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Writing from the Rite: Miracles at Isleta

Shiloh Richter Something Like Olivia Video Shoot Ranch 2012John Mayer and Shiloh Richter The Search for Everything Tour Isleta 18 July 2017

The Foot Race

Isleta, NM, named "Little Island” of the Rio Grande, is like the island of Ithaca in the Odyssey that has revealed so much to me while writing, and this place in New Mexico has yielded resplendent miracles of its own.  Significant of the Hermes trickster always "on the road," as described by author Lewis Hyde in Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth and Art, like Odysseus himself being "on the road," the pueblo is named after a Native American foot race.  In mythology Odysseus won a foot race in order to choose to marry Penelope.  It is suggestive of his Hermetic character. 

Isleta is where John Mayer and I met at a meet & greet on his The Search for Everything Tour on 18 July 2017, after seven years since we first saw each other, looked back at each other, and I had written to him what became the books and tapestries; it is the only place we have stood next to each other, face to face, and the only time we have spoken directly to each other in these ten years.


Filming Wild Horses for Road to El Paso in New Mexico November 2005

Wild Horses

Having no idea what would happen there twelve years later in meeting John, in November 2005 I was only a few miles south of Isleta in Los Lunas ("The Moon") wildly filming the wild horses with my dad for our independent western, Road to El Paso



I could not have known what would transpire, and had already transpired in 1997, in Isleta with Mother Teresa (described below), and I was completely caught up in the running of the horses--just as they would come bursting from Chauvet in the discoveries while I was writing Coyote Weaves a Song, and also in life bounding in the heroic breaking forth in the spirit of art in artists like Kanye, Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, Jay Z, Kostas Seremetis, among so many more, the wild significance of the horses who also break out and reclaim the dining hall in Homer's song, the Odyssey.


An Old Stone Building

Filming Road to El Paso New Mexico November 2005

Filming Wild Horses in New Mexico for Road to El Paso Old Stone Building November 2005

Debbie French in Road to El Paso

While filming Road to El Paso on November 4 & 5, 2005, my dad and I and my friend and his co-star Debbie French took a trip to Ruidoso, NM, from Texas, where Debbie and I walked up on a bear, and then we went on to Los Lunas, Belen, and Albuquerque, New Mexico to film the release of wild horses by the New Mexican Horse Project for scenes in the film. Beyond these wild horses, the story was also alive:  at Los Lunas on 11.4.05 (numbers in my name, 145, upside down being “Shi,” what my dad called me, and his birth date being 11.19) we also filmed scenes at an old stone cabin ruin for the storyline of visiting the place where the couple from the past and journal had lived in the 1800s. I was only a few miles from the Isleta Pueblo, only minutes from where I would meet John in person.  In 2009, right before I saw him in concert for the first time in Spring 2010 and began writing him, John had released the song, “Do You Know Me?” about recognizing one from a past life.

 Dead and Company 

Isleta Amphitheater is the only place where I have seen Dead and Company live, and on a July day in 2018 that was so windy, the art backdrops couldn't be used and it was the music alone, stripped down and reverberating.

First Native American Prayer in Congress and Donald Trump Impeachment

It is no accident that the first Native American to ever say a prayer at the U.S. House of Representatives on 13 November 2019 is a female and from Isleta, and this also being the opening the day to impeachment hearings in Congress.

 Until Shiloh Comes Cosmic Flow Tapestry Shiloh Richter Details Miracles at Isleta

"Jesus of the Ceiling" at Isleta

In Cather's novel at Isleta is Father Jesus de Baca meaning "Jesus of the Ceiling" like the revelations of the Sisting Ceiling at Michelangelo's hands. 

According to Julia M. Keleher and Elsie Ruth Chant in their book The Padre of Isleta: The Story of Father Anton Docher (2009), the wooden parrot in Cather's novel was based upon this priest's actual "foul-mouthed" parrot named Tina, [a true siren]. 

The founding editor of BSW Lawrence Clark Powell wrote an essay in his book Southwest Classics: The Creative Literature of the Arid Lands: Essays on the Books and Their Writers about one of the first city editors of Los Angeles Times, Charles Fletcher Lummis, who went to stay with the actual priest, Anton Docher, upon whom this character at Isleta in Cather's novel was used as the basis. Powell wrote of Lummis, "Although there have been more polished writers on the Southwest than Lummis, none has equaled his genius for seeing, understanding, and popularizing the region.  It was he who first called it "The Southwest" (43-44).

