Thursday, May 30, 2013

Perception and the Mind

(Excerpts from VASISTHA'S YOGA)

"Because the subject is pure consciousness, he is able to conjure up the object."

"One is the reflection of the other; there is no real duality."

"Words have been used in order to facilitate the imparting of instruction....When the truth is known, all descriptions cease, and silence alone remains."

"Wise men do not desire to do anything; and wise men do not desire to abandon action either."

"One beholds with physical eyes only such objects as have been created by him in his own mind."

"When the mind inquires into its own nature....There is realization of the one infinite consciousness, and one attains great bliss."

"The mind experiences only that which it contemplates."

"Action is nothing but the movement of energy in consciousness."

"Mind is an intention arising in the omnipotent and infinite consciousness."

"When mind ignorantly and foolishly identifies itself as an existent separate individual, it is known as egotism."

"When the mind thinks  'I am bound' there is bondage; when it thinks 'I am free' there is freedom."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's This?

Don't know.

"In my mind there was the intention to create; and in my heart, I began to see subtle visions."


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Return of the Goddess

(Excerpts from DESCENT OF THE GODDESS by Sylvia Brinton Perera)

"Everything ends and begins somewhere else."

The descent "...opens a woman to the paradoxes involved in living with the self."

"Suffering is a major part of the underworld feminine.  It may be unconscious until the advent of the goddess of light awakens it to awareness, stirs the silent numbness to pain.  On the magic level of consciousness, it is numbly endured.  There is no awareness of suffering."

"Wounding for a woman is not necessarily pathology."

"Ereshkigal's stake continues a process that permits the birth of the capacity to be separate and whole unto herself in service to the dark goddess; the capacity to negate and to assert, to endure firmly grounded, to destroy and to create."

"Inanna marches into the underworld with determination, going actively and consciously towards her own sacrifice....It is a sacrifice of what is above -- to and for what is below."

"We make descents or introversions in the service of life, to scoop up more of what has been held unconsciously by the Self in the underworld until we are strong enough for the journey and willing to sacrifice libido for its release."

The little creatures sent to soften Ereshkigal honor the goddess by echoing and suffering 'with' her.
"Their echoing makes a litany, transforms the pain into poetry and prayer.  It makes out of life's dark misery a song of the goddess.  It establishes art as a reverent and creative and sympathetic response to the passions and pains of life."

"Inner and outer tend to merge and flow on the magic level of consciousness and with the symbiotic bond.  Indeed I and Thou are so fluid within the field of participation mystique that there is often no clear sense of objectivity and difference between the psychic boundaries of two persons.  Rather there is a sense of union and intimacy that can be tuned into with subtle intuitive and kinesthetic perception."

"Healing occurs...when the process of life is given attention and empathetic presence and a mirroring that touches it wherever it is."

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Dark Goddess: Ereshkigal

(Excerpts from DESCENT TO THE GODDESS:  A WAY OF INITIATION FOR WOMEN by Sylvia Brinton Perera)

"Ereshkigal, queen of the Netherworld, means 'Lady of the Great Place Below'."

"To matriarachal consciousness, she represents the continuum in which different states are simply experienced as transformations of one energy."

"From the perspective of the patriarchy, the rape of the goddess establishes masculine rule over conscious cultural life and relegates feminine the underworld."

"But from the perspective of magic-matriarchal consciousness, the goddess is not a prize to be carried out of life; nor is death a rape and a destruction of life, but rather a transformation to which...the goddess willingly surrenders and over which process she rules."

"She is the energy banishing itself into the underworld, too awesome to behold--like primal childhood experiences and the darkness of the moon, places of oblivion that are the perilous ground on which daylight consciousness treads, the primal matrix.  And she holds the widom of that isolation and bitterness....She rules the Land of No Return, the realm of all that goes below the horizon of consciousness."

"Chaotic defensive furies, such as rage, greed, and even the unleashing of the animus, are inevitable aspects of the archetypal underworld.  They are the ways the unconscious reacts to unwelcome visitation."

