portrait by Honor Woodard

Bruce LeRoy Jones

An oak wood near my home became my temenos, walking a trail there my pilgrimage, dreams my blazes, drawings my illuminations, writing my testament.

Portrait to left by my friend, Honor Woodard. 2012, acrylic on hardboard panel. Collection of the author.

So, am I the Bruce LeRoy Jones you’re looking for? I was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1953. I attended public schools in Omaha—Hartman Elemetary, Nathan Hale Junior High, and Benson High (class of ’71). I attended Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, graduating in 1975. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area was my home for a few years while studying at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. I received my hood in 1983 and moved to the Kansas City metro to work as a staff executive at the Community of Christ church headquarters for the rest of the eighties. In the nineties I was in sales and training at the computer company Gateway. I still live here “somewhere in the middle.”

My longest web presence has been a mandala web site known first as Sacred Circles, then as Four Circles. You can read more about my relationship with mandalas here.

I have put together a few books of poetry. My current poetry “trilogy” consists of Dreamimg The Mandala Cafe, As I Carry On, and Loose Pages. I’ve briefly sketched a history of my writing here.

The Calling

I remember two events in particular that seem to me in hindsight to suggest that although the life as a minister I had planned was over, there was still a calling of a different kind for me.

First, during walks in the woods in 1989 I had, driven by I knew not what, built a circle of stones among the trees. By 1995 the circle of stones was long gone, but the image of a circle came back to me—luminous and full.

Second, while on a trip to the Rocky Mountains, I recorded this dream on July 29, 1993, “Looking at a mountain and notice something white above it. I see craters and realize it is the moon. I can see only a small sliver of it but it seems very close and unbelievably huge—much of it is obscured by mist or clouds. I raise my right arm and a white owl flies from the moon and lands on my hand.”

The Journey

“On ne découvre pas de terre nouvelle sans consentir à perdre de vue, d’abord et longtemps, tout rivage. (One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.)” —Andre Gidé

On January 7, 1995 I dreamt: I’m traveling across the face of the waters with a woman, and we are looking for a place to live—to begin something, a new civilization, a new culture. After traveling for some time we find ourselves looking for an island in the Mediterranean Sea. We arrive at an island covered with green, but unfamiliar vegetation. As we approach a queen rises out of the water near shore. I sense that this island is inhabited, and that we seek an uninhabited island so we pass by this island. We then approach a mainland shore. Here we see a monumental iron grid, like a free-standing portcullis. The three figures on crosses of the Crucifixion form the top of this structure. The land all around this structure lies rocky and barren, and I sense we cannot live here, even though it seems uninhabited, it also seems inhospitable. And this place is not an island, as we had been seeking—so our search will continue.

In this dream my journey was set in motion, and five months later I encountered the first inkling of the instrument that could provide some guidance.