The Wooden Parrot

“You can scarcely understand what it means . . . that enormous territory . . . the cradle of faith in the New World . . . [it is] the beginning of momentous things.” Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop

In Willa Cather's novel Death Comes for the Archbishop, it is the place where there is a wooden parrot (metaphorically signifying it as closed, repetitive art and religion, deadened dogma and unchanging, and only repeating what it has heard, just as Taylor Swift only does creative infringement, and that has been happening to me this entire ten years of writing). In the novel this wooden parrot is juxtaposed with the real birds with the prized colored feathers for ceremony kept in the walled-in Garden. This is a pivotal point in the transition of the Church in the novel (of which the Archbishop is the “architect”) that he creates inspired by Magdalena, whose spirit and Being comes to life in his garden when she is surrounded by birds, the metaphor of her Being and all of Nature, her Spirit, coming to life and importantly, embodied.

That is what matches the day in December 2010 that I photographed the bird fountain in San Antonio, at a place matching the dates and description of the same place in the novel and also of the actual place in Santa Fe, and that being the same day the video of “Face to Call Home” was first posted on-line.  It also matches the new, illumined Church’s “architect" and what happens in that Garden in John’s lyrics: “I am architect of days that haven’t happened yet,” and “We built a yard with a garden in the middle of it,/ it ain’t much, but it’s a start,/ you got me singing right along with the song in your heart.”  I began with writing to John about the Odyssey, and completed the books in 2018.  Those wild revelations mirrored what is illumined in Cather's novel, and what I was personally experiencing with John.

Adobe Home Alto New Mexico Barbara Mader High Mesa Healing Center

The Adobe House

And then in 2019, on completion of that writing, I came to form a friendship with an 87 year old natural energy healer, Barbara Mader, near where I live on the mountain in Alto.  I had first come to know her in 2017 at a solar eclipse ceremony, a month after I met John. 

In the events that happened after what is shown in the Cosmic Flow Tapestry, I was led the day of the Solar Eclipse on 21 August 2017 (“the Great American Eclipse”) to the High Mesa Healing Center across the highway from me, which happens to be Billy the Kid Trail, on the mountain in Alto, NM, and to its founder, Barbara Mader. I went there to experience the eclipse because it had been two years since I lost Moonbeam right before the Total Lunar eclipse on 27 & 28 of September 2015, and it felt like him passing in front of the sun to see, and also because the Healing Center was the only place left in town with eclipse sunglasses for viewing it. Moonbeam had once again led me to the path.

It had been one month since I had met John in person on 18 July 2017 at Isleta after seven years of writing to him. Dead and Company went on their first tour in October 2015, a month after Moonbeam’s passing in September 2015. They were leaving as I was giving up what felt like my soul child, taking the steps into the eternal with him, and their tour beginning just as I discovered him stepping down in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, in the Vatican. About two years after the solar eclipse ceremony, this year in 2019, I saw Barbara in the Alto post office (and introduced her to Karma, who works there), and Barbara told me again how deeply she wants to write her memoir--she had told me this even the summer before in a brief yet powerful visit. And so in the Spring 2019 I went to see her, feeling compelled.

When I walked into Barbara’s house I immediately recognized it matching the description of the Archbishop’s living, breathing, like-a-physical-female-body adobe home, the place in the novel where Magdalena is "incarnated" and blooms to life in the garden, and this leading to the Archbishop's own illumination and the building of his cathedral, the very things from John's song in 2010.  I had an intense desire from the point of entering that house to light the swollen bellies of adobe fireplaces that were in each room, like the novel, and to also bring fire to the lower energy centers in the body which I realized are a materialized part of what I have written about Being, Beatrice, and the aspects of the goddess importantly Being in the Body. This, too, along with all the other illuminations matches the descriptions of what were understood even in the Hebrew Bible when the people ask for their goddess: those lower energy centers in the body are those where safety, security, abundance, belonging to one's tribe, how one feels, and how one projects one's self into the world are known, and this is what was removed as the female was even socially-conditioned to move out of her body and did so by moving out of those vital energy centers which became "off-limits" to her.  No wonder the control of the uterus was up for the raping, the taking.  I came to know this "lighting the fire," so necessary in Archbishop Latour's home in the novel, as now vital to feeling and grounding in Being, just as Magdalena being lit to life in her own Body, and from it the ability to become much more strongly, deeply rooted in Being--as in a Garden.  On Christmas Day, then, in 2019, was the solar eclipse with the Moon forming the "ring of fire" with the sun.  At my own home I had lit a chimenea on my back deck, realizing the next day beneath this curved clay body, it, too, had formed the same circle of burn at its base, from its female, curved lower body, as was in the sky.  

