Wednesday, August 19, 2020

New Mexico Adventure: Las Conchas Trail

On Monday, August 17th, we decided to head toward the Jemez Mountains and River to get some forest bathing in from a different area than our usual fifteen minute drive up to our local woods. Since we had not been to the area, and most of the lodging sites that met our criteria were booked, we deemed the trip would be more of an "exploratory mission" for a grander, future adventure.

Los Alamos

From Santa Fe we headed North for 35 miles, up winding roads toward the town of Los Alamos where we stopped at the French cafe Fleur de Lys to grab a few items for a picnic in the forest. I find the city of Los Alamos slightly creepy, mostly due to its history with creating nuclear weapons and the Manhattan Project where the government recruited scientists to live as virtual prisoners during the infamous Manhattan project. There is a quiet, unsettling energetic quality in the Los Alamos area, reminiscent of The Hawkins National Laboratory from the Stranger Things TV series or perhaps a better example is the high-security facility in Guillermo de Toro's The Shape of Water.

As we drove through the town, past Oppenheimer Drive, (named after Julius Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist credited with being the "father of the atomic bomb") that uneasy feeling continued, exasperated by the charred trees viewed topping the mountain above the city. The skeletal trees sticking up out of the landscape like matches were due to the Las Conchas Fire of 2011, that burned over 150,000 acres. Both Greg and I felt emotionally impacted by the sight of the devastation. Little did we know that a fire had started in the Rio En Medio area of the Santa Fe National Forest. Perhaps on an unconscious level we were picking up on it.

Luckily the forest that burned in the Las Conchas wildfire is slowly coming back, evident by the scrub oaks and aspens. I asked a Forest ranger about this and she confirmed my suspicion explaining that pioneer trees appear first. The scrub oak is one such tree, arriving on the scene early, as a slow-growing tree that are unpalatable to livestock and thus able to mature at significantly reduced sizes in arid, nutrient-poor soils, under harsh conditions. Other common pioneer tree species include red cedar, alder, black locust, most pines and larches, yellow poplar and aspen. 1

As the scrub oaks become dominant, their crowns form a thick canopy laying down a layer of leaves to produce mulch and, eventually, soil. By the time they have matured (which can take 40 years or more), the oaks have produced a layer of relatively rich, crumbly topsoil under a mulch of forest litter. With continuous cover, the forest soil will now be shaded and cool, and humidity within the environment is increased providing hospitable conditions for the taller trees to move in. They could not have survived in the harsher environment which the scrub trees prefer. But thanks to the enhanced soil and air created by the scrub forest, the taller trees are soon thriving. They’ll eventually shade out the older, shorter, slower-growing scrub. Once that occurs, then a “climax” forest has begun to form. At this point, the woodland is returning to a steady state of relative stability, and is on its way to becoming a mature forest once again. 2

This is reminding me of the slow moving Ents from Lord of the Rings, and how human time is completely different from the great cycles of nature and trees.

Valles Caldera

Continuing on our journey along Highway 4, we descended down into the Valles Caldera National Reserve, the site of "a spectacular volcanic eruption created the 13-mile wide circular depression now known as the Valles Caldera"3 over 1.25 million years ago.

The beautiful view of the Valle Grande meadow contains what appears to be an island, Cerro Jara, rising out of the expanse of prairie. It was humbling knowing that we were standing on the site of major magma flow as recently as 50,000 years ago. For context, the incident which created this magnificent valley was formed by an eruption 500 times greater than that of Mt. St. Helens in May of 1980! Regrettably the photo above does not quite do the beauty and magnificence of the scene much justice.

Las Conchas

Continuing along highway 4 we arrived at what we thought was going to be the first stop on our adventure, the Las Conchas Trail, which is located along the East Fork of the Jemez River. We parked and headed in stopping along the path to have our picnic lunch and then continuing along the scenic trail.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Principal of Correspondence

Yesterday, I left the perfumery a bit earlier than usual, arriving at the casita with enough time to fully experience and take some time breathing in the spectacular biome of Santa Fe at sunset. At first I was just standing in awe, looking out at the landscape and sky, then as the mind began to settle down, I closed my eyes and visualized roots streaming down from my feet into the red, rocky earth.

All of a sudden the wind kicked up, so I connected with the elemental and felt the clarifying, clearing vibes that the wind offers us. As I did so, I perceived the note of “petrichor” a rather earthy scent that rises from dry soil when the rain falls. Thus, I was reminded of nourishing elemental water which is so important here in the high desert. I opened my eyes, and in the distance, traveling quite quickly, fog and rain clouds were heading our way.

