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Smokey the Bear Sutra by Gary Snyder



Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago, the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite Void gave a discourse to all the assembled elements and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings, the flying beings, and the sitting beings--even the grasses, to the number of thirteen billion, each one born from a seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning Enlightenment on the planet Earth.

"In some future time, there will be a continent called America. It will have great centers of power called such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur, Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon. The human race in that era will get into troubles all over its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature."

"The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth. My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger: and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it."

And he showed himself in his true form of


A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and watchful.

Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war;

His left paw in the mudra of Comradely Display--indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that of deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma;

Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a civilization that claims to save but often destroys;

Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the west, symbolic of the forces that guard the wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the true path of man on Earth:

all true paths lead through mountains--

With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind;

Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her;

Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs, smashing the worms of capitalism and totalitarianism;

Indicating the task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes, master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.

Wrathful but calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or slander him...


Thus his great Mantra:

Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana Sphataya hum traka ham mam


And he will protect those who love the woods and rivers, Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children:

And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television, or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL:





And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out with his vajra-shovel.

Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice will accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.

Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.

Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.

Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.

Will always have ripened blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.


...thus we have heard...

(may be reproduced free forever)

I am reposting this from my Facebook, because I should, and I miss Live Journal

A friend gave me a remarkable gift. He asked me to help explain who Buddha was to his daughter. Big task. I have been thinking a lot on the Dharma as I lead a Buddhist themed service at my Unitarian Universalist Church recently. This is the best I got. Thank you to Jason, and his dear daughter for the question, and letting me answer. Thank you to Buddha for the Dharma.

May this simple message be help to finding a lamp unto yourselves.

What follows is in my own words, from my own experience and understanding, as humble student of the Dharma. I considered at first just sending him on to links on the subject, etc. Instead, I decided try to practice my own perceptions of the teachings.

Buddha was prince. His name was Siddhārtha Gautama. He lived a long time ago. His parents wanted him to always be happy, and not know about sickness, or death, or pain. So they kept him in the palace and tried to make everything around him perfect. But we all known that everything can't be perfect.

One day he got out of the palace and he saw people who were sick and in pain, and dead. He realize that suffering existed, and gave up being a prince to go live in the wilderness and try to understand this.

He realized that money and nice things wouldn't bring him happiness. Nor would living in a monastery or away in the wilderness somewhere. The only thing that would bring him happiness was his own mind. That sooner or later, everybody gets sick. Everybody dies. Everything changes.

A favorite saying of mine is that it is OK to have a favorite coffee cup as long as you know it's already broken. That means that sooner or later you may break the coffee cup, or the toy, or the anything else. All things may break, and will. So, if we come to understand that, than we realize that the main thing that makes people unhappy is wishing that this wasn't true. That always wanting more things, and hoping they wouldn't break actually makes you more unhappy. Also that people and emotions are kinda of like things. That you can have more love and more friends, and more of anything, and your mind is still where that source of happiness and contentment lies. So if you want to be happy, and able to live life without always worrying and suffering about things, then you have to change your mind. You must strive and work to do this. It is possible, but it takes lots of practice, and like most things, it won't happen over night, and you will not always get it right.

So when Buddha realized this, he wanted to share it with the world. It seemed so important. So he came up with a set up steps that would help someone realize the same things. He had a lot of people who came to study with him and wanted easy answers, but they weren't easy things to understand. He had spent years thinking about them. But he tried, and some of them listened, and wrote down things that he taught them. They came to call him Buddha, which sort of means "One who is awake to the world".

One day, the Buddha, was very old, and got very sick. Everyone was worried, and he reminded them that he, who was their favorite teacher was just like a coffee cup, and was going to break. They could be sad that he was gone, but shouldn't suffer inside because of it.

The last thing Buddha told them, was to be a light unto themselves. Be like a lantern to light your own way. Trust yourself and don't take anything he has taught them on fact, but to practice it and study it, and maybe they would realize they were already as happy as they could be. Then he died.

The people who were his students went on to spread his message about this, and the skills he taught them to understand their own thinking. Buddhism is the Practice of Studying and Applying the skills that Buddha taught them. Together, all the things that Buddha taught are called The Dharma, which means The Truth. He believed that the things he taught could work for everyone, if they understood them to be skills, like learning to play a musical instrument. If they learned them, they would realize they were true for everyone, and that their minds were like a musical instrument. If they paid attention, it could make beautiful music.

How to make paper snowflakes...

Paper Snowflakes. I make them.