I Have Been Waiting for You: A Personal and Spiritual Journey with Saint Teresa of Kolkata (Calcutta) Father Larry Gosselin

Mother Teresa

Barbara, the 87 year old energy healer, is dear friends with Father Larry Gosselin who is now a priest at the oldest run mission in California, in Santa Barbara.  Santa Barbara is Katy Perry’s birthplace, and the mission where he is, where he went in 2011 (the same month I arrived with Bob Dylan), is the mission where John and Katy took pictures together in 2012.  Father Larry had only been there a year.  John and Katy, in supporting each other and to extricate from Taylor Swift's harassment and manipulation of the media, visited and took pictures together at that very Santa Barbara Mission in November 2012, not knowing the coming connection with Father Larry and what was developing here at Isleta. At the very moment I discovered the connection on Thursday, 31 October 2019, of the only place I had seen and spoken with John at Isleta (2017) and seen Dead & Company (2018), and discovering this connection through Barbara Mader and in reading Father Larry’s book, Katy was bound for India during the “11.11 portal” and as Mercury was crossing in front of the sun, to the ancient civilization where the corn has been buried at the feminine heart of the Catholic church, as I will shortly describe. She was there to headline perform at her first concert there at the OnePlus music festival in Mumbai. Prince Charles also happened to be on his way there, and made his first Instagram post honoring India and the Sikh community. Even as I was reading Father Larry’s book, Katy was on the cover of Rolling Stone India for the November 2019 issue, then in January 2020, on the cover of Vogue India.

Katy Perry Vogue India January 2020 cover

Katy Perry on fighting depression, finding meditation, and using her platform to steer change Vogue India

Katy was born in 1984, the 700 year anniversary of the very years Dante knew Beatrice in person. 

While Katy was in India, Father Larry was in Rome at the Vatican and recovering from heart surgery there.  Father Larry had been present while Mother Teresa had had heart surgery in India.  Father Larry was on the walk of Saint Francis in Italy when he had to get taken to emergency surgery.  He returned to Santa Barbara in December.

Santa Barbara is also where author N. Scott Momaday lived when the Southwestern novel House Made of Dawn was published and when he received the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1969. On the day Mother Teresa passed, Father Larry, seeking comfort in Jemez, NM where he was priest and also where part of the novel is set (along with Los Angeles), and also being the pueblo up from Isleta, Father Larry visited N. Scott Momaday at his home in Jemez. As in the novel Father Olguin tells Angela St. John, “Bienvenido a la del encanto.”

In one of my conversations with Barbara, this one on the Thursday before Halloween 2019, she handed me Father Larry's book, I Have Been Waiting for You: A Personal and Spiritual Journey with Saint Teresa of Kolkata (Calcutta) that he had recently published about his close relationship with Mother Teresa.  I got to the part about the corn from the sacred kiva ceremony on Halloween day, with John and Dead & Company playing at Madison Square Garden that night. (My dad’s dad, the first of the Rawlyn’s, born ’22,’44,’66, passed on Halloween Day in 1995, the same fall Jerry Garcia passed, and my dad, a minister, had passed this year (2019), and so I was sensitive that day to all the passings, only to now be reading about Mother Teresa's.)

Natural Healer Barbara Mader and Father Larry Gosselin Barbara showing Shiloh Richter the picture on 31 October 2019 after discovering the miracles

Natural Healer Barbara Mader and Father Larry Gosselin with Barbara Mader showing Shiloh the pictures on 31 October 2019 after discovering the miracles

At the end of his book Father Larry describes that when Mother Teresa passed that he was given sacred kernels of corn from a kiva ceremony at Isleta, the place where I would meet John, the place where I would be filming wild horses, the place where I would stand in front of John and Bob Weir and watch the music so come to life of all that I had written about and was about to publish in 2018.  And now it was here that Father Larry writes about having this sacred gift from Isleta and, unplanned, being the last to say rites over Mother Teresa, the last standing over her before the ground would begin to be placed over her, and whereupon he then had the unforeseen opportunity to deliver this gift and "planted" the corn, the seeds from Isleta, right at Mother Teresa's heart.  He planted them in 1997, right when the journal Books of the Southwest came to my family, right when John was starting out, and when I first traveled to where I would write in the mountains in New Mexico, before even Father Larry came here to where I live and was priest for the Mescalero Apache near where my home is, before Santa Barbara. 

