Monday, December 05, 2016

Take This Memory With You Into the Winter. "It Took Tremendous Courage to Take A New Approach to Our Nation-to-Nation Relationship, and We will Be Forever Grateful"

 
Edward S. Curtis - Sioux Child (c1905)

"Wes Clark Jr., the son of retired U.S. Army general and former supreme commander at NATO Wesley Clark Sr., was part of a group of veterans at Standing Rock one day after the Army Corps announcement. The veterans joined Native American tribal elders in a ceremony celebrating the Dakota Access Pipeline easement denial. Lakota spiritual leader and medicine man Chief Leonard Crow Dog and Standing Rock Sioux spokeswoman Phyllis Young were among several Native elders who spoke, thanking the veterans for standing in solidarity during the protests. Clark got into formation by rank, with his veterans, and knelt before the elders asking for their forgiveness for the long brutal history between the United States and Native Americans: 'Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faced of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.'"  -- Charlie May, Salon, 12/5/16

Take this memory with you into the winter. Two powerful acts, one on Sunday, one on Monday, offer compelling evidence that the great shift is already underway, even as we seemingly fall into an abyss. On 12/4/16, Barack Obama (POTUS) and the U.S. Army Corps summoned what Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II called "tremendous courage," they declared that there would no further madness-driven DAPL desecration on the sacred land of the Sioux. On 12/5/16, two thousand U.S. military veterans who had traveled to Standing Rock to serve as human shields, bowed before the Sioux tribal leaders and asked forgiveness for the crimes committed against the indigenous peoples throughout our history. The rainbow serpent has awakened. The age of Pachamama is dawning, even as the holocaust that is the age of Ayn Rand rages on all around us. An evolutionary leap is coming. Breathe into it, lean forward, love one another, serve Mother Earth. A time of magic and miracles is arriving -- within us and all around us. -- Richard Power
 
Excerpts from the Statement of Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II:

“Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes. We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision. We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need. Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner – and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days ... Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns. In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful. -- Statement by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, 12/4/16

Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are  available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Toni Morrison: "We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal."

Pelican. Lake Merritt. Oakland, November 2016.

"There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art." -- Toni Morrison, No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear: In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent. The Nation, 3-23-16. 


Pelican. Lake Merritt. Oakland, November 2016.

"Dictators and tyrants routinely begin their reigns and sustain their power with the deliberate and calculated destruction of art: the censorship and book-burning of unpoliced prose, the harassment and detention of painters, journalists, poets, playwrights, novelists, essayists. This is the first step of a despot whose instinctive acts of malevolence are not simply mindless or evil; they are also perceptive. Such despots know very well that their strategy of repression will allow the real tools of oppressive power to flourish. Their plan is simple: 1. Select a useful enemy -- an 'Other' -- to convert rage into conflict, even war. 2. Limit or erase the imagination that art provides, as well as the critical thinking of scholars and journalists. 3. Distract with toys, dreams of loot, and themes of superior religion or defiant national pride that enshrine past hurts and humiliations." -- Toni Morrison, No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear: In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent. The Nation, 3-23-15

 

Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are  available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Of Freedom and Service in a Time of Dire Consequences

U.N. Plaza and Market Street. San Francisco, November 2016.

“Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.” -- Jean-Paul Sartre


Altar. San Francisco, November 2016.

"Your own Self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world." -- Sri Ramana Maharshi


Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are  available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Autumn Trees and The Partisan

Georgia O'Keeffe - Autumn Trees - The Maple (1924)
"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way,"  
said Georgia O'Keeffe, "things I had no words for."

"Leonard Cohen, who died this week, was one of our greatest songwriters—Bob Dylan told Cohen that he considered him his nearest rival—and is a figure of almost cult-like devotion among fans. He began as a poet in the vein of Allen Ginsberg and Frank O’Hara before releasing his first album, in 1967. Suffering from terrible anxiety, not much tamed by alcohol and drugs, he conquered his fear of performing onstage after decades of Zen practice. David Remnick sat down with Cohen this summer at his home in Los Angeles to discuss his career, spiritual influences, triumphant final tours, and preparing for his end. 'I am ready to die,' Cohen said. He was already suffering from a number of health problems. 'At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order. It’s a cliché, but it’s underestimated as an analgesic on all levels. Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.' Remnick’s Profile of Cohen offers a look into the introspection of the musician’s final days ..." -- Leonard Cohen: A Final Interview, The New Yorker, 11/10/16 

