Wisdom House

Sacred Sunset on Mt. Hood

The Resident Priest/Director and History of Wisdom House 
Since 1976, Wisdom House has been a 501(c) 3 religious non-profit corporation of the State of Minnesota, registered to operate in the State of Oregon as Wisdom House West since 1984. The founder and director, the Rev. Dr. Alla Renée Bozarth, is an Episcopal priest, poet, and Gestalt therapist certified by the Gestalt Training Center of San Diego.

Dr. Bozarth earned her academic degrees at
Northwestern University, read for Holy Orders at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and was among the barrier-breaking, history-making women first ordained priests in Philadelphia in 1974. Author of forty books and seven audio albums, her work is known worldwide, and brings Wisdom House visitors from other countries in addition to countless telephone and Internet consultations from around the globe.

Alla’s framework of service is that of a soul caregiver, contemplative poet and priest celebrant in the Creation Centered tradition of the Judeo-Christian religions, with deep ecumenical respect and appreciation for other compatible and meaningful expressions of the human soul whenever it moves into modes of reverence and service. Such motivations are expressed in all the great world religions~ the third religion of the People of the Book, Islam, especially in its integrative Sufi tradition; the indigenous shamanic Earth Religions; and the Eastern philosophical traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism. All such modes as well as art and science can be vehicles of Grace in human life. The many forms are the richly varied poetics of Grace. Though distortion and corrosion occur in all forms and institutions when human evil (selfish and insatiable greed for power over others) activates and betrays them, in their essence, they are windows that frame our focus on Life's infinite Mysteries and Wonders.

Alla’s commitment is deeply rooted in her own life as a Christian priest in the expressively Catholic and intellectually lively tradition of the Episcopal Church. Serving at Wisdom House, infused with study and understanding of depth psychology in her soul care practice of forty years~ committed to creative disciplines, particularly poetry as prayer, and devoted to a feminist theology of the Divine Feminine as articulated in the Jewish and Islamic traditions and in Celtic Christianity. Alla has made her spiritual center a place of peace that forms the inspiration for her writing, the focus of her ministry in her later years. She has been retired from active public ministry involving travel and speaking engagements since 1994 when her health demanded it, and for the most part from the level of intense human interaction of direct personal soul care, both the counseling and sacramental services regularly offered at Wisdom House since 1975, when her health declined further and required even more limitation in 2004. She claims that the more physically limited she has become, the more creative output she produces. That remains her primary expression of service to souls.

She has twenty published books, though some are out of print awaiting re-publication, and she has been working on 14 large new poetry collections listed at the end of the  Interview, Books and Reviews section, allabozarthwordsandimages.blogspot.com/p/interview-books-and-reviews-vietnam.htmlas well as six or seven small volumes of poetry and prose, including two children’s stories. It is her hope that with the ongoing publication of these gifts, her ministry will not be limited but merely more sharply focused in a form that can expand more widely into the lives of the people whose life journeys resonate with themes addressed in the books: loss, grief, passion, physical illness, chronic pain, the problem of suffering, the problem of human immaturity and evil, internal conflict and conflict in relationships, love, sensitivity to beauty and the deep need for Grace that humanity shares within itself, and with all creation. 

Crone, by Marsha M. Ives
This graphic is framed 
and on the wall of Wisdom House. 


Read the Philadelphia Ordinations post or separate blog to learn about Alla's place among the eleven ordained women deacons who cracked the stained glass ceiling in 1974 by being ordained to the Episcopal priesthood, either by clicking on Philadelphia Ordinations in the Pages Menus in the right margin here, or clicking below for the stand-alone blog

To see 40th anniversary additions, please go to 


To see a 40th anniversary tribute to Bishop Barbara Harris in celebration of the 25th anniversary year of her consecration~ 


To order the "Bakerwoman God" graphic art card or wall hanging~


To listen to "Bakerwoman God" as choral music~ 


To make a tax-deductible contribution to help sustain the ongoing ministry of Wisdom House and its resident priest, you may send a check to Wisdom House
anytime and mail it to Wisdom House, 43222 SE Tapp Rd., Sandy, OR 97055. 
To allow Amazon to make a contribution to Wisdom House every time you make an Amazon purchase at no extra charge to you, see~ https://smile.amazon.com/ 

Read on to learn more about Alla and the artists with whom she collaborates or consults.

