My Wilderness Quest, the papers I wrote, the books I read, the images that arose from the paintings with saran wrap, my dreams, and intuition—all droplets gathering together to form a river that would wash over me.Reborn in these baptizing waters, my spiritual life renewed with a sense of wonder for the landscapes of the natural world. I find myself a conduit speaking from the “middle voice,” weaving threads to unite Spirit with Nature housed in a practice of attentive intimacy.
Premise: EcoSpirituality is the Re-union of Spirit with Nature• There is a strict dualism between Spirit and Nature. Every human being is a combination of these two principles. ~ Patanjali• The Hopi tradition speaks of a fall from grace in which human beings experienced themselves as progressively more separate from earth, animals, and other humans. The return to grace is through reunion. The cause of the fall is ascribed to people’s forgetting their true nature and purpose. ~Arthur Deikman• There is a Cartesian split between the knower and the known…a spectator knowledge about things. ~Abraham Maslow• …two important kinds of knowledge exist, one based on reason and empiricism, and the other, no less important, based on intuition and noetic understanding. ~Henri Bergson• A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. ~Albert Einstein
A possible resolution to this split, this “fall from grace” and the resultingimbalance and fragmentation we now witness lies in developing a newmythology around EcoSpirituality – a reunion of Spirit with Nature. Myths have provided the major cultural guidelines for the conduct of life. It is only in our own time that major cultures have lacked a common, coherent myth—a grand, unifying picture, story, and explanation of the cosmos. Indeed this lack of a common myth may be a major factor in the fragmentation and alienation that haunts so much of the contemporary world. Much may depend on our ability to create a new myth appropriate to our time and needs. ~Roger WalshIn the West, our present underlying mythology is housed within the Judeo-Christian tradition and its values. Built into the tenets of monotheistic religionis an admonishment of intimate bodily connection (embodied spirituality) as apathway to the sacred. In its texts, Genesis 1:28 for example, God gave mandominion over the earth. This, along with other examples, set up aconditioned distancing, a pattern of control and disconnect from nature.Overtime, this developed into economic and technical mastery failing to takeinto consideration the health and welfare of all the Earth’s creatures as well asof our future generations.Thousands of years of literal adherence to this mythology has played a part inthe rampant unearthing of Gaia’s treasures, depletion of Her resources, andblatant disrespect for the land via technological advancements focused oneconomic gain.
MY PERSONAL WOUND: LACK OF A DIVINE FEMININE ROLE-MODEL TO BALANCE Without strong role-models of a Divine Feminine presence under fundamentalist monotheistic religious systems, women, as well as the anima in men, have been conditioned to distance themselves from an immediate, personal experience of the sacred, and taught to seek a transcendent presence of the Divine most often through an intermediary – usually male. This sets up conditioned patterns of distancing, and my life was steeped in them—thus, perhaps, my passion. The wound becomes the gift, but first I had to experience it fully. I am a child of Western conditioning supported by a patriarchal underpinning and immersed in a collective psyche whose attention is to attributes arising from the left-brain while negating the validity of the right, and a society that continues to be subconsciously influenced by the biblical Genesis creation myth. Until another mythology arises to infuse the culture with a new foundation – other than Descarte’s machine – which is yet another form of distancing, as a Spirit having a human experience, I intend to seek deeper, intimate connection to the Great Mother as Gaia. In the bear caves at Pinnacles, I sought to re-member myself through intentional rebirthing: a ritual death of the old paradigm’s grip on me, and a rebirth into balance as a conduit between duality.
In her book, To Be a Woman: The Birth of the Conscious Feminine, Connie Zweigstates, “Growing up as young girls, we are told by adults that we were made inthe image of God.” From the outset we are given an image to which we, aswomen, can never aspire, merely by the simple fact that we were born female.Jane Wheelwright says, “A baby girl born into a society that believes in this ideal,even if only implied, will inevitably be affected my it.” Having no feminine heroineto inspire us, we are forever designated to a lesser role, to the status of helpmateto the more powerful and authoritative male. Christine Downing, author of thebook, The Goddess, explains, “To be fed only male images of the divine is to bebadly malnourished. We are starved for images which recognize the sacrednessof the Feminine and the complexity, richness, and nurturing power of femaleenergy…We long for images which name as authentically feminine courage,creativity, loyalty, self-confidence, resilience, steadfastness, capacity for clearinsight, inclination for solitude, and the intensity for passion.” In her essay, “WhyWomen Need the Goddess” found within Womanspirit Rising, Carol Crist says,“Religions centered on the worship of a male God create moods and motivationsthat keep women in a state of psychological dependence on men and maleauthority.” The earth is my Divine Feminine: the Great Mother, the GreatGoddess. Her voice waits to be heard. Through cultivating attentive intimacywith the land, a form of EcoSpirituality, we are able to hear Her whispering….