"When they poured across the border / I was cautioned to surrender / This I could not do ..."
-- Leonard Cohen, The Partisan
  
You Tube Video: Leonard Cohen "The Partisan" Live on French TV, 1969 - Présenté par Joe Dassin

[NOTE: If you receive Words of Power via e-mail subscription, this video will not appear in the body of the message, you can either click on the You Tube link above to watch it there or view the embedded video in this post on Words of Power. Steal eight minutes from the madness of the world, and watch and listen to this for your soul's nourishment.]



Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are  available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Super Moon Over America

Super Moon. November 2016.
"Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes." -- Walt Whitman.

Super Moon. November 2016.
"Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes." -- Margaret Atwood, A Handmaid's Tale. 

Super Moon. November 2016.
"Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge." -- Audre Lorde 

 "Skygazers were heading to high-rise buildings, ancient forts and beaches Monday to witness the closest 'supermoon' to Earth in almost seven decades, hoping for dramatic photos and spectacular surf. The unusually big and bright Moon will appear at its most impressive just as night falls over Asia, but astronomy enthusiasts will be able to see Earth's satellite loom large anywhere in the world shortly after sunset, weather permitting.The phenomenon happens when the Moon is full at the same time as, or very near, perigee—its closest point to Earth on an elliptical, monthly orbit. It should appear at its most impressive at 1352 GMT. It will be the closest to Earth since 1948 at a distance of 356,509 kilometres (221,524 miles), creating what NASA described as 'an extra-supermoon'." -- Sam Reeves, Skygazers gear up for extra bright 'supermoon', Phys.Org, 11/14/15

Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are  available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.

 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Something Bad Has Happened, and Life, the Earth, Our Future are All of One Voice, In Calling for ...

Eliza Byard (@EByard), 11/19/16. This is how the future voted.
This is what people 18-25 said in casting their votes. We must keep this flame alight and nurture this vision.

There were 25 debates during the presidential primaries and general election and not a single question about the attack on voting rights, even though this was the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Fourteen states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in 2016—including crucial swing states like Wisconsin and Virginia ... We’ll likely never know how many people were kept from the polls by restrictions like voter-ID laws, cuts to early voting, and barriers to voter registration. But at the very least this should have been a question that many more people were looking into. For example, 27,000 votes currently separate Trump and Clinton in Wisconsin, where 300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked strict forms of voter ID. Voter turnout in Wisconsin was at its lowest levels in 20 years and decreased 13 percent in Milwaukee, where 70 percent of the state’s African-American population lives, according to Daniel Nichanian of the University of Chicago. -- Ari Berman, GOP Attack on Voting Rights Was Most Under-Covered Story of 2016, The Nation, 11/9/16

There are no adequate words for what happened on election day 2016. It is an abomination born of a travesty. Unthinkable, unspeakable, insane. We are going to step beyond electoral politics in this post, but before we do, for the historical record: Hillary Clinton, the first woman major party candidate for President of the United States, running on what Sen. Bernie Sanders called the most progressive party platform in history, won the popular vote nationally, but because of the Electoral College, which, ironically, is a gimmick that the Founders concocted to appease the slave states, victory was handed to a man who credible news sources have documented as a self-professed debaser of women whose first wife accused him of rape in sworn testimony, a racist, a billionaire who paid no federal income tax for many years, someone who fact checkers have proved was saying something false 91% of the time during the campaign, someone who according to one Oxford research psychologist scored higher than Hitler on a psychopath test. (All of these statements are hyperlinked to credible sources, and as further documentation I have included citations below.)

Yes, something bad has happened. And something very strange is going on. So now, life is calling for more from you and I than ever before; life, the Earth, our future are all of one voice in calling for us to become new (again), to declare ourselves (again), to choose love and liberation (again), to make yet another stand. In alignment with life, the Earth, our future, we are invincible.

