Palm Sunday: The Real Kindom of God




I dedicate this post to my faithful pastors, Melanie and Jonathan Neufeld who stand with those experiencing homelessness at Seattle Mennonite Church.  Presente.


Palm Sunday
by Joyce Rupp

Three men
proclaiming the memory
of your path to Calvary.
Three men
with somber voices
making all the appropriate
pauses and inflections

But what I remember
is the Calvary
beside me,
the man
whose body odor
invaded my space,
the man
seemingly homeless,
surely mentally challenged.

The three men
went on and on and on
with their words
telling the history
of your suffering.

I found you
not in their stiff words
but next to me,
a man still bearing
the heavy cross of loneliness and rejection 

Photo credit: “St. Boniface Church In San Francisco Lets Homeless People Sleep In Pews”

The Spring of Conscience small

The Spring of Conscience

The Spring of Conscience original

 “Breaking Camp”

The grey Canadian geese like
arrowheads are pulled north
beating their powerful wings
over the long valleys…

Our people are moving and we
must choose and follow
through all the ragged cycles of
build and collapse,
epicycles on our long journey
by the north star and the
magnetic pole of conscience”

Circles on the Water by Piercy, Marge

The Spring of Conscience

Photo Credit:  Deborah Koff-Chapin has created  a technique she calls “touch drawing.”  She calls them “SOULCARDS.” They  come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools.  They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with.  You can learn more at Deborah’s webpage

The Sublime Madness of Life




Let us not shun chaos
Nor bask in it as serpents seek sun.
Embrace and let go
Embrace and let go
Chaos to new life
Peace to chaos.
Primordial unity orders the universe
With the fierce force of unimaginable
Love, and sometimes we catch
A glimpse of it on the way around.


© rita h kowats March 2015


Photo Credit:  Deborah Koff-Chapin has created  a technique she calls “touch drawing.”  She calls them “SOULCARDS.” They  come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools.  They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with.  You can learn more at Deborah’s webpage


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Claiming Intuitive Power, Testimonials, and an Intuitive Exercise

rita kowats:

Enjoy this piece from Amanda at I have much respect for her and the work she does.

Originally posted on Dreamrly.:

Intuition and the Unconscious

Weird stuff has been happening lately. It’s like the universe was mad at me for the first 29 years and now it’s finally opening a little. I just got my third paid writing client, I’m attracting powerful women everywhere, living in a dreamy tiny studio apartment.

I went to the juice bar the other day, and the owner follows me on Instagram and asked me for one of my paintings in exchange for free juice and smoothies! Now I have more and more people talking about my intuition (thanks especially to Rita K) and it seems it may be time to finally Claim It and put it out there.

So here goes.

I have been doing Intuitive Readings for awhile now, tapping into the energy field of the Other.  My readings are a bit unique, I believe, as I have unique abilities due to my Scorpio South…

View original 798 more words

Not In My Name

Edward_Hicks_-_Peaceable_Kingdom The Peaceable Kingdom A Painting by Edward Hicks, 1780– 1849, hung in the Brooklyn Museum

Marge Piercy in Circles on the Water

Creamcheese babies square and downy as bolsters
in nursery clothing nestle among curly lions and lowing cattle,
a wolf of scythe and ashes, a bear smiling in sleep
The paw of a leopard with eyes of headlights
rests near calf and vanilla child.
In the background under the yellow autumn tree
Indians and settlers sign a fair treaty.
The mist of dream cools the lake.


On the first floor of the museum Indian remains
are artfully displayed. Today is August sixth, Hiroshima
Man eats man with sauces of newsprint.
The vision of that kingdom of satisfaction
where all bellies are round with sweet grasses
blows on my face pleasantly
though I have eaten five of those animals.


All the rich flat black land,
the wide swirlmarked browngreen rivers,
leafy wheat baking tawny, corns silky spikes,
sun bright kettles of steel and crackling wires, turn into
infinite shining weapons that scorch the earth.
The pride of our hive
packed into hoards of murderous sleek bombs.


We glitter and spark righteousness.
We are blinding as a new car in the sunshine.
Gasoline rains from our fluffy clouds
Everywhere our evil froths polluting the waters-
in what stream on what mountain do you miss
the telltale brown sludge and rim of suds?


Peace: the word lies like a smooth turd
on the tongues of politicians ordering
the sweet flesh seared on the staring bone.
Guilt is added to the municipal water
guilt is deposited in the marrow and teeth.
In my name they are stealing from people with nothing
their slim bodies. When did I hire these assassins?  

My mild friend no longer paints mysteries of doors and mirrors.
On her walls the screams of burning children coagulate.
The mathematician with his webspangled language
of shadow and substance half spun
sits in an attic playing the flute all summer.
for fear of his own brain, for fear that the baroque
arabesque of his joy will be turned to a weapon.
Three A.M. in Brooklyn: night all over my country.
Watch the smoke of guilt drift out of dreams.


When did I hire these killers? one day in anger,
in seaslime hatred at the duplicity of flesh?
Eating steak in a suave restaurant, did I give the sign?
Sweating like a melon in bed, did I murmur consent?
Did I contract it in Indiana for a teaching job?
Was it something I signed for a passport or a loan?
Now in my name blood burns like oil day and night.


This nation is founded on blood like a city on swamps
yet its dream has been beautiful and sometimes just
that now grows brutal and heavy as a burned out star

Photo Credit:  The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks in Widipedia


Welcoming Waters: Spirit of the Great Blue Heron

GRB cover photo for web page




Welcoming Waters is a gathering of people who seek to hear the message the spirit is speaking through one another. Many of us were asked to leave religious institutions because we revealed our authentic selves. Some of us told our worshiping community that we were members of the GLBT community, others of us expressed our doubts, and some of us expressed an understanding of faith that was outside the borders of the church we were attending. When we were all ushered to the door, formally, or subtlety of those communities, we found that the Spirit of love, the Spirit of God, the insights of our faiths did not stop working in our lives or teaching us profound truths. We simply lost a place to talk about them.

