Saturday, August 8, 2009

COMING DOWN from the CLOUDS -- Memoir / Poetry


[ * There are 19 pieces of writing on the mystical path in this blog:
essays, articles and poems. The "blog archive" or Table

of Contents is located below the tall, narrow image at left.

Click on a white triangle to open it. *

from the CLOUDS

Sequel to the essay “Confessions of 
A Vancouver Cloud Watcher”
found at

Text and images 
© Copyright 2018 by Neall Calvert

SOME OF US NEED TO GET OUT OF OUR HOUSES (nowadays well-fastened to the earth, unlike mine as a child that merely sat on split cedar rounds and shook whenever the wind blew hard). We need to get out of our houses in order to experience a higher ceiling in a cathedral, a monastery, or the great out-of-doors; to appreciate the sky, the stars at night, seagulls careering across the top of the metropolis on a wild windstorm ride, siege of great blue herons cruising like tourists above the flowing Fraser in its canyon, quick barn swallows swooping in looping flight. Every bird has a nest somewhere . . .

Startling Starlings   (c) 2018 N.C.

. . . Some of us need to get closer to the earth, obtain a house to live in (a nest), stay home more often, find belonging in community, make friends with animals, take up gardening—grow vegetables and flowers (new roses rather than neuroses) . . .

It is wings and roots that need developing.


Curse the mind that mounts the clouds
in search of mythical kings and only mystical things;
mystical things cry for the soul that will not face
the body as an equal place
and I never learned to touch for real
down, down, down where the iguanas feel.
Judy Mayham(1) [See Endnotes below]

If you have built castles in the air,
your work need not be lost;
that is where they should be.
Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau(2)

. . . only by accepting earthly contact and suffering can the human soul be transformed into a mirror in which the divine powers can perceive themselves.
Marie-Louise von Franz(3)

The journey from cloud cuckoo land to reality lasted a long time. In my case Pilgrims Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.
Carl Jung, at age 84(4)

Originally all cities were holy. Just as primitive farmers sanctified the whole earth, primitive townsfolk revered the enclosure within which they lived, imagining it a sacred space, like a church, where a sacred drama was continually being enacted between themselves and their god.
Norman Kotker(5)

Virginia Creeper Vine   (c) 2017 by N.C.

The land is the Holy Land—and the land where you live, not the land someplace else. . . . You don’t have to go someplace else to find the holy place. . . . The Holy Land is everywhere.
Joseph Campbell(6)

And we might, in our lives, have many thresholds, many houses to walk out from and view the stars, or to turn and go back to for warmth and company. But the real onethe actual house not of beams and nails but of existence itselfis all of earth, with no door, no address separate from oceans or stars . . .
—Mary Oliver(7)

*     *     *

To view Neall’s photo collections, including
“Water & Clouds of Southwestern B.C.”,
“Flowers as Art” and
“Mandalas Photographs in a Water Glass”
click on Albums at:


1. In Peter A. Levine, Ph.D., with Ann Frederick, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1997), p. 265.

2. Walden, p. 256. In James Hollis, Creating A Life: Finding Your Individual Path. Toronto: Inner City Books, 2001, p. 50.

3. “The Process of Individuation” Part 3 of C. G. Jung, Man and His Symbols (New York: Dell, 1964), 217.

4. C. G. Jung Letters Volume 1, p. 19 footnote. In Clair Dunne, Carl Jung: Wounded Healer of the Soul (New York: Parabola Books, 2000), p. 3.

5. “The Holy City” in Horizon: A Magazine of the Arts, Spring 1965, Vol. VII, No. 2 (New York: American Heritage), 5.

6. Mythos, vol. 1.2, The Spirit Land (video), © 1996 Joseph Campbell Foundation,

7. Mary Oliver, Upstream: Selected Essays (New York: Penguin, 2016), p. 114.


  1. Seek the truly practical, material life
    But seek in such a way that it does not numb you to the spirit that works within it.
    Seek the Spirit, but not out of spiritual lust or spiritual egoism.
    Seek it rather because you wish to become selfless in the practical life of the material world.
    Turn to the ancient principle: Spirit never without matter, matter never without Spirit.
    And say to yourselves, We will do everything material in the light of the Spirit,
    And will seek the light of the Spirit in such a way that it enkindles warmth in us
    For our practical deeds.
    -Rudolf Steiner

    1. I appreciate the thoughts expressed. Thank you for making the effort to respond.