Re Verse

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 – I directed an inquiry to the Assistant Rector of St. Luke’s, and he replied, “The Book of Ecclesiastes is an Apochryphal Book. It has never been included in the canon.” Apocryphal means of doubtful authorship or authenticity; hence fictitious or false. It is derived from the Greek word apokryphos, which means hidden, concealed, obscure. Perhaps the wide variations in text created the doubt in the book’s authenticity. Then again, the entire bible had always struck me as full of obscure meaning. Surely, the angels were enjoying this game with me.

“TRUST HIM AND HE WILL HELP YOU STEER A STRAIGHT COURSE AND SET YOUR HOPE ON HIM: ECCLUS 2:6.”

Providence. Providence is aptly defined as the foreseeing care and guidance, of God, or Nature, over the creatures of the earth. The word is derived from Providentia, the divine feminine personification of a virtue celebrated in the art and literature of ancient Roman culture. More specifically, Providentia represented “the knowledge of things that are good or bad or neither.” She was the embodiment of Wisdom.

This heaven-sent challenge of verse, word play and political intrigue prompted me to dwell upon a new order. I thought about the divine feminine and the gradual spiritual reawakening of our connection to Mother Earth. This idea of a new order embraces the process of breaking the hold of modern patriarchal systems of control – from John Brown and the King of England to the current industrial military complex – and overturning the prevailing economic worldview that disavows this sacred interconnection of all life and the free will of all individuals. So many people fear for the survival of Earth, as many of mankind’s large corporations continue to pollute the waters and deforest vast areas of land, all in the pursuit of world market dominance and false profits.

This is a dim picture of the world is slowly becoming more illuminated. The shedding of more light allows these dark problems to be seen, studied and corrected. There is great purpose in identifying, understanding and solving small problems and large ones. As people take positive, conscious and wise action in their spheres of interest and influence, collectively they will help Earth revert to a healthier more balanced state. As more and more people envision a kinder, more just and sensible order, the simple acts of imagining and engaging will tip the scales.

Reflecting on all this, I felt at liberty to pen my own pentameter verse of Ecclesiastes 2:6 for a new age.

Regardless of dogma and the authenticity of religious works, and regardless of God’s gender, faith is about trusting a higher power to provide for both Earth’s and Humanity’s collective well-being. On the one hand this relies on the ability to let go and let God, and on the other hand this relies on human being’s growing ability to connect with their angel guides’ higher levels of intelligence. Read more

Richly Dight

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 – Arriving at the church, I entered and went straight to the window at the back of the sanctuary. I examined the ship and its setting in detail. The bottom of the lower window panel had a bible verse, styled in Old English lettering, like an illuminated manuscript: “TRUST HIM AND HE WILL HELP YOU STEER A STRAIGHT COURSE AND SET YOUR HOPE ON HIM: ECCLUS 2:6.”

I stepped away from the window and walked down the left side of the sanctuary to visit my favorite series of windows, a triptych depicting a bucolic scene of heaven and earth. I studied the bible verses at the bottom of the left and right panels, also styled in Old English lettering: “THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, AND THE FULLNESS THEREOF” and “THE WORLD, AND THEY THAT DWELL THEREIN.” (shown at the top of this page) I sensed a connection between the two windows that merited some investigation and decided to return home to do some research.

Comparing the Ecclesiastes verse from the Providence window to the verse in my Standard Bible, I was surprised to find the two versions were completely different. In my bible I read: “2:6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.” It was followed by “2:7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house.”

The Rhode Island General Assembly purchased the sloop “Katy” in 1775 from John Brown, a wealthy merchant, slave trader and statesman, who lived in Providence. The “Katy” was commissioned to serve the Continental Army against the British and renamed USS “Providence.” It was one of first ships to form the U.S. Navy.

It struck me as a twist of irony, that the U.S.S. Providence served as a merchant vessel of a slave trader, only to be rededicated to the fight for freedom from the enslaving rule of England. The alternate verse drew my attention to this fact. I searched online and found a third version of the same verse, originally written about 200 years before Christ. “Believe God, and he will recover thee: and direct thy way, and trust in him. Keep his fear, and grow old therein.”

Keep his fear? Grow old therein? Puzzled by the turn of phrase, I thought about the words beneath the triptych window, “Dwell therein.” THEREIN. The words tumbled around inside my mind and my heart, settling into a different order. HIS FEAR… THE EARTH… THE WORLD… HIS SPHERE? And storied windows richly dight.

KEEP HIS SPHERE, AND GROW OLD THEREIN.