The Patient Has to Want to Get Better

After eight years of healing treatment from a kind and gracious doctor, the patient has decided not to pursue another four years of healing treatment from the next doctor on duty, the patient would rather die then get better. After four more years of these treatments, the patient would have been strong enough for more aggressive medicine, the patient would have begun to remember more about life before the onset of the illness, and remembering more the patient might have wanted to get back to health and have a future, but no, the patient has apparently chosen its disease over healing, the patient has effectively chosen to die. The patient has refused further treatment, and chosen a different physician, a charlatan, a con man. The patient would rather keep on smoking the crack of anti-science, anti-nature, anti-woman, anti-color, anti-life. On the path of recovery, whether from physical or psychological afflictions, the patient has to want to get better; and there is now irrefutable evidence that this patient wants to die. How tragic.

Fight or Flight?

"Fight or Flight. The instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation, which readies one either to resist forcibly or to run away." -- Oxford Dictionary

There is no good choice. Flight? There is nowhere to run from planetary climate collapse, or global great depression or the next world war. There is nowhere to hide. Fight? Well, there have been many deeply disturbing examples of what to expect. Too many.

Remember the incident in which a University of California (Davis) police officer walked up to a line of unarmed college students on their knees, peacefully protesting economic injustice, and shot pepper spray directly into their young faces? You probably saw the viral video (or maybe you didn't). Remember Eric Garner who was killed by police who slammed his head against a sidewalk and applied a choke hold? You probably saw the viral video. He had been stopped by police for selling untaxed cigarettes. A grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner. And the U.C. Davis police officer who pepper-sprayed kneeling, unarmed college students protesting economic injustice? In the immediate aftermath, he was suspended with full pay, later he would receive worker's compensation for the suffering that he experienced.

These are just two of many incidents that send a disturbing message. And there are related messages that are just as disturbing, for example, the acquittals of George Zimmerman and the Bundys. In America today, it is is dangerous to stand up and say two plus two equals four, but not so dangerous to abuse peaceful protesters, or murder unarmed African-Americans, or seize government buildings IF in the name of extreme right-wing causes.

What to Do, What to Be

So if you don't want to give up on the life of the patient, because after all your life and the patient's life are inextricably interconnected, what's your plan?

There is a Trumpster Fire plan for the first 100 days, it is horrific, and with the Zombie Cult and their Death Eater Overlords in control of House and the Senate, at least some of it will be executed.

Michael Moore has a plan. It's a good one. Maybe you adopt it, maybe you develop your own.

Whatever your own plan evolves into, as the shock begins to wear off, and the painful reality of what lies ahead of us comes into full measure, here are a few suggestions from my own new plan.

I urge you to keep it simple, both your plan and the message articulating your plan.

I urge you to consider two areas as paramount issues on which you will focus your time and energy: leaning forward on the Climate Crisis and the Sixth Great Extinction, and protecting and expanding the rights of women. The Standing Rock Sioux and Planned Parenthood deserve your support.

And as your first and foremost priority I urge you to tend to your own deep self-care, and sharing your self-care skills, for example yoga and meditation, with others.

Because the road ahead may be long and hard, it is certainly scary.

In the indeterminate time that stretches out before us from this crossroad, I will be quietly focusing on these three areas exclusively, in my writing, speaking and meditation, and for the foreseeable future, I will have nothing more to say about electoral politics or any other realm except as it relates directly to one of these three areas of focus.

If ... When ...

The election of 2016 was a portal, if we had been able to pass through it, this nation could have begun to self-correct its course, to get back on track, to truly gain traction to arrive at its appointment with the future, but we were taken down from behind, and that portal has closed on us

A great opportunity has been lost. Much trouble lies ahead. But another portal will open, perhaps sooner than later, and probably in some unexpected way. We must be ready to step through.

Meanwhile, our overriding imperative is to survive, and to abide. And in the process of surviving and abiding, we must continue to make our lives themselves into bold expressions of love and liberation.

Bearing Witness

Here are two excerpts from worthy attempts to articulate the unspeakable and make sense of the insane from the day after the election.  I have included links to the full text of each.