Shiloh Richter Mescalero Apache Mission Self-Portrait 25 December 2013

Mescalero Apache Mission, Self-portrait, Christmas Day, 2013

Those sacred kernels had been planted the whole time, the only thing buried with Mother Teresa, and planted at the heart of the feminine of the universal Catholic Church of which I write so much about.  Here was new life at the burial of this symbol of the feminine.  Mother Teresa's death and burial happened within days of Princess Diana's passing, too, which now so blooms to new life in stunning, remarkable ways, even as the media takes the patterned role of what unaware humans do, crucifying it.

The day Mother Teresa passed Father Larry sought comfort at the home of N. Scott Momaday, a prominent author I taught in Southwestern Literature and have featured on the BSW website for years as central to the literature.  N. Scott Momaday's novel House Made of Dawn has a "winged reckoning" of its own in how stories are passed alive to the next generation, bringing an alive realization that rises above the dead mundane of a society that kills, and a wild, dynamic "foot race" wherein the power of Being is vitally realized within the skin.  This Franciscan Friar, Father Larry, had been drawn to visit to be consoled by this fountain of alive literature, stepping into the "stories" of the real that burst to life.  Within days, those sacred corn kernels were on their way to be "planted."

Of those sacred kernel corns being cultivated in the "garden" at Mother Teresa's heart, and the only place where John stood looking at me face to face, also the only place that Michelangelo ever signed his name to his art was on Mary's heart on his Pieta within St. Peter's Basilica, his greatest work being in her arms. The nearby Sistine and his ceiling was built in 1477, 500 years to the year John was born.  John won his first Grammy at 25 for "Your Body is a Wonderland," the age Michelangelo sculpted the Pieta.  It is no wonder John looks like Michelangelo's Statue of David

John Mayer Statue of David Battle Studies Rolling Stone

King David, of course, is the writer of Psalms/Songs and who "sang and danced before the lord."  The Ark of the Covenant was at Shiloh before it was brought to the City of David, ancient Jerusalem, where the waters of Shiloah flow, and to the Temple of Solomon, which the Sistine is modeled after.
Odysseus restores the dining hall to music, which is then the lineage of David, and a reclamation of his line through Solomon, the singer-songwriter of the Song of Songs and the "architect" of the Temple.
A statue of Apollo, naked standing in a niche, holding a lyre in his left hand and leaning on a tree trunk,1512–15
A statue of Apollo, naked standing in a niche, holding a lyre in his left hand and leaning on a tree trunk with the feminine earth energy from the snake rising as in the body, 1512–15
And directly at Isleta, Willa Cather, whose novel shows a knowledge of this direct masterful lineage of art and its miraculous arrival to the enchanted Southwest, placed the "Jesus of the Ceiling."
Paper Stars
“In this year you will be going home”

Father Larry’s book ends on the chapter about Mother Teresa’s final Christmas and about the gift and message she received, a paper star that each of the sisters at Motherhouse were gifted, “humbly made of crimped, cut paper.” The message on Mother Teresa’s star was, “In this year you will be going home.”

In John’s song “Face to Call Home” that I first heard on that day of photographing the bird fountain, he sings, “You know my paper heart/The one I filled with pencil marks/I think I might have gone and inked you in.” And in his song, “Half of My Heart” from 2009, where the song begins with “I was born into the arms of imaginary friends,” like my name in Neil Diamond’s song, “Shilo,” the imaginary friend, John sings, “Half of my heart is a shotgun wedding/To a bride with a paper ring.” He also sings of paper in “Paper Doll” in which he implores, “Cut the cord and pull some strings/And make yourself some angel wings/And if those angel wings don’t fly/Someone’s gonna paint you another sky,” which is what he always did when I was feeling low.

