The Kogi tell us where we went wrong…

Save the planet – a message from another world
The first member of a remote Colombian tribe ever to set foot in Britain brings a stark ecological warning

by Patrick Barkham
guardian.co.uk, Monday 27 September 2010 20.30 BST

“…Jacinto has made the journey to Britain because the Kogi have embarked on an unusual and ambitious mission. They are making a movie about their way of life – but not for themselves, as part of some kind of do-gooding community workshop; it is for us, and it carries an uncompromising message. …the Kogi have observed frightening changes to their homeland in recent decades. The glaciers are melting, storms have increased in ferocity, there are landslides and floods, followed by droughts and deforestation. The Kogi, who live by a complex set of spiritual beliefs, are the “elder brother” and guardians of this, the heart of the earth, and they believe we in the west (“little brother”) are destroying the planet. They have come to warn us, before it is too late.…”

Click here to read more of this important article.

The Call of Isis

For Lady Olivia Robertson and Caroline Wise

20 August 2010

Q: Goddess of Old, whence, whereto do You call The Querent?

A: Down Paths of The Unforgettable,
Beyond dreary tomes and tombs
Of modern day macabre.

Follow the Fellowship of Isis. (1)
Weary not, My footsteps
Well light The Way.

Re-member the Mysteries,
Stars shine through
Cloud, rain, moon and sunbow.

Q: How shall This Querent find you?

A: Elen of the Trackways (2)
Riding Her night-mare
Snags Her prey

Climbs the stars
To bring you home to Me
Mother of All

Stretched across the skies.
Her reins skeins of gold
Silver horned in the moonlight.

Q: What awaits The Querent at The End of Her Journey?

A: Here, at Home with The Holy Ones
We remake Our Selves
Through Their Eyes we see through.

The First Mystery is our Ignorance.
Sloughed off, the gilded snake
Returns, wrapped around Our Bliss.

There is Work to do.
Come hence.
Tarry not.

(1) FOI: The Fellowship of Isis: co-founded by Lady Olivia Durdin-Robertson, now 92. Lady Olivia’s autobiographical work is called The Call of Isis.
(2) In the 1980’s Caroline Wise made the world more aware of this ancient Welsh Goddess, naming Her Elen of the Ways; we eagerly await her book on Elen!

Woman Waiting For A Bus In Oxford

20 July 2010

She, me, myself
Waiting for a bus
Woman of an age…

We’ve let our hair go
White, haloed in the right light
Loose-limbed

Beige troos[1], sandals
Ethnic bag[2]
She’s me, here in Oxford

Except I didn’t
Take this route
To The Academic Mecca

I just pop in to visit
Old friends who did,
Busy and immersed.

Just a vague fleeting
Regret, but then
She’s here, instead

For me and all the gals
Who didn’t,
Who flew the coop

Took to The Road,
Talked to The Fairies
And Courted Chaos.

She climbs on The Bus
For Us, restless in
Her harness of purple

She, me, we, us,
Chorus girls for The World:
We will, we can, we did.

Women On The Bus
Going Somewhere,
Ageing Wonderfully Well.

[1] Brit colloquial for trousers.
[2] All the rage, eh, once agin?

Shades of Green

14 July 2010

Today
The Angel Said
Count yourself lucky,
A good life, a good husband, a great garden,
The list went on.

I sit now
In the mornings
Propped up on pillows in my big bed
Perusing the skyline across the fens,
The shades of green trees make.

It came to pass
In this one small life
Not fortune or fame,
I am indeed lucky,
But Something Good:

A life lived to the full,
Knowing finally contentment
Along with Weltschmerz,
The suspension bridge across,
Like one crossed in childhood, across another Thames*.

I am part of the small work**
As well as The Big.
When called, I come,
Hands ready, at arms, at ease.
Once upon a time I was a Leading Wren.

Now, Gaia sings Her Lament
And we trudge behind,
Her long row of soldiers
Bearing forks and spades
To clean up The Mess
We have made.

We come in shades of green
And Pan howls in the shadows.
I murmur something about Findhorn
And His Green Eyes pop out:
None too soon, sweetheart.

Ah, shit, how will we manage
Without A Re-enchantment of the World?
Bloody hard work
Even with Bloom and Dawkins*** on the case
With other modern magicians.

The lavender blossoms
In my Victory Garden;
The bees rebound , the dragonflies dart.
Hermes the yellow-eyed prince
Surveys our domain. Content.

*London, Ontario, Canada. Suspension bridge across the Thames at Thames Country Golf Course near Oakridge Acres where I grew up in the late Fifties and Sixties.
**The One Work, in this case, spiritual-cum-environmental.
***William Bloom of Glastonbury-esotericist; Richard Dawkins-scientist.

Poetry at the End of the World

29 June 2010

Maybe the end of our world,
The dark at the end of the human tunnel,
Maybe we’re finally getting there
After a lot of false shows.

