“The Faces at Braga” by David Whyte


13 Monday Oct 2014 (wordverseuniverse.wordpress.com)

The Faces at Braga

In monastery darkness
by the light of one flashlight,
the old shrine room waits in silence.

While beside the door
we see the terrible figure,
fierce eyes demanding, “Will you step through?”

And the old monk leads us,
bent back nudging blackness
prayer beads in the hand that beckons.

We light the butter lamps
and bow, eyes blinking in the
pungent smoke, look up without a word,

see faces in meditation,
a hundred faces carved above,
eye lines wrinkled in the handheld light.

Such love in solid wood—
taken from the hillsides and carved in silence,
they have the vibrant stillness of those who made them.

Engulfed by the past
they have been neglected, but through
smoke and darkness they are like the flowers

we have seen growing
through the dust of eroded slopes,
their slowly opening faces turned toward the mountain.

Carved in devotion
their eyes have softened through age
and their mouths curve through delight of the carver’s hand.

If only our own faces
would allow the invisible carver’s hand
to bring the deep grain of love to the surface.

If only we knew
as the carver knew, how the flaws
in the wood led his searching chisel to the very core,

we would smile too
and not need faces immobilized
by fear and the weight of things undone.

When we fight with our failing
we ignore the entrance to the shrine itself
and wrestle with the guardian, fierce figure on the side of good.

And as we fight
our eyes are hooded with grief
and our mouths are dry with pain.

If only we could give ourselves
to the blows of the carver’s hands,
the lines in our faces would be the trace lines of rivers

feeding the sea
where voices meet, praising the features
of the mountain and the cloud and the sky.

Our faces would fall away
until we, growing younger toward death
everyday, would gather all our flaws in celebration

to merge with them perfectly,
impossibly, wedded to our essence,
full of silence from the carver’s hands.


David Whyte, currently living in the US (he is of English and Irish background), is a poet and writer-philosopher engaging the various issues his diverse life experiences have opened up to him. (A concise biography can be accessed at davidwhyte dot com.)

“The Faces at Braga” originally appeared in the poet’s collection, Where Many Rivers Meet. I have encountered it in his recent (2009) book, The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship, where it appears as the Poetic Conclusion: Or What Really Happened in the Mountain Temple in the chapter titled, “Alone in the Struggle: Turning to Face the World”.

The death of the universe — and what it means for life


The universe started with a bang — but how will it end? With astonishing visuals, cosmologist and TED Fellow Katie Mack takes us to the theoretical end of everything, some trillions of years in the future, in a profound meditation on existence, wonder and the legacy of humanity within the immensity of time and space.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.


Katie Mack · CosmologistKatie Mack unravels the connections between the smallest particles, the largest interstellar objects and the various ways the universe might end.

Stone (Thobar Phádraig)

Written and read by David Whyte

The face in the stone is a mirror looking into you.
You have gazed into the moving waters,
you have seen the slow light, in the sky
above Lough Inagh, beneath you, streams have flowed,
and rivers of earth have moved beneath your feet,
but you have never looked into the immovability
of stone like this, the way it holds you, gives you
not a way forward but a doorway in, staunches
your need to leave, becomes faithful by going nowhere,
something that wants you to stay here and look back,
be weathered by what comes to you, like the way you too
have travelled from so far away to be here, once reluctant
and now as solid and as here and as willing
to be touched as everything you have found.


Recently, the COVID lockdown began to be lifted.
Now, we’re pleased to report that many businesses are coming back:

