The Boundaries of The Pond You Swim In

The Boundaries of The Pond You Swim In

An actual picture of my pond is used as the background for this meme.  Photo by Tammy Vitale

An actual picture of my pond is used as the background for this meme. Photo by Tammy Vitale

I love my pond.  It is at once a beautiful place to observe year round, an inspiration for poetry and writing, and a metaphor  to try to imagine the pond I am swimming in and what I cannot see yet.

(Note:  If you’re having a hard time reading the quote on the picture, click once and it will take the picture to a separate page.  Click a 2nd time and it will be enlarged.)

How big is it really, my pond?  Am I persistently thinking too small?  What have I killed to keep new ideas from being introduced.  Who have I button-holed in a tank somewhere because it’s safer for me to see them that way?  Can I wake up enough to become one of those walk on land fish…or maybe even a flying fish?

Michael Singer says that when you are awake, you are constantly hitting the limits of your comfort zone [the edges of my pond].  “You see that you’re afraid to tell people what you really think.  You see that you’re too self-conscious to freely express yourself.  You see that you have to say on top of everything in order to be okay.

“Why?  There’s really no reason.  You have set these limits on yourself. If you don’t stay within them, you get scared, you feel hurt, and you feel threatened. that’s your cage…Your bars are the outer boundary of your comfort zone.  The minute you come to the edge of your cage, it lets you know it in no uncertain terms.” [emphasis mine]

In January of 2011, I wrote 10 Ways to Know that You’re Awake. I named these questions as good indicators of whether or not you are awake:

1.  Am I doing new things?  Are they scarey?  Am I doing them anyways?

2.  Is my world expanding?  Am I adding new ideas and new people with whom to explore those ideas?

3.  Am I grateful for everything that comes my way, even the stuff that makes me uncomfortable, or sad?

My pond in winter.  Photo by Tammy Vitale 1/23/14

My pond in winter. Photo by Tammy Vitale 1/23/14

4.  Do I stand in my own power?  Do I pull that power from within rather than from what others think/say/do?  If I’m the only one, do I stand up anyways?


5.  Am I reaching out to those coming behind me?  Am I walking with at least one someone beside me?  Better, have I created a community  from which I can draw strength and courage and to which I can contribute the same?   Have I developed strategies for and a practice of distilling the wisdom of those who have gone before me?

6.  In my profession, can I acknowledge – and feel good about – those who reject my work, seeing it as my work and not me?  Do I know with certainty that my work is not for everyone and that’s okay?

Egg sacs in my pond, spring 2013 - something new a birthing.  Phot by Tammy Vitale

Egg sacs in my pond, spring 2013 – something new a birthing. Phot by Tammy Vitale

7.  Do I acknowledge and understand how my minute to minute choices create the life I am living?

8.  Am I familiar with all the stories I tell myself, the roles I play in them and how to change them?

9.  Can I let go of trying to control anything and everything in my life and go with the flow?  (No try, just do.  Yoda)  Do I acknowledge that there is no such thing as control or security – so I might as well just name everything an adventure and get on with it?

10.  Am I okay that there’s no one right answer for whatever is offering and opening itself to me?  Am I happy to live in the question?

Sometime I surprise myself – those are pretty good questions.  So then I have to wonder why I am forever forgetting what I already know.  I don’t have the answer for that, yet, and that’s okay.

But it seems to me that I do have a good feel for finding the boundaries of my pond – the place that when I cross the boundary I feel “like a fish out of water” – like I can’t breathe.  I’m going to start paying close attention to that.  How about you?

“The Untethered Soul” and other good reads

“The Untethered Soul” and other good reads

2D prart on chair trustI have promised myself that I will work on my book today and it is getting toward dark, so I am productively procrastinating here to share with you some really good reads I’ve had just today!

Last Sunday I was visiting son and asked me to take me to The Temple of the Universe, a place he has spoken of one and off over the years.  It is run by Michael Singer.  I was suitably impressed by the talk – Singer is really good at bringing concepts down to earth.  So impressed, I hopped on Amazon and bought his book, The Untethered Soul:  The Journey Beyond Yourself.”  I have not been one bit disappointed!  I had to start highlighting in different colors to stay with key concepts – which is to say, I was underling a whole lot of the text and needed to be able to find things on my Kindle.  Color it is!

