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!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Paying attention

"We are thankful to our Mother the Earth, for she gives us everything that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk upon her. It gives us joy that she still continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send thanksgiving, love, and respect. Now our minds are one.
"Today we have gathered and when we look upon the faces around us we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now let us bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People. Now our minds are one."

"Paying attention--that is a human gift...Grief opens the door to healing. Feeling the Grief can propel one to Act out of that Grief and turn despair into Hope." - Robin Wall Kimmerer

"Sometimes, I am the masked woman," I wrote to my family on O'ahu and France giving them glimpses into the life with MCS we live here in the Pacific Northwest. It is important, I believe, to include my family in our experiences as Sensitives, including them in the 'real magic' of connectedness.

"True magic is the action in which the ones practicing it can ... " from The Bowl of Light by Hank Wesselman, Hale Makua shares his wisdom in this book. Click on the image for a larger view. 

We are paying attention to the People, Human and Others, in our world and make time to notice how we can contribute where we are. The challenges of being Human arise for all of us because, as Indigenous Culture all over Earth know, Humans are the younger sister and brother of all Beings. We have so much to learn, and as the muli we so often forget we don't know it all. The plants, rocks, animals have figured out how to live here. They'll teach us, if we ask and follow through on the answers.

When I am the Masked Woman I am humbled and aware of just how much I need to learn. I woke this morning hungry for breakfast, and even more, hungry for sustaining gratitude. I went to Robin Wall Kimmerer, sister of the Bear Clan to lead me where I could be fed.

The quotations below the photos above are from The Words Before All Else The Thanksgiving Address of the Onondaga.

Friday, August 21, 2015


The hot summer has provided the weather for abundant harvesting. A little work: pick and gather; wash and cut; simmer, add cinnamon and lemon juice, stir; wait; stir; scoop; zip; freeze and we give thanks to Apple, Water (rain), Sun, Air, and the One who planted, and the One who picks and cooks.

An honorable harvest, putting food up for later.

What's ripe where you are? Putting any up for later?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Home-made Makahiki Ceremony; a Humpy for Loretta

A pal sent me the following weekly horoscope. She knows me pretty well. My favorite astrologer wrote about Kudzu yesterday, and ended her post with a couple questions. Is there “kudzu” in your life?  Something that seems appealing but will choke you out if you don’t stay on top it? Me and one other ElsaElsa regular agreed it was "obsessive thoughts" that are our personal "kudzu." 

Scorpio Horoscope for week of August 20, 2015
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
Hundreds of years ago, Hawaiians celebrated an annual holiday called Makahiki. It began in early November and lasted four months. No one worked very much for the duration. There were nonstop feasts and games and religious ceremonies. Community-building was a featured theme, and one taboo was strictly enforced: no war or bloodshed. I encourage you Scorpios to enjoy a similar break from your daily fuss. Now is an especially propitious time to ban conflict, contempt, revenge, and sabotage as you cultivate solidarity in the groups that are important for your future. You may not be able to make your own personal Makahiki last for four months, but could you at least manage three weeks? 
The pictures below track the making of a very special fish for a very special friend. Pete began creating this 'float-size' Humpy Salmon with a vision of having several friends swim this magic salmon to our dear friend Loretta. Her full and generous life of service, teaching, baking of miraculous pies, cookies, potato salad and awesome shortbread have endeared this woman to many people of all ages here on Whidbey Island. I put a few finishing designs to the bones and skin of this labor of love, and our friend Gary (visiting from California, but also a Whidbey Favorite) and Pete hoisted Loretta's Humpy out of the orchard, through the fence and gate and out to Gary's trailer. 

The plan is to assemble a bunch of friends on Saturday and gather in the spirit of 'solidarity' and aloha, remembering and practicing no war or bloodshed with community-building as the featured theme. An afternoon exercise in 'personal kudzu' clearing time inspired by the spirit of Brother Salmon, cutting and sticking designs onto a magic fish for someone else, someone who has done so much for me and many others. 

Dorsal fin will be attached at the last minute 
SALMON inspires and blesses the design and regalia for Loretta's Humpy

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

String Theory and creative process

Many strings help me sort. Some strings dangle temptingly, I snap at them like a hungry Dragon Fly waiting for Termites in the fading light. Other strings have a magnetism for each other. I notice the attraction and tie the ends together. Still others rise from pools once filled with sweet fresh drinking water. Those had lain in the muck of the seemingly dead. A small rain plumps the string and fuzzy moss grows to see a new day.