UThe path of evolution isn’t a straight line; it is much more like a U. The left hand of theU traces the path from “original participation” to our current estrangement from nature.…We are just beginning to make our ascent back up, this time on the right hand of the U.…Now we can begin to participate…by becoming conscious of the power of ourimagination in creating the world. …The world we see is a result of thousands of years ofwork by the human mind. ~Owen Barfield(identified with “participatory epistemology”, the knowing that occurs when perceiver and perceived are united as a single consciousness)
MY YEAR’S SOJOURN BEGINS AT PINNACLES NATIONAL MONUMENTSAN ANDREAS FAULT LINE – THE RING OF FIRE: INTIMACY AND ENERGETIC CONNECTION TO THE ARCHETYPAL VOICE OF THE EMERGING GREAT MOTHER
Chrystal Lynne 2011 Arrow pointing the way into the bear cavesIt took me awhile to connect the dots, but with afriend’s feedback concerning the images that magicallyemerged in my second saran-wrap painting, I began tosee how the puzzle pieces fit together. She saw that theform in my painting showing me the way to my ownrebirth, was the Mother Mary. Her suggestion triggereda connection to a dream I’d had a month earlier whereancestors, one of them the Mother Mary, were guidingme. One cannot set intent, call in the ancestors, and then not take heed and open to their guidance when they The Mother Mary was is one actually do show up! of my guides.
An excerpt from my dream: On the edge of sleep, in a hypnogogic state, I felt myself sinking downward. Suddenly, the ancients, their forms rather iconic, encircled me. They looked as if they’d been carved in linoleum. Robed figures with their deep-set eyes, long noses, and pursed mouths looked down on me as I lay deep in this grave- like hole, curled up in a fetal position. It was dark and I felt so alone. They stretched their arms toward me. I sensed that they had always been there, but that I’d been too focused on having sunk to the deepest depths and was too mired in the muddy darkness to notice. . . .lying at the bottom of the pit, I felt warmth coming out of these ancient hands, so many hands, reaching down to me to help me up. Shrouded in light the Mother Mary stood out amongst the others… And here she was, she’d shown up in my painting. This was a HUGE epiphany! Although not a Catholic, who better for me than the mother of Jesus, the Christ to point the way to the Great Mother Gaia? Throughout Southern France where I’d made pilgrimage in 2000, the Mother Mary is veneratedalongside the Black Madonna, representing the “total woman.” Approached with reverence, I knew She, as Gaia, would reveal Her healing power, Her ability tonurture, feed and care for Her children and would once again be given the honor and respect She so deserved as representative of the Divine Feminine.
Though so much activity is happening all the time, it is very difficult to be attentive to the point of intimacy…intimacy depends on serendipity, but also on attention.” ~ Stephanie Kaza Field of Bright Spirit: Intimate Relations with the Natural WorldAttentive intimacywith the land as the focus of my spiritualpractice became theunderpinning for myyear’s sojourn. EnteringPinnacles National Park,I wondered why I feltso strongly that THISPLACE was to be thebase-camp for my journey. Why Pinnacles and not Yosemite…with the megalith “ElCapitan” and “Spirit in the Land” a source of inspiration for so many. Walking the land, myhair, like fine antennae picking up frequencies, caught the whisper floating by…not thewhisper of Great Spirit, but the voice of the Great Mother. I was told that this land wasonce a volcano. The energy below its surface, rising, pregnant, like the lands of Hawaii.The Ring of Fire—the portal where the blood, the vital energy of the Great Mother, ranclose to the surface—accessible to those who paid attention. Later, receivingconfirmation of the ancient volcano below the surface at the visitor center, I knew I wasbeing drawn to write from the voice of the Mother within the land. Writing from the “middle voice” a conduit btw. The two would be my genre.
