Archive for the ‘Ancient Wisdom’ Category

Winter Solstice Blessings

Saturday, December 20th, 2014
Path of the West

Path of the West

As we approach Winter Solstice (in the northern hemisphere) I am reminded of the longstanding tradition of burning candles or keeping a fire going all Winter Solstice night. This is done that the light will overcome the darkness and the Sun will return to lighten our lives. It is also a metaphor for the inner light of our Spirit overcoming the darkness and doubt of our lives.

The solstices, equinoxes, and their midpoints are auspicious times for ceremony, as are new moons and full moons. Solstice is at 11:03 pm UT (GMT) Sunday and the new moon is less than three hours later at 1:36 am UT Monday.

This time of darkness, the womb of winter, is a time of celebration that leads to the new year and its opportunities for a fresh start, for making commitments to a better, brighter future. It is also a time to reflect back with great gratitude on all we have been given during the prior year. Add on top of this the seeding of the new moon and this is a truly powerful time for us to plant our ideas, prayers, and dreams into the great mystery of the cosmos.

With great gratitude for your presence in my life ~ Thank you

We are part of Nature…and Nature is part of us

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Tree Communion - Maple Pass - color-When walking in the forest, I am enchanted by the trees and feel a kinship with them not unlike the kinship I feel with fellow human beings.  I may come across a particularly wonderful tree and say “Hello old friend, it is so good to see you.  Look at you, look at you!  You are beautiful!”  Talking to the trees, talking to the birds and the natural world around us, deeply enhances our ability to experience our connectivity with our world.

Some may think it strange to talk with a tree, but let me assure you it is a reasonable as well as a productive, thing to do.  Our indigenous ancestors all communicated with the natural world and heard echoes back from it in the form of insights, knowledge, and wisdom.  Our ancestors knew they were part of Nature and that Nature was part of them.  It never occurred to them it would be strange for a plant to advise them how to heal their sick brother or sister.

Here is a simple way to talk to Nature which I enjoy.  Go for a walk in the park or just down the street from where you live.  As you begin moving along on your way, greet the natural world around you.  “Hello trees, hello bushes, hello ferns, hello sky, hello clouds, hello birds” and so on, acknowledging all that are there.  “Hello dragonflies, hello stones, hello houses.”  It is a wonderful thing.

Saying hello to the world around you makes you feel like we are all family and goes beyond your habitual way of interacting with the world.  In this way of being, we are all part of each others’ lives in a more conscious manner.  Connecting with Nature helps to wake up the part of us that is aware deep inside, that knows in our bones we are part of the same community – that we are one.  At a deep level beyond even the physical, we are living in a world of interdependency.

So don’t be shy.  Don’t think to yourself “What am I dong?  I must be off my rocker, I’m talking to a tree!”  Allow yourself the opportunity to try this experience and work with it over time.  With grace you will feel the medicine and see the wisdom of this path.  You will see it in the way you feel about yourself and the world around you.  It will bring forth that playful, innocent part of you that may have been hiding quietly within during the years since childhood.

The feeling of harmony and joy received from being outdoors comes back home and affects our lives in a wonderfully healthy way.  Repeated visits in nature increase this affect over time and improve the way we feel in our home life, in our social life, and even in our work life…


Everyone Has Ancestors

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Mayan ceremonial fireAs we approach the holiday season I am moved to share some of what Lisa and I learned during our ancestor studies with Mayan spiritual guide, Don Rigoberto, in Guatemala last month.

The Mayan vision of the cosmos is based on relationships – relationships between people, between people and ancestors (or lineages), and between people and the universe. The first focus is on relationships with ancestors, for everyone has ancestors – this is universal. We all have roots.

There is an infinite line of generations and we don’t know how far back (or how far forward) it goes. Our parents have (or had) beliefs and customs and maybe we don’t like them. But in this chain of generations what is passed on is not the passer’s fault. Or perhaps we are gifted with creativity; we don’t know how far back that attribute entered our lineage, either.

When we don’t respect our ancestors we isolate ourselves from the line of ancestors and are without harmony. This is the origin of evil – when we don’t respect the values, beliefs, and principles of our ancestors.

When we cut ourselves off from our ancestors, we cut ourselves off from a part of our self. If we sever communications with ancestors, we are isolated and stuck, we are like a tree without roots. When we remain connected with our ancestors we retain our roots (values, beliefs, principles). It is also our responsibility to pass along what our ancestors gave us.

There is a chain of reincarnation. Some of each ancestor’s essence reincarnates three to four generations down the line.  If we don’t have kids we pass along our lineage through our siblings’ children or through other children we have a connection with. It’s a tying together of energies – the fruit of our exchange. Our togetherness is not a coincidence.

