Posts Tagged ‘Spirituality’

“Original Blessing”, a poem.

August 12, 2017

I have been thinking a lot about spiritual things, and this poem keeps coming up to the surface.  It was originally published in “Pitcher of Moon”,, 2015.  That was my fourth book and perhaps the one I struggled the most over.

Lady Nyo



Original Blessing


I am dizzy with love,

Standing in the rain,

This cosmic blessing

Pouring on my head,

Mingling with tears of gratitude

Til one stream

can not be deciphered

From the next.


I am an Original Blessing,

As are you,

And we are not born in sin,

But brought into the light of life

In great joy and anticipation.


Our first bellows are not of pain

But surprise at the roominess of the Cosmos,

As we kick our feet, flail our arms

And finally open our eyes at the glorious colors

Of Nature.


Original sin would have us

Born rotten,

A theological monkey on our back–

But I know no God of the Cosmos

Who would scar these tiny blessings

With such  a heavy burden.


Original Blessing is a deliverance,

A deliverance of hope, trust and pride

A heritage where we can discern and save


Walk in harmony with the Earth,

Stride with God across the span of life–

For this Earth is our cradle,

And all in it our kin.


For a truly wise person

Kneels at the feet of all creatures

And is not afraid to endure

The mockery of others.


And when the day sidles up to night

I will settle into the nest of the Earth,

Draw the dark blanket of the Cosmos

Across me,

Pillow my head upon stars

And know that the blessings I have been

Graced with today and always

Have come from the womb of God.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2016




“Aberrant Thoughts In A Quaker Meeting”

October 7, 2010

This is another poem that goes through periodic revision when I catch it. It will continue to do so.

Very few poems come out like Moses’ tablets.  Most poems go through revision after revision.  This refining process is essential I believe to strengthening the poetry….and the poet.

Lady Nyo

Obviously the character in the poem is making the ‘sin’ of intolerance….

Aberrant Thoughts in a Quaker Meeting

Sitting on a Quaker bench,

The wood as hard as stony hearts

I hear this buzz word: tolerance

In message after message—

The ‘Professors’ leadings from

The Spirit.

Beginning to hate that word,

That single word,

There’s little enough

Spread in this world.

Some stiff-necked brethren,

And sisthern, too,

Spirituality like dull pearls

Round stiff necks,

Proud in a borrowed heritage

Coming from foreign shores to do good–

Some did very well– for themselves.

I wonder what the God Vishnu would do?

Would he jump up,  burst into flame?

Would he call in the elephants and stomp the

Professors flat?

Kali would do something.

She would not tolerate false piety,

But would she, as she could–

Run a path of death and destruction,

through the middle of the Meeting,

and let them pick up their ‘weighty’ pieces?

And Shiva?

Would he bring a particularly nasty Rise of The Meeting,

When all would shake hands to those on left and right?

Or would the trickster be the

Yamabushi Tengu–

with a buzzer in his hand?

It boggles the mind,

but at least gets one through

the Meeting for Worship.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009

Religion and other bothersome matters…

October 4, 2010

Painting: "Irish Coast", watercolor, 2005, j.kohut-bartels

Lately I have been thinking  about religion and spirituality.  I don’t see these as the same, and I struggle through a lot of nattering influences to come to a place of my own.

I went through a period of searching for a religion where I felt I could belong.  Raised haphazardly Christian (Episcopalian) or as my brother the holy roller likes to refer to this as “raised by wolves”….nothing of organized religion seemed to ‘fit’.

A short while ago an Orthodox Jew (who turned out to be a bad example of Jewishness and humanity), tried to harangue my husband about “the Saints”.  I guess to this Jew’s thinking my husband looked like a Christian.  I had to laugh because my husband was and is a Buddhist of 25 years standing.  His wife finally told him to shut up because she didn’t want to hear this stuff.  Good girl.

His religious narrowness didn’t put me off the Jewish religion and for a year went to classes about Judaism and attended Temple.  Somewhere my father’s family was Jewish, and though it was on the wrong side of the blanket, I wanted to understand something of this religion.  Finally, it was, to me…..just rituals.  About as mystical as those damn Saints.  I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.

I have a lot of friends who come from different religions.  Muslims, Ba’hai, Christians, pagans, Jews, etc.  The Christians break down into many various parts.  Episcopalian, Unitarian, Quaker, Unitarian Universalists, etc.  With the Jews it was Reform, Orthodox, Conservative.  The Ba’hais were pretty consolidated.  The practicing pagans were just down-right silly to me. Perhaps I had grown far beyond such  stuff.

But still there was a nagging issue of spirituality.  This, I believe,  is something that encases a broadness  that perhaps the religious dogmas can’t touch.  For me, it comes down to a question of Gratitude.

I am grateful for the breath of life, for the ability to awake and walk, to read, to laugh, to see the marvelous passage of clouds and time, to commune with nature and friends and family, and all this is wrapped up in Gratitude.  To receive love that sometimes I don’t deserve.  To give love and to mean it.

I fight this battle with myself and at times it gets overwhelming.  It’s more than I am, and more than I can solve.  I’m out on a limb here, and the answer isn’t  within these accepted forms of worship. At least not for me.

Today it was a perfectly beautiful day…one which was memorable for nothing except the perfection around me.  The sky was marvelous, from dawn to dusk, that sharp sentiment of expectation in the change of season, and the season to come;  the beauty of the still-green leaves and overwhelming, huge trees here in the South; the winds that made themselves known, not as gentle blowing breezes, but as swooshing dervishes, rotating branches and making their power known.

I felt such gratitude in the presence of this day: what wonderful beauty was before me.  There was no way around gratitude.

