10.31.2014

Cry of the Banshee -Episode Three

                                                 Cry of the Banshee - Episode Three

The living and the dead  together in silence, waiting, listening, not knowing what was about to take place. Two things happened.. First, the light became focused on one person and the golden-red rays of that lower sun seemed to envelop the Banshee herself where she stood and the effect was that she smiled for the first time. At the same time the roots of those trees which before had seemed a violent intrusion into the space began to take on a different character altogether and became like great cords of compassion which gently moved toward the uninvited guest, surrounding her , lifting her slowly upward and creating a hallowed hand for her to sit upon and rest. Closing her eyes her body lightened.  All watched in amazement hearing  the voice from below speaking a kind of music, addressing her with such tender affection and great respect  in words perhaps, but more like soft, sweet melodic phrases that only she could understand. In the very next moment the light broadened to include all of us and the voice became intelligible and all understood its meaning, a meaning which had never been uttered before in any church. To us the voice said: " This is my Beloved Daughter. I delight in her." And again the Voice sang these words in a different key: " This is my Beloved Daughter. I  delight in her." And a third time: " This is my Beloved Daughter. I delight in her." Each time the message was heard it was like layers of history, of suffering, were being peeled away and ancient wounds revealed and healed. Each utterance like the deepest medicine penetrating the human heart. The first one and the only one to speak was Patrick, that wondrous old saint who  brought the Christian faith to Ireland. He approached the Banshee, bowed to her, and knelt before her. " I ask for your forgiveness, dear lady", he began. " My Breastplate, my prayer of protection, has not protected the ones I love. I have failed to protect the people from wolves and snakes and dark birds of prey, from centuries of abuse and neglect, from the terrors and certainties of authority, power and control. I have failed to protect the very people whom I love from a religion that suppresses and silences the songs and chants, the beliefs and ways of a people I first met so long ago,  my heart's love. I see it now and I ask for your forgiveness." At these words the Banshee embraced and kissed the saint. Together they wept. Together they laughed out loud! Their embrace became a dance and the trees began to move in grace-filled ways. The roof of the church opened and the sky became visible. The rays of the sun above broke through and  clouds poured down rain on every single head as if in a new kind of baptism, a baptism of nature's power, of nature's beauty,  of nature's hidden meanings. And a new song was heard in the native tongue, an all-embracing song. A song that listens to wind and questions  the soul..A song that raises the dead and levels the living. Can the sun and the moon dance as one? Can the darkness and the light sing the same song? In the midst of this new music the old church structure dissolved like melted wax. The walls disappeared and the trees became a lovely grove surrounding and sustaining us all. Even the wolves and snakes and birds of prey were welcomed and transformed in this new ecumenical song. It was an eternal moment, a moment in which  all were " blessed and could bless."

10.30.2014

Cry of the Banshee -Episode Two

Cry of the Banshee - Episode Two

At the sound of these words the foundation stones of the church itself began to tremble and convulse as the Banshee went from words to sighs and groans.Her voice seemed to be the voice of many, the voices of neglected souls long ago, calling out through rock and standing stone.  She wailed and she wept and her hot tears ran down her well-worn face , over her breasts , down her sturdy legs and fell upon that cold floor. Each tear falling to the ground of the church created an opening that seemed to drop down, drop down into an abyss. From each opening the roots of ancient trees began to rise, running round the interior of the building , covering the stained -glass windows like haggard hands, and blocking out the sun until all was completely dark. The only sound being the crawling of the trees upon the floor, along the walls, and reaching as high as the ceiling, blotting out any artificial light. And finally even that sound stopped and what remained was utter stillness , total silence. It is difficult to put into words what happened next. In the darkness, in the silence,in the nothingness we waited. We waited in the moment for the next moment to appear. And everyone, aware of a presence, or better yet the presence of many presences, opened their eyes but nothing could be seen. Nothing could be heard. Not yet.  Everything was felt. And then as a curtain or veil slowly lifting a  warm, rich and multi-colored light seemed to grow out of the earth beneath our feet. From the openings below created by the Banshee's tears, a light was emerging until all were illumined or bathed in the rays of this sun from below. And in these rays were seen and heard and felt -  melodies, songs and chants from some other world, which rose and sounded together in various modes, carried by the colors of this earthen sun. As we looked around the room we saw other faces from long ago. There was Patrick. There was Brendan. And there was Brigit , Columba, Ita and Hild and many more...  all kept silence as if waiting for the next moment; the next moment when the most beautiful, the most powerful voice of all was heard, heard not just with our ears, but in the depths, in 'the deep heart's core'. A voice, deeper and richer than any ancient imagining , and the words, more like a song, cut gaps in hearts of stone and filled deserts with  rivers of longing and desire.  This voice, this blessed voice was rising from below, from the earth, speaking or singing in numinous tones.  I will tell you now what this voice said,  and did:  -Episode two