We contact the ancestors through sensitive, delicate ceremony. We can also make connections with ancestors through meditation and dreams. Holding onto our ancestors’ values is way to retain connection with them. The first step is to recognize and accept that we have ancestors, then we venerate them. We thank them and say prayers for them.

Facing the west at midnight is the best time to contact ancestors. We sit in a meditation pose with eyes closed and think about them. We take a journey back in time and pray they reveal themselves to us in our dreams. This is an active search for  our ancestors – and they are looking for us, too, their descendants, for when a person dies energy remains.

In addition to Don Rigoberto’s wonderful teachings, Lisa and I were blessed with an ancestor fire ceremony that he led us through, and the photo above is of that fire at an ancient altar in Momostenango.

The Trees Who Talked – poem by Jim Papp

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

The Healing Tree (El Lechero) - Otavalo, Ecuador










We speak to you now
As ones, who like you,
Are much younger than
The Mountains

Sustained by the same Water
And the same Sun
And both blessed to be
In this place of wonder,
We have been asked to tell you
To share and celebrate
This Garden with your kind

The Bear brings you power,
The Deer, protection
We, the Trees, standing silently
In witness, give you trust

The Water comes and goes
The Animals are busy
On their own paths
The Mountains, well,
They have other things to do,
Communing with the very forces
That created the face
Of this Earth

We speak to you now as ones
Whose lives come and go,
Much like yours.
You, however, are affecting
How this Garden grows
And that is why we seek
Your attention


copyleft 1998 Jim Papp, Bellingham, Washington 98226 USA <<“copyleft” means that we allow re-posting or re-printing of this poem, in its entirety, with credit to Jim Papp and a link back to this site. When you do re-post or re-print this poem, please include a link back to  Thank you!

What if there is nothing wrong with the world?

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

What if there is nothing wrong with the world?  What if there is nothing “out there” that needs to be fixed?  What if all is already in a state of perfection?

Such questions epitomize the apex of ridiculousness―naively insensitive and insanely idealistic―if we base our views on what is in the news, what we are told in school, and on the values propagated by what we can call consensual reality.

In the cultural process of our domestication, we are taught that we are separate beings who live in a “survival of the fittest, us and them” world and, that unfortunately, there is not enough of anything to go around.

Now this vast generalization and over-simplification is easily cast in the light of lunacy, paranoia, and conspiracy, if not at first considered agitating and unwholesome.

Yet it is equally easy, when we try, to open our minds to the possibility that we are inherently, energetically connected with each other in the so-called web of life and that there is no “us” and there is no “them.”

But, how unpatriotic!  How heretical!  The notion of oneness implies that we and our enemies, in all their forms, are related―that we are all tied together somehow in this thing called life.  We can’t have that!  Or can we?

Whether we inquire via science, via spirituality, or via what we call common sense, we can observe, intuit, or deduce the reality of our connection―verily the bond―that unifies us in this world we are all undeniably a part of.

When we delve within ourselves we may discover an essence that is the essence of all that is.  We may discover our brotherhood and sisterhood, not only with our fellow human beings, but with the plants and animals and even the rocks and water and air, and the sun and the moon and the stars.  We may examine the more-than-mythical stories of our ancestors over the millennia that tell us of community, of relation to and compassion for all in the web of life.

It turns out that our essence, the essence of all that is―pure Spirit, if you like―has never been compromised and is completely intact underneath the conditioning and cultural domestication we have undergone.

Rather than fixing what is wrong with the world (because it is not broken) we can work at dusting off, refocusing, and polishing our perception to see the gem of our soul which shines eternal.  When we rediscover the infinite, divine reality of our being and of all existence, the illusion of our separateness dissipates.

I.  You.  Us.  Them.  Yours.  Mine.  Scarcity.  Competition.  Haves.  Have nots.  These words and the ways of being they engender are propping up a consensual reality where war―individually and as nations―is a way to get what we think we need to live.  Yet this is not reality for it is not who we really are.

At the frontiers of modern science, quantum physics cannot tell us where one entity or thing ends and another begins.  All is made of energy intermingling in myriad patterns that give the illusion of individuation yet they cannot be truly separated as they are part of the same interdependent whole.

The great yogis speak of each of our souls as a point of light reflected by the sun on the water, and that all of us points of light together are part of the same ocean of oneness which is God itself.  We are nodes of Spirit energy within the greater indivisible field of energy which includes all that is.

If you and I, and us and them, are interrelated in cosmic community, then what we do to another we unerringly do to ourselves.  When we consider and practice and with grace realize that “I am that,” we find we are all flowers in the garden of Heaven on Earth, some of us open, some of us opening, some of us going to seed, and there is no disharmony between different ages and shapes and sizes and colors.