At that time I had been writing to John about my screenplay about the girl born with wings who was keeping them bound. John had tweeted in July 2010 about pointing at the sky when I got back home after a trip to New York City and I was lying on the couch crying at the ranch at how wonderful it had been. I wanted to go back to New York City. I had also written to him, in some of my late night musings, of a Christmas when I was about seven or eight years old--near the time of John’s birth--living in Midlothian, Texas, where my dad had taken me shopping on Christmas Eve to pick out some presents for my brother and me. We were living on very little money at the time, and I was aware of it, and all I wanted was some paper products, so that is what I chose. I had an obsession with paper.  When we got back home my mom told me that I could not have paper for Christmas, and she sent us back to the store where I chose some stuffed animals that I still have to this day.  (One of the teddy bears has a red sweater on that says, "Hold Me," and truly, that was the reason I was writing, to be held, when one thinks about it.)  In light of that very present memory, when I went to finally empty the last of my dad's checking account to close it after his passing in January 2019, I went and purchased two artist-designed teddy bears, like that Christmas in '77 or '78, and bought what were to me Grateful Dead Dancing Bears, and something to hold close in the immense pain I was feeling.  I made it so that it would be the last thing he would buy me (but the gifts, truly, always keep coming).  In the next couple of months in going through photos of us, I found he and my mom each dancing individually with a teddy bear in 1991, and in the background behind them on the television screen I had on a blues concert, and strangely in back of these dancing bears is what looks very much like Buddy Guy, a person whom John looked up to and would come to play many times with, or likely Robert Cray.  John would have been 14 and just learning the guitar.   (I have a new package of notebook paper beside me in the pictures.)

Mom Dancing Bears Blues '91

Mom Dancing Bear Blues '91

Dad Dancing Bear '91

Shiloh Richter Dancing Bear Blues '91

In those early years of writing John beginning in 2010 I also wrote to him about being in elementary school, I think first grade, and my parents were called in because I was obsessively overflowing the trash can everyday with wadded up sheets of paper while the other students were doing their work. I remember I was starting over and over trying to write something. I had journals before I could even write, filled with pages of scribbles, feverishly looking for the words. In the school year ‘77-’78, the year John was born, I won a trophy for highest average out of the whole school. I had not been expecting it at all. I worked on my own, and had no idea that would happen.  I was surprised to look up from my work and see that it had been rewarded.  And so this history of paper and of coming to write the books was quite a journey to get here.  And now here, after a decade of writing to John, and right at the point where Father Larry tells of the seeds of Isleta planted, he writes that the paper star said, "In this year you will be going home."

Shiloh Richter Ft. Worth Texas Around '78 

Shiloh at Accelerated Christian Academy, Ft. Worth, Texas 1978 


 Place of Peace is an inner place of Being of which the human goddess in the Body is both a bridge to and an opening symbol

Shiloh Richter "Shiloh" name stories print from
"Shiloh" name meaning print from;
Photo by Shiloh Richter

A Place of Peace Barbara Mader Ruidoso News 2018 High Mesa Healing Center

Barbara's High Mesa Healing Center was in the local newspaper in 2018 called "Place of Peace," one of the meanings of my name; Barbara and Father Larry had come together at the beginning of Barbara holding "Peace Village" annually


Full Circle of the Patriarchal Church Falling In, Ruidoso 2015

In sitting at Barbara Mader's dining room table, and the dining table being so important in Cather’s novel in being the “internal” furniture of the feminine filling the Archbishop's internal and home spaces, Barbara and I began making strange and wild discoveries, and it revealed a complete circle--a coming around of what had happened with the Ruidoso Methodist church I tell of in the Cosmic Flow Tapestry and of Moonbeam’s passing and writing about Dante and the Sistine Chapel at that very moment at the time that church crumbled, the building and the congregation in hatred, at the persecution of the feminine, which was also happening at that same moment to Hillary Clinton. Importantly, both the female pastor Judy Shema and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but had to face off the intense showing and out pour of egotistical hate.

At that dining room table I discovered that Barbara had been at the center of the very argument, was the very female of the disagreement (whether the minister could have a relationship), of the schism of her church before all of that transpired, and from that disagreement, that dark cloud and force of negative energy moved to the next church, and as it turns out, Barbara, the feminine (and an energy healer, no less), was at the very reason and moment that had sent the people full of hatred over to the Methodist church, and these were who in the next couple of years publicly accosted the female pastor there--even stating it was because she was female, (”they did not want two females in a row”) and to which the very structure, the Methodist conference, backed the malicious action and removed Judy, with no apologies and with a demotion (and yet it was to a mountaintop and the forest, which is no demotion, but she was offered less money)--as even the walls of the Methodist church were importantly condemned by nature Herself.