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety. There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve. -- David Remnick, An American Tragedy, New Yorker, 11/9/16

I see no way to stop this at first, but some of us will have to try. And what we must seek to preserve are the core institutions that he may threaten — the courts, first of all, even if he shifts the Supreme Court to an unprecedentedly authoritarian-friendly one. Then the laws governing the rules of war, so that war crimes do not define America as their disavowal once did. Then the free press, which he will do all he can to intimidate and, if possible, bankrupt. Then the institutions he will have to destroy to achieve what he wants — an independent Department of Justice as one critical bulwark, what’s left of the FBI that will not be an instrument of his reign of revenge, our scientific institutions, and what’s left of free thought in our colleges and universities. We will need to march peacefully on the streets to face down the massive intimidation he will at times present to a truly free and open society. We have to hold our heads up high as we defend the values of the old republic, even as it crumbles into authoritarian dust. We must be prepared for nonviolent civil disobedience. We must transcend racial and religious division in a movement of resistance that is as diverse and as open as the new president’s will be uniform and closed. And, impossible though it may be, we will have to resist partisanship. The only way back to a free society, to a country where no one need fear the president’s wrath or impulses, is to unwind the factionalism that has helped destroy this country. We have to forge a new coalition on right and left to resist fascism’s reach and cultic power. In a country which just elected and re-elected a black president — whose grace feels now almost painful to recall — it is surely possible. I will leave you with these words about what has now happened to America. Someone saw it coming a long time ago: The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty. That was George Washington’s Farewell Address. -- Andrew Sullivan, The Republic Repeals Itself, New York Magazine, 11/9/16

-- Blessings, Richard Power 

Related Posts:

Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #4: Eve Ensler, Pussy Riot and Bill McKibben Offer Final Words of Power on the 2016 Election

Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #3: Cauldrons Lit in Rio and Philadelphia

Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #2: Lessons of 2000 and 2008

Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #1: Of Trump, Snowden and Sanders

Sources Cited In Lead Paragraph: 

Kevin Drum, Trump on Tape: “Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything," Mother Jones, 10/7/16

Jane Meyer, Documenting Trump’s Abuse of Women, New Yorker, 10/24/17

Lydia O'Connor, Here Are 13 Examples Of Donald Trump Being Racist, Huffington Post, 2/27/16
 
and Donald Trump Acknowledges Not Paying Federal Income Taxes for Years, New York Times, 10/10/16

Sarah Jones, Fact Checkers Prove That 91% of the Things Donald Trump Says Are False, Politicus USA, 3/31/16 

Shehab Khan, How much of a psychopath is Donald Trump? Worse than Hitler, apparently, Independent, 8/22/16
 
Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are  available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.










Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #4: Eve Ensler, Pussy Riot and Bill McKibben Offer Final Words of Power on the 2016 Election

Rene Magritte - Pure Reason (1948)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to hold the liberal establishment's feet to the fire come January, vowing to work toward making the political revolution a reality once the task of electing Hillary Clinton to the White House is accomplished. In an interview with the Washington Post published Monday, Sanders said he intends to use the "leverage" he accumulated during his historic primary bid to promote the very agenda that propelled him to win "22 states and 46 percent of the pledged delegates, 13.4 million votes...and a majority of the younger people, the future of the country."
According to John Wagner at the Post, who conducted the interview with Sanders at his home in Vermont on Friday: Sanders said he and other senators have started plotting legislation that would achieve many of the proposals that fueled his insurgent run for president, including a $15 federal minimum wage, tuition-free public college, an end to "mass incarceration," and aggressive steps to fight climate change. The senators, Sanders said, also plan to push for the breakup of "too big to fail" banks and to pressure Clinton to appoint liberals to key Cabinet positions, including Treasury secretary. Sanders said he would not stay silent if Clinton nominated the "same old, same old Wall Street guys" to regulatory positions that are important in enacting and overseeing the financial reforms he supports. "I will be vigorously in opposition, and I will make that very clear," Sanders said. He named Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) as potential allies in this effort. Sanders plans to use the Democratic Party platform—which he was instrumental in shaping and has called "the most progressive" in the party's history—as a template, characterizing it as "more progressive than Clinton's campaign agenda," Wagner wrote.  -- Deidre Fulton, Clinton Has His Vote, But Sanders Vows to Stand Firm Against Dem Backsliding
Common Dream, 10/24/16

Fear and Loathing in the Year of the Yang Fire Monkey #4: Eve Ensler, Pussy Riot and Bill McKibben Offer Final Words of Power on the 2016 Election

There are dangerous days ahead. It could all still go horrible wrong.

