the loving embrace of the natural world, then surely you and I can be, too.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS / READING FOR THE MOONTH

These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question.

TEACHER: What is most important to pay attention to encounter a More-Than-Human Teacher this moonth?

CONNECTION: What to cultivate to come into connection with this Teacher and their lessons?

LOVE: How will I learn to better practice love by being in relationship with this Teacher?

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $32.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. I generally have openings to do these readings on Mondays and Saturdays. Because I am getting ready to go to Ireland my openings are limited. I may not be able to do readings for requests that come to me after Wednesday, the 8th.

Note: Another wonderful way to experience nature, tend your soul, and explore Tarot is at the Omega Institute’s annual Tarot week. I am facilitating this year again with Mary Greer and Terry Iacuzzo. Check all the workshop details and feel free to ask me questions. 

Apr
8
2024

New Moon Gateway: Our Power

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The new moon arriving on Monday, April 8 (exact at 2:21pm, time zone converter)—brings us our annual invitation to walk the Path of Power.

The power theme is suggested by the astrological sign of Aries’ association with the Tarot’s Emperor. Emperors are leaders at the head of institutions. They organize and structure. People look to them for direction.

As we know from our own lives and looking through history, there are inspiring Emperors and oppressive EmperorsOppressive Emperor and their violent strategies are very active in our world right now. Their corruption is hollowing out what they wish to rule. Collapse—in some form, at some time—must be coming. Maybe the Wheel that once lifted them to on top will roll over them as they slide to the bottom. But while they are still on top, they are creating such misery.

How much attention should we give to these malevolent power players? Since they currently control the structures of society, we can’t ignore them entirely. We must watch them and take action to limit their negative and violent impact.

But let’s not give them all of ourselves. Instead we can hold on to—even expand—the space for our minds to seek, our hearts to lead, our imaginations to grow. The correspondences of the moonth counsel us not to let them limit our vision of what can be.

The 3 of Wands, our new moon passage card, marks these new moon days and this lunar cycle as time for renewing our vision.  


From the Motherpeace Tarot

Inspired by this verse from the Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell, translator), I find 3 to be the quintessential signifier of manifestation:

The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things. 

The manifesting power of the three within the energy of fire-associated Wands could especially support visions for expansive growth of:

~ envisioning the world we want to live in and sharing that vision;
~ passions expressed in relationship or pet projects;
~ deeper connection to the activating spirit within our cells, not only us humans but also trees and plants, animals and stars;
~ collaborations that are energizing and can move us towards achieving shared goals;
sparks of creative expression taking form.

And this trilogy of wands fires up our commitment to action for making these visions real.

This moonth’s model for us to emulate in doing our visioning is the Queen of Wands. In the Dark Goddess Tarot, Cerridwen, the Welsh Goddess of Transformation, stands in the place of this fiery Queen. Deck creator Ellen Lorenzi-Prince gives Cerridwen’s advice to us as: Craft anew with the bones of the old. Cerridwen directs our attention into the wisdom of the past to make something new.


From the Dark Goddess Tarot

I first contemplating crafting anew with the bones of the old as part of power work after attending a beautiful poetry reading in spring 202. Kimberly Blaeser, an Anishinaabe writer and former Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, shared her work and the evening ended with a conversation between her and  Santee Frazier, Poet in Residence at UMass and member of the Cherokee nation.

One of the many quotes I wrote down from Ms. Blaeser was: “We never only see what we see.” And throughout her talk she was offering different layers of meaning for these wise words.

She spoke first of how the place out of which we come shapes our vision and our language. There are different vocabularies for desert, sea, and mountain. I thought also of the different awareness that comes from growing up in a city, suburb, or rural area. These earliest vocabularies shape our awareness and so direct our vision and expression.

vital part of these vocabularies is the relationships that they foster. In Native cultures from ancient times to the present, kinship exists with all of creation. Ms. Blaeser spoke of how her people’s language, Anishinaabemowin, makes all things active, water and rocks along with people and animals. All act together in this world we share. These “kinship relationships demand reciprocity,” a giving and receiving of gifts that makes life possible. This contrasts to the taking and extracting, buying and selling of inanimate things.