Origin and Vision of Wisdom House, 1974-2004

Multnomah Falls
Western Oregon
The Columbia River Gorge 

Wisdom House ministry began in 1974 in the Bozarth-Campbell home after Alla completed her doctoral degree work in hermeneutics and performing arts at Northwestern University and had been ordained an Episcopal priest in Philadelphia. Two years later in 1976, Wisdom House became incorporated as an ecumenical feminist spirituality center for inclusive language worship and soul care. 

For its first ten years, the Upper Room Eucharists on Wednesday evenings were a constant source of Grace, embracing the gifts of the small ecumenical community that spontaneously gathered and was led in song by the gifted musician Katie Johnson, who generously contributed her time and talent as our Music Minister.  

Alla’s ministry took her across the United States for retreats, workshops, university lectures, sacramental ministry and poetry readings, but Wisdom House in Minneapolis was her sanctuary and community, with its Eucharistic liturgies and a beautiful ecumenical congregation graciously infused with the renewing power of new songs that singer/guitarist Katie Johnson brought to the Upper Room open circle each week. These liturgies were the core of Wisdom House worshiping community all during the years of her marriage until the sudden death of her priest husband, the Rev. Phil Bozarth-Campbell, at the age of 37. She went back to the foot of Mt. Hood in  Western Oregon to the house that she and her husband had planned to share, and settled there to heal her own broken heart and write about grieving well in the healing arms of Nature and Grace. 

Welcomed to her soul's home for healing and her own life after death, through her friendship with Minnesota artist Julia Barkley, Alla met Patricia Parton and John Ciminello her first summer here in 1983, and was privileged to officiate at their wedding during the summer of 1986. Patti Ciminello, an extraordinary person who could certainly be described as love incarnate by those who know her and her radiant kindness, and John Ciminello, an inspired musician and poet by nature and Grace, have been the core of the Oregon Wisdom House community from the beginning. Even though they have moved across the Columbia River now to the Washington Coast, they remain in unbroken communion with the spirit of Wisdom House. Meanwhile, in 1997, Susan Lind-Kanne moved right across the road to become an important friend and contributor to the community and an artistic collaborator with Alla by creating her line of Bear Blessings Soul Cards, matching graphic art to selected passages of Alla's poetry. 

The graphic images below are available in both conventional greeting card size, and a larger size for a wall hanging, and can be ordered at the website through this link:




"Be" is in these published books by Alla Renée Bozarth:  Wisdom and Wonderment: Thirty-one Feasts to Nourish Your Soul, Sheed and Ward/Rowman and Littlefield 1993; Lifelines: Threads of Grace through Seasons of Change, Sheed and Ward/Rowman and Littlefield 1995; The Book of Bliss, iUniverse 2000 and This is My Body: Prayers for Earth, Prayers from the Heart, iUniverse 2004.

"Bakerwoman God" was published in the following books by Alla Renée Bozarth~ Gynergy, Wisdom House 1978; Womanpriest: A Personal Odyssey, Paulist Press 1978; revised edition, Luramedia 1988, distributed by Wisdom House; Stars in Your Bones: Emerging Signposts on Our Spiritual Journeys, North Star Press of St. Cloud 1990; Moving to the Edge of the World, iUniverse 2000 and This is My Body: Praying for Earth, Prayers from the Heart, iUniverse 2004.