From this place of the awareness of the other in oneself, the hallucination of our separateness slowly yet surely dissolves away.  Our thoughts and words and actions are guided from the perspective of humility, kindness, and respect―from the experience of community.  And this consensual reality we speak of, which is a hologram of our collective hallucination of separateness, shifts, reassembles, and settles into a new reality rooted in a cooperative way of being together.

This is nothing new; we have done this before.  Maybe the circumstances are different, maybe they’re not, but it doesn’t matter.  Our essence is pure, untouched, and its nature is to shine.

There is nothing wrong with the world.  There is nothing “out there” that needs to be fixed.  All is already in a state of perfection.  Our challenge or, if you wish, our great opportunity, is awakening to who we really are and realizing our togetherness as sisters and brothers on this precious planet.


© 2011 James K. Papp.  A writer and artist, Jim lives in Bellingham, Washington with his wife Lisa and their cat, Magic.

A Wide and Open Place

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Even before arriving at this wide and open place of ever-so-gently bubbling power, I felt its call arrive, serene across the sky and fields, guided by the golden hills, echoing in waves within me.

Stepping off the bus I gasped to see a mound of perfectly proportioned grace, conical and curved and causing my gaze to glue upon it, and somehow I managed to set my suitcase down in the quiet dirt so I could stare unhindered.

Taken I was by some kind of mesmerizing magic, magic that was waking up magic inside of me, magic that was flipping switches like a line of dominoes culminating in a flood of forgotten mystery.

Recognition and reunion swirled around in a slow motion radial dance just outside the field of vision, but the shadows of mystery whispered just loud enough for me to know they were there.

When was I here?  Was it just the hypnotizing vision in the picture book two hundred Moons ago, or is there more to this cresting wave of familiar, even familial curiosity?

I came to see the largest stone circle in the world and found destiny asking me if I wanted to dance again like I did in the long summer of a century lost.  Holding palms upward to the silent sky, the gift is accepted and the sun lays down behind the far hill to rest.

© 2011 James K. Papp, Avebury, Wiltshire, England

At the Crossroads of Life: What Can We Do?

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Path of the West

Spiritual practice is our individualized way of learning to live in the ever-present now.  And spiritual practice is, as we all know, a very personal matter.  Ultimately it is about whatever works for us individually.

But what about when things are not working so well?  How about when we find ourselves at the place I call “the crossroads,” where we are not sure which way to go or what to do?   When we are at the crossroads, where we don’t have enough information and we are searching for guidance or inspiration to continue on our journey, what can we do and where do we turn?

It is truly a blessing to walk upon one’s self-composed spiritual path.  But when things aren’t working in our life it can get really tiring wielding our machete as we hack a new path through the thick jungle.  And we can lose our vision when this jungle of unprocessed thoughts and feelings seems to have grown in around us.  Thankfully there are also paths of proven practices which we have used for thousands of years here for us, already paved, ready for us to walk upon them with relative ease when we want to do so.

Prayer, Meditation, Gratitude, Kindness, Being With Nature, Building Altars, Making Offerings and Ceremonies – these and other longstanding traditions are already well traveled, are clearly marked and supported, and have a wide berth.  When we don’t have enough energy to do it all on our own, these paths are there for us, along with the accumulated wisdom of all who have walked upon them before us.  Know, especially if you consider yourself quite independent, that utilizing these practices does not commit you to using them for the rest of your life.   You can use them as you need to without any fear that doing something traditional will paint you into a corner.

Remember, you always have the right to change the direction of your sailing craft on the cosmic ocean at any time, as you need to do so.  So don’t be afraid to go ahead and use the technologies and ways of being we have collectively designed and benefited from over the millennia.   They work!  Then, with a thankful resetting of your spiritual gyroscope, you will find your way to enjoying a more balanced and harmony-filled life.  May the Blessings Be with you always!

© 2011 James K. Papp

These Silent Temples Are Not So Silent

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Altar at the Group of the Cross, Palenque, Mexico

Take me to where the stones speak.  Take me to the silent place within where I can hear.  Take me to where the trees hold me in their arms and the rain dances on my mind.  Take me to where brothers and sisters remember who they really are.  Take me to the place where the path is clear and the way is filled with mystery.  Take me to my home.

Peace is Now

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Enlightenment, peace, fulfillment – whatever you want to call it – is not some far away, pie-in-the-sky, seemingly unattainable thing.  It is here in every moment.  We can access it through simple practices and unassuming ways.  The wholeness we are looking for is found in patience and acceptance.  It is found in non-judgement and in the unspeakably vast spaces of communion opened up by vehicles such as prayer and meditation, gratitude and kindness.  The way is found when we take responsibility for ourselves.