Archive for the ‘words’ Category

MARCH! vernal equinox 2017

March 13, 2017

Sending_Love_And_Joy_Your_Way

I think this month is called ‘March’ because that is all we can do, especially if we are a band or a group or an army trying to get through the circle of the year.     Supplies put by in the autumn are running low.    Sure, the flocks have had babies and are growing on mothers milk,  but what about those mothers?  Certainly the days are longer, drawing equal again to the darkness.   but when a belly’s empty and the shit of winter is peeking out from the muddy snowbanks, it’s hard to care.

 

No food, no shelter, possibly with the wrong clothing, the troops have no recourse but to march. We follow the bird of omen toward where we hope against hope that the springtime, the first tender sprouts,  have already come forth.

 

A trout may have been frozen in place all the icy winter, but at the first trickle of current past its gills, awareness returns.  Trout face the current, minimizing energy expenditure, letting food morsels wash toward them.  At a suspicion of danger they dart in an explosive burst into cover of banks or branches.  They ‘spring’ fastest against the current! they do not drift in it overwhelmed, like dead things do.   The current detected assures them that they are alive.

 

It’s life or death time.   The Trail of Tears began in spring, a survival march in the face of oppression.   It seems as if absolutely everything that can go wrong at the Ides of March will do it.  Your toilet will clog.  The frameworks will rust though on your long-held plans.  You are free, all right, free to scavenge, free to march.  Sort through your life, so very alive and getting greener.  Pack up the best and travel on faith, because it will have to do.

 

Like the trout, just keep swimming.

 

face-of-a-rainbow-rainbow-trout-portrait-mike-savlen

face of rainbow trout by Mike Savlen

 

 

Solstice story by moi– #freeread Happy holiday!

December 21, 2016

Solstice of the Whirled

by Helgaleena
originally published in
A Dark Roasted Christmas Volume 2
(out of print) http://www.123rf.com/photo_15076466_infinity-spiral-from-autumn-photos-travel-and-seasons-concept.html
As it is midsummer at one end of the vajra and the longest night at the other end, I dreamed that they were in love.

Earth First! UK Zine Wants Your Writing!

October 3, 2016

http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2016/10/03/earth-first-uk-zine-wants-your-writing/

earth-first-vol-1

‘For a semi-regular zine of activist reflections and actions.

‘This is an invitation for articles offering a critical analysis and reflections on Earth First! and related environmental and social justice direct action movements, how we organise and the actions we take. Contributions can be about actions in the UK or international. We also welcome book reviews, activist resources, short rants, illustrations, cartoons, poems and photographs. We suggest 500 – 2000 words for articles…’

If you feel a calling to share your stories of earthly interactions,  go to the link above to read more.

Bards of the Pacific: the Legacy of Katharine Luomala

October 23, 2014

katharine-luomala-1955-1959_250x250 (image from Guggenheim collection)

Bards of the Pacific — the Legacy of Katharine Luomala

As the autumn season continues to wind down toward Samhain, it is a time to celebrate the legacy of the honored dead. This multi-part article is going to focus on the life’s work of my great aunt Katharine Luomala Phd, Polynesian folklorist.

As you hopefully know already, bards and oral instruction are a crucial part of the Druid path among humans, however it is now structured. So also was it throughout Polynesia. The peoples of these far-flung island nations are remarkably similar both genetically and culturally, part of a prehistoric diaspora from Southeast Asia that some argue stretched as far east as the Americas. Marked similarities in their cultural practices, traditions, and mythologies fascinate folklorists, who rushed to record what remained of the oral traditions after missionary and colonial contact in the early 20th century.

Much like the Neo-Pagan movement, modern Polynesians are rediscovering their cultural roots, and in the process rediscovering the preservation of their ancestral stories by dedicated academics like my ancestor, Dr. Luomala. Traditional practices are enriched, and new ones formed, with the help of such studies. And unlike many scholarly works, her writing is seldom dry and inaccessible. Her popular and synthesizing style earned her the 1984 Hawaii Award for Literature shortly before her death.

