Sunday, December 27, 2015

Here comes the Year of the Red Monkey ... starts February 2016

We are awake and enjoying a slow, delightful start to our new Sunday. The rain has started up again after a few hours rest in its continuous flow flow flow. Weather people say the Pacific Northwest is experiencing record-breaking rain. Pete has toasted himself a grilled cheese sandwich made with a very nice aged cheddar sent to him by dear sister (his) Margaret. The smell of toasting bread and the melt of cheese is one of my favorite smells. But. My body does not tolerate what my nose blisses on. Too bad, so sad. Instead I have chopped celery, leaves of Romaine lettuce, and sprigs of Italian parsley; sliced into one of the gleaned apples still crisp and sweet. All of this went into the Vitamix along with some not quite hot water. Blended to a warm slurry I had my greens in a drink. Sipping and then crunching on roasted cashews for a satisfying oily chew. We ate and drank our separate morning breakfast.

We are so different my Pete and I. What balances him does not do the same for me. He is a pole bean, I am a dumpling squash.

Winter is freshly born. The season is unpredictable in its patterns. The forecasts for next week seem foolish. The Elementals laugh at our wishes to control them. "Ha, ha. Do they, those Uprights in footwear believe they can control us as they attempt to control Pigeon and Gull from depositing their lime?" Oh challenged the Pole Bean Man this morning, "I will take my wire cutter at night, climb their roof tops and nip off all those metal detractors. The Exclusionary Principle, ha!"

The Chinese New Year begins with February. To my usual way of computing I look at the second New Moon after Winter Solstice and point "There!" as the start. Using this method the Year of the Monkey starts, February 8, 2016. There are other, and perhaps more accurate and at least different ways to count. This morning over grilled cheese Pete asked me where I was (on my Internet search)? I said, "China. I'm calculating the start of the Year of the Monkey and playing with the Elements to see what I might need for Balance. Here is what I found this morning:

"...This Chinese Astrology uses the balance theory of Yin-Yang Five Elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth) to predict people's future. Not like other horoscopes, this Chinese Astrology won't tell your personality or your relationships with people, which you should know better than any Astrology. Here we are interesting in telling something about yourself, which you never know before..." Master Tsai Chinese Astrology 

It seems it is Fire I need to balance my life. According to this approach

"... Here we select an element from the Five Element chart as your Lucky Element. The Chinese Yin-Yang Five Elements describe the BALANCE. When the Five Elements are balanced, they are in harmony and you will be lucky. When they are out of balance, they are in conflict and cause you trouble. So your lucky elements are the ones that bring the Five Elements into balance. Usually the lucky elements are the ones with a lesser weight (score). Here we want to pick Fire as your lucky element, because your Five Elements have a better shape when the weight of Fire increases. Using the balance theory, we can predict the rise and fall of your entire life.

I have been aware of my reluctance to embrace Fire. I am writing a medicine story now that has at its core this thought, and the motto for the Sun Magazine: "What is to give light must be willing to burn." The messages are multiple, and repeat themselves to me. I answer, "Give me courage to change, Gods." Pete says something that makes a lot of sense, "You gotta wait for the fire to burn." So true, waiting is not my strong suit, but I am getting lots of practice.

The Year of the Red (Fire) Monkey comes.

"Those born in Monkey years (1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004,2016) are clever, sharp, mercurial, and entertaining. They are wonderful to be around because they are fun, creative, and bring the sparkling energy that only Monkey can provide." 

I like to think of the Year of the Monkey as a year when we are encouraged by the monkey to be creative in the use of our gifts. How about you? Are you born in Monkey years? Do you see how a creative use of your gift will balance you? Which is your lucky element of balance?

Here is something to consider (I'm sorting the possibilities, the application)
When Fire is Deficient
The Spirit of the Water Element
The Season of Metal Energy
The Season of Wood Energy
The Season of Summer Energy 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday writing that turns into wishes ...

"All planets direct! And, the first full moon for more than forty years. You are invited to a gala celebration and occasion of jolly. As we toast Larkin's journey across the Green Planet, come prepared to be costumed and dressed for a night and weekend of merriment. Come for a party in the city!"  

A small insert of onionskin explained ... 

A carriage will pick you up at the usual ferry-riding lot at 10 AM, Friday, December 25, 2015. The driver has instructions and ferry fare for all.

The blustery and wet December of 2015 may be recorded as topping the scales for rainfall. In town just a few minutes ago we tucked our heads into our breast feathers, shopped quickly for supper, exchanged smiles and good cheer with our grocer friends, and picked up more Christmas mail from the post office box.

I have ridden the storm of a December chest cold, and feel much better after ten long days and nights. To remedy the cold there have been bits of a story to write myself well. Characters who embody part of me, parts of the Other, and wishes that I embrace with my whole soul, and fullest heart ... fill me where phlegm would sodden my innards. Story, story, tell me a story and we will unwind a thread losing ourselves, finding home.

The opening lines to this post are part of the story that's writing itself through my fingertips. It's a tale of community like all my stories; one about generations who are while different link together in magical if not odd ways. Make the most of this Full Moon on December 25, 2015 when all planets are direct as well. Click here to read a story!

Much love,

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Happy Solstice!

From our hut to yours Happy Solstice and Good Holidays from the woods in Langley on a Salish Island. Cheers and loving hearts be part of your today.
Waving from the Quonset,
Mokihana and Pete

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Survival Tips for the Pluto Transits

Pluto transits occur when one is about to make a great new leap forward, to leave the past behind and embrace a new beginning. This is what Pluto wants us to do— empower ourselves by letting go of the past and taking a transformative leap forward in our lives

Yesterday my husband Pete and I went on our yearly adventure into Seattle to visit and gather with the group of MCS friends we first met in 2008. Among them is the woman who helped us cope psychologically with the severe challenges of adapting to life with a condition most medical systems did not (and still don't easily) recognize. Another of these friends offered us long distance emotional support; and then real and practical support when we needed a person to explore the possibility of renting a living space. We were living in a car at the time thousands of miles from the potential rental. With guidance from her mother who lives with MCS, a young realtor went through the basement apartment with and a whole body sort of radar and determined the space doable. With that assessment we made the choices necessary to travel from O'ahu to Seattle and began building a small, moveable safe space. We named that space Vardo For Two. Astrologically Pluto had changed signs from Sagittarius to Capricorn in 2008, and was now half-way into my 12th House.