This has been the ugliest, saddest election campaign of my lifetime. For many of us, trauma has been triggered. For many of us, friendships have been challenged, perhaps to the breaking point.

I have a just a few more insights to share, and then I will ask Eve Ensler, Pussy Riot and Bill McKibben to offer the final words of power on this bizarre story.

I am not a Clintonista. Some of Hillary Clinton's policy positions are deeply disturbing to me, particularly those related to geopolitics and national security. But the irrational hatred expressed toward her by some friends and colleagues on the Left is even more disturbing. There is much good that could come from having Hillary Clinton in the White House, particularly for women, children and people of color. But there is no good that has or will come from the mindless rage that some of my friends and colleagues have succumbed to; seriously, we might as well have lost them to the fever swamps of the Alt-Right as to the off-the-cliff march of the Stein Bots. This is a time for clarity of mind and calm common sense decisions based on the greater good; not for becoming so narcissistically enamored of your own conscience that you lose it and drown not in authentic righteousness but in its shallow reflection. Worst of all is the mad assertion that Trump somehow ended up the Death Eater / Zombie Cult nominee so that we would all be frightened into voting for Clinton, an Alt-Left version of "it's all rigged." Well, the world simply isn't that simple (if only it were). It is imperative that you understand the profound historical significance of this moment, and see Trump for what he truly is, the final fruit of the poisoned tree planted in the time of Ronald Reagan; because without the jelly bean malice of Reagan, the naked sociopathy of George W. Bush could not have been visited upon us, and without George W. Bush, the unspeakable abomination that is Donald Trump could not have been visited upon us. The Death Eaters who are now desperately distancing themselves from this Trumpster Fire, e.g., the Bushes, Ryan, McConnell, Kasich, Romney, McCain, etc., are all responsible for what is happening now, they let the garbage pile up, they poured the gasoline, they lit the match.

To frame this election as just another choice between the lesser of two evils is to miss the deeper truth of it, this election is an opportunity, and extraordinary opportunity.

If the White House is passed from Obama to Clinton we can keep the patient alive, if control of the Senate is wrested from the Death Eaters then we can stack SCOTUS for a generation, we can stop the hemorrhaging, if we can somehow miraculously wrest the House from the Death Eaters, we can cleanse the wound, and stitch it up, and get the patient on the path to healing.

I watched Hillary Clinton debate Barack Obama in 2008, and I watched her debate Bernie Sanders this year, and yes, I watched all three of her debates with Trump. She was not persuasive in her debates with Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, not just in her policy positions, but in her style and her tone, she came across as disingenuous and duplicitous. But in her debates with Trump, she was powerful, calm, fully present, connected with her body, fluid in her moments, even mellifluous in her tone. This isn't just because Trump is such a freak show; it's because in her debates with Obama and Sanders, she was debating people more progressive than her in many ways, her debates with Trump are the first time we have seen her debate someone to her right since her Senate campaigns in New York. She came across as disingenuous, duplicitous and disconnected from her body and voice in her debates with Obama and Sanders because she knew they had the moral high ground, and outflanked her on the progressive side of the spectrum. With Trump, she could turn and face the real adversary, from a position of strength and authentic righteousness. That's why she came across as powerful, calm, fully present, connected with her body, fluid in her moments, even mellifluous in her tone. This offers some hope that her governance will be more enlightened than some of us surmise.

Enough. Enough. I didn't want to say anything at all about this race. I didn't want to get engaged in this election cycle at all. But Words of Power is an ongoing narrative, and this is a moment of profound importance. I had to speak. There is the issue of Wiki Leaks to deal with, but I will write about all of that another time; all I will say here and now is that nothing that has been released has in any way changed the facts on the ground in this election, or revealed anything at all to be any different than what the astute analyst could already discern.

But now I will give the final word on this sad, ugly campaign to a few worthy allies.