 "Call" was published in the following  books by Alla Renée Bozarth~ Gynergy, Wisdom House 1978; Womanpriest: A Personal Odyssey, Paulist Press 1978; revised edition, Luramedia 1988, distributed by Wisdom House; and Stars in Your Bones: Emerging Signposts on Our Spiritual Journeys, North Star Press of St. Cloud 1990.
Six Days in St. Petersburg: A Chronicle of Return
Alla Renée Bozarth
Purple Iris Press 1993


"Scars" was published in
Life is Goodbye/Life is Hello:
Grieving Well through All Kinds of Loss
by  Alla Renée Bozarth,
Hazelden, revised edition 1988. 

"Love Mantra for Letting Go" is from 
 Life is Goodbye/Life is Hello:
Grieving Well through All Kinds of Loss
by  Alla Renée Bozarth,
Hazelden, revised edition 1988.


"Friends in Love" is in
At the Foot of the Mountain:
Nature and the Art of Soul Healing
by Alla Renée Bozarth,
iUniverse 2000
and Soulfire: Love Poems in Black and Gold
by  Alla Renée Bozarth,
Yes International, distributed by Wisdom House. 

From Soulfire: Love Poems in Black and Gold
by  Alla Renée Bozarth,
Yes International, distributed by Wisdom House. 



You can contribute to the healing and soulful ministry of Wisdom House every time you place an order with Amazon.com. Simply use this link to begin your shopping experience and Amazon will contribute a portion of your purchase payment to Wisdom House! 


Direct Contributions can also be made by check to 

Wisdom House
43222 SE Tapp Rd.
Sandy, Oregon 97055


Active Public Years~  1974 - 1994
The following description was written during Alla’s active years of travel, visitors and direct engagement with others, when Wisdom House, first in Minneapolis and then in Oregon, was a place of welcome to so many wonderful, gifted people when they needed to water the roots of their souls . This will give you an idea of what was, with the understanding that the spirit of those times remains but is now expressed in new forms.

Italian Stone Wall,  Columbia Gorge 
Old Scenic Highway

Visitors come to Wisdom House in western Oregon for spiritual healing, inspiration and nurture to this place at the foot of Mt. Hood in the great Cascade Mountains. Drawing from the Pacific Coast of the United States in particular, artists of all genres and persons of diverse spiritual dispositions and directions have found creative encouragement and spiritual insight here.

Haystack Rock, Pacific Ocean, Oregon Coast

Dancers, poets and other writers, singers, composers, painters, sculptors, architects, physicians, nurses, therapists, teachers, attorneys and judges, and religious leaders of many traditions have benefited from the serene and beautiful environment which they found in their time at Wisdom House, having come from throughout the United States and Canada, Continental Europe and the British Isles, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Here they find a place where creativity sprouts from the heart of the soul’s journey, and is always a dynamic aspect not only of self-healing, but of the healing and creation of community as well. 

Wisdom House offers soul-mending and soul-tending, celebrates all forms of sacred art and of the healing arts, and gathers community in an inclusive language service based on the Eucharistic Liturgy of The Book of Common Prayer, as well as other rites and sacraments specific to the needs of the people.

The fostering of feminist spirituality here is sensitive to and inclusive of the spiritual needs of men and children.

As a soul caregiver and priest, Alla has welcomed those from near and far who are grieving through devastating loss, and who seek and find at Wisdom House comfort, strength and insight for their healing journeys, often drawn by having read one or more of her internationally distributed books— Life is Goodbye/Life is Hello: Grieving Well through All Kinds of Loss, A Journey  through Grief, or Lifelines—Threads of Grace through Seasons of Change, as well as Wisdom and Wonderment:  Thirty-one Feasts to Nourish Your Soul, Womanpriest: A Personal Odyssey, the autobiographical account leading up to, including and following her historical ordination to the priesthood and the creation and evolution of Wisdom House, and her many books of poetry.  


Since 1994

Mt. Hood in Lavender Light, Cascade Mountain Range.
This image is from a postcard.

