Cathedrals of Eternity

Galstonbury Tor, Sacred Spiral Hill

Galstonbury Tor, Sacred Spiral Hill

The nature of sacred places is comparable to the nature of the divine in that nothing is unrelated to them. Our life’s destination is not a place, but a new way of looking at things.

Sacred places are perceptions of reality

Sacred places are not locations but events where all time is eternal time

Sacred places are sites for remembering

Sacred places are renewed crucibles of consciousness

Sacred places are an encyclopedia of self-knowledge

Sacred places are time capsules from ourselves to ourselves

Sacred places are portals to eternity

Sacred places are a geography of the imagination

Sacred places are centers of the sacred and profane

Sacred places are realms of things to come.


“River banks lined with

green willows, fragrant


A place not sacred?


——-Sayings of the Masters


“I’m too religious to believe in religion. You don’t have to believe in a sacred world. It slaps you in the face. It is everywhere.”

                      —-an eighty year old Hungarian friend to Gretel Ehrlich, poet and novelist


“We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through the fabric of illusion.”

                        —Ansel Adams, photographer


“To acquire the awareness of the Divine, one need not journey to any special region or place. It is enough if the eye is turned inwards. I the Bhagavadgita, the Inner Reality, the Atma, is described as “splendorous like a billion suns.” But man has not become aware of the light or power within.”

—Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian avatar


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“We have seen, you and I, the laughing sirens of the trees.

We have been fortunate because, it is said, they are rarely seen, if ever, that they never venture beyond the forest of pine and cedar but stay in the shadows of the thicket of the wood. It is said that these women you have seen cannot think for themselves, that their minds are not their own. It is said, that the women you have seen before your eyes go through life with no intent but to frolic, to make merry and to laugh. It is said that the young who fall and are seduced into their camp return not unto their own but stay with the creatures who think not and cannot reason to know what is good and what is evil. It is said that if in your ramblings you hear this laughter in the wood behind a tree, tarry not, but turn and go the other way. It is said that this is difficult to do when one is young.

—-Laughter Behind the Trees, from the                                                                                                    Tloo-Qwah-nah Ceremony, told by George Clutesi, Nootka writer and artist.



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“Here, my brothers, are the roots of trees, here are empty places; Meditate.”

—Ancient Buddhist Philosopher


Tree Awakening

Tree Awakening

“There is in India a tree whose property it is to plant itself. It spreads out mighty 

arms to the earth, where in the space of a single year the arms take root and put

forth anew.”       —Pliny (A.D. 70), on the wondrous Banyan tree


  Rainbow over the French Broad River, Arden, NC

  Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2016


“Stones, plants, animals, the earth, the sky, the stars, the elements, in fact everything

in the universe reveals to us the knowledge, power and the will of the Originator.”

—Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazzali, Persian                                                                               mystic, 1058-1111.


Old Man of the Hoh

Old Man of the Hoh

What is in a name?

The beginning of a new year is exciting and filled with some apprehension. I am notorious for facing the new year with trepidation and glee. Yes, I realize that I sound strange. But there are reasons for both responses.


This year I know that if you were to draw a picture of me, you would see one funny looking woman. In 2015, I am looking forward to the possibility of adventure, new friends, new experiences and also leaving old friends, leaving the one grandchild that lives here, and leaving the culture that I love so much. It will be good, but I expect bumps along the way. If things unfold as I imagine them, we will be living in North Carolina this year. But it might be next year or not? No it is coming. An end to winter. Sixty four years on the Great Lakes is quite enough for any one. The doctors are pushing for the move because of my health. We are at the point that we are both taking steps to bring this to fruition, while trusting that the things that must happen will without our interfering. Depending on the universe in this is something I am working very hard on.


