Resolutions In The Rain

I’ll be honest, I’ve been spending too much time in front of this computer screen. I’m becoming a bit of a hermit with a twinge of misanthrope. I feel stuck outside-of-time, occasionally not knowing what day of the week it is, certainly not what the future holds. While I wasn’t a total control freak, for much of my life, I generally had a plan, a to-do list, aspirations, a sense of where I was headed – now, not so much. Even in the resistance movement I’m firmly in the Jeremiah groove. You won’t find me throwing in with people who are not aligned with my views or values simply to be part of some perceived “bigger tent.” I’m the outlier shouting “the Babylonians are coming.” That’s not the right choice for everyone, but for me, for now at least, it is.

Where does that leave me as the curtain draws up on a new year? What does a planner do without a plan? Along with so many others, I am trying to figure that out. So today with dusk rolling over Fairmount I headed into the drizzle and down the hill to pay a visit to our local sacred mound upon which the Philadelphia Museum of Art sits. I had in mind two tasks – start a bit of an exercise routine on the steps – more meditative than Rocky – but with a structure that I could embrace in the new year to get me out of the house and jump start my metabolism. Plus, people-watching on the plaza is entertaining. There’s good energy, happy people. It was nice to hear many different languages and see big families with kids running around like the old days. I’d planned to pay a visit to Philadelphia’s Washington Monument and Queen Winona, consort of Tamanend, Lenape chief, too. I brought yarrow sticks and offerings – snail shell, dried sprig of juniper, quartz stone, feather, and a knot of wood shaped like an eye.

I made seven trips up and down. It’s 72 steps from street level to the plaza (5 flights of 13 steps and one flight of 7 steps) and another 37 to the door of the museum (28+8+1). Flanking the steps are two massive equestrian statues. The originals stand outside the National Museum of Berlin – Albert Wolff’s “The Lion Fighter” and August Kiss’s “Mounted Amazon Attacked By A Panther.” On the final flight you encounter Jacques Lipchitz’s bronze Prometheus Strangling the Vulture. I learned today the design was first developed in 1943 for an ill-fated installation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The original maquette was not cast in bronze until 1953 after the artist’s New York studio had, ironically, gone up in flames. The original plaster was on display in Philadelphia at the time and was thus saved.

In this version, a scene invented in Lipchitz’s imagination, Prometheus has broken free of his chains and is strangling the bird that’s been devouring his liver daily in punishment for bringing fire down from Olympus to share with humans. It was meant to convey the eternal struggle between good and evil – the fight for humanity. Terracotta statues of thirteen gods look down on him from the pediment, symbolizing the creative force of the will of man and contrast of sacred and profane love with Zeus at the center.

Each time I came down the steps I held up my offerings to Prometheus asserting the primacy of nature, of the real. On the final pass, I dipped the items in puddled water, as it had been raining, and lay the items at the base of the statue – plant, stone, creatures of land and the sky.

Ras Ben, a Philadelphia geomancy expert, hypothesized in his book “Great Mystery Philadelphia” that based on the composition and layout of the public art installations along the Ben Franklin Parkway this freemason founding father opened the gates of Hell in the city of brotherly love with the help of Prometheus. As I’ve noted before, the University of Pennsylvania is part of Ben Franklin’s legacy. The dabbling this institution has done creating the first computer, gene editing, predatory finance, and nano-technology – who’s to say his assessment isn’t correct? His interpretation of the Washington Monument centers around the assassination of Queen Winona and theft of Lenape lands. The female figure seated below Washington looks east towards City Hall. Tonight the clock tower glowed yellow through the mist.

I plucked three sprigs of cedar with blue berries from beneath the Amazon statue – the sacred feminine under attack – and took it across to the Oval and laid it at Queen Winona’s feet. I pulled out the yarrow sticks and proceeded to count by fours – contemplating the question of what I should be doing in the coming year in this crazy city with regards to my work. Should I be trying to engage with local networks, even though my frame is so very different from almost everyone else’s – terrain leaning, anti-imperialist, anarcha-feminist, Indigenous-sovereignty centered?

