becoming Beauty



Becoming Beauty

face up floating

in a sea of glass


Beauty lies below me

 in the elemental caprice of

sunlit patterns reflecting sky


Beauty circles above me

in clouds collecting salted tears

We all become the ocean when it rains


Beauty walks behind me

with gravity leaving footprints

Its strength the shifting sands


The wind of Beauty

blows quietly within me

ever seeking itself without measure



The source of this gorgeous photo is unknown

Fragile still

max ernst


Fragile like smog shadows rifling valleys

the mountain holds its breath


Fragile like feverish water

the ocean aborts the moon’s children


Fragile like bees loosing direction

and stamens playing their last hands


Fragile like children born overwhelmed

by viruses perplexed


Fragile still

like a flower 

self-sewing in the garden

in blooming will make no mistake

intelligence in its unfolding



Artist: Max Ernst

The Poetics of Light #3

Truls Espedal


Chapter Two



(The beginning of this series starts here )

           This summer I spent a few days with my brother and sister-in-law who live a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Mexico. The trip was their gift to me. We hadn’t seen each other in many years and had only a few days together. We spent our days in deep and quiet conversation. They also shared the abundance of the natural world that speaks to them and which gives them their connection and sense of place.

          Each of us has lived a life of wide and varied experience. Listening, as we each spoke of navigating in these often turbulent waters, I understood the beauty in transparency. It allows the light to shine through…


        The way in which the dialogues began was relatively subtle. There was nothing dramatic to announce their beginning. The opportunity for dialogue slipped in one day as if I’d asked a question that could be answered. What preceded the advent of the dialogues however, was a circuitous route through a serpentine path of personal healing.

        For ten years prior to the dialogues, I had been homesteading on a densely wooded piece of land in the Finger Lakes Area of Western New York State. It was rough, riddled with springs, deep woods, and had never been developed due to its difficult and varied terrain. While homesteading I had been in intimate daily relationship with nature as I worked the land. It was a place of opportunity and safety for me as I began to open and begin to heal the sublimated wounds of a violent rape I had experienced twelve years earlier while living in the California Bay Area.

          A serial rape, I was one of many. The rapist was never caught and although not named, I was in the news a number of times since I was the only one of his “victims” with children. I learned what it is like to become a cultural statistic. Perhaps it was the time. Perhaps it was the place. Perhaps it was a matter of circumstance or all of these, but I was immediately confronted with the stigma of rape. I didn’t know whether to be more stunned by the rapist or at nearly everyone’s surprising reaction. Though confusing, it was an eye opener. It became apparent that being vulnerable, or showing vulnerability, was similar to having a contagious disease no one wanted to catch, so I held tight and carried on. My daughters had both been toddlers with the needs of small children, my family lived thousands of miles away, and the crime had repercussions in my marriage and among our friends and neighbors. Life was complicated and I made the choice to give these concerns my attention. I felt that I had navigated my own response to the rape privately and well.

          While living on the land however, I began having chronic respiratory problems. A wisdom tooth had been surgically extracted from my sinus cavity and wasn’t healing properly which then led to a chronic low grade infection. Simultaneously I also began having the symptoms of PTSD, which wasn’t clearly understood yet, and information about it was not readily available. I often had lucid dreams that began to feel invasive, and was disturbed and disconcerted one afternoon to experience a fever induced trance state which I knew was connected to the dreams. Even though I was seeing both dentists and specialists, this wasn’t something I felt comfortable taking to the medical profession and I was at a loss as to how to navigate in these unexpected and confusing realms, or understand their connection or significance. I knew a bit about transpersonal psychology though and recognized my PTSD symptoms were a spiritual crisis. Instinctively I knew that I needed somewhere I would be able to address this spiritually. However, I hadn’t yet connected any of this with the incident in California.

          I read about a Native American Elder in our local paper and, considering that he might be more spiritually open to the combination of things I was experiencing, had sought his assistance. Through the Native American ceremony of the sweat lodge, I finally understood that my sublimated feelings concerning the experience of rape and its cultural repercussions was the cause of my spiritual crisis and I was able to address the range of emotions I carried from having experienced sexual trauma. Having retreated to the land with agoraphobic tendencies, in retrospect I think I also knew that I needed to be able to allow myself to be vulnerable once again while in the company of others.