All of that had transpired as I was beginning to write about female and the white dog on the Sistine walls, and as my Moonbeam unexpectedly passed. Now I was seated at the table of both this circle coming together and of Cather’s novel.  I was at this female healer’s table four years later, unknowingly back to the feminine where the circle of events had begun, but now an experience very different: I was in mourning for my father--a minister, like the Archbishop, a very different personal rite of passage of loss and awareness that I had begun with Moonbeam in learning to step into the eternal with him, and of also struggling to come into Being through leaving the past, but also opening the path further. My father passed, just as in Death Comes for the Archbishop and this was an arrival to a new moment. Now I was in the home exactly matching the description, and at the table of the old lineage of the feminine, but I could tell that the fire itself was missing where I had arrived:  this adobe house was not alive as it felt like it should be, wanted to be.  It is so alive in the novel.  I could also tell my body was drained of energy and life from mourning and I would have to go home with this newfound realization developing and come into full Being, to my own adobe home, that could not be done in anyone else's home or body.  Barbara's house was like the house as in Cather's novel where Magdalena comes alive in Being, in the body and in the Garden, that arrival of the feminine alive in the Southwest--and the energy of the events of my life like at Isleta were revealing themselves to me there, and now I could feel what it meant in my own body: the fire itself.  Illumination was definitely coming.

Stations of the Cross Archbishop Lamy Garden Santa Fe Cathedral Photo by Shiloh Richter

Stations of the Cross, suffering now there instead of recognized life from Jesus's words, Archbishop Lamy’s garden in Santa Fe where Magdalena in the novel is metaphorically made manifest in spirit and body when the birds surround her in the air to eat from her hands
Stations of the Cross Archbishop Lamy Garden Cathedral Santa Fe Cathedral Photo by Shiloh Richter


The Power of Alive Stories from House Made of Dawn

The difference is in healing words.

Grateful Dead Stealie from John Mayer's Instagram 2 April 2018

Grateful Dead Stealie from John Mayer's Instagram 2 April 2018

“Coyotes have the gift of being seldom seen, they keep to the edge of vision and beyond, loping in and out of cover on the plains and highlands.  And at night, when the whole world belongs to them, they parlay at the river with the dogs, their higher, sharper voices full of authority and rebuke.  They are an old council of clowns, and they are listened to.”

N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn


John Mayer Instastory Two Bears Night One Mountain View May 31 @_putpet_

John Mayer Instastory Two Bears Night One Mountain View
31 May 2019 @_putpet_


In Native American tradition saying the learned songs and prayers keep the knowing immediately alive with no loss of generation within the veins, and it is not repeating what is heard as doctrine, nor as controlling thought and mindless, accepted rumor, which is a reliance on little-to-no-awareness of what IS real of the universe and existence--We the universe, and our participation in it. The hard “Anglo” from the past lives instead in an empty, inanimate replica of the real that keeps repeating itself in unseen, learned mental rigid patterns without awareness and without end, as if one has never actually lived as and within the numinous universe, as Eckhart Tolle says, finally recognizing its own consciousness come into Being, and seeing it with wonder and delight. It is a hard path within the psyche to discover what is living and breathing. It took me many years to even see my own participation in patterns blocking me inside and because of that, energy displaced from feeling Being. That is the process of this very moment, coming fully into Being, and as it happens it bursts to life externally.

Cather’s novel was already other-worldly-into-the-physical for me in 2010 even though then I had yet to reread it, make the uncanny discoveries, and begin to write about it in 2013 (after having taught it in Southwestern Literature years earlier at university). This path that would be illuminated to me later was furthering on in 2010 in my leaving the family ranch (on Ranch Road 1049) in Texas near San Antonio that fall with my beloved dogs, my books, photography equipment, and clothes, (significantly leaving the horses, those telling spirits I miss so much) and making my hard way up into New Mexico alone, a path of travel from San Antonio to New Mexico as also happens with Bishop Latour in the novel--he importantly with his books: his books of the southwest, and just as my own and his path from Ohio (and even from the historical culture of France) also reveal what is alive of the book that no human could have ever planned to make come true in such a way.  And yet that is exactly what Cather and the line of artists before her were showing--manifesting even to this enchanted place.

The words here--meant to draw attention--attentiveness--to Songs and prayers of gratitude, delight, and wonder, the existence of Being--are also meant to convey immediate Being within the reader, awakening to “one’s own” shared Presence in a numinous existence found in my own immediate revelations, as all are one and connected, flowing together. The Songs do not exclude. They know no walls. As Whitman wrote in Song of Myself, “I celebrate myself, and sing myself/ And what I assume you shall assume/For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” It is why I had to follow the hard path to freedom to write it.

