Yoga Wicca Buddha

Exploring a personal, eclectic path by looking at the intersection of three great traditions.

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Archer

Archer

 
Archer has been trying to make sense of religion since her parents first abandoned her at Sunday School in the 60s. She’s a mom, yoga teacher and repository of useless bits of information on ancient religion, spiritual practices and English grammar. Check out her column “Connections” in Witches and Pagans.
 

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Let It Mean Something

Visiting my mom in the old folk’s home is a lot like going on retreat. On retreat, the days can be long, as I sit, eat, and walk in a silence punctuated with my own restless thoughts. On my visits to my mom, we too sit, eat, and walk in a silence punctuated by her restless, repetitive questions (“Why did you come? Are you my guest? Why am I here?”) and my repetitive answers. Just as on retreat, there are moments of peace, stretches of boredom and periods of head-nodding semi-sleep, both of us upright in our chairs. For the days I’m there, nothing new is happening. Nothing much is being accomplished. It’s the same thing, over and over.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you for this beautiful reminder, Archer. I used to wonder what was wrong with me, that I always seemed drawn to form relati
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    Thank you for bringing this to us.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Archer, this story breaks my heart -- in the best possible way. Thank you for sharing it with us. Peace to you, your mother, and a
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Thank you for these words Anne.

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Taking Refuge

“Gurudev is in town!”—my fellow yoga teacher’s eyes were glowing, nay, glistening with unshed tears. But I couldn’t share her excitement. While she was still under the sway of the charismatic yogi who had brought my brand of yoga to North America, I had been taught by one of his disenchanted disciples. The guru had been thrown out of his own ashram after sleeping with all the wrong people (including those underage) and icing the criminal cake with some financial malfeasance. I hadn’t experienced his powers first hand, but I gathered from my friend’s reactions, and her easy dismissal of his crimes, that they must have been significant. 

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Turning into Trees

The rain poured down without cease, a thorough, all-embracing sound. I was ensconced in the shelter of a tarp I’d slung between two trees, its sides open above the leafy softness of the forest floor. My comfy sleeping bag lay over a ground sheet. I had about six by three feet of space in which to stay dry for a long wet day, spent on the side of a mountain in Vermont. I slept, I mused, I wrote. It was heaven.

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  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Thank you, Tyger, for reading.
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    Lovely. Thank you.

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Lost Child

Folklore and myth are full of lost children—abandoned due to curses, hidden away by fearful parents, exiled by evil kings and cruel stepmothers. Cast on the waters, left on hilltops, hidden in caves, their fate seems murky— until they reappear to either tragedy or triumph. Oedipus learns his true identity only to discover that he has fulfilled the dark prophecy that he was trying to outrun. But Perseus and Dionysos emerge victorious, avenging their rejection. Likewise, the youngest sons or rejected daughters of folktales overcome their outcast status and achieve treasure and acclaim. 

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Coming Home

It was day three of a seven-day meditation retreat and I was busy sabotaging my practice by wallowing in guilt. At the mid-week interview with the meditation leader I complained about these negative thoughts: “I don’t know why I do this to myself.” 

 

“But are you doing it?” she said. “Are you doing it?” 

 

Well, no. My thoughts were basically thinking themselves, assailing me when whether I wanted them or not. The more closely I observed myself, the more I came to the conclusion that I had ridiculously little control over the thoughts and reactions that drove me into various states and actions. 

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  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Wow, thank you Ted! I will definitely have to look that one up.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    A lovely essay, Archer, and well expressed as usual. I am reading Ram Dass’ Be Love Now for the second time, and appreciating it

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Step into the Fire

Step into the Fire

 

I got called out by my kid. And it was gut-wrenching. 

 

They’d embarked on an exploration of “family stories” they wanted to rewrite, the unspoken assumptions and unwritten rules of their upbringing. When they shared this their words were calm but direct. The unquestioning child was gone. A fully observant adult stood in their place.

 

Seeing myself and our family life through their eyes was….bracing. Scary. I had to face some uncomfortable truths, and found myself filled with a sense of loss and regret. I hadn’t been a perfect parent, and I wasn’t a perfect person. 

 

But this was a perfect chance to step into the fire.

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Empty

Emptiness terrifies me. And I long for it.

 

Empty hours and empty days threaten me with meaninglessness. Between jobs, or simply at loose ends, I might feel guilt, shame, or the fear of not being real. In fact even my empty minutes need to be filled with reading, TV, or some other distraction. Waiting for the bus, I have to check my phone. There’s a nameless anxiety lurking in that unoccupied space. 

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