The counting was tricky. I had a hard time concentrating, and the sticks are all different sizes and thicknesses. It was dark. Sometimes I wouldn’t notice one of the twigs had rolled off the stone step where I was sitting, only realizing it when I got the wrong number and had to start all over again. The rain was getting harder. Even in the dark, people were still wandering around the statuary awestruck. It was nice to remember what was like to see it for the first time. Not many people have this kind of artwork in their neighborhood; we’re spoiled in that regard. One family, based on conversation overheard, I thought might be responsive. I asked if they knew about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The husband said yes – a Californian visiting with his wife who was originally from the Philippines and knew about crypto adoption there. He was an industrial engineer. I gave him the quick overview and he agreed with me, accepted my offer of a Nephele brochure and then said to email him. He told me his email started with “God Protects Me.” I kid you not. I emailed him as soon as I got home.

The rain got harder. The notebook I’d brought to record the numbers got wetter, but I hung in there. It was getting late for dinner – curry squash and shrimp soup on tap – so I texted my husband that I was heading back and decided to wait look up the hexagram until I got home where it was warm and dry. As I gathered up the stalks, which were soaked by that point, I looked up at Winona and  tears were running down her cheeks.

Once I tabulated everything I saw the I Ching hexagram was 23 – Stripping Away, Disintegration. If you look it up, the prognosis is not great. A time of order falling into chaos, of total transformation. On the positive side is the idea of losing the flesh, so the seeds of new growth can be exposed. We are in a time of things falling apart, but that is the cycle of life. It is important to do the internal work and not take risks. Endings also mean beginnings.

New Year Resolution – walk the steps, contemplate, practice letting go, pay attention, wait for what comes next, trust the process.

16 thoughts on “Resolutions In The Rain

  1. daughterofyahweh says:

    Alison, If you can receive this, I am praying for you. For Jesus to reveal to you, His Lordship over all, and his great love for you. Praying also tht all influences that ar not from Him, will be seen for their true source, and renounced. All the good, beauty truth wisdom and light is found in Christ. I am confident that as you invite Him into your heart, you’ll discover not only your true purpose, you’ll also have lasting peace and more answers than you have questions!

  2. joyceleigh2012-2021 says:

    God protect you Alison, in doing the great work, God protect your heart center and keep you safe and always supplied with enough to keep this beautiful flame you have kindled going in the dark until the morning light embraces us all.

  3. Heidi says:

    Beautiful writing Alison. Being Jeremiah can be really hard, one can feel lonely in that role. You have the gift of seeing all the parts. Most resistance thought leaders, however well meaning, don’t, can’t, or won’t see the big picture, as you do. So your “voice crying in the wilderness” is unique and needed. Thank you for continuing to share your life and work with us. I don’t have a sense of my direction either, and I typically in the past (pre-2020) had a plan for next steps or at least some obvious aspirations. I don’t know who I am or where I’m going as 2022 starts. Without a map and compass I’ve had in the past, I will take one step at a time, feeling the ground with me feet. Thank you for sharing. Love to you.

  4. Amy Odean says:

    I admire your individual actions, courage and insights. The confusion about Lil Sis, differences with others regarding blockchain technology, in relation to you specifically, but also with trying to figure out what I can do to work to end this encroachment, whether legal tactics have a chance, local governments, attorney generals can be approached with documents and compelling arguments. Maybe there’s no single answer, magic wand, just like everything else. The idea I return to is to continue to educate myself, communicate with others, look for meaningful ways to address the issues with others, organizations, pay attention to my personal well-being, dreams, actions and don’t panic.

  5. robingaura says:

    Happy New Year, Alison. You never fail to inspire. We are entering times of great change; may our roots be strong, and our hearts be pure. You are so right to seek wisdom, and trust in Life Force. As soon as people make the connections you are pointing out, we can make it illegal and contemptible to invest in an extractive way in people, and nature. Maybe attention is the new oil. Lets be careful of what we attend to, what stories we allow in to our belief systems. May you have all of the support and love you need on your path. I’m paying attention…

  6. Dorothy says:

    Thank you for this posting, I feel I was right there beside you on those steps. Meeting up with your “God protects me guy” was no accident. I have had many such encounters, always when I need them most. Yes this is the time of breaking down, composting the old ways, but that doesn’t mean we’re headed for their “new normal”. I truly believe they (technocrat cabal) are the ones on their way out and they know it. Their scare tactics will fail, and the truth will be revealed.
    I too have been in an introspective retreat lately, it is needed for those of us who can see the dark clouds on the horizon. Much is asked of us and even more will be required when eyes are opened and truth revealed.
    I can’t express how grateful I am to courageous brilliant thinkers like yourself, stay the course but take time to nourish your soul. You do what you do out of Love and we love you for it.