"How full of the creative genius is the air
in which these are generated
I should hardly admire more if real stars fell
and lodged in my coat"
~Henry David Thoreau

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I have long wanted to post about making correct paper snowflakes. I posted briefly about this back in 2007. Some of these pictures are from that. It is one of my passions and crafts, so I wanted to share. It seems a craft that Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Elves would be well versed in. I think having Elves teaching older kids and grown ups to make paper snowflakes would be a great part of any Santa appearance. We all remember the scene with Buddy the Elf and his flying scissors! So this is going to be a long, photo heavy, how-to post.

Hit the click for snip, snip, snip...Collapse )

Santa Lucia Day! Welcome the Light!

In a tradition going back thousands of years, the oldest daughter of the house would wear a crown of light, formerly lite candles, and today it is often LED Lights, and bring breakfast in bed to the family. Coffee, Teas, Gingerbread Cookies, and Lucy Cakes (Made with Ginger, Cardamon, and Saffron). Formerly associated with the Winter Solstice, (like much of our traditions in all Northern Hemisphere Cultures this time of year) and later the image of Saint Lucia, an Italian Martyr,. came to be associated with it. Now the day is used to mark the beginning of the Christmas Celebrations in many Norwegian countries and is also by Waldorf Schooling Communities and many others who wish to welcome the Returning Light, and begin the countdown to Christmas Day. It marks the 12 Days before Christmas Day.

So however you welcome the return of the longer days and the birth of light and glory, may it be one of joy and happiness. My daughter and I woke our family this morning to this song playing and brought coffee and cinnamon bagels. Take a moment and listen to this glorious singing!

She in her seven year old cuteness, with a crown of twinkle lights on her head, was Santa Lucia of course, and I, as her overgrown Star Boy. So Bring Joy, Celebrate Christmas and Welcome the Light! Bright Blessings!

Autumn leaves and a walk on a labyrinth.

In the mountains of western Maryland, at Allegany College, is a lovely labyrinth. Dusted with the early falls of maple leaves crunching underfoot, I went for a little walk. Here it is.

The long road to our ancestral home...

So after watching the Persieds last night from our sky balcony, a disturbing thought has come to mind. Science has recently shown that modern humans suffer from a number of vitamin deficiencies due our evolution being under very different circumstances than much of recorded history. Like Vitamin D. Many humans are mildly deficient because we spent many thousands of years evolving mostly outside and with far less clothing.

But what about the effects of Star Light Deficiencies? The human brain and psyche spent many millions of years staring up at the night sky and being astounded by what they saw. If you have never seen the Milky Way, then you wouldn't know. It can knock your socks off! You can read by starlight, and see shadows from the glow of our neighboring planets. Look at this picture and think about seeing that every night.

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My night sky is partially there. Dark Sky is rated on the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale. On a scale of 1-10, a totally unpolluted sky, the skies of our ancestors, is a 1. Our area, like many rural ones, is a sliding between 3-4. We can see much of the Milky Way and nebulae. However, it is now estimated, that there are no truly 1 class skies in the continental United States. None in Europe, and fewer every day in Asia. So unless you go to the Australian Outback, the Arctic North, the Saharan Africa, or deep into the ocean, you cannot see the wonders we evolved with. Only, even then, it is still not quite there. The cumulative effects of world wide lighting and particulates of air pollution lead to a global phenomenon of mild light pollution. Like our aerosols sprays and our pesticides, mankind's touch has reached to the farthest corners of the globe, and made it, a little less.

"I hear that it is an imperfect copy that I possess and have read, that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come before me and picked out some of the best of the stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth."
- From the journal of Henry David Thoreau, March 23, 1856.

So how are we affected psychologically by this? How do we suffer from the toxic effects of light pollution. We know pollution is bad for us. Many folks who would not casually throw there trash on the ground, or dump there motor oil into the rivers, would easily put up, "Just another light". Look at these two pictures.

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The one on the left was taken under "normal" conditions. The one on the right, during a blackout. Wow. That is just overhead. Any night you want, just step outside and look up. Unless, well, you see what I mean.

This picture, and several other interesting facts about light pollution and folks responses to seeing the night sky for the first time, can be found here: http://www.physics.fau.edu/observatory/lightpol-astro.html and you can learn more about lighting, and the movements to preserve our dark skies at http://www.darksky.org/ They have resources and how avoid purchasing "glare bombs" of lighting.