10.29.2014

The Cry of the Banshee

THE CRY OF THE BANSHEE She walked into the Holy Mass when the priest was holding up the bread and the cup and she unleashed a cry that pierced the ear and sent shudders down every spine. Then she spoke: " You have killed the spirit of the people . In the name of the saints you have banished the saints." The priest shouted back at her," How dare you interrupt the divine Mass. Who do you think you are? " Her voice changed into low growl-like tones," I am the voice of your deepest fear. The voices of the millions whom you and your holy liturgy suppress and silence. It all ends now." What happened next horrified all who dared to keep their eyes opened. -Episode one

10.27.2014

Here in Colorado Singing and Chanting

Friends,

This is a post on the run... I'm here in Colorado where the mountains speak, the sky sings and the coyote calls in the night.. Immense Beauty! In the midst of all this magnificence friends have gathered to sing and chant the new music, fiddlers play, drummers drum and heaven comes down to earth.

This Sunday night, Nov. 2 at 7:30pm we gather at the Star House in Boulder Colorado for an Evening of Celtic Chant. Since it is around the time of Samhain and the Day of the Dead we'll share a ritual in chant and body and fire that invites us to honor the ancestors, those who have died and also the parts of ourselves that may have fallen into shadow . In other words, we'll wake the dead!

On Saturday, November 15 at St. Brigit's Episcopal Church in Frederick, Colorado we'll gather for a day retreat/workshop/party to explore the meaning of Celtic Spirituality. The day is full of chant, song, story, poetry and in the evening there's a dance. In addition there'll be live belly dancing! Just kidding...
We begin at 10:00am and the day ends at 4:00pm. After dinner-potluck- we'll dance.

So, there's my post on the run. I hope to see you soon.
Sing out, sweet souls!
Blessings and Peace,
Macushla

9.21.2013

Reflections from a Day in the 2013 Pilgrimage of Peace

Welcome O Life

08-22-2013 | Pilgrimage of Peace
Reflections on the Day by Stefan
Today and yesterday we have been together around Jesus words "I desire compassion/mercy and not sacrifice and religion." Startling words both then and now. It begins as always in the depths. It begins in the heart where compassion and mercy are born. Today we are reflecting around how this might happen through the powerful way of encounter. What capacity of heart is called for as we truly encounter another human being? What capacity of heart that brings us to a place of transfiguration?
As we reflect together on Jesus' life we see the Son of Man, the Human One who is transfigured before our very eyes. Yes, on the mountain with James, Peter and John, and ALSO ALL DURING HIS LIFE he is continually being transfigured in the encounters along the way. This vision of Jesus is a very beautiful one that sometimes escapes our eyes. Sometimes we imagine Jesus as the one who did NOT change but the gospel presents the good news that he did go through a tussling transformation as he encounters people and reality all along the way.
From the time he was very young the scripture says that he "grew in wisdom?" When did this growing in wisdom stop? When did he stop asking questions? When did he get it all together? Hmm... The good news is that right up until his final breath he was being transfigured by the many encounters he experienced.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce
Welcome O Life!
I go to encounter for the millionth time
the reality of experience
and to forge in the smithy of my soul
the uncreated conscience of the race.
Image of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Dover Thrift Editions)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Dover Thrift Editions)
By James Joyce

(Purchase from Amazon and support Friends of Silence)