This is towards the end of the book.  The lead up is simple and easy to follow.  I hope you get something provocative from this excerpt too.

Start with this interview with Michael and Oprah (please don’t be put off – he’s very down to earth in person – I didn’t even know about Oprah until I looked him up.   He has an interesting background.)  It ends saying that we all want freedom, and that’s where I pick up in his book:

To live at this level of freedom, you must learn not to be afraid of inner pain and disturbance.  As long as you are afraid of the pain, you will try to protecct yourself from it.  The fear will make you do that.  If you want to be free, simply view inner pain as a temporary shift in your energy flow.  There is no reason to fear this experience.  You must not be afraid of rejection, or of how you would feel if you got sick, or if someone died, or if something else went wrong.  You cannot spend your life avoiding things that are not actually happening, or everything will become negative.  All you will end up seeing is how much can potentially go wrong.  Do you have any idea how many things can cause inner pain and disturbance?  Probably more than there are stars in the sky.  If you want to grow and be free to explore life, you cannot spend your life avoiding the myriad things that might hurt your heart or mind.  You must look inside yourself and determine that from now on pain is not a problem…

If you fee insecurity, it’s just a feeling.  You can handle a feeling.  If you feel embarrassed, it’s just a feeling.  It’s just a part of creation.  If you feel jealousy and your heart burns, just look at it objectiv ely, like your would a mild bruise…it cannot touch you unless you touch it [by being afraid].

When something painful touches your body, you tend to pull away instinctively.  The fact is, your psyche does the same

Butterfly series by Tammy Vitale

Butterfly series by Tammy Vitale

thing.  If something disturbing touches it, its tendency is to withdraw, to pull back and to protect itself…In essence, you “cloce,” which is simply an attempt to put a shield around your inner energy.  You can feel the effects of this as the sensation of contracting within your heart.  Somebody says something displeasing, and you feel some distrubance in your heart.  Then your mind start talking:  “I don’t have to put up with this.  I’ll just walk away and never talk to them again.  They’ll be sorry.”  Your heart is attempting to pull back from what it’s experiencing and protect itself…Once you close, your mind will build an entire psychological structure around your closed energy.  Your thoughts will try to rationalize why you’re right, why the other person’s wrong, and what you should do about it.

Sound familiar?  Yes, he goes on to give you a how to counteract this by relaxing and releasing.  Of course nothing feels that simple, but what have you got to lose trying to see if it really is that simple?!  Simplicity doesn’t mean it will happen tomorrow, it just means the action is easy – so repeat, repeat, repeat!

Here’s another of my favorite bloggers, The Indigo Vat.  Today she shares an amazing poem.  Here’s a piece of it (go read the rest, you won’t be sorry):

(Yes! wall sculpture by Tammy Vitale) Morgaine loves creative tools to remind her of goddess spirituality and her own connection to the earth. To that end, she loves practicing in community to make fetishes and altar objects that help her remember her own divinity and what she is here to do.

(Yes! wall sculpture by Tammy Vitale)

At the end of the world there was a woman

called a witch, a woman who knew the sacred knot tying of the
umbilical cord, and was not afraid to reach into a woman’s body to turn
a breech birth right, a woman who knew the winds but would not
sell them in red knots to sailors because she did not believe a
wind should be sold; a woman who talked to every creature she encountered
and waited for a reply. It will not surprise you they
wanted her dead. It doesn’t much matter when, or where.
Finally, another favorite blogger, Charlotte Hamrick, writes in ZouxZoux
your eyes are gray as the air
between skyscrapers when
cold fog rolls in, people scurrying
about clutching their coats
close to their chins thinking about
a warm fire or maybe just a radiator
and a long drink of a fiery liquid
sliding down the throat and warming
the belly
What are you reading today that you love?  Share!

What’s *Your* Story – And Why You Should Drop It

2d life is one surprise  tammyvitale.comThe first few days of 2015 have been amazing – some wonderful ahas, starting with with what I shared my last post, Seeing Yourself in a Different Light.  Come along with me today and see what you think!

