I am so honored to bring to you this conversation with Cathy Toldi, Buddhist Priest in the Soto Zen tradition, lover of life, nature, and called by the Earth to speak as Priestess Raven to bridge our understanding of who we are as part of the natural world. Cathy has been practicing Zen at Warm Jewel Temple since 1987. She studied with her root teacher Katherine Thanas for 25 years, receiving the precepts in 1995 and priest ordination in 2005. Vision quests have also been part of her life’s journey, connecting her with Raven, mountains, desert, and the depths of earth spirit.
I met Cathy when she rented a room with us for a few days while she tended to the final chapter of her yet to be published book. She wrote on our front porch until it got too hot (around 11:00 AM), and then continued on indoors. She speaks fondly of being embraced by the Sierra to the West and the Whites to the East, inspired by the grandeur of our little place in Chalfant. It turns out she is also a professional facilitator for non-profit and community groups and has co-authored the book Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. We prevailed upon her to facilitate a board meeting of our local environmental action group, Inyo350 and it was a memorable and wonderful meeting. We look forward to welcoming her back to the Eastside this year!