The fibromyalgia and chronic migraines and allergies which Alla experienced all her life increased to the point of necessitating the end of her active ministry of travel and public speaking in 1994, but she continued to see clients for soul-mending and soul-tending at Wisdom House and to offer regular celebrations of the Holy Eucharist (Great Thanksgiving and Holy Communion) until 2004, when the severity of pain worsened with resulting hypertension. Since 2004, her creative outpouring has increased commensurately with the loss of her direct interaction with people. She has come to realize that physical retirement from one mode of ministry opens the door to  new forms of expression. Her work has not ended but changed. Her books continue to explore Grace and self-transcendence through loss and grief, solitude, work, peace and justice, the difficulties and joys of relationship, our right relationship with Nature and the Holy, and our universal need to love and be loved. The books offer words of insight, comfort and encouragement to bless others on their life journeys. 

 Shepperd's Dell, Columbia River Gorge


What love the Earth has for her creatures,
to give us the moon and invite the evening star
to ride with her half-way through the heavens—
What love to give such voice to coyote
that it can imitate the wolf or a human man
crying out in agony, or the playful yip of a puppy,
and all three together become the operatic song
of the evening, to welcome the moon-rider
from across the mountains and down over the river,
and all the neighborhood dogs on both sides
of the river and ridges join in the antiphonal chorus.
What love there is when beautiful things die and
disappear, and unknown to us still work, gone underground,
to bring forth their springtime revolution, that redemptive
astonishment we take for granted as the garden’s resurrection.
What love the Earth has to allow me, a member
of a violent and often hostile species, to walk here
every evening, in time to enjoy such company,
that wild and innocent assembly of natural beings
who do not fret about evolution or the nature of God,
and remain intimately proof of everything thus miraculous and real.

Alla Renée Bozarth
Diamonds in a Stony Field
Copyright 2012. 

Wahkeena Falls Lower Stream, Columbia River Gorge  

The world has always been the range of Alla’s ministry, but now she goes out into it through her healing words, which are poignant and funny, from mpowerful historical and biographical documents and commentaries to the playful, intimate reflections that come to her during her walks, rain or shine, by sun or starlight. These offerings are the fruit of sacred solitude, nourishing as the beauty that inspired it, to send out and hopefully to be found by those who need the gifts, who can receive and integrate them as springboards of meaning in their own lives, signposts and maps on their own souls’ journeys. The words invite their readers to be in the garden or forest, walk by the sea or bathe beneath a secluded waterfall, and feel refreshed and renewed.

                                                  The Touching Madonna

Spirit, Art and Nature Flowing Together
Artists of various genres frequently collaborate with Alla, using her poetry as the  basis for discernment processes, vocational retreats, community renewal,  liturgiesaddressing specific needs and events, or inspirational art or musical presentations. Among these events were two shows of Julia Barkley’s paintings and Alla’s poetry, The Energy of  Miraclesand Circle of Fire, at the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. Dancers and musicians accompanied poetry performed by Alla in the presence of the vibrant paintings for The Energy of Miracles. A Minnesota composer, Paul Boesing, was commissioned by Julia to compose a cantata for the poem, “Circle of Fire,” which the poet performed with the composer at the piano and singers from Calliope Women’s Chorus under the direction of Nancy Cox for the show’s opening. 

Of her collaboration with Julia Barkley, Alla writes:
"Since late in 2004, because of health realities, the only meaningful work I have steadily been able to do is continue to write, revise and edit my books. And another great personal loss has occurred—Julia Barkley has died. On February 1, 2010, her daughter Mary Barkley Brown ended her presentation of Julia’s life and art to the Annandale (Minnesota) History Club with these words:

Julia Barkley died at age 81 on November 22, 2005, after a long struggle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. An Annandale Advocate article stated:  'Friends remembered Julia Barkley last week as an artist who lived to paint, a crusader who wasn’t afraid to stick her neck out and a woman who was deeply involved in the community and world around her.' 

