Wide Like Wings

Sandhill CranesI now live in North Carolina, once Cherokee land, and I recently learned more of their story. I attended the Crane Festival at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge last weekend, and visited the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park a few miles down the road at Blythe Ferry TN. In 1838 it had been one of the emigrating depots where 9000 of the Cherokees began their forced winter march west to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, the march that came to be called Nunahi-Duna-Dlo-Hilu-I, Trail Where They Cried.

Four months earlier that year, more than 16,000 Cherokee had been forcibly removed from their homes in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina and marched to eleven temporary forts awaiting the start of that massive deportation. Their Trail of Tears stretched across nine states, each route averaging more than 1000 miles on foot. The Removal had the result of exterminating almost everyone in the Cherokee Nation under one year or over sixty years of age. At least a quarter of those forced on the Trail of Tears perished.

What Congress called The Indian Removal Act was a calculated act of governmental bullying, theft, and extermination. Thomas Jefferson was the first though not the last president to publicly support forcing native peoples west. The US Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee nation had sovereign rights, but President Andrew Jackson openly dismissed Chief Justice Marshall’s ruling. Jackson’s successor Martin Van Buren sent in troops to round up Cherokee families and transfer them to holding pen forts, and then to the emigrating depots. By 1837, 46,000 Native Americans of different nations had been forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in the Southeast. Farms that had belonged to Cherokee families for generations were distributed to white settlers through land lotteries.

The story of the Removal is surely one of injustice and suffering. It is also a story of survival. In 1839, Cherokee tribal delegates signed a Constitution, and Tahlequah OK became the Cherokee capital. A Cherokee Supreme Court building opened its doors and a bilingual newspaper, The Cherokee Advocate, began publication. They have rebuilt both their nation and the pride of a people who persevered through overwhelming adversity. Their resilience is an example we can be inspired by today, as old ways disintegrate and we all must recreate ourselves or die.

Marveling at the huge flocks of cranes that stop here at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge for rest and food, I imagine the migrating flocks being watched by generations of Cherokee. I return to the refuge at sunset, and next day at dawn to hear their music, to garner their hope. I listen to the trilling voices and bugle-like calls of these great birds. Human are changing, they seem to be saying. They are learning from mistakes, learning to leave their cruel ways behind— learning to spread their spirits wide like wings!

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Received by One’s Readers

IMG_4245Today I reach the statcounter milestone of 10,000 views on my ReVisionary’s View blog, begun in June of 2010 when I retired. I want to express my profound gratitude to every single visitor, and especially, to every visitor who has ever commented on my writing. It wasn’t long ago that a writer might wait a lifetime to reach her readers, and, to receive the essential and fulfilling gift of feedback.

Whatever we create, whether music or pottery, fiction or simply the crafting of our own rich lives, how hungry we humans are for thoughtful responses and comments! Perhaps we work in tiny rooms and circumscribed lives before we send the work out into the world. To know, then, that it has been received, oh the pleasure of it! And when that work is reflected back to the artist by even a simple comment, the pleasure is multiplied beyond any measure of siteviews. I am deeply appreciative to be connected to each of you.


Three Poems by Susa Silvermarie


Click here for three poems of mine which have just appeared in the Winter 2014/Spring 2015  issue of Goddess Pages from Glastonbury in the U.K. I am delighted and honored to become a contributor to this magazine of Goddess Spirituality in the 21st Century.

A  longtime poetry contributor  to Goddess Pages is my sweetheart Annelinde Metzner, whose poem Grandmother in October, sourced in our own Blue Ridge Mountains, can also be enjoyed in this issue. Another example of what awaits you in issue 26 is an article on Lourdes, France by Sue Oxley who states,  “Walking this path between the Goddess and the Church is difficult in the extreme, but the Spirit moves and the Goddess is to be found in very surprising places …”

Click here to purchase issues as downloadable pdf files or to subscribe. Happy Trails to your own Divinity.



Do Not Keep a Chair for Despair

Do Not Lose Heart, We Were Made for These Times;

Letter to a Young Activist During Troubled Times

by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless. 

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale. 

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. 

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for!

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D, Author Women Who Run with the Wolves

and recent audio book Untie the Strong Woman