Visitation rites. . .

“…everything that is
is alive

the lantern walks around
the walls of this house have tongues
even this bowl has its own true home
the hides asleep in their bags
were up talking all night
antlers on the graves
rise and circle the mounds
while the dead themselves get up
and go visit the living ones.”

“Things a Shaman sees”
-David Cloutier

The system is failing, folks.  The bipartisan “Super Committee has failed to offer a solution for the staggering $1.2 trillion debt that we’ve  piled onto the backs of our children’s children.  Markets crumble, houses are foreclosed, unemployment is on the rise – yet a cabal of powerful men in grey suits serves up nothing but flippant sound bites in hopes of shifting the blame and covering their collective asses – and the slavering maw of the military industrial complex gorges itself on an ever-increasing smorgasbord of natural resources culled from the very populace it’s sworn to protect.

Yes, the system is failing…

And so it must, if we’re ever going to survive.

Our society has lost its way.  Or rather, like a team of horses fitted with blinders, the general populace finds itself goaded into a narrow alley way by the relentless prodding of fear and greed, charging headlong towards the cold harsh reality of a brick wall, seemingly without the ability or desire to turn itself around.

And yet, the prodding continues.  The twin drums of jingoism and consumerism set the pace for a dead-end ride that can only end one way.

The homunculus of our consumer based society, fueled by testosterone, rapacious corporatism, and blatant Empire building has gorged itself on the lifeblood of Pachamama and her children, and finding itself ensnared in the trap of rapidly dwindling resources, now turns its rabid fangs upon itself.

I’ll leave the speculation as to the exact steps that brought us here to the social scientists, economists and philosophers.  What’s clear, however, is that our society at large has cast aside its connection to the Divine Feminine. We have torn down the Earth Mother and put up the Whore of Babylon in her place.

Which brings me to the symbol that accompanies this post. What appears to be a three-pronged pitchfork is actually a letter from the younger futhark or Scandinavian runes.  The name of the rune is “Yr”, and I’ll relate its relevance to the contents of this already lengthy post after a bit of necessary background.

This past Sunday afternoon, I had the great privilege of being summoned to a council of spirit Elders during a shamanic journey.  We sat beneath a moonless sky spangled with millions of stars, the meager firelight illuminating an occasional buckskinned knee and wrinkled cheek.

A pipe was lit and made its way around the close-knit circle.  As I readied myself to receive the chanupa, a pair of bony hands reached across the fire, grabbed my collar, and yanked me towards a stern and furrowed face hovering in the darkness above the flames.  I recognized the face as that of an elder I’ve visited several times in recent months.

“ You will be the spiritual keeper of this land,” he snapped.  “You’re an Elder now, so act like it.”

Without waiting for a reaction, he shoved me back into place. The tension was broken almost immediately when a roar of laughter erupted among the Elders.  Relieved, and somewhat dumbfounded, I raised the pipe to pray, and passed it to the Grandfather seated next to me.

It was then I noticed for the first time that our circle was comprised entirely of men.  “Where are the women?” I asked the now smiling medicine man who’d rebuked me.  His gaze shifted over his right shoulder, and I became aware that we were surrounded by a circle of women just beyond the reaches of the firelight.

The women support us,” he said.  “They operate from the shadows to protect us and give us strength.”

With that, he touched a stick to the fire and both circles vanished, leaving me staring at pit of smoldering ashes, the runic symbol in molten silver at its center. This is not the first time I’ve been shown a rune, but my unfamiliarity with the language required some research before I could make sense of its meaning.  While the explanations from several websites vary only slightly, this from seems to capture the essence:

“On this physical plane of reality we live under the Law of Duality. Man-woman; hot-cold; dry-wet; gravitation-levitation; etc, etc. These seemingly opposite forces dissol(v)e when they meet in the center…

Rune #16 YR.(I)ts primary runic function is to balance the male-female energies. The main rune-meaning for YR is mystical union.

Within all of us is the desire for union with ourselves. Men desire the union with women, who are their spiritual counterpart. Women desire the union with men who are their physical counterpart. We all spend a great deal of time and energy searching our counterparts on the physical plane…

Other meanings for Rune YR: Rune of Mystical Union; Rune of Perfection; Rune of Night and Moon; Rune of Process Bringing Radical Change; Rune of Overturning of Affairs.”

By their actions the Elders had spoken clearly. The time has come for a radical shift in the way we conduct ourselves on this planet. Clearely our species will never survive unless we as individuals learn to balance our Masculine and Feminine impulses. . .


6 Responses to “Visitation rites. . .”

  1. Michael J. Melville Says:

    Well said. Clear and accurate. We have known this for a long time, yet few listen to our words. Balance and trusting the Medicine means walking our talk. Hard to do, but necessary now. Not much time left to change our ways.


  2. Thank you, Michael. It’s a lot to take in. Much personal and societal responsibility ahead. Yet at least the road is clear. . .


  3. Thank you for this Ben, Wonderful stuff. May I re post to the Sanctuary blog ?


  4. Thanks, Siobhan. By all means. I’d be honored. . .


  5. Ah, welcome to the world of elders! It is important to laugh!

    Yes, things are crumbling. We will collective choose where we go. Some days things seem more hopeful than others. Let’s keep remind ourselves and others we are larger than we think, and we are capable of dreaming PARADISE, instead of Purgatory. We can also keep reminding the men and women in gray suits we are watching them.

    Blessings my friend!


  6. Thanks, Michael. And to you, as well.

    Looks like it’s going to be an interesting ride. . .


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