Heatherash Amara, in her book Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You are Meant to Be, says:

One day, as I was sharing the story of my life with a new friend, I had an epiphany.  I realized that my story was not a factual collection of words describing my life.  My story was a heavy anchor I ws dragging behind me while trying to catch the wind in my sails.

If you follow this blog at all, you know that I am fascinated by Story, and how the ones we tell ourselves and others – which strands of our life we choose to focus on – affect individuals, communities, societies, cultures, the world.  If you want to change any one of those stories, find the main strands and change them.  There is always a strand that has been left out to make the story better.  Always."Stained Glass" paint window by Tammy Vitale. Chimes to be added.

The problem becomes that once one strand it pulled, other stands come loose with it.  So you might want to change just one aspect and suddenly find yourself in the midst of a huge transition you weren’t counting on.  That can land you somewhere on the scale of uncomfortable to terrifying.

Living Deeply:  The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life (Schlitz, Vieten, Amorok) says:  “When transformation requires some kind of sacrifice – whether of a cherished belief, a comfortable habit or something you think you can’t survive without – you may avoid it until there is no other option…One of the gifts of intense suffering can be a newfound willingness to make significant changes…painful and frightening experiences [can] loosen our control and dissolve our identities.

…The further you get from your values or purpose, the more painful life tends to become…many of our respondents [to interviews for the book] used the word ‘surrender’ to describe the moment when suffering becomes so great that a person just gives up.”

“However, the book goes on to note that “not all doorways to or catalysts of transformation are filled with pain…equal numbers…described [the transformative process] as very pleasant.”

Although neither reading directly says so, how the transformative stage feels to us may well be based on the story we have immersed ourselves in.  So, it pays to be aware of what you are telling yourself  and others about who you are and what is happening in your life.

If you want to live life as an adventure, you know you are going to hit spots where you run into the unknown.  In fact, isn’t that what an adventure is:  learning new things by being exposed to new experiences?

5x7 print, double matted, available from Tammy Vitale $20 includes postage

5×7 print, double matted, available from Tammy Vitale $20 includes postage

What if, instead of telling yourself a story where you already know the outcome because you are basing your projections on past experience (which may have nothing to do with what is presenting now), you decide that not only do you not know what is next, but also that it is okay not to know.  And instead of telling yourself a story that you don’t know and that’s scary and dangerous you instead drop all stories and let the story tell itself.  Be curious and ask questions as you run into new events and experiences.  Stay open to the inquiry of what’s happening right now in front of you – not what has happened in the past or *might* happen in the future .  Approach new information with a sense of exploration.

What questions would you ask?  And how might that change your life?


Seeing Yourself In a Different Light

Seeing Yourself In a Different Light

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

There is nothing like travel to let you see yourself, literally, in a different light.

I have lived in my home for 2o years.  I know what I look like in the mirror where I dress, fix my hair and put on my makeup every morning.  At least I think I do.  You know how the brain is:  you see what you expect to see.

So when I travel, my brain expects to see the same thing.  Well.  Different lighting and unfamiliar mirror means my brain doesn’t quite know what I’m supposed to look like so it opens up and lets me see what’s really there.  Worse than a photograph at my age!

Add in different water (mine at home is soft well water), different shampoo – a small one to travel, more humidity and my hair has taken on a life of its own.  And I’ve had to decide whether to obsess or go with the flow.

My word for the year is unflappable so with the flow it is.

There are some things you do that broaden you without your even thinking about it.  Staying away from the safe cocoon of your home – at a friend’s or on the road – can do that.  Snap.  Just like that.

Yesterday I was heavy into a book, on paper not on Kindle, Living Deeply:  The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday

Discoverature - an original tile by Tammy Vitale

Discoverature – an original tile by Tammy Vitale

LIfe.  It had the same effect on my mind that different light had on my face.  Opened up new spaces and gave me some new ways of looking at things.  Also gave me some one word names for things I have been describing in sentences for years:

  • scaffolding:  holding open a space for learning experiences – not solving problems but providing a supportive structure for folks to reach solutions for themselves.  The way I’ve always described what I do when I’m organizing in communities.
  • embodiment:  taking the abstract to concrete.  I’ve always thought of my skill set as taking abstract to concrete whether it was an idea that a community wanted to put forward when doing community based organizing (the real thing, not the door to door canvassing thing) or bringing a piece of clay alive.  Energy wants expression.  I provide the conduit and then get out of the way.  “Embodiment.”  Who knew?!

