Monday, March 31, 2014

De-colonize and re-birth the stories: perfect food for New Moon in Aries

(Link to the TedX video of this young, wise and talented poet Kanaka Wahine born in Kula, Maui by clicking above.)

The New Moon in Aries is a powerful red one. The month of Aries, the first born astrological sign is always about spring, being born, reborn. In the woods of Langley where I am now, the New Moon and Dark Moon of Aries began with a morning of cleansing before setting new intentions. Rather than walk the western shore with my old friend, we rescheduled and I took myself onto the trails Deer and Coyote walk not far from my wheeled and curved moehale (sleeping place). I prepared myself for ritual and ceremony dressed in a long red flannel robe a gift to me years ago, a hand-me-down from a dear old friend. Around my head a red silk scarf also a hand-me-down which was also aired, washed and hung to rid scents that I cannot tolerate, kept me warm as the air was still cool from the heavy rains the night before.

March has been a cycle of many dreams, old and clinging ones that have long out-lived their nurturing values for me. The seductive career within the corporate walls; an even older connection to a 2nd grade classroom at Pearl Harbor Elementary; and older still my Cesarean-section birth which left me with what mystical physician Christine R. Page describes as " a variety of challenges depending on the reason for the procedure." Page credits the work of authors and rebirth experts Sonda Ray and Bob Mandell with this mana'o which I found in her book.

"Those who were born at the convenience of the doctor or mother may have difficulty making their own decisions, resentful of being manipulated because of the needs of others. On the other hand, those who were delivered by an emergency C-section due to fetal or maternal distress may suffer from "interruption syndrome," where, however hard they try to push forward on their own course, they find they are constantly facing unseen interruptions. Most children delivered by C-section crave touch and hugs, as they never received this during the passage through the vagina."

Onto a sheet of journal paper, the journal paper I have finally found to suit my promise to the trees (unbleached and minimally processed and consciously harvested), I wrote the stories I wished to clear from me. I wrote the stories that needed to be given back to Papa Hanau Moku ... Mother Creator ... Earth. A large cup of well water from the land we live on filled a pink mug. The water also included a tea of hibiscus ... a last minute talisman and reminder of hibiscus flowers and hedges that I no longer experience in the daily today.

Praying for guidance I chanted E Ho Mai, and found the place to complete my cleansing ceremony. The old stories written onto the journal page I folded into a paper cup. With my boots planted on the mossy forest floor (maybe next month it will be warm enough for me to be barefooted) I asked for permission to give the stories back ... recycle and let go of their affect upon my present and my future. I lit the paper cup filled with the old story of corporation seduction, an enclosed classroom style of teaching, and the purple baby girl who was born through C-section with no clear understanding about 'why.' It makes no nevermind why ... it matters that I can release and re-birth my power as makuahine now.

The burned prayers fell into the well-water in the pink cup. When the flames were doused I made a narrow trench around the base of a two-year old Douglas Fir our land mates and I planted last year. Into the trench I poured the water and burned words and covered all up. The prayer was released, the kapu lifted. The ceremony was done. I waited. I listened. I left the release. Instead of walking into or bobbing in warm salt water to refresh, the small shower stall with warm water served me nicely. My la'i the green ti leaf plants and the portrait of my mother live in that shower room. They were company, welcomed company.

That was yesterday. Now, the cycle of Aries starts with new seed, new inspiration, a fresh womb for new babies. The poetry and mo'olelo that leads this post is that of Brandy Nalani McDougall. As I prepared myself for the New Moon I listened to her tell. She is a young woman and an example of the daughters I would be proud to call my own. It is valuable for me to hear and be inspired by the young. My Hawaiian World is deep, wide and crosses oceans. I eat her stories, they nourish me. I tell my stories new and they nourish me, too.  A new cycle begins. E Ola Mahina.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ceremonies for the New Moon (in Aries, March 30, 2014)

It's never too late to learn new things, and learning more about this female body is an ongoing event and remembering process. Our regular Readers to Makua O'o may have noticed I'm here less and less in the recent months. I do this disappearing act periodically retreating into the deep cave to restore or reestablish my equilibrium. This recent retreat has been a focus on giving birth to my newest story. The birth, like that of birthing any and all children is both a painful and exhilaration plus the added experience of having several especially chosen mid-wives to welcome the child-story. My attention will continue to nurture and support the rearing of that work.