 Lynn Koiner writes: "In 2008, Pluto was transiting late degrees of Sagittarius. Planets transiting the late degrees of a sign always indicates an ending cycle. It is a time in our lives wherein we must draw some life situation to a conclusion. In 2009-10, Pluto will be in the early degrees of Capricorn. This always brings something new into our lives when Pluto aspects an early degree planet. With a conjunction, square or opposition, the stress does not mean that the situation is bad but it is the stress of doing something that we have never done before. It is a totally new cycle for us!" 

Though I have been interested in astrology for most of my adult life, the deeper meaning of this navigational tool was never more important than at this time. I would need the ancient methods to make sense of the powerlessness I felt. Pluto is a small and slow moving source of energy; a planet, a dwarf. Scientists fiddle with naming his/her affects but without doubt Pluto is meant to bring deep change. For us, Pluto was forcing transformation, ridding all the unnecessary from us internally and externally. Yesterday our drive from Whidbey Island in a torrential rain was a kind of check-point. Had we taken care of ourselves in the period since we first met this group to venture out of the woods? Was it important enough to make the effort? 

Together we decided it was important to make the trek. One of our dear friends celebrated her 80th birthday, has been through a major surgery, and was recuperating from an unexpected physical ailment to top it all off. She would be unable to attend this once a year gathering. That was a crossroad: we could decide it was not meant for us to make the trek. Instead, I offered an option. We could stop by her home, and spend a few minutes, share some stories, a face-to-face gift of magic and appreciate the most important thing of all: love for one another. 

It worked that way last night. For the first time since our first long distance phone conversations in 2007, I was standing in our friends's home and did indeed share stories, tea and magic. With an hour to spare we continued our Seattle adventure. We shopped for a few things at the Green Lake PCC before wending our way through the wet and dark Phinney Ridge neighborhoods into Ballard to finally climb the steps to the party.

This rather winding tale is meant to tell the experience of surviving the challenges of a Pluto Transit. These transits through the space between Pluto and Earth are slow, as is our approach to becoming a more of the best-possible-human with the spirit of stardust. Journeying the way we do from the woods of Whidbey, the once-a-year December gatherings give us all a chance to see each other. We bring food to share, pack up things we no longer need and put them into a pile to offer others. We also spend time listening to the Highlights of the Year. Every one who comes tells the stories that are true for us now. With more positive than challenging, or with progress and change over time we share and listen. One among us has married for the first time at 60 plus. Others did not come because of illness or a stay in the hospital; another can't drive because of the weather and changes to her capacity to navigate her van. 

When I sat to compose this tale I wanted to include some of the tips I had found on Medical Astrologer Lynn Koiner's website. The extensive article can be read in its entirety. I have included the key points that seem so helpful. Pluto continues to move slowly through Capricorn, and for me, the energy moves crosses my Ascendent and moves from the 12th House to the 1st House* in April, 2016. I need to pace myself, make the most of this deeply transforming time, deal with the intense emotions and deep-water dreams that immerse me. 

I hope these tips, all or one or some of them might help. Visiting our friends who provide a new level of history for Pete and me during this Pluto Transit of undoing and redoing, I do look for ways to care for myself and my relationship with Pete now. Here is a brief look at "Survival Tips for the Pluto Transits" from Lynn Koiner's website. The specific tips and recommendations are on Lynn Koiner's site.
  • Physical Activity— Exercise is a great release for Plutonian energy
  • In this “out-of-control” mode, my work makes me feel out of control. I have also discovered another key to working with Pluto— KEEP YOUR LIFE SIMPLE. Avoid all complications. Learn to say NO to everything that is not absolutely essential. Your psychological survival depends upon it!
  • I have observed that the transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto affect us through hormonal imbalances.
  • Anxiety, especially at night, can cause night binging and insomnia. Around 7 PM, I make a big cup of a “Extra Strength Sleepy Time” tea. 
  • The adrenals are severely stressed under the Pluto transit.
  • Having to deal with the surfacing long-repressed emotions, the fears and especially the anger, can be very difficult! Give yourself permission to feel angry!
  • Some Pluto transits can compromise our immune system, leaving us vulnerable to viruses and infections.
  • Pluto can make you feel like the situation will last forever but it does not. You can easily lose your vision and hope for the future. It is essential to expand your consciousness in order to rise above the darkness. I found reading spiritual and consciousness expanding books and meditation to provide incredible relief! “The higher you go (in consciousness) the smaller things look below!”
  • EMPOWERMENT— this is the most important lesson that you will learn under the Pluto transit but it does not come immediately or easily. When Pluto made its retrograde square to my Sun, I realized that I had given my power away to a powerless person who could only criticize and find fault with everything that I did; I had given my power away to negative thinking, to absorbing the criticisms of others and to the tyranny of self-recrimination!
* The post "Transiting Pluto crosses the Ascendent ... " is something I discovered. If you read this post earlier in the day today, please note, the link above was added later in the afternoon. If you have transiting Pluto in the 12th House this article might prove worth your time. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Celebrating stories you can wear your whole life!

Not SO long ago in this place at the edge of woods growing with Tall Trees and opportunistic berry bushes a sad and soggy heart was feeling very sorry for herself. Too far from her used-to-be- home where white, sandy beaches gathered up the ocean and let it out again, and again that sad and soggy heart was making it very difficult to be right where she was..." There's a story and a bit of celebration going on at The Safety Pin Cafe. If you've a need for a little inspiration or remedy for a sad and sodden heart maybe this will help. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The tea ceremony

" I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do -- the actual act of writing -- turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony..." 
- Ray Bradbury

I'm in the middle of #12 in the writing of short stories that I prefer calling 'medicine stories.' For reasons I could only call personal medicine I began to write fiction that brought characters and place together to make sense of the nonsense that is my life.  The title of this post "The Tea Ceremony" is the title of #12's installment -- the bit that is remedy -- in the story Nine is for endings.

