Reader Response

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Issue #14   –    Issue #13   –    Issue #12    –   Issue #11   –   Archives: Issues #6-10    –   Archives: Issues #1-5

“A far-sighted, elegant and necessary journal.”

Caroline Kerjean, Quebec City, QC

ISSUE #17: BODIES IN (AND OUT OF) PLACE

Every morning I get up in the dark to wait and watch the sunrise. Every morning this last week or two, I have brought with me my computer. I sit in the dark and enter Dark Matter. That is what it is like. Like entering the real, enchanted, beloved, painful expansive world that we live in through the minds of those who are able to put words on the experiences, griefs and joys of these times. It is a way of breaking the spell of modernity, to read these worlds. It help us or at least it helps me to let my mind and my heart be as expansive and open as it can possibly be. To let myself feel what I feel, the love and the whole catastrophe. I loved these writings and I love walking with each of the writers into the piece of the territory that they are exploring. I am deeply grateful for your work. Thank you.

Laurie Markoff Holliston, MA

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Yehudit Silverman, Refugia

The image stopped me first. So beautiful. Sand or grain or light pouring from an open hand. It is such a perfect illustration of this beautiful poem. Then I read the poem; my heart said, this is what I have been waiting for. This is the kernel of what is needed to end conflict.

Carole Harmon Halfmoon Bay, BC

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Alex Eisenberg, Living on the Edge of Devastation

It took all my energy to read it, I had none left to comment, till now. I felt every word and have also communed with the trees as we both knew their death was near, due to development and clear cutting.

By the time I got to the part of your story with a picture of your cat seeing the absolute destruction of what was left, I was bawling my eyes out. Thank you for writing and expressing so perfectly on behalf of the trees and forests and wildlife, who don’t get to vote. So sorry for your loss and for our loss also. It feels good not to be alone in the fight.

Danae Dean, Snoqualmie, WA

I wept as I read. And started to copy the lines that spoke to me most but there were too many. Here’s just one…“Over the next months, I begged those trees to uproot and run, or fight back, or something. What they did was stand their ground.       So I did too.”

Your love, your body, your heart, your wails and your grief mean something. Your pen, your documentation, your deep loving feeling empathic witness, it means something. I’m grateful, deeply.

Jessica Tartaroc Chimacum, WA

AMAZING! Well, I don’t mean that in a good way….. I mean that you are able to capture the devastation that is happening all over the Pacific Northwest in a way that is moving, emotive and certainly captures our attention. So awful that so much of Oregon has been clear cut and then doubling down to spray poisons over the area without no regard to life- animals- birds- insects- fish- or human! Just spray us! Poison us! Watch us wither and die too! So awful!!!!! Thank you for using your talent for writing and capturing what all of us living on the edge of the forest feel! My heart is with you! Now, lets do something – lets give the forest and water rights so we can fight for them. 

TiAnne Rios  Seal Rock OR,  Lincoln County

This is so beautifully and eloquently written. I was moved to tears thinking of what you’ve been through. You are so brave…an inspiration.

Kathryn Born Brookhart  Redmond, OR

I’m crying.

Max Wilbert  Eugene, OR

It is rare to read a witnessing so articulate, detailed and passionate. I was so welcomed to this dwelling and forest environment, on the edge of a clearcut, by the photography and the evocation of place. My heart broke with the writer’s at the devastation she chose to mirror for us with her own body and soul. If we (all of us) were witness to what is done to nature surely we (collectively) would do things differently. There are choices to be made. By standing in for my eyes, heart, and body I can experience something of what the author witnessed. Thank you Alex. Do take care of yourself, on behalf of the trees.

Carole Harmon  Halfmoon Bay,  BC

I am so , so sorry. I’ve many similar experiences…and have walked in the night light on the ground that used to bring me mushrooms and dinner and laughter and peace. I’m so sorry. I know that merging of human slaughter memories and the forsaken forest slaughters. I’ve sat with the downed trees.

You are so brave…I think bravery comes from carrying great sorrow of what was. Thank you for writing this.

Daphne Martin, Mendocino County, CA

Thank you for perfectly capturing the essence of love and grief for these magnificent beings. Standing our ground has been one of the most gut wrenching experiences I have ever encountered. Watching, feeling and hearing the clearings on Eaglemount has made me want to give up the fight on multiple occasions, but then I am inspired by others. I would love to raise funds and make more legacy forests for future generations. Thank you for writing this, you captured the essence of my grief as well. You are NOT alone!!!!