          Among the many personal lessons learned through the physicalities of ceremony, chronic illness and working with the land, I understood the necessity of becoming responsive to my own body’s signals in order to find and then maintain an emotional balancing in myself. I learned to follow the pathways of emotion as they physically manifested, energetically opening the wounds to be acknowledged and find their place in my life. Within ceremony, and as my day to day life became a spiritual acknowledgement of my relationship with nature, I learned to connect with a richer, deeper, more intimate Source that inspired healing. After a number of years of ceremony, and although grateful for all his help, I knew I had gone as far in understanding as I was able with the guidance of the Elder.

          Living in an ongoing relationship with this piece of land was an extraordinary decade of learning for me. At the bottom of the page I’ve left a few poetic links about these experiences if you are interested in reading more.

          Families grow and circumstances shift and when the dialogues began we had moved to more southern climes. I was now living in a small mountain city in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Although surrounded by nature, I was not in the same intimate daily contact. In some ways I welcomed the move. Homesteading is hard on the body and I had reached a definitive physical impasse. I no longer experienced bouts of PTSD and felt I had reached a level of health and healing I could maintain. Still, I wanted to find ways to further explore the spiritual relationship I had been building with the deeper Source I had recognized while working in nature.

          It was a considerable change, now that I was living closely among people again, and it left me more open to experiencing new things. One day I was introduced to a woman who was training in shamanic practice who freely shared her experience with me. There was much she shared that seemed at least promising. I knew that shamanic practice was based in a relationship with nature and I was curious and remained interested in cultures that incorporated alternative spiritual states into their worldview, so I initiated an apprenticeship with a shamanic teacher who was attempting to integrate non drug induced shamanic practices with western medical and psychological modalities.

          While working with the practices I was being taught, I again experienced an acceleration of altered states but I found I was personally accessing realms I felt no grounding in. It wasn’t long before these experiences led me from pursuing shamanism further. I was grateful for the experience but my answers were not to be found here either.

          Continuing to follow the path of the intimate Source that I had recognized while working the land and through the sweat lodge ceremony, I began to feel that I was being drawn towards what I thought of as the responsive feminine mysteries, mysterious because I had no clear definition in mind. The symbology that kept recurring was feminine in that the feeling was responsive and supportive although I didn’t attach a gender in a human sense.

          I knew my relationship with this intimate Source had led to my physical and emotional healing. I had yet to understand or clarify the difference between the altered or the inspired states I was experiencing, but I was now making a distinction and becoming more discerning. If all of this sounds confusing in its lack of definition…Well, in a way it was. I was finding myself continually in unknown terrain and navigating with a compass that was more intuitive than anything else.

          There were life experiences I could call on for guidance though. Following the experience of giving birth to two children myself, I felt spiritually compelled to explore the originative mysteries of birthing in every aspect of life. Of how a seed, whether of a person, a living plant or an abstract idea is formed, birthed and then continues to grow. While working with plants as food and medicine, while propagating and raising hundreds of seedlings, I had experienced a commonality and responsiveness with nature facilitating these creative energies. I finally came to the conclusion that instead of looking for an already established spiritual approach to answer my questions, I would best find direction by placing my trust directly in Nature.

          With little preamble, the dialogues began one afternoon while I was engaged in these considerations. I don’t remember having any cohesive thoughts or emotions initially. The experience was too improbable, too out of the ordinary for immediate reflection. I simply accepted the dialogues as I was led through the initial apprenticeship.

          We traversed the fog of my own preconceived ideas of spiritual relationship, religious prejudices and conditioning, and any spiritual ideas or taboos I’d been attracted to or had adopted. While addressing my life long accumulation of spiritual persuasions, I gained practice in this more physical way of communicating. I was also introduced to the rules that were required for engagement. The rules themselves were uncompromising, and in their simplicity, oddly difficult to follow. However, by following the rules I was learning what is required to be present and responsive in the spiritual practice I learned to call Contemplative Resonance.

          A distinct feature of the dialogues was their startling intimacy. I became accustomed to the understanding that everything about me was known in the deepest way, beyond even what I clearly understood myself. There was a flow and a naturalness to the communication that immediately engendered my trust. Who exactly was I in dialogue with? Who knew me so intimately? As they individually introduced themselves, I was informed they were the Divine Angelic Denomination of Light, although I was to learn later that designations themselves, that “naming” is a human inclination utilized and relied on in order to observe and categorize as a prelude to comprehension. Of those that I personally worked with, some were Masters that had been human but the majority I worked with were Beings responsible for overseeing elements of nature. I was given specific training to ensure that I was communicating with only these Beings in their realm of Spirit. This was also reassuring since I had no mystical tradition or human teacher to lean on for guidance and I had had enough of disconcerting experiences navigating on my own in unknown realms I felt no grounding in.

