Originally posted 4/27/2009.
Crystal skulls and pyramids,
sweat lodges and vision quests,
Tarot cards and Zodiac — good night to you,
you’ve served your purpose.
Your creators are long dead.
They’d laugh at us if they were not.
They’d marvel at those who don’t know how
to find prophecy in the mundane,
in the random jumble of socks in a drawer
or the shadows of skyscrapers
knifing across downtown streets
if they tried. They’d say, every jammed closet
is a cathedral if you know
how to pray in it and each time clock
offers a mantra in its solid thunk upon
a dreary card.
The Great Intelligence of the Universe
was not absent when those things were created.
The web of prophecy is splendid
precisely because it snares
the profane and the sacred together,
sees that they are indistinguishable.
When the ancients are incessantly called upon
to tell us where we’re heading, they must ask themselves:
who are these frightened people who do not understand
how to make do with what’s right under their noses,
cobbling a peephole into time
from whatever is close at hand? When we were alive,
we lifted crystals from the dirty ground
whenever we found them. We took a deck of cards
we’d used for gambling and sorted them to see
if how they fell could tell us how we might fall.
When the king died, we cut and piled rocks
until they lined up with stars and sighted along them
so we could see where he was headed. And in the dark
low dome of a hut covered in skins,
we poured cold water over scalding stones,
drew in the steam, blew it out again
to mingle the Inner with the Outer.
It was something we did every day, anyway,
every time we cooked or bathed. All we did
to meet God was add a little attention
to the mundane. Shape a little something
just a little bit more carefully than normal.
All we ever did to meet God
was look for God and trust that
we wouldn’t have to look far.
Neither will you. Surrender
your grip on how we tried to get by
and find your own. Let us go.
What you find may not be God at all
but at least it will be yours.