There is so much information in this book I could (and will be) write about “ahas” for days.

But for today I leave you with this thought:

..the great change we call transformation isn’t really a change at all, but an unveiling, a reorganization, a deepening

into who you are and what already is..

I wish you different lights, new mirrors (literal or friends or a great book) and an few awesome “aha!s” for this, the first week in the new year!


How Will You Play This Year?

How Will You Play This Year?

vision journal page for 2015 in the works New Year's Eve

vision journal page for 2015 in the works New Year’s Eve

For the past two days I have been working on looking back and then looking forward.  That time of year and I have time off the work-for-someone-else job, so why not?

I think of 2014 as a quiet year simply because I pulled everything back inside and hunkered down to gestate.  That kind of year.

Looking back I realize that hunkering down meant playing a lot in the studio since I wasn’t try to sell anything.  I made BIG things:  a 7 ft goddess for the yard (she still needs to be mounted for the yard but she’s finished); my hall bathroom floor – a dream for at least 5 years realized; new front steps so that I could mosaic the risers on them (I’m half way done).  Not bad for being quiet!

So I learned that being quiet is okay because it opens up space and lets dreams in.

More of what came in:  I went to Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb camp outside of Asheville NC. Just before that hubby and I ran down to the Outer Banks and arrived in the midst of a Nor’Easter – he on the motorcycle because he was coming home as I went off to camp.  We couldn’t get in our rented room because of sand and waves so we had to settle for something across the street with only the ocean running a creek in front of it instead of waves.  There was a full moon in there somewhere and some magical energy that exploded all around me and has stayed simmering since.  At any rate, I’m planning to go to Patti’s Camp this year too.  And meet

vision journal page looking back and looking forward

vision journal page looking back and looking forward

two dear on-line Goddess friends who live in the area while I’m at it.

My big lesson for 2014 (and is it BIG) is that I don’t have to repeat old patterns that no longer serve.  And the Universe, generous soul, is giving me plenty of opportunities to practice that.  Suffice it to say I am passing, but it is taking time and focus and persistence!  I suppose nothing good and growth oriented is any different.  Somehow the idea that I should be able to be really good at something without any practice has lodged itself in my subconscious somewhere.  I am rooting that out by practicing imperfection.

For 2015 I plan to finish writing and publish (ebook first and then paperback) my book, Index to Transformation.  I’ve discovered, wandering back through 8 years of blogging and 20 years of writing and poetry that the over arching theme is always transformation.  I am taking that as a clue that I am supposed to focus on that.  So I shall.  Another book sitting waiting is Wylde Crone Rising.  It’s practically written in my head but I am giving Index first preference because it is written down and somewhat organized.  Wylde Crone seems organized until I try to pin it to a piece of paper.

So I have made vision journal pages and lists and thought about what’s next and asked for guidance when I go to sleep at night because morning twilight, when I’m waking, is the best time for intuition and grace to enter.

Vision Journal page for 2015...but I have to make another one for PLAY!!!

Vision Journal page for 2015…but I have to make another one for PLAY!!!

This morning, this first day of the new year, I woke at 5 a.m.  I felt a calling to open my hands, so I did, and this glwy golden light came and settled in them – heavy golden light.  I pulled the light into my solar plexus and it filled me up and spilled over so I opened my arms wide to let it flow out.  Gold sparkles everywhere.  And then came the thought:  how will you play this year?

All that work and I didn’t even address play, which seems to have opened the widest door for wonderful new things for me this year (the floor, the steps, Camp, the goddess).

I have my guiding question for the year.  Do you?  And, by the way, how will YOU play this year?

Happy New Year!