          Ultimately, I was made aware that I was in dialogue with the Divinity of Nature but I didn’t know what to make of this. Within the context of the dialogues whenever I tried formulating an image or an idea of the Divinity of Nature I felt an unimaginable vastness. A velvet dark so boundless, so deeply without beginning or end… I experienced a very visceral response and the feeling this elicited was overwhelming.

          Perhaps this is why we began slowly. As unparalleled teachers, understanding was built upon understanding tailored to my level of comprehension. It was a slow process of experiential integration. Various teachers introduced and named themselves as I was passed from one teacher to another. In this most improbable of situations, I held on to any familiarity I gained from their humor, their strict procedures, the tricks they played on me, which were all tests to discern if I was able to hold my own. For I was finding that this was a mutually co-creative way of communicating. I was expected to be physically discerning no matter what they should tell me. I needed to be able to recognize a reciprocal clarity beyond my own thoughts or emotional responses and I eventually gained ground in the practice of Contemplative Resonance. I learned to be physically resonant by literally making hundreds of mistakes, but more importantly, by being aware and understanding each one of them.

          How did I encompass all of this? I was in totally unfamiliar territory, without familiar references of any kind to explain the experience. Demanding in every way imaginable, the dialogues were far from a blissfully transcendent experience. The absolute intimacy though, was undeniable and encouraging. The challenges of communication completely held my attention as nothing else ever had. Yes, it was an overwhelming experience but I felt extraordinarily alive.

to be continued…


Ceremony ….. The Deep has always loved me ….. One note


© Jana H. White

Artist: Truls Espedal


The Poetics of Light #2

Casey Braugh


Chapter One

Out of the Ordinary into the Real…. continued

The beginning of this series starts here


          Once upon a time…. the beloved opening of story that incites our imaginations transporting us to imagined times and other worlds. We have the ability to live within story using all our senses. And then we put the book down or walk away from the movie and there we are… in our heads and mentally checking the time to see where we need to be or what we need to do.

          In the dialogues I learned that our regard of time is ingrained and acts as the basic mechanics of human perception. Because of this it has the possibility of qualifying a great deal of what we perceive… especially in our day to day functioning since we are all continually engaging in it.  

        We are encouraged through cultural consensus to organize a view of what is valid to incorporate both a past and a future in a seamless linear progression. We become accustomed to thinking in terms of a past and a future. Because of this linear perception, however, patterns of cause and effect are established due to continually viewing events through the lens of a time progression, where the past can be assessed and a possible future projected or manipulated by our desires, our needs or our fears. The general tendency is to not only live within these patterns of cause and effect, consciously or unconsciously, but to evaluate and judge what is possible or “real” according to their parameters.

          This formed the basis of the initial puzzle I was presented, since through engagement in the dialogues it was also made clear that this time oriented progressive continuum is a solely human way of perceiving and by natural extension, it creates its own “reality”. This in turn becomes a problem because this ingrained way of perception, creating a “reality” based on cause and effect, operates separate from the natural order. Since it is inherently impossible to be separate from the world we exist in, this raises the possibility that we are literally living in two different perceptual paradigms! Many of us have known or sensed this, incorporating our understanding into our spiritual practices, our creative work and most often in our relationships with nature. 

          The questions inevitably arise though. What is the natural order? Are these two systems of creation compatible? Do they function symbiotically? Do they work at odds with one another? What conditions are promoted if one becomes dominant over the other? What effect does this have on us personally and collectively? It makes the head spin and the heart ache…

          The dialogues covered material that I found increasingly difficult, not only to comprehend in their complexity, but to assimilate. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, we are being introduced to another view of the workings of our world. In many ways I entered a heart of darkness, but darkness can also be seen as creatively deconstructive and a source of all fertility.

          In navigating the complications of how to write this narrative I found I was tempered by and tossed between both involvement and a certain uncomfortable resistance. The resistance permeated my understanding of how to approach this narrative when confronted with the challenge of representing the implications of two different operating paradigms in a linear written format. Is it even possible? At times I also felt as if I was a Pandora character letting all manner of chaos out of a carefully sealed box. There was the probability of anything I shared being viewed with the familiar linear logic of a progressive cause and effect. Hadn’t I fallen into this predicament myself often enough?

