To Consider 2012 by Deena Metzger

A fine site


I am reading Gareth Patterson’s book, The Secret Elephants. He is forthright about his extraordinary experiences from the beginning. A meticulous student of his subject, whether lion or elephant, he does not hesitate to speak of the ways in which intuition and other ways of knowing that science often disdains have been central to his discoveries and understanding. A profound and necessary honesty. I turn to this book after reading, savoring, Leslie Marmon Silko’s The Turquoise Ledge who speaks from her own deep experience of the intelligence and agency of animals as well as the constant presence of the ancestors. Simultaneously, I read the The Lightning Spirits by Craig E. Kedros. He was led to speak of experiences in Mexico that verified the persistence of the spirits and the hidden practitioners who keep the old knowledge awake.

A friend comments on how easily, it seems to her, I speak of the spirits. I didn’t always speak this way. I didn’t always have such experiences. I didn’t always know. Many events occurred to educate me about this inspirited world of ours. In 1981, I collaborated with theater director, Steven Kent, to recover and re-enact the Eleusinian Mysteries in Greece for the first time in 1500 years. We entered the Mysteries and then, without question, we knew. (Birth and Death in the Eleusinian Mysteries on my website –

It is so difficult to speak of these things when we know that we are going to confront the determined skepticism and scorn of science and conventional thought. Science turned against itself, turned against its original urge to know and understand free of prejudice and self-interest. It is difficult to speak truth when one might be accused of anything and everything these days, even of heresy, of devil’s work.

In the late sixties, early seventies, I was the defendant in an academic freedom case because of a poem of mine I had used in a community college English class unit on censorship. While the case was in the courts, (before we won in the California Supreme Court) I was teaching at the California Institute for the Arts. Robert Corrigan, then President, called me into his office one day to tell me that a member of the Board of Trustees had asked him: “What is that woman from hell doing on our faculty?” In those days, we were defending poetry, freedom of speech and academic freedom, the rights of students to know, etc. But it could have as easily been a defense of the right to a spiritual life. That case played out in the courts and in the press. What was most essential, however, was the dialogue between faculty and students – our camaraderie.

Again in these frightening times, in so many seemingly distinct arenas, we are called to testify and defend the truths that are re-emerging to challenge the banal, the technological, the greedy and the violent. To challenge every form of fundamentalism, all those who war against the earth and what President Eisenhower called the military industrial complex. I heard the last paragraph of his departing speech again a few days ago and it is truer, a greater warning, than ever.

I do not urge anyone to any extreme acts of bravery, or to act in ways that might endanger their lives or the lives of their loved ones. When I went to court to defend myself as a teacher, I was thirty-three and didn’t fully understand what the implications and consequence of such conflict might be. Now I know more of what the consequences may be – of speaking out and of being silent. I can only hope, as I contemplate these times, that I will meet whatever I am called to meet.

Having posted the first To Consider letter, I am afraid, of course, that I will not meet my own hopes and expectations. Perhaps I write this here to encourage myself. Isn’t it a common hope that we will live according to what we have spoken when the time comes? Still, when I am thinking of 2012, I am increasing aware of the truth of things that want to be revealed. The truth of what has become, of what we have become, of our dire and dangerous circumstances. Of our participation and entanglement in what acts against all life.

AND the truth of the great mysteries, of their existence and persistence. Both – AND the truth and and the truth – the big statements and the small.

Gareth Patterson begins this way. It is his quiet assertion that moves me. He is speaking quietly of what he sees, knows and so lives. He is speaking of what he knows, as you will see, to everyone who is listening:

“A few days after the helicopter went missing (March 6th, 1999) I gave a presentation on how, after the murder of my friend George Adamson, (with Joy Adamson, Born Free) I had rescued George’s last lion orphans in Kenya and returned them to the wild in the Tuli bushlands of Botswana. The audience that evening consisted of South African businessmen and their wives.

“During the presentation, I mentioned that I occasionally used a diving technique with a map and pendulum as a means of locating lions. In principle, this is similar to the way in which people divine for water. Dowsing, as it is called, is one of the oldest arts and is widely used today in fields as diverse as medicine and archaeology. George Adamson’s brother, Terence, discovered late in his life that he cold locate lions, geological faults, and even missing people with the use of a pendulum and map. …I too, from time to time would use a pendulum to locate lions.”          from The Secret Elephants, page 5.

I have been sitting with these questions since the first posting: What is to be said? What is not to be said? What to say, what not to say? What to say? What not not to say? And how to speak of what calls to be spoken so that it is incorporated easily into language and its concerns, so that what is true, but has been hidden our of fear or lack of opportunity or lack of invitation, is reinserted into the casual conversation of each day. So much depends on speaking openly and casually to each other of what we see and know.