Raychel D. Hug-Lusk, Port Townsend, WA

As Alex’s father I am so humbled by her. She sees and feels with a power and wisdom in a profound, rare and precious way, as she weaves words into totality, into reality, into stark truth, holding up a mirror, that is undeniable, unavoidable, sweet, painful, beautiful, total, deep and perfect, even if sometimes frightening. A parent thinks their job is to teach their children, but here is a child profoundly teaching her parent. She is a treasure.

Paul Eisenberg Poulsbo, WA

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Elena Herrada, Gardening in the Motor City

” I became a gardener out of rage.” This is as profound a statement as it is an act. I have lived in Toronto, that sprawling metropolis which has gobbled up so much of Ontario and I know something of the ecological challenges facing the Great Lakes, Canada’s blessing shared with the USA. Elena, I love your passion for Detroit; with all its problems you haven’t forsaken it. Turning your rage into a garden, watering and fertilizing it with your passion is one of the most creative and life affirming acts I know of.

Carole Harmon Halfmoon Bay, BC

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Nan Seymour, Pelicans in Exile

I write these comments on January 16, 2024, the day this winter’s vigil begins for the Great Salt Lake, and the pelicans, and all life which is interlaced with this environment. I wish you well in this vigil, Nan, it is such important work you are doing. You live in a place where great miracles have happened in the past to change the course of environmental challenges. My bones know your group will prevail. I love the repetitive we of the poem, the insistent: we fly, we live, we nest, we fly, we fly, we see, we see, we see, we watch, we reel, we feel, we have slept, we witnessed, we left, we left, we flew, we flew, we fled.

And I love this statement, “We are transcending our tired divides.”

Carole Harmon  Halfmoon Bay,  BC

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Kristin Flyntz, Too Much Sky

The loss of a view, the loss of trees, the loss of one’s mother—this elegy moves from the wide view to the most intimate personal loss seamlessly. I love this gentle and passionate piece. I love the trajectory it takes, from tragedy and loss to transcendence.

Carole Harmon  Halfmoon Bay,  BC

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Margo Berdeshevsky, Flights Beyond the Shadows

To a photographer who is also deeply involved with collage, these masterful evocations of the merging of worlds, realms, beings is breath-taking. Yes, we must be all: spirit and matter, human and creature, the long ribbon of time folded and inspiring us. Thank you.

Carole Harmon Halfmoon Bay, BC

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Carole Harmon, My Body as Eco-Terrain

“I see a relationship between unending cycles of global political and religious wars and our human tendency to use war as a metaphor and methodology in (trying to resolve) social and health problems.”  Of course! it’s wonderful to see the words in print.
Such an important truth about ticks – they have been around forever – humans have created this situation and now????

Sara Wright Greenwood, ME

Totally spectacular…oh my God, how intelligent, how accepting, and how ruthlessly she deconstructs war in her body, in the planet and our species…just fabulous. .. I’ll keep it and read it again; it’s really, really something.

Sharon Simone, Los Angeles, CA

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Nancy Windheart, Whales in the Desert

What a timely essay from Nancy Windheart! The current issue of Consumer Reports with the cover story ‘How to eat less plastic’ sits prominently on my night table. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing the magic of Ethyl the Blue Whale, and for sharing your path of recognizing ‘that plastic, too, has an energetic frequency, an essence, a vibration that I can be in relationship with, in some kind of way.’

Amy Tefft  New Providence, NJ

I really enjoyed this article and the pictures. Did my heart good. Thank you.

Paulette Panych  Montreal, QC

ISSUE #16:  BODIES IN (AND OUT OF) PLACE

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Leslie Schwartz,  Leaving the Mother Country

Stunning. Goes right to the heart of the matter. To resonate so deeply and specifically with one beautiful wild creature so that your entire life pivots on the edge… I was taken there, to the edge of my own quiet vulnerability with your writing. And to know what nourishes and sustains you, and to have the courage to seek this out, consciously, deliberately, as you and P-22 both did, fills me with respect for your courage in the face of hopelessness. Thank you.

