According to his journal, the Confessio, Maewyn Succat’s first utterance of the one known as “Jesus of Nazareth”, was “Helias”. From the Greek, Helias means the “son of the sun”.

At sixteen, in approx. 550 , Maewyn was captured by thugs in his homeland of Somerset, Britain. He was sold into slavery to  an Irish chieftain. For several years , Maewyn toiled in the fields of Ireland as a slave until he escaped. Years later, Maewyn returned to Ireland with a revolutionary agenda of social and spiritual change.

Within twenty-five years, Maewyn would end slavery in Ireland through the light of “Helias. He is known for ridding the emerald isle of snakes, but that may , indeed,  be a metaphor for the chains of oppression.

Today, Maewyn Succat is known as “Saint Patrick”. On March 17th, the world celebrates the life of the one who believed that all men and women deserved to be free.





Weweremadeforthese times

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Jungian psychiatrist and post trauma recovery specialist, writes this to  social activists. This letter  appears, in part, on Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ blog. The date of the original letter is unknown.

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

Note from this blogger: Clarissa Pinkola Estes is perhaps most famous for her New York Times Best-selling book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. Clarissa Estes came to my attention while I was listening to the thirty-seven hour audio collection of poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue’s work. She, introduces the collection. In her half hour introduction, I was stunned and astonished by her depth of knowledge, her intuition, and that voice. Dear God, what a voice! If you are an audio book fan, please hear  her  on her extended books available on Audible.







the-hidden-life-of-treesThe Hidden Life Of Trees by Peter Wohlleben was such an international phenomenon that the New York Times wrote about it nine months before its release in North America.

The non-fiction book about the social life of trees was originally written in German by German forest ranger, Peter Wohlleben. Now it has now been released into English speaking territories in all book-formats including a wonderful audio recording narrated by Mike Grady as if Grady were narrating a fairy tale.

But the book is not a fairy tale and is loaded with science and all its advancements. What is remarkable is the way Peter Wohlleben writes. He writes in a way that we non-scientists can understand. “When I say, ‘trees suckle their children’, everyone knows exactly what I mean,” Wohlleben told the New York Times.

“With his book, he changed the way I look at the forest forever,” Markus Lanz, a popular Italian talk show host, writes. “Every time I walk through a beautiful woods, I think about it.”

According to the research amassed through Universities and research foundations throughout the world, trees can count, learn and remember. They can nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network through their roots; and, for reasons unknown, keep the stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution.

“I have a room all my own,” wrote Henry David Thoreau. The room “is called nature”. The Hidden Life of Trees opens up this room into a vision that we humans seldom perceive.

With all the mind-numbing news over the last two weeks, it sometimes feels like we are living in a science-fiction world with no escape. Indeed, in the majority of Phillip K Dick’s startling science fiction works (including what has become known as Bladerunner or Minority Report ) the heroes end up fleeing the cities that   men have built and returning to the woods for salvation.

If you are looking for a psychological healing balm today, in my mind, there is not a better salve than this book. It gives life and context to Tolkien’s race of Ents . And it provides the room in which we live a view we have never seen or heard before.

I would encourage a listen to the audio book, especially while taking a walk in the woods.