Photo of flower at the edge of asphalt. Photo and quote by Tammy Vitale

Photo and quote by Tammy Vitale

The Holy Tussle

The Holy Tussle

transition to transformation

transition to transformation

Yes, you who have no time because your hands are full of things for which you did not have the word, “no.”  It is time for transformation.

And you, who have given with love and by choice to your family, both older and younger.  It is time for transmutation.

And you, whose souls have stopped whispering and are starting to scream.  It is time for transfiguration.

And you who recognize the perfection of imperfection.  It is time for transmutation.

And you who yearn to honor yourself.  It is time for transfiguration.

And you, who feel lost and alone.  It is time for transformation.

And you who knows the story must be rewoven and retold, and that you and you alone have the power.  It is time.

Some days, my exact response to all this would be,   “Oh, yeah?  And exactly why is it time?”

So for those of you who wonder why it is now time, what one does with that knowledge, and how it all works, I will delve a bit deeper.    See what you you think (and let me know in the comments – I’m all ears).

I am at the ending of a transition period.

How I know I’m in transition:  I can’t quite name it – it’s more of a feeling:  a restless yearning; a notion that time is speeding and I am, in this space, standing still.  I speed up.  Nothing changes.  I look around – things that worked and worked well in the past no longer fit.  There is a pinched, closed down feeling to life.  A need for space in order to just take one single simple deep breath.  I slow down.  The surface remains the same.  Beneath the surface, in the deep inside of me, something green and new stirs – a tiny new root grow, a possibility of something wylde and blooming.

How I know I’m at the end of the transition period (which, in case you’re interested, lasted all of last year):  quite simply all the signs point to it being time to begin doing something with that gestation period.  I woke this morning with the title of this blog in my head.  For you it may be a passage in a book, a toss off comment from a friend or even foe, the way the light hits the frozen ground, the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin.  Whatever it is, it comes straight through and there’s a pause and shift and a recognition of  yes.

If you are a woman who has given birth, or helped it along, you know that transition is where the really hard work gets done at the end of gestation.  It is where you find, after you have labored and breathed and cried and laughed and waited and workedworkedworked, after you have come to the edge and think you can go no further, that you discover yes, you can.  Because you must.  Something is being born and you are the only one who can birth it [here is your why – is there a better “why” than this?]

Giving  or feeling out of control may be recognized by the thought “I can’t do this” .  Recognize that this is asking for help.  You can no longer handle anything  the way it was handled

Photo of flower at the edge of asphalt. Photo and quote by Tammy Vitale

Photo and quote by Tammy Vitale

in the past,  you need to do something differently.  You will not ask just anyone.  You will ask someone you trust to breathe with you and get you through the hard part.  To believe in you and what you are working towards even and especially when you are ready to give it all up.  This is a special someone you have sought out when you felt the restlessness begin, knowing you would need someone to hold your hand and sing your song when you’ve forgotten how it goes, a special someone who knows you are a hero and can say that when the path is hidden from you because your eyes are closed in fear.

If you give up, not only does your life force shrivel and die but also the thing that is almost here – the energy that is counting on you because you are the only conduit through which it can come in full expression – that thing never gets any chance at all. And the rest of the world is that much sadder and deprived for that loss.

Carol Pearson and Katherine Pope assure us that “The hero is not ‘above’ looking down on human endeavor, she is often confused, living in the flux.  Therefore she does not try to eliminate all suffering and pain, but to affirm life in all its manifestations, and through this affirmation to transform it.”  With a little help from her friend(s).

2d-poster-Christina-BaldwinWhen in your mind you hear, “I can’t, because…[you fill in the excuse.  you know it’s there,  this is your ego talking.  What was the thought just prior to “I can’t?”  Track it down.  Be ruthless no matter how hard the tracking is – that original thought, the one that set the ego in action, *that* thought is your intuition.  Find that thought and do whatever it said, and whatever it takes to do what it said.  [with thanks to my son who gave me that very succinct explanation] That is your next step,  your what that needs to happen to move from the dark enfolding (and now smothering) earth into the sunlight and air.

