AN ECSTATIC GATHERING OF WRITERS: Honoring Spirit, Nature and Humankind
Jan Bartelstone’s new book, AN ECSTATIC GATHERING OF WRITERS: Honoring Spirit, Nature and Humankind is a story of spiritual devotion and steadfastness on the path.
Jan had a spiritual awakening a few years after he left the northeast coast for the southwest part of this United States where Jan established himself as a popular fine arts nature photographer, while he was opening up to many mystical and ecstatic experiences.
This last page of Jan’s brand new book beautifully exemplifies what his spiritual processes were opening up to him as he began his photography career, and also demonstrates the intention for this book to show hidden treasures that exist beyond our outer senses, such as tapping into a universe of possibilities, entering thought processes to become a better human being, and learning to live in a state of contentment.
Equally profound is this backstory behind this book, which Jan created five years after he lost 3/4 of his vision over less than two weeks. Enjoy here a marvelous photograph and story that served as an initiation to the continuing magic of Jan Bartelstone’s career.
I gave her a polished stone from Everest and she uncovered the whole mountain. Or was it a seed from the teacup rosebush in my sunroom where she entered the rose forest? I don’t know what it is about her that opens and closes. I only know that the voice of her eyes is deeper than all roses. Nobody, not even the rain has such small hands. *
Once upon a time in my mid-twenties, as a self-taught photographer and “starving artist,” I lived near the edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where horse and cattle pastures were still prevalent and an older way of life existed.
In those days, I rarely had two hundred dollars to my name. Across the street from where I lived I noticed this young child like a butterfly playing in the front yard all the time, and at the house next door, an old, retired merchant marine with a full beard looking much like Santa Claus, coming and going. I was inspired by them both and asked the mother of the young girl if I could take her picture with the neighbor. She said yes. I visited the beautiful elderly man, and upon entering his modest home I felt as if I was in an antique home. A framed photo of his deceased wife hung on a wall. The wallpaper looked old even when it was new. An old radio console and lantern were all part of his sparse and simple living room.
I went to the local photography store and rented several old and clunky movie lights costing me about 20% of my financial wealth. It took an hour to light the room and another hour photographing the two of them. In those days of using film, it took several minutes to unload the film from the camera, and as I was in this process, I looked up to see the young girl sitting on “Santa’s” lap, sharing with him stories and laughter and hugs. The old man was tossing his head back in amusement and amazement of her experiences. The room was filled with a palpable magic of their presence. At the time, my intention was to have the man be depicted as a teacher to the young girl, having brought back from one of his oceanic voyages an exotic gift. However, it has come to me as of late that the harmony between them was the completion of the perfect ONE’S circle. I found out later that they had never met before.
Jan Bartelstone F. N. P.
*Opening prose inspired by the writing of Rumi, E E Cummings and Swami Chidvilasananda
Watch a short video about Jan’s story and AN ECSTATIC GATHERING OF WRITERS and purchase a copy of the book at www.ecstatic-gathering.com