“We are not going to survive if we continue with the ownership model,” she continued. We can’t keep treating all others beyond the humans as things to be used. Instead she offered that we could make “a return to reciprocity” and recognize the responsibilities that come with recognizing our connections. Being raised in the ownership model, I know it shapes the possibilities I can see, but just listening to her words and soaking in her invitation to return to reciprocity reminds me that in the past of my people—of all people—there is a tradition of reciprocity. Even though it might be far in the past, this tradition is still there waiting to be recovered.

Toward the end of the talk someone asked about what gives her hope and Ms. Blaeser replied that we humans “are not the most important thing, but I do think we can be salvaged.” In response to this question of hope, Mr. Frazier spoke of how “continuance is part of the tradition.” He knows that there is someone tending the fire in the long house in his home community and it is these actions that make a difference for the continuance of Native lifeways.

I was grateful for and inspired by their sharing from their Native traditions that are rich in wisdom about kinship, reciprocity, and continuance of indigenous ways. I want to find my way toward supporting these values. I want to be part of the “return to reciprocity.”

Writing about the event for you and seeing “return to reciprocity” here in my musings, I am seeing anew what a gift these words are. I am seeing that they are a reminder to and invitation for all people to find in their traditions the places where reciprocity—along with kinship and connection to the earth and all its beings—still lives. These values may not be tended in a way that keeps them in the center of the culture—our current emperors control the center instead—but they still exist, can still be returned to.

We can find our way back by turning toward and practicing from the remnants of values of reciprocity within all traditions. These remnants are often hidden in plain sight or thriving at the edges of society.

I’ve found the Goddess hidden in plain sight. Statues of the Virgin Mary are in front of churches, in grottos, placed alongside highways. I once walked into a Medieval gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC—a place where the emperors hold great sway—and surrounded by statues of the Virgin a feeling of presence washed over me: The Goddess is here. And in her presence the values of ancient cultures based on values such as reciprocity are activated. Those of Crete or the Celts, for example, where the integration of human and more-than-human can be perceived in what we know of their spiritual life. The Celts worshiped in groves while in Crete sacred places were aligned to mountains, included caves, and evoked the shape of the feminine body.

The animal world is at the edge of our “civilized” world, but that edge is all around us. City skies are filled with birds of prey and deer move through the suburbs. No matter where we live, we can take an animal as a teacher by visiting, observing, and opening ourselves to their lessons. Imagine what it might be like to take the beaver as a teacher of what it is like to be an emperor. Like so many emperors they are great builders, but they also are adaptable, shifting to work with the changes in their atmosphere including a changing climate.  In gratitude for their teachings, we can offer something back. Work to protect their habitats for example.

The Dead, too, are at the edge. Our recent beloveds are still connected to us with strong strands of memory. They can be a bridge to the further back ancestors. And we can keep reaching all the way back to the ancient ancestors who lived themselves in cultures where reciprocity, kinship, connection to nature were the way. When we come into relationship with them, first our inner eyes open to a new way of seeing. And then we can take that vision into looking at our current world.

This renewed vision connects us back in time and moves us forward into the future. This renewed vision becomes our power. 

READING OF THE MOONTH

SOURCE: What to turn toward to open your eyes to new and necessary sight? 

VISION: What vision can emerge or be reaffirmed from this new seeing? 

RENEWAL: How can the world be renewed when you work to bring your vision to life? 

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $32.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. I generally have openings to do these readings on Mondays and Saturdays.

Mar
12
2024

A CEASEFIRE CENTO

Justice – Poetry

PALESTINIAN POETS WRITE A RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, the house / next door no longer / stands. It’s lying like an old carpet / on the floor of the earth, / trampled by missiles, fat slippers / flying off legless feet; and

WHEREAS, every time we leave the house, / it’s suicide. / And each return a failed attempt; and

WHEREAS, a child who was shot by an Israeli sniper, or killed during an air raid enroute to school. Her picture was placed on her desk at school. Her picture stares at the blackboard, while air sits in her chair; and

WHEREAS, more missiles come flying in, / on the lookout for anything that moves. // Angels get hold of an infant niece. / We look around and find only / her milk bottle; and

WHEREAS, the grieving have only the unknown. / It’s their only staple and inheritance. / Pain has no logic. All things redeem / the grieving except your rational questions; and

WHEREAS, for us, / the fear of dying before living / haunts us while we are still / in our mother’s wombs; and