What I am ready for is to move, to spend more time in the sunshine. I am ready to be nearer to some of the other grandchildren. I am ready for new adventures and I am ready to be astonished.What I am not ready for is the details of making this come together like a puzzle. I dislike puzzles. So I am doing practical things, praying, believing, anticipating and dreading all at the same time. So I ask all of you, to say a prayer for my sister and I to be within the perfect order of the universe. Which brings me to:

Prayer is an Egg


On Resurrection Day God will say, ” What did you do with the strength and energy

your food gave you on earth? How did you use your eyes? What did you make with

your five senses while they were dimming and playing out? I gave you hands and feet

as tools for preparing the ground for planting. Did you, in the health I gave,

do the plowing?” You will not be able to stand when you hear those questions. You

will bend double, and finally acknowledge the glory. God will say “Lift

your head and answer the questions.” Your head will rise a little, then slump

again. “Look at me! Tell me what you’ve done.” You try, but you fall back flat

as a snake. “I want every detail. Say! Eventually you will be able to get to

a sitting position. “Be plain and clear. I have given you such gifts. What did

you do with them? ” You turn to the right looking to the prophets for help, as

though to say, I am stuck in the mud of my live. Help me out of this! They

will answer, those kings, “The time for belonging is past. The plow stands there in

the field. You should have used it.” Then you turn to the left, where your family

is, and they will say, “Don’t look at us! This conversation is between you and your

creator.” Then you pray the prayer that is the essence of every ritual: God,

I have no hope. I am torn to shreds. You are my first and last and only refuge.

Don’t do daily prayers like a bird pecking, moving its head up and down. Prayer is a egg.

Hatch out the total helplessness inside.”

—By Rumi


Both Wings Broken


Love draws a dagger and pulls me close.

Lock and key. Bird with both wings


broken. The love religion is all that’s

written here. who else would say this?


You open me up wide. Or you tie me

tighter. The ball waits on the field


to be hit again. You push me into fire

like Abraham. You pull me out like


Muhammed. “Which do you like better?”

you ask. All the same, if it’s your hand,


troubles or peace. Friends become enemies,

faithful faithless. Some knots tighten.


some loosen. Unruly tangle of caution and

rebellion, ropes and uncombed hair, no one


can tell. Then comes the sure attention

of a mother’s hand for her hurt child.”

—by Rumi





Praying at the Wailing Wall.

Praying at the Wailing Wall.

 “Hear oh Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One.” — most important prayer in Judiasm


Prayer and meditation

Prayer and meditation




Sandlewood prayer beads

Sandlewood prayer beads


 “Go in Beauty, Peace be with you, Til we meet again in the Light.”

Prayer and meditation.

Prayer and meditation.


 “May the long time sun shine upon you. All love surround you. And the pure light within you. Guide your way home.”


Prayer of Tibetan monk

Prayer of Tibetan monk


 “Tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath.”  —Kabir


Pray together to increase the power

Pray together to increase the power


 “Oh music, In your depths we deposit our hearts and souls.

 Thou hast taught us to see with our eyes and hear with our hearts.” —Kahil Gibran


Deep in prayer

Deep in prayer


“Flowers and bees may be different, but the honey is the same. Systems of faith may be different, but God is One.” —Rig Veda


Man at prayer

Man at prayer


When you run into days that are here hard this is something you can do to get yourself back into balance. Time spent in the inner landscape is calming ans centering. It allows you to spend time to spend time with God/Goddess. It is some of the most important time you will spend in a day. I hope everyone enjoys!



The Blessing of Chanting

Buddha found the benefit of chanting

Buddha found the benefit of chanting

Chanting is an esoteric musical energy. It had been used by monks, shamans, and singers in remote places on the earth and in music schools.

Chanting is the music of the cosmic spheres. It is the music of our conscious mind. It is a tool used everywhere to heal bodies, to quiet their minds, and to bring the sacred into the inner landscape.

Chant unites us and bring people together in thought, intention, knowledge, and love.

Chant is repetitive song but so much more. It is a way to integrate breath, heartbeat, emotion and purpose. Chant reaches across spiritual paths, lowers heartbeat and vibrates throughout our bodies. It balances brainwaves and bring the spiritual together.

There is spirit in sound, in music and in chanting. Great music resonates throughout our world and if we allow ourselves to become part of us, we benefit when we allow it to enchant our lives. It can reduce stress and connect us to the Divine. It also helps to bring peace to the world.

