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Issue #1 - November 2014

“Living By Dream” by Deena MetzgerIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: Deena, how strongly and truly you articulate the rhythmic thread running through so many of the gorgeous and powerful pieces offered here: answering the call of Dreaming. She is calling us! How will we respond? Deena, you make the questions so clear, the urgent shimmering terrible questions. We must all become indigenous, we must all listen with ever more devotion to the natural world and all her beings, to dreams, and to each other. All the voices here are passing on the call from wild iris and meadow lark and yes, the dark face of the moon turned away from earth… I dreamed the other night this dark face is turning toward us, and I connect this dream now with Dark Matter, all the brilliant and deep black rainbow songs and dances here! Gratitude to you, Deena, to all the other writers. To All Our Relations, Maia

~ Maia, Isla Vista, CA

“What the Aspen Revealed” by Dyana BasistIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: Thank You Aspen.

~ Rev.Tracy Van Hoy, Del Valle de San Lorenzo, Honduras

“Broken Open” by Marilyn DuHamelIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: I, too, have burst into tears in the middle of a nature documentary or even a National Geographic photo. What a comfort your poem gives in letting us know that we are not grieving alone. I heard environmental poet Brenda Hillman say that the work of poets in these times is to carry this grief, and your poem does so with directness and honesty. Thank you!

~ Erin Redfern, San Jose, CA

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: I’m in the middle of reading Dark Matter: Women Witnessing Issue #1 and I’m blown away. The name, graphics, tone -- all of it is exquisite. Thank you for creating a container for the heart-soul-voice of women -- for our grief and sorrow -- for our love of the Earth -- for our vision of what is and what could be.

~ Frances Bacon, near Zurich, Switzerland

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: Dark Matter: Women Witnessing is a magnificent presence on the web. I started off with Sara Wright's “My Lovely Yellow-Spotted Lady,” which I loved and learned from, and then went on to read everything else. l learned something new and valuable from each writer.
Beautiful work.

~ Harriet Ann Ellenberger, rural New Brunswick, Canada

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: Your work shines in the dark…
Like those stars on the ceiling in a child’s dark bedroom.

~ Alexandra Merrill, St George, Maine

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: What a fantastic, intelligent, conscious website of art and imagery. It speaks so directly to where we are in the world. I had tears moving through different articles, feeling less alone, more comforted, yet more vigilant by how inspiring these articles and imagery are. Thank you for putting together a website of awake conversation and awareness of where we are, and ideas of how to move forward. I'm an ‘artist’, and ordained minister of walking prayer (indigenous ways of prayer and ceremony) who deeply appreciates your website and initiative. I’ve sent your website out to many others who have already written back saying how moved they are by your website. Thank you!!

~ Caitlin Elena, Sedona, AZ

“Dreamkeeper,” and “Seeing in the Dark,” by Miriam GreenspanIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: Just read the poem and notes. When I finished, for a moment I felt truly sane. This is the kind of dreamkeeping that I understand, because it is mine too. No one would choose this way of knowing — Cassandra suffers. I know there must be a reason some of us have to carry this kind of pain, and part of the answer is that so many don’t, as she says. Incredibly beautiful powerful writing… such a relief to read something written without a filter.

~ Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME

“Living by Dream,” by Deena Metzger – “Seeing in the Dark,” by Miriam GreenspanIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: Deena is surely right about the inner government and how important it is to see how we contribute as individuals to the “destructive qualities of Western Mind.” On bad days I resent having to do this kind of self-scrutiny, to delve deeper into pain, but I do it anyway. I love what she says about the dream representing a field of relationships… Also love the way both she and Miriam understand that we have to tell the difference between dreams about personal stuff and the bigger dreams that come our way. Learning this is a kind of art form as I see it.

~ Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME

“Over the Edge” by Patricia ReisIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: “Over the Edge” was excellent and the astounding painting of the caribou seems to visualize/describe not just their confusion over Dying but ours as well… Alienation from the land is an alienation from the self, the depths of which remain beneath our collective awareness…”

~ Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: I have just emerged from reading it in its entirety. Breathless! And my headache is gone. There is magic to be found there…

I have a dying grandmother tree I must go visit after work tonight.