WHEREAS, the house has been bombed. Everyone dead: / The kids, the parents, the toys, the actors on TV, / characters in novels, personas in poetry collections, / the I, the he, and the she; and

WHEREAS, the houses were not Hamas. / The kids were not Hamas. / Their clothes and toys were not Hamas. / The neighborhood was not Hamas. / The air was not Hamas. / Our ears were not Hamas. / Our eyes were not Hamas; and

WHEREAS, the noose is tightening around the city’s neck; and

WHEREAS, it’s a barbaric era, / our loneliness, / one when none will stand up for us; and

WHEREAS, during the night airstrikes, all of us turned / into stones; and

WHEREAS, we’re carrying our souls / right under our shoulders; and

WHEREAS, in Gaza, you can find a man planting a rose in the hollow space of an unexploded tank shell, using it as a vase; and

WHEREAS, those who win by killing fewer children / are losers.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the poets, grant you refuge / in invocation and prayer. / We bless the neighborhood and the minaret / to guard them / from the rocket / from the moment / it is a general’s command / until it becomes a raid./ We grant you and the little ones refuge, / the little ones who / change the rocket’s course / before it lands / with their smiles.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that knives might eat / what remains of our ribs, / machines might smash / what remains of stones, / but life is coming, / for that is its way, / creating life even for us.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Justice / is the right of all who live / in the wrong places in this world

ULTIMATELY, BE IT RESOLVED, that Death goes home alone, safe and sound / so a dove might build its nest / and lay its eggs in metal helmets.

*** 

Lines gathered by Carolyn A. Cushing from the poets Mosab Abu Toha (MAT) [from Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear], Maya Abu Al-Hayyat (MAA) [from You Can Be the Last Leaf, translated by Fady Joudah], Hiba Abu Nada (HAN) [from I Grant You Refuge and Loneliness translated by Huda Fakhreddine, killed in an Israeli air strike on October 20, 2023], Saleem Al-Naffar (SAN) [from Life translated by Muhammad Jihad Ismael, buried under the rubble after an Israeli airstrike on December 7, 2023], and Mahmoud Darwish (MD) [from Mural translated by Fady Joudah, regarded as Palestine’s national poet, died 2008].

Some pronouns to we to make it a collective poem and a connectives added to fit with the format of the resolution.

Order of lines: MAT, MAA, MAT, MAT, MAA, MAT, MAT, MAT, MAT, HAN, MAT, MAA, MAT, MAA, HAN, SAN, MAA, MD (2 lines combined).

Download as a broadside and feel free to share. 

 

Mar
11
2024

New Moon Gateway: Between the Pillars of Certainty and Uncertainty

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Poetry – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The March 10th new moon (exact at 5:00am ET, time zone converter) sets on the path of the Moon. The first person we encounter as we walk our way is this guy sitting before a strangely high table with his nine goblets.


a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley and retrieved from Sacred Texts. Deck available from US Games

What is really going on in this image from the iconic Rider Waite Smith deck? 

Tarot practitioners often say that there are no good cards or bad cards, but with some cards we, too, fall into seeing only the challenge or the gift. The Nine of Cups is one of those seeing-the-gift cards. Who doesn’t want to celebrate having all your cups filled?

But Pamela Coleman Smith, the artist responsible for the images, complicates the card’s surface meaning with the strange table, the rather defensive posture, and ambiguous expression on the figure’s face. She opens the door for a more complex reality to exist so that when we are thrust into such a reality we can recognize it, find ways to move within it, and even continue to grow our souls.

In years past when the moon has been new in this slice of astrological wheel, I’ve identified this smug guy with overconfident leaders starting wars that they think will be quick wins like Russia’s Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine of 2022 and the US President Dick Chaney in the Iraq of 2003.  But the violent pursuit of grabbing all the goblets for themselves unleashed long wars. Their certainty caused great suffering

This year I am still thinking of a different leader, the US President, and also asking myself: “What is under that table? What is he hiding there?”

As the war in Gaza continues at high intensity and talks for a ceasefire that would allow for aid to flow to the starving and hostages to be released have slowed, well-organized protests have put the pressure on President Biden to use the US’s considerable influence with Israel to implement a ceasefire as a start to a political rather than military process.

In the past week especially, the US administration’s language has changed and President Biden has touted the air drops of food and the US’s construction of a pier to allow a marine corridor for aid to enter Gaza. These are the goblets being offered. 