The race track is running again.
The diving school’s success is making a big splash.
The portable toilet service is ready to go.
The trash collector says business is picking up.
The sausage maker has gotten through the wurst.
The cookie company is rolling in dough.
The bakery says bread orders are rising.
The dentist’s office is open wide.
The joint is jumping at the knee replacement therapy clinic.
Wheelchair production is ramping up.
The pot dispensary is reporting high demand.
The allergist’s increased business is nothing to sneeze at.
The motorcycle dealer is getting it in gear.
The wheels are turning again at the bicycle shop.
Stargazing tours at the observatory are looking up.
The tobacconist is finally up to snuff.
Radiator sales are heating up.
The poker lounge is finally seeing bettor days.
The insect exterminator reports an uptick in calls.
At the diner, flapjacks are selling like hotcakes.
Things are perking along at the coffee bar.
The furniture re-upholsterer is recovering nicely.
The lamp company’s future is looking brighter.
The florist’s business is coming up roses.
Sales of playground equipment are on the upswing.
The lawn-and-garden service is raking in the profits.
The garlic grower reports that product turnover is strong.
Things are really hopping at the rabbit farm.
The janitorial service is cleaning up.
The hair stylist is ready to roll.
It’s thumbs-up at the nail salon.
The beekeeping business is buzzing.
Sales at the candy shop are sweeter than ever.
The hobby shop reports that drone sales are going up.
Trampoline sales have bounced back.
Business at the target range is going great guns.
At the lion safari park, attendance has roared back.
Applications for glider pilot lessons are soaring.
The music store notes that things are humming along.
Volleyball sales have spiked.
New mattress orders are springing up everywhere.
Real estate sales are gaining ground.
The space exploration company’s shares are skyrocketing.
Things are “all right” again at Republican Party headquarters.
Business at the beer bar is chugging along.
The pool table company is racking up orders.
Reservations at the strip club are taking off.
The water pump company is doing well.
And the explosives expert reports that business is booming!

(Courtesy of Janet Cornwell, H.W., m., and her brother)

David Whyte – The Bell and the Blackbird

Vanessa Able (thedewdrop.org)

“Either way
takes courage,
either way wants you
to be nothing
but that self that
is no self at all,”

– David Whyte

Meditators at a temple might sometimes be aided by the sound of a bell ringing at intervals throughout the meditation session. The bell, which is often cast to be bigger than a person, can be housed in its own structure and is rung in the spirit of awakening, to reverberate all around the temple grounds as a gentle call to awakening. By the same token, David Whyte’s poem proposes the sound of the blackbird, the sound of nature or of something quite ordinary, as an alternative, another path to the monastic life. He is reassuring the reader of their radiance, of their courage, and that their deepest spiritual path doesn’t necessarily lead through an institution – that the approach is really ‘the meeting itself, without any meeting at all.’

The Bell and the Blackbird

The sound of a bell
Still reverberating,
or a blackbird calling
from a corner of the field,
asking you to wake
into this life,
or inviting you deeper
into the one that waits.

Either way
takes courage,
either way wants you
to be nothing
but that self that
is no self at all,
wants you to walk
to the place
where you find
you already know
how to give
every last thing

The approach
that is also
the meeting
without any
at all.

That radiance
you have always
carried with you
as you walk
both alone
and completely
in friendship
by every corner
of the world

David Whyte
From: The Bell and the Blackbird

The Teacher Called Suffering | Eckhart Tolle Teachings

Eckhart Tolle Excerpted from Eckhart’s retreat in Norway in the fall of 2015. An exploration of the uniquely human phenomenon of self-relating and the suffering that egoic patterns can create. Subscribe to find greater fulfillment in life: http://bit.ly/EckhartYT Want to watch and hear more of Eckhart’s Teachings? Become a member today and join our growing YouTube community! http://bit.ly/ETmembership Interested in diving deeper into Eckhart Tolle’s work? Enjoy a FREE 10-DAY TRIAL to Eckhart Tolle Now: http://bit.ly/ET10Day

Numbers 5:11-31

New International Version

The Test for an Unfaithful Wife

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure— 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah[a] of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[b] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”

23 “‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering will enter her. 25 The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the Lord and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial[c] offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. 27 If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. 28 If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

29 “‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and makes herself impure while married to her husband, 30 or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the Lord and is to apply this entire law to her. 31 The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.’”Read full chapter


  1. Numbers 5:15 That is, probably about 3 1/2 pounds or about 1.6 kilograms
  2. Numbers 5:21 That is, may he cause your name to be used in cursing (see Jer. 29:22); or, may others see that you are cursed; similarly in verse 27.
  3. Numbers 5:26 Or representative


The Astrology Of June – Eclipse Season and Mercury Retrograde

by Astro Butterfly (astrobutterfly.com)

If you are feeling a bit bored, or not challenged enough, then June 2021 is a month to look forward to. Your life will start to get a bit eventful, to say the least.

