Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Everything is a human being-- a la Alice Walker

.....even spiders

From Alice Walker dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr, 1983 
And,  it comes to me as I follow her reasoning THAT I believe we should be allowed to declare  war only against people whose language we speak and whose culture we understand.  In fact I am quite sure that if we had a Ministry or Department of Old Women (aka Crones) in our political system that they would over-rule a war between strangers as  irrational and self-destructive.  If we do not know people well enough to skillfully befriend them then neither do we know them well enough to hate them.  The opposite of love is not hatred but indifference; whereas the source of most hate is fear born of ignorance (and unfamiliarity).    Moreover, the chances of winning a war are significantly reduced if we do not take the time to know who we are fighting and why they are fighting back.  Remarkably, knowing people well enough to wage war against them effectively also exactly what protects us from ever starting a war against each other. 

I am shaking my head that so few Americans speak Dari or Pashtu and I think wishfully about a Ministry of Crones. So it is to Alice Walker that I return (certainly she would be in the Ministry) but this time on the topic of war.  In her essay "The Universe Responds: Or, How I learned we can have Peace on Earth," she says,

"War will stop when we no longer praise it, or give it any attention at all. 
Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited. Love will overflow every sanctuary given it. Truth will grow where the fertilizer that nourishes it is also truth".

How difficult for us to do.... 
Meanwhile, everything is human, yes, my lovely daughter, Natalya, even spiders, or if not exactly human they are enough "us" to be worthy of our respect and far beyond our capacity to imitate - or create. They are weavers and spinners and since time out of mind there have been stories woven with spiders-- remember Arachne? 

Here -- to all the lovely forms of existence-- we dedicate these images to our many legged spinning friends that live life on their toes & up in the air like members of cirque du soleil.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The two sisters and the circle of horses

A story of two sisters and the horse circle - Images by Natalya McDonnell

It is an unusual story. Two sisters.
Zoe and Sybil. Rattus rattus.
They had heard of the great circle of horses
& They had to see for themselves.
They slipped out carefully and went to the arena at the special time.
So excited Zoe peeked over the red curtains, she could hardly wait

But, before they knew it there were horses all around them.

It was scary they almost got stepped on;  the horses came so close.
But in time it was exciting and the ritual of the circle called to them.
The horses were nice and Sybil joined their ritual circle and walked her "pride walk" in time to the drums circling with the horses.
Zoe tried to see if she could get on one and ride.
It was amazing.

The the sisters began to speak to the circling horses...
of their hopes, their lives, and to imagine a whole new way.
They spoke to the circle and they were heard.
Things could change!!

But suddenly there was stamping and the noises of fear. Hoof beats ringing loud -- horses with shoes? --  unfamiliar and, someone was yelling.

They heard "run!"
from the breath of the horses around them
But before they knew what was happening there was the shadow of the lasso over their heads

Oh no.... what will happen to them?

Any ideas?  Will they escape? What were they plotting with the horses?

[thanks to Natalya McDonnell for providing Zoe, Sybil and all the Schleich horses. Take note photographers.... rats are hard to work with. They constantly move and each part of them seems to move separately. Yikes!]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Late Bloomer: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Live in six weekly sessions online beginning September 21, 2011

Return once again to the “fireside” and join with women (and honorary women) from all over the world to hear Dr CPE present the latest from her masterwork on the Dangerous Old Woman.

Dr. E is living medicine

In this new program there are more original stories, poems, and psychological commentary exploring the cycles of “burgeoning, blooming New Life.  In the topic list there are such compelling topics as: "Aunt Edna on How to Misbehave", "Possession by the Overculture: Stockholm Syndrome and the Creative Force" and here is one "“The Woman Who Was Eaten by Her Relatives” 

Follow this link to
The Late-Bloomer at Sounds True for the details and course topics.  All sessions can be downloaded to listen and share again later. 

You will be very glad you came in whatever way you can

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Septic Shock newsletter-- finale

I emerge from my experience of septic shock not yet able to tell the story in a way that feels quite right.   There is much to process -- much good and much that is just much-- intense and interesting and that still needs digesting. In literature I find words that help me.  Here is a section from a wonderful book by Molly Gloss called "the Dazzle of Day"- Quaker science fiction. Ursuala LeGuin meets Rufus Jones. A wonderful book.  In one chapter a woman is working on a boat and trying to save a person that has been injured. She is preparing to jump with him from a small raft to the main boat and instead hits the side with her shins, misses her landing, and says....

"I lost hold of the boat and sank with him, straight down.

I had been afraid, waiting to jump, but now I wasn't afraid. How quickly our ties and ballasts are cast off! I was of the Owl Strait, suddenly my outstretched elbows were resting in fjords, my palms outspread on the cobbled beaches. Inside my body there were forest of lichens, galaxies of starfish and lamp jellies, and in my bones the shields of turtles, the teeth of balenoj. I felt in my blood the long slow tide, straining after the sun -- I was water, and its unknowable alchemies, dreading nothing, simply streaming and alive. This was one of those times when your mind and body cohere and you understand suddenly what the poets say: To die is different from what you had supposed, and luckier.

Then unpredictably I began to rise up through the muffled darkness toward the dazzle of the daylight -- Kikuma was hauling me up-- I remembered I was tied fast to the boat. There was a curious moment: I had a sense that I must now make an accommodation to the world, as if I had lived a long time under the sea."

......I was grateful, exhausted. We were laboring through heavy seas with the edge of the puso weather whining in the windpipe, but I didn't try to hold this or anything in my mind. I lolled in the bottom of the boat, my skill rocking dumbly among the sliding scraps of salvage. While Kikuma was steering for a lee shore, I suppose I stood up from my life and let it stream around me in a clear cataract. I was freed from time, not lying inside a dream but standing in the compass of heaven where everything goes onward and outward, nothing collapses -- and when I lay down in my life again we were beating noreast along the cape. When I looked over the gunnel of the boat, across the strait toward the rocks there was a break in the sky and the sun broke fleetingly across the water in long bright reef - the puso weather had gone over our heads onward."

The details of  my own story-- the fall into illness & the moments with death nearby-- the similarities and differences from what the author describes here are important to me.  But, I appreciate that it is close enough and that it helps me. The word "cohere" struck me because it is exactly the one that was in my mind when I was so deeply ill.   I was considering whether to melt or cohere.   How quickly one becomes ether and water and then the effort required to return and remain embodied, combined with gratitude.

What I learned was good news about dying and living and it is this quiet calm and relief that I want to tell you about.  I hope as I carry the experience forward and live it that in time I'll find a creative expression that suits it. Who knows, fiber arts, song, silence, drawings, or simply growing old as a woman touched by life and death.

 Be well and happy and thanks for the kindness from so many.