~ Kristine Hege, Brattleboro, VT

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: I am reminded of different literary moments in my life. Cal Arts at the time when Alcherunga, Technicians of the Sacred, a new poetry was alive in the field. Then when the Woman’s Building and the Feminist Studio Workshop were born and we knew we were part of remembering and recreating Woman’s Culture. Now this moment. The issue is beautiful. The writing is extraordinary, revolutionary in the best ways, tough and honest in the way Beauty is adamant and itself. It will make a difference. It will create a dialogue. It will insert this consciousness into the global conversation. I am so glad that this has come to be.

~ Deena Metzger, Topanga, CA

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: A thought came to me today — that the rigorous act of exposing or bearing witness to the destructive elements needs to be aligned not with — as in the movies the good guys opposing the bad guys, and winning — because good is more powerful, especially militarily, than bad — but with the deep fundamental moral and creative principles from which destruction is alienated. Beauty is one such foundation and Dark Matter carries it.

~ Deena Metzger, Topanga, CA

“Over the Edge” by Patricia ReisIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: I have found myself returning again and again to read and reflect upon Patricia Reis’s haunting piece. “Over the Edge” since Dark Matter Women Witnessing was published in early November. This graphic and wrenching cascade of reality about “one of the biggest environmental re-arrangements of land and water undertaken on this planet” has entered my consciousness and taken me over the edge. The result? An upending of a long-held and conscious facile, surface, mostly intellectual knowledge of the wreckage we humans have brought upon this earth.

Yes, I could provide a litany of consequences of our behavior and actions, could protest environmental threats and change some of my behaviors. But what I had not felt or understood so thoroughly, soul to mind to body to spirit, was the consciousness of the river or the heart and mind of the caribou and their grief and bewilderment — the river’s voice lost to itself and “the caribou’s great collective intelligence [unable] to decipher the mortal danger” due to the human-made changes to the land and river. I was brought to tears. It was as if boundaries between species, land and human were penetrable and palpable. That is not a usual experience for me… or probably for many of us. We run with our minds. We act from our minds. We assess damage from our minds. Often missing has been the impact upon my heart, soul and spirit of the knowledge and truths Reis presents to readers. She never presents these with judgment nor do they come as proscriptions. In fact. these seem astonishingly absent. What she intends, or what I experienced as intent, was that she deliberately led us to the edge and if we followed the stories of witness and really allowed them in beyond our rational minds, then we found ourselves going over the edge, crossing boundaries into realms of experience and knowing rarely breached given our/my addiction to the rational mind with its/my proclivity for anthropocentrism.

I am living now, daily, with an immense sense of loss of those 10,000 caribou who seeking their winter habitat threw themselves into the raging, distorted river waters and perished. And, I am living with the loss of the riverbed — shaken that she may have forgotten her contours, her life. These realities broke my heart. My heart had not been broken in this way before going over this edge. I have not stopped feeling the grief and more, the love for the river and the lost herd of caribou.

There is more Reis accomplishes in her piece that I find healing and restorative of soul, heart and spirit and hope. Early on she establishes the interrelatedness of “water, land, people and all other sentient beings.” We learn the identities of these — and all are treated as a whole: the Quebec wilderness, the Caniapiscau river, the wildlife — particularly the caribou, and the Innu and Cree natives. The web of life is established and held together — nothing is separate or disconnected. Then, deftly and exquisitely, she identifies the issue at hand — a massive rearrangement of land and water, “for energy — hungry Canada and United States” — dammed waters released “for the sake of powering an energy habit.” That’s it. No diatribe. No finger pointing — just identifying the name of the hydroelectric dam project and the truth of human beings’ hunger and addiction to power/energy.

I am not the same after reading and re-reading and pondering and grieving — after having gone over the edge. What is most surprising to me is that what I am left with is love — for the caribou, the Caniapiscau River, the Innu and Cree, the Quebec wilderness, the sentient beings I imagined when reading “Over the Edge”. It seems these have taken up residence in me…

Thank you Patricia for an astounding healing and restorative journey you have invited me and others on in your piece. Thank you, Lise Weil, for giving birth to Dark. Matter: Women Witnessing and to all the women who have written so rivetingly — stories and poems — and for the images photographic and painted that also have taken me beneath the surface to where there is the possibility of restoration of all.

