Butterfly Blessings


This butterfly was repeatedly drawn to my great niece, Sienna.  Though, “great” doesn’t really do her justice, for she is actually very awesome!

As many times as she gently placed the butterfly on a plant, it would find it’s way back to her.  It was very magical. They were quite enamored with each other.

As best I can tell, this is a “Silvery Checkerspot”, but if there is someone more wise in the ways of butterflies than I, please let me know if it is something different.

If I may boast a bit about my niece…she has the most beautiful and amazing singing voice.  Sometimes I think she will become a pop star. Other times I think she might become an opera singer.  Other times I think she might become a blues singer, because she can already bend a blue note like nobody’s business.


Guardian of the Forest


This sculpture, “Guardian of the Forest” stands in a remote corner of the northwoods of Wisconsin; it was built by my nephew Justin in 2005.  He was then 24 years of age.

Justin created the sculpture primarily out of found objects – mainly culverts, he says – execept for 3 pieces that he crafted himself ~ the sword and neck piece are made of stainless steel and the spiked ring star is made of brass.

Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy

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“It’s all right if you grow your wings on the way down.”
― Robert Bly, My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy: Poems

I shook hands with Robert Bly this evening.

A friend of mine was asked to be the photographer at a private screening of the new film about Bly’s life, “A Thousand Years of Joy”, and this friend was kind of enough to ask me to tag along as his assistant, as he knew I would enjoy attending.

The screening was at a small, private theater that maybe sat 50-75 people.  It was a full house of Minnesota literary notables and Bly’s friends.  My friend and I watched the film from the sound booth after we were bumped from our standing room only space by none other than Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame.  Literally bumped from that space, as Garrison bumped shoulders with me when he entered the darkened theater.

Robert Bly and his part in the “Mens’ Movement” had a significant impact upon me when I was going through an internal restructuring after my divorce, and primed me for the incorporation of ritual into my life as I began my spiritual journey.  Which ultimately led to the untold number of rituals I have created and facilitated for others.  Which has been perhaps the most rewarding endeavor of my entire life.  So I have a big space in my heart for Mr. Bly.

The film is so wonderful.  I highly recommend it.  If you’re a fan of Robert Bly as a poet or as a cultural gadfly, you’ll want to make an effort to search it out.  It’s charming and challenging; as always, Bly inspires one to reflect.  Though I’ve read a number of his books and poems, I learned much about his life and was unaware of his larger national stature and the influence that he had upon poetry in America.

He is now 88 years old, a bit frail, though still with a fiery but kindly glint in his eye.  And it was a real treat to watch him and Garrison Keillor engage in a bit good-natured bantering.  As I watched him, thinking about how much he had done and accomplished in his life, there was a moment that I thought I might ask him, “Is there anything left undone?” But then a quote from Eckhart Tolle came to me, that at a certain age, “‘being’ becomes more important than ‘doing'”.   I trust that he is enjoying this being phase, after such a rich life of doing.

Obviously, he was the center of attention throughout the evening and I didn’t want to impose when he had so many others to talk to. Though as we were photographing him, he kept looking at me with this inquisitive look.

Then, at the very end of the evening, when he was ensconced in his vehicle with family chatting just outside his open car door, I asked his wife if I might shake his hand. She said of course, and asked me my name.   She then introduced me to him.

As we shook hands, he gave me that penetrating look again, and asked, “And just who are you?”

To which I replied, “I’m just another guy.”

As A Tree


A friend of mine posted this image on Facebook.   Such a fantastic concept!

Which prompted me to share this thought:

“How cool would it be to create a “living cemetery” of these that is a Food Forest ~ could literally feed one’s descendants, and they would be fed by their ancestors…   [see the link below for a description of a food forest]

Then someone else made this comment:

I like to think of me as a tree !!!

Which inspired me to write this little poem:

I like to think of me
as a tree ~
with roots sunk deep
into ancestral dreams
and ever nurtured
by the fecund earth
with a willing embrace
of this world of form.