The characters in this story began as four-year old girls when Pine Needle Dancers wanted out at Halloween, this Halloween just past. True events and mythic characters living out fictional parallels gave me somewhere to take the long needles that fell to the forest floor. Real needles. Real forest floor.

Through the year now closing, or so it seems to close according to my calendar-driven meters, I collect thoughts, ideas, dialogue, and rewound memories. The artistry of noticing and noting patterns make their way through my system of sort-and-keep. One name for this system is the Immune System. For many years, I have renamed and retraced the way I respond to 'assault' and find more or less successful methods to handle the process. The sidebar of this blog lists many of those methods, as I use them, recycle them, and reuse them with time.

This morning as the lowered temperatures of late November and the presence of crunching leaves underfoot slowed my innards down I felt the Sad Road widen. Tears of grief open the edges of that road. Too bad. So sad. Walking down the road only made me sadder. My friend and road walker friend gone. I was out and about, but I was not writing things down and that has proven to be not such a good habit. If I can write, I do.

The quote above from Ray Bradbury was one of my rewards for noticing I was widening that Sad Road. Such stories have come from that place, but. But, to be reminded that its the ceremony not the caffeine that I'm after was just enough to feed me the next part of Nine is for endings. I have washed the dishes, enjoying the hot water baths that clean the bowls, silverware and pancake batter from the whisk. I have looked up to see that Tall Pine who inspires me to love kinks and wobbles in living.

A smell of wild rice simmering replaces Wild Forest Black Tea.

If you are compelled to write, or paint, or sing I hope you will. There is a girl now twenty-two who learned about the tea ceremony at age four. She is here if you care to meet her.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hoku Shaka for Thanksgiving

We sat in the Subaru and waited for Mahina. Waiting, waiting, waiting. An hour after the apointed hour. She woke in the tops of the Doug Fir. Slowly, slowly, slowly. In the winter she moves ... like the crab she moves sideways. Patience? Do you have the patience to wait for her? We had time to be patient last night. And our reward was a fat, golden goddess moving slowly sideways.

The photos above were sent by my son from Ka Lae (South Point) on the Island of Hawaii. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Those damn gaps!

"[...]This suggestion that bad teeth and talent, in particular, are mutually exclusive betrays our broad, unexamined bigotry toward those long known, tellingly, as ‘white trash.’ It’s become less acceptable in recent decades to make racist or sexist statements, but blatant classism generally goes unchecked..."
 I learnt early and often that one doesn’t leave a place, class or culture and enter another, but rather holds the privilege and burden of many narratives simultaneously...
 For the American Dream to put its money where its mouth is, we need not just laws ensuring, say, universal dental care, but individual awareness of the judgments we pass on people whose teeth – or clothes, waist lines, grocery carts, or limps – represent our worst nightmares." - "There is no shame worse than bad teeth in a rich world" Sarah Smarsh
"It was possible to live in a town for years and not bump into a cronie. I've always loved the sound of that word. Old Crow. Old Crone. Cronie. Places change, and sometimes people change. To see a face over fifty or sixty years the contours shift, landscapes fall off, teeth too. But then this is the twenty-first century. Overheard while in line Pale listened to the local editor of all things advert, "Yeah, he's got one amazing practice. Up the island in Oiland. His computer zooms into the top of her tooth and a program designs a crown using graphic design. A perfect fit, and no fiddlin' around in her mouth." She held her tongue which wanted to say 'And, it'll only cost you $5,000 dollars or the promise of her first born grandchildren.' - Pale in Purple

One more ... 

[...]You see; poverty doesn’t produce violence. Lack of story produces violence. Lack of connection. It’s easy to kill when you don’t care, when you have no story of your own to carry you. You’re dead weighted to the world with no wings, no eyes to see gentleness and peace. We are ruled by a social order that is rife with nullified ideology, stumped on their quest for something else, and confused by this quest. They still think it can be taken from something, someone or some place. I feel sorry for those who believe this. They are truly the ones who stand outside, looking in.
As a poet, I could bring you metaphor and symbolism. I could wax rhapsodic about the myriad ways my people illuminated the best of home, experience and place, but sometimes the story is most precious when it leaves gaps and questions. The simple song is the one that sings." Dirt-Sense, Animal-Speak, Origin, Aleah Sato

We live an oddly cobbled life. "Born gifted, you will NEVER live a normal life. NEVER." The words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes repeat nearly every time I begin wishing for something closer-to- normal. The hand-drawn diagram my husband drew for me dangles from a clothespin behind me. It's the second drawing he's done for me. This one simplified so I can wrap my slightly tepid limbic system around the system of power in this life of ours. Three extension cords snake from the electrician-installed power box across the forest floor--buried in the ground, to quote the husband. In that tiny building which shelters my sewing machine, the shower, a double sink for washing dishes, dishing clothes and hand-wringing (the clothes) we attach ourselves to the world of electricity.

Heavy duty extension cords run the manifestation of Mercury (lightning) to the heaters in our sleeping room and our eating/writing room. Tucked under the Tall Ones of White Pine, Cedar, Doug Fir and Hemlock surrounded by Wild Huckleberry, Salal, and Wild Blueberries, my husband and I involve ourselves in the community of this Salish Sea Island. Our beginnings have, more than likely, contributed to the choices that we make and the options that provide choices. We are no longer young, but, are probably on the front-end of elder and fittingly can be part of the Gap Years. I'm rooting, as a pig roots for good things to eat, with this post. I can sniff the essence of what I want to say but it will be messy.