Eve Ensler Speaks

Donald Trump is not a leader or a presidential candidate. He is an outcome, a viral manifestation of a serious malignant illness. He is the mirror of our emptiness, the emptying out that has been happening to our country for a very long time.He is an outcome of a two-party system that has consistently ignored the needs and wishes of the majority of Americans for generations. He is the manifestation of celebrity culture where those that have everything are worshipped for their shiny success and in the world of celebrity that shininess is a stand in for principles, substance and moral values. He is personality over planning, symbol over substance, insipidness over insightfulness. He is the outcome of the rich being able to buy anything, including our democracy. He is an outcome of centuries of underlying unaddressed, massively denied and metastasized racism. He is the hatred of the poor and the needy, the denigration of immigrants and those seeking refuge from the devastation of US wars and imperialism. He is the outcome of an insidious exceptionalism – the bedrock belief that American lives are more precious and valuable than any Others, those that we stigmatize, bomb, torture, murder, control, invade and whose economies we trash, whose resources we devour, whose futures we steal. He is the outcome of fear which masquerades as bullying. He is the manifestation of patriarchy and the endlessly indoctrinated belief that only a father will save us even though the mainly men who have been determining reality for this country and the planet have led us to near ruin. He is the outcome of high tech fantasy, virtual disconnection, TV reality shows.He is proof of the duplicity of corporate sponsored media that claim “neutrality” while reaping profits from propping up racists, tyrants, fascists, haters and those that would seek to destroy the country ... -- Eve Ensler, Let Donad Trump Be Our Unifier, Guardian, 3/23/16

Bill McKibben Speaks

Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of 350.org, minces no words addressing those environmentally-minded voters who are fretting over the mixed record of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton: Elect her, "and then give her hell." In a column published at The Nation on Tuesday, McKibben shares the sentiment felt by many progressive voters this election season: "I'd much rather have been campaigning for Bernie Sanders." Those feelings, McKibben acknowledges, were compounded after WikiLeaks revealed this weekend that behind closed doors Clinton defended natural gas and fracking, and said that environmental activists should "get a life." Those damning email leaks only further underscored what McKibben describes as Clinton's "craven" silence over the Dakota Access Pipeline fight. "Even the sight of attack dogs being used on peaceful Native American protesters didn't move her to break ranks with her industry allies and that fraction of the labor movement that still wants to build pipelines," he writes. "That's craven on her part, pure and simple." "So why," he asks, "are many of us out there working to beat [Republican nominee Donald Trump] and elect her? Because Trump is truly a horror." And when faced with the choice between a "horror," and a politician who—through growing pressure from concerned citizens—has shown she can be pushed on issues related to climate, McKibben reasons, he'll take the latter ... -- Lauren McCauley, With No Illusions, Says Climate Leader, Clinton Must Be Elected—Then Fiercely Confronted, Common Dreams, 10/18/16

Pussy Riot Sings

“Don’t play stupid / don’t play dumb / vagina’s where you’re really from!*” These glorious words comprise the powerful (and dangerously catchy) chorus to Pussy Riot’s new song “Straight Outta Vagina.” The danceable number, which features Desi Mo and Leikeli47, is the latest from the Russian punk group, whose members spent nearly two years in a Russian prison after criticizing Vladimir Putin in their 2012 performance “Punk Prayer.”  In their newest song, Pussy Riot lodges their message at Putin’s non-best friend Donald Trump, whose history of verbally and physically abusing women is truly sickening. It’s ironic, Pussy Riot reminds us, that the man who so cavalierly bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy” owes his very existence to it. Although it’s hard to listen to the song without thinking of all that’s at stake in this maddening current political climate, the powerful lyrics are about so much more. “This song could be considered an answer to Trump,” Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova told The Guardian. “But I believe the idea of powerful female sexuality is much bigger than any populist megalomaniac man … Vagina is bigger than Trump.”-- Priscilla Frank, Pussy Riot’s ‘Straight Outta Vagina’ Wants Trump To Remember Where He Came From, Huffington Post, 10/25/16

YOU TUBE VIDEO: Pussy Riot - Straight Outta Vagina (featuring Desi Mo & Leikeli47)


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Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are  available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Burning Man 2016: "The Liberation of the Earth, the Liberation of Women, the Liberation of All Humanity ..."