So I ask once again, are we sickened from a deficiency of wonder when we cannot see the night sky? Do we suffer from a paucity of astonishment? How is it that we are starting to understand that children suffer nature deficit disorder, yet we so casual ignore what could be called "Stellar Deficit Disorder". Ask yourself this, can you find the North Star? Would your children know what that "vast silvery cloud" was if they saw it? Do they know that they are stardust?

I believe I have added a criteria to my list of acceptable living conditions. I must have community. I must have clean, healthy organic food. I must have clean water, bird calls, and trees. I must have clear skies.

I shall follow the road home....

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Shane's rap on the Mythic Arts 101

Ambushed interview.

At the Maryland Faerie Festival, Ken Morrill of Yenra.tv, a talented photographer, videographer, and friend. was chatting with me about the scene and asked if he could tape our conversation briefly. As I was heading back with lunch in hand, I gave him my very short rap on the Mythic Arts community and the festivals. Many have heard me give this rap. I was rather fatigued and out of it, still wearing the green in my beard from the BOG March, so I take issue with myself now and my over simplification of Esalen Institute and Pacifica Graduate, and why I chose them, over the many other "Ivory Towers" I don't know. I was thinking of Dr. Campbell I presume. I believe I was holding french fries at the time and had I my wits about me, I would have worked them into the "Rap" in some excellently clever way...alas.

So here is a a few minutes of me, talking about my favorite subject, the artistic community I have the honor and privilege to participate in and serve. I stand as a Champion of these Rooty Interweavings that form our community of writers, artists, crafters, and creators, all engaged in the the act of Mythopoesis.

Should the embed code fail, here is the link to it.

Thanks Ken.


Lazy Floating Feather by Tom Wisner

The Greenbelt Greenman Festival was dedicated to the memory of Tom Wisner, "The Bard of the Chesapeake". I have been listening to Tom's music constantly since the festival, and have found myself obsessed with the song, "Lazy Floating Feather" sung by Teresa Whitaker. So I created a video of it for Youtube. I am normally very careful and conscious of copyrights, however, it is my sincere and deep felt hope, that by hearing this one haunting and beautiful track, you will be encouraged to find the CD, "Chesapeake Born".

You can get it from Smithsonian Folkways at www.folkways.si.edu

As this cross posts to other networks which don't always allow embedding, here is the link to the song.


Tom's music has moved me for many years, since first hearing him on Outdoors Maryland. I am not a "Chesapeake Born" boy, and my roots are firmly in Texas...however...the byways and glories of the Chesapeake Bay region have captured me. Truly "America in miniature", the biology and rich natural community, so utterly mixed with the dense urbanism of the East, reminds those residents of the region that have the ears to hear, and the eyes to see, that they do just live on the land...they are the land. In a rich exchange of breath, life, and soul. We are made of water, and the Chesapeake flows in my veins.

Tom's legacy lives on in the organization he founded, Chestory, which I think describe themselves best.

"A group of Chesapeake artists, scientists, and citizen activists, educators, poets, writers and waterfolk gather around a hope: That it is possible to change the quality of the story driving us and our culture toward a deeper, more joyful and life-giving relationship with the place in which we live.

We think that art, song, and story can help us connect with the deep spiritual experience of the Chesapeake chapter in the on-going story of the Universe."

You can learn more about Tom, his legacy, and the community of like minded ecologist at http://www.chestory.org/

Lazy Floating Feather

"My life has been a mystery
wonderin' what was real
a stranger to myself
I often wonder what I feel

And the Geese come down from Hudson
to Chesapeake and return
Lazy floatin' feather,
watch it turn, watch it turn,
Lazy floating Feather, watch it turn

Gentle waters, magic patterns
push the sand up to the shore
forming mounds o smooth white earth
to absorb nor'easters roar

Life revolves through cycles
compositions and decay
each life must fit a pattern
come what may, come what may
each life must fit a pattern
come what may

And the Geese come down from Hudson
to Chesapeake and return
Lazy floatin' feather,
watch it turn
Lazy floating Feather, watch it turn

Spoutwood Fairie Fest 2010 Pictures

Busy mask maker here, so it will be some time before I can blog about the 19th Annual Spoutwood Farm May Day Fairie Festival, so until then, here is the official Flickr photostream which includes some of my shots. More to come in the next few weeks and I should be able to write up our May Festivals at the end of the month! Kubiando!

One week left! Going to be a lovely year. Lots of good music, good fun and more. We will be in Glimmer Space, near Faerie Magazine. Click the banner below to learn more. Hope to see you there. Kubiando!

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