"She is deeply missed. . . . Again, thanks to Terri Hawthorne and Mary Barkley Brown, Julia's daughter, Julia and I were able to have one last show together a month before her death, though neither of us was physically able to attend it. Paintings and poems were displayed and my poetry was included as a prayer led by the Women in Black at a candlelight vigil for peace in the undercroft of St.  Mary’s Basilica in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 16, 2005. The Women in Black led a    candlelight ceremony for peace reading one of my poems. Afterward, a group of participants  visited Julia at her hospital bed in the Benedictine Health Center of Minneapolis, to thank her for being faithful to her art and giving the world so much spiritual enrichment and beauty. Some of her vibrantly intense “hypercolor” paintings were displayed in the lobby and hallways Refreshments were served. The Benedictine Health Center informal gathering was the last art show reception for which she would be physically present. Terri and Mary each gave me a full telephone account.
"Mary described her mother's Celebration of Life service, too. One thing I never knew about  Julia during our shared time was that she played the trombone. Musicians in her family gave her a sendoff which included the powerful sounds of her instrument. Honored by Lakota Medicine People and Pipe Carriers as spiritually one of them, her birthplace and later her geodesic dome studio were in the heart of the Black Hills in South Dakota.  She frequently presented Art and Spirit courses on the Pine Ridge Reservation with Warfield Moose, Lakota Medicine Man and Episcopal Priest, and her colleague Sister Judith Stoughton, a painter and professor of art history at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. Julia was buried with sacred feathers and shields, with seeds and stones, and Mary told me she tucked one of my poems (which was among the many I sent for our loving friend and Stars in Your Bones collaborator, Terri Hawthorne to read to Julia in her last months) under her head to go with  her back to the earth and sky and into Paradise.  

 Julia Barkley painting trees with purple trunks in tribute
to the style of Paul Klee, whose exhibit she and Alla had visited
in their trip to the Paul Klee Collection's home museum in Bern, Switzerland. 
Together they admired the mustard fields of Dijon 
as the fast train from Bern to Paris went past them, and the flowers'
rich tones suffused with sun-gold colors went into this spontaneous watercolor, created in motion over the train tracks, 
a birthday present for Alla which she observed being born
from the artist's hands~ and photographed.  

 "This painting below represents Julia as well as her body of work in vibrant color. When we  went on our poet's and painter's pilgrimages to Russia, Paris and Bern, Switzerland, she sought out the great colorist painters, especially the Fauve group of artists among the post-impressionists, led by Matisse. Julia's art was painterly. She loved to get as much paint  on the canvas, paper or metal base as possible. She would delight in showing how she would, in the tradition of Jackson Pollock, splatter, drip and throw color over thick brush work to create a textured effect and bring the image alive.

"I am blessed to have known and loved her and worked with her for so many wonderful years. I am honored to be her forever friend, and bless her for taking her Dragons of Compassion for the Grief of the Soul paintings along with my poem 'Transfiguration,' commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima, to present to the Mayor of that again beautiful city."

Composers, choreographers, singers and dancers have given new interpretations to Alla’s poems, as have visual artists, by combining her words with other media, sometimes with color, light, human movement and voice, sometimes with a variety of musical instruments, including primal drums for the poems “Bakerwoman God” and “Call.”

Wisdom House itself is blessed to hold gifts of beauty from the many extraordinary artists whose lives have been touched here, passing on the fruit of their own spirits to bless future visitors.

Wisdom House has indirectly sponsored such artistically, culturally and spiritually integrative projects as the giving of paintings and poetry by the first foreign women artists, Julia Barkley and Alla Bozarth, to become part of the permanent collection of the Peace Memorial Garden in Hiroshima— and the composition and presentation of a cantata, “Belonging,” performed by children and adults of Grand Forks, North Dakota, in celebration of their shared healing journey following the destruction of their city by fire and flood from the Red River, and the successful rebuilding by the people of their homes, businesses and community. The mayor herself was the guiding spirit and drive in the resurrection of the town and the rebinding of the people, who worked together to make the miracle happen~ for always, miracles are hard work.