          The puzzle we are being presented however, can not be understood, let alone assimilated, by a progressive logic or even simple observation using our ordinary way of looking at things! It becomes overwhelming, and personally I have found it a veritable slippery slope, until I am able to enter or engage a perception based upon immediate relationship with the fullness of Divinity including the spiritual intelligence of Nature, our creative counterpart. I am finding that here lie the seeds of trust with the possibility of effective compassionate action. At the very least it has been a catalyst for personal change. This may seem a little abstract…perhaps just noble sounding words on a page. However, we are not alone in our attempts at understanding. Life in relationship is by nature responsive affording each of us opportunities to find our own way to these insights in ways tailored to our own comprehension and within the realms of our personal experience.

     We are being given an interactive map of what has been created due to our collective perception. Collective being the operative word here. It is true that while working in the dialogues, although ideas were introduced, I was never simply handed information. In order to genuinely understand what was being conveyed, to personally acquire a grasp of the material, it was necessary that I make the attempt to communicate solely in the perception that was being introduced. The exploration became an entirely experiential one… one which is impossible to reproduce here. The dialogues however, were based in relationship and this leads me to consider that relationship itself is an essential key to understanding. My experience also leads me to consider that in sharing this narrative here in an open, ongoing format, could we possibly be continuing what has only begun?

To be continued…


© Jana H. White

Drawing… Casey Baugh

The Poetics of Light



Chapter One

Out of the Ordinary and into the Real


     What do I know of time? The measuring of days, the phases of the moon, the changing seasons, the cycles of history, aging and the natural rhythms of life, they all interweave in my considerations. Memory and possibility play their hands.

         During the days before the turn of the 20st century when the idea of time was prominent in the collective mind, the “timing” was oddly perfect that I was challenged with a puzzle. The puzzle was to understand my relationship with time. The challenge was to become experientially aware of my perceptual relationship with time.

         In the reflective quiet of an afternoon I was prompted to engage in a series of spiritual dialogues with intelligent Beings responsible for various aspects of the natural world, who were well versed in the history of humanity and who surprisingly knew me intimately. When I asked who they were, I was told they were the Divine Angelic Denomination of Light and I admit I went through all my references of angelic visitations and guardian angels until I realized… I was in entirely un-referenced territory. The dialogue that began that afternoon developed into an extended series of dialogues which lasted for many years. The puzzle is something I continue to work on every day.

         I have learned a great deal in my life about persistence, endurance and a flexible kind of continuity since whenever I am finally settled somewhere, something inevitably uproots me, keeping me continually on the move. I have become accustomed to creating a kind of order in these chaotic situations, situations which prevent me from becoming more firmly rooted in place. I find stability in family, in friendship, in being a mother, in nature and even though I am now on my own, in partnership. I will also be eternally grateful that I have two daughters, great friends now they are grown and mothers themselves, who have blessed me with four creatively inquisitive grandchildren. I’ve worked any number of odd and interesting jobs but my energies have remained centered within my family, whether it’s my family by blood or ones created by work or circumstance.

         For the most part from a young age Nature has been my constant spiritual companion. I was raised Catholic, gravitated towards Indigenous and Eastern spiritual traditions, although like the rest of my life, none has firmly taken root. I’m naturally introverted and unabashed by the need for solitude and I enjoy working with my hands. I have only begun writing in recent years in order to understand and share this experience. In trying my hand at writing I very quickly discovered a love for writing poetry, which for me is the most natural language.

         The dialogues themselves were often in poetic voice, a welcome break from the usual strict formality. I would have been happy translating this experience solely in poetry but in writing this narrative I am following the path taken in the dialogues, convincing me that to the best of my ability this narrative necessitates a specific unambiguous clarity. Finally, I am of the persuasion that it is useless to question why I was asked to engage in the dialogues. Perhaps it is just that I had the space in my life to listen.

         In writing this account of my experience I’ve also come to understand the impossibility of describing perception itself in language, since I’ve learned that perception is by nature experiential. In order to acquire a grasp of my perceptual relationship with time however, I was challenged to dialogue in an alternate perception, affording me ample opportunity for comparison. In writing this account I find it difficult, but not entirely impossible, to give an account of engaging in an alternate perception by describing the responses I had in my attempts.

         In my search for vocabulary to describe an experience difficult to describe, I have developed a huge respect for shared dialogue. As I’ve been writing my way to my own understanding and sharing my attempts along the way, I’ve experienced that words have the possibility of becoming more than ink on a page when there is shared dialogue. As in oral culture before we developed and began to depend on the written word in order to communicate, by openly encouraging this sharing I am hoping the ideas presented in the dialogues have the opportunity to stay current, to remain alive, and most importantly to find context in as many personal ways as possible.

