June marked Lorian Association's sixth year of offering Views from the Borderland, an annual subscription-based program which includes quarterly print journals and the opportunity to participate in two online forums with David Spangler.
Blog writer Annabel Chiarelli interviewed David to learn what makes this journal special and significant to those interested in a experiential approach to the subtle worlds.
David: As I thought about it, I realized that most of my field notes came out of experiences with the life and the beings and the energies that were immediately around me in the house, in the neighborhood, in this geographic area. These were not “higher beings” off in some distant dimension, but they were engaged with the physical dimension all around me, like the nature spirits in the backyard. And so I thought, “This is the borderland between the deep ocean of the subtle worlds where you really do get into very different characteristics and conditions of consciousness, and the physical realm. This is like the shoreline where the two meet. That’s where the term “Borderland” came from.
David: I think I’m unique in what I’m doing here. But now what really makes the whole Views project unique and powerful is the Subscriber community that has developed over the past five years or so. People come and go but there’s a consistent core of people who’ve been there for every forum and all the Views, who’ve come to know each other and to support each other. I cannot overestimate how important this is. It creates a growing field of energy, and I feel responsible to honor and enrich this field just as I’m supported by it. This field and all the people creating it are my companions in research, so to speak, and their presence means a great deal to me. I’m very appreciative of the energy and the love and the support that they bring, and I think that is definitely part of what has been broadening and deepening all that I can do in Views.
Last month Jeremy Berg, Lorian Priest and artist for the Card Deck of the Sidhe and the Grail of the Sidhe Expansion Deck, led a workshop on the Sidhe at the Faery and Human Relations Congress. Drena Griffith interviewed Jeremy about his perspective on the Sidhe and the role of a Human-Sidhe alliance.
Jeremy: Personally I don’t think of the Sidhe as all that glamorous. To me they are interesting in the way that anyone is interesting. They occupy a state of matter that creates different conditions for them, a different set of physics, so their natural experience is different than ours. And I think there are aspects of that experience that may seem glamorous to us. If we stepped into their world we would experience it as very magical because it’s different from what we already have. . .but that’s also true in the post-mortem realm. Things work differently there. You make a thought, you move. You can project yourself, essentially fly. From our point of view it’s a different set of conditions that allows certain things to happen more easily, but some things are harder. I think holding an identity separate from one’s environment is hard. It’s easy to hold your identity here in a way because everything around you is holding it's. Here you don’t walk by a tree and automatically blend with it, but in some realms you do.
David Spangler wrote a short reflection in response to the tragic shooting in Orlando.
It takes so little to kill: the twitch of a finger on a trigger, a knife in a hand, bullets in a gun, confusion and hatred in the mind. It takes so much more to build a connection with what is strange and unfamiliar, to learn to understand that which otherwise is frightening, to dare to love and to embrace that which is different. This is where courage lies. This is where our humanity lies. This is where our hope for the future lies.
Freya Secrest shared messages from Dorothy Maclean (from the Rhubarb, Lettuce and Tomato Devas) in her monthly column, The Living Universe.
Whenever anyone contributes their attention, their feeling to a plant, a bit of their being mingles with a bit of our being, although unknown to you, and the one world is fostered. You humans are all very linked to us but until you give recognition to these links, they are as nothing and remain undeveloped. The plants contribute to human food and give of themselves and this also builds links, tangible ones, which though of the past, come into the present if recalled. This is one great use of memory, to recall the oneness of life.—Dorothy Maclean, Rhubarb Deva
Guest writer Geoff Oelsner shared a poem about an encounter with a family of owls near his garden.
In the hush of dusk, I sat by our garden, empty-handed, waiting
for nothing, relaxing into that greying time between day and night
when silence seeps up around sounds, and sounds drift deeper
into silence. I was singing to encourage a tomato plant.
I was loving the darkening land. As stillness filled the garden,
I sensed a seeing, swept my gaze, and spied a watchful little owl
perched on a cedar fencepost. I recognized its compact silhouette
and could vaguely make out tufted ears and grey feathers fading
into dusk obscura. It was an Eastern Screech Owl, otus asio.* Our eye-beams intertwined...
Claire Blatchford portrays her fascination with a tree using both words and paintings.
This past year one tree in particular has held my eye and I’ve wanted to participate in her gesture, grace, and growth by trying to paint her from different angles. I don’t think of all trees as feminine, but I’ve got three granddaughters and one grandson and so am aware of differing energies, this charmer feels to me like a young girl! She’s a River Birch who was given to us about seven years ago.
Her pale bark has flakey, peeling, papery orange-brown scales. She has three forks from the base, each about 30-35 feet in height (mature River Birches in our area grow to 50 or 60 feet) each bearing dark brown or black twigs, lighter branches, oval leaves with double-toothed edges, and green drooping catkins in the spring. We don’t have a river nearby but she’s clearly thriving, overseeing our gardens, the bird traffic and the human traffic that goes up and down our driveway, the shifting winds and clouds, and the great open night sky we get on this hill top.
Lastly, Susan Beal seeks a forgotten quality of relationship and partnership with the land, a lost sense of place.
Words are the incarnations of thoughts and ideas, giving substance and meaning to feelings and experiences. In the same way our bodies anchor us in the physical world, words anchor ideas and energies into our everyday reality. The power of words to evoke and invoke is a kind of magic. Words describe, but they also conjure, so when we lose a word, we lose much more than a definition, we also lose an ability. We need all the words we can find to help us describe, create and anchor wholeness, friendship and connectedness in our lives and in the wider world. Kith is such a word, and as such, I think it is time to revive it.
This month Views from the Lorian Community received several responses to blog posts. One email from reader Maggie Spilner, after reading "Hope For the Future Lies in Meeting Hate with Love", was particularly poignant:
"I pray everyday, help me to see the larger reality in these tragedies. Help me to remember the spirit within Donald Trump and see the part this soul must be playing in reminding the world of their choices in this harrowing drama we call terrorism. Help me to see how my own anger at the "other" stirs the pot. It is a minute by minute vigil. Help me to not give in to fear."
Yes, Maggie! Thanks for reaching out and sharing your reflections. Thanks also to everyone who sent emails and who supported our blog posts on Facebook.
It's a holiday weekend, and the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are nearly upon us! In response, Views from the Lorian Community writers will let their pens follow where their minds, heart and feet lead. If you feel inspired to share some of your summer experiences with us— and how Incarnational Spirituality keeps you centered--feel free to contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Fourth of July!
Views from the Lorian Community publishes essays from a team of volunteer writers expressing individual experiences of a long term, committed practice of Incarnational Spirituality (and the general principles shaping such a practice.) If you wish to share how your life has benefited from your relationship with Lorian and IS, please email the editor at email@example.com. We prefer submissions between 700-900 words. We rarely accept previously published material (including blog posts.) We also reserve the right to decline or to edit your submission. Any accepted submissions will be published in the order that best fits our topic schedule.