Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Following where my Soul Leads

“Natalie Goldberg reveals Clio’s primary secret about why we are motivated to put our experiences into writing: ‘The deepest secret in the heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world.’

From The Nine Muses: A Mythological Path to Creativity
—Angeles Arrien

2-1-12: What a beautiful number combination. It’s hard for me to believe that February is already upon us. Though winter is teasing this year with clouds that look like rain, yet rarely produce the stream that we need, spring grows nearer and already I anticipate the longer days of sunlight and Spring fragrances flitting through the air.

Goddesses are at the forefront of my mind. It began with a memory of a wise woman that long ago came in and out my life— in a way that demonstrates the movement, change, and non-permanence of this mortal world. She loaned me a book. She said, I had to read it. She held it like a Bible:  Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women by psychoanalyst, Jean Shinoda Bolen. She told me that Artemis was definitely the Goddess she identified with: Artemis (Diana), the Goddess of the hunt, wildlife, and independence. I was eager to scan the pages to find out which, if any, of the Goddesses resonated with me most. I didn’t take my time with the book, but through skimming the chapters, I found that the Goddess that best seemed to fit me was Hestia (Vesta), Goddess of the hearth and home.

The female figure and spirit in its essence is beauty. One of my favorite representations is of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

Thinking of the wise woman and the book she had recommended so many years ago somehow entered my space and has in a way reawakened my desire to revisit the book. Another connection is that on a recent dental appointment, even though I had noticed the beautiful Goddess statue in the waiting room many times before, on that day the beauty of it and of her whole office left a stronger impression on me. There was also a fresco style scene on a large area of the wall between two sets of seats. My visual senses were taking in every bit that I could. My dentist is of Indian descent, but I cannot recall the part of India she told me she was from. She also has smaller Indian pieces placed on the filing cabinets behind the reception desk, as well as a small scroll of the Dalai Lama’s The Paradox of our Age on another wall in the waiting area.

My dentist has a calm demeanor that immediately puts me at ease. She was 30 minutes late for my appointment, but I was happy sitting in the waiting room, taking the time to soak in the beauty in images and words; I was equally happy to see her unrattled and ready with a warm smile.

As usual new memories and remembrances or new findings always bring me back to my bookshelves—to the books that I have kept, even though sometimes I feel like getting rid of all of them and living with fewer objects, but I simply cannot part with them because I know at some time, I’ll want to look for them; I also fear one day they may become extinct. As much as I adore my Kindle, it cannot compare to the pages, ink, paper, and the art— of what it means to be book. And that is when I pulled the two Goddess books I have: Conversations with the Goddess: Revealing the Divine Power within You by Agapi Stassinopoulos and The Nine Muses, which while flipping through it this morning, I randomly started reading and that is when I found the Natalie Goldberg quote and it said it all: “The deepest secret in the heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world.”


This is a  photo I took in 2010 when I went to New Orleans. As I was trying to find a different photo to include with this blog, I saw this one and remembered that day, taking the street car into the Garden District for a visit to the zoo; walking through the park afterward, I saw many lovely statues. This is but one and seems to fit the space here today.

To a Happy Day and may we each find the power of the Goddesses and Gods within us when we need them.


I dedicate this blog to that wise woman, full of so much spark and energy—and all the women, men—humans and other beings of the natural world, with legs and without, in flesh or in writing—that have crossed my path and touched my own life in a way that will stay with me always.


The Paradox of Our Age

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more convenience, but less time;

We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement;

more experts, but more problems; more medicines, but less healthiness;

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.

We built more computers to hold more information than ever, but have less communication;

We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods but slow digestion;

Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.

It's a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.

His Holiness the 14th Dali Lama


Vincent said...

Your piece is crafted smooth and shapely like a marble nude: form and expression perfectly matched. Wonderful, Rebb!

Vincent said...

And that is a wonderful quote by Natalie Goldberg.

I remember reading a poem by Paul Claudel about the Muses, in a volume of his poetry called "Cinq Grandes Odes". It had the same quality that I found in your post. It begins like this:

Les Neuf Muses, et au milieu, Terpsichore !
Je te reconnais, Ménade ! Je te reconnais, Sibylle ! Je n'attends avec ta main point de coupe ou ton sein même
Convulsivement dans tes ongles, Cuméenne dans le tourbillon des feuilles dorées !
Mais cette grosse flûte toute entrouée de bouches à tes doigts indique assez
Que tu n'as plus besoin de la joindre au souffle qui t'emplit
Et qui vient de te mettre, ô vierge, debout !
Point de contorsions : rien du cou ne dérange les beaux plis de ta robe jusqu'aux pieds qu'elle ne laisse point voir !
Mais je sais assez ce que veulent dire cette tête qui se tourne vers le côté, cette mine enivrée et close, et ce visage qui écoute, tout fulgurant de la jubilation orchestrale !
Un seul bras est ce que tu n'as point pu contenir ! Il se relève, il se crispe,
Tout impatient de la fureur de frapper la première mesure !
Secrète voyelle ! animation de la parole qui naît ! modulation à qui tout l'esprit consonne !
Terpsichore, trouveuse de la danse ! où serait le chœur sans la danse ? quelle autre captiverait
Les huit sœurs farouches ensemble, pour vendanger l'hymne jaillissante, inventant la figure inextricable ?
Chez qui, si d'abord te plantant dans le centre de son esprit, vierge vibrante,
Tu ne perdais sa raison grossière et basse flambant tout de l'aile de ta colère dans le sel du feu qui claque,
Consentiraient d'entrer les chastes sœurs ?
Les Neuf Muses ! aucune n'est de trop pour moi ! Je vois sur ce marbre l'entière neuvaine. À ta droite, Polymnie ! et à la gauche de l'autel où tu t'accoudes !
Les hautes vierges égales, la rangée des sœurs éloquentes
Je veux dire sur quel pas je les ai vues s'arrêter et comment elles s'enguirlandaient l'une à l'autre
Autrement que par cela que chaque main
Va cueillir aux doigts qui lui sont tendus.

Rebb said...

Thank you dear Vincent! Your words ring through me with joy. And thank you for sharing the poem. I had to copy it into a translator App to get all the words. But, really, the way it stands with the exclamations and of some words that I can make out, it is a representation of life, living, creativity-- it feels like a breeze dancing and whirling.