Please help the Black Earth Institute continue to make art and grow community so needed for our time. Donate now »

a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Cait Johnson

Rabia O’Loren



After the hurricane her swollen mudbelly floated pumpkins in hundreds

a harvest on the water

eaten by the river

bloat bellyup she needed a toothpick

so thousands of branches appeared, a scum of splinters, just right for a goddess


winter comes she pops her frozen knuckles


scream of ice in March grind and groan

birth pangs of spring


sweet motherlapping

up to my neck in summer

drift me up and down the sigh of tide and billow

a gentler sea

until spume of barge-waves soaks me


fall fish leap and diamond the setting sun like stars


leap up, my heart, and praise her

praise her tides her moods her belly laugh

praise her shapely channel her undulant breathing

queen of the valley

all hills bow down to her

praise her persistence

her alchemist’s tricks

rich loam of her passing

mother of water-roads

bright courier of change



Author Biography:

Cait Johnson is a Fellow of Black Earth Institute and has authored six works of spiritual non-fiction, including Celebrating the Great Mother (co-authored with Maura D. Shaw), a handbook of earth-honoring creative projects and ritual celebrations for parents and children; Witch in the Kitchen, which restores a sense of the sacred to cooking and eating; and Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, a look at the common elemental roots of the great religious traditions. She also writes poetry grounded in an appreciation of the sacredness in the everyday, feminist spirituality, and the interconnectedness of all things. She is currently faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Southern Maine, and is a former member of the Black Earth Institute. She has trained with the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and is a shamanic practitioner with a private practice as an intuitive counselor in the Hudson Valley, where she teaches workshops and facilitates rituals, creates goddess-centered art, and directs and performs in shamanic theatre pieces.


©2024 Black Earth Institute. All rights reserved.  |  ISSN# 2327-784X  |  Site Admin