The essence of ‘ayni’ is sacred reciprocity. Ayni emerges out of a universal perspective in which importance is placed on the relational flow of energy as a process of establishing and maintaining balance. Ayni can be seen as a code of conduct – a sacred agreement to engage in a balanced exchange between self and other. What is given may not be anywhere near as important as how it is given. In ayni, it is the heart that counts. Ayni can be established among people, between humans and all other beings, and between all beings and the animate Cosmos.
“Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life” is a poetic reflection of Jamie K. Reaser’s daily practice of embodying anyi as a core life principle. Each poem arises out of a conversation between her soul and something greater than her Self. She listens, processes, replies, and begins listening again. In this book, the poems themselves represent a ‘give back’ to Nature and the greater Cosmos for their inspiration, teachings, and life force.
“Jamie K. Reaser’s newest collection of poetry, Sacred Reciprocity, is an exercise in what poetry can and should be: It is unafraid to ask big questions, and to posit big answers; at the same time, it finds these questions not in complex philosophies but in the beauty and grandeur of the everyday rhythms of ecological place. This specificity—finding the universal through the personal—this sense of place and of moment, is where all meaning takes root and all philosophy is tested. The task of the poet—a task that Reaser is more than capable of fulfilling—is to find in a single, fleeting moment, the beauty of an entire universe conspiring to find balance and harmony: “The Universe unfolds,/ ever so briefly, / in my arms and / upon my lips.”
She begins with two simple words, really: Sacred Reciprocity. If only, for a moment, we could be quiet enough and still enough to see the sacred in all the little things bursting into life around us; if only we could re-member that a sustainable civilization can only exist if reciprocity remains a core value. These are simple—and at the same time strangely elusive—notions. Our hope, perhaps, is the world of forgotten simplicity and beauty revealed to us in Sacred Reciprocity.”
–Theodore Richards, author Cosmosophia: Cosmology, Mysticism, and the Birth of a New Myth
“The beauty of Jamie K. Reaser’s poetry causes my heart to thrill, to ache, to still–with each turning of lyrical phrase. In Sacred Reciprocity she is both transparent seeker, sitting in deep communion, and gentle guide, gracefully leading us to those innermost places where the Soul revels.”
–Carla Woody, author of Standing Stark and Calling Our Spirits Home
“Jamie K. Reaser brings to her poems both the patient, curious attentiveness of a naturalist and the wild ecstasy of a mystic. She is transformed by all she sees, and through her poems guides all of us to see more deeply, more joyfully, more passionately.”
–Trebbe Johnson, author of The World Is a Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest for the Beloved
Jamie K. Reaser
Jamie K. Reaser has a deep fondness for the wild, intimate, and unnameable. She received a BS in Field Biology, with a minor in Studio Art, from the College of William and Mary and her doctorate in Biology from Stanford University. She has worked around the world as a biologist, international policy negotiator, environmental educator, and wilderness rites- of- passage guide. She is also a practitioner and teacher of eco- psychology, nature- based spirituality, and various approaches to expanding human consciousness, as well as a poet, writer, artist, and homesteader- in- progress. Jamie has a passion for bringing people into their hearts, inspiring the heartbeat of community, and, ultimately, empowering people to live with a heart-felt dedication to Mother Earth. Her writing explores themes at the interface of Nature and human nature. She is the editor of the Courting the Wild Series, as well as the author of Huntley Meadows: A Naturalist’s Journal in Verse, Note to Self: Poems for Changing the World from the Inside Out, Sacred Reciprocity: Courting the Beloved in Everyday Life, Wild Life: New and Selected Poems, and Winter: Reflections by Snowlight. Jamie is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers. She makes her home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.