Sending a Prayer on Birdwings to James Hillman

For you, James, via one of my favorites, Rumi. I know you would love the images here, and send them your way for love, hope, joy, and healing...


Your grief for what youve lost holds a mirror 
up to where youve bravely working. 

Expecting the worst, you look and instead, 
heres the joyful face youve been wanting to see. 

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. 
If it were always a fist or always stretched open, 
you would be paralyzed. 

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expand 
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated 
as birdwings. 

Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)

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  • I'm just now joining this site and was so saddened to hear about James Hillman's illness. Though I read his work with a religious fervor, I haven't really been connected to any community from which I would hear about him. I feel so much less lonely knowing he is in the world. Though I imagine both men to be very different, the first poet that came to mind was Charles Bukowski and this poem. He wrote it very near to his death, and I imagine when I read it, that he felt he had indeed rode life straight to perfect laughter. Much as I think of Hillman calling forward his own soul to lead where it may.

    roll the dice

    if you're going to try, go all the
    otherwise, don't even start.

    if you're going to try, go all the
    this could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and
    maybe your mind.

    go all the way.
    if could mean not eating for 3 or
    4 days.
    it could mean freezing on a
    park bench.
    it could mean jail,
    it could mean derision,
    isolation is the gift,
    all the others are a test of your
    endurance, of
    how much you really want to
    do it.
    and you'll do it
    despite rejection and the
    worst odds
    and it will be better than
    anything else
    you can imagine.

    if you're going to try,
    go all the way.
    there is no other feeling like
    you will be alone with the
    and the nights will flame with

    do it, do it, do it.
    do it.

    all the way.
    all the way.

    you will ride life straight to
    perfect laughter, it's
    the only good fight
    there is. - days Resources and Information. is your first and best source for all of the information you’re looking for. From general topics to more of what you would expect to find her…
    • For James Hillman from his old friend Jung......Death? Ah, just ignore it, journey on to the great adventure!


      We know that there are these peculiar faculties of the psyche – that it isn’t entirely confined to space and time. You can have dreams or visions of the future. You can see around corners and such things. Only ignorants deny these facts. It’s quite evident that they do exist and have existed always. Now these facts show that the psyche – in part, at least – is not dependent on these confinements. And then what? When the psyche is not under that obligation to live in time and space alone – and obviously, it doesn’t – then to that extent, the psyche is not submitted to those laws and that means a practical continuation of life of a sort of psychical existence beyond time and space.

      Interviewer: Do you, yourself, believe that death is probably the end or do you believe…?

      Jung: Well, I can’t say. You see, the word “believe” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t “believe.” I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing; and when I KNOW it, I don’t need to believe it. I don’t allow myself, for instance, to believe a thing just for sake of believing it. I can’t believe it! But when there are sufficient reasons for a certain hypothesis, I shall accept these reasons naturally. I shall say “We have to recon with the possibility of so and so.” You know?

      Interviewer: Well, now you told us that we should regard death as being a goal and to stray away from it is to evade life and life’s purpose. What advice would you give to people in their later life to enable them to do this when most of them must, in fact, believe that death is the end of everything?

      Jung: Well, you see I have treated many old people and it’s quite interesting to watch what their conscious is doing with the fact that it is apparently threatened with the complete end. It disregards it. Life behaves as if it were going on and so I think it is better for old people to live on, to look forward to the next day as if he had to spend centuries and then he lives happily. But when he is afraid and he doesn’t look forward; he looks back. He petrifies. He gets stiff and he dies before his time, but when he’s living on, looking forward to the great adventure that is ahead, then he lives. And that is about what your conscious is intending to do.

  • Bonnie and Alan,

    I've been in love with Rumi for a long, long time and continue to fall deeper each time I read him. I have had the golden opportunity several times to watch Robert Bly and Coleman Barks up on stage at the Dodge Poetry Festival and the 92nd St. Y in NYC in the dim early morning hours reciting Rumi in duet like a sweet, sublime song while Glen Velez and his band beat gently on their drums in the background. It is heaven on earth! "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field...I'll meet you there." By the way, Alan, you will find on Coleman Barks' CD I Want Burning your poem If Anyone Asks---Beautiful.
  • Bonnie:  I've fallen in love with Rumi!  My favourite is:

    If anyone asks about the aroma of musk, untie your hair [and] say: like this!
    If anyone asks: 'How do the clouds uncover the moon?' untie the front of your robe, knot by knot, say: like this!
    If anyone asks: 'How did Jesus raise the dead?' kiss me on the lips, say: like this!
    If anyone asks: 'What are those killed by love like?' direct him to me, say: like this!

                                                                                                                       (Divan 1826:3-6)
    Thanks for your wonderful reminder, Bonnie!

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