I then looked straight above me and noticed the last rays of the setting sun, elemental fire, were hitting the clouds as in the opening photo. Sun, as an example of elemental fire, creates life and relates to creativity, passion, the spark of life and intuition.

As I walked back to our casita, past the fragrant and gently swirling open of the daturas buzzing with the sounds of nectar hunting honey bees filled my being. It’s at that moment that I noticed how the colors of the sky, in that one sacred moment, mirrored the color of the datura flowers.


Auspiciously, or rather "correspondently", I have been re-visiting The Kybalion by Three Initiates, "a study of basic hermetic teachings that outline an ageless wisdom. In ancient times (and even today) these teachings were not understood by the lay person, but were readily understood by students, after the axioms and principles had been explained and exemplified by the Hermetic Initiates and Masters to their Neophytes. The Kybalion was originally written in the early 1900's and is now in the public domain. A priceless gem!"1

Just before arriving back at our casita I had listened to a brief outline of the Seven Hermetic Principals, the second being The Principal of Correspondence which "embodies the truth that there is always a Correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of Being and Life. The old Hermetic axiom ran in these words: "As above, so below; as below, so above." And the grasping of this Principle gives one the means of solving many a dark paradox, and hidden secret of Nature. There are planes beyond our knowing, but when we apply the Principle of Correspondence to them we are able to understand much that would otherwise be unknowable to us. This Principle is of universal application and manifestation, on the various planes of the material, mental, and spiritual universe — it is an Universal Law. The ancient Hermetists considered this Principle as one of the most important mental instruments by which man was able to pry aside the obstacles which hid from view the Unknown. Its use even tore aside the Veil of Isis to the extent that a glimpse of the face of the goddess might be caught. Just as a knowledge of the Principles of Geometry enables man to measure distant suns and their movements, while seated in his observatory, so a knowledge of the Principle of Correspondence enables Man to reason intelligently from the Known to the Unknown. Studying the monad, he understands the archangel." 2

1. & 2. The Kybalion

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Lions Gate

Once again the Earth aligns with the planet Sirius opening The Lion’s Gate Portal so that we may receive a flood of cosmic activations.  Although I had heard of this the last two years, it was in a teleconference call with a local shaman here in Santa Fe, named Robin Coale that I was reminded of this special time.

Since arriving to the high desert I have noticed an opening in my intuitive and psychic abilities, this I have been listening more deeply and paying attention to patterns, or what Paulo Coelho in his book The Alchemist refers to as omens.

Thus on this eighth day of the eighth month, with this special portal open I thought I would share a special meditation that started presenting itself to me a few years ago and has finally coalesced. If you have time today and for the next week, I suggest listening to Robin's teleconference and take a moment to embrace the flood of cosmic energies.

Here is the meditation that came to me:

Find a peaceful place to sit quietly, ideally outdoors. As you ground your self into mother earth and become aware of the circulating air, warmth of the solar rays, and luminosity of the stars and lunar beams,

observe a vertical figure eight before you, the same height as your body. The image slowly begins to pulse with energy moving along the path of the form.

Consider how the top of the form mimics the bottom, “As above, so below, as within so without." The form now turns on its side, finding its central axis at the solar plexus and begins to spin around you, resembling a flower. The spinning geometric form eventually generates a light bubble all around you.

Standing within this loving sphere of light, perceive how vibrant threads descending from the cosmos flood into your body through the crown of your head, pausing to illuminate your pineal gland and then both recharging and rejuvenating your entire system. While this takes place breath in gratitude for being here on this planet during this very special time, as we “activate” our ascension codes and manifest our individual and collective dream.

Above is a video Greg amended from when he did visual development for the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Narnia Film. He describes the symbolism like this:

On the 8th day of the 8th month, the Lions Gate opens. Metaphysically this is a powerful day for transformation and visualization. There is a scene I worked on for the "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" motion picture which encapsulates this concept.

One of the characters has been turned into a dragon through a greedy activity. He is in danger of being slain because no one knows that this is not his real form. After realizing his error he asks for forgiveness and Aslan, the sacred lion turns him back into his human form... with some intense dramatics.

This scene symbolically represents the dragon of our lower nature, and the power of transformation using right thoughts, and right actions.

The animatic shows our dragon/boy floating up from the ocean (his subconscious) as a sand bar pushes him above the water. When he opens his eyes (waking the portals of perception) he sees the sun rising which turns into Aslan standing on the water. Aslan roars and rushes the waking dragon (the wind of realization). He tears him open with his claws (removing the ego) and the transformation begins from lower nature to higher being. The changing consciousness is washed over by a huge wave (infinite love), setting in motion a rebirth.

Meditation and Visualization are tools that help us calm the mind and open the portals of perception.

Artwork by Greg Spalenka, concept design for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader film.