Alright. On with it. Neither Pete nor I can be said to be your normal sort. And rather than define, I think it might be enough to say: Pete was struck by or was near-enough to being struck by lightning to never have a normal life. His astrology if you care about that sites two planets at the 29 degree. That's significant signature astrological. Just read this if you'd curious about the 29 degree of a sign in astrology.  My own astrology bears the 29 degree on the Mid Heaven (if you assume my time of birth is correct). We live the edge. Well of course we do, and in the playing out of those roles my fingers and my heart write the stories of those at the edge, on the borders, those who tread the between. Being plenty Virgo (work, in-service) our Cancer sun-sign husband does things, with lots of different people (lots of Gemini this man) and has opinions that are broadly tooled. A oddly-cobbled couple.

What REALLY started this post? It all began after my first cup of strong Wild Black Forest Black Tea, and my morning re-read of Terri Windling's post. With that cup of strong black tea drunk, staining my teeth another shade away from brilliant white, I relate to the story Sarah Smarsh describes in "There is no shame worse than poor teeth in a rich world."  We are there. We have been there. We cobble a life from the beginnings that include Midwestern working class and Filipino immigrant and Part-Hawaiian colonialism. The quotes that begin this post are the ones that touch the live wires of my personal story. "Classism" crosses color borders even within the colors that are ones' own. Reading Smarsh's essay I relate to learning "that I don't leave a place, a class or culture, or enter another, but rather holds the privilege and burden of many narratives simultaneously."

When I packed my boxes and bags during the travels of 2007, I had made the choice to no longer include the forty years of hand-written journals. This time, the boxes Pete had moved from closet to crawl space to storage locker went instead into the back of his Nissan pick-up destined for the dump. That's what can happen during a year of endings (a '9' personal year in numerology). With those words on the sheets of dead trees went a life lived in a house with a roof with all the rooms under that one roof. My inheritance, my legacy of home ownership would need a different story.

Those damn gaps in the space between one story ending and a new one beginning can be a ball-buster and breath taker. A new '9' Year starts up with January, 2016 the newer versions of the story has led us to the woods of a Salish Sea Island. Seasons have come and gone and the lessons we learn fold in, or are recycled with the outgoing tides. The Midwestern working man keeps his hands busy as he ever did. His gait has shifted, his speed variable though still includes a mean sleigh of hand to keep people guessing. The many narratives I hold find their way into the medicine of stories so I can share the burden and the privilege. Between us we have fewer teeth than when the white Nissan pick-up took boxes of hand-written letters on bound pages of dead trees. We have little money to pay for a proper smile. And in spite of that lack, there is a crazy sound that rises from the tiny buildings in the forest. No, not the sobbing, the laughter.

To our family, friends and readers ... many good wishes for all the reasons to be thankful!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Count to ten

"The storm wore the night like spandex."(Read the ending of my latest, and shortest, medicine story here. OR start at the beginning here.)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Change the blood

"The essential function of art is moral. Not aesthetic, not decorative, not pastime and recreation. But moral. The essential function of art is moral. But a passionate, implicit morality, not didactic. A morality which changes the blood, rather than the mind. The mind follows later, in the wake."D.H. Lawrence, an analysis of Walt Whitman in Studies in Classic American Literature. This quote from the essay "The One with ..." written by Joel Derfner (Serialboxpublishing)
A shift is taking place. It might be an individual one, personal growth taking place in the second-half of life; reflecting on the many people around us who are at the tail ends of life. We live uniquely, and it doesn't change when it comes to the last breath. Or, maybe its one of the collective shifts taking place because Saturn is now in Sagittarius (where real education is the talisman for everyone!) after almost three years of deep and heavy Scorpio Season. Taken together my observations of people I know making room for the young couples with Saturn's transit through the heaven, I question the value of my art as Scorpio storyteller. Esoteric or astrological the meaning comes for me in the wake of the Big Wind Storm of November, 2015. Like so many of the beings -- trees, friends, family members -- a new story is unfolding. I have been upended and wonder: Where is up? I wonder about the stories I write. I wonder about the morality of my stories. Add to that the conversation I had with my son who is visiting the islands of my birth, and not living where he and his wife have lived for the past two years (just outside Paris, France) and my gut stirs while the moon grows fat pulling the covers from my natal Capricorn lunar predisposition. She, the moon says: No hiding now ... it is the time of na'au au. Daytime gut during the night.

The medicine of myth-making and fantasy has served me remedies making adjustments to my attitude and my sensitivities. Characters not totally unlike myself conjure pathways around the obstacles; making choices, decisions and narrations I did not or could not make myself, One after another the short stories, and the genealogy of a family of characters led me through the dark nights in the dark woods. Surrounded as I truly am, in the woods that are my closest neighbors, the mythic realm has sorted so much of my illness. Through story I did not fear the shame of revealing my mind to the reader, whoever she might be. There is a powerful soup when you can share that recipe. But, in the past few days I have come to taste and read a slightly different take to story as I slowly resettle myself from the upendedness. From the recovery quilts of a gentle woman of words, and mythic art, a 'Recommended Reading' list is feeding me new, intelligent, and relevant stories from storytellers.

I've been working my way through Terri Windling's generous list of reading, and as this post suggests my blood is changing. Joel Derfner's essay starts out as a review of Buffy the Vampire Slayer a genre way out of my gyroscope. But, Terri wisely encouraged her readers to read it whether you're a Buffy fan or not. I trust Windling's sensibilities, I read it and well ... my blood is changing. 1) I've been introduced to another writer unknown to me prior 2) he introduces me to old wisdom from Walt Whitman; I like Whitman whose words are shared once a week via our local email subscription grapevine 3) the space surrounded me, as I wait for word about my 'success' with grant writing is accepted as a period of grace ... and not punishment. Which led me to yet another of Terri Windling's suggested readings, "Saved by the Invisibles" by Jonathan Carroll

Late yesterday afternoon I read "The First Person on Mars" by Sarah Marsh. Again it was Windling's one sentence review "I love Marsh's autobiographical essays, drawn from her working class background...and this one is particularly good" that hooked me. Autobiography. Working Class stitched to that title did it for me. The essay begins in a field in Kansas in the 1980's, it's her story, the autobiography part. Deft and unexpectedly the technology of social networking starts up a paragraph and a pathway to Mars. Marsh introduces a character real or mythic, not easily separate, who also starts in a field. Different country. Same planet. By the time I have finished the essay I have relived my own working class girlhood, and know something different as my sixty-eighth year on this planet gets on with its unfurling. Sometimes, Kansas isn't big enough to contain the blood or the mind of a girl who narrates her own story (aloud or onto paper). The first person on Mars, or the tenured professor from a history of alcohol and women who name their children after themselves has told a story that leaves me feeling less lonely. My son's phone call came with an invitation 'put out there' for me. "How could I possible do that?" I hear myself say. My gut churned as I considered visiting the Fire Island. I wonder have I? Have I made peace with fire enough to sit with my son and his wife with blood that has changed?