This poem is my sandwich board:
The End is Nigh, we’ve been very naughty
So the gods will punish us.
So we might as well fly and drive, live dangerously.

We’ve had a good party.
Those lucky bastards,
The ones who’ve snuck off recently,
Knowing, pretending their time had come.

Ah, fuck, what a drag,
Doomed humanity and so many other
Species, we’re taking them with us,
Right? No one likes going it alone.

Facing it, even with a pretty good life
Under our belt, semi-vegetarian or even vegan,
Is unbelievable torture, how can we sleep?
Things still seem so normal.

So it’s all a lie, a climate conspiracy,
But we’re all conspirators, we all breathe,
We’re all descended from those who
Started it all, we’re just ending it.

Maybe. Despite Lovelock’s
Prophecy of doom, we look around
At the children, naughty and nice,
We have to have a go.

We are just making plans,
Making it part of business as usual,
When the Gulf of Mexico disaster blows,
Putting peak oil protests into an interesting perspective.

Some of us hope the mess helps
The Big Mess, raises consciousness,
But BP’s stock has fallen to a 14 year low
And British pensions are at risk.

Oh hell, how will we keep up our lifestyles?
And to top it off England lost to Germany
In football and Fabio’s career is in doubt.
It’s very hard to be serious.

We really must pull ourselves up
And think Victory Gardens,
Tighten our belts for The Coalition .
Maybe it’s time to get redundant.

Meantime the G8/20 meet in TO
Where debt, not the end of the world
Is the Big Topic. But they are right,
It is about debt, just The Big Debt.

Maybe the concept of debt and austerity
Will trigger the human instinct of survival
And BP’s bloody bureaucracy, like all the others,
Will shatter, and the glass will be empty.

Maybe. But just in case it works out
And somebody’s out there, down the line,
I’m writing poetry
At the end of the world.

An English Garden

June 3, 2010

As lilacs pass over, wild geraniums take on the purple
Lavender makes a fast advance as bluebells hit the dust
I make way for over-the-top gladiolas whilst foxgloves
Threaten to make hay while the sun shines.
A self-seeded acer with its magical twin-trunk darkens my window
Protectively covering a mass of long stemmed daisy-types, herbs gone mad,
Wild strawberries, ivy topsy-turvy but an old red rose holds her own.

Meantime, over on the veggie garden patch, all sorts of salads
Demand attention: the wintering-over rainbow chard wins
First prize, a close second to the burgeoning celery plant,
An agro-fen-favourite—like the innumerable beet seedlings
Who make a nuisance of themselves—silly me,
Using their throw-away compost—how could they not claim back
What’s naturally theirs, this clay-rich dark fenland soil?

Who manages who, the garden or the gardener?
Pan smiles from around the corner of the arbor
Where the White Goddess holds court, veiled from
Ordinary eyes by a massive overgrowth of white roses and jasmine
Old with scent, Lucy Boston[1] will be proud of me
When she crosses the Threshold to mind matters
Here on this side, her silver slippers leaving tell-tale tracks.

And the trees, the adorable Cherry, more fruitful each year.
A lesson to the slim but fruitless Apricot whose secret
I have not yet divined—ah, the Fig who promises much
But drops its fruit in its determination to grow monster
Fig leaves as if it knows The Fall is coming.
And our careful favourite, out of sight from Sweet Cherry,
The Lemon Tree that produces yellow lemons all year round.
How could I not love an English Garden overmuch?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_M._Boston

In Memory of John Clare, Fen Poet

In Memory of John Clare, Fen Poet
By Leona Graham
On watching David Dimbleby’s A Picture of Britain: The Flatlands
April/May 2010

I’ve hardly read you
But all round me I read through you
Through your despair and joy
I have seen enough to know
A Man of High Heart.

If I had been in your village
When you walked those eighty miles home
To homelessness, away from madness
Seeking respite, I hope I would have
Opened my door and welcomed you in.

Our sky-wide landscape is not for the faint-hearted
Or the unwary, one must choose the right road
And watch the ditch-folds well when night falls
Follow the owls to perch, predators
Fetching home food and succour.

If I read you deeply I will weep well
For the loss of freedoms still out of reach,
Taken from us or never ours to cherish.
You were robust in our defence.
Today perchance we’d do a battle dance

In front of the cameras—your voice
Would stream forth across the peaty soil
And the enclosures would be undone.
We would wake to hope when fen sunlight
Walks long through morn and eventide.

May our souls turn in their eternal rounds
So you can see through time to us and ours.

Sekhmet-Now There’s A Goddess for You

From Wiki (also used by web-wise cats): “Also spelled Sachmet, Sakhet, Sekmet, Sakhmet and Sekhet; and given the Greek name, Sacmis), was originally the warrior goddess of Upper Egypt. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath created the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare.