Take good care of this planet, and live a long life. Had I discovered a pun that had been intentionally laid there by angels overtime for someone to find… or had I created the pun of my own mind?

A pun is a literary device where a word is or similar sounding words are used in a manner to suggest two or more possible meanings. This is generally done to the effect of creating humor or irony, and make the reader have an “ah-ha!” moment.

Inspired by a cryptic triptych, I had stumbled upon the wide discrepancies in biblical verse and connected the bits of information, like the pieces of a puzzle. Deeply intrigued, I sought more information from an ecclesiastical expert. Read more

Storied Windows


Wednesday, October 5, 2011 – The angel reply came back promptly, proposing a playful challenge.

The word dim sparked my curiosity, although I have no idea exactly why it was that word. I consulted Webster’s Dictionary, which listed the synonyms for dim as obscure, dark and mysterious, among others. Inserted among the longer definitions of dim, not luminous or bright, was a quote by John Milton ((1608-1674).

Milton was an English poet who lived during a time of religious strife. Bartlett’s book of Familiar Quotations devotes almost thirteen pages to quotes by Milton. I guessed that “storied windows” referred to the stained glass windows of churches, and in finding the section of verse in Bartlett’s, my guess was confirmed.

I had to flip through the pages of the dictionary to find the meaning of dightto arrange or put in order. I asked myself, “What is the pentameter of this piece of verse?”

Pentameter is a literary device that can be defined as a line in verse or poetry that has five strong metrical feet or beats per line. A metrical foot is a grouping of one stressed syllable with one to two unstressed syllables that repeats in a regular pattern.

Playing with pencil and paper, I altered the Milton quote into pentameter form with five double-syllable beats in each line:

Then I typed it into an email response:

While dispatching my response, the spiritual detective within me suddenly understood the intention of the words “when the ship sails in.” Without waiting to receive a follow-up reply, I left the house and drove a mile into downtown East Greenwich to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, on the hill. St. Luke’s has a magnificent organ and a sanctuary surrounded by a marvelous collection of stained-glass windows. From the top of the church steeple, one can watch boats sail in and out of East Greenwich harbor, and there, at the back of the sanctuary is a stained glass window depicting the ship Providence (shown at the top of this page)… Read more

A Spirited Game

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 – How many people are aware of the subtle messages constantly being transferred from a spiritual realm into material reality, and how many such people consciously seek these messages for inspiration or guidance?

In the early afternoon I had a brief appointment with my friend Stan, who owns a promotional products business. I wanted to look at samples of small personalized pencils that children can keep in their pocket. Upon finishing my meeting, Stan commented how he had been having trouble sleeping and was waking at 2:00 every morning, with lots of ideas in his head. I acknowledged that this happens to me, too.

This is a widely-experienced phenomenon that happens in the liminal space that separates the end of the night and the beginning of a new day, sometime between 2am and 4am. A friend of mine once referred to this time as the Hour of the Angels. Could it be that this time of peace and quiet is the best time for the spiritual realm to download the answers to the perplexing questions that are in people’s heads as they settle into bed for the night?

Driving out of Stan’s parking lot, I turned on the radio and heard the words “you can’t sleep,” from Robert Palmer’s song Addicted to Love.

When songs on the radio align with my thoughts or experiences, I wonder if some musical angel has just whispered into the subconscious mind of the DJ. Recognizing and acting upon communications from angels through such cryptic means has become a game for me. This game was inspired by two characters, Sophie Neveu and Robert Langdon, in Dan Brown’s spiritual detective novel The Da Vinci Code. I associated with Sophie’s archetype as a cryptographer. Her parents were killed in a car accident when she was very young, and she was raised by her grandfather, an art curator. Her grandfather trained her to solve complicated word puzzles, and, before he was murdered, he had created a trail of clues, for Sophie to find and decipher. The story is a fine arts treasure hunt, in which Sophie and Robert must reveal the hidden meaning behind one masterpiece after another, in order to navigate to the final conclusion – a revelation about the Divine Feminine that could shatter history. My version of the treasure hunt game is a bit more whimsical and lighthearted. I play it with angels, and my husband dubbed it Story Walking.

Upon arriving home from Stan’s, I composed a playful query in rhyme and emailed it to my friend Anne, a collector of illuminated manuscripts who channels angel messages back and forth… between here and there.

I wondered if this would elicit a response. It did… Read more.

How Can Plants Create Music?

How often do you receive appreciation, positive feedback and gratitude for something you’ve written?