~ Sharon Rogers Simone, Los Angeles, CA

“Holding Sacred Posture” by Sue CeruleanIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: deeply touching these word of yours.

~ Sue Wiley, Tallahassee, FL

“The Original World” by Cynthia TravisIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: “The Original World” is one of the most spectacular pieces that I have read… I don’t know how it’s possible that there are REAL women out there that write like this… I thought I only conjured them up in my imagination…

When Lise published this collection of writings I felt that I had found home… There is finally a place to write what is in my heart without censor – without trying to fit what I say into another stupid box. To me these writings are are about finding sanity in an insane world. Thank you all.

~ Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME

“Corydalidae cornutus” by Regina O'MelvenyIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: I have devoured the first issue and read one of the poems at a poet friend's retirement party – the one about the Dobson Fly.

Hallelujah, and thank goodness you and others are out there fighting the good fight with your wisdom, words, and visions.

~ Jenny Gundy, Marshfield, VT

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: What I love so much about this work is the challenge it presents to a world that has spun out of control with its obsession with the measurable and Progress, and how it gives a clear and resonant voice to the immeasurable. That seems to me incredibly timely. In the documentary Citizenfour — which could only have been made by a woman, though there are no women in it — we can see how the (patriarchal) obsession with measurable Progress has taken us “over the edge.” And Dark Matter feels like a truly valuable corrective for that.

~ Cynthia Rich, San Diego, CA

“Accounts,” by Cynthia Travis – “Call and Response with An Irish Brogue,” by Marilyn DuHamel – “Holding Sacred Posture” by Sue CeruleanIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: Cynthia Travis’ work in Liberia is a beautiful example of the struggle to do something immeasurable in a world where measurement is everything. I felt drawn to Marilyn DuHamel’s extension of the meaning of call and response, think it has importance for psycho/spiritual reality. Susan Cerulean’s “Holding Sacred Posture” resonated for me because of the Chi Gung position Holding Your Belly, which come to think of it is already kind of female — we used to do it on the desert outside in the early morning — though her version of it is more female in its enveloping protectiveness. The trembling she describes when we first do these postures is the chi flowing.

~ Cynthia Rich, San Diego, CA

“Grieving with the Elephants” by Kristin FlyntzIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: I felt that in Kristen Flyntz‘ “Grieving with the Elephants” she is doing a beautiful self-correction. At first she can only see two ways of relating to the young elephant, either a grasping or an aversion—I so much want to connect/ he’s going to hurt me. The second part of the dream transcends the ego, it’s more about the elephants, with respect and “getting it” that the elephants are experiencing trauma, that they simply represent what we are all experiencing. And of course — of course, because we are all one, and it’s how dreams can operate too — she’s also the young elephant, the traumatized older elephants and the persons recognizing that the threats to our world are sad. She is grieving with the elephants rather than grieving for them.

~ Cynthia Rich, San Diego, CA

“nitâhkôtan: A Gratitude Lullaby for Earth” by Moe Clark – “The Original World” by Cynthia TravisIssue #1, Nov 2014

Comments: I of course was in love with Moe Clark’s Gratitude “Lullabye”, which she is singing to the ailing earth and which I think the earth would be responding to, since the earth is wiser than fear and grief. And I loved the many evidences of gratitude woven through Dark Matter — I’ll single out Travis’ “The Original World.”

~ Cynthia Rich, San Diego, CA

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: A friend of a friend wrote me this after being forwarded Dark Matter:

The Physics of the known universe
Light and measurable matter – that which we can see touch measure 7%
Dark Matter is the part of the universe that provides coherence, scaffolding, stability – for LIFE to have hold 25%
Dark Energy – MOVEMENT – expansion, 73%
I take the title of this magazine as a manifestation of our connection with dark matter that provides the source of life

~ Dyana Basist, Santa Cruz, NM

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: You have blown me away with this issue. So powerful I must read it in peeks… it hits so true… a stunning compendium.

Not through all of it yet, but Kristin Flyntz has made me cry. I've seen elephants in Kenya and Tanzania, years ago, when they and we were safer.

~ R.P. Dennis, NYC

Issue #1 – Nov 2014

Comments: Thank you so much for founding and editing this new journal — I love it, beautiful site, timely focus, some wonderful writings.

~ Judy Grahn, Oakland, CA