So how did a Finnish-American farm girl from northern Minnesota end up dedicating her life to collecting local myths at the University of Hawaii? For dedicated is the correct description. She never married; she traveled the world upon the conference circuit sharing with her peers, and was known as extraordinarily helpful to her grateful students. Her collected writings number in the hundreds. The University of California-Berkeley houses her collected papers and memorabilia.

http://dpg.lib.berkeley.edu/webdb/anthpubs/search?all=&subjtext=University+of+California%2C+Berkeley.+–+Dept.+of+Anthropology&subjectid=4015&item=3

Katharine, or as the family knew her, ‘Aunt Kai’, was a seldom seen legend to us kids back in the north woods. Born before World War I, she grew up tri-lingual in Finnish, Swedish and English on the Luomala dairying homestead in St Louis County near Duluth, Minnesota. Her childhood recollections of surviving the Great Cloquet Forest Fire she has shared with the Minnesota Historical Society.

http://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/record.php?id=122476238

The fire spared the homestead, which the family will eventually give to the local Historical Society as well, as a rare surviving example of 19th c. Finnish log construction; but for now it is still in use by Luomala descendants. I too grew up there, in a no-nonsense farming family that encouraged scholarship with a glass cabinet-filled library of 19th and early 20th century books against its plastered plank walls, including first editions of Rackham’s fairy tales, science texts, and the Kalevala.

From here young Katharine progressed in her academics as far as the distant paradise of California, attending the University of California-Berkeley, known for its strong contributions to anthropology, ethnology, and folklore.A stint of research in Navajo country interviewing elders introduced her to folklore as a discipline, so she threw herself into academia, getting her doctorate and relocating to the growing new University of Hawaii. Phd level was achieved in 1936.

She also served the US government during World War II, recommending largely ignored re-socialization measures for the Japanese citizens in internment camps. This was when she met the love of her life, a US Navy officer who was killed in action before he could divorce his first wife to be with her. They spent happy times together, I am sure, both in California and in Hawaii— but this, while serving as fodder for future romance novels by yours truly, is not how Katharine wished to be remembered. She poured out all that loving energy into her life’s work instead— capturing what she poetically described as the ‘voices on the wind’ in Polynesia.

Honolulu was to be her home for the rest of her long life. People hearing her surname would sometimes be surprised to see a leggy golden blond with a square jaw instead of a native Hawaiian. Finnish and Hawaiian do have some superficial similarities! But Dr. Luomala demonstrated admirable love and respect for her chosen culture. She dressed informally in the muumuu, even sending them to us little grand-nieces as presents, and wore fresh leis at least once a week. She never neglected present day traditions in her studies, as titles like Hula’ Ki’i: Hawaiian Puppetry demonstrate.

But her most famous works were about the great mythic figures of island legend, such as Maui of a Thousand Tricks, or the syncretic work I am going to discuss in later articles, Voices on the Wind.

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1496917?uid=3739256&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21105010196043

Teaching came naturally to her. Online I was able to find this paean to her from one of the myriads of anthropology students she served to inspire.

http://www.johncharlot.me/Hawaiian-Polynesian-NativeAmerican/Luomala00%20copy.pdf

There is also a commemorative volume in her honor, full of the work of those she influenced, and influenced her in return, in the field of Polynesian studies.

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20705399?uid=3739256&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21105010196043

Here is a link to her Huge List of Publications

http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/ark:/99166/w6b58mc2  

I was surprised to find no good photo of Dr. Katharine Luomala online, so here is a remedy to that, scanned from a book jacket.

kaibio

I leave to you the decision about whether she qualifies as a Bard herself, or is merely a celebrator of Bards. Next article will deal in more depth with the content of the message, the ancestral voices she preserved, much as Elias Lonnrot did for the Finnish national epic.  He interviewed the singers of Kalevala and compiled their songs into one huge cycle. I suspect this is the true inspiration for my ancestor Dr. Luomala’s work in Polynesia.

voicesonwindcover

Reset the Net! Healing Line pledges to do it too.

April 19, 2014

sriyantra

Reset the Net! Healing Line pledges to do it too.

A Winter Solstice Tale: Ereshkigal & Our Beauty and Wounding | Path of She

December 18, 2013

A Winter Solstice Tale: Ereshkigal & Our Beauty and Wounding | Path of She.

Solstice Inanna/Ereshkigal.

The bright Venus sister of fertility and war went under the earth voluntarily, in most ancient times. Unlike Kore/Persephone, she did not have to be kidnapped and carried there. And as she entered each of the inner gates she gave up another layer of outer ornament until there was nothing left to give up but her life– like a plant going to seed.

Ereshkigal held her there until the time for rebirth had come. Then a bee came and carried news of Inanna to the surface. Very soon she arose in all her youth and strength and tossed out the usurper to her throne at the vernal equinox. Similarly, Persephone/Kore had in her belly the seeds of the pomegranate she had eaten that mandated her return to the throne of Hades after gladdening the earth and her mother Demeter.

The Greeks were wholly upon Demeter’s side, not valuing the land of the dead or understanding the unseen source of earth’s fertility. Ereshkigal, Mesopotamia’s ruler of the dead, lives in a land of mushrooms and feathers and meathooks. All these things need to be rendered unto her to keep the lands of the living fit for the mortal beings.