Andrea Mathieson Port  Hope, ON

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Siri Naess, Glaciers

What a beautiful way to listen to and give ‘voice’ to the ancestors, in this case the glaciers, through your art. My heart was filled with pained recognition at the troll’s icy face, glaring through your work. While so many ‘talk about’ what to do with the degradation of the earth, your art makes me feel the loss… forces me to meet the presence still lurking behind what is now missing in form. I am forced to to sit still, as though in a courtroom, and face the reckoning for what we, I, have done…

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

Love these paintings–and the emergent face in the impasto

Camille Norton Stockton, CA

I too have lived with glaciers, in the Canadian Rockies, and watched
them decline year after year. The painting of the Troll face in the
glacier is very moving. It reminds me of the anthropomorphic names
applied to glaciers in English: headwall, face, tongue. It also reminds
me of the bodies, long entombed in ice, which are emerging as glaciers
melt. I like the idea of the hidden spirit of the glacier warning the
world.

Carole Harmon, Halfmoon Bay, BC

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Rosabetty Muñoz, trans. Elena Barcia, Five Poems from Ligia

Elena Barcia’s translation of Rosabetty Muñoz ‘  poems is heartfelt and deeply moving. I could hear the Spanish through the musicality of Barcia’s carefully nuanced words. A pleasure to experience in both languages.

Natalie White Los Angeles, CA

Ms Barcia has captured the perception and meaning of Ms Muñoz’  poems which allows an easy flow of the words when reading them. Very nice indeed.

Anthony Harmona  Hilliard, OH

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Aviva Rahmani, There will be NO Managed Retreat

What a brilliant combination of art and science and activism. Thank you so much for this explanation of trigger points, reclamation of waterways, and copyright law!

Camille Norton, Stockton, Ca

This is an amazing story, that speaks so well of possibility through creativity and heart. Thank you so much.

Laurie Markoff, Holliston, MA

The depth and breadth of this essay are staggering. Memoir. Autobiography. Art piece.  A life in environmental activism using art as the platform – brilliant. I admire Peter von Tiesenhausen’s work and have often wondered who it has inspired. Now I know.

I hold in my heart blue notes connecting through air waves, surrounded by blossoms; ephemeral ghost nets the colour of the ocean; and my favourite image, The “Blue Rocks” restored estuary with flourishing marsh grass, 2012. A network which will inspire as much by its details as its overarching complexity.

Should the ocean take the studio, as it has in the past submerged communities in low lying areas of Britain, leaving spires and roofs above the waves as testaments, and standing stones in Brittany, some of which are revealed only at low tide, there will still remain the fragments, to wash up as treasure on the beaches of the Atlantic, reaching new shores. The ideas and passion of this work will live on. The symphony immortal.

Carole Harmon, Halfmoon Bay, BC, Canada

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Kim Zombik, In the Name of So Many

Wow, My tears are close as the tragedy of this story unfolds and reveals the basic fact that we all live because of the care of others. So vivid and real, the cadence and rhythm of the words carry the reader to the heart at the end.
Thank you Kim and all those who dare to speak these truths.

Catherine Hondorp,  Portugal

Oh, Kim, I hear and feel, deep in my soul, the music in your words, the rhythmic tempos that let me dance, heart-to-heart, with your story. Thank you… the dance continues, working right down to my bones!

Andrea  Mathieson,  Port Hope, ON

                              
 WOW…what a Tremendous Random act of kindness. I LOVE your mother’s
perspective… I feel a ripple of Love spreading across prairies of
human hearts…forming new ecosystems we don’t yet have words for…and
yet we are birthing a new way of being….

Rev Dele,   Wingdale, New York

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Shante’ Sojourn Zenith, I Just Want to Feel I Belong

 Superb, powerful and true.

Susan Eirich, Driggs, Idaho

“What is the edge between nervous system and ecosystem?” I believe this is a question we all need to be asking because we are all affected like it or not. I have no sense of separation from the ecosystem – a distinct disadvantage when trying to survive. Because I have such an intimate connection to nature my nervous system only finds peace in the still places… and most are gone. I pick my time with care emerging before daylight – late at night – listening to the trees awakening, perhaps the hoot of the owl – only then do I breathe deeply and well. Contact with the culture leaves me enervated or buzzed – either extreme dominates most of my life – it’s the human NOISE that I can no longer tolerate. The buzz of a culture gone insane is also in my blood – as I said no separation.

Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME

Shante, I am so moved by the w-holy persistence of your struggle to articulate the subtle web that pulses between our bodies and earth — as song, as living fabric. Please, please continue to honour and follow your tug to realize this liminal realm within your own embodiment, as an intrepid re-memberer of what is holy and whole within each of us — our deep attunement, at-one-ness with Earth. She so needs us to re-member ourselves, in just the ways you are courageously leaning into within yourself and articulating with such skillful care. I bow, resonating with recognition in my own earth-body. Thank you!

