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Sunday, 3 February 2013

owl shaman-witch/barrel-rolling blue herons/Manitou - Buddhism

On 2013-01-30, at 6:48 PM, marvin orbach wrote:

Hi Chris,
  Thanks so much for your new haiku.  It is a jewel.  A thing of
beauty.   A joy forever.
  Have you thought about writing a major, new haibun describing your
experiences while hiking in the forest?   Have you ever had the good
luck of meeting Manitou?  Our forests are full of spirits.
  Peace & poetry power.

Hi Marvin,
My friend Sylvia & I had a good chuckle when I told her you had opened the door by asking about my spiritual & metaphysical blatherings  :  )
I can't say I've had the experience of meeting Manitou, but I haven't met Jesus either  :  )  One day I may attempt to describe to you my personal
spiritual cosmogony - it's very simple to me & yet can sound very complicated (garbled!) when I try to explain it.

Well, here goes ... got some spare time tonite so might as well start     ...   :  )

The most accurate overview is that I'm some sort of Buddhist. At a very young age, around 19 (circa 1966-67), I bought a pb on yoga & learned the asanas & some breathing practices. I could sit in a full lotus for several hours at a time, I was semi-veg, & very 'pure' in spirit while opposing the VN War. Yes, a drug of some sort was involved, but I had a very strong & completely unexpected enlightenment* in this period, which has given me strength ever since & supplied the basis for much of my poetry & my life.

I've discussed Buddhism with a FN person at the Petroglyphs Park, & he also recognized the parallels between FN beliefs & practices & traditional 'Tibetan' Buddhism. So when I had my 'enlightenment' experience, it could also be said that I experienced (encountered) Manitou.

I have also had some very powerful & unbelievable encounters with lesser spirits & energies we would classify as FN. About a decade ago I had several ongoing
encounters with an owl shaman, who was living with/as a huge owl. One afternoon the owl swooped over my car on a remote back road, and led me for about a mile. That nite I decided to visit the owl in a mild state of meditation & sedation on tylenol 3s for kidney stones. I did a 'mind cast' into the owl, & was instantly rebuffed by an ancient FN
shaman (witch) who lived in the owl .

The old shaman/witch was VERY pissed off at my intrusion, & assumed that I had come to fight for possession of his owl. I backed off immediately, assuring him I was a silly white man who had blundered into his being. After some time he accepted this, & the 3 of us took a wild nite flight over some of my favourite remote countryside.

Later the owl shaman visited me in my dreams, & we fought for possession of this human body - far better to eat cooked food & live in a warm house than to eat mice & worms & live in cold trees! I believe I won this battle, but sometimes when I look in the mirror, another pair of eyes looks out & shares an ancient consciousness.

Of course I've had many encounters with nature at ZenRiver, esp. when sitting on the deck of the shaman shack before - during - and after meditation sessions. A few times friends have been fortunate to be sitting with me, & we have witnessed 'wild' things performing incredible stunts & activities. A pair of blue herons flew low over us one aft, then did a barrel roll loop-de-loop over the river! I've seen huge ancient turtles mating in a wild roll into the millpond depths, locked eyes with a huge & gorgeous roaming timber wolf, countless exchanges with deer, befriended a small mother mink who lives across the river from the shaman shack, etc. etc. .

Lesser spirits have accidentally been photographed wandering around ZenRiver ... the list of experiences many would classify as paranormal or shamanic is quite endless & frequent.

peace & poetry power!
Chris/cricket & Chase ... wrfffffffffffffffff! (both tired after a long hike on the trails this chilly day)

*planned to go into some detail on 'enlightenment', but too tired

following are some haiku published in SIMPLY HAIKU, including the only haiku I've published so far about the scary visit with owl shaman

p.s. after scanning these older haiku, I remembered that my friend Morley & I saw a cougar (black panther) while we were building the shaman shack - many totems!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Simply Haiku: An E-Journal of Haiku and Related Forms
| Contents | Archives | About Simply Haiku | Submissions |

Chris Faiers
Old hotrodder
racing with the harvest moon
. . . in the rearview
owl swoops and dips
soars and shares
flashing white night visit
from a rusted wheel well . . .
shaman neighbour
visits wildcats
night wolf hunt - - - which are extinct
distant flames,
northern lights!

