Marrow of Flame, Poems of the Spiritual Journey, Dorothy Walters, Andrew Harvey Marrow of Flame
Poems of the Spiritual Journey

by Dorothy Walters
Introduction by Andrew Harvey


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This beloved collection of poetry by Dorothy Walters explores the spiritual journey through its ecstasies, struggles, and vistas. Each step is observed with the keen insight and clear voice of a modern woman who is both a skilled poet and genuine mystic.

Dorothy Walters’s poems are immediate and inviting, transcendent and often playful. Many of these poems are in dialog, with Rumi and Rilke, Denise Levertov and Lalla, each poem contributing its own wisdom and humor to the ongoing conversation that passes between visionaries and sages through history and across cultures.

Marrow of Flame has already become a modern classic among spiritual seekers. Now available in this updated and revised edition, with a new introduction by Andrew Harvey.

Read More: Table of Contents + Introduction + Poetry + About the Author

This re-issue of Dorothy Walters's mystical masterpiece Marrow of Flame is a great literary and spiritual event. I don’t know of any other poet currently writing in English who expresses so simply and nobly and with such authority the ordeals, ecstasies and revelations of the path...”
     ~ ANDREW HARVEY, from the Introduction

Introduction to the First Edition by Andrew Harvey
Introduction to the Second Edition by Andrew Harvey

Drowning in god

1. Tracery of Light: Brushed by this Lion's Mane
Smoke Clad
The Runaway
Going Over
Don’t Make Lists
At the Very Moment
In the Tent
More from the Tao
The Task
The Entry
Order of Melchizedek
A Golden Haze or Halo

2. Night Echoes: An Unlit Lamp
The Only Rule
The Picture
An Unlit Lamp
The Men Who Denied the Goddess
The Birthmark
From the Language of Stones
   l. The Stone Who Fell from the Sky
   2. The Stone Who Knew Everything
First, You Have It
He Sees
In this Middle Realm
What the Prophets Said
What is Happening
Meditation in Midwinter
The Dying Round the Holy

3. A Stirring of Wings: The Many Doors
The Woman Who Lived in a Cave
The Hermit Monk
Bodhidharma Returning
The Lovers
Familiar Story
Merope’s Prayer to Isis
The Woman Who Loved the Goddess
The Sibyl
The Witch
The Woman Who Fed God
The Taskmaster
The Granary
The End of Komachi
The Old Woman’s Night Song
After Death, Like Flows to Like
Her Body Revealed at Last
   l. Ice Plants
   2. Rainbows
   3. Before the Pleated Wings of Summer
4. Scars of Rapture: A Hidden Sun
The Seraphim in Winter
Scars of Rapture
The Moment
Their Weighted Muses
A Sense of Infinite Passage
A Single Tree
The Yogi Inside
Teresa’s Enigma
Locating the Invisible
Something Else
Whoever Went In
The Abundance of Brightness
   l. Dante Mounting to the Rose of Heaven
   2. At Eleusis
   3. A Celebration
   4. The Clinging
On this Grace
When We Stumble and Find It

5. Marrow of Flame: The Unknown Angel
The Creation
The Unknown Angel
   l. On the Invisible One Who Comes
   2. Confronting the Angel
   3. The Other
   4. The Unknown Angel
The God Mother
   l. The Nurturer
   2. Our Lady of the Plants and Animals
   3. Kali, Goddess of Death
The Women Who Loved the God
The Woman Who Slept with Shiva
God’s Mistress
The Secret
The Gopi Turns Solemn
Still Life
A Hollow Throat
A Thousand Ways
More Songs from Lalla
   l. The Prankster
   2. The Follower
Don’t Turn Away
Almost Against My Will
The Token
The God’s Abode
The Gods Unchosen Neither Sulk Nor Grieve
In the Forest
In Childhood, We Dream It into Being
The Difficulty of Return
Love Flings Us Forward
Oh, Yes

Author's Note
About the Author

What if there were a modern Rumi or Kabir, Dante Alighieri or John Donne writing of mystical longing, ecstasies and despair? What if she were a woman? What if she were Dorothy Walters weaving her passionate songs into a priceless prayer shawl? Beware: Who holds up this scarf is swept in the arms of the Lover on the path from which no one returns the same.”
     ~ SOPHY BURNHAM, author, The Ecstatic Journey: Walking the Mystical Path in Everyday Life

Marrow of Flame, Poems of the Spiritual Journey, Dorothy Walters, Andrew Harvey Marrow of Flame
Poems of the Spiritual Journey

by Dorothy Walters

Introduction by Andrew Harvey


Amazon and Barnes & Noble Marrow of Flame US Marrow of Flame UK Marrow of Flame CAN 
or ask at your local independent book store

Introduction by Andrew Harvey (excerpt)

     Six years ago now I gave classes on Rumi at the California Institute of Integral Studies. After one of them, during my office hours, a gentle and shy woman with short cropped gray hair in her early sixties came in to talk to me. Before she even began to speak, I was startled by the kind clarity of her presence, the unmistakable aura of canny and tried goodness that clothed her. We spoke of many things that afternoon—about Rumi and his extraordinary relationship with Shams, about the nature of mystical ecstasy, about the kind of rigor and capacity for ordeal demanded by the authentic path of transformation; it became clear to me very quickly that I had a great deal to learn from the woman sitting before me, and that she spoke not from curiosity, or even literary or spiritual passion, but from the most profound, intricate and seasoned inner experience. What struck me most that afternoon about Dorothy Walters was her humility; unlike many of my Californian students and friends, she did not claim enlightenment or flaunt her "mystical" insights. Part of her, I felt, was always kneeling in silence before the vastness of the mystery that had clearly claimed her for its own: she spoke of the Divine haltingly, and with a refined and poignant tenderness, like a lover of her Beloved. And she had a wild Irish laugh, too, which reassured me.

