Sep 13 2019

Dorothy Walters – Still Life

Published by at 9:32 am under Poetry

Still Life
by Dorothy Walters

      The rose that no longer blooms in the garden,
      blooms inside her whole body, among the veins
      and organs and the skeleton.
                  — Linda Gregg

A hidden blossoming.
Petals flaming beneath the skin.
And a softness pressing,
as delicate as the mouth
of a blind lover.


Each movement,
each quiet gesture
awakens
a rosary in the blood.
Was it desire
which brought her to this moment,
this arrival at source,
or was it merely a need
to be still, to be richly fed
from this fountain
of dark silence.

— from Marrow of Flame : Poems of the Spiritual Journey, by Dorothy Walters


/ Image by Arielle Kincaid /

I consider Dorothy Walters to be a friend, as well as a source of inspiration. She is in her 90s and still very active with various spiritual groups, sometimes giving talks, and regularly offering advice to people who contact her online. She and I have a running joke — One of us suggests getting together for brunch and conversation… until we try to pin down a date. Her schedule is always so busy that she ends up saying something like, “How about in two months?”

Since I’m in fairly regular contact with her, I was surprised to randomly find a new interview she recently did for the YouTube channel Buddha at the Gas Pump. I was surprised because she didn’t tell me about it or send me a link, it just popped up unexpectedly in my YouTube queue.

You can watch the YouTube interview here: Dorothy Walters Interview – Buddha at the Gas Pump

A couple weeks ago I noticed that her book of poetry, Marrow of Flame, which the Poetry Chaikhana publishes, had experienced a bump in sales recently and I was curious why. Then I noticed the new interview on YouTube. That’s why. More people are discovering this fascinating, unconventional spiritual elder and are wanting to read her writings.

With Dorothy in my thoughts, it only seems natural to share one of her poems from Marrow of Flame today.

Let’s start with the poem’s title itself, “Still Life.” Normally, that suggests a static painting, something beautiful with life in it, but without movement. Reading this poem, there is so much vitality that it is easy to forget that it is all happening within. The person of the poem — Dorothy Walters herself, you or me as the reader — is actually not doing anything outwardly. All of that life, the blossoming and searing, that is all happening within, and outwardly there is stillness, or perhaps just a slight gesture here and there. Still life, life within, stillness without.

Dorothy Walters speaks very directly about the spiritual and energetic opening often referred to as Kundalini awakening. She regularly talks about the highs and lows of Kundalini, that it can be blissful, rapturous, transformative, but it can also be deeply challenging and disorienting. Not only is it spiritual, with profound affects on the consciousness and one’s sense of self and interconnectedness with all things, it can also be quite physical, bestowing the most delightful sensations down to the cellular level, but also sometimes producing physical difficulties and discomfort. Dorothy’s poetry gives voice to the entire range of the Kundalini experience.

When she takes Linda Gregg’s quote, the inner blossoming becomes a representation of the spiritual energies of the Kundalini, flaming like the fire so associated with the experience, and also delicate and soft, like a lover, since this opening is often likened to ecstatic union with the Divine Beloved.

A hidden blossoming.
Petals flaming beneath the skin.
And a softness pressing,
as delicate as the mouth
of a blind lover.

With her first lines we immediately feel the searing, possibly painful passion, somehow balanced with a sense of profound peace.

And let’s not forget the sense of life, an entire garden within, and that garden is waking up, blossoming.

Each movement,
each quiet gesture
awakens
a rosary in the blood.

I love that phrase, “a rosary in the blood.” When fully swept up in the experience of the awakened Kundalini, when the energy flows without hindrances, there is a profound sense of stillness and interconnection. It is as if there is no sense of a little self to cause disruption within the wide open expanse of being. And in that open stillness, if you then move the body slightly, or if it moves on its own, as sometimes happens in such moments, even if you shift your energies a bit, that profound inner stillness can become a gently flowing bliss that bubbles and anoints every cell of the body. There is a wondrous interplay between stillness and movement, movement emerging from stillness and returning back to stillness, highlighted with ripples of delight.

Was it desire
which brought her to this moment,
this arrival at source

What brings us here? Whether we call it Kundalini or by some other name, what brings us to moments of awakening and communion? Is it because of some inner drive, some effort or practice? Is it because we have found the right pathway or teacher?

Or is it because something in us hungers and can be fed by nothing else? Is the hunger itself the beginning of one’s awakening?

or was it merely a need
to be still, to be richly fed
from this fountain
of dark silence.

Whether we have some big experience that we label Kundalini awakening or simply live our lives day-to-day learning to better embody our true selves with kindness and compassion, that secret fountain feeds us.

In our quiet moments we can feel it, that secret life unfolding, a hidden blossoming.


Recommended Books: Dorothy Walters

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World Marrow of Flame : Poems of the Spiritual Journey Diamond Cutters: Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania The Ley Lines of the Soul: Poems of Ecstasy and Ascension
More Books >>


Dorothy Walters, Dorothy Walters poetry, Secular or Eclectic poetry Dorothy Walters

US (1928 – )
Secular or Eclectic

Dorothy Walters, PHD, spent most of her early professional life as a professor of English literature in various Midwestern universities. She helped to found one of the first women’s studies programs in this country and served as the director of this program for many years. After an extended residence in San Francisco, she now lives and writes in Colorado, where she has a close relationship with the mountains as well as various streams and canyons.