Her cult was so dominant in the culture that when the first pharaoh of the twelfth dynasty, Amenemhat I, moved the capital of Egypt to Itjtawy, the centre for her cult was moved as well. Religion, the royal lineage, and the authority to govern were intrinsically interwoven in Ancient Egypt during its approximately three thousand years of existence. Sekhmet also is a solar deity, often considered an aspect of the Goddesses Hathor and Bast. She bears the solar disk, and the Uraeus which associates her with Wadjet and royalty. With these associations she can be construed as being a divine arbiter of Ma’at (Justice, or Order), The Eye of Horus and connecting her with Tefnut as well.”

Of course, it’s possible that Brigit, St Brigit and all the Great Brigits (for I avow She is a formidable Being), always had fabulous felines at Her Side.

Celebrating the Goddess Brigit/Imbolc-1st February

Last night, on the 31st January, the Eve of Brigit’s Day, I moved into action, re-invigorating a very ancient tradition of honoring the ancient ‘Celtic’ fire Goddess Brigit: Her name may be spelt variously, especially as regards the use of ‘d’ or ”t’ (Brigid/Brigit), which are very closely linked. She is also endearingly known as Bride and Bridey–thus Brides’ Well or Brideswell–the name of my husband’s and my website, signifying MUCH! The Goddess of Healing, Poetry and Birthing, is very well-connected (smile!)–as the many wells, especially in Ireland, contest.

In years gone by, my pal Kathy Jones (of Glastonbury UK Goddess Conference fame) and I, amongst others, revived the tradition of creating Bridey Dolls, birthing a yearly Bridey, appreciated through the year and beyond. So I too birthed a Bridey last night, attached my special California wand (normally it should be of some tree or bush that starts with a ‘b’), and swaddled her in an ornate Moroccan travelling pouch left by my old Wise Crone Cafe pal, Margaret Kimber. I stood at the door and knocked thrice, and each time my savvy goddess-wise husband (whose surname is that of the Great Goddess of the Trackways, Elen) correctly called out “Enter Bridey!” She entered our home officially and lives with us now, bringing Her Blessings. Tonight She will eat with us–‘poundies’ (potatoes), eggs and lots of butter and cream–as milk and butter are especially associated with her. Her blessings on our house will be many, as She is a benevolent, healing Presence to a household who honours Her.

And for the first time I created a Brigit ‘brat’ (wait for it!): I placed a piece of unwashed cloth,  a white (milk-colour) handmade shawl brought back from the recent 9th World Wilderness Congress in the Yucatan, out in our garden, as it is said that Brigit will come by and turn it into a magic cloth.  The full moon had risen (in Leo, my sun sign!), flooding the garden with clear and silvery enchantment; I placed the shawl on a prolific rosemary bush (associated with The Feminine, as sage is with The Masculine). This morning, covered with dew and a dusting of silvery frost, I brought it it. It is now a healing blanket to be carried Where Need Be.

Brigit’s Time–Imbolc–heralds the coming of spring, when wee lambs start to appear in the hills and dales of this Magical Island of Britain, when ewes’ milk pours forth,  a by-product of which can be a lovely cheese!

My husband and I often visit our favourite local ‘holy well’ in yes, Holywell (near St Ives, Cambridgeshire). From being an overgrown bramble infested site some years ago, it’s been restored and cared for (THE GREAT RETURNING has its own natural momentum). Once there were many such such ‘holy wells’–too many have been sealed up or forgotten. They marked healing springs, where in olden times people would tie bits of cloth and other items on branches of trees and bushes nearby, as an indication of prayer for some healing necessity. There are still a few of these in Scotland and Cornwall. Most such wells and springs would have had some linked association with Brigit or a form of Brigit, often transposed onto some Christian saintly figure (males or female). Thus the ‘pagan’ Brigit became St Brigit, and Long May She Live in whatever form She chooses to take through these difficult times, when we sorely need Her Healing Touch.

Hail Brigit!

There are many celebrations in honour of Brigit…as The GREAT  RETURNING gets underway. As well as in Glastonbury (where the Goddess Tradition is alive and well!), back in my ‘home town’ of London, Ontario (Canada), The Circle up at Brescia College (at my old Alma Mater, University of Western Ontario) is sponsoring a Brigid (Brighid) Festival from 19-21 February: “Entering the Matrix…Being Betwixt and Between”, featuring the Irish scholar Mary Condren: It will be a weekend of ritual, learning, community, art, movement, workshops and exploration as we reclaim the ancient female wisdom traditions of Old Europe through the figure of Brighid: http://www.brescia.uwo.ca/thecircle/brigit.htm;  Contact: The Circle circle@uwo.ca. My good goddess-pal Penn Kemp, with whom I have a Great Returning workshop last autumn in London, is also one of the workshop facilitators.