         In all honesty, on a day by day basis, my own experiential understanding of perception comes and goes. Living in our world is complicated and I’ve learned that, although we entertain the idea of enlightenment, there is no such thing as static accomplishment. It requires continual participation, continual acknowledgement to navigate the borderlines of awareness and perception. It is also very clear to me that although we may all be in this life together, our spiritual approaches are inevitably unique even when following a common path.

         However, my experience also leads me to acknowledge that even though we are unique in our spirituality, consciousness is relationship and is all inclusive. A door has been opened. When a door opens, it opens for us all.   

To be continued….


© Jana H. White

Artist credit: Michal Lukasiewicz


Beauty waits



There is nothing ambiguous about loss

it fills the spaces left behind

a tenderness that registers the slightest wind

so vulnerable it stops breath from breathing

in sudden recognition of how hard it is

to fill space when empty

waking each day turned inside out


There is nothing ambiguous about loss

That sharp clacking of stone upon stone

leaving a path of shards

the hidden gravity that shades the color blue

Where memory seems more than skin

translucent but barnacled…

a legacy of the light of dead stars


There is nothing ambiguous about loss

it separates the cut edges

opening abrasions with graveled hands

where hearing is more sensitive than sight

as music evokes both acid and balm

and the heaviness of dreaming

is carried in weary flesh


There is nothing ambiguous about loss

I am ever present in its deep grain

comprising the growth rings

through which side branches grow

I have become something other than I was

something less something more

while separated from beauty


This seemingly inexhaustible thirst

redeemed in the breath of wildness

each inhalation responding

each exhalation my wordless prayer

In animal distress

I bend low at the stream

Silent, listening…. I drink


Photo credit:

I dream of being a weed…



I dream of being a weed

traveling in my roots carving deep,

just carving, scraping away

letting go more of the surface

each time I tap deeper


These are restless nights

waking with soil packed tight

at the corner of eyes picking at

worm castings under fingernails

the scrim wrapped tight round my head

caked with quartz shards and clay

filaments of memory scattered about the floor

the moon an aboriginal instinct


I’m a veteran miner

more comfortable in the dark

where I can keep an eye on things


On the surface my tough rosettes

of green continue to vitamin the grassy bank

the untamed sun persisting in its pursuit

until finally … reluctant with abandon


There is no letting go. Why would I?

There is nothing of worth to carry…

All I can do is bloom



 drawing and poem …. j.h.white

The Scent of Me


Dark, my scent the smoke of wood fungus

Hidden, my intimate flesh the sugared amber sap of trees

Returning, my under arms the rotting nurture of fallen leaves


The fertile air tentacles

leaving traces

of spores and maple and mold.

Some leave quickly and some take hold.



Poem and painting … j.h.white.

Pencil Noir #8


Winter Solstice 2015

Every December for the past few years I’ve curated a storm of snowflakes from white paper. I’ll accumulate a blizzard eventually. Try as I may, because they’re small, I’ve never been able to duplicate the same snowflake twice.

Each year seems to have a certain design theme…a defining scissors Rorschach test of sorts. Some years they’re gracefully hypnotic, one year  like a child cutting with blunt scissors. Last year the flakes looked more like an archaic language waiting to be deciphered. This year I wanted to branch out and so I added glue, a pencil and a little paint.

There’s not enough peace in the world to feel giddy this year making paper snowflakes. Not that there ever has been enough peace in the world, but lately peace seems more fragile. I’m aware of the families sleeping in tents and under trees along the roadside. I think of the children as I draw.

I’ve also been daydreaming about the absolute quiet of snow. I wonder, what would it be like if the entire world experienced a few days of absolute quiet?


Drawing collage by j.h. white

Microbial fantasia #2


fantasia #2_2



our lips meet

in wild fields


 Before sailing


 a jungle

of beastly




“Passions that quicken your senses, fulfill; quench the thirst of lonesome years! Yet the sun has shadows, learn to control your will; to enjoy life long happiness, not tears! Wait! Rise to the stars above & thrill! Arouse the very flames of life! Sweetheart, kiss me: Hold still, hold still!”….. Excerpt from Dr Bronner’s original rant.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap


“The human microbiome (or human microbiota) is the aggregate of microorganisms, a microbiome that resides on the surface and in deep layers of skin, in the saliva and oral mucosa, in the conjunctiva, and in the gastrointestinal tracts. They include bacteria, fungi, and archaea. One study indicated they outnumber human cells 10 to 1.”

Human microbiome ….


Drawing and poem … j h white