She underwent major Kundalini awakening in 1981 (a phenomenon totally unfamiliar to her as well as to most of her contemporaries at the time); since then she has devoted her life to researching and writing about this subject and to witnessing the unfolding of this process within herself as well as assisting others on a similar path through writing and other means. As someone who made her extensive journey without the direction of any external leader or guru, church, or established order, she is a strong believer in the “guru within,” the inner guide rather than the external authority figure or institution.

She feels that universal Kundalini awakening is the means for planetary and personal evolution of consciousness, and that evidence of planetary initiation is becoming more and more prevalent. Her Kundalini awakening and subsequent process of unfolding are described in her memoir Unmasking the Rose: A Record of Kundalini Initiation.  Her poems taken from her four previous volumes are published as Some Kiss We Want: Poems Selected and New. Her article on “Kundalini and the Mystic Path” was included in Kundalini Rising, an anthology from Sounds True Publications. Her poems, which have been included in many anthologies and journals, have been set to music and sung at the Royal Opera House in London as well as Harvard University, used as texts for sermons and read aloud in churches, included in doctoral projects, been frequently quoted, and have given inspiration to many.

The Poetry Chaikhana publishes her best-known collection of poetry, Marrow of Flame.

She often gives counsel and referral free of charge to those undergoing spontaneous Kundalini awakening and/or spiritual transformation.

Dorothy Walters publishes her blog, Kundalini Splendor, at www.kundalinisplendor.blogspot.com.

Her e-mail address is dorothywalters72@gmail.com.

More poetry by Dorothy Walters

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Dorothy Walters – Still Life”

  1. Mystic Meanderingon 14 Sep 2019 at 2:52 pm

    I am not familiar with Dorothy Walters, but I love the last few lines here: “…or was it merely a need to be still, to be richly fed from the fountain of dark silence.” Yes, Yes, Yes, 🙂 I’ve been sitting in “the dark Silence” the last few days, pulled to the fountain of Silence within, and finding deep rest there… I was/am “richly fed” by the deep Silence of just Being. It certainly helps the “chronic fatigue” – to allow myself to deeply rest and be fed.

  2. Annaon 15 Sep 2019 at 2:01 am

    Hi Ivan

    I love your writing (no disagreement!:), I tease you! 🙂

    “when the energy flows without hindrances, there is a profound sense of stillness and interconnection. It is as if there is no sense of a little self to cause disruption within the wide open expanse of being. And in that open stillness, if you then move the body slightly, or if it moves on its own, as sometimes happens in such moments, even if you shift your energies a bit, that profound inner stillness can become a gently flowing bliss that bubbles and anoints every cell of the body. There is a wondrous interplay between stillness and movement, movement emerging from stillness and returning back to stillness, highlighted with ripples of delight.”

    It is really exactly the same as you have described! Absolutely! I have had the same moments many times…

    Also, for Dorothy’s poetry, it is obvious that she write all her poetry from her direct experiences and for that reason her poems are touching deeply our hearts and sound so authentic and true.

    I love her saying from this poem:

    “A hidden blossoming.
    Petals flaming beneath the skin.”

    I can attest it from my own hidden blossoming under the skin. At first it appeared as a little white light crystal, flaming dots, under the skin of my hands and foots. Later the dots starting to connect with each other in a grid. We really are creating a light crystalline body with this whole transforming process. But there is so much more….not only Kundalini…

    I wanted to mention here some words about our cells.

    Our cells are sentient Beings! I am talking to them, honour them, love them, say them gratitude, they feel and understand everything and always respond in appropriate way. I feel them so deeply…

    Ask yourself how the embryo’s cells KNOW where to go and create a heart, a leg, a hand, a head, eyes, ears,etc. and the whole sophisticated systems of the human body! From where they get this Knowing?

    It may sounds a bit like a Zen koan! 🙂

    Our known reality of linear time slowly and subtle is dissolving and disappear. We all are talking about the Now, to Be Present in the Present, but what this really means. Did you noticed how our known linear time is slowing down and even in many moments just disappears? We live simultaneously in linear and non-linear time, the boundary of our perception of past, present and future is melting.

    I love Zen Master Ikkyu’s saying “Attention means attention”. It makes me smile a bit…and not so.
    It means for me to take great responsibility for our thoughts, emotions, actions, behaviour and all life, but first of all about our thoughts. In non-linear time, the thought manifests instantly and creates reality in an instant. It precedes the linear, known perception. I for sure know this from my own direct experience and observation. If I think “I am sad’, I give an intent to Universe to return back to me a perception of sadness…

    We live already in completely different reality and day after day, the pressure is accelerating and it will be more and more and if we want to survive, we must to tune to higher vibration frequencies of the new realities . It is not already about spirituality, but about survival!

    Nothing to fear, we are strong, more then we think and we can do it…with the support of Love and the fountain of the ‘dark stillness’ …

    Trust to it and have a lot of rest in this “profound sense of stillness and interconnection”.

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