The amphitheater adjacent to the bear caves where I sang out my prayers and intentions loud and clear for the whole world to hear. I listened while they echoed in the canyon…it was then I saw my first Stone Person staring right at me.I amble with an explorer’s temperament. I am alert for the numinous event, forevidence of a world beyond the rational. ~Barry Lopez
“You took my breath away, oh ancientguardian of the talus bear caves. I wouldnever have been privy to your benevolentgaze had I not been overtaken by asudden urge to stop, enter into theamphitheatre-like indentation adjacent tothe cave’s entrance, turn completelyaround with back planted firmly againstcold rock, and reverently speak myprayers and intentions aloud. It was at thatmoment my eyes befell you: stalwart,omniscient, primeval. Piercing eyesexuding hope that all who enter the den ina winter phase would emerge renewed.And I, so small, would be but a wart asideyour nose. Oh, majestic crystallization ofthe primal substance of the cosmos, yourrust spots speak to the many tears youhave cried. With Fatherly concern, youare patient with your children. I amhonored to have such a profound witnessto my rebirth into the land, into deepening,remembering my wild nature as one in thewild. Returning to the arms of the GreatMother.” Chrystal Lynne 2011
Oh Divine Mother Even in the hardness of rockYour forms are soft and pulsate With life. The passage is narrow Your blood stains the rock Making my way through your vaginal passageway Into the womb Awaiting REBIRTH.
Into thecaves… “Women find their way back to themselves not by moving up and out into the light like men, but by moving down into the depths of the ground of their being.” Maureen Murdock The Heroine’s Journey
We might consider our link to another time when darkness (attributed to the feminine) was considered positive –symbolizing wisdom, life, fertility, the earth, and regeneration. To go in the dark with a light is to know the light, To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight. And find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, And is traveled by dark feet and wings. Wendell Berry Collected Poems “Darkness precedes light and she is mother.” -inscription in the altar of the Salermo Cathedral in Italy
The Feminine EmergingMy being descendedi could feel my womb areatingling and pulsating with vibrationas “I” grew larger.Not an upward ascent,it was a plunging into the deep,a letting-go and giving-wayto something bigger. (poem cont. next page)
The environment—rich and teeming with lifeembraced by something thick and palpableIt was as if i was encased within my Self.Enfolded, i became one with the languid,powerfully-soft textures surrounding me.Suddenly i felt myself contractwithin a minute membranei’d become an oval-shaped seedengulfed in a mother’s warmth.The vibrations nourishedthe dryness of the outer shelland i could feel myself being nurturedby this loving, receptive field.Glittering stardust flowedover the top of my seed-egggolden sparks danced over its surfaceas i pushed out of a small, fleshy aperture.My feet became tree rootsseeking the depths. (poem cont. next page)
Roots, like tiny veins,moved this fluid up into my trunkspreading a warm, red, blood-like substancethroughout my body.With hands clasped and fingers pointedi prodded and probed the dark earth above meas the whispers of women eldersfluttered like silken shawls over my shoulders.i could feel their breath on my faceand long, gray hair enveloping meforming my limbs.With one strong BURST from this deep, darkwomb i emergedengulfed in love. (poem cont. next page)
Before me stood a huge figure with pendulousbreasts and large, strong thighs.She was smiling with a mother’s love astears streamed from her soft, round eyes.“See me and know your Self,” she whispered. Chrystal Lynne 2011
High above me I saw ancientStone Faces acting as sentinels forthe healing waters of the GreatMother. (do you see the ET facesat the top of the photo?) Arising renewed from the bear caves, they were the first thing I saw; my witnesses as I came out of the dark and into the light: reborn.(I am amazed that the ancient onewho emerged in my secondpainting resembles the ancientfaces in these rocks. It amazes meeven more that a baby’s headcould be found in the markingsleft by the saran wrap and washeld lovingly in the hands (thumb)of the ancient “ET” one.)see opening photo
Thus was the experience of my rebirth in the talus bear caves.“Emerging from the darkness and into thelight of day, I marvel at the Great Mother’ssteadfast presence presiding over thecrystal clear waters that have baptized meanew. You are the ultimate lyricist—singingbeauty into being. Your songs echothroughout the canyon, strengthening theresolve of each new budding seed as youcall forth their new names. You, Mother,are the womb of life, the entrance into thevoid where seeming nothingness ispalpably full. With my delivery from thebear caves I now reverberate with thevibrations of your pulsating tones. Thedawning of a new day, a new beginningpacked inside a tiny seed of hopebestowed upon me in that little acorn fromthe Spirit of the Land at Yosemite.” Chrystal Lynne 2011
Again, I have my friend to thank; it was she who pointed outthat the “parent” in my painting was both masculine andfeminine. This sent me off on a new adventure to researchjust “who” my new parent was following this rebirthingexperience. What I found in texts that “speak” to me…The infinite Absolute Source is indescribable. Jewishesoteric Kabbalists, in attempting to define thisenergy, refer to it as the En Sof or Ain Soph: theLimitless Light, the Radiant Darkness, the Source ofeverything. This complete Wholeness, this AbsoluteSource remains outside the boundaries of space andtime, and therefore outside the realm that we, ashumans, know and understand. In earlier times thisSource was identified as androgynous.A prayer to the Mother/Father has been uncoveredin Hippolytus, REF. 5.6, which reads, “From Thee,Father, and through Thee, Mother, the two immortalnames, parents of the divine being, and thou,dweller in heaven, humanity, of the mighty name…”In the Gnostic Gospel to the Hebrews, Jesus spoke of“my Mother, the Spirit.”