This morning I received this message: “I’m blown away by your depth of understanding and your ability to translate that to others. Thank you again…from the bottom of my heart!” In researching the “Music of the the Plants,” I brought one of my own house plants along on the interview, to see if my plant would play me some music… and I was blown away! Below is the text of the article published on page 34 in the newest edition of RI Natural Awakenings magazine.

Plant Pioneers Human-Plant Relations Movement

Plant Pioneers are a group of plant lovers dedicated to raising awareness about plant consciousness and the inter-connected mutual relationships humans have with all living systems. This organization explores intelligent plant activity using an audio synthesizer that gives plants a voice, making their electrical frequencies audible to human ears through musical sounds. The audio interface is called “Music of the Plants.” Two wires from a pre-programmed synthesizer are connected to a plant, one onto the plant’s leaf, the other in the soil to complete the circuit. The synthesizer is similar to a biofeedback device and the sounds emitted by the synthesizer are generated by the plant’s own electrical impulses. Each impulse is assigned a specific musical note, and the harmonic tones are mesmerizing.

This process of human-plant communication was developed by an international community of scientists living in the Damanhur, a Federation of spiritual communities located in Italy. Damanhur has drawn the interest of scholars, educators and researchers in the fields of art, social sciences, spirituality, medicine and alternative health, economics and environmental sustainability. In addition to communicating with insects, plants appear to be responding to animals, humans and other environmental activities in ways that call for further investigation.

Bonnie Kavanagh, a second generation nurse and community herbalist with over 35 years experience in health care, is a local educator for Plant Pioneers. She is a graduate of the Rosemary Gladstar Art and Science of Herbology Apprenticeship and teaches herbal and gardening classes at 7 Arrows Farm in Attleboro, MA.

Field and woodland explorations awaken the instinctual nature that is part of the human genetic blueprint. This blueprint holds the key for understanding Nature’s subtle language. The sensory experiences of listening and feeling, taught by the “Music of the Plants,” enhance the sensory interactions traditionally associated with the study of herbs and healing – sight, touch, smell and taste. Observing Nature with all of the senses allows for the rediscovery of indigenous and ancient ways of interacting with the environment.

Plant Pioneers are showing people how to open their channels to listening, how to become a participant in Nature’s living landscape and how to do so with reciprocal dignity, integrity and respect. As stewards for the Earth’s whole system, Plant Pioneers are teaching people to treat plants and trees as sentient beings that have a rightful place in the grand scheme of the world. Plants have a lot to teach to humans. Kavanagh states this clearly, “Plants are the most benevolent of beings. We cannot survive without them and they require so little back from us. People, especially children (the future), need to be connected to the peace and healing that Nature offers.”

Join the movement. Sponsor a Plant Pioneer event at a farm, organization, school or home. Experience the Music of the Plants at 7 Arrows Farm. For more information on workshops and presentations, contact Bonnie at 508-399-7860 or kavnurse@hotmail.com. Learn more at http://www.plantpioneers.org.

Location: 346 Oakhill Avenue, Seekonk, MA

Article from page 34 of https://issuu.com/mcary/docs/2019-05_rina

A Writer’s Fairy Tale

After spending an hour picking and cleaning dandelion greens to make a salad, I went out for a walk. At the corner of Middle Road and Balsam Drive, I saw a shiny object laying on the sidewalk. It was a tiny gold metal charm shaped like a flower. Neither bronze, nor silver, but gold. In the center was a gold letter L, surrounded by a circle of blue enamel. I saw the faces of two roaring lions and read the word LIONS at the top and the word INTERNATIONAL at the bottom.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s biggest service club. The members, called Lions, help others in their local communities. I thought about the dandelions I had just picked, and I thought about the word dandy. Dandy means very good, as in dandy lion – a very good lion. I held in my hand was the lost charm of a dandy Lion! Was this merely coincidence?

I looked at the tiny metal charm and thought to myself, “It looks like a fairy-sized medal.” A medal is an award for being the best at something. It hangs around the neck on a ribbon. I could imagine a small fairy finding this charm and wearing it on a string around her neck.

I looked at the tiny medal charm and thought, “A medal is also an award given to a soldier for mettle.” Mettle means courage to carry on. If someone wants to test your mettle, they want to see if you have the heart to follow through when the going gets tough. Lions are associated with courage.

I looked at the tiny mettle charm, came to a decision and announced, “I give this tiny metal medal for mettle to the dandelion. Dandelions grow in some of the toughest places, in poor soil and up through cracks of asphalt. They tolerate frost, freezing cold and crowding. They grow fast and spread as quickly as the wind can scatter their seeds.

