Joseph Anderson


“Tesserae” are the pieces of a mosaic: little chips of stone and glass that may wildly divergent in their individual character, yet form a glittering and glorious pattern when viewed as a whole.

It is the soul’s work to assemble and honor all the diverse fragments of our lives. We can see them not as chaos but as pattern. The Soul Cartography process that I have been working with these past few weeks – and am planning to repeat in a somewhat altered form in the late summer or fall – has brought my attention once again to the patterns in my life. There’s a lot going on, lots of tile pieces in my work area. There are times (much less so than in the past) when I wish I could just adopt a pre-existing picture – a religion, a philosophy, a trie – that would limit and simplify what I put my hand to. But that is not my path. Oh no indeed.

  • Victoria and I are preparing for a trip to Japan next month, and I am studying both language and culture as well as a lot of logistical details.
  • I am exploring simultaneously, to a greater or lesser degree of intent:
    • The Arabian Nights
    • A volume of poetry by Arthur Rimbaud
    • The wonderful reflection on poetry, Nine Gates by Jane Hirschfield
    • The Celtic Twilight by W.B. Yeats, part of my endless fascination with this amazing figure
    • Pagan, a wonderful collection of translations of the classical Greek Anthology
    • Red Pine’s translations of the Chinese poet Stone Mountain
    • Ezra Pound’s long poem “Hugh Selwyn Mauberly” (I’m copying the whole thing out by hand – I think the Bible student in me lives on!)
  • Music-making is coming back to me in a big way. I am reviewing the songs and chants I have written over the last couple of years and finding some good nuggets that feel like they may be worth sharing in some way. Letting that comes slowly and naturally: there is nothing I am more neurotic about than public music-making. I sense that some deep healing is coming that will free me to pursue this in a healthy way.
  • This weekend I’m undertaking a shamanic initiation with my teacher, Julie Charette-Nunn. This ritual is a culmination of about two-and-a-half years of work together. I am excited, and nervous, and wondering what that will be like and what will come next. One never knows!
  • And then there are all the pieces that are with me every day: life with Victoria, life at work, the daily routines that keep my Cancerian self happy and grounded.

I have an idea that all of the above, and the so-much-more that has been with me before and will be with me again, do form a coherent picture. I am learning to trust that a radiant meaning is right there in front of me, not visible to me in the details but manifesting as the whole. It is the courage and persistence and determination and faith and love of the artist’s path (which is identical to the path for all of us who take responsibility for creating our lives consciously) that will reveal, that will reveal the meaning of this mosaic.