Native Star by Stan Renfro
Two collections of poetry by Stan Renfro
All in Orbit by Stan Renfro

Jemez Home



San Diego Canyon has a river running through it. Ocher and red rocks rise in eroded symmetries upon the sides. Swallows swerve below eagles. Puebloans portrayed a double rainbow on rocks at Soda Dam, where calcium carbonate deposits have solidified and flowed over the river a wall of rock, through which the torrent flows.


I came to these mountains by intuition, but now consciously learn deeper causes for being here. Having read the I Ching for a long time, since coming I have learned about connections addressed in Richard Wilhelm's Lectures on the I Ching, written just before he died.


"In China the mountain is seen as part of the surrounding world; as part of the forests, which grow on it; as part of the plants it permits to sprout; as part of the animals that reproduce upon it, and as part of the clouds which are dispatched to supply the country with the necessary moisture. The mountain is considered as a center of life. And this is precisely the idea at the basis of Ken, Keeping Still. In this trigram the Heavenly is concentrated on earth, terrestrially and celestially, where atmospheric influences are drawn toward earth and life becomes harmonious." p. 9


So am I drawn to the nature of the place, learning to serve hummingbirds sugar water at their tempo, climbing up the canyon sides, and reading about hexagrams in the I Ching, such as number 26, Ta Ch'u, "Actualization", or "Depersonalization".


"Above is the Mountain, the Keeping Still, hence something very real: Heaven within the Mountain. Among old legends of many people we find time and again the idea of a Heaven within a mountain. Time and again we find the thought of something massive, strong, and high that contains a cave, and within the cave Heaven. Heaven as different from the world of the day, and yet as a world filled with creative power. This world is endowed with the capability of giving shape, and sooner or later it enters the created world to usher in the Golden Age. The notion of a cave-heaven occurs not only in our German legends: we find it also in far away Asia.


"All such legends are frequently, or almost always, a metaphor for something that takes place within a human being. This is also the case in this hexagram. Heaven stands for human creative powers. These creative powers are here tamed, held together by the strength of Keeping Still. The creative powers that are surging outward in time are restrained by a very strong inhibition; and by being restrained in this way they are forced to form, not only to become idea, but to continue forming until they enter reality." p. 117-118.


Wilhelm puts in a footnote: "Depersonalization should be understood in its broadest possible meaning; not as negation or illusion, but depersonalization toward the goal of realizing oneself within humanity as a whole." p. 173


The Tao of village life is expressed today in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. I indeed live nearby, sip a chai tea latte, don a pack, and walk down to it.


— Stan Renfro