Shiloh Richter and niece horseback at the ranch in Texas

Before I left the ranch for New Mexico, in that Spring 2010 during John's Battle Studies Tour, I wrote to John on my blog (aware that he was reading it) about how my youngest niece had visited the ranch and as she walked in the door she exclaimed with excitement, “Let’s read ‘You and Me, the Story!’” What she was referring to is that I had children’s books I had reviewed for Books of the Southwest, and the previous time she had been there I read her a book, Do Princesses Where Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle, and had changed the story to be about me and her as I was reading, changing it to our names. She didn’t remember the real name of the book at that moment, but the experience had captured her as the words were alive. I told John about what she had said, about the “story of us,” and had even asked him to tell me the story of me and him as it had so hard captured me in its unfolding that spring and summer.

At that time Taylor Swift had already begun reading what I was writing on-line, replicating my words, life, and work, not just to steal, but also to taunt me about John, the imitation parrot (that appears to be art, but does not open, and cannot open of itself) of what was being experienced by me as the very real finally come to life in what I had contemplated my whole life, and now coming to awareness. It was the “wonderment” she was replicating, changing it to “wonderstruck” (to sell perfume) and also from the lightning striking from when I first saw John that I wrote of, and of writing him from “the land of enchantment” of New Mexico, and her rushing to sell it as presumed song (as story and conflict for the war-based media), but it being a conjectured truth propagated (as propaganda) by the media for easy, fast, repeat click-bait, with no questioning, and from her sold as closed, hard Anglo song--not open to knowing.  There is a point here in a vast difference in Song.  This old is actually the desperate clinging to the false identity of ego like the empty, raging Donald Trump, and the willingness to take everyone down with her in her facade and her lies--the sacred of what was happening lost to her but purchasing her more false fame in a devitalized, awareness-paralyzed culture. It is the continued cultural curse against everyone being able to live fully, freely, and abundantly vital in the here and now. That life is obstructed by clinging, hostily, to the dominating Anglo world view that is constructed on conflict, even in its language.  In Taylor’s case, it is all easy, low-rate, manipulative facade of stolen images and words which makes headlines with conflict, but can never resolve its pent-up self.

The vast difference is healing words. In House Made of Dawn, N. Scott Momaday writes of the “Priest of the Sun” telling of his Native American grandmother relaying to him stories. He writes,

“You see, for her words were medicine;

they were magic and invisible.”

As one reconstitutes how it is to Be, and Be in the body, even into the cellular level of the body, the way it opens with Presence, releases, and finally feels, rooted deep in existence, into the earth and into the far-reaching universe, emanated and pulsating throughout alive nature, emanating from within the divine, the once seen as profane and disposable made sacred and flowing, powerful in its energy centers--now healed, vibrant energy--looks out through awareness at the world it now, like Coyote, destroys in flood of awareness, the world he/she newly creates, and also poetically nurtures, opening the art, which is the opening both into life and the eternal. This is the manifestation, the hard metamorphosis of the Psyche/psyche, the embodiment of body, mind, and soul come into recognition of its Being, despite what anyone says or does. It is about altering the external through the internal, the only real way it can be done.  Then the words are alive.

This is the house, the house of N. Scott Momaday, that Father Larry visited the day Mother Teresa passed, not the house of another priest, but the house of alive stories, of the power and reverberance of alive art into the soul, a deeper more opened comfort, and in following that deep instinct, the very realness of it in a moment of powerful surrender, and this right before he was given the kernels of corn headed for India where among tens of thousands of people he would be the last to stand above the impregnation of the energy of the earth above this feminine symbol of the Catholic church.  In that novel is the magnificent foot race of coming into awareness within one's own skin and also a female who feels the wings of the house she is staying in near Isleta.  It is she who goes on to tell the very alive stories that actually bring about the aliveness and recognition, so far different than what is gets looked at and judged surfacely in Anglo culture offering stories that are not alive, and furthermore, keep one dying inside.  Of the main character of the novel who does the running, Momaday writes, perhaps his father is from Isleta.  This character does not know himself from a culture that has tried to kill him until the end, and then the magic, the magic and medicine of words, within his body is realized.   

Opening Photo: Mother Teresa of Kalkutta by Manfredo Ferrari CC BY-SA 4.0


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