After a short presentation at an interfaith gathering at a NY State university, I asked the members of the audience if any one had had any experiences that would be considered events of extraordinary reality. There was a long silence. A long, terrible silence. Then, hesitantly, one of the chaplains spoke of her mother coming to her, shortly after death, as a bird. She did not doubt it was her mother. Then the second chaplain spoke. And then, one after another, everyone in the room told a story that they had had to carry secretly. It was clear at the end of the afternoon, after we had spent so much more time together than had been planned, that we had broken through a powerful barrier. Everything marvelous and true could now be spoken. Everything marvelous and true would be spoken and held in trust. A community of knowing had formed based on each one’s experience. At the end of the afternoon no one was afraid. At the end of the afternoon, we all felt joy as if the world had been restored.


I take the two pendulums that I like to wear and use, you know, the leopard’s tooth and the turquoise elephant, and hold them over this text and ask if I should post it. They swing together in a strong wide circle that looks like, Yes. It looks  enthusiastically like Yes. And so, here it is.


14 responses to “TO CONSIDER 2012 DAY 137

  1. Cynthia Waring August 8, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Thanks so much Deena. I read this at 2 a.m., unable to sleep. I remembered a time at Edinburough when I was trying to advertise my show. I set up my table in Parliament Square in front of St. Guiles church. There I did Cranial/sacral work on anyone I could get to lay down on my table. Holding the head of a woman, I had my eyes closed when something made me open them. There were about 200 people watching me, surrounding me in a circle. I remembered, at that moment, being burned at the stake there. Later I found out that was where they burned the witches. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that it had happened. No wonder I am so hesitant to speak my truth about healing.

    • Deena Metzger August 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      But, telling this story, substantiates the spiritual world and the connections between the worlds. When the dialogue is extended among us, then the shift to a safe and grateful environment can occur. Yes, you are hesitant AND your experiences regarding healing are profound and extend beyond the individuals that you help. Perhaps being ‘outed’ here will assist you and all of us.

  2. rob purday August 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Deena – many thanks – I came to this article as I began my day and it brought a warmth to my heart. I work in this life as a diviner, and, by hook and by crook, have also come to talk on this in the public domain, so, there is much in your words that rings so very true, that is encouraging.

    I particularly love the paragraph describing the breaking of that barrier, and how, through the willingness to persist within what sounds like an ‘uncomfortable’ silence, a liberation of spirit was shared. This takes courage, of a sorts, but, as it is itself courage as a knowing expression of spirit and spiritedness, it is perhaps much more innate than the silent majority dare to believe – but, as the chaplain showed, it is not a matter of belief; it is experience, the grounding that this empowers our human souls with, and the unfailing light of knowledge that this brings, even when this itself is challenged by ‘the world’, out of which such courage emerges. That you write of such things at this time is invaluable – every voices that has courage to break that awful silence adds to the power of the liberation shared. And, as I see it, this is happening – and the fruits of such liberation cannot be counted as they are, in our times, as manifold as they are ripe.

    Yes, it is the voice of those willing to both speak of and to be led by spirit in doing so that will bring the sweet medicine of such a harvest home – so, once again, many thanks – in peace, Rob

    • Deena Metzger August 8, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      i wonder what divination (the spirits) might offer us about how we precede now.

      Yes, it was an extraordinary experience when that barrier – which was in part a Church and church barrier – was crossed. As i write this, the understanding comes to me that Spirit itself is imprisoned by those religious forms that inhibit or prohibit direct experience. Listening deeply to Spirit and / or the spirits at this time, and so being participants in the restoration of the natural world and a kind and compassionate world, might be activities on behalf of Spirit itself. in my entire life, in all my experiences, I have never had a communication from Spirit that wasn’t entirely generous and benevolent. Sometimes the way i judge whether this is Spirit speaking or my own psyche, is that i know I couldn’t have thought of it myself. Also that the consciousness was vast and generous and truly considering (sic) all beings in its infinite field. This doesn’t mean that listening to Spirit isn’t difficult and that Spirit doesn’t often take us down so that we can be reconstituted. But if we can imagine a viable future for all beings, then we can see which of our thoughts and actions lead in that direction.

  3. Esther Essinger August 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Your words so rich with meaning and feeling comfort and strengthen me, and infuse with strength my own knowledge, the visions and conversations with spirits, the awareness which very often I am careful to conceal. Thank you, thank you, from my heart I thank you. You also inspire me to tell a story never told.

    • Deena Metzger August 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      The Woman’s movement of the late 60s and 70s gathered its strength from the camaraderie and understanding that came from telling stories never told. Learning each other’s experiences, we began to understand the suffering we saw around us and also began to see what could be possible through community. i hope you tell your story to /or write your story for/ the right people and circle who can hold it and so the transformation promised can occur.

