Parabola Magazine Interview: AN INTERFAITH CRUCIBLE

(The fol­low­ing is an excerpt from an inter­view by Parabola Mag­a­zine.  Read the full length Parabola inter­view here.)

Inter­viewed by Jeff Zaleski

Mirabai Starr is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of phi­los­o­phy and world reli­gions at the Uni­ver­sity of New Mexico-Taos. She is the author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Chris­tian­ity and Islam, and other works, and is the trans­la­tor of Dark Night of the Soul, by John of the Cross, and The Inte­rior Cas­tle and The Book of My Life by Teresa of Avila. Recently Starr has emerged as one of the most impres­sive voices con­nect­ing mul­ti­ple reli­gious tra­di­tions. Her years spent at the inter­faith Lama Foun­da­tion con­tributed to her under­stand­ing; and so, appar­ently, has her more recent work as a locksmith.

Interspiritual author and speaker, Mirabai Starr, leading a retreat

Parabola: You were raised in a sec­u­lar Jew­ish fam­ily sus­pi­cious of orga­nized reli­gion, yet as a teen you moved away from your fam­ily and to the Lama Foun­da­tion, which you have described as an “inten­tional spir­i­tual com­mu­nity” where you were exposed to a vari­ety of spir­i­tual tra­di­tions. Why did you seek out the Lama Foun­da­tion and how did your expe­ri­ences there shape your inner life?

Mirabai Starr: Lama Foun­da­tion is a place that has actively embraced all the world’s reli­gions and spir­i­tual tra­di­tions since its incep­tion in 1968. After my par­ents uprooted us from sub­ur­ban Long Island in 1972 in search of an alter­na­tive lifestyle, we trav­eled for a year and finally set­tled in the moun­tains of Taos, New Mex­ico, largely because of the alter­na­tive school there, started by British artists, which was being run at that time by Lama. The mul­ti­tude of teach­ers that came through Lama ended up vis­it­ing the school: Chogyam Trungpa Rin­poche, Ram Dass, Sasaki Roshi, Pir Vilayat Khan, Reb Zal­man Schachter-Shalomi, Father Thomas Keat­ing, Mesoamer­i­can shamans, Hopi elders, and med­i­cine men and women from Taos Pueblo. Pema Chö­drön (she was Deirdre then) was our Social Stud­ies teacher, and Natalie Gold­berg was our Eng­lish teacher. They each brought sto­ries, songs, and prayers from their lin­eage, and shared them with us.

Read the full arti­cle on Parabola’s website

The poems of San Juan de la Cruz, the Patron Saint of Poetry

Finally some­one has asked me to read my trans­la­tions of the poems of San Juan de la Cruz, the Patron Saint of Poetry.

He wasn’t only a mys­tic who guided souls home to the Divine.  He was an ecsta­tic, a word­smith, a lover of language.

Download the PDF file .

Lyla John­ston, Mirabai Starr , and Nat­achee Moma­day Gray read at the eleventh of 12 evenings of poetry at SOMOS. This is a free event but dona­tions are always welcome.

SOMOS cel­e­brates National Poetry Month, April 1 — 12, 2014. Twelve evenings with three poets each. Thanks to Veron­ica Golos for her cura­to­r­ial direc­tion. Refer to the Lit­er­ary Cal­en­dar for specifics on these free events.

Early Bird Savings for Contemplative Interspirituality at Hollyhock

Book now for lim­ited time offers.

Join inter­spir­i­tual author and teacher, Mirabai Starr, for an explo­ration of the inter­con­nected wis­dom at the heart of all reli­gious and spir­i­tual traditions.

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Take more than one Cortes Island cam­pus pro­gram and receive 20% off your room/meals pack­age for each pro­gram + 10% off tuition of 2nd+ pro­gram! Must book pro­grams by March 21. Some restric­tions apply.

Details here.

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This entry was posted in Events.

I” stands for: Everyone is INVITED

BigI_header3Next week­end I head to the Sono­ran Desert to meet up with an Inter­na­tional, Inter-Spiritual, Spir­i­tu­ally Inde­pen­dent and Unabashedly Inter­de­pen­dent cir­cle of holy ras­cals to explore the way for­ward from out­moded dogma to uncharted awakening.

It’s not to late to join me.

The Big-I gath­er­ing takes place at the oasis of the Fran­cis­can Renewal Cen­ter out­side Scotts­dale, Arizona–a cen­ter steeped in the wild and holy her­itage of that quin­tes­sen­tial ras­cal, Saint Fran­cis of Assisi.  The grounds are gor­geous, the food deli­cious, and the com­pany out­ra­geously interesting.

There will also be an art show, poetry, and move­ment, lest you think this is just another talking-heads event.

In the midst of the too-muchness of my life, I am yearn­ing for this chance to drop down with my spir­i­tual fam­ily, where EVERYONE is wel­come at the table of LOVE.

More infor­ma­tion here.