P.S. A good friend sent me this link to watch on Vulnerability. I liked the message.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sun rules the heart in astrology

"...The Sun and Mercury are also conjunct in Scorpio. People forget the Sun rules the heart in astrology.  So we're talking about a person's heart and mind (Mercury).
It's possible to have a bad day today, but it's not necessary.  How's that sound?" - Elsa's Newsletter
Pine Needle Dancers fill the Silver Wall and the pages of the story

 It's my birthday. I learned something today, thanks Elsa! Thought I'd pass it on.

Monday, November 9, 2015

How do you divide the sky?

Next week, the Sun returns to the spot in the sky where it was when I was born. My birthday approaches. As I wrestled myself into a comfortable position to sleep the question raced through my mind. You know about those sorts of clouds? Here for a moment. Here long enough to cause something interesting, or, at the very least distracting. In astrology the birthday is called the Solar Return.

In the sky the Heavenlies move about on their Paths while our Earth does the same. From their point of view we move about in our Path and they watch. Well, from either position we are moving. A birthday is for many folks a major marker and point of reference: How am I doing in this journey? Am I having fun with this one precious life?
Pine Needle Dancers
 I thought I'd try to answer the question, and the one that entitles this post: "How do you divide the sky?" Thing is ... for the past many weeks, and in particular the past two months I've been deep into answering questions. Six of them. For the first time in my 67 years I am applying for a grant to aid me "address the professional development needs of individual Native artists."

With the help of long-time friend who instigated this whole idea, the process is taking my deeply investigative Scorpio and Mercury nature through the wringer. Words, explanation, examples. Answering questions and coming face-to-face with the beliefs that feed my creativity. Exploring the Grant Process is a trek into new territory. Some of it not totally unfamiliar (I worked with the results of grant process in the Non-Profit world). But to prepare the feast that would feed me that's being a new experience.
While the Moon moves into her New Moon Holoku (hat beautifully dark and enveloping gown) on Wednesday around midnight (11/11/15) I am finishing up this grant application process. My astrologers Elsa and Satori help with the answers to the question "How do you divide the sky?"

  • Satori's forecast for today gives me this: 

"...With Scorpio Mercury sextile Pluto, conversations you have now lay the groundwork for the seeds you plant at the new moon. Pay attention and file away any juicy details you come across. They may be just what you need. Pay particular attention to the ways in which people communicate without words. Don’t assign them meaning just yet, but embed the occurrences in your memory. Mars is at the end of Virgo batting clean-up. Get after those details and wrap up your projects. The new moon is ahead of us, so move out ahead of the curve and clear your decks now. Virgo Mars is excellent at making things happen and at doing them well...

  • Elsa's Newsletter reminds me that Saturn has moved out of Scorpio and into Sagittarius. After the losses of the past nearly three years it's possible to be feeling sorry for myself. Yikes! That's an energy drainer, and a kick in the okole. Reclaiming that energy can do a world of good anytime, but especially now with the Moon coming New in Scorpio. Link to ElsaElsa for ideas of how to set your intention for the positive new cycle coming up.
Depending upon how you divide the sky (which House System of Astrology do you prefer), the New Moon will be in my 10th or 11th House. There is opportunity to reconnect with friends and/or be the 'eagle' version of Scorpio in public. I rather like the joint opportunities that come from being flexible about dividing the sky.

How about you? 

Hover over the images above to read what's happening in those tiny spaces.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Holo on Hua

Yesterday, on the Hua Moon, we got outta Dodge, went for a ride and a shift in scene. Click here for more of what we saw on the fattened moon. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015


The first true cold seems to be settling in. Colder than cool, the thermometer reads 47. The long dry summer and extended fall warmth does things to us humans. Here in the Quonset the evidence: long Johns under my flannel robe, and a fleece blanket hung in the doorway to keep the cold draft from chilling off this curved room. This place is getting ma'u with the emphasis (or kahako) on the 'u.

Fog fills in the space between the top of the forest floor and the sky. Lono. Cool air descends. What warmth there is in the Earth's skin rises. Captured, there is the Ma'u ka leo o keia wahi, the earth here is damp. Right out of the pages of the Hawaiian Dictionary, that word ma'u picked me ... first thing up while my eyes were still filled with piapia the crust and evidence of being recently asleep.

My posts here have been infrequent as I focus my energy and attention to writing a grant for the first time. The deadline approaches, and there is still more to edit, details to assemble, old fears of being able to pull it off rattle my serenity. Progress not perfection, a piece of old wisdom steps in. That is good. It's a new season, a new fall shifting into winter and for all its familiarity, this is a new venture, new territory. It's a competition grants are. I'd never thought of it that way, but, then I've never applied for a grant before.

We have learned to accommodate ourselves as best we can here in the damp. Long Johns on, blanket over the door, hot rocks in a sock for warming the chest at night. Somewhere there's a thread of commonality I'm stitching here in the early morning time. My cup of Black Forest Wild Tea warms me and the caffeine does something, too. A bit of constructive word dabble to keep the worts of worry from taking hold I take a break from the grant competition, consider opening a metaphoric window so as not to cramp my style. Sip on that dark tea brew.

There's a sag in this old bag and she can get lost in worry, if I let her.
Can't let that sag get the best of me fretting away the goodness
Lingering on the angle of what's the usefulness of that ...

