The sacred vote: elections '08

by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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This is the prayer I prayed before I filled out the secret paper ballot whilst sitting in my pickup truck in a rain storm this week: Please help me vote for the souls who can do the most to help those who suffer most ...

There is sometimes a cynical thought going round like a flu, that one’s vote doesn’t count; a single vote is only one tiny dot on a vast polka-dot field. Sure, tell that to Klee and Pollock, that one dot on the larger whole is unimportant.

To the artist, as to the scientist, as to the healer ... they witness that a glory of colored music, a vapor turning to good use, a healing that holds ... .can rise and fall on the often slightest addition of one element just so ... ‘the one small thing’ has the power to tear down, raise, move, pull together ... mountains; psychic ones, cultural ones, and otherwise.

In all of nature, the action and movement of even the smallest, influences the largest. And a vote is a holy choice to act in any one or all of these ways as well:

votum, vovere, to vow or promise

voto, veto, to prevent, prohibit

vox vocis: to cry, to call out

And for this last, vox vocis ‘the crying out,’ the power of the one vote ...

Listen ... and tend to your ballot. There is an ancient heart inside you which knows the way ...

The Wonder Owls, Los Tecolotes Milagrosos

Across the road, a man stood on his flat roof

at 9 pm every night,

hooting a good sounding hoot at the owl

in the dark cottonwoods,

and he was so thrilled

that the owl hooted back at him.

Hoo hoo, said one,

Hoo hoo, called the other ...

and night after night this went on ...

Hoo hoo said one.

Hoo hoo, said the other,

and the man was so happy ...

until another neighbor man mentioned how

at exactly 9pm after dusk

he would hear a hoot owl cry,

and he would cry back,

Hoo hoo

to each Hoo hoo he heard.

And how wondrous it was, he said,

that he and the owl spoke to each other

every night.

It soon became clear

that the men had been hoo hooing

not with an owl,

but at each other,

each convinced it was the real McCoy.

And they laughed and changed the subject

To, How ‘bout ‘dem White Sox,

and that was that.

But, meanwhile, before, during and after,

the real owls of the woods,

talked amongst themselves

about the humans hoo hooing to each other ...

The owls nodded, Not bad, not bad,

their accents are thick

but their phonetics are pretty good.

And the Queen of the Owls heard the story

of the two humans hoo hooing each other

thinking they were speaking to a real owl,

and she saved up the tale

to tell to the God of the Humans

and they both had a big gentle chuckle over

both the humans and the owls ...

speaking long into the night with

great tenderness, remembering

the thundering days in which humans

and creatures were first created,

about how glad they were

that humans longed to speak

to animals,

and how glad they were for animals

who heard the humans trying,

and approved.

The sad part; the two men

were terribly embarrassed over not knowing

the owl they were calling to

was another human being ...

and they never stood on their porches or roofs again

crying out Hoo hoo, for they did not know or

had forgotten that inside every man

is a great raptor,

one who can see in the dark,

one who can lift its tip-feathers

and fly through forests

without making a sound.

But the embarrassed men had little sons and daughters

and the owls at night still practice their hoo hooings

as close to the children’s windows as possible ...

for in the Church of the Owls

in their scripture scratched on bark

it says that giants walk the earth

and that the entire kingdom of birds

has been given dominion over the poor giants,

to care for them, to lead them, guide them,

to watch over them while on Earth ...

to teach them, again and again, that inside

each soul is a great raptor

who can not only acutely see and hear during dark times

... but also by merely landing,

with what seems so mere a weight

of twenty pound of feathers, thereby

can cause the limbs of thousand-year-old pines

to bend all the way to the ground.

The prayer for this time, and with love:

Go do likewise

“The Sacred Vote, Elections 08,” © 2008, C.P. Estés, All rights reserved. “The Wonder Owls, Los Tecolotes Milagrosos”, ©1999, 2008 C.P. Estés. All rights reserved. Permissions:

If you wish to read more about how Dr. E voted: Barr, McCain, Obama, I Voted Today. In The Fedora Tradition…

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