  7. Éric Lépine says:

    Alison… A long-time (online only) close friend invited me to do something similar to what you contemplated here, that is, “trying to engage with local networks, even though my frame is so very different from almost everyone else’s – terrain leaning, anti-imperialist, anarcha-feminist, Indigenous-sovereignty centered?” (and yes, I’d pretty much use all those same epithets to describe my leanings).

    So that part of your write-up inevitably caught my attention. He suggested I come up with some kind of pamphlet and frame it as some kind of small “thinking club” of sorts when approaching strangers.

    I’ve not yet had the courage to do so…. I never think of myself as a “leader” or “instigator” of “movements”. I lead by example, and then the rest usually follows (whatever that “rest” ends up being). I’ll have to see what unfolds over the coming new year. Thanks again for sharing these moments with us.

  8. Jeffrey+Strahl says:

    Happy New Year, feliz ano nuevo, un an nou fericit, shana ezrakhit tova. Thanks for the great work, Alison, and i love your resolution.

  9. Gino Gaiga says:

    My thoughts are the same as the wonderful comments that came before mine. What a lucky person I am indeed to have stumbled on to your work and others you have recommended. May the light shine upon you and everyone as we venture down this path less traveled with opened eyes thinking in a clear and coherent manner. John Trudell’s spirit also their to help.

  10. gdmershonGail Mershon says:

    I am so grateful for you Alison, and for those who support you and nurture you on your path…thank you for pointing out where we an send a little $$ to those helping you. Today’s post has been especially meaningful to me, an aging 74 y.o. in her adopted city of Philadelphia, hard on the path to social justice, but needing sustenance, clarity, and guidance….thank you for ALL you do to educate, sound the alarm, put on notice to all those who seek to harm in the most egregious ways. As a previous writer said”…may our roots be strong and our hearts be pure….seek wisdom and believe in Life Force” as we follow you on your unique path.

  11. kateledogar says:

    Thank you for those insights, and for the Ras Ben interview. I felt that weird energy. Next time I should take a cue from you and make an offering to help it. May we all free our mounds…

  12. eric smith says:

    Catherine Fitts, E. Micheal Jones and now you. The biggest heads are coming from Philly. Seriously there is something to this. As a musician I must add Philly Joe, Jimmy Smith and particularly Jaco Pastorius. Jaco was descended from the founder of Germantown and singlehandedly totally redefined the sound of the electric bass.
    Musicians that are heads above the rest – that have no fakery or pretense and simply blew away the others with chops and feeling. Music has now died and Jaco was really last man standing. Humans have lost their soul and are really incapable of song at present.
    Franklin is a mystery. I just bought an 1840 (published in Philly) book of his collected writings by his descendants. Over a thousand pages in tiny print. A beautiful and rare book. I would like to know more of your thoughts of him. I often say he was the second most important man to have lived , Jesus being the first.
    Your work astounds me. Unique and unparralleled
    And it scares me like no other.
    I would love to talk with you in person.
    I was Philly growing up as well. Been to the museum too many times to count and always loved the Japanese tea garden the best.
    Favorite painting- The Unfaithful Shepherd
    Also, I’m a permaculture graduate from the best in the states teachers. I have great concepts and permaculture plans drawn up. Very good IMO.

  13. Heather says:

    Thank you for sharing the big picture. You seem to have that Jeremiah spirit. I came awake these past 2 years from more of a center right perspective. Twenty years ago, I came out of a hard capitalist mindset when I surrendered to God. He continues to show me His ways. It’s amazing how the Scriptures have such a deeper meaning when you have this big picture view now. I even have a greater love of what Jesus was trying to tell his disciples. I see a greater need of my own repentance of how I participated in this beastly system.
    “Be not called a doctor; you have one doctor, even Christ” Matt 23:10 GNV
    And therefore God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe lies,
    2 Thessalonians 2:11 GNV
    “For when they are saying, “Peace and safety,” then sudden destruction will come on them,.”
    ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:3‬
    God bless you! Heather

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