Red Egg Jewelry

Red Egg prayer beads and jewelry

Red Egg prayer beads and necklaces are for sale. If you are interested please contact us or visit our Etsy shop.





Red Egg is a center for art that deepens our connection with wisdom traditions around the world. Read more


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The Hermitage – Denman Island

The hermitage stays with us, it appears, wherever we may go.

Funny to be this far away and already to be finding ourselves in another hermitage. One of my concerns – or are they already becoming observations? – is wondering how it will be to be away from our beloved mountain place in Big Sur for a year.

But to be here at this small Tibetan Buddhist hermitage on Denman Island -- Kunzang Samten Yangtse -- feels like not being so very far away at all. It feels like being on another side, or seeing another face, of the mountain. An island-mountain here, it is true, but along the coast of Big Sur, Pico Blanco and other mountains often rise like island-mountains in a sea of fog.

Here marshes and meadows and orchards are clearings in an island forest. A sweet arc of small dwellings curve around a yurt-temple. The forest-and-sea air is already trying to reclaim the cedar shingles, and we love how homespun and mindful of the place the human touches are. Swann and his artist wife Sudasi made the prayer wheel from an oil drum and crankshaft – and Sudasi is who painted it. A future plan is to build twelve kuti in the forest – 10’ x 10’ meditation huts – so that there can be winter retreats along with the current summer ones.

“This is a forest practice here,” Rodney says. “I encourage each person to find his or her own place in nature for meditation. The bug crawling across your leg is part of your practice.

“‘Find a pleasant grove in which to sit,’ Buddha taught his followers. So our practice here isn’t to sit inside in formal rows.”

Rodney is Lama Rodney Devenish (Lama Karma Kunzang), the head resident Lama at the Hermitage. Rodney’s wife Lisa and Debi worked together at Apple years ago, and we had visited them when they lived high in the mountains above Carmel Valley – across the Ventana wilderness from us.

The only time we could visit them here on Denman was literally during the three days when they were moving from one island home to another. Still they insisted that we come and welcomed us with energy and delight.

I nod with recognition at everything Rodney says, whether it’s when he invites me to sit in on a dharma talk during a Mahamudra retreat or over dinner at the end of another full day. As a young boy on Vancouver Island, he trained with a Salish carver. He imagines Stations of the Cross along a meditation path at the hermitage and shrines to teachers from different spiritual traditions.

As we imagined this year of travel, we had said to ourselves, “to make and deepen connections.” That’s already well begun.

The Hermitage-Debi

Lisa asked if I would like to help cook lunch for the retreatants. For her, this is a special act of love. Chris and I came late from visiting an island artist. Lisa had already prepared an amazing meal, eggplant curry, salad, corn soup and a few other delectables that escape me. She prepared meals for Rodney, Chris, and I with the same loving care and skill. Lisa gives "soul food" a new meaning.


Città Slow

“The Slow movement is really taking hold in the islands,” our friend Lisa tells us on Denman Island.

We’ve seen it everywhere: at Fairburn Farm with its herd of water buffalo and culinary retreats; at True Grain Mill at Cowichan Bay with a handcrafted grist mill from Austria with which the bakery mills organic wheat, rye, spelt, and kamut; at Windy Marsh Farm and other organic farms where the vegetable stands are untended, and you mark down in a notebook what you’ve bought and leave your payment (if you’re not bartering) and make your own change from a ceramic pot.

In short, it is the natural rhythm of this small island life.

But it isn’t meant just for rural life. You may well have heard of the Slow Food movement, begun in Italy, but with active “convivia” (as local groups are called) in San Francisco and elsewhere. Slow Food advocates sustainable, local, and artisanal foods as an antidote to increasingly industrialized food processes. It can be criticized for appearing too elitist, but that isn’t its intention. Over the Labor Day weekend in San Francisco, a major Slow conference is being held, and among the activities is a speaker series featuring Wendell Berry, Alice Waters, and Michael Pollan, among others. It will discuss weighty issues like the world food crisis, climate change and food, and
re-localizing food.

All of this can seem unnecessarily heady when you are walking with Darrel Archer as he leads his water buffalo to pasture and calls all of them by name. He’s been farming all his life.

On the other hand, 1973 and the few years thereabout are also vintage dates in these islands. That’s when Vietnam War draft-dodgers from the States arrived, so many of whom have stayed, cultivating an alternative culture that most often seems to fit seamlessly with traditional farming and fishing life here.

In another age of war, it can seem like time to move again.

When the ferry leaves Denman Island, Debi looks back wistfully.

“I could live here,” she says. “Couldn’t you?”



We’ve begun our year-long journey – or a trial run of it. We’re on a deck on Denman Island in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia. We’re overlooking the oyster beds of Fanny Bay. The last time you had oysters they might have come from here.

We won’t be on vacation. We’ll be learning to travel another way.

But what will that way be? “Pilgrimage” sounds presumptuous, but it will have to be something like that, and we’ll have to learn what that word really means. And what it really costs. On my part I know I’ll be facing a lot of anxieties. The difficult edges in our relationship will come up. But our strengths are already coming up as well, and we are already learning to lean on them.

It’s not an unfamiliar story: a mid-fifty-something couple heading out to do something different with their lives. We can imagine what that life might be, but understand (at least theoretically) that each new encounter can shift its course suddenly. There will be unexpected openings and the shadows of what can appear as “failures” or “setbacks.” But doesn’t failure just mean disappointment in our own expectancies?

We know that many of you have already set out similarly – and that some of you are yearning for when such a moment might come for you. We hope you’ll follow along and help teach us when you can. We’ll be as honest as we can.

Beginning – Debi

“What a time to start our gallery and world travel, with the economy in such a
bad state and gas prices so high,” I told my drum teacher, Zorina.

“It’s a perfect time to start”, she responded.

She’s right. What better way to start a pilgrimage? It’s both scary and exciting. No guarantees, no promises—only trust and an open heart. With a couple of weeks behind us now, we have seen incredible beauty and have been showered with the kindness and generosity of our good friends. And we have only just begun.

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