By the Barn Gate
by Donna Robertson copyright 2019.

When I am gone just bury me by the barn gate.
When they come up for breakfast in the morning
Brush them and feed them.
Run your hands along their lovely necks,
Across their faithful backs,
And down their trusty legs with tenderness.
Tell them I love them.
Clean their hooves and spray away the flies.
Kiss them on the nose and jaw.
Scratch their ears and stop to smell their manes.

Once in a while, sit on the bench by the barn gate.
My memory will be there.
Smell the flowers, enjoy the blooms.
Remember all the joy and laughter.
Mourn when you must, then move on.
Enjoy the sunsets there.
Welcome friends. Live.

When they come up for supper in the evening,
Give them the best you can.
Blankets for the cold, dry for the wet,
Always fresh water, Always my love.
And if they have to have a new home,
Never sell them. They are family.
Give them to someone I knew and loved.
Someone who already loves them.
Who might sit on the bench by the barn gate
Once in a great while
And laugh and smile and remember.

“I dream of a love that is more than two people craving to possess one another.”
-Irvin D. Yalom

Art: Alex Alemany

Buddha’s Last Instruction

“Make of yourself a light,”
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal — a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire —
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.

Mary Oliver

James Hillman

Psychologists who do not attend enough to spirit forget that it is one of the essential components of the conjunction and cannot be dismissed as a head trip, as intellect, as just theology or metaphysics or a puer flight. Spirit neglected comes into psychology through the back door, disguised as synchronicity, magic, oracles, science fiction, self symbolism, mandalas, tarot, astrology and other indiscriminations, equally prophetic, ahistorical, and humorless. For it requires spirit to discern among the spirits.

Diakrisis(discernment) itself is a gift of the spirit, and psychologists who refuse the puer chug along empowered by doctrinal mechanisms of dead masters, their own imaginative sails decayed or never even hoisted, circling in the doldrums of low-profile, low-horizon humility: the practice of psychoptherapy.

Once the spirit has turned towards the soul, the soul can regard its own needs in a new way. then these needs are no longer attemps to adapt to Hera’s civilizational requirements, or to Venus’s insistence that love is god, or to Apollo’s medical cures, or even Psyche’s work of soul-making. Not for the sake of learning love only, or for community. or for better marriages and better families, or for independence does the psyche present its symptoms and neurotic claims. Rather these demands are asking for inspiration, for long distance vision, for ascending eros, for vivification and intensification(not relaxation), for radicality, transcendence, and meaning – in short the psyche has spiritual needs, which the puer part of us can fulfill.

James Hillman

Peaks and Vales