I like to think of me
as a tree ~
with branches reaching
toward what is to be
and ever enlivened
by the radiant sun
with a willing embrace
of the Élan Vital.

I like to think of me
as a tree ~
past into future
heaven into earth
energy into form
dwelling within
the omnipresent.


And as long as I’m dwelling upon thoughts of trees, it feels fitting to share this talk that I delivered at a 911 Tribute in 2005.  (I was speaking in front of 3,000 people, and was so nervous that my knees were wobbling the entire time.)


As we begin our program this evening and prepare for the invocation, I would like to first bring everyone’s attention to the tree festooned with ribbons and streamers that stands to the west of the band shell. This is a Valley Forge American Elm, a testimony to survival – it is naturally resistant to Dutch Elm disease, and it has just been donated by area businesses to serve as a living memorial to all those who died in the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Throughout time, trees have always served as inspiring symbols, symbols of hope, of strength, of peace, and even the symbol of life itself. And in our country specifically, trees have been a symbol of the political principles that we treasure so deeply. The first Liberty Tree, located in Boston, was an Elm tree, just as this one is. The Sons of Liberty gathered and held their meetings in the shade of its branches. They flew their banners from its branches. In time, all 13 colonies each had their own Liberty Tree, which served as rallying places for the ideals of the American Revolution.

The original Liberty Elm in Boston was cut down by British soldiers, as an act of war, in 1775. The last of those original 13 Liberty trees to die was in Maryland, in 1999. It died as a result of a hurricane.

So in trees we see living symbols of our guiding principles, and we also see how those principles might be lost. We find ourselves gathered here this evening with two events in our minds and in our hearts – one, an act of war, 4 years ago, the other, a natural disaster, hurricane Katrina, mere days ago. Both of these events have presented our country with immense suffering and sorrow. Both of these events have presented us with immense challenges. They have challenged us to respond in a fashion that maintains and upholds the democratic principles that we hold so dearly, “that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It has been said that the true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit – to plant trees for generations that are yet to come. The founding fathers and mothers of this country planted many trees, in the principles they fought for and the institutions they created. We benefit from these trees which they planted so long ago. And so it is now our turn to plant trees. Thus, tonight we dedicate this Elm tree, as a living memorial, as a testimony to survival, as sign of hope for healing and peace. May we also plant trees of principles and institutions that will shelter and serve generations yet to come.



The goal of the Beacon Food Forest is to design, plant and grow an edible urban forest garden that inspires our community to gather together, grow our own food and rehabilitate our local ecosystem.


What is a Food Forest?
A food forest is a gardening technique or [Permaculture] land management system, which mimics a woodland ecosystem by substituting edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees make up the upper level, while berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals make up the lower levels. The Beacon Food Forest will combine aspects of native habitat rehabilitation with edible forest gardening.


Nature Is Speaking

This video makes such a powerful statement. And it is so true. Such a beautiful and majestic home we have. We are at risk of being evicted from Eden once more. The first time, eating from the tree of knowledge, we stepped out of unconsciousness connection to conscious individuation – which allowed for the experience of separation and alienation. This time it will result from not partaking of the tree of life – which allows for consciously remembering  and experiencing that we are connected to all things. As Orson Wells said, “History is a race between education and catastrophe”. And, as Eckhart Tolle said, humans represent Consciousness becoming conscious of itself. If we trust that everything is unfolding as it should, then we trust that Consciousness will win the race. With that trust, can we put aside the dread for the nightmare of where we seem to be heading, and embrace the dream of our highest destiny? Nature is in our nature. Let’s nurture that.

Thank you, Tania, for sharing this remarkable video.

Tania Marie

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Etherial “Light Warriors” of Joyce Tenneson

Mesmerizing & Transcendent … an exploration of our ethereal nature.

KARA Rasmanis

Unbelievably divine is all I can say about the works of Joyce Tenneson, how I wish I could see this show….

I remember back in my uni days being the model with pale white face and hair in tight knots wrapped in white fabric trying to do something that looked like this… ( thanks Jo it was always fun we will have to play again one day) I will have to dig out a shot to show you all…

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