For their victory celebration, the town commissioned Steve Heitzeg, a
St. PaulMinnesota composer, to create music for Alla’s poem, “Belonging,” together with “Ask Me,” a river celebration by Oregon’s beloved poet, William Stafford.

                                                                                  *  *  *
Alla has served as spiritual mentor and consultant to coordinator Anne Shams, a local Christian artist in collaboration with a Jewish and an Islamic artist in a two woman, one man art show entitled “Wilderness Journey,” with their three faith traditions {sometimes called the religions of the People of the Book} represented in complementary artistic multi-media interpretations of our shared roots in history and spirituality. Anne was curator and lead artist for the exhibition. The show of her narrative panel stained glass wall, the sculpture and paintings, was presented to the public in a former Portland church now used as an arts and letters center, the Jewish Community Center and a mosque. 

"The Wilderness Journey" is a beautiful, large fused glass work that has been shown in many exhibitions.

Click on any image to view it enlarged and in greater detail
here or on the artist's website pages.
The Wilderness Journey
 To view close ups of sections and the other side:

See anneshamsart.info/AnneShamsArt.info/Work_for_Sale.html

Anne's more recent work articulates The Tree of Life 
in Jewish, Christian and Muslim Art. 
Below are two featured mihrab paintings
from her Al Andalus: Pardes/Pardise series, referring to 
the Golden Age of Harmony 
among Jews, Christians and Muslims
in Andalusia for 700 years between the 8th and 15th centuries. 

To visit the entire gallery of Anne Shams' works:

Paradise Lies at the Feet of the Mothers

Pomegranate Tree of Life

Star Mother

Star Mother

The Artist writes: "Star Mother has two inspirations: The Astronomer/Cosmologist's discovery of the origin of the birth of stars in the Eagle nebula, and The linguistic source of the Jewish and Islamic word for the Divine attribute of Compassion/Mercy.

"Within the horseshoe arch of the mihrab I have painted the Eagle Nebula and the Black Madonna holding the Christ child. The mihrab is the cave of the heart, place of epiphany, and designates the direction of Mecca in the mosque. Muhammad felt kinship with the Virgin Mary because he received the revelation of the Koran from the angel Jibrail as she received the revelation of the Divine seed within her from the angel Gabriel. In mystical traditions the Madonna and child motif represents the birth of the soul.

"The Arabic and Hebrew script at the bottom left and right of the painting express the tri-lateral linguistic root RHM. Each tradition uses the root to describe the attributes of the Divinity: Allah and YVHV (Yahweh). Depending on the vowels added to the root, the Divine attributes are Majesty/Power or Compassion/Mercy. The root itself means origin or womb, giving a maternal and feminine slant to the masculine gender linguistically attributed to the Deity."

Ein Sof

The artist writes: "Ein Sof points to the un-nameable divine creator of all, without end or limit, boundaries or form. . . . The central image of a drop of water in the ocean metaphorically refers to Ein Sof:  a drop of the ocean seems separate from it (Yesh) but returns to the boundless whole (Ayin). Once the drop is reabsorbed into the ocean or the sky by evaporation, it seems invisible but it is not, it is manifest in a different form.

"The remaining images refer to the invisible divine as manifested in all forms. The right upper corner is the spiral nebula of the cosmos, formed like stellar DNA helices. The left string of colored balls refers to the Iranian Sufi symbols of photons of light that refer to spiritual states, much like the sefirot of the Jewish Kabbalah. The photon colors symbolize, from the bottom to the top: white-surrender, yellow-quiet faith, dark blue-benevolence, green-the illuminated heart, azure blue-firm assurance, golden red-mystical knowledge, and golden black-luminous darkness of ecstatic love."