How do you want to feel *now* as you take this step?  Concentrate on *that* how.  Think, “How do I want to feel” rather than “How do I get [this thing that I want].  Why feelings instead of actions and plans?  Because actions and plans tend to have one outcome that you believe is what you want.  You belief will close down other possibilities moving toward you and make you blind to grace that sits down in your path and pants for your acknowledgement.  You will brush by it, ignoring it as you look for that which you have already decided is the “how” of getting to what you want.  There are many paths to feeling prosperity and abundance in your life so that you feel fulfilled. Can you think of some of them and write them down?  Be outlandish!  Don’t think outside of the box, believe that there is no box until you think of it.

The holy tussle is in this path through transition to tranformation.  It is in seeing obstacles as stepping stones, in holding yourself open to possibilities that you have never imagined because you have never before been on this particular path.  The holy tussle is believing in yourself and trusting your intuition and in the last moments before you give up reaching out to a friend.







What is it you want to do with your one wild and precious life?

What is it you want to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

That time of year folks – take a look back, a look at present and a look forward.

For me it has been a wonderful year of trying new things (Patty Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp 2014), redoing my front yard and having new front steps put in so I can decorate the step risers with mosaic words of inspiration – and learn how to do mosaics on mesh…bonus!!!, make a 7 foot mosaic goddess, and spend a lot of time just thinking about “stuff” and throwing lines out imagining how that might manifest.

I am working on a book, Index to Transformation, since it turns out I’ve been writing poetry and prose and blogs about that for about 20 years.  The title was gifted to me by the very talented and generous Jacqualine-Marie Nunes Baxman and opened the door to putting together a lot of writing in one place.  I’m also working on whatever it is that Wylde Crone Rising wants to be – I don’t know yet:  writing, workshops, retreat, all of those, none of those, something new I don’t have the words for yet.

But the point of this post is to share some things I’ve run across lately that are great for opening a space to think about things.

Jacqualine-Marie (mentioned above) sent this url along with Scott Dinsmore talking about

“How to find and do work you love”


Dinsmore repeats the wisdom that everything is impossible until someone does it.  “Make the impossible the new normal.”

What if impossible is a wall you build around your dreams by Tammy Vitale

What if impossible is a wall you build around your dreams by Tammy Vitale

He notes that never mind all the things you can’t control, these things are 100% in your control:

1.  No one can tell you that you can’t learn about yourself

2.  No one can tell you you can’t push your limits and push your own ‘Impossible”

3.  No one can tell you that you can’t surround yourself with inspiring people and get away from those who bring you down

“The only limit to possibility now is your imagination.”

Flex your imagination.

Merry Holiday!

Prayer for the Living

Prayer for the Living

2d Source Soul Card:  I am the one from which two and three emerge, the container of the whole before gender or color is aware of itself; I am the one who is thunder, dreaming.

2d Source Soul Card: I am the one from which two and three emerge, the container of the whole before gender or color is aware of itself; I am the one who is thunder, dreaming.

Reclaiming some of my poetry from almost 20 years ago, and my name as a writer which I haven’t claimed for a long time.  My plan is to do more writing in 2015, but to take a running start at it right now.  As it happens, it is Saturday and a long while back I used to do Poetry Saturday, so I even have a place to file it!

The form of the poem is changed, and the original form enhances the movement but I can’t figure out tabs in wordpress and am not willing to retype the whole thing here so we’ll just take it as it shows up.

By the way, this poem is the start of Wylde Women’s Wisdom, which some of you will remember, and my whole Wylde Women theme in my art and life.  You see that “Wylde” is still “Wild” here – this is the genesis.



Prayer for the Living


  1. We Meet the Woman Who Is Wild

I’ve lost all my dreams

misplaced the book where I wrote them down

the book I sued to figure out just what it was

I wanted, or what wanted me.


Without it how can I tell you

of the white feather presented to me

just before I awoke to find

the white wolf blinking her yellow eyes.


unmelted snow on her fur?

What if I told you that this has nothing to do

with feathers and wolves or the color white?

If I told you that all of this is


her, whispering her stories

trying to make me come back and play?

What if I told you she id dead

and I killed her?  What would you say?


Perhaps I should begin

at the beginning when she crept in

while I was occupied with some drug

whose precise letters I can’t recall.