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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Issue #15 “Dead and alive: Being with Ancestors” Part III

It seems to me that the Journal is (and has been for some time) a gathering-place for women to speak of the deepest place in their bodies and souls… and that in this sharing, there is an ever-deepening resonance with the soul of the world, the heart of Earth herself. She is being witnessed… in remarkably beautiful and articulate ways

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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River of Kin, Cynthia Travis

Being with ancestors–a topic I consider the most important on earth at this time. I start with Cynthia’s contribution. The story she tells starts in 1939–the year after my own birth into a world at war, a world that would drive me to write about my own ancestors’ relationship with empire. I read on, detail by detail, utterly astounded by the karma that drives this family’s history. Feeling the land and its deep wounding, the wounds of the tribal peoples, the empire-driven wounds of the family. I can feel it all. I have to work to keep breathing as I read. Thank you Cynthia. Thank you Dark Matter. So glad to know the rattle snakes are back.

Louise Dunlap, Oakland, Ca

I was so deeply moved by this essay. In the past I’ve largely thought of truth & reconciliation between peoples, but here Cynthia has illuminated the importance of including the land, since we truly belong to our mother earth. She has provided an inspiring beacon for us all, so that I’m heartened in my small way as I slowly replant my garden with natives to welcome butterflies and birds. Even the gophers are welcome because they provide for the coyotes who sometimes stand at the top our driveway in our sprawling city where I’m blessed by their presence. Reconciliation with the land and her creatures. And perhaps even more difficult, reconciliation with family unaware of the harm they were causing.

Regina O’Melveny, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA            

What an astonishing ride! What deserves underscoring is the feat Travis accomplishes in leaving our thoughts and images LOADED with river, owl, rattler, coyote and the underneath river…the Mohave peoples and their dreaming and love.  I feel bathed in the troubled river, rubbed in dusty soil, and inspired with the dreaming way of living. Of course, suffering and tragedy course through this excerpt of family story embedded in Empire. But, Empire does not steal the focus…What endures in my mind and thoughts is restoration and the possibility of this that lives in some of the details of this story. What I hold onto is a ravaging beautiful, terrible true history. A masterful accomplishment– Travis’s own ancestors and what they wrought and what they restored, what she is restoring in the telling of this story, is healing just to read of…Hope and the possible take a more than fragile root in me. I love the hardwon love threading through this story… I came away loving this daughter, this family…the snakes, the Owl, the people, the dust, the river, the coyotes. All the families–born of empire and those Indigenous families–all the land and creatures losing so much and still fiercely rising up so they now live in my thoughts. I love the river made holy. I love the women who broke bread on the land, acknowledged their transgressions and thanked the land and let it go free.

Sharon Simone, Los Angeles, CA

There are so many threads in this wonderful and moving essay. You’ve poignantly laid out how the desire to ‘do what’s best’ for our family can easily disintegrate when the wider context of community and land is ignored. It’s a reminder that relationship is a constant partner in every action, large or small, that we undertake. I’m also thinking about the role of place in my own family story. Thank you for your invitation to think more deeply.

Hele Montagna, Cambridge, Ontario

The land has memory and your story is a moving testament to truth. I too have colonial roots along with Indigenous ones… but my story has been withheld which I think may make it harder or perhaps more confusing. My ancestral dark is unknown. It seems to me that the important thing is to acknowledge what we have done and to make reparation in any way that seems meaningful – you surely did! Thank you. 

Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME  

Wonderful article! I felt the Heart and Soul of your family and of the place. So much healing and coming to full circle. Thank you for this personal sharing with so much Love.

Gwendydd, Rawdon, QC

Very much enjoyed this! An honest look at dispossession and an
attempt at rewilding, the historical roots of one family’s wealth,
what « made » America, and the costs of that dream. It’s beautifully
described.

Joy Alexandre Dupe, Nanaimo, BC

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Memoria : la Poesia de las Flores, Maria de Blum

“Before the colonizers arrived there were simply people who spoke the language of plants.” Here it is in a nutshell. This extraordinary story warms my heart – for I am a plant woman too and my relationships with plants border on the sacred. Totally colonized I didn’t believe my own experiences with plants and trees – kept them to myself – used herbs – hid and felt crazy when I saw into the future…. The trees and plants are our elders in every sense of the word and developing relationships with even ONE plant will change you, I promise. Thank you for this story. 