Of course, if you are not bored and have quite a lot going on already, June may push you to your limits. With the Eclipse Season in Full swing, a 2nd Saturn-Uranus square, and Mercury retrograde for almost the entire month, June will definitely be a month to remember!

But let’s take a look at the most important transits of the month:

June 2nd, 2021 – Venus Enters Cancer

On June 2nd, 2021 Venus leaves Gemini and moves into Cancer, applying a trine to Jupiter in Pisces. What a lovely welcome! Venus feels cozy and homely in Cancer, and after a relatively agitated Gemini season, this is a nice change of vibe.

June 10th, 2021 – Solar Eclipse In Gemini

After a relatively cozy start to the month, the weather changes as we get to the “event of the month”. On June 10th, 2021 we will have a New Moon and Annular Solar Eclipse at 19° Gemini.

The Eclipse is exactly conjunct Mercury retrograde, and is square Neptune in Pisces, so this is a confusing one! Confusion doesn’t necessarily mean “bad”, but when Mercury is retrograde AND square Neptune, things may not be exactly as they seem, to put it mildly.

This Solar Eclipse in Gemini is an Annular Eclipse. Annular Eclipses are “special” Total Eclipses.

The disk of the Moon totally covers the Sun just like in a Total Eclipse, but because the Moon is a bit farther away from the Earth than usual, there is a ring of Sun around the edge of the Moon, which looks like a halo.

halo has a deep spiritual meaning, symbolizing resurrection, or the idea that what is holy and divine (the light) cannot be overcome by darkness.

June 10th, 2021 – Mercury Retrograde Conjunct Sun

On June 10th, the Sun is conjunct Mercury retrograde at 20° Gemini. Whenever we have a Sun-Mercury retrograde conjunction, a new 116-day Mercury cycle begins!

This doesn’t mean that Mercury retrograde is over, but the Mercury-Sun conjunction gives us a sense of hope and new beginnings.

Right now, we are in that “in-between phase” where we are still on the sky path of the previous Mercury cycle – meaning we are still connected to the knowledge of the past, yet have received a new creative impulse from the Sun.

June 11th, 2021 – Mars Enters Leo

On June 11th, 2021 Mars leaves Cancer and moves into Leo. Somehow, we always notice when a planet moves into Leo, because that’s what Leo energy is all about… getting noticed and making a statement.

And that’s not because Leo is attention-seeking energy… but because we cannot NOT notice a planet in the sign of the Sun.

There is this light, radiance and warmth that emanates from any planet that travels through the “Leo territory” of the sky.

And when Mars, the boldest of the boldest, enters Leo, the temperature will rise pretty much straight away.

In our everyday life, Mars in Leo will bring direction and focus into our lives. We will find it easier to connect to our heart, and act from that place of truth and authenticity. As a result, we will feel more in tune with life, and confident about our actions.

June 14th, 2021 – Saturn Square Uranus

Mid-June we have the 2nd (in a series of 3) Saturn-Uranus square. Saturn is at 13° Aquarius, and Uranus at 13° Taurus.

Saturn and Uranus have been in a tight orb pretty much all year, so it’s not that this square will take us completely by surprise… we somehow already got used to its tension and friction. But as with any aspect that becomes exact, we will witness an energy peak.

The good thing about any energetic culmination, is that there is no further escalation. The tension bursts, forcing us to deal with whatever it is that requires our attention. This is a time to deal with what’s no longer working, and FIX it, once and for all.

June 20th, 2021 – Jupiter Goes Retrograde

On June 20th, 2021 Jupiter stations retrograde at 2° Pisces. When Jupiter changes direction, our belief system is up for a review. Most of our beliefs are borrowed from other people.

When Jupiter goes retrograde, it’s time to look at these borrowed beliefs and ask ourselves whether they really define us. We know we are at odds with our beliefs, when we have a feeling of alienation, and lose our faith.

Our natural state is to have faith in life. When we lose this faith, we know that something is off, we know that there is something about our beliefs that needs to be addressed and reviewed. Jupiter retrograde is an excellent opportunity to ‘get real’ and scrutinize our belief system.

June 21st, 2021 – Sun Enters Cancer

Happy birthday to all Cancers out there! On June 21st, 2021 the Sun enters Cancer and we have the Northern Solstice, which brings us Summer in the Northern Hemisphere and Winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

This – as any Sun’s ingress in a Cardinal sign – is a very important turning point. And I mean it literally, because the Sun literally changes direction when it is at 0° Cancer.