It was never that I didn’t likke her,

just that I had not context

for what she loosed in my house – the musk

scent she trailed like honey,


the men who came sniffing

like hound dogs on the track;

the body thing – she said our bodies are

beautiful – take off your clothes


and I did.  She said speak up

and I did.  She said dance bare and

howl; she said ride wild things between your legs;

she said you are who you are


and I was.  And then, I think, she went

away or did I tell her to leave or

did I cut out her heart that night

when I closed my mouth, put on my clothes


and began to follow the rules…

Sometimes in the dark I hear something

that sounds like a scream or maybe it’s a keening,

and I wake up, sheets wet with sweat,


nightgown twisted up to my neck

like I was trying to take it off – what

would you say if I told you, after all,

It was only a dream, would you believe me?



2.  Wild Woman Speaks

In the closet where you left me

I have found all the secret doors.  At night

while you sleep I creep up the passageway

to your room, collect the hairs from our brush

and return to the darkness where I weave

for you a new skin – a skin for you to wear,

the one you’ll find when you open the door.


3.  Realization

She sings a story song

born of seawind and earthfire

she says I must

crawl from my mud

into the sun

dry from the cave’s wetness

stand in the light

outshine it

she says I must

stop hiding

in beloved darkness

where I speak the language

of shadow and shade

she says I must

go into the desert

and gather the power strands

I scattered

thinking to be done with the necessity

of taking the pieces and directing them

like reins pulling at the mouths of wild horses

she says I must               finish what has begun


and my traitor heart

leaps with joy


4.  Wild Woman Prays

Kali, awe/full Mother

Terrible in your darkness

You are called Dream

Creatrix of Night

Take of Life

Giver of Death

Sister of Gorgons

Mother of Anger

Daughter of Ocean

Woman of Iron

Holder of trident and sword


Holder of lotus and honey


Wearer of Peacock’s beauty


Wearer of pearls

Dispeller of fear

Wearer of skulls

Dancer of death joy

Gatherer of seeds


Hear us now


Take this blood and drink it

Take this blood and drink it

Take this blood and drink it


For life eternal




 5.  Knight Vision

The heart of the husband has approached

through fireheat, coldburn,


through hidden caves where sunlight

can’t reach


has tried the surface where all

is reflection where shadows

prowl the edges


has trembled when she comes to him

like some wild animal soft, sleek,


all mouth and teeth          and claws.


The heart of the husband has braved

all of this, has thought

about the steam


the steam she lets rise around her


not the trailing steam of mist,

but fog thick and heavy

so dense, sight fails –


and the heart of the husband thinks

of how to sit still

becoming a rock

she can hold onto


if only


if only she would stop beating herself

against the sharp pieces

and find the small places

where toes and fingers can grasp


and the husband doesn’t know

who she will be today

watches moon changes

once ignored          tastes

her salt       sips

her honey and

loves her

this child     this woman            this

lover who howls and scratches

at the door of being – and the heart


and the husband let her in         let her in

never knowing what they’ll find


 6.  Thoughts from the Corner

it should be easier than this

snakes do it all the time

shed their skin

with not even a second thought

while I can’t even find the seam

think I might have to rip open

think it might hurt

think I am imagining things

think if I could just wake up

or maybe it’s go to sleep

than I would be normal again

walk around in the sun and

smile again as though

none of this ever happened

as thought I never heard or felt

or knew anything other than this

light, this well beaten path, this

maze of rats, this nest of ants

this pain, this pain, this pain

for so long I can’t even feel it

anymore – so much easier than

learning something new –

some things are best left to snakes.


 7.  Wild woman’s Declaration

In this closet are many rooms –

all the doors locked

by one key

it hangs

from your neck nestled

between your breasts

swings there gently

bumping against your heart

beating reminders of who you are

in your dreams

the thing that you can never find

already in the palm of your closed hand

the hand you refuse to open, like your eyes,

afraid of what you might see, afraid to stay

in this place where you are, unable to turn back,

dead but breathing.


I am wherever you are

let met teach you

my dance.