As part of an intercultural project of Caravan, an interfaith organization that sponsors meaningful and powerful art exhibits and events of cultural diversity and faith founded by Episcopal priest Paul-Gordon Chandler, Anne participated in the kneeling figure at prayer, "Amen a Prayer for the World" 2014 exhibit in which artists from the Middle East and the United States were invited to paint a white figure that was shipped to them and returned completed. When all the differently colored figures of the same base form were shown kneeling at prayer together, it constituted a profoundly moving reality of many souls at prayer in diverse ways. The display traveled from Cairo to Washington D.C. where it was shown in the National Cathedral, and then on to New York City for presence in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest cathedral in the world. This is the figure painted by Anne.

From her artist's blog:
"RHM is a life-size fiberglass based painted sculpture that I contributed to Caravan’s Amen a Prayer for the World in 2014. I was invited by the organizer, Reverend Paul-Gordon Chandler to exhibit with 47 other artists, many from Egypt, most from the East Coast USA. The exhibit started in Cairo with the Egyptian artists, whose works were shipped to the US and joined by the rest of us, to exhibit first at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., followed by St. John the Divine in NYC. Two of the most beloved of the Most Beautiful Names of Allah, Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim, are derived from the triconsonant root RHM, meaning womb or place of origin. I have calligraphed the root RHM in several art works. The root’s feminine slant appeals to me as a woman and more importantly it contradicts the tendency to anthropomorphize the Divine as male.

"RHM holds a bowl to  receive requests for prayer. The phrases on the black yoke of the figure connect the Old Testament and the Koran, and are meant to unsettle the misconception that YWH and Allah are two separate deities. On the figure’s right is a verse from I Kings 18:39, translated from the Hebrew by Rabbi Ted Falcon as 'The Transcendent One awakens in All.'  The verse on the figure’s left is from the Koran, Sura 2:115, translated by Imam Jamal Rahman as 'Everywhere you turn is the face of Allah.'"

Neshamot Klaliyot

Neshamot Klaliyot
        Anne Shams writes of this new work: "Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi defines this term in several different portions of his book The Geologist of the Soul. 'Access points to divinity' is one, and my [artist] friend Shahna Lax spoke of the fully realized soul. Schachter-Shalomi asserts, when one of his students asks if he actually meant to include Jesus and Buddha as neshamot khaliyot, that, 'yes,' and, 'we have to give up our triumphalism, our notion that our tradition is somehow superior to others.' 
         "I included 'access points to divinity' from several traditions in my painting. 
Their faces or figures surround or are perched in the 'tree of souls.'  
"Here are the descriptions of the figures in the tree, starting at the bottom center 
and going counterclockwise:
Buddah face
Blessing hand
Malidoma Somé
Face [Transmitting Blessings]
Turner's angel
Dervish [Dancer]
Baal Shem Tov (Rabbi Ysiroel ben Eliezer
( from Wikipedia...meaning one who "owns the [holy] name" therefore has the power or uses Divine names to cure illnesses and perform miracles.)
Sonobufu Somé
Hassidic Scholar
Native American Indian Shaman"

To read more about New Works shown here and others:

Anne Shams under the Wisdom House flowering cherry tree
and reading a poem as Alla types it for her in the study.

Anne Barber-Shams' most recent completed work: CIVIL RIGHTS TREE OF SOULS: "I started this painting on December 31, 2014 and completed it in June 2015, the most complex and researched work I have ever done. As many of us are, I have been distressed by the recent news of violence inflicted by police on African Americans, and the civil unrest following." Be sure to use "Click to View Details" and "Click to View More" to read about the Souls included in the Tree and below it.


Through the keyhole
into the Garden
of Eternity and Time
alive in each other,
forever teaching
truth, forever
inspiring more
holiness, forever
calling us to become
Whole and Holy

In honor of Miriam, the Prophet~
25th anniversary of the Philadelphia Ordinations,
the Church of the Advocate, July 29, 1999


Dancing toward the Promised Land

I, Miriam, took my tambourine
and finger cymbals with me
out of the land of slavery
with its daily insults and petty
exemptions, and so remain always
ready to dance on the long, long journey,
dance at every victory, beginning with
surviving the Passover, then the strange
occurrence when the Red Sea dried beneath
our feet as we ran, safely passing over the narrow
strip onto the Sinai Peninsula, all the way out
from the land of longing toward the storied memory of Home.