That this kind of relief is insufficient and inadequate is frustrating, but what is most maddening and mind-bending—fracking stupid!—is that the administration is providing the arms that are making necessary the need for aid. Bypassing Congress for the most part, over 100 military sales have been made to Israel since October 7th. This is in addition to the usual sales and over $3 billion in aid sent annually.

What is under President Biden’s table of goblets? The US guns and bombs that have been used to kill (as of today): More than 30,000 human beings in Gaza. Forty percent of them are children. They are not just numbers. I do know a few names, those of poets buried under the rubble: Hiba Abu Nada, Refaat Alareer, and Saleem Al-Naffar. Maybe US bullets were in the weapons of the Israeli Defence Forces who killed three unarmed and shirtless Israeli hostages they encountered while fighting: Yotam Haim, Alon Shamriz, and Samer Talalka.

President Biden presents us with an image of what is certainly good—humanitarian aid—but that image collapses when we draw back the table cloth to find the weapons of war beneath. 

We’d best cultivate our capacity for uncertainty in this time ruled by tricksters. We’d best challenge those who seem so sure in the solution they offer. Our practice in this time of delusion is to look behind the curtain to find the deeper truth.

In my posts of years past, I examined for a while the danger of certainty, on how it limits our thinking and strangles creativity. I’d quote the Belgian-Russian scientist Ilya Prigogine: “The future is uncertain—but its uncertainty is at the very heart of creativity.”

Then I would hear the voices of those whose lives are upended by war. Uncertainty is trauma for them. The uncertainty of finding food in Gaza is killing them.

My own Nine of Cups certainty about uncertainty as the way fades. Then I truly am on the path of the Moon.

On this path the moon’s light invites us to a different kind of sight. Less distinct than the sun’s illumination, what is revealed in moonlight lacks clear edges. What is in the distance is indistinct. And what we think we see on a full moon fades when the dark moon comes. We are called to constantly adjust as we walk a lunar path.

Our adjustment happens between the two pillars of the Moon card. We could name them as the pillars of Certainty and Uncertainty. When we think we know for certain that we are right or know what is coming, it would be beneficial to test our assumptions. To gather different perspectives. Think about the repercussions of our actions.

When we are confronted with uncertainty, we can meet the worry and fear that arises. Acknowledging these difficult emotions, we can use their energy to move forward but not be controlled by their flow. We can dare to be brave in the face of uncertainty.

Certainty and Uncertainty may be the forces pushing us forward in the lunar landscape, but they are not the “inner light” that keeps us true to our own soul’s path. That inner light comes from a connection to the Greater Than Ourselves that we have forged through practice and commitment.

Knight of Cups is our guide for keeping the “inner light” lit. This Knight reminds us to stay in the flow of our core values as we move forward.

All knights are devoted to a cause that is greater than themselves. The Tarot’s knights serve and seek to expand the gifts of their element. The suit of Cups associated with the element of water offers us emotional range, creative connection, intuitive wisdom, and Love. 

Yes, these knights are dreamers, but they also take the action to make the dream real. They may create art in the form of poems or dance or song. Perhaps they offer healing practices to those in the stress of uncertainty, or facilitate meetings where all ideas and emotions are expressed. When they are at their best, they have a knack for bringing the flow of emotions and intuition into an expression that supports the emotional and psychic wellbeing of others.

These Knights are lovers with a romantic streak, but their love does not have to be limited to a romantic partner. Their watery, expansive selves feel the connection to even those they do not know. They do know that to love is to act for the good of the Whole—and they invite us to follow.

Many poets are exemplifiers of the Knight of Cups. They flow and they know that while life is uncertain, we can certainly stand for what we believe in. I’ve been turning to poets to find my way through these times of war and act to preserve life and uphold truth. You may remember that on the October new moon, I turned to the Israeli poet Yehuda Amicha and Gaza poet Mosab Abu Toha to find a way back to Justice.

Poets have continued to inspire me as I act in the areas where I have the most leverage to stop the killing of innocent people and move toward peace. As I served on the committee preparing the Ceasefire Resolution in my city, I heard their words in my head. For the city document, I was using bureaucratic language and dry statistics. I wondered what would happen if the poets wrote a resolution.  This is what emerged.