The ecstasy of chanting

The ecstasy of chanting

Chanting for peace, and health

Chanting for peace, and health

The Dalhai Lama and his wise and love filled words.

The Dalai Lama and his wise and love filled words.

Ghazal of Hazrat Inayat Khan

“Thanks be to God, the very world that birthed us
now is bathed by wondrous Nature
in a rapture of her glorious light:
the splendor of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, now revealed.
And humankind, highest of creatures, endowed with Intellect’s might
so that all the beasts, wing’d and hoof’d
are place under his command
And Adam’s veins are filled
with Art, Science, Faith:
he knows the sciences are clear
but music is the weightiest
as a surging ocean
outweights the very world through which it flows.

If he whose heart’s been moved
by the science of Music’s world effect
Were offered the pleasure of emperorship,
he’s certainly ignoring it
for Man is not alone in his delight
at that sweet sound
since even animals have sacrificed themselves for it.

More stubborn than a donkey,
he who holds that Music’s “impure”;
Ignorant of beaty,
how clain acquaintance with the Lord?


The ocean surges!
Permit my skiff to reach the shore
I beg what kindness thou canst afford.”

—-Hazrat Inayat Khan, founder of Chisti Sufi Order

what a wonderful gift

what a wonderful gift

Have you heard the music of the spheres?

Have you heard the music of the spheres?

Open air amplitheatre at Chautuaqua Institute, NY. Photo copyrighted in 2001 by Barbara Mattio

Open air amplitheatre at Chautuaqua Institute, NY. Photo copyrighted in 2001 by Barbara Mattio


Spirituality is the ability to experience G-d within and in others.  How do you access it?  No matter what religious path you follow, the similarities are there connecting them like a silken cord. As you walk your path it is good to remember that every other being on Mother Earth is connected to you because of this cord of similarities.

Namaste is a beautiful word which honors the Divinity in the other person, or a tree, or a deer. The ability to see and understand this concept will help you not to fear that which is different. That which frightens you. Seeing The One in others is like peeling an onion. Layer after layer comes off and you see each other soul to soul. This is what really happens when people can glimpse the inner you. The radiant light surrounds you and the other person and you experience the Divinity of God. This is why introspection is so important to our lives. Introspection leads us to know ourselves and to understand ourselves in a way that is not possible any other way.

Spirituality lifts us soaring about the differences and distinctions which divide us. All we can see or feel or love is the presence of the Divine everywhere. Strong able arms life us to see the reality of this life and the reality of the being of God, Allah, Adonai, Goddess, Jesus, Divine energy. What an amazing gift to turn around slowly and see that The One is everywhere. There is no place we can go and not touch him/her or, feel his/her love. There are no eyes we can look into that God does not look back out at us. Some choose to ignore the sacred within and live their lives in their own pain or causing pain in others. I realize this is true, but even though they have pushed the Divine presence down so far to be able to do evil, the Divine is here, there and everywhere.

The next time it is warm enough to meditate outside, sit and view the inner landscape and meditate in the manner you are used to. However, be aware of how there is a slight difference in the light, don’t be surprised at the  silence that quietly fall around you, and the little animals who try to creep up into the Divine energy and Presence. You can do this practice at the beach, on a mountaintop, or in your own backyard. I love to meditate on a mountaintop and feel the air all around me change. I think it is a small amount of what Moses felt standing in front of the burning bush. He was in sacred space, the very presence of the Divine that had led them out of Egypt.

The brilliant part is that we don’t need to wish we were Moses. We also walk every day in the Divine Presence of The Beloved.  This is what is behind the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz or Khalil Gibran or Kabir. They knew they were in the presence of the Divine and the love they experienced was divine love. It is what the love we share with family, friends, children, and grandchildren is born of. Loving them is the beginning of understanding the love of God. Loving God begins with practicing the presence of God and opening up your heart and feeling the Divine love swirl around you with its heady fragrance. It is a prayer and the  answer that touches you in the most intimate way possible. It is knowing that you would rather be there, in the loving presence of The One than anywhere else. Now you can begin to understand what the poets wrote about with such eloquence. The love and presence of  The  Beloved.