     In the years since, we have become the greatest and deepest of friends and I have come to think of Dorothy as a spiritual mother and as one of the few true mystics I have met in my life. Her beauty of soul has illumined my life; her courage has inspired me always to travel deeper into my own vision; I have been able to speak to her, as a fellow seeker and lover of God, with complete candor about the demands of the Path. When I left Meera in circumstances that caused great scandal and controversy, Dorothy wrote me a letter which I shall always cherish and re-read often in which she begged me to "remain true to myself whatever happens and never to give in to any of the terrible pressures my actions and insights will inevitably arouse." It was the perfect advice, perfectly expressed, at exactly the right time; this kind of precision characterizes Dorothy's spirit. The only other being who in my experience combined such deep kindness with such wisdom was Iris Murdoch; one of the great sadnesses of my life is that Iris died before they could meet. When I think of them together I think of the commentary the I Ching gives on the sixth line of the hexagram Ting, "the Cauldron." "The Ting has rings of jade." "Jade is notable for its combination of hardness with soft luster... here the counsel is described in relation to the sage who imparts it. In imparting it, he will be mild and pure, like precious jade."

     It was only after the first two years of our friendship that Dorothy began, diffidently and self-deprecatingly, to show me the poems she was writing. I was immediately struck by them; they were exquisitely made, subtle, passionate and profound, unlike anything else I knew that was being written in our time. Whenever we met, Dorothy would bring some fresh works to our meeting. Slowly, as we read them together and discussed them, Dorothy came to reveal more to me of her remarkable inner journey; a journey that has led her through much ordeal and heartbreak and loneliness, from a cramped sometimes difficult childhood, through a long, testing stint as a teacher of literature and women's studies in a mid-western university, to the festive and fertile spiritual and personal life she enjoys now in her very active “retirement” in San Francisco, surrounded by books and music and friends...



      Beyond this flame-desert, other, even wilder deserts.
         ~ Rumi

Here, where we have traced
sand circles by day,
danced ourselves to lostness
beneath the night’s pale eye,
till we fall in a love trance
on the seething, swimming floor,
you say -- other deserts,
more flaming, more wild?

So, then, when we can no longer stand,
we can always make our way
on hands and gold-laced knees,
we can always find a way
to swim through tossing sand.


The Divine Lover, says Hafiz,
will smash your windows out
to throw in holy gifts.

Did you realize
that the windows would be
all the openings into your own body,
each pore,
that your very soul
would crumble,
that you would lie awake nights
listening to your bones cry out
like hungry ghosts grieving
their lost worlds?

The Sibyl

Everything on this journey
is destined, though unplanned.

What you call my madness
is the food of my life.

The silvered mesh
between the worlds
doesn’t really exist for me.

I never go over.

I am there already.

It is easy, like parting a sheen of water,
an animal floating in arcs of color.

How familiar they are,
these inner musics,
these currents of desire.

It is the other part that is difficult.

The coming back.

The not being able to tell.

The Moment

"We Must Die Because We Have Known Them"
(Title of a poem by Rilke, taken from the
sayings of Ptah-hotep, ms. from 2,000 BCE)

And not once,
but many times over,
again and again,
how we disappeared
into that deep well
of darkness, shuddering beneath that load of silence,
clinging to our narrow ledge.

Yet the darkness, sometimes,
unfolded as light.
Our atoms dissolved in it,
each separate molecule opening
into a radiant disk of feeling.

How still we became,
witness and thing seen,
spectacle and observer,
each point admitting an untrammeled flood.

Whoever Went In

Whoever went in
naked to the core.

Whoever cast aside
all the armor,
all the fastenings.

Who could breathe air thin as flame.

Drink water pressed from blossoms,
rose petals
or violets.

Whoever stayed in that
darkness so dark
it became a circle of seeing.

Who could hear
the silent flute note
of the stilled wind,
hold rock turning to light.

Ivan M. Granger About the Author

Dorothy Walters, formerly a university professor, experienced spontaneous Kundalini awakening in 1981. Since that time she has devoted herself to writing sacred poetry and helping others on the path. She now lives in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where she observes the peaks daily as they go through their many moods.

Read More About Dorothy Walters

These poems make me gasp. I thought all the great mystics had been gone for centuries… Dorothy Walters--part buddha, part elf--weaves mythic literacy with subversive compassion.”
     ~ MIRABAI STARR, author of Saint Teresa of Avila and God of Love

Marrow of Flame, Poems of the Spiritual Journey, Dorothy Walters, Andrew Harvey Marrow of Flame
Poems of the Spiritual Journey

by Dorothy Walters

Introduction by Andrew Harvey


Amazon and Barnes & Noble Marrow of Flame US Marrow of Flame UK Marrow of Flame CAN 
or ask at your local independent book store

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