Dear Beloved Community

Dear Beloved Community

A Laying On of Words

By Helen Klonaris


What Darkness Makes Possible – January 4, 2021

It is a new day. In my part of the world, it’s still the dark time – that time of the year when sunlight is scarce, and sleep comes early, all the better to dream. We lay our heads down on a creased pillow, pull the covers up to our chins, knees to our chest, and wait for sleep to take us down. And not so long after, the dreaming begins. Sometimes our dreaming is quiet, still, and we rise up unremembering. Sometimes our dreaming is chaotic, nightmarish, feverish – we wake skin clammy, heart throbbing, tears streaming, mouth open in a silent wail. Sometimes our dreaming is confusing, we do not understand the images we were given, yet they haunt us by day, urging us toward meaning. MORE…



Love In the Time of Pandemic – September 24, 2020

It has taken me a long while to get back to you. Just after I sent out my last letter, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis and people of every race, every age, every religion across the US and across the planet, poured out of their houses and apartments, out of sheltering in place orders into the streets to say “Enough is enough.”

Sheltering in place meant that we could not turn our faces away from what had happened. We could not distract ourselves with things to do and places to go. We had to look at George Floyd, and at the white police officer who so nonchalantly, so effortlessly it seemed, pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck, nine long minutes, until he died.

Maybe it was the energy of billions of us across the planet all seeking to survive a pandemic that brought that image into clear focus, and with it the understanding that healing the systems and effects of colonialism and white supremacy is crucial if we are to heal our collective hearts and bodies, and repair our relationships to one another and to our Mother Earth. MORE…




Fifty Days of Confinement Condensed into a Page and a Half, By Allison Cross – May 25, 2020

Panic attacks. Three bedrooms and an open space, my dream house has become a matchbox and the walls are closing in. I don’t know where to go, I used to spend my days alone. I miss myself. I read the news, in French and in English, from every country that I can. My husband does too, and we compare notes. My telephone has become an appendage I can no longer live without. My husband can’t sleep and his lips are white and I realize we have to stop. My heart is heavy and swollen. The tears of the world have filled my chest, a dam that must be broken.

Homeschooling sucks. Grade two is confusing and I’m failing grade three. When I was a kid we didn’t do math like that, and we said period, not full-stop. I’m overwhelmed and my kids are scared. Impatience is my first name. I can’t control it, my voice is electric and snaps through the air, leaving sparks in its wake. A bulging disc in my neck. Can’t turn my head when my children call my name. Which they do. All Of The Time. Allergic to the medication, I Zoom with the doctor, but there’s nothing she can do. I have to heal on my own. MORE…



Opening: Reflections on Pandemic, Grandmother Lore, and Change – April 28, 2020

Over these 50 days of sheltering in place – of lockdown – I have transformed my study into temple, church, altar. It has become an altar to Spirit, to the Earth spirits, surrounded by plants – ferns, philodendrons, purple anemones, basil, a painting my sister did of a palmetto palm intertwined with a seagrape tree, a drum; on the ledge behind the drum is a black candleholder in the shape of the divine mother, arms outstretched, and on a side table an icon of Jesus, stones, a candle, and a ceramic dish of sage and tobacco. On a small wooden chair, big enough for a toddler, sits my computer so I can log on and connect to people across the globe: the UK, Barbados, Bahamas, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, California. Together we discuss Spirit, the ancient worldview of shamanism, the need for change in our bodies, our lives, our communities, and the world.

I sit in the North – the direction associated with the element of Earth. With winter and the Ancestors who live under the earth and in our memories and in the Spirit world.

It is a good place to be sitting. It represents the dying down of life, and the potent possibility of life arising again, out of the dense, black earth. The possibility of the dead coming back to life. Resurrection. A step away from North, because the ancients understood that life is circular, cyclical, consciousness in motion, is East – associated with birth – the re-emergence of life, Spring. In Greek the word for Spring is ‘anixi’ – opening. MORE…



All That Is Left Are Seeds – March 26, 2020

This week I have been meditating on what this time is asking of me, and of us. In my morning meditations, I had a recurring vision:

I am sitting across from a Shipibo curandera. She is tending a fire, and reaches across it towards me. I open my mouth and she reaches in and takes from me a long wiry snake. She puts the snake in an aluminum pot, adds water and boils it over the fire. Quickly the snake and the water are reduced to ashes. She pokes around in the bottom of the pot and takes out four black seeds. She gives them to me and gestures that I should plant them. In the dirt next to where we are sitting, I do. Up sprout four blue-green plants. The curandera then breaks off leaves from the plants and boils them in the same pot over the same fire. When the tea is brewed, I drink. I know it is medicine for these times. MORE…



This is A Time – March 12, 2020

This is a time. It seems every few months a new crisis blows one way or the other – from fires blazing across North and South America and Australia, to category five hurricanes turning Caribbean worlds inside out, to a tiny virus known as COVID-19 that has already in such a short time upended whole countries, whose millions of inhabitants are right now, as I type, on lockdown inside their homes, while outside highrise apartments and corporate offices and cathedrals the streets are disquietingly empty. MORE…