Sara Wright,  Greenwood, ME

Beautiful just beautiful. I have apprenticed with an ancient indigenous tribe practicing their primordial ways and so much is the same. It is very heartening to know there are many other women in many other countries with this same woven passion given thru the ancestors. If interested you may see some of their wisdom passed thru me at www.terramies.com. In beloved sisterhood…             

Gwendydd,  Rawdon, Quebec        

Thank you for this beautiful, wise, important piece.

Laurie Markoff, Holliston, MA  

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 Healing with Land and Ancestors, Gillian Goslinga

“The Colonial Echo” seems to be getting louder…. Your saga is an impressive one…. that the land carries/embodies memory is reality and we are drawn to land that needs us…

Sara Wright

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BUFFALO SPIRIT Roams this Land, Carole Harmon

Carole has creatively conveyed the different perspectives that circle the buffalo restoration question. I have, in spirit, followed the buffalo trail, articles or announcements crossing my path now and then. She has informed me…and I wonder.

Maureen Hoole, Highlands, BC

We are a NO CONTEXT culture. What this means practically is that re-populating any area with animals will end in tragedy because you can’t return the animals to land that is restricted by human boundaries. The LAND is the CONTEXT…and animals know nothing of our postage stamp areas allocated to wild creatures. We want it both ways – highways and parks, stripped forests and wild animals too. With today’s earth crisis worsening with each day PLEASE let’s think about what we are doing… let’s not unintentionally kill more animals. According to the WWF we have already lost 70 percent of our wildlife.  And now we herd what’s left onto ‘reservations’ like we did with Indigenous peoples…

Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME

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Datura: Memory of the Dead and Becoming, Maria Renée

I was curious to read about Datura, given this was the first flower essence I made in 1995. When I did the deep listening to the spirit of this remarkable plant, I had no idea that the definition I intuitively received would be a prophetic outline for the next few decades of my life, a roadmap for my work. Thank you for this lovely tribute to this visionary plant… and I would share my own intimate relationship with it through this definition:

Datura: Body Visions

Datura encourages visions stimulated by the dynamic interplay between our bodies and nature. Rising from our feminine psyche through dreams, body-symptoms, and intuitive feelings, these visions are partly the voice of the sacred earth speaking through our bodies. These perceptions often challenge the status quo and throw us temporarily into creative chaos. Datura helps us honour the creative void and integrate body-encounters with nature as an essential part of our humanity.

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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A Thank You Note to the Poet Wayne Kaumuali’i Westlake, and the Beloved Leanne Ka’iulani Ferrer for Sending Me His Book, Melissa Fondakowski

“There is an Us and you’re not it.”
Blue and red parties have become a bruise on our bodies – an ugly purple
bruise.
Great poetry.

Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME

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 An Unprecedented Level of Imagination” -a Call from Barry Lopez, Sharon English, Sharon Simone

What a magnificent piece. It points to a way to live in these times, how guidance comes, and how stories can lead us forward. Thank you so much for taking the time to assemble this.

Laurie Markoff, Holliston, MA

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What We Did not Do Following Thich Nhat Hanh into the Forest, Mississippi 2014, Kathy Nelson

 Thank you for this tribute. It was so short yet so pictural, I felt like I had been with you and him in the moment. How special that you got to attend a retreat with him and will remember the feel of it the rest of your life.

Gwendydd, Rawdon, QC

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Call from a Tree Ancestor  (Dreams and Visions), Tracey Girdich

I loved your dream of the tree struck by lightning and the nurses witnessing it. As synchronicity would have it, I was just talking yesterday with a friend who shared a vision she received in a recent shamanic land meditation — a very specific call from a tree struck by lightning on the land of an indigenous wise woman. My friend knew the tree and felt the call was so clear and strong that she planned to visit the property and commune with the tree… I also love that you recognize nurses as young priestesses. My mother was a nurse and though she would never have called herself anything else, the thread of that deeper soul ‘profession’ was definitely alive in her. Thank you for bearing witness to the destiny of tree; I see the transformative power of your witnessing as altering the destructive nature of lightning into its alchemical possibility — light!