"We can see that the forces which Ereshkigal symbolizes are those connected not only to active destruction but also to transformation, via those processes, like decay and gestation....with an implacable pitilessness."

"The realm of Erishkigal has its own lawfulness...preceding the superego judgments of the patriarchy and often of what we would wish."

"Unreverenced, Ereshkigal's forces are felt as depression and an abysmal agony of helplessness and futility....only an act of conscious, willing surrender can turn that poisonous side of the dark goddess into life."

"When we are reduced to the depths of numb pain and depression, to timelessness, preverbal chaos and emotionality--...we can know that the goddess we must serve and revere is Ereshkigal.  Contact with her grounds a woman.  It coagulates feminine potency to confront the patriarchy and the masculine as an equal."

"Ereshkigal rages when she is not met with respeact.  She is proud, but she does not mount an offensive, nor does she transgress her own boundaries.  She simply demands recognition as an equal power, one as valid and important as the Great Above."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Qualities of the Feminine

Jon shot this picture of Lane, Nat and me in Normandy several years ago.
I, of course, have "messed with it."
(Continuing excerpts from DESCENT TO THE GODDESS by Sylvia Perera)


The goddess Inanna "...symbolizes consciousness of transition and borders, places of intersection and crossing over that imply creativity and change and all the joys and doubts that go with a human consciousness that is flexible, playful, never certain for long."

"And as judge, she holds court to 'decree fate' and to 'trample the disobedient,' symbolizing the feeling capacity to evaluate, periodically and afresh, that goes with the sense of life as a changing process."

"More passionate than Athena (with the energies of wild instinct which were later in Greece assigned to Artemis),....'The gods are sparrows--I am a falcon;'....Sometimes, on ancient seals, she is accompanied by a scorpion."

"To her consort she gives throne, scepter, staff, crook, and crown, as well as the promise of good harvest and the joys of her bed."

"The many poems about her portray her as loving, jealous, grieving, joyful, timid, exhibitionistic, thieving, passionate, ambitious, generous, and so on; the whole range of affects in a goddess."

"She is not motherly in our use of the term.  Like the goddess Artemis, she is at the 'border-region midway between motherhood and maidenhood joie de vivre and lust."

"She is a quintessential, positive puella, an eternally youthful, dynamic, fierce, sensuous, harlot-virgin (in Ester Harding's term, 'one-in-herself').  She is never a settled and domestic wife, nor mother under the patriarchy.  She keeps her independence and magnetism as lover, young bride, and widow.  And she is not a mother-lover, to sons.)"

"Inanna is a wanderer....she is dispossessed by Enlil, the second generation sky god.....the goddess and woman in exile....In fact, the search for a home is one of the recurrent dream themes in the initial analytic work of modern women, daughters of the patriarchy."

"...most of the powers once held by the goddess have lost their connection to a woman's life; the embodied, playful, passionately erotic feminine; the powerful, independent, self-willed feminine; the ambitious, regal, many-sided feminine."

"Constricted, the joy of the feminine has been denigrated as mere frivolity; ...her vitality bound into duty and obedience...produced frustrated furies.  For as Inanna lives unconsciously in women under the patriarchy's repression, she is too often demonic."

"On the other hand, lived cosciously, the goddess Inanna in her role as suffering, exiled feminine provides an image of the deity who can, perhaps carry the suffering and redemption of modern women."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Descent to the Goddess"

This weekend I found this unfinished painting of Natalie's in Lees garage and rescued it.
I have manipulated it in PicMonkey and BeFunky.

Yesterday, at Lane's I found a book I first read in Zurich in the 1980's.  I had lent it to a young woman in the Monday Night Girls' Group and she had given it to Lane to return to me.

The title of the book is DESCENT TO THE GODDESS: A WAY OF INITIATION FOR WOMEN by Sylvia Brinton Perera.  (This post and probably several others following will be excerpts from that book.)

DESCENT TO THE GODDESS is based on an ancient Sumerian myth of the goddess Inanna-Ishtar.  It describes her descent into the underworld.