We read read aloud together and reflected upon a lovely little story by Rick Fields called The Buddha and the Goddess. In it we see with humor the Buddha being transfigured through his surprising encounter with the Goddess. "Why, O Goddess do you block my way?"
Buddha and the Goddess
by Rick Fields
Thus have I made up:
Once the Buddha was walking
along the forest path in the Oak Grove at Ojai,
walking without arriving anywhere or having any
thought of arriving or not arriving.
And lotuses, shining with the morning dew
miraculously appeared under every step
Soft as silk beneath the toes of the Buddha.
When suddenly, out of the turquoise sky,
dancing in front of his half-shut inward-looking
eyes, shimmering like a rainbow
or a spider's web
transparent as the dew on a lotus flower
--the Goddess appeared quivering
like a hummingbird in the air before him.
She, for she was surely a she
as the Buddha could clearly see
with his eye of discriminating awareness wisdom,
was mostly red in color
though when the light shifted
she flashed like a rainbow.
She was naked except
for the usual flower ornaments
goddesses wear.
Her long hair
was deep blue, her eyes fathomless pits
of space, and her third eye a bloodshot
song of fire.
The Buddha folded his hands together
and greeted the Goddess thus:
"O goddess, why are you blocking my path?
Before I saw you I was happily going nowhere.
Now I'm not so sure where I go."
"You can go around me,"
said the Goddess, twirling on her heel like a bird
darting away,
but just a little way away,
"or you can come after me
but you can't pretend I'm not here,
This is my forest, too."
With that the Buddha sat
supple as a snake
solid as a rock
beneath a Bo tree
that sprang full-leaved
to shade him.
"Perhaps we should have a chat,"
he said.
"After years of arduous practice
at the time of the morning star
I penetrated reality and."
"Not so fast, Buddha," the Goddess said,
"I am reality."
The earth stood still,
the oceans paused,
the wind itself listened
--a thousand arhats, bodhisattvas and dakinis
magically appeared to hear
what would happen in the conversation.
"I know I take my life in my hands,"
said the Buddha,
"But I am known as the Fearless One
--so here goes."
And he and the Goddess
without further words
exchanged glances.
Light rays like sun beams
shot forth
so brightly that even
Sariputra, the All-Seeing One,
had to turn away.
And then they exchanged thoughts
And the illumination was as bright as a diamond candle
And then they exchanged minds
And there was a great silence as vast as the universe that
contains everything
And then they exchanged bodies
And then clothes
And the Buddha arose
as the Goddess
and the Goddess arose as the Buddha.
And so on back and forth
for a hundred thousand hundred thousand kalpas.
If you meet the Buddha
you meet the Goddess.
If you meet the Goddess,
you meet the Buddha.
Not only that. This:
The Buddha is emptiness,
The Goddess is bliss.
The Goddess is emptiness,
The Buddha is bliss.
And that is what
And what-not you are
It's true.
So here comes the mantra of the Goddess and the Buddha,
the unsurpassed non-dual mantra. Just to say this mantra,
just to hear this mantra once, just to hear one word of this
mantra once makes everything the way it truly is: OK.
So here it is:
Earth-walker/sky-walker
Hey silent one, Hey great talker
Not two/ not one
Not separate/ not apart
This is the heart
Bliss is emptiness
Emptiness is bliss
Be your breath, Ah
Smile, Hey, And relax, Ho
Remember: You can't miss.
The scripture today was the story of God blazing out in the encounter between Jesus and the Canaanite woman( Mattew 15). Here is the voice of the Spirit calling Jesus to a broader, deeper vision and life.
Listen to song: Prayer of Abandonment.
Join Us August 9-25, 2013: Fifth Annual Pilgrimage of Peace
Register via email: PilgrimageofPeace2013@gmail.com 
Support Friends of Silence: Donate Now
Join Online: 2013 Pilgrimage of Peace Online


   

6.30.2013

Did You Notice in World War Z the Wall and the Zombies?

Last Week I went to a movie called World War Z. I knew it was not going to be a great film. Sometimes you just know these things. And indeed the acting was poor and the story was predictable. All except for one detail-the wall. In the story there are mass numbers of people that have become zombies. At the point of zombiehood they cease to be people. How to deal with these non-people? Hope is provided initially by one country with a solution that seems to work , at least for a while. That country is Israel and the solution is the wall. Construction of a massive wall keeps the zombies . The world takes notice and offers praise to the Israelies for a brilliant solution. Hmm... Is there a message here that goes beyond the superficial story of zombies and pure fiction? Is there also a political jab being taken here against real life Palestinians as well who are in reality kept out of Israel by a very real wall today? There is nothing made without a bias. That much is clear. Perhaps the bias here is too clear and very dangerous when we realize that the Palestinian people today have suffered disproportionately from Israeli policies that include a freshly finished wall of separation. I would like to know if others have seen this while watching the movie.

6.18.2013

Pilgrimage of Peace 2013

Friends,

I want to invite you to the Pilgrimage of Peace 2013 coming soon! From August 9 - 25 we will gather on the beautiful grounds of West Virginia in Harpers Ferry at the retreat centres of Rolling Ridge and Still Point. Together we seek peace, peace of heart and mind and peace in our world.  One thousand acres of lovely earth filled with mountain, river, woods and valley. Here we enter into a daily rhythm of song and chant, listening and mindfull speech, rest and work, story, poetry, and more...In this rhythm it is possible to experience the healing and wisdom of our lives. For the past five years each year at this time we hold the possibility of meeting one another- old friends and new- and in a sense ourselves in a new way. For many it is a time of letting go of the past and embracing the present moment as we walk into a future of possibility.

In order to welcome all we hold this gathering at no fixed cost. People with little share little and people with more share more.  We do what we can. Everyone contributes something and in this way all are welcomed at this woodland table. So come and stay for as little or as long as you wish.

One important aspect of this time is that all faith traditions are invited to come.  We listen to one another.The Christian tradition is very much at the heart of this gathering and because 'Christ plays in ten thousand places' we encourage others from other traditions to come and share their faith and experience. We learn from each other along the way...

Registration is important. We need to know when you would like to come and how long you wish to stay. Details of this sort and much more are found on the website: www.rollingridge.net and www.friendsofsilence.net  . Go to upcoming events -Pilgrimage of Peace 2013. Lindsay is glad to respond to all questions. Also, feel free to e-mail me. My e-mail is below.

I hope to see you there. I look forward to welcoming you .
Blessings and Peace,
Stefan
www.songsofpeace.net
stefan@songsofpeace.net