Chris (Christopher) Faiers was born on Hamilton Mountain, Ontario, Canada in June 1948. He began publishing haiku in 1968 under the guidance of Haiku Magazine’s Eric Amann. He had an enlightenment at age 20. Cricket was his childhood nickname and is his haijin name.
At 21 he left the US, where he grew up, in opposition to the Vietnam War. For 3 years he lived in the UK. Eel Pie Dharma: a memoir/haibun is online at His 1969 chapbook Cricket Formations is also online there.
Chris has walked many thousands of miles, night and day, often in moving meditation or shamanistic awareness, on the remote trails where he lives in rural Ontario. He works as a librarian/CEO. He hopes this is his last incarnation on Earth for a long while, although it probably isn’t : )

Chris writes: I don’t have a digital camera or even a recent pic. I’d prefer a stylized pic or photo of a cricket to accompany my poems - I trust your artistic judgment to select a good cricket : ).
Editor's Note: The Chinese cricket glyph, pictured right, is Simply Haiku's choice, as requested, to represent Chris. It comes from inscriptions found on tortoise shells in archaeological sites in China. We aren't sure whether this image actually looks like Chris, but we hope that it satisfies him. The glyph was taken from the Chinese Cricket Culture website. We think that the glyph carver might have been pleased at the thought of having his artwork honored several millennia after his thousand mile walk ended.

Copyright 2003/2004 Simply Haiku


On Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 1:32 PM, Chris Faiers <> wrote:
Hi Marvin,
About two weeks ago Chase and I hiked the Sorrow Falls trail. We stopped on
the first narrow bridge, the one where I carved my shaman sign into the
top railing the winter I was fired by the library board witch hunt six years
ago. Although many of the traumas of my former work life have dissolved over
time, they have been
replaced by the day-to-day petty concerns all humans share. I scraped snow
off the railing to enjoy my carving, and then put my face into the sun's
strength. Almost immediately the minor cares of the day dissolved, my inner
voices ceased, and suddenly I could hear the river overwhelming my

facing the sun
thoughts fade ...
river's voice rumbles

note: this is the third draft of the haiku - often a haiku presents itself
to me in perfect form, but other times I have to revise from several to many
times to capture the essence of the
peace & poetry power!
Chris/cricket ... and Chase (who of course shared the hike & many biscuits)


Email from Katherine Gordon:

Thanks for forwarding this Chris.
According to modern physics you and I might glimpse other dimensions.
This valley is filled with FN residue of spirit dynamism.  Once a summer camp for Neutral Indians.
I am attuned to them and feel their approval as we try not to intrude on the natural space and mystery here.
You are strong enough to absorb the shaman/owl encounters and benefit from them.  These experiences are
so richly rewarding,  make any life tribulations vanish.   Almost a spirit walk in this life,  keeps one connected,
as close to the truth of our connectedness to the biosphere as a soul can gain.

Much appreciation and understanding from Katherine.


Email from Marvin Orbach:

Hi Chris,
    Many thanks for the  fascinating description of your spiritual
side.  It seems to me that you are a unique figure in the Canadian
literary landscape. Strangely,  we must thank the Viet Nam War for
sending you back to Canada.
    In the heading of your e-mail, there is mentioned "archive
lists".  However   in the body of the missive, there is nothing about
the lists. Did they finally arrive safely?
    I continue to be amazed by your forest haiku.  They are a major
contribution to Canadian literature.
    Peace & poetry power.
P.S.   Regards (woooofff) to Chase, your loyal canine companion.


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