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun starts moving South, and if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, the Sun starts moving North.

The Cancer solstice is also a point of culmination. We either have the longest day, or the longest night of the year. This is when we reach a crossroad: do we continue on the same path, or do we choose to start a new course!

June 22nd, 2021 – Mercury Goes Direct

On June 22nd, 2021 Mercury goes direct at 16° Gemini, bringing back our focus, mental clarity, and sense of direction.

The good thing about this Mercury Retrograde is that it occurs in Gemini, the sign of its domicile. When Mercury is in domicile, even the retrograde is not as tough as it is in other signs of the zodiac.

Yes, we had to review what was no longer working, yes we had to fix what was broken, but it’s not that we had that many hurdles on the way.

And now that Mercury goes direct, it’s not only that a weight will suddenly be lifted from our shoulders, but we will also have that feeling of accomplishment and forward momentum: yes, it was a bit tough, but it was worth it!

June 24th, 2021 – Full Moon In Capricorn

On June 24th, we have a Full Moon at 3° Capricorn. The Full Moon makes a sweet sextile to Jupiter, and it is 23° away from Pluto (Pluto is now at 26° Capricorn).

Most Full Moons in the past 10 years or so had a Pluto favor. This Full Moon will have such a different vibe, that we will wonder if this is really a Full Moon in Capricorn… or we’re still in the Gemini/Sagittarius lunar season.

Yes, the Full Moon is in Capricorn, it’s just that it is more flamboyant and optimistic than usual. This is one of the most positive and constructive Full Moons of the year, so make sure you take advantage of it!

June 25th, 2021 – Neptune Goes Retrograde

On June 25th, Neptune goes retrograde at 23° Pisces. When a planet changes direction, we notice an intensification of themes connected to that planet. When Neptune goes retrograde, old memories, dreams, fantasies or longings resurface, asking us to deal with them.

Of course, the way Neptune deals with things is not very straightforward, but it doesn’t mean that Neptune doesn’t work in the background. In fact, working in the background is pretty ‘Neptune’.

Let’s say something happens to us but we can’t really process it. This unprocessed thought or feeling eventually shows up in a dream.

We get stuck in a problem and we can’t seem to find a solution, but then suddenly, when we take a shower or go for a walk, the solution comes to us. Dreams, serendipities, unexpected encounters… these are all the workings of Neptune.

Neptune may not be straightforward, but it DOES offer solutions. Pay attention to signs, dreams, unusual communication messages. If something feels relevant and important – even if you can’t put your finger on it –  chances are, it IS important and Neptune is whispering into your ear.

June 27th, 2021 – Venus Enters Leo

On June 27th, Venus enters royal Leo, and starts applying a conjunction to Mars. Next month, we will have a beautiful Venus-Mars conjunction in the sign of Leo.

This is the most joyful, romantic, and creative aspect we can have, and perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of the year! But more about Venus conjunct Mars in the July forecast!

Age of Aquarius Is Now Open For Enrollment

Towards the end of the month, we open the doors to the Age Of Aquarius Community.

Each month, we have a “topic of the month”. In May, we talked in depth about Out Of Bounds Planets (since we had a record of 4 out of bounds planets in May). Our members loved the training, the Zoom call, and the community discussions!

In June, the topic of the month is called “Words and Symbols”, since we are in the Gemini season… and Mercury is retrograde all month.

These are just some of the new materials we will release in June:

  • Monthly forecasts (including customized forecast for your ascendant sign)
  • New Moon and Solar Eclipse Ceremony
  • Training of Mercury Retrograde
  • An Exercise on how to reframe your mental models and get rid of outdated thinking patterns
  • A Guest Webinar about Sabian Symbols
  • A member Zoom call/workshop called “The Qualities of Life” where we will play with symbols and the 4 elements.

When you join, you will also get access to all previous content (and that’s a lot of amazing content!). And if the community is not right for you, you can cancel at any time, no questions asked.

And if you join with the yearly membership, you get a complimentary 30-minute reading with Tori, one of our Age Of Aquarius in-house astrologers.

You can join us here:

Join the Age Of Aquarius