From my mouth to your ear, from my wondering heart to yours.
On my way to Judaculla Rock,
Moses Creek and the Tuckasegee River
all run high and swift.
December sun is bright
and the air is out-of-season warm.
I arrive to be astounded by
so extended a collaboration,
so mysterious an origin.
In the valley of Caney Fork Creek,
the sacred boulder sits in peaceful pasture.
Three millennia past,
sculptors carved their bowls
from its quarried soapstone lode,
and Cherokee ancestors,
or was it astronauts from elsewhere,
began to cut their glyphs
into its great flat surface.
The artists of the Rock considered,
what it was they wanted to leave
for future beings to see.
I picture each one contemplating,
patient and careful,
how to imprint their contribution,
each artist pondering
on ways to add to the whole
of such an enduring canvas.
Cherokee legend credits the art
to a gentle giant of long ago
who cherished every single animal;
Judaculla, a slant-eyed being who could leap
from one mountain to another,
a Goliath who controlled the weather,
known to drink whole streams in a gulp.
This story lives beside another,
that of the Cherokee Little People,
who lived below the ground
and farmed gardens above by moonlight.
The Nunnehi lived in nearby Cullowhee,
the name of the town derived
from a Cherokee phrase that translates:
Research to date has not concurred,
either to determine origin,
or to decode the Rock’s designs.
Despite the number of markings—
more than fifteen hundred
carved one by one over centuries—
no conventional depictions,
no bird nor bear, nor moon nor human figure
are evident. Instead
are pictograms that most resemble—
millennia before the microscope—
basic forms of microscopic life.
And, say some, the cup marks (cupules)
which number over a thousand,
correspond precisely to
constellation maps of stars.
In deepcut lines between designs,
some see an unerring map of rivers:
the Oconoluftee, the Tuckaseegee,
the Nantahala and the Little Tennessee.
What if, not one, but all,
the correspondences are true?
What if we are giant striding gods,
and we are little
creatures in a multiverse,
even while we walk the Middle Earth.
Though starscapes are our homelands,
we are made of microscopic life,
and we ride the flowing waters
that vessel and vein all our lands.
Once and long ago, perhaps,
we were friends of Judaculla’s race,
and neighbors to the Nunnehin.
The Rock, with its riddle, whispers,
humans are the Beings between.
Among the great and the small,
I am glad to find my place;
pleased to believe that before I came,
many kinds of beings revered the earth.
Resting like a jewel in the valley
at the placid feet of old peaks,
Judaculla Rock’s become
a living work of mystery,
where tales and art
hold truths as yet unplumbed.
While rivers flood, while forsythia
buds early, out-of-season,
while the temperature of earth keeps rising,
Judaculla Rock sits witness.
Though now we humans pass
through the cauldron of Change,
I leave with quiet in my heart.
For, near Judaculla Rock,
ancestors still sing
in a frequency unperceived.
And artists from everywhere
press on with revelations
regarding who we humans are.
©Susa Silvermarie 2016
The theme for this year’s brilliant new We’Moon is quantum leaping from struggle into creation, just the kind of leap not taken by the new Star Wars film. In We’Moon 2016, Rhea Wolf speaks of spells that are ready to be broken, and Musawa tells us that Humpty Dumpty is a parable foretelling patriarchy’s fall. Their rich images resonate with what is actually occurring in this time of the Great Turning, in contrast to the Star Wars film’s flimsy nostalgia for what is now passing away.
The film, whose series has become a twisted institution, passes the baton of conflict and antagonism from one generation of action figures to the next. As I sat through it, I felt its laborious (and to many of us, boring) last ditch attempt to charge the waning patriarchal batteries of one more generation of viewers. Although it’s true that characters Rey and Maz Kanata excite girrl viewers with the first Star Wars examples of fierce female authority without apologies, the tired storyline sadly forbids these characters from traveling any new path.
Joanna Macy calls the Great Turning a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization. The Force Awakens gives lip service to the idea of something fresh, but portrays only more of the same unawakened, shoot’em-up tropes. Human consciousness is awakening, but you wouldn’t know it from this gasping cultural icon that tries so desperately to keep us viewing the Force as—you’ve got to be kidding— a weapon.
Joanna Macy reminds us that the shift to a new “force” is under way, a reality that is gaining momentum around the world. After watching this latest Star Wars film, I needed to clear away the media-induced fog, so I returned to Macy’s words: “To see the Great Turning as the larger context of our lives clears our vision— and summons our courage!”
Let us summon our courage to see beyond the blitz of publicity, to view the Star Wars brand of the Force as the naked Emperor it really is, still asleep in the old ways. Let us, in our own lives, make the quantum leap into creating a new world based on values of nonviolence and intergalactic compassion.
The deep dark
hauls us inside the still point,
the transition from dark to light.
during the season of Winter Solstice,
and during the epoch
in which we choose to change.
do not enfold us in velvet rest.
Our dark has martyrs
and despots inside each heart,
yet everywhere is the Great Turning.
Fitting, and arduous,
to let the old ways die.
But how can we bear
the efflux of every poison?
In these dark times,
there are gifts to recognize.
There is treasure
to bring forward
into the rebirth of light.
This season, this epoch,
we give messy birth
to fresh Self-consciousness.
to our beautiful bodies,
our puny will.
Now we turn,
into Her arms,
the jewel of Love.
©Susa Silvermarie 2015
May the return of the light
warm your heart,
illuminate your path,
and brighten your spirit.
(blessing by Annmarie McConnell)