PALESTINIAN POETS WRITE A RESOLUTION
A CEASEFIRE CENTO

WHEREAS, the house / next door no longer / stands. It’s lying like an old carpet / on the floor of the earth, / trampled by missiles, fat slippers / flying off legless feet; and

WHEREAS, every time we leave the house, / it’s suicide. / And each return a failed attempt; and

WHEREAS, a child who was shot by an Israeli sniper, or killed during an air raid enroute to school. Her picture was placed on her desk at school. Her picture stares at the blackboard, while air sits in her chair; and

WHEREAS, more missiles come flying in, / on the lookout for anything that moves. // Angels get hold of an infant niece. / We look around and find only / her milk bottle; and

WHEREAS, the grieving have only the unknown. / It’s their only staple and inheritance. / Pain has no logic. All things redeem / the grieving except your rational questions; and

WHEREAS, for us, / the fear of dying before living / haunts us while we are still / in our mother’s wombs; and

WHEREAS, the house has been bombed. Everyone dead: / The kids, the parents, the toys, the actors on TV, / characters in novels, personas in poetry collections, / the I, the he, and the she; and

WHEREAS, the houses were not Hamas. / The kids were not Hamas. / Their clothes and toys were not Hamas. / The neighborhood was not Hamas. / The air was not Hamas. / Our ears were not Hamas. / Our eyes were not Hamas; and

WHEREAS, the noose is tightening around the city’s neck; and

WHEREAS, it’s a barbaric era, / our loneliness, / one when none will stand up for us; and

WHEREAS, during the night airstrikes, all of us turned / into stones; and

WHEREAS, we’re carrying our souls / right under our shoulders; and

WHEREAS, in Gaza, you can find a man planting a rose in the hollow space of an unexploded tank shell, using it as a vase; and

WHEREAS, those who win by killing fewer children / are losers.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the poets, grant you refuge / in invocation and prayer. / We bless the neighborhood and the minaret / to guard them / from the rocket / from the moment / it is a general’s command / until it becomes a raid./ We grant you and the little ones refuge, / the little ones who / change the rocket’s course / before it lands / with their smiles.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that knives might eat / what remains of our ribs, / machines might smash / what remains of stones, / but life is coming, / for that is its way, / creating life even for us.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Justice / is the right of all who live / in the wrong places in this world

ULTIMATELY, BE IT RESOLVED, that Death goes home alone, safe and sound / so a dove might build its nest / and lay its eggs in metal helmets.

***

Lines gathered by Carolyn A. Cushing from the poets Mosab Abu Toha (MAT) [from Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear], Maya Abu Al-Hayyat (MAA) [from You Can Be the Last Leaf, translated by Fady Joudah], Hiba Abu Nada (HAN) [from I Grant You Refuge and Loneliness translated by Huda Fakhreddine, killed in an Israeli air strike on October 20, 2023], Saleem Al-Naffar (SAN) [from Life translated by Muhammad Jihad Ismael, buried under the rubble after an Israeli airstrike on December 7, 2023], and Mahmoud Darwish (MD) [from Mural translated by Fady Joudah, regarded as Palestine’s national poet, died 2008].

I changed some pronouns to we to make it a collective poem and added a few connectives to fit with the format of the resolution.

Order of lines: MAT, MAA, MAT, MAT, MAA, MAT, MAT, MAT, MAT, HAN, MAT, MAA, MAT, MAA, HAN, SAN, MAA, MD (2 lines combined).

***

These poets’ words serve as a constant call for the renewal of our visions of peace, of love, and of reconciliation.

That the world we are in now seems far from what our Knight of Cups selves can imagine, calls for a larger, not smaller, vision. This vision held within us of a better world can guide on the path between Certainty and Uncertainty. This vision challenges the narratives offered that we are certain to fail and shakes off the paralysis of uncertain times. We are called to reach beyond ourselves and our limitations. To wake into the circle of our next becoming as individuals, communities, and a planet.

READING OF THE MOONTH

CERTAINTY: What am I certain of that it would be beneficial to question to support my soul’s growth?

UNCERTAINTY: What can support me to navigate the uncertain times in which we live?

GUIDING LIGHT: What core value/vision can I center myself in to move through these times and contribute to the renewal of the world?

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $32.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. I generally have openings to do these readings on Mondays and Saturdays, but next Saturday I am away so best to get your request in early and I’ll see what I can do during the rest of the week.

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