When people ask the meaning of the name, Circles of Air and Stone, we answer with a poem.
Circles of Air, Circles of Stone…
The Earth circles, and night follows day.
We bury our seeds; we bury our bones;
While sacred birds circle and prey.
Circles of Air are traced by hawks spiraling high in the sky. Sky symbolizes heaven, the infinite; and sky teachings point us towards what’s archetypal and transpersonal… the perennial wisdom associated with the great spiritual paths.
Circles of Stone – Stonehenge, kivas, and medicine wheels throughout North America point us to earth and her traditions. Grounded, deep, and rooted, earth teachings bring us to this life, and the need and possibility of embodying something grand and magnificent within it.
The Earth circles, and night follows day. In nature, everything is connected; all polarities, yin and yang, within a circle. To be whole, we cannot just follow the light. We must honor the darkness, and see our shadow as well. We bury our seeds; we bury our bones; Beginning and end — we plant and we bury. Life is filled with passages. New seedlings are fed by decomposition and decay. Every beginning marks an end (or vice-versa), and these need to be honored, not avoided.
While sacred birds circle and prey… prey?… pray? Weightless, majestic, and soaring toward the heavens, those birds are also hunting, their breath-taking vision ready to seize the earthly life below… the sensuous, physical life they need to fuel their climb to the sky.
For millennia, we’ve been taught to look skyward, and in doing so, our bodies, emotions, and the feminine qualities of sensuous, living nature were forgotten. But the word “human” comes from humus – to be of the earth. Christ — born in a manger, amidst the straw and the animals — once said, “My kingdom is expressed all throughout the earth, and people do not see it.” Gazing skyward, we miss what’s right at our feet — a spiritual path right here… a recognition we’re standing on holy ground.
Indigenous peoples often say, “The Earth is our mother.” We’ve evolved and grown from a living planet, and the recognition of a presence, or greater power — woven all throughout the natural world — constitutes the primal human spiritual experience, the foundation upon which the structures of most religious beliefs were built. If we are indeed “children of the Earth,” then we are already home. We belong here, and discovering Nature and our inner nature are intimately related.
Primal cultures referred to this unnamable living presence as the Great Mystery. It was the source and origin of everything – all facts, forms, and expressions of existence – the wellspring out of which emerged all which could be experienced and known. The Great Mystery was a focus of reverence, the matrix and mother, the background and context within which we live, know, and perceive.
To experience the Great Mystery was to know the Creator. To experience means to be intimate with, and developing a relationship of appreciation, gratitude, and respect with this Unknown was the primary task of life. Creating, nurturing, and sustaining this relationship led to a sense of belonging, finding one’s place in the universe, and having a home. To do so resulted in deep feelings of peace, and an experience of wonder, purpose, and connectedness with all parts of creation.
People in the 21st century have inherited cultural belief systems of separation and disconnection — from their bodies and emotions; from the earth, themselves, and each other – and they suffer the wounds, pain, and dysfunctions that result from those stories. We believe that healing is both personal and cultural – healing the pain of our personal histories must happen in the context of a new story or “dream” that connects us to our deepest truths, and the gifts we’re meant to carry and bring forth to the Earth community.
A famous quote reads:
“A vision without a task is but a dream.
A task without a vision is drudgery.
A vision with a task is the hope of the world.”
Spiritual realizations must be incorporated – embodied – to become real. The new story requires bringing vision and task — Earth and Sky — together. Rather than transcendence, it seeks embodiment and expression, the bringing forth of our uniqueness, power, and radiance to give back, feed, and befriend the world. Rich encounters with “the Other World” should thrust us into more profound confrontations and engagements with this one, demanding we become deeper, wiser, and far more human as we approach “the divine.”
This requires developing an expand sense of self, a heart big enough for the paradoxes and polarities, and strong enough to accept the joys and sorrows, insights and disillusionments, spring-times and falls. All the difficulties that deepen our encounters with soul must be honored if “heaven” is to be found here and now — enacted within life. We are in Earth School; escaping to another world, at the expense of this one, avoids half the curriculum. We must be engaged in both to be whole. Sun Bear, a Native American teacher, said, “If your vision doesn’t grow corn, I don’t want to hear about it.”
Becoming fully human involves embracing our wounds, personal history, and the magnificence of what Nature has created within us, while leading functional and soulful lives that make a difference in our communities. Illumination isn’t an end point. After we‘re “born again,” we have to grow up and learn to act like adults if we’re to find ourselves back in the Garden again.
At Circles of Air and Stone we offer workshops, vision quests, and individual consultations for reconnecting heaven and earth. We provide profound encounters with nature – inner as well as outer – while bringing wisdom from the great, perennial teachings and stories to bear on the nitty-gritty issues we struggle with today.
We are committed to being real. Our programs employ unique tools and methods to call forth both the darkness and the light, helping people embrace and integrate their shadows and discover their passion, purpose, and voice… while developing a relationship with something greater than the self they currently know. We facilitate, believe in, and celebrate the power and joy in transforming struggles into a heroic adventure, a journey towards a meaningful life where we can give our unique gifts and make a difference.
— Sparrow Hart, June 10, 2017