Ruminations from the Arizona Room is a series by Dr. Elizabeth Oakes, a former Shakespeare professor, a spiritual writer, and an award winning poet. A Sedonian of four years, she will share the thoughts that arise as she sits in the literal Arizona room in her home as well as the metaphorical “Arizona room” that is Sedona.
By Elizabeth Oakes
(January 30, 2017)
Angels – they branched out from traditional religion and mainstreamed (or, one might say, free-ranged) several decades ago. They’d been around in some form for millennia, but suddenly fame came calling, with books, tv shows, workshops, conferences. They were like the actor who is heralded an overnight success after doing bit parts and waiting tables for years.
Experts on them say they can come to us only if invited. However, the author D.H. Lawrence didn’t think so. In “Song of a Man Who Has Come Through,” he depicted three just showing up:
“What is the knocking? What is the knocking at the door in the night? It is somebody wants to do us harm.
No, no, it is the three strange angels. Admit them, admit them.”
Ruminating in my Arizona room, I wondered who my three strange angels were, and this is what came to me.
They are named Grit, Dust, and Guts, not pretty names, but homely names, names of the body, of a dirty house, of storms, of chaos, disorder, things awry, of mortality and materiality.
Grit – I am grateful for Grit. It isn’t girly, but it is womanly. Grit is what women have always had, having children, doing men’s work, crossing the ocean, crossing the prairie, crossing over, and helping others cross over.
Dust is another – the dust I came from and to which I will return. It’s a reminder of the mortal body, and that all of life is not pretty, not clean, can be a nuisance. It’s a reminder that we are made of what may enter under the doorway or blow in our eyes in the wind.
Guts is the third. I call it Guts, but it’s really the tan tien, the energy center. It’s a gyroscope that keeps me serene even when parts of my world are flying off into corners and hitting things that break. Its fancy name is intuition. It’s what made me take chances, this place, the chances that have been the best things of my life.
My strange angels don’t fit any standard definition or resemble any depiction; they’re not like the majestic Archangel Michael or the pink, fluffy ones with glitter.
They can’t be found in the classic treatise of angels by the venerable St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Just above humankind were, in ascending order, he said, Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim.
No, my three strange ones are rogue. They’re even kind of like the bad cop to the good cop of the others.
Grit, Dust, and Guts just came knocking. I didn’t call them. I’m not sure I even invited them in, but they found a way, and I’m glad they did.
Note: About “All Round Everywhere,” Joyce says, “On this painting I let spirit do it all. I approached the canvas with no image in mind and let the colors go where they would. They went Round and Round and found the Light and the helpers which are with me Everywhere.” Joyce and her husband Gerald, a writer, are former Sedona residents who now live in Ojai, CA. More of her visionary art can be seen at www.joycehuntingtonart.com