  4. Smoky Zeidel August 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Deena, this is just amazingly beautiful. As for meeting skeptics and people who are too “scientific” to understand–forget about them. Who cares? You know what you know, and there are a lot of us out there who know. My father came to me a week before he died to say good-bye to me. He’d had a stroke several years before, and didn’t know me the last time I saw him. Some people I’ve told have been skeptical. Again, who cares? I think being able to know what we know is one of the joys of reaching midlife. 😎

  5. z August 8, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Two years ago I experienced something earthshaking, which I have been aching to share with the whole world ever since. Like Deena’s pregnant heroine La Negra , I am way overdue.

    Yesterday I was surprised at being spirited here to witness the birthing of this new blog ‘To Consider”. And today , the call here is to tell a story waiting for safe passage :

    On August 19, 2010, I was stupefied to see a favorite photograph on the wall of my studio begin weeping. The photo is a headshot taken of my daughter when she was Little Miss Arizona. Add to this the fact that it’s been eight years now since she fell asleep behind the wheel and died , on her mountain drive home from her night shift as an RN in OB delivery.

    She had been cremated , and no monument made.

    It struck like lightning that , at the very moment her photograph began weeping — I was in the process of profound cipherings with the Hebrew to be engraved on a monument , something I had not even thought about doing since she died.

    Back when my daughter was born, the midlife RN’s attending were profoundly shaken as my newborn proceeded to SING …including when she was hungry, or wet, etc. After a birthing that damaged me for life,my baby girl and I were singing together in the hospital (my 106 degree fever and all). Even the rich lore of the cradling Appalachian mountains hadn’t told this story.

    • Deena Metzger August 9, 2012 at 4:01 am

      The only thing I can say with certainty is that you are / we are in a Story together. So, if I start with the least personal, I am in the middle of The Secret Elephants. It is about a group of elephants, the Kynsna elephants who were considered entirely extinct (hunted to extinction for their ivory – sound familiar?). Reading the post about the whales I felt the same anguish and horror I felt this afternoon reading about the elephants. Then after years of determined tracking and listening, Gareth Patterson found a herd.
      As for your story, tomorrow is the 9th. It will be August 19th in 10 days. What is Spirit calling you to at such a time? Your daughter is clearly a spirit who graced you for a period of time. What Spirit work is she here to do now with you?

    • Deena Metzger August 9, 2012 at 6:45 am

      Several hours after your post and my respnse:

      Page 180 of
      The Secret Elephants by Gareth Patterson. i will edit to the essentials:

      “Lyall (Watson) visited me one day in 2003. … One day he walked the coves and beaches where he had spent childhood holidays … He sat down on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. As he sat there, he suddenly saw the largest aimal the world has even known, a blue whale. …

      “Then he felt a strange throbbing in the air.

      “He turned and looked across a gorge, and swa an elephant facing toward the sea. It was the Matriarch! There she was! After almost a quarter of a century she had reclaimed the Harkerville forests.

      “Whatever had driven the elephants from this place had now, happily, passed.

      “She had returned, and as Lyall watched her that day, the old cow elephant listened to another ancient song. Like her own kind, blue whales communicate by infrasound. It was as though the largest animal of the ocewan and the larget land animal were conversing with each other. Lyall wrote about this in his book Elephantoms:

      The Matriarch was here for the whale … they were no more han a hundred yards apart and I was convinced they were communicating … woman to woman … matriarch to matriarch … almost the last of their kind.

      That these words would appear at this time …!

  6. richard August 9, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Thank you Deena . Found this wonderful interview with Leslie Marmon Silko about her memoir “The Turquoise Ledge” >

    • Deena Metzger August 9, 2012 at 3:43 am

      I can’t get it to play, but i hope others can. Or, perhaps, one reads the book instead. In its profundity and simplicity, it is not like any book I’ve read. It is an experience, a visit with an extraordinary spirit and some rocks, snakes, owls, macaws, and star beings.

  7. jeanette August 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you Deena. I work often, if not daily, at being aware of fellow creatures who suffer. Like the elephants. It is unbearable. But worse is being cowardly and pretending the suffering doesn’t exist. My aunt, whom I loved and lived with as a young child, came to my bedroom after her death. I didn’t want to believe it being, at the time, a fundamental athiest. She was an athiest too.
    There was a very sweet Chinese woman in our house last week. She asked for a swatter to go after two flies. I don’t have one. She said in her house in China she has something that looks like a tennis racket…wave it through the air and zap, seven with one blow. It sizzles.
    And yes, I did say I don’t kill creatures.

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