I danced to the song that spilled out of me,
loud up to Heaven, rejoicing on hopeful feet,
rejoicing with arms flying through warm air like wings,
and water followed me all the way through
the great desert, to keep the people alive and faithful.

God knows it may take a long time to return.
It’s been five hundred years, after all.
A long time gone, but our stories keep it alive
in our hearts. I wonder if I’ll live to see it from
the mountains across River Jordan. I wonder
if I’ll be an old woman, and dance down
the side of Mt. Nebo with arms wide open,
heart fluttering strong, leading the way
with cymbals and songs into the Promised Land.

  Alla Renée Bozarth  

My Blessed Misfortunes, copyright 2014.

Dancing in the Upper Room, Jerusalem

Dancing My Way Up

Resting up for death is not my choice—
I’d rather spin like a dervish, attired
in the crimson and purple silk vestments
of the ancient High Priest before
the Holy of Holies, a layered gown long
to the ground, bordered with dried pomegranate
rattles and golden bells, cascading rows of gold bells,
and bells on bare feet, and when I feel it
coming on, I will wear my way in sun
or holy water of rain or dark night
and find the right-feeling grass on which to turn
toward the light and dance my way into heaven.
Alla Renée Bozarth
The Frequency of Light
Copyright 2012.

Alla often speaks of the hidden gifts in any adversity or frustrating incident. Sometimes the gifts manifest afterward, sometimes they are inherent in an event. The gift of limitation is the opportunity to experience sharper and deeper focus. This explains how physical limitations can open channels to new forms of creativity, and the flow through those channels can be deep and abundant, without other elements detracting from it. Though Alla’s ministry is now physically limited by health to the creation and production of her new poetry collections and new editions of some of her older books, Wisdom House remains a place of deep and abundant focus on the beauty and healing powers of nature, contemplation, meaningful human interaction, intimate liturgy, the formal sacraments and the spontaneous sacrament of art, which have long inspired creative people and nurtured emotional and spiritual health, peace, justice and the spirit of cooperation within the human family, in order to bring more joy into the world.

Wisdom House Eucharist
with the painting, "Brother Jesus, Mother Christ"
by Julia Barkley

Each Mortal Life

Suffer me not to be separated . . .
Anima Christi
Everyone’s life is a continuation
of the Gospel, the Torah and the Talmud,
everyone’s life is a psalm, a song
from the Sacred Koran, expressing or not
a Noble Truth, following or stumbling or falling
from the paths and ways of Wisdom and Sense,
a bane or beatitude, and in these realms
of dark and light mystery, at least sometimes,
a strange journey through beauty.

{And unnoticed beauty is still beautiful.}

This is my station of torment,
my Zen farm of peace,
my strengthening studio, my dojo,
my tantra and metta, my yoga
and heart’s temple,
my love nest, my cloister,
my Mecca, my House of God,
this is my exquisite tea room,
my concert hall and cave,
my chaotic workshop
and holy well, my beautiful
sanctuary, my new and ancient
fullness of meaning, my altar
of celebration and thanksgiving~
for there is no place where God is not.

O God, while I am in Life,
Suffer me Not to be Separated
(by distraction, despondency or willfulness)
from this suffering paradise.

Alla Renée Bozarth

Purgatory Papers 
Diamonds in a Stony Field 
  Copyright 2012. 

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43222 SE Tapp Rd.
Sandy, OR 97055

Thank You!

Pictures of Mt. Hood, the Waterfalls, Columbia Gorge and the Touching Madonna are by Alla, except for the picture of Mt. Hood in lavender light, which is from a postcard. 

Anne Shams took the pictures of her paintings.

The ocean picture is by John Jarman.