There's a sag in this old bag so why not just put a bit of color in it.
Stitch it with floss and swing a spider in a web
To keep things potent, keep life fresh

Here's a bit of floss and webs on an old baggy pair of favorite pants. I have more stitches to add and maybe a cuff to add length for warmth ...

And some lines from the medicine story Spider Season are just a click away!

What's the season like where you find yourself as Scorpio Season has begun?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Living it forward.

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."
-Soren Kierkegaard
Barrels of rain fell yesterday. The long needles of golden Pine mounded like sand on a incoming tide. Pine dunes.

My friend called me just before the heaviest rains started. "Hey Moki, I have your milk in the frig. I'll be here all day. You might have to back down the driveway, I've got people at my house."

"Okay, I'm writing but I'll be down to get it." This is my goat lady friend, and it's a pint of fresh milk she saves me every few days. Her driveway is a steep winding gravel and dirt road. When it rains hard it's a trip to navigate even in a Subaru. But. The milk and her company is always worth it.

Between the phone call and eventual pickup the rains she came in down pours. I wrote, and then ate lunch and drank tea. My husband came home soaking wet after a morning work party at the food bank garden. He and I chatted and I got the latest news and tattle from the local young farmer society into which Pete gets to meddle and partake. Always an interesting chapter. We're lucky to have opportunities to invest in this generation of food growers who truly commit to hard, smart and hands-on living. One of the young woman who is the luna (straw boss) for the food bank garden lives in a sweet little studio on the land with my goat lady friend. In exchange for tending the goats, including milking them at least once if not twice a day, the young luna has a great place to live and a community of very interesting people to share a kitchen and a life with.

The squall that dumped on us just after lunchtime finally shouted, "RAIN OUT!" Pete was home when I woke from a mid-day nap. I was still drowsy from dreams and muttering to myself about getting dressed and out to get the milk.

"Hey, I didn't hear you come home. I've gotta go get my milk." Pete was in the Quonset munching something while he rode the internet.

"I wanna come along."

"Okay then. That sounds good." Pete's a lot better at navigating that old gravel road. I could do it, but, he's better at it. So in the end he drove, waited while I retrieved my pint of milk. I knock on the door of my friend's house. Through the glass in the door I saw unfamiliar faces. The friends. Turns out it was a day of Craft Group. Tea cups, large and colorful lined the center of the long wooden table in the dining space. Everywhere else there was evidence of activity. A blanket, a quilt in the making maybe. A sewing machine. A cozy jumble of this and that's on a low table to the side.

A friendly woman tall and bespeckled greeted me, "You must be Moki."

"I am," I said.

"We saw your milk labeled. It was a good thing. We didn't drink it by mistake." There were two friends in the kitchen making food. The rest of the group including my friend were out for a walk between the qualls. The tall bespeckled one told me what was happening here. It was all very friendly and fun. A new something I didn't know about our goat lady's community.

Pete was content to wait, and when I told him of the goings on in the house, it was just as well. He maneuvered the Subaru around cars and trucks and pot holes as we chatted making our way into town from there. There was food for dinner to buy, movies to return to the library, and general living to enjoy. The pint of goat milk tucked into the front of the seat, and in town the rain seemed to refresh both the sidewalks and the folks on two legs.

And as a bonus to the day, my cellphone rang just as we neared the stop sign at the end of Craw Road. An 808 number. Hmmmm. That's Hawaii.

"Hello," I answered still not anticipating such a treat.

It was my son. Freshly arrived on O'ahu. I cheered, glad to know the transworld travel got them there from France.

"Are you at the Northshore?" I asked.

"No, not yet. We're at the cemetery." He was calling from his tutu lady's and tutu man's grave in Kaneohe. Ahh.... I felt my body embraced with that inimitable sense of home. The one I don't allow myself too often. It hurts to be separated, even as I live here with goat's milk, lovely friends, and a Subaru.

"Did you bring a bottle of beer, and some pie?"

"No. I'm just gonna sing a song." My heart was melting. I heard my son strum the ukulele, tuning it up.

"E kolu mea nui." He began, and I joined him. "Ma ka honua..." We sang two verses of  "E Kolu Mea Nui" together and then we both sank into the silence of the meaning of that mele. The three most important things in life. But. The most important being love. I could see the Koolau mountains of my familiar. Oh boy. Breathing in, Pete said, "Feels good, ha." My son said, "Yeah." Thank you akua.

Wow, and wow.

A sample day in the life. Living it forward. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mercury is direct! (Today), October 9, 2015

"Besides the fact that zero Libra is one of the critical degrees in astrology, the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the n. node will all be in Mercury-ruled Virgo when the planet turns direct. This is a big one!" - ElsaElsa


This makua o'o has herself filled with the daily practices of kilo. Paying attention. I am still vibrating with the experience of the three-day 'Aimalama Lunar Conference. Feeding on the energy as it was intended to do Pete and I feel the empowerment of being in the company of many kanaka who live and practice TEK (traditional environmental knowledge) and kilo. Slow and steady, consistency pays off as we root ourselves in the reality of place, this place where we live now (Whidbey Island, WA) while simultaneously feeling the heartbeat of my Hawaiian Nature. It's an awesome affirmation!

With the planet of communication just now (appearing) to move direct I have spent the retrograde weeks on editing and fine-tuning a project that combines a lot of my lifework as writing, myth-maker, kilo, navigator and translator. Behind the scenes I am stirring together the many ways I communicate my philosophy. Astrologically? That's 9th House stuff. That's where "Libra at zero" means for me. Elizabeth Rose Campbell identified the 9th House as "Worldly Wisdom," and writes in her Intuitive Astrology, "The ninth house encourages unifying all you have learned. Often called the house of holistic thinking, the ninth house synthesizes your life experience into beliefs that become the guiding principles you look to--your cosmology."

I really love that description as a way to appreciate what it takes to navigate and translate life where I am. It is the perfect synonym for the Hawaiian word and practice of 'kilo' applied from the kanaka viewpoint. Woven intimately SPIRIT and MUNDANE are inseparable. In the sky where this invisible 9th House resides my personal cosmology is coming together just in time for my solar return in mid-November.