ENERGY FLOWS WHERE ATTENTION GOES…Not until creation is made manifest are we introduced to a knowablesource of divinity. When we attempt to understand this AbsoluteSource, we tend to use vocabulary familiar to us. This, of course, limitsthe Limitless. In the West, this naming process included attachinggender to the Source and ascribing male characteristics to it.Thousands of years of this one-sided focus has resulted in imbalanceand fragmentation. Reunion is necessary for equilibrium to return tothe planet: when neither polarity is venerated over the other.Born into the lands of the West, and raised in a fundamentalistChristian tradition, it is here that I believe both my wound and gift lie,and I believe the earth, as Mother, is seeking to have a voice.My words arise from the middle voice—speaking not about personalexperience, but from it, dissolving the subject-object focus, stretching btw.Spirit and Nature - the relationship between them, making music together,the “Eco” in ecology & the “Spirit” in Spirituality: seeking reunion – my quest.
The Sun doused His lightand I completed the last half of my Wilderness Quest in the darkness. A concern I have while traveling is that like a stone skipping over the pond’s surface I, too, will simply skim over the more intimate encounter that is possible while being fully present to a particular area over an extended period of time. The rhythm of the seasons, the first rays of sunlight kissing the dew over the grass and making it sparkle like diamonds, the lingering chem-trails gone puffy pink as the setting sun paints the sky with roses: Intimacy deepens with time and exposure.
Riane Eisler says, “Of all life-forms on thisplanet, only we can plant and harvest fields,compose poetry and music, seek truth andjustice, teach a child to read and write – oreven laugh and cry. Because of our uniqueability to imagine new realities and realizethese through ever more advancedtechnologies, we are quite literally partnersin our own evolution. …In the world as it willbe when women and men live in fullpartnership there will, of course, still befamilies, schools, governments, and othersocial institutions. But like the already nowemerging institutions of the equalitarianfamily and the social-action network, thesocial structures of the future will be basedmore on linking than ranking.”
Consciousness is trying to move from power to love. MARION WOODMAN
The entire planet is a living organismand if one practices attentive intimacythrough experiential means: naturespeaks. Although the Absolute Sourcedefies expression and no words do itjustice, I will give it my best, utilizingthe “middle voice.”Nature is the embodiment, themanifestation of spiritual archetypes.Contemplation on any creature,element, or vital energy holds thepotential to induce innertransformation and to bring about amerging of the two, which were neverseparate in actuality, only in ourminds.
Hope, like beauty and dignity, isimminent in land—that is, in the patternof relationships within a place, wherehuman agency has not severed too manyof those connections and impoverishedthe place….Where its dignity has beentaken, no hope arises, and no healing cancome of it to us who have broken it untilwe attempt its restoration. Where hopestill lies…we may give the gift…to othersbest by turning what we find into a story. ~Mark Tredinnick
Will you teach your children what wehave taught our children? That theearth is our mother? What befalls theearth, befalls all the sons of the earth.This we know: the earth does notbelong to man, man belongs to theearth. All things are connected likethe blood which unites us all. Man didnot weave the web of life, he ismerely a strand in it. Whatever hedoes to the web, he does to himself.~Chief Seattle
ODE TO THE GREAT MOTHER"I who am the beauty of the green earth and thewhite moon among the stars and the mysteries ofthe waters, I call upon your soul to arise and comeunto me. For I am the soul of nature that gives lifeto the universe. From Me all things proceed andunto Me they must return. Let My worship be inthe heart that rejoices, for behold - all acts of loveand pleasure are My rituals. Let there be beautyand strength, power and compassion, honor andhumility, mirth and reverence within you. And youwho seek to know Me, know that your seeking andyearning will avail you not, unless you know theMystery: for if that which you seek, you find notwithin yourself, you will never find it without. Forbehold, I have been with you from the beginning,and I am that which is attained at the end of
How can we save what we do not love, and how can we love what we do notknow? ~ Aldo LeopoldHOME ISWHERE THE HEART IS… Chrystal Lynne 2011 …AND MY HEART LIES WITH KNOWING AND LOVING THE GREAT MOTHER: GAIA