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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Issue #14 “Dead and Alive: Being with Ancestors” Part II

Remembering Barbara Mor (1936-2015),  Lise Weil

Thank you for these strong understandings of Barbara Mor, and her works in prose and poetry. You can hear Barbara Mor read from “The Great Cosmic Mother,” find vetted facts of her life-story, and read personal letters she wrote to me over many years at http://ancientlights.org/barbaramor/.

– Jack Dempsey, Karteros, Crete, Greece

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Painting as a Way of Knowing Earth, Suzette Clough

I LOVE this article (and of course, the paintings…) The story of your first piece of Art, and how this quickened your deep intuitive knowing touches me deeply. Your entire approach, Suzette, mirrors a dream I had many years ago when I first began making flower essences. In the dream, this phrase was repeated four times, by two men and two women seated at a square cafe table in the woods: “Precious is my garden, and my garden is me.” Your article describes this intimacy with the animate Earth through your own creativity. I bow to the wisdom that has shaped and guided you through your art, and am most grateful you shared this with us through your wise words. In these times, such earth-intimacy is no longer a fanciful luxury but an absolute necessity!

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

Oh these are utterly transformative. thank you thank you for each and every all of them. visual medicine, soul work imaging. mega yes and deepest of bows.

Margo Berdeshevsky, Paris, France   

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Bear’s Dream, Chez Liley

Thank you for this beautiful piece. It is mesmerizing. Looking forward to reading the book when it is published.

Laurie Markoff, Holliston, MA

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The Dark Room, Perdita Finn

I resonate so deeply with your words, Perdita. To re-examine our fascination with everything light-filled, and to appreciate the gifts of darkness, cave-time, womb and earth-burial time, re-engages us with the Great Mother. It is Her ways that need remembering, not our Icarus wax-winged flight into the sun. Thank you for this beautiful re-membering of our relationship with the dead, and the reminder that we have a responsibility to carry the wisdom and energy they have gifted us as we open to the ‘dark’ future.

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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Out of the beringium refugium, Kathleen Hellen

Such a powerful witnessing of self, through time and place into the standstill moment, now.

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope ON

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Swing Low,  Andrea Strudensky

I am quietly and utterly horrified by the truth of this last line: “the ability to luxuriate in a private life, contemplate the whale from a distance, is its own kind of violence.”

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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Sister Ancestor, Briggs Whiteford

I’m so deeply moved by the power and ringing depths of truth you can captured, Briggs – in the painting, the poem and your own commitment to listen to your sister ancestor. You exemplify the spirit of this journal – women witnessing, up close and very personal, the stories that speak from the wisdom of the imaginal realms. Having two sisters who I have shamed, abandoned and neglected at times, I’m so grateful for the reparation that can be done at any time through this deep listening work and art. Thank you!

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON


RETURN TO TOP

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Issue #13 “Dead and Alive: Being with Ancestors”

I’m finally reading this beautiful issue and while I still have a few pieces left to read, I just wanted to write to tell you how incredible and moving it is. Wow. So many weavings and interconnections and so much grief and beauty.

– Nancy Windheart, Santa Fe, NM

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I read the article by Miriam Greenspan in the middle of the night; it shook me to my core. This latest edition focuses on our relationship with the ancestors, whether these are people, oak trees, animals, or ecosystems. The courage the women writers exhibit — revealing what shook them to their cores, makes for some of the most visceral resonance imaginable. You cannot help being altered by diving into each entry.

I am so grateful to the editors for their vision — to create a safe space for such raw wisdom to be spoken from the earth of our body-souls.

– Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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Dark Matter is such an essential part of our lives now. Thank you.

– Mary Fillmore, Boston, MA

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Azul Valerie-Thomé, “Being with Ancestors”

Stone deep, old beyond words, I resonate with this sharing from the cavern of my belly, my inner tree is singing an interweaving harmony of desolation, desire, dedication to that core sacredness of every passage. Something deep within me orients to this ritual of personality dissolving, to a different kind of human-ing in which body opens to include ecosystem, mind interweaving with the voices of wolf and stag, bear and fox, raven and mycelium and moon. Deep gratitude for your modeling of kinship, Azul. For those gestures towards rememberings, of tendings and witnessings and attuning to the emergences of beings who know so much more than we do. For invoking the medicine of death and passage, ancestralization, and apprenticeship to wildness. Thank you for teaching us another possibility for listening.

– Shante Sojourn Zenith, Wisconsin


Dear Azul—I want to respond by writing to you, sitting with you and with your grief.