Stage at Mandala. Red Lightning Camp.
Photo Credit: Richard Power
NOTE: At Burning Man 2016, I taught my "Yoga of Primal Reality" workshop in the beautifully adorned Mandala space at Camp Red Lightning. I pitched my tent in the company of some wonderful humans at Camp IMAGINEnation. I gifted signed copies of the five books in my Primal Reality series to strangers all across Black Rock City. And while I did my walkabout, I got some important writing done; I will be integrating these new epiphanies into a major work-in-progress. (Look for the announcement on Beltane 2017.) Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this brief photo essay. It consists of twelve images selected from over a hundred that I captured during my sojourn. Each of the images is paired with a vital insight from some great being whose work has touched me. -- Blessings, Richard Power
See also  Burning Man 2011: Primal Culture and Core Civilization as a Moveable Feast  and Burning Man 2012: Between the Wheel and the Fire, Voices in the Whirlwind.

Horned Woman on the Playa. Burning Man 2016.
Photo Credit: Richard Power
"Witchcraft offers the model of a religion of poetry, not theology. It presents metaphors, not doctrines, and leaves open the possibility of reconciliation of science and religion, of many ways of knowing." -- Starhawk, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess (1979)

On the Playa at Night. Burning Man 2016.
Photo Credit: Richard Power
  “In mythos and fairy tales, deities and other great spirits test the hearts of humans by showing up in various forms that disguise their divinity. They show up in robes, rags, silver sashes, or with muddy feet. They show up with skin dark as old wood, or in scales made of rose petal, as a frail child, as a lime-yellow old woman, as a man who cannot speak, or as an animal who can. The great powers are testing to see if humans have yet learned to recognize the greatness of soul in all its varying forms.”
-- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (1996)
  
Unicorn on the Playa. Burning Man. September 2016.

"I am the only Unicorn there is? The Last? … That cannot be. Why would I be the last? What do men know? Because they have seen no unicorns for a while does not mean we have all vanished. We do not vanish. … There has never been a time without unicorns. We live forever! We are as old as the sky, old as the moon! We can be hunted, trapped; we can even be killed if we leave our forests, but we do not vanish. … Am I truly the last?" -- Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn (1982 screenplay)


Catacomb of Veils by Dan Sullivan and the Catacomb Crew. On fire at sunrise.
Photo Credit: Richard Power
"The human race is a very, very magical race. We have a magic power of witches and wizards. We're here on this earth to unravel the mystery of this planet. The planet is asking for it." -- Yoko Ono


Catacomb of Veils by Dan Sullivan and the Catacomb Crew. On fire at sunrise.
Photo Credit: Richard Power

"The Goddess is not just a light, happy maiden or a nurturing mother. She is death as well as birth, dark as well as light, rage as well as compassion — and if we shy away from her fiercer embrace we undercut both her own power and our own growth." -- Starhawk, "She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality?" Edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill. (2015)

 
Temple Courtyard, In the Early Morning. Burning Man 2016.
Photo Credit: Richard Power

“In the Craft, we do not believe in the Goddess ~~ we connect with her; through the moon, the stars, the ocean, the earth, through trees, animals, through other human beings, through ourselves. She is here. She is within us all” -- Starhawk

Temple Courtyard, In the Early Morning. Burning Man 2016.
Photo Credit: Richard Power

"Women have been held back and limited throughout the centuries. Creation could not have been rendered, not even considered, let alone be brought into manifestation without woman. She is principal, a powerful energy. She is first." -- Alice Coltrane


The Man Burns. Burning Man 2016.
Photo Credit: Richard Power

"The liberation of the earth, the liberation of women, the liberation of all humanity is the next step of freedom we need to work for, and it's the next step of peace that we need to create." -- Vandana Shiva
Woman Sleeping On the Ground At Center Camp
“It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires” -- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (1996)

Burning Man, Black Rock City, September 2016.
P'
hoto Credit: Richard Power

 "Truth was the only daughter of Time." -- Leonardo da Vinci, Notebooks 


#Earth @Home by Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg.
Burning Man 2016.
Photo Credit: Richard Power
"We have nowhere else to go... this is all we have." - Margaret Mead

Richard Power is the author of eleven books, including most recently, "Cauldron Yoga, Gaian Poetics and the Way of the Ancient Future," along with the other four volumes of his "Primal Reality" series, all of which are  available in both softcover and Kindle versions via Amazon.com.

For information, visit his Amazon author's page.