So, as Mercury move forward, I too move my process forward. Rewarded by years of slow and steady progress to rebuild (makawalu) a new life after illness and loss, we have a community that is now more aware of my culture's cosmology: they have been introduced to Kaulana Mahina the Hawaiian Lunar Calendar that's to Mercury in action 2015. 'Live streaming' internet access linked Manoa on the island of Oahu with South Whidbey Island in the middle of the Salish Sea.

With that advancement, I continue to unify what I have learned, and leave this post here to let our readers know why most of my attention will be behind-the-scenes:

What is going on in your world as Mercury goes direct?

Saturday, October 3, 2015


"Go find your father!"

The Winds have come. Glorious Fall Day today on this moku Whidbey Island. The temperature is crisp, and I feel glad to be layered with warm clothes, except my socks are damp. Darn, such is the way of things imperfectly perfect in my place I am comfortable from head to ankle. Such a small price to pay for the Glorious Fall Experience -- damp feet.

I am back from a small journey from the woods driving my Subaru to visit my goat-tending, goat-loving friend. Her dear goats give her company and lovely milk. It was the milk I was after, another 
venture into creating a wildcrafted remedy to soothe my smoke and ash affected lungs. Learning as I am this year to ask for the knowing held in medicine plants who live with me, I needed a pint of freshly milked goat milk, raw and enzyme rich milk to add to the mullein infusion made before Mahina turned 'Ole. 

Journeying on this path of respectfully acknowledging how connected I (and we) am to all others, this discomfort and congestion from smoke-inhalation slows me or tempers my wanting to get the quick fix. The process is slow, this process of huaka'i, this process of migrating. Going from what has and is the cultural overlay of ignoring or devaluing the huge loss as a result of Tree Losses; believing there is nothing I can do to readapt my relationship with Tree; or worse not recognizing there are actions I do that led to the loss of water Tree requires to create oxygen.

Muddling toward a lei of words that string together my morning's experience so many pieces want to be part of this story. Which pieces?

I turned right rather than left at the highway, and took the longer road to my friend's house
On the way there I had more time to listen to Clarissa Pinkola Estes' Mother Night Myths, stories & teachings for Learning to See in the Dark
On the longer way there I spot Mullein! More Mullein and she blooms. She blooms in early October!
I miss my friends driveway the first time, but it made no never mind, I turned around and found the orange flag left there from an earlier trip
My friend and I speak of wonderful things: the awesome effect of the 'Aimalama Lunar Conference; she is answering the questions about the conference in her head, but, they're not on paper ... it's okay!
My friend and I speak the words of my Mother's tongue: mahi 'ai = the one who farms yes, but more than that the one who grows a relationship with that which will feed; kilo = observe; observer of life as it happens where you are
My friend and I speak about the mixed blessing or curse of 'affliction' and how we deal with the experience. Rid it quick? Learn from it slowly? I relate to her quandary and we talk more as I hold on the pint of fresh goat milk
My friend holds up a palm-size Ozette Macaw potato the children from the School Garden harvested this week. Fingerlings grew huge with the very different climate this summer. What appeared on the surface (imperfect green leaves) were hiding roots and food to feed many. It was in the digging that the bounty came.
"There's a metaphor in there," said my friend's partner who had just woken as I prepared to leave.

Huaka'i, journey leave home and find your path find 'your father.' Live your own heroine's or hero's story. With Mahina the Moon in her 'Ole face I see her there out of the driver's seat of the Subaru. Here with me on my morning's huaka'i I greet her, "E Hina!" I love the company and kilo observe her shape in the clear mid-morning sky. The stories from Mother Night have fed me all day and night and they are stirring me, refreshing my commitment to write, to tell, to notice and record. The 'Ole Moon Faces (phases) are a time to prepare the ground for planting. I do. My belly has the milk of my friend's dear goats mixed with Mullein infusion from Jayne's pea patch garden swirled with a forkful of Buckwheat flower honey. I believe it hums in me. I prepare my ground for planting restoration ... slowly, respectfully I huaka'i. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Common magic, clothespins and Indigenous Practices ... what?

We strung clotheslines, hung blankets and cloth to temporarily create ...
a space for gathering with a small group 
Slow and steady process is not a combination esteemed in the every day busy-ness of contemporary life. But, there is sustaining value in this land turtle approach, for in the wisdom of many Indigenous Epistemology it is Turtle who bears the weight of our Earth's skin. It is Turtle Island upon which we People step.

He hua li'i li'i na'e koka 'io
The egg of the hawk is nonetheless small.
Significant things may arise from humble beginnings.
-'Olelo No'eau

This weekend my husband and I revelled in the company of hundreds of Pacific Island Peoples focused on the practice of ai malama ('eating the moon). In every way, in an multiple meanings, the experiences with 'eating and being nourished by Mahina the Moon' took place for our Whidbey Island community thanks to the collaborative efforts, slow and steady efforts, with many people over the past months.

'Ai Malama Pacific Lunar Calendar Conference 'streamed live' via an internet cable in the humble space picture in the first photograph above. Common magic! Based on a vision and a dream to connect as Pacific people, we harvested the dream with a gathering of 10 people.

Click here, and here to see what it was like to be part of a slow and steady process of being INDIGENOUS to Earth. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ka piko o wakea, Homemade ceremony for Equinox, celebrating Edges

Hover over the pictures to discover a few thoughts about making homemade ceremony.

The many weeks of illness has slowed me, and to a few friends I tell them I have a new name, a new identity. "Call me Wild Snail," I tell them. Slowed way way down, inspired by the writing of Elisabeth Tova Bailey's The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Terri Windling's posts on illness and the border lands with its many definitions, and my own project writing and recording my medicine stories I find myself at the edges again. It's fitting to acknowledge the feel of the edges at this time of the Autumnal Equinox when light and dark are equal. My Ancestral stories fuel me practices to anchor me with ceremony. Though we are across the ocean from the Piko o Wakea at the equator, and on the islands of my birth, translations and homemade versions of respectful ceremony make their way to where we live.