Recently, we decided to gather and begin to build for ourselves a place where we can talk about the Spirit’s work in our lives.

We are so blessed to be able to gather at the beautiful Lake Ballinger Community Center five miles north of Seattle on the third Sunday of the month at 10:30 and like the great blue heron who finds herself on the shores of Lake Ballinger, we wait and wade in the waters of the Spirit together.

If you sense the spirit has something to say but you have not found a safe place to express those words, or if you are seeking a faith gathering that will accept all of you, we invite you to come to our gathering.

We will gather again on March 15 at Lake Ballinger Community Center 1030am.
All are welcome.

If you would like to talk to someone before attending please email
Linda Roddis
Rita Kowats

Mountlake Community Center
23000 Lakeview Drive
Mountlake Terrace WA 98043


Fire in the Belly: A Lenten Practice

 framed fire in the belly soulcard



Fire in the Belly


Photo Credit:  Deborah Koff-Chapin has created  a technique she calls “touch drawing.”  She calls them “SOULCARDS.” They  come in two decks of 60 images and can be used alone or with others as reflection tools.  They have enriched my meditation for years and have helped those I companion with.  You can learn more at Deborah’s webpage

Cio Cio San



lives in human beings like a note that vibrates from the belly of a cello.  When we listen to one another’s stories we often mistake the longing for its errant manifestations in behaviors which mask it.  If I listen to Un Bel Di Vedremo without the translation- without my mind- I am transported to the depths of soul where we long for connection.  In this place Cio Cio San is the unpinned butterfly waiting to fly, and I am overcome with compassion.

Words get in my way.  When this feminist pacifist hears Cio Cio San plan her vigil for Pinkerton’s return she hears a fifteen-year-old victim surrendering to a racist, jingoistic misogynist who has used her then cast her aside.  I get lost in those behaviors, missing the genuine longing for more than Pinkerton.

This is what I am learning:

When listening to another’s story, listen for the longing.  Let go of judging, let go of the need to fix the behavior first.  Only when we go straight to the longing and hold vigil there on that cliff with the other, is there a chance of changing behavior.  The butterfly lives in the longing.


Feast on Un Bel Di Vedremo from Madama Butterfly sung by Renata Tebaldi, Italian lirico-spinto soprano

photo credit: N00/772515063″>white moth crop via photopin (license)


“It’s A Sin To Kill A Mockingbird”

Nine Mile Falls Nora Egger

Nine Mile Falls Spokane WA
Nora Egger Artist

 It’s a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird
(For Martina, sister of my flock)

Fractured light beckoning
through unhallowed glass windows
sends her fleeing to the river,
singing wheels a metronome for her soul,
marking mile after mile, hurt upon hurt.
Don’t they know it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird?
They can’t hear her song.

Muscles spent spirit spent
she collapses onto her meditation boulder
midway around the rushing snake and takes in hand
her most sacred scripture.
River rapids keep time
with sound-words tripping over sound-words
“Dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air…”
She lifts her eyes to the river and sees the falcon
wrestling with the wind and winning.
In that sacred, synchronous moment her song
reverberates through the canyon
and she knows that no matter what,
the mockingbird lives.

© rita h kowats 2015

I am indebted to Nora Egger for her gifted painting and her permission to use it here.  Those of a “certain age” will be taken back to Macolm GA of the 1930’s in Haper Lee’s magnificent classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.  It is a sin, says Atticus, because  “mockingbirds do not harm people, but sing their hearts out for us.”

My Scripture

The Windhover

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
    dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
    As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
    Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
    Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
   No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.
♠Gerard Manley Hopkins



Great Blue Heron on beach  no poem cropped for bus cards



Last evening my friend and I met over dinner at a restaurant at the Edmonds Marina, in the Seattle area, USA.  We were surrounded by the sea and by another sea of blue and green and 12’s.  This town is electric with football right now.  But the seahawk is not the only seabird which graces our shores.

The Great Blue Heron is an ever-present witness of vigilance and solitary self-reliance.  We had come together to plan the first gathering of the Spirit of the Great Blue Heron, an intentional liturgical gathering of persons who have experienced rejection by and alienation from institutional religions.  They seek healing and renewed spirituality.  Our hope is to create a safe environment where the Spirit can free each one to connect with sacred presence, however they experience it.  As we begin, most but not all participants are from the LGBTQ community.  Half of all donations will go to causes which aide LGBTQ teenagers.

Here’s the extraordinary synchronicity:  While we ate and discerned, seven large Great Blue Herons perched atop the marina roof below us, as if holding vigil and blessing the gathering in their name.  Honestly.  It happened.

Stirring the Waters

Pieces of my soul have been banished
To distant islands in the water of my life
Where no shark can catch the scent of blood-letting.
Torpid remnants of miscarried experiences
Are cast away, not cleanly cut
As Tibetan Buddhists
Dismember their dead to honor life.
These are rejected out of fear of life.

The Spirit of the Great Blue Heron
Weeps for the missing pieces and waits
For the time to stir the healing waters.
No meek dove, this Spirit.
She lifts her mighty frame forward
On thunderous wings
And with keen eyes fixed on the fractured pieces
She clasps them in her powerful beak
And brings them home.

What was separated is seamed
Pieces to Peace.

© rita h kowats 2015