 Inanna, Queen of Heaven,  "... abandoned heaven, abandoned earth--to the Netherworld she descended."

Here she meets Ereshkigal, "queen of the Great Below," and is stripped of her regal garments.  " piece of Inanna's magnificent regalia (is removed) at each of the seven gates."

"Ereshkigal kills Inanna and hangs her corpse on a peg, where it turns into a side of green, rotting meat.  After three days, when Inanna fails to return to earth, her assistant sets in motion Inanna's instructions to rouse the people and gods"  to initiate the return of the goddess to the upper world.

For women who have grown up as "daughters of the patriarchy" (and this must include several thousand years of women) the story of Inanna provides a "paradigm for the life-enhancing descent into the abyss of the dark goddess and out again."  "She descends, submits, and dies.  This openness to being acted upon is the essence of the experience of the human soul faced with the transpersonal.  It is not based upon passivity, but upon an active willingness to receive."

"There is a gate into and out of the underworld later called Inanna-Istar's door.  Through it others who make the journey to become conscious of the underworld are advised to pass."

"The process of initiation in the esoteric and mystical traditions in the West involves exploring different modes of consciousness....The necessity--for those destined to it--forces us to go deep to reclaim modes of consciousness which are different from the intellectual....It forces us to the affect-laden, magic dimension and archaic depths that are embodied, ecstatic, and transformative."

"In those depths...we are moved, and taught through the intensity of our affects that there is a living balance process.  On those levels the conscious ego is overwhelmed by passion and numinous images.  And, though shaken, even destroyed as we knew ourselves, we are recoalesced in a new pattern and spewed back into ordinary life."

"Connecting to these levels of consciousness involves a sacrifice of the upper-world aspects of the Self to and for the sake of the dark, different, or altered-state aspects...(it offers) the hope of gaining rebirth wih a deeper resonant awareness.  And...returning with those resonances, adding them to mental-cerebral, ordinary Western consciousness, in order to forge...integral consciousness."

A mouthfull, and there's more, for..."the patriarchal ego of both men and women...has fled from the full-scale awe of the goddess....But it is toward her--and especially towards her culturally repressed aspects, those chthonic and chaotic, ineluctable depths--that the new individuating, yin-yang balanced ego must return to find its matrix..."

(To be continued.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

La Buissoniere: A Month in Normandy

Several years ago, Lane and Jon and the boys stayed for a month in Normandy in an old farm house called La Buissoniere.  I was able to spend several nights there with them and have some of my fondest memories and best photographs of that time.  This is what I would like to share on this post for Anita's Link Party.  (The photographs are all mine. ) 

They chose the house because of the wisteria and the willow tree.  


The landscape itself was memorable and the light like none I've ever seen before.  We had a washer but no dryer so the clothes had to hung on a line in the sun.  Lane says she can close her eyes and still feel the wet grass under her feet as she hung them out (or took them in when the rain came, as it did regularly in May).

This is what the table looked like the first evening after we bought groceries.

Every spot in the old farm house was beautiful, even the sunlight falling on this bowl.

One of my favorite spots was this little bathroom with its slanted roof and tiny window.


I had a bedroom with a low ceiling, and this is the view from my window when I opened the cu.rtains every morning.

The wisteria made the curtain on this downstair bedroom window.

This was the view from my bedroom on the other side.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Connections: Heifetz, Gluck, Will, and "Castles, Crowns, and Cottages"

I was reading Vickie Archer's blog this morning and she had a link to Castles, Crowns and Cottages.  You will find the link above.  The picture is from tumbler, I think.

My internal link to the Jascha Heifetz music is this: The McLelland boys were with me yesterday, as is our custom.  Will, of course, was playing his violin.  The violin was my daddy's and my daddy was a great fan of Jascha Heifetz in the 1940's.  The melodie is from "Orpheus and Euridici" by Gluck.  I think I'll stop there, and you can follow your own links.

Castles, Crowns and Cottages is one of the most beautiful blogs I have ever seen, and of course, it is about France, especially Provence and Paris.  Check it out for yourself and make your own connections.

