from a collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

They’ve all moved on from their “human suits” —

a term The Teacher used

for these temporary shells we call bodies.

The other “warriors” in our circle,


are now gone.

We cut our teeth on the “energy exercises.”

A “curriculum” of practices

from multiple tributaries of culture, tradition, places of spirit.

Agave, copal, earth-dreaming, hillwalking, koji, music, sitting like a mountain, temazcal…

sitting in stone chambers…sweating our prayers.

With proper eyes and feet,

anything can be a doorway.

With a Heart-Earth-Attuned Ear,

the wind, birdsong, cicadas, waterfalls,

ice cracking on floorboards, a familiar’s voice —

all can become The Great Vehicle.

This is why when thunder echoed off the mountains,

or I heard The Teacher whisper her tobacco prayers into the forest,

I was suddenly in two worlds

listening to the holy music that binds everything together.

This is why, tonight,

with the high wind of winter in the pines,

I hear the well-wishing of my dearly missed classmates on The Other Side.

They’re telling us: You don’t need to take-in the poison of these times to be an antidote.

(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen /

image: “Joshua Tree” / by Roya Ann Miller

sound: “Her Fading Image” / The Fata Morgana Dream / Forrest Fang