Live Q&A with Mirabai Starr: The Way of the Feminine Mystic Course


For those who lis­tened to the free tele­sem­i­nar course and are inter­ested in sign­ing up for the Fem­i­nine Mys­tic inten­sive course, but still have ques­tions, I will be hold­ing a spe­cial Q&A ses­sion tomor­row night.

Here’s how you call in:

Live Q&A with Mirabai Starr
Wednes­day, Feb­ru­ary 26th
5pm Pacific | 8pm Eastern

Con­nect to the web­cast at
Or dial (425) 440‑5100 (find your local num­ber here) and enter the PIN 862166#

For those who have not yet heard the free intro­duc­tion to this course, lis­ten here.

Join me for my 9 month The Way of the Fem­i­nine Mys­tic inten­sive course by sign­ing up here.

I look for­ward to being with you. “See” you soon.

Rudy Rap-Ode to Mirabai

I am  delighted to be the sub­ject of a Rudy Rap by my friend Rudra Ram, AKA Alan Hut­ner, host of the leg­endary Tran­si­tions Radio Magazine:


Feel­ing seen.…

Ode to Mirabai: Bring­ing the Saints to You and I

Author Mirabai Starr
How dear you are
To explore Saints…and Sin­ners
From near and far
Across the cen­turies
Teach­ings from their seem­ing quasars

Address­ing com­mon themes
Of human beings
Pain and suffer-ing
Deep wounds cov­ered by bling
Or any other avoid­ance thing
To mask the sting
Of hurts and wound-ings

Yet these Saints know what to bring
To help mit­i­gate the cling
To the wrong thing
To wake up and sing

I to was a sin­ner
I just missed the mark
Like an arrow miss­ing the bulls­eye
Hit­ting the wrong tar­get part

Some Hebrew or Latin word
Cor­rupted in our lan­guage absurd
To mean the work of the devil
But Sin hath no hell
Other than a wake up bell
If you missed the mark
Then restart
Like Brother Saint Fran­cis
Who learned the fine art
Of uncon­di­tional love
One of the first peace doves
Who knew God’s nat­ural order
Below and above

Brother Sun, Sis­ter Moon
His (Franco) Zaf­farel movie
Will put you in a swoon
The story of a man
Given a Divine boon

To be a con­duit for love
As Mirabai points out
“The pre­vail­ing cul­ture urges us
To stand up for our rights”
Even to the extent we exces­sively fight
As she also reminds, the cul­ture urges us
“to assert our own indi­vid­u­al­ity,
To be somebody”

While Fran­cis of Assisi
Teaches us to become nobody,
So that the Holy one may radi­ate through us

The bot­tom line, Now mine
True power comes from love sub­lime
From “open­ing to our essen­tial
Inter­con­nect­ed­ness with all beings”
That’s what Mirabai and the Saints are seeing

That includes liv­ing and for­giv­ing
Another aspect of love
Also express­ing com­pas­sion
Fran­cis gave a leper a hug
Don’t even squash a bug
End the ego tug
Sep­a­ra­tion is like a drug
So pull the plug
On any­thing unlike love
If it’s not real love
Just give it a shrug
Pass the mir­a­cle jug
Take a sip
To the All That Is
Bow and dip
And let true love
Map your next mys­ti­cal trip.

By Alan Hut­ner AKA Rudy, Copy­right © 2014


The Cave

Greet­ings from the cave.

You prob­a­bly know what I mean.  Those times and spaces–often in win­ter, or fol­low­ing a loss, or pre­ced­ing an antic­i­pated cataclysm–when we turn inward and linger there.

There is noth­ing par­tic­u­larly cat­a­clysmic on my horizon–other than the ordi­nary mir­a­cle of the human condition–but I have a job to do: I’m writ­ing a mem­oir.  And it requires my full atten­tion.  My loy­alty.  My feroc­ity.  I am a bear.

This is a mem­oir about loss and trans­for­ma­tion.  But it is not heavy.  It is shot with light.  I am writ­ing about deaths, divorces, and deflow­er­ings.  I am also writ­ing about food and sex and leap­ing off jun­gle cliffs into vol­canic pools.  It’s not all hard, but some of it is.

This is the quiet time.  Start­ing in a few weeks I begin trav­el­ing and speak­ing again.  So I must take advan­tage of this access to the cave.  This refuge of rel­a­tive still­ness.  This invi­ta­tion to dwell in dark­ness.  If I don’t answer when you knock, I know you’ll under­stand.  You may be hang­ing out in a cave of your own.

My love to you.


As win­ter tight­ens her grip here in the San­gre de Cristo Moun­tains, I find myself day­dream­ing about the sum­mer sol­stice when I will be lead­ing an inter­spir­i­tual retreat at Hol­ly­hock in the Pacific Northwest.

Hol­ly­hock is nes­tled between the for­est and ocean on the south-eastern tip of Cortes Island, British Colum­bia, about 160 kilo­me­tres (100 miles) north of Van­cou­ver. One of sev­eral islands on the north end of the Strait of Geor­gia, Cortes lies between the glac­i­ers of Van­cou­ver Island and the Coast moun­tain range of the mainland.

Join me?