Fueling me as I learn new things I have found the work and ceremonies offered by Christine Page to be such valuable support. I am reading her book The Healing Power of the Sacred Woman. Here is an excerpt from Page's book "Ritual No. 1 Cleansing and Purification: Separating the Gems from the Compost" in which Dr. Page describes a New Moon Dark Moon ritual for women. For many years now I have attended to the cycles of the Moon Mahina, and used the practice of astrology to set new intentions for the coming cycle of 29.5 days-nights. With the New Moon in Aries coming up this Sunday, March 30, 2014 I will be adding a different (for me) ceremony to my usual focus of setting new intentions for the newest moon cycle thanks to the study of Page's work.

"Whether during menstruation or during the dark moon for postmenopausal women, the first step to the cleansing process is to share the stories. An ideal scenario is for women to gather together in sacred circle, perhaps creating a "Rent Tent" menstruation hut, or simply a place of nurturing where food and creature comforts are in abundance, although this process can also be carried out alone...the first condition of telling a story of our life is to take ownership of its creation..." Page continues and adds a list of questions to prime the creative pump before sharing the story concentrating as she suggests on events of the past month. A few of those questions are:

  • What dreams or fantasies am I holding onto that will never be fulfilled?
  • Where am I giving love in the delusional belief that it will be reciprocated?
  • What expectations do I carry that can never be fulfilled?
  • Where am I still attached to my own stories from the past because they evoke emotions such as anger, pain, disappointment, and shame?
  • What seeds of wisdom do I need to glean from the situation that will allow me to move on?
I am a storyteller. It is such valuable feedback to be reminded that some dreams will never be fulfilled. I tend to hold fast to people, things and memories that will never be born. Holding fast to stories because they make me feel what is unthinkable in the light of everyday? Yes, I do that to my detriment UNTIL I create a mythic adventure where I can be another person, someone else's daughter or a near-sighted monkey like Lynda Barry.

At 66, this moon cycle completing, the one that began with The New Moon in Pisces has been a cycle of spring-time awakenings. Before setting new intentions for the next cycle, the cleansing process needs to happen. I am ready to pitch "The Red Tent" and tell the stories not to repeat myself or to hear myself talking. With this cycle I wish to clean things up before moving on. Goddesses willing my old friend and I will share the shore along the west-side of Whidbey, tell some stories and leave behind what no longer serves the Sacred Woman. It's good to know there's room for remembering the valuable lessons that Papa Honua Mea (the Great Earth Mother) offers.

Then, the Aries New Moon can be one where we set intentions to suit the nature of that First Astrological Sign.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who DO I write for?

"The full moon takes place on March 16th, midday, at 26 degrees Virgo.  I like the look of this. It’s elegant.  You may be able to ground a good idea at this time." - Elsa P.

"The magic and the medicine of stories flows or is stopped at the border for another time, or for some other. I write because that's part of the remedy that keeps me fluid rather than brittle, tickled rather than tortured or torturous and I keep learning something through the process. With practice I gain some confidence with the ups and downs of the creating and loosen my grip on perfection. The magic and medicine remains lively and ownership is not part of the prescription. I write for the younger me who didn't have the words to speak in language forbidden by laws made up by missionaries with a bible and paper to take and bury the protocol and practices of common magic -- elemental wisdom. I write for my mother and my father, my aunties, my mango trees. I write to make space for Grace." - from my blog and medicine story The Joy Weed Journal
When I began my apprenticeship as makua o'o with Aunty Betty there were so many puka -- holes-- in my understanding of life. My lineage and my history only half-baked. I was freshly wounded from a divorce that ended more than twenty years of marriage. I was wearing the wounds of victim, but would not become ready to let the past go for many years. What I knew as 'success' became something I picked up again. But the apprenticeship as an elder in training would work on my beliefs and my understanding about the Hawaiian, the culture that is as ancient and resilient as water; and in the apprenticeship I would learn the language.

The language and culture of a people forbidden by an oppressor is an old, and pervasive practice. It happened in Hawaii with the coming on the Anglican missionaries. The effects have devastated us, and then when the source of the original assault were forgotten, we assaulted ourselves out of habit. The things that hurt us are often the things we lash out at, but as often as not, these are the same activities we do to those we love or interact with in social settings. For me, the miracle is that I was born with a deeply etched 8th House Astrological signature; the signature of 8th - sex, psychology, pathology, death and transformation. Deep digging into the kapu topics was bred into me. I write to bring light to dark subjects.