More about "cottages" later.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"The Great Gatsby" exhibit at Prada -- NY

 These images are from "The Great Gatsy" exhibit at the Prada store in New York.  Nat was there last weekend and shared them with me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Photography, Illusion, and Self-Knowledge

"Photography is an act of observation.  It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them."
               Elliott Erwitt
(Excerpts from VASISTHA YOGA)

"The world-appearance is a confusion; even as the blueness of the sky is an optical illusion.

"Unrelated things come together and the mind conjures up a relationship between them."

"Only he lives who strives to grain self-knowledge."

"The living being conjures up this world in his heart and while he is alive he strengthens this illusion."

"The wise man should know what is capable of attainment by self-effort and what is not."

"One should, with a body free from illness and mind free from distress, pursue self-knowledge."

"One should positively strive to enthrone wisdom in one's heart, for the mind is unsteady like a monkey."

"When the mind is at peace, pure, tranquil, free from delusion or hallucination, untangled and free from cravings, it does not long for anything, nor does it reject anything."

1.  Self-Control
2.  Spirit of inquiry
3.  Contentment
4.  Good Company

Saturday, May 11, 2013



"Essense conceives everything in existence, turns what it has imagined into reality, and enters that reality and keeps it alive."

"To enter (one's reality) subjectively means to absorb it into your nervous system.)

"You imagine a picture, then you paint it, and step inside it."

"The three qualities of essence that permeate the universe:  I exist; I am aware; I create."

"Once you realize that essence is the real you, the golden door opens.  Essence is precious because it is the stuff from which the soul is made.  If  you keep holding on to essence while stepping back into the picture you create, you would be living from the level of the soul at every moment."

"Whole worlds arise and fall like ripples in the ocean."

"All objects are experienced in the subject and nowhere else."

"The four conditions that must exist if you want to find reality:

1.  Contentment:  the quality of restfulness in the mind.

2.  Inquiry:  to get real, you have to question the unreal over and over, peeling it away until it disappears.

3.  Self-Awareness:  for every challenge there are always two solutions -- the inner and the outer.

4.  Strength:  because you are looking inward, no one from the outside can help you.  This implies a kind of isolation and solitude that only the strong can accept."

"Your inner strength grows from experience.  The journey itself makes you strong."

"The emergence of this world is no more than thoughts coming into manifestation."

"From the infinite consciousness, we have created each other in our imagination."

"You are the unborn and the undying 'I am.'  Remember that and if your mind wonders from this truth, bring it back."

"Why am I here?  To create the world in every moment."

"Once you accept the second birth, you continue to have thoughts and feelings, but now they are soft impulses against a background of silent awareness, faint ripples that rise and fall without disturbing the ocean of being."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Outside the Statistical Norm"


"Life is pure potetial until someone shapes it into something."

"Whatever meaning you want the universe to reflect, it provides."

"Outside the statistical norm, strnage things are happening."

 "Consciousness always takes two roads.  It unfolds objecively as the visible universe and subjecively as events inside the mind."

"The universe has both an 'on' position and an 'off' position.

"Although awareness always comes first, and its projections, both objective and subjecive, follow--sometimes what occurs is 'simultaneous interdependent co-arising.'"

"Creation is kept from anarchy by simultaneous co-arising."

"If you want to, you can dive into the universe's 'off' position and start bringing up the events you want....however, every event you might want to change is enmeshed in every other event."


1.  "The deeper you go, the more power is available to change."

2.  "Reality flows from more subtle regions to more gross ones."

3.  "Still Silence is the beginning of creativity."

4.  "Events unfold in time, but are born outside of time."

5.  "The universe corresponds to the nervous system that is looking at it."

6.  "The universe is forced to respect your boundaries. (Any aspect of life that lies outside your boundaries will not hold meaning for you.)"

7.  "Evolution gives each creature exactly the world that fits its ability to perceive."

8.  "Understanding changes the whole picture of reality. (The willingness to reach into every part of yourself opens the door to total understanding.  What people experience as obstacles in life are reflections of a decision to shut out understanding.)"