I looked at the charm and thought of fourth word, meddle, which means to mix or mess around in someone else’s business. This word stirred my imagination further. Do fairies meddle with people? I could imagine a small fairy carefully placing the charm down on the sidewalk and darting away into the bushes, giggling. All in good fun, of course!

A Writer’s Fairy Tale Continued: Our son, Neil, passed away with cancer in early 2017. Heartbroken, I was trying to figure out how to carry on with my life. This was difficult. Then, three months after Neil’s passing, I found another magical golden treasure on a sidewalk. My friend Gail, an artist whose primary medium is light metals, was showing me the new 2-mile walking path she had established in collaboration with the Health Equity Zone. The path runs through the most impoverished neighborhood in the City of Pawtucket, and it was created to promote more walking and safer walking. I had helped to inspire the concept before Neil became ill, and Gail had brought the idea into reality in the time since. As we began to walk, I saw an ornament lying on the sidewalk – a gold medallion. A medal-lion?

There were also many dandelions along the sidewalk. Dandelions are known for their detoxification effects, especially for cleansing the organs of heavy metal. All parts of the plant are edible, including the roots, stems, leaves and flowers. Each part will cleanse a different part of the body. Tea made from the root helps the digestive system, the stems support the liver and spleen, and the leaves detoxify the blood and lymphatic systems. 

Today while out walking, taking a break from writing this blog, I found three treasures… all mechanical pencils… in serviceable condition… in three different places along Cedar Avenue… perhaps telling me to carry on… keep on walking… dreaming… writing… and having fun with words… and so I shall.

I see… a high-caliber… sharp writer?


Letter Writing

After writing a long letter to someone Saturday morning, I attended the “RI Writing Project” Spring Conference in the afternoon and listened to Rhode Island’s Poet Laureate, Tina Cane, speak to an audience of school educators about social and emotional learning and, surprisingly, letter writing. After reading some of her poetry, Tina asked us to take a few minutes to write a letter to a teacher from whom we learned something important.

The lessons we remember are not the facts memorized for tests – math formulas, history dates or verb conjugations. Rather, we remember the relevant information we can apply to living mindful lives. Then Tina prompted us to circle the strongest words in our letters and use those to compose a poem. So here is my tribute to my third grade teacher, Miss Fribley:

DEAR MISS FRIBLEY.

You challenged us to use esoteric words.

Words like scintillating, onomatopoeia and loquacious.

We competed in spelling bees and homonym games,

and decades later,

when a Praying Mantis landed

atop the polished surface of our Punch Buggy,

to contemplate its reflection,

I did, too,

recognizing Nature’s astonishing word play:

Praying on a Beetle

Preying on a Beetle, a gargantuan Beetle.

Dear Miss Fribley, how does one swallow such a thing as that?

Wondering what Miss Fribley may be doing now, I conducted a search and came across her obituary:

Judith Ann Fribley, of Winnetka, IL., died July 7, 2008. She was 71.

Born April 25, 1937 in Pana, she was a 1955 graduate of Pana High School, and attended MacMurray College in Jacksonville Illinois, where she pursued a degree in elementary education. She taught for many years at Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka and did graduate studies in education at the University of Illinois. She spent several years teaching in Connecticut before returning to Illinois. She often traveled throughout the United States, pursuing her interests in wildlife and the Native American culture. Her trip to Alaska to see Mt. McKinley in the sun was one of her most memorable.

Ms. Fribley was an active member of the Winnetka Presbyterian Church, and an avid volunteer at Good News Partners of Jonquil Street in Chicago, which provides housing and other services for the formerly homeless. She also tutored and mentored indigent children through Good News’ programs, and cooked and served at the soup kitchen they sponsor. She was a longtime supporter of many local and national charities. She was known for her love of cats, and throughout her life adopted many from local shelters.

Ms. Fribley enjoyed gardening and visiting museums and cultural events with friends and family. She was an abundantly generous woman, and a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. She resided in Winnetka until 2004, when she entered the Alzheimer’s wing of Presbyterian Homes, McGaw Care Center, in Evanston

There is a quote at the top of Miss Fribley’s obituary page: “Say not in grief: ‘He is no more’, but live in thankfulness that he was.” And so, I think of him, our late son Neil, who loved games as well as Miss Fribley.

From a social emotional learning perspective, this letter writing assignment serves two express purposes. One is to articulate a life lesson, and the other is to express thankfulness, a practice which has benefits that extend far beyond school and on into later life. Thank you, Miss Fribley.

A letter is a wonderful to say “Thank You” or to let someone know you are thinking about them. When is the last time you wrote a personal letter, by hand, and mailed it to someone special?

Slam Dunk!