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Poetry of Nature | Early Summer | Geoff Oelsner

This is one of two letters available monthly to Poetry of Nature subscribers.


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Geoff’s Gifting for June 2023


Dear PON Friends,


This day is a gift.


This year the Summer Solstice arrives here in the Northern Hemisphere at 10:57 A.M. Eastern time on June 21.


Summer is a time of increase in the fire element. The increasing heat of the sun bears and beats down on us as it grows and greens the plants.


Here’s a healing poem that features fire as a focus:


For Calling The Spirit Back

From Wandering The Earth

In Its Human Feet


Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that

bottle of pop.


Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.


Open the door, then close it behind you.


Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel

the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.


Give back with gratitude.


If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.


Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were

a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.


Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the

guardians who have known you before time,

who will be there after time.

They sit before the fire that has been there without time.


Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.


Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people

who accompany you.

Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought

down upon them.


Don’t worry.

The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises,

interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and

those who will despise you because they despise themselves.


The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few

years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.


Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and

leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the

thieves of time.


Do not hold regrets.


When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning

by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.


You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.


Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.


Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.


Ask for forgiveness.


Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.


Call yourself back. You will find yourself caught in corners and creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.


You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.

Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.


Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It will return

in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be

happy to be found after being lost for so long.


Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and

given clean clothes.


Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who

loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no

place else to go.


Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.


Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark.


~ Joy Harjo


In addition to our physical universe of stars and naked flame, the full sacred Spectrum of Radiance includes the brilliance of subtle “fire that has been there without time.”


May the sun bless your face. May the greenness, suppleness, lushness, vitality, the fecundity of Life touch you most tenderly. May what the great Rhineland mystic, visionary, composer, artist, writer, herbalist, spiritual activist, protofeminist Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) called Viriditas (Latin for “greenness”) touch you now and anew this summer.


Hildegard of Bingen set choral music to her lyrics of this hymn that honors spiritual fire:


Holy Spirit of Fire


O Holy Spirit of Fire,

life in the life of all life,

holy are you,

enlivening all things.


Holy are you,

a healing balm

to the broken.

Holy are you,

washing

blistered wounds.


O Holy Breath,

O Fire of Life,

O Sweetness in my breast

infusing my heart

with the fine scent of truth.


O Pure Fountain

through which we know

God unites strangers

and gathers the lost.


O Heart’s Shield, guarding life

and hope, joining the many members

into one body;

Belt of Truth,

wrap them in beauty.


Protect those ensnared

by the enemy,

and free the worthy

from their fetters.


O Great Way that runs through all,

from the heights,

across the earth,

and in the depths,

you encompass all and unify all.


From you the clouds stream

and the ether rises;

from your stones precious water pours,

springs well and birth waterways,

and the earth sweats green with life.


And eternally do you bring forth knowledge

by the breath of wisdom.


All praise to you,

you who are the song of praise

and the joy of life,

you who are hope and the greatest treasure,

bestowing the gift of Light.


~ English version by Ivan M. Granger


A magnificent vocal performance of “Holy Spirit of Fire” by the women of Anonymous Four from their CD The Origin of Fire - Music and Visions of Hildegard von Bingen can be found under the title “Hymn: O ignee spiritus” on YouTube.


For a fascinating profile of the cosmic musical visions and innovations of Hildegard of Bingen, google the article “Hildegard of Bingen Composes the Cosmos” in the February 6, 2023 New Yorker by Alex Ross.


How do you relate to the fire/light element? To the sun, to flame, to transcendental Light? What might you write about from your lifetime experience of such wonders? Of the intensified heat and light of summer?


Please Touch the Earth with Love,


Geoff

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