Works of Inspiration and Edification

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December 29, 2020-

It’s time now to look back at this year that is grinding to a close, and sending some of its aspects spilling over into the new calendar year. I deem it pretty safe, though, to take stock of books read, since last January.

Spiritwalker: Messages from the Future, by Hank Wesselman (An account of meditations and insights)

Geology Underfoot In Northern Arizona, by Lon Abbott and Terri Cook

Native Roads: The Complete Motoring Guide to the Navajo and Hopi Nations, by Fran Kosik

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann

The Other Slavery: The Untold Story of Indian Enslavement in America, by Andres Resendez

Democracy In Chains, by Nancy MacLean (An examination of an authoritarian political and economic agenda)

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander (The effects of incarceration on people of colour in America)

Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome, by Dr. joy DeGruy (a re-reading, on the long-term effects of slavery on the descendants of enslaved people in America)

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Cosmic Messengers, by Elizabeth Peru (Insights on the nature of our relationship to the Cosmos)

The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene (Insights on quantum physics and its expression, throughout the Universe)

Edge of Eternity, by Ken Follett (The third of his fiction trilogy on the Twentieth Century)

The Standing Stones Speak, by Natasha Hoffman, with Hamilton Hill (An account of messages received while among ancient raised stones, in Carnac, France and in various places in Cornwall, England).

The very restrictions imposed by Coronavirusdisease 2019, and our society’s learning how to deal with it, has made intensive reading easier. I have also been motivated to see things from points of view other than my own, and so have focused on the above titles, as well as on Baha’i study.

Looking ahead to 2021, I have begun reading:

Spirit of the Stones: A Retrieval of Earth Wisdom, by Amalia Camateros (The author’s spiritual experiences, in various parts of Australia, Hawaii, Mexico and the American Southwest)

The Gullah People and Their African Heritage, by William S. Pollitzer (Examines the culture and language of the Gullah people of coastal Georgia and South Carolina)

Before California: An Archaeologist Looks at Our Earliest Inhabitants, by Brian Fagan

Coming Home to Earth: Seeing the World Anew, by Annabel Hollis ( a mini-book by an online friend from England)

I am grateful for the ability to read attentively and critically.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 11: More Than One Wall Must Fall

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June 11, 2020-

Every so often, someone will raise the issue of one aspect or another, pertaining to the wall being built, in segments, along the U.S.-Mexico border. There are certainly very legitimate concerns about wildlife corridors and ecosystems, the desecration of Native American ancestral gravesites and sacred places. There is also no guarantee that this wall will succeed in achieving its goal of establishing law and order along the frontier, in perpetuity.

Of equal, or greater, concern to me, however, are the mental walls that have risen up, long before the physical barrier began taking hold. People, within our borders, have taken the stance of refusing to associate with anyone who expresses a viewpoint that is counter to one’s own. It does not take a genius to figure out that the underlying issue is one of personal insecurity. Too many have drawn the conclusion that, if the “other side” gets in power, that all their cherished values will be smashed to smithereens. The group in power draws the same notions about the potential replacement.

At the risk of being misinterpreted, which I will own, if that comes to pass, I can say that there are indeed good people, all along the political spectrum. Those who loudly fulminate against such an observation are, along with the violent and unsettled, on both sides, part of the problem. I have met fine white people in the rural South, who are curious as to why I show kindness to Black folks, and vice versa. That they are willing to hear someone who doesn’t share their fears, is a step in the right direction. The same has happened with people here in the West, who are wary of Native Americans and/or Hispanics.

Living without a need for walls has been a labour of love for me, and there was a time when I had little mental walls constructed in my psyche. Taking them down, one by one, has only made life better. I don’t know of anyone who expanded their heart, because someone came at them, swinging a hammer.

The Road to 65, Mile 114: V Bar V

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March 22, 2015, Montezuma Well-  Today would have been my father’s 88th birthday.  He’s been gone from us for 29 years now, but the wisdom of the man resonates still.  A lot of that wisdom, I am convinced, was passed down through the faded, but still perceptible, knowledge of our Penobscot ancestors.  I am ever drawn to Native American perspectives on matters, perhaps because of this.  Having lived among the Navajo and Hopi people for several years, I have internalized many of these perceptions.  I visited some long-time Baha’i friends this afternoon, in this quiet community, north of Camp Verde and along the tributary of the Verde River that is known as Wet Beaver Creek.  My friends, a Navajo man and his wife who is of European descent, and their elder daughter, greeted me at their home just west of  Montezuma Well National Monument.

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After a light lunch, three of us went over to V Bar V Ranch Historical Site, which is maintained by the U. S. Forest Service.  Today was the second Archaeology Discovery Day, at this site.  There were several booths, as well as the permanent ruins of the ranch, from the 1880’s and several petroglyphs, which appear to be of the Beaver Creek Style, dating from the 12th and 13th Centuries, A.D., and associated with the people known commonly as Sinagua or, to their Hopi descendants, Hisatsinom.  In this style, animals and people are often depicted together- either as prey/predator or as observed and observer.

On the way in, we encountered the ruin of a chimney and fireplace, virtually all that is left of the ranch that that once dominated this area.  There is a former ranch house, now used as rangers’ offices, at the north end of the site and next to it, a Visitor Center.

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We were first pleasantly greeted by a lilac bush.

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The importance of agriculture, then and now, was highlighted by a table which featured traditional plants and seeds of the area, including white and blue corn, and various beans and squash.  Brown native cotton was also on display.  We were each given several packs of heirloom seeds.SAM_4620

Each sherd of pottery found in the area is kept in a dignified manner.  Each piece is treated as representing the energy of the person who fashioned it, many centuries ago.  It was explained to us that many modern Native American officials a re now more interested in oil and mineral royalties, and the pursuit of corporate wealth, than in maintaining traditional languages and cultures.  The preservation of archaeological sites, then, is, ironically, entrusted to the Federal government.

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The petroglyphs themselves, and the way the sun hit an area near a crack in the rock face, drew the largest crowds..

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Globemallow were in full bloom.SAM_4646

There was a spear throwing contest, using an atlatl.  None of us were immediately adept at it.  I would need several hours of practice, in order to properly use the instrument.SAM_4648

Many other wilderness survival tools were on display, including several fishing implements and hunting snares and traps.SAM_4652

As ever, my outing got an affirmation from the spirit realm.  There were several heart-shaped rocks along the trail.

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I was well-impressed by the site and the various displays, which offered a wealth of explanations to young and old alike. This was a fine way to offer an homage to my father.

site, which is now used as a ranger station, by the Forest Service.