Now, in the dark, in the hiatus, in the decrease of light, prepare the seed.

Druid Thoughts: Plastic Pagan Gurus

December 5, 2013

Druid Thoughts: Plastic Pagan Gurus.

This  column by my British Druid friend Nimue Brown was widely recommended by the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and also by a number of my fellow Pagan authors.  It’s a good and common-sense view on avoiding charlatans who happen to latch onto the Druid ‘brand’.

RDNA Archdruid guest posting from Arlington Cemetery

November 3, 2013

“Strength in Frailty”, a Samhain Meditation 2013

Chapter the First
1. Samhain is upon us, and I was surrounded by a colorful reminder of the demise of all things.
2. There is no greater matter which weighs upon our existence than our non-existence.
3. One could go on forever about how we will not go on forever.
4. An unpleasant subject for some, but unavoidable. Here are my thoughts today.

Chapter the Second
1. My missive to you is brought by the marvel of the internet.
2. The paragon of mankind’s achievements. Symbolic of our strength in frailty.
3. All the electrons of the internet, accumulated, would weigh less than the matter of one grain of rice.
4. A splendid creation that is one high-altitude EMP away from oblivion.
5. We each consume an immense quantity of organisms (including grains of rice) in our struggle to stay alive, until we too feed the efforts of others, both with our body, and the works of our mind and heart.
6. Even the greatest of us walk this earth, just one heart beat from death.

Chapter the Third
1. Man’s creations and knowledge would decay and disappear from the face of the earth in 5000 years without maintenance after an apocalypse.
2. In our 5 million year history, the last 50,000 have been startling to our fellow beasts, the last 5000 have been recorded in furrows of fields, and the last 500 have been mind-boggling prolific in culture, and the last 50 years have been white-hot in production.
3. Death is a great demotivator for the gloomy, and a terrifying spur to inspiration for others to feverishly materialize their dreams and leave a mark on the world before their inner-clock rings out the unexpected deadline.
4. The drama of mankind’s march through history is breath-taking in billions of private and public acts, at once tragic, comedic and romantic, lost by the passage of time, with or without an audience.

Chapter the Fourth
1. Yet we continue. We create. We reproduce. We teach.
2. As animals teach hunting and grazing techniques to their young, we pass our culture and traditions to our next generation of understudies to take our place.
3. Oh, the strength and bravery in the face of our frailty and temporality.
4. The uncertainty of our future, the fuzzy recollection of where we came from.
5. The clarity and preciousness of our current moment, irreproducibly unique.
6. Here, huddled together, our bickering seething mass of humanity , spread thinly over the face of the world, ever crowding out room for other actors in the global ecosphere.
7. We, the humans, chewing the scenery and shouting our parts in a poorly coordinated psychodrama.

Chapter the Fifth
1. What role will I play? What will my final lines be, before I too shuffle off this mortal coil?
2. And will there await me applause, jeering, stunned murmuring, or an empty theatre?
3. I give you no answers. That would be spoilers.
4. I can only hope to later hand you a fragile blossom that has sprung from the dead slumber of the frozen ground, and share its message of renewed hope from long suffering despair.
5. Samhain. A new act in the sacred drama has begun.
6. The curtains and veils are lifted momentarily again.
7. I must step between them and perform.
8. Will you join me and Them as we gather again for a repeat tour de force?

Rest in peace… rest in peace… rest in peace….

By Mike the Fool
Archdruid of Arlington
Day 3 of Geimreadh, Year LI
November 3, 2013 c.e.
Written in a dark cave under Arlington (Metro Station).
Dedicated to all who have passed on in the last four seasons.

Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA)

Mike the Fool is best known as compiler of the Reformed Druid Anthology (ARDA) available free to all at http://rdna.info

Sermon first appeared at Facebook.
Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA).

Plants With Spirit – RDNA makes the NY Times

October 31, 2013

Plants With Spirit – NYTimes.com.  Featuring links to the Carleton Archives and lots of quotes from Ellen Evert Hopman of ADF.

Plants With Spirit - NYTimes.com

Samhain wisdom from the Crafty Kitchen Witch

October 31, 2013

Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave …and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

by Mary Elizabeth Frye – 1932

(6) Facebook.

The veil between worlds thins. Ancestors visit. Beloved and not so beloved dead are close enough to touch.

(6) Facebook

What will you let in, what will you banish, before the wheel of the year turns deeper into the winter’s dark?  Choose wisely.   Leap high over the fire.

  Seeds of spring are tucked in now to rise again after the season of sleep.  On the other side of the world they are already rising.

Make room.