The transformative nature of writing leads me to muddle through the tight spaces of an all too confining space: beliefs, personal practices, communication styles. With the lessons that I learn from divorce, homelessness, and loss of health it is writing, the tools of the makua o'o and my practice of the 12 Steps of Al-Anon that feed me stories. By keeping time with Kaulana Mahina The Hawaiian Moon Calendar I tap into the ancient feminine wisdom and make room for elemental time, rather than the time on a clock. I learn to hear voices and language of birds, wind, trees, fire and the ancestors. They all have something wise to say. And, they all have a side of whimsy that tickles me when I have become too brittle with seriousness.

I weave the magic of myth to stay present with the power of water. Grasping at water? No holding power. Creating a sacred vessel for it? Ritual and magic is possible. That's why I write, and who I write for: I write for my mother and my father, my aunties, my mango trees. I write to make space for Grace. I write for the moon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Writing the deep

“There are certain children who are told they are too sensitive, and there are certain adults who believe sensitivity is a problem that can be fixed in the way that crooked teeth can be fixed and made straight. And when these two come together you get a fairytale, a kind of story with hopelessness in it. I believe there is something in these old stories that does what singing does to words. They have transformational capabilities, in the way melody can transform mood. They can't transform your actual situation, but they can transform your experience of it. We don't create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay. I believe we have always done this, used images to stand and understand what otherwise would be intolerable.”  -  Lynda Barry (via Gail Arlene de Vos) Thanks to Terri Windling for posting this quote on her blog Myth and Moor

It might be the luck of Jupiter that sparks the headlamp of a miner like myself, one of those children who was told I am "too sensitive." Jupiter brings luck and opportunity. The planet was in the 11th House, house of big ideas, collaborations, friends and foreign lands, when I was pulled prematurely from the cozy womb of my mother's uterus. Looking back at that timing as a writer today, I would say it was one of my talisman a lucky rabbit's foot that has given me the creative rabbit's hind leg muscle to leap even in the dark.

If one is born with marks in the sky (astrology) fixing depth in much of life it is the grace of noticing the light that makes such a difference in playing out the cards that wear the dark suits. Elsa wrote a strong and evocative post the other day about friends who have depth, lots of Scorpio or a heavily tenanted 8th House character. I've been mulling over the post, and the more than 50 comments responding to her essay. If this topic is of interest to you I highly recommend reading Elsa's post here.

Elsa made a comment to her post which lit that miner's headlamp for me. She said, "Another thing worth mentioning, Scorpio does tend to keep a tight inner circle. It’s not the most trusting sign, at least when it comes to things that are near and dear to them. Scorpio / 8th house types are described at “self-protective”. I think this is true. But if you are in their inner circle, your value to them is sky-high. And I just don’t think they run around expelling people unless they absolutely have to."
Keeping a tight inner circle is putting it mildly. With my son now in France after weekly visits over the winter while he navigated the legalities and paperwork entitling him to a spouse's visa, my inner circle drops from three to two. My husband and my cat are my physical inner circle, and I count on one hand the friends who know me authentically. Life with MCS create a small circle. Lynda Barry's quote, "certain adults who believe sensitivity is a problem that can be fixed in the way that crooked teeth can be fixed and made straight" makes me laugh at the reality of being chemical and fragrance sensitive to much of today's society.  To an extreme one with sensitivities does become self-protective.

But this is not a pity party post. I put the words down, search for the light and make sure my battery is fully charged to get to this ... Over the years that I have made my life a writer's life there have been many battles and most of them are with myself. Giving ourselves permission is the key. Terri Windling wrote today, "Most importantly, we must give ourselves "permission" to be the person we truly are -- as opposed to who we thought we'd be, or were raised to be, or who others would very much like us to be -- and no one else can do this for us. Teachers, mentors, partners, friends can provide support in various ways, but permission has to come from within if we are to own our lives, and our art."

When I discovered the potential of blogs, I took the venue on with Leo gusto (that's where half of that Scorpio energy is fueled). I wanted to write. It made no never-mind that I didn't know my audience, and wasn't facile yet with the methods for creating a blog. I had things to say, and experiences to record. Self-protective by nature the Scorpio within found ways to write from the dark, deep caves of a sensitive. First, I wrote non-fiction ... the stuff that happened. When the stuff that happened threatened me as surely as diaspora, I wrote anyway. The years of re-rooting and isolation have challenged us. Writing what happens seemed to keep me only in the dark. Jupiter, and the rabbit's muscle sought the light. I found myth, fantasy, and larger stories wanted to be told. Again, Lynda Barry speaks for me. "We don't create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay" 

Rather than spend a lot of time here at Makua o'o I created a place, and stories to be able to stay. Lucky me.