 8.  Behind the Closet Door

Wild and trembly

storm child twirls

feet stamping water

where the creek

turkey tails

into bottom land

and snow battered

sod lies interspersed

with gnarled roots of oaks

older than this

clay soil

from which she has


spitting mud

from under her tongue

telling stories

born of rock and

liquid fire


 9.  Secrets

What if I told you

there are no rules?

That there isn’t even a game

until we decide to play it?


What if I told you

that there is no

winner’s circle, only smooth round rooms

with blank white walls


which quiet the quest

make us forget where

we were going and why

soothe us into dreamless sleep…


 10.  Using the Key

Like a cicada buried for 17 years

something stirs inside

and despite myself and the warmth

of this place where I sleep


I begin to dig through dirt

find myself splitting wide

open as though some

Celestial scalpel descends


to make one clean cut out of which

I emerge wrinkled and white

to unfold in the hours between

Moonset and sunrise


find myself singing a song I don’t know

find others just like me

everywhere I turn singing the same song

All of us pale as lunar ghosts


stretching into air like newborns

finding parts of us that were

not there before, learning to see

what we once only imagined.








AEDM 30: Raku Mask:  Josie Dreams of the Sea

AEDM 30: Raku Mask: Josie Dreams of the Sea

Here we are.  Last day of Art Every Day Month (AEDM).  With great gratitude to Leah Piken Kolidas who hosts this every year faithfully, even with new babies in tow.  You’re the best Leah!  Every year this challenge pushes me to play with my art, to stretch what it means, to put myself in front of creating *something* daily – as often as not this blog post, but that’s a creation too.  I love the no rules and easy acceptance of everyone that you offer in this amazing, long-lived on-line community. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I finished this raku mask this morning.  She has been featured all through the month from making,

mask done on armature for rakuing in a week or so

mask done on armature for rakuing in a week or so

to bisque fire (on the left there)

3 masks by Tammy Vitale, bisque-fired for raku.  the middle will go into the fire 11/22 and we'll see about the others after that.

3 masks by Tammy Vitale, bisque-fired for raku. the middle will go into the fire 11/22 and we’ll see about the others after that.

to raku fire,

Raku mask - cleaned up but not yet finished - by Tammy Vitale

Raku mask – cleaned up but not yet finished – by Tammy Vitale


to today:  finished.  And she named herself!  Which means the energy is happy with the final piece – I had no idea the nautilus piece would wind up here, but then I never know what these pieces are going to ask for on the way to complete and whole.  I sort of had an idea for something drapey over her face, but didn’t know exactly what until this morning.  And I forgot that she has an integral hanger – that is:  holes in the sides of her face so I can just run hanging wire through instead of gluing drings like I did for my other masks.  But she needs that.  She is bigger dimensionally and heavier with all that clay around her face.  So I’m glad I thought to do that.

Her name is Josie Dreams of the Sea.


raku mask, Josie Dreams of the Sea, by Tammy Vitale 11/14.

raku mask, Josie Dreams of the Sea, by Tammy Vitale 11/14.

AEDM 29:  Raku! Masks!

AEDM 29: Raku! Masks!

This is the raku mask I posted yesterday but in better light for photographing and you can see the colors MUCH better, but the copper isn’t as glittery..

mask raku  raven dreams a world photo light



Raku Angels and a Masked Mask that I cleaned up but will finish for tomorrow.

Unfinished "Masked Mask" and angels by Tammy Vitale

Unfinished “Masked Mask” and angels by Tammy Vitale


My favorite angel’s new home, on the kitchen window sill over the sink.

3 pieces by Tammy Vitale.  The sleeping fairy isn't mine.

3 pieces by Tammy Vitale. The sleeping fairy isn’t mine.

Fun raku mask  – love the orange and red….I don’t know that I’ve ever gotton colors that clear on my raku before (Thanks to Ray Bogle‘s handling the gas part of the firing – master of lame and clay that he is) – she had earrings (as you can see in this post) but they didn’t make it through.  A friend notes that it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind about wearing earrings.  (smile).

Funny Face, raku ceramics by Tammy Vitale

Funny Face, raku ceramics by Tammy Vitale