One of my most respected teachers reaches me across the waves of the internet. She is Pualanai Kanaka'ole Kanahele. Again and again I find Pua's messages, and her passion for Hawaiian Culture and practices via the canoe of cybernetics. How wise are our Ancestors to embrace what is good and new and include these things in the calabash for surviving and thriving. My dear old friend Joan sent me a link to a TEDX talk with Pua last week. I assumed (wrongly) that I had already watched and listened this this lesson. When I click and watched I was treated to one more gift of connection. The connection in time to make the most of the Equinox. It was an opportunity to make homemade ceremony, and build meaningful connection. Below is the link to Dr. Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele speaking of Ha'ena the Intense Breath of Life/the Sun.

We give recognition and thanks from where we live. Into the water, I offered gifts of life, and asked for renewal as the time of peace (Makahiki) approaches. We are at the edge, the border between Summer and Fall and the Harvest. To acknowledge the value of a wild snail such as the role I find myself living I see and feel the power and the humility of it all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Makua O'o Update

I'm dealing with health issues. So, not much is going on here at Makua o'o for the next little while.

Here are a few readings and a podcast that you might find interesting:

My favorite mythic arts and writers' blog Myth & Moor, authored by mythic writer, editor and all-around dear woman Terri Windling has this to say about "Stories are medicine."

Terri Windling also has a series of posts on illness that are relevant to life on the other side of health and robust extroversion: They start here.

A fantastic essay written by Brandy Nalani McDougall ferrets the beautiful and rich genealogy of kaona. I am feasting on her words and the power of its sovereignty. To read "Putting feathers on our words ..." Google "brandy mcdougall + kaona", then download the pdf onto your system. If you are Hawaiian, or love the power of imagery and multi-layers of meaning in literature, McDougall's mana'o is worth your exploration!

My son thought I might enjoy listening to these podcasts with writers Sherman Alexis and Jess Walters. The episode about 'Grief' was very insightful. A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment might be of interest to our readers.

Take care.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Rain has come. When I woke this morning, eyes and head still stuffy from dreams and congestion I found a link from a good friend. "read" was the subject. The link was this one, and my introduction to the word, and emotion from the Portuguese, Saudade.

The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness. A. F. G. Bell In Portugal of 1912

As is true so often for me, and probably for many Humans, another People's language may hold the sound and meaning for a human feeling that is not expressed in the language one is used to hearing, and using. The writer and storyteller me depends upon that bridgework of crossing borders of culture and language to make sense of life. Expression is my art, but, it is also the way to tap the sugar in me; the sugar as in the sugar of Maple's whose first instructions were 'feed the people in seasons when they need it.'

Being writing and reader of words, the gifts of metaphoric sugar come from the intuitive search for meaning. Some way to put meanings together linking science with poetry, or myth with medicine plants, learning through the process how to listen and hear (two very similiar, but different verbs) the language being spoken.

I am reading more Robin Wall Kimmerer. This time I read her first book Gathering Moss. A smaller edition of her writing, started it appears, when she was still married to the photographer who later leaves her and their two young girls when the responsibilities got too heavy for him. The book Gathering Moss is a thin paperback with much more 'science' than her second book Braiding Sweetgrass. But within the cover of that thin book are drawings done by her father, and stories that teach me about Moss -- the most Ancient of Plant on Earth's land skin.

The bridge-maker RWK scientist, mother, poet, indigenous Potawatomi woman embroiders (one of her favorite words, used often in Braiding Sweetgrass) the ways and culture of small in her daily life with Moss. From RWK I am soothed and comforted to know I can step out my tiny-rooms home and the medicine I need will have grown nearby, precisely because I am in need.

Will I notice? This summer, this season of being Human, I am. Clues arrive from here and there. My family gives me messages via this world of the Internet. Between us there are medicine words. I pick them off the screen and follow the links to other places. Remedy for smoke inhalation leads to an Ode to Peach. I read. I digest. I step outside.

Peaches have born hundreds of fruit this year. We pick them, but can't keep up with the ripening. But we do pick many, and eat them. Others we cut and freeze for later. But, something else happens when the language and culture of medicine in plants makes connection with Human. "There is more here," they tell me. I read the links, I see the connection, I walk across that bridge. I pick the leaves.

"There's something deeply restorative about Peach that I can't perfectly describe, something that helps to heal hurt caused by grief or loss, or anger that stems from a deep wound. It works very well with it's cousin Rose for these uses, especially if there's any depression or sexual component involved. Where Hawthorn seems to work better for the raging grief caused by rejection or acute loss, Peach is often most specific where there's some level of obsession or chronic focus on something lost or long awaited for, and that obsession manifests as ongoing irritation, tension leading to burnout and consuming sadness. That's not say that Peach doesn't make a fabulous general nervine, it certainly does. Peach leaf tea is a traditional Southern/Appalachian remedy for hysteria, anxiousness and nervousness.  It's quite safe and is particularly helpful for children, pregnant women and those of sensitive or delicate constitutions. It's cooling, slightly moistening, relaxing and deeply restorative for burned out people still in the process of burning themselves out. This includes many peri or currently menopausal women with hot flashes, irritation, emotional liability and general hot-temperedness."Anima Center

Three-leaf Peach tea ... these are the just turned Autumn-color leaves that barely cling to the branches
 I write what I call medicine stories because the two words together spell remedy for me as I live with the often everyday experience of longing for being home in Hawaii. The feeling and comfort, the culture and the language are 'just' a plane ride away. But, the distance too far, too often. The practical and logistical reality of travel, and safe housing? More than can be maneuvered in my body.

Still there is a way to enjoy and dream my way through story and medicine so I piece together words, images and potential. I pick the Peach. Eat the fruit, and experiment with teas for a strength that comforts the Saudade of the day. It changes this feeling of Saudade, and so just as the language of homeopathy speaks, adapt and adjust as needed. Physician heal thy self.

There's a new shade of hibiscus over my ear. It influences me. I listen to the possibilities, and listen for the medicine giving me instructions. And the most important part, I almost forgot, I say thank you, mahalo. I am grateful!