“…I am changed by this evening ritual—by the commitment to be with her every night for 40 nights, by these prayers of letting go and of transformation. I find myself feeling ahead into my own death, feeling how I might receive these prayers in my own passage….”

Death is everywhere now, and extinctions. I prepare for my own death, but there is no “preparing for extinction.” Only grief. Thank you for voicing your grief so poignantly, clearly, heart-breakingly.

Thank you for your art: wolf, vulture, stag… So much power and love and reverence shining out from these beautiful images. I am nourished by them.

– Anne Dellenbaugh, Brunswick, ME


What resonance I felt, reading this article… the quality of wisdom that only comes from living so deeply and respectfully in and with the earth that the ancestors raise their wyrd voices loud enough to be heard. Thank you Azul for your dedication to the Four Sisters, through your art and your words. In my own meditations with Snake, I learned that all the animals that are becoming extinct are still accessible as ancestors… but as you say, they need to be met here, while they are still alive, for us to let them be witnessed as ancestors as you have done so profoundly with your sister. I deeply respect the work you are doing (I browsed through some of your website) to create eARTh through such a variety of ways. May your work in this deeply wounded world, where so few know how to truly grieve, thrive and bless not just the living but the dead.

Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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Sharon Simone, “The Summoning”

Much gratitude for Sharon Simone’s The Summoning—a powerful teaching story for me and a courageous sharing of listening, surrendering, responding & connection, in ways seemingly unimaginable. I know personally the devastation emerging from “circuits long ago disconnected” and the deadness of separation. In a story, “Barkskin Tears,” I wrote recently about rebuilding my deck with only the thought of how to “get rid of” the old wood, I shared this: Appalled and Shocked at the extent of my blind colonized thinking: I want; I can have; I’m done; Get rid of it, I want a new one, I can pay for it so I can have it again..

Sharon writes about the energetic connection that happened while she was standing at the base of Grandfather Oak with her hands on the trunk. In my story I also stood at the roots of Douglas fir– and listened to the fir’s story as part of reconnecting “my circuits.”

– Lindsa Vallee, Brookline, MA


How alive are the dead?
What a question. It lingers on long after my eyes have left the page.

I loved the way time was torn open so that before comes after
And what is to be is hidden in the now.

I walk away with these talismans in my pocket:

Complete the circuit so a current can flow
Let the mending commence.
No separation
Lifeforce.

Thank you Sharon Simone. Thank you Oaks

– Lauren Banner, Abiquiu, NM


What is remarkable about this article is how many things it weaves together through time and space: Past, Present and Future. Dream, Vision and Action. It presents a way of listening to the stories of our lives and being guided by them and how this changes us and the world.

– Laurie Markoff, Holliston, MA

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Redwing Keyssar, “Gift from the Ancestors: My Work as an RN/Midwife to the Dying”

Her brilliance as a writer combined with her deeply compassionate experience and understanding of the multiple levels of dying brought me to tears.

– Dennis DeBiase, Santa Rosa, CA


This story felt like a religious experience – and i’m not a religious person. In fact i’m an atheist, yet i felt god in redwings words (I can’t explain that). Every word is perfect, resonating in me with power and glory. i want Redwing with me when i die. I want Redwing with me every day. Thank you for this wonderful experience.

– Carol Pearlman, San Francisco CA


I was so moved by these stories, beside the bedside and beyond, and Redwing’s ability to track the imaginal realm where the ancestors live and ‘breathe’ into us with such loving clarity that I have read the article several times and shared it with many friends. It is not easy to write of such things when our culture is so resistant to death’s mysteries, and when our own fears block out the love and wisdom available to us from the ancestors that would guide us, particularly in these dread-ridden times, but Redwing’s stories are grounded in her own authority. They are invitation to anyone whose heart is cracked open with grief and love. They are a balm to those who seek a sense of something ‘more’ beyond the grave. Thank you, Redwing, for your courage and passion to be a midwife to the soul, of the living and the dead. I wonder, did your connection with plants teach you (in part) how to let go and be present to all the cycles of life as they have done for me as well?

– Andrea Mathieson, Port Hope, ON

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Melissa Kwasny, editor. “Poetry by Sheryl Noethe, M.L . Smoker, Sandra Alcosser, J.I. Kleinberg, Ysabel Y. Gonzalez, Mariana McDonald”

Powerful, beautiful poems – all of them. After the first reading I felt the Grandmothers hovering.

– Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME

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M.L. Smoker, “The Book of the Missing and Murdered”

I am moved by this poem, as a call to bear witness. I fall hard into a line like ” A cold, empty breeze rising from the debris./ The first and last moment of her./ It is rage that pulls her up from this place.” I felt carried into an unforgiving landscape where bodies lie overlooked in ditches, splinter like glass with unblinking eyes.  I feel almost as if it is Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History with the frozen stare but instead of helplessness, here there is reclamation – what rises from the catastrophe, “stitches together the collective story of origin” and through that reclamation finds safety among the ruins. A powerful image. 

Andrea Strudensky, Montreal, QC


Wow. What a poem!

– Susan Pliner, Wilton, NH

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Sandra Alcosser, “Looking for Her”

The darkness in “Tremble” comes alive for me in her references to ancestors imagined on “nights they danced this grove/ lupine and snowberry….” — wonderfully specific awareness of plants… So, too, in “Marrow” the woman who cares no longer is envisioned on a “snapping night.” I almost jump at the suggestion! In “Animal,” the poet recalls how “an elk has calved…behind a deep hive of darkness.”

She makes me feel we’d travel with her anywhere, this poet!

Marcia Goldberg, Montreal, QC

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Miriam Greenspan, “There is no Light so Bright as that which Shines from the Darkness”

This is incredibly powerful writing out of Miriam’s experience of Holocaust, the loss of two children, spiritual quests, the destruction of the earth, the lessons we learn from animals and the spirits. So deep on so many levels.

– Rochelle G. Ruthchild, Brookline, MA USA


Staggering. Heartbroken for Miriam and Roger, Esther and Anna. And never cease to be amazed at the journey Miriam and her family have agreed to take for All.

– Susan Cerulean, Tallahassee, Florida


Miriam Greenspan’s piece is gorgeously written, deeply felt, profoundly moving, a gift to us all.

– Harriet Lerner, Lawrence, KS


Heartrending story…A red-tail hawk accompanied the deaths of my mother (smashed into my windshield), flew in front of the car when my grandfather died, and was present when I was finally able to bury my brother’s ashes 32 years after his death.This summer he came three times, once for a dog I loved, twice for friends I lost… My fervent hope for some kind of peace for you…

– Sara Wright, Greenwood, ME


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Issue #12 “How Do We Know? Part 2”

Sara Wright, “Crane Song: Finding my Way Home”

I felt tears well up at the betrayal of a community whose children you taught how to love and respect the trees around us, and again at your mention of the cruel signs and “presents” left on your driveway. Would that we could bring you baskets of pomegranates to thank you for helping us appreciate what the discovery of your Native ancestors has meant to you in terms of affirming that your love of Nature is right on target. Your service to all of us is admirable.
Marcia Goldberg, Montreal, QC


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Issue #11 “A Lesson. A Warning. A Flare: Voices from the Pandemic”

Feedback: I loved the conversation “Buried Seeds in Burning Times.” In fact, as a first-time reader, I enjoyed your whole journal. But I especially wanted to respond to Kathryn Smith-Hanssen’s “Healing with dirt and bones.” (in What is Coming Up for You?) Her dream and imagery evoked my own deep sense of longing for oneness with our ancient spirit-filled earth. As a Dutch World War II survivor, I literally owe my life to the bones in the earth of those who sacrificed their lives tofree the world of oppression. In this current challenging year I had been looking for an “altar.” Kathryn’s powerful reminder of the “ecology of soul” that tells us we can “lay our painful wounds upon Nature’s altar to heal” brought me to tears. Thank you, Kathryn. Hendrika de Vries, Santa Barbara, CA

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Anne Bergeron, “Pandemic Diary: The Mother Tree”

Feedback: When I was reading this piece I felt like I was reading my own story – like you I am hopefully/hopelessly tied to trees and have witnessed the dying of many on my own land, always the anguish.

Like you I dream of women in trees. Once I created sculptures of myself as part tree. I realize now that is no exaggeration. In Maine our trees are in trouble. With this year’s drought every maple oak beech ash is suffering from insect damage – the fruit trees have little or no fruit and much of it is deformed… Today when I mailed in my ballot I heard the words come “you no longer vote for presidents or people – you vote for trees, for mycelial nets, for the life of the precious Earth.”
Sara Wright, Bryant Pond, ME



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