I came across something tonight, and it struck me as a coda for the day; something that brings a definition or a conclusion to this marvelous beauty before me.  It gave structure and meaning to what I was seeking.


“The Autumn quarter of Lughnasadh brings the gift of maturity and is a time of physical harvest and spiritual garnering. It sees the greatest change in weather from broiling heat to dark and chilly nights.  It is the time for celebrating the harvest and sees the busy preparations for winter.  In the human growth cycle, Lughnasadh corresponds to the period of mature adulthood when a certain steadiness and responsibility have been established.  It is a good time to celebrate the lives of all who have helped stabilize and uphold the noble values of life, of all who have exercised good judgment and steered the doubtful into the harbor of certainty, of all holy ones whose guardianship has saved us from life-disabling mistakes.”

From “Celtic Devotional”, by Caitlin Matthews.

Funny, this hits the spot.  It incorporates the Gratitude I am feeling and it gives a particular direction.  It gives hope.

Lady Nyo (with a fond hug to Margie and Bren)

Hard Lessons and Belly Dance

February 20, 2009

I’ve been thinking about something for the past week. It wasn’t something that appeared fully formed in my mind. I went through stages before coming to an understanding.

Peeling the onion time….

Last weekend I was invited to a new bdsm club, to sign copies of my book and to ‘demonstrate’ something. That ‘something’ was an invitation to dance on the back of one of the owners of this new club.

I really wasn’t thinking clearly, or very far, when I agreed to do this. The book signing was ok….since I write erotica, that part wasn’t ‘uncomfortable’…There was a bit of ‘rope work’ done that night as we observed, and at one time, I was influenced in this issue by a man who was pretty heavy into bdsm and also was a shibari/rope worker. The influence of this man kicked in enough to write the “Shibari Series” which is in the new book, “A Seasoning of Lust” just released by

As  the evening wore on, I was getting more uncomfortable and doubtful where the belly dance fit….or IF it fit. Early in the evening, around 11pm…my husband looked at me and saw that “Teela” was a bit weirded out by the whole scene. It was fine if you are ‘into’ the bdsm scene, but we weren’t. I was there for a different purpose, and one of those purposes was coming into question.

We left.

It took a couple of days to clarify what the problem was. (There were a number of problems with this particular scene, but that is not important for this entry.)

It’s this. I am a bellydancer, and recently I am also a teacher of new students. I haven’t been in it very long, only 5 years this April, but damn….this discipline has grown deeply inside me, and has transformed much of me. It’s become something rather spiritual. It has also made me (or should!) become more aware of what I am doing and what ‘public face’ in the doing I present.

I take Belly Dancing seriously. Enough to drag my butt to classes, even travel to cold Montreal , 1200 miles away to study with Audra Simmons. I will, and have, traveled to different places around the South, mostly, to study with great teachers. I perform at venues, restaurants, etc…and I take it seriously.

Belly Dance has opened a whole world for me. I am not a young woman, and entered it in middle age. Tant pis! Any woman can train her body and MIND over a course of years and become a dancer…at least it is not a rigid discipline like ballet. It feeds the mind, the senses (others, too!) and the body. It can become a whole new world and a very different one at that. I see now how it has changed me in what I would call ‘spiritual’ ways.

Perhaps it is the circles, the infinity movements, the oh so beautiful! motions of the body, how we enter a particular world of the mind…..and many times, when we are really in the ‘zone’….a trance.

We leave our bodies in a way, they are just vehicles, beautiful and vigorous vehicles, and we ascend to ‘somewhere’ else. Belly dancers are ‘never’ off.

Recently, I was asked if I was ‘ever still’? What a strange question!

Belly dancers are always moving something of their bodies, we are always dancing, even walking we have a particular step, an infinity curve of the hips, a ‘mindful’ carriage. A constant ‘flow’ of a physical manifestation of energy from one region of the body to the other. We train ourselves to do this. We are always listening to some internal music, some thoughts as to possible movements, and we live them out. It becomes and IS…a second nature.

In a word: “No.” We will be still enough in our graves.

Right now, I am sitting here typing,  listening to “The Kabila Project”…(and this particular piece has what sounds to me African drumming and Flamenco music (THANK YOU, AUDRA!) and though my legs are tucked under my chair…my breasts and shoulders are doing little circles, infinity movements,(figure 8s), shakes…. HOW CAN ANYONE BE “STILL” WITH MUSIC IN THE AIR??

Even a cold, dead man would move to this music….maybe his cold, dead cock, I don’t know, but SOMETHING would come alive.

I have a friend, Mac in NYC, who understands woman and dance. His wife is a performer. He knows how it can transform a performer, how a woman can transcend the ‘here and now’…how she can be ‘enhanced’ by her serious movements. How she can enhance those who watch her. He understands the power of music and movement. He is a shibari expert and I want to bind “Teela”and let her dance in his ropes.

How can you bind a belly dancer and not EXPECT something of dance to pop out??

Why would you squander that chance?

Even the hemp rope….would stand aside…and should, and deep subspace can be set aside for the essence of a belly dance. At least I hope so. Mac? But in PRIVATE, Please~!

And that brings me full circle to last Saturday night. Dancing (as a bellydancer) on a man’s back just isn’t the proper thing to do. Regardless how much he begs.

Where is the honor and glory of Being a dancer in doing this? There isn’t any.

We must be mindful of our traditions, what ‘face’ we are putting on this discipline, and we don’t need anything ‘else’ or alien to confuse us or the public. We have a fine, historic and deeply spiritual tradition to draw from, to display to the world, and we don’t have to make it into something that is ‘weird’.

The costumes sometimes are weird enough.

Teela and Lady Nyo today…the same woman and Still not still.

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