9.  "Passion releases all the energy you possess."

10."Being able to affect your whole reality at once is the essence of 'simultaneous interdependent co-arising.'"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Meeting the Day in Full Awareness


"You cannot be truly free if your interactions with the universe are personal because a person is a limited package.  If you remain inside the package, so will your awareness.  Today, start to act as if your influence extends everywhere."

"Wake up as early as you usually do...and let your mind look forward to the day ahead....You are likely to experience residues from yesterday and the return of worries of today."

"Let all this move in and out of awareness as it wants to. Have the intention that this will clear.  Keep looking at the day ahead.  Get a feeling for it; try to meet it with your being."

"After a few will drift in and out of a fuzzy awareness--this means you have dived a bit deeper than the surface layer of mental restlessness."

"At this point you'll find that, instead of images, your mind settles into a rhythm of feelings....Your being is meeting the day at the level of incubation, where events are seeds getting ready to sprout.  Your only purpose is to be there.  You don't need to change anything....When you meet the day, you add the influence of your awareness in silence."

"The effect occurs on a subtle level.  It's like sitting next to a child's bed just as she falls asleep.  Your presence is enough, without words or actions, to settle the child"

"You are intending to let life unfold as it will.  You've showed up with open mind and open heart."

"If you feel any of these feelings, you have succeeded:  you feel new, you feel at peace, you feel in harmony, you feel creative, you feel loving, you feel whole."

"What you are now beginning to do is to precipitate reality onto the earth.  You are opening a channel in your own awareness through which renewal, peace, harmony, creativity, love, and wholeness get a chance to be here."

"Like rain falling out of a clear sky, your influence causes a possibility to become manifest."

Magic McLelland : #6

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Notion of Detachment


"If you live at the center of One Reality, you begin to witness patterns coming and going.  At first, these patterns continue to feel personal.  You create the patterns, and that brings a sense of attachment.  But artists are famous for not collecting their own works; it is the act of creation itself that brings satisfaction."

"The notion of detachment is the same detachment any creator has once the work is done.  Having created the experience and then lived it out, one finds that detachment comes naturally.  It doesn't happen all at once, however.  For a long time we remain fascinated by the play of duality with its constantly warring opposites."

"Yet eventually, one is ready to undergo the experience called metanoia--Greek for having a change of heart.  Metanoia is very close to what we've been calling transformation.  You shift your sense of self from local to nonlocal.  Instead of calling any experience 'mine,' you see that every pattern in the universe is temporary."

"The universe keeps shiffling its basic material into new shapes, and for a time you have called one of these shapes 'me.'"

"When I can see myself as a ripple in a field of light, I can find the freedom that cannot be attained by remaining who I am inside my accepted boundaries."

"Local awareness is caught on the border between the ego and the universe.  This is an anxious place....You navigate through the world on the unspoken assumptiong that you are important and that getting what you want matters."

"When you detach yourself from local awareness, you stop playing the ego's game."

"All you need to realize is that all your roles exist simultaneously.  The real you is detached from any role, any scenery, any drama....Detachment isn't an end unto itself--it develops into a kind of mastery.  When you have this mastery, you can shift into nonlocal awareness anytime you want."

"Experience loses its juice when you know that you created it."

Being in the Dharma

(Excerpts from Deepak Chopra's

"Through us the universe gets to play."

"Dharma is its way of telling us how the game works."

How to tell if you are "in the Dharma:"


"You are ready to move forward."

"You are ready to pay attention."

"The environment supports you."

"You feel more expanded and free."

"You see yourself as in some way a new person."

"The single best way to align with the Dharma is to assume that is it listening."

"Relate to the universe as if it were alive."

"Talk to it."


"Listen to its reply."

"O, Waly,Waly"

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dream Images: No.1

"Photomat Blast from the Past"

Jon sent these to me yesterday.  (Jon, Lane, and Bert in a photomat 12 or so years ago.)

I had forgotten how bright Bert's little eyes were and how he used to growl and make a claw, playng monster.