There I am. Here I be. In the middle of many strings, the cords of connection are feeding new Dreaming. Makua o'o often find the most exciting discoveries when she is still, or stilled and silence. My body and my 'Aumakua collaborate to still me long enough to listen and look within. The ash and burn-filled sky, the domain of Lono, sets a stage for slowing down. One ear and then the other struggle to sort the invasions. One of my medicine woman looks down my ear canals and says, "No wax, but many a fungus infection?" Then asks "What do you do for fungus infection." I tell her "Garlic, turmeric in olive oil." She listened to my lungs, moving her instrument over many places on my back. "It sounds pretty darn good. No wheezing ..." a plastic clip meter is on my finger, "Cool way to measure oxygen saturation. 97. That's good." So there I am. Here I am, navigating through the effects of Old Growth Forests' burning, and my reaction to the loss. Last week I made this appointment with my Nurse Practitioner so she could use her instruments to tell me what was 'physical.' It helps to get a second informed and trustworthy opinion. "You're such an empath," my medicine woman said as I described the role my body plays in the processing of Grief. The suffering of the trees is so much bigger than my own. At the end of the appointment she suggested acupuncture and an acupuncturist who might serve me.

Then, as my dear husband witnesses again the suffering I experience he kicks into protect mode. I'm unprepared for his solution. It kicks my rib out. AWW. Not that solution. Not the one I try to hide as my fondest desire. I am guilt-stricken. Slowed down even more for a few days, more strings dangle, those old dried up ones wiggle tempting me to consider. I huli.

There. Here. These are the strings ... my mind, body and my creative souls notice and play with the process.

Ho'omoku one string

  • What you teach, is what you need to learn
  • An island grows slowly

Braiding Sweetgrass The book written by Robin Wall Kimmerer a second string

  • The Three Sisters
  • Thanksgiving Address
  • Skywoman Falling

The Bowl of Light The Book written by Hank Wesselman about Hale Makua

  • Change your mind about someone
  • Expanding upon the meaning of  Precession 
  • Expanding the meaning of The Bowl of Light and the action of huli

Saturn finishes his transit through Scorpio

  • Retracing Saturn's path and my personal journey/path
  • But this time, recognize the maturity of Saturn's place as teacher; Slow and steady (ho'omoku ... he puko'a kani 'aina)
  • Move slow to go far ... take our time this time and 'get it right' 
  • Jupiter is in Virgo for the next year, that may be the timeline to consider and apply as Saturn moves from Scorpio into Sagittarrius. I communicate and 'throw net' to let my family know what is happening. I think big. I check out delusions. 

More traffic on our local road

  • It's time to huli

Trees are cut more often, and close-by

  • It's time to huli

My dreaming

  • It's time to huli
My writings
  • Medicine stories are doses of string theory applied
  • Characterization feeds the Dreaming; Dreaming feeds the characterization
  • All the strings end up in the medicine.
  • Songs come from all the sources.
  • Shine's Sign Song is the latest sort, snap, tie, play and write it all together process for navigation. Playful child, meets curious grow(ing)n ups, and cosmology meets botany!
Huli many definitions

Pukui & Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary 1. to turn; to curl over, as a breaker, Fig., to change, as an opinion or manner of living ... 2. ho'ohuli To turn, change, overturn, convert, to look for, seek; search, investigate

Huli from the canoe

The canoe huli.

How do you relate to String Theory?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kahuna Hale Makua

The 24,000 years of the cycle of Ku ended in 2012. We are now in the cycle of Lono. This is a presentation recorded prior to Hale Makua's passing in 2004.

Listen in.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Saturn Direct in Scorpio, An Orange Full Moon

"The actual color of the moon depends on air quality." - NASA
Many forests, including the Old Tall Ones, The First Growth Trees, on Vancouver Island, B.C. are burning. We are not far from the burning. The air quality is a daily challenge to breath.

Forests smoke from space

Last night Pete and I had to leave home when our neighbor started burning his garbage, in his fireplace. His practices are not uncommon, not every one who has a fireplace burns their garbage; but, there are no air quality police and this man does what he wants when he wants.

When we first moved here I had contacted with him, telling him about my health condition and the need to be informed if he ever used chemical pesticides or herbicides. "I never use pesticides."

I also talked to him about burning (wood). He told me, "I don't burn fires." Obviously that has changed over the years, and there is no communication between us. There is very little communication with any of our neighbors.

Every one of our neighbors is a land-owner. Private property is their value. But none of them will maintain the common gravel road that is regularly used by all, is rutted from use and depressed with pot holes. That remains a practice Pete has done. He does it because he was trained to mend. He does it because it's important to our old Subaru.

We are the only renters in the neighborhood; we live under-the-wire with a lifestyle that is different than the one land owners abide by. I'm writing about this because it seems to fit with the current conditions of the sky ... in more than one level of the meaning. The orange sky is a night time reminder of the air that is now filled with the charred remains of one of our oldest and tallest Teachers. Trees are burning. Trees are burning because ... Earth's climate is in chaos. It is not changing, it has changed. Not for the first time, life on Turtle Island is in huli upheaval.

Oh, how differently would the view from Skywoman's home of origin be ... if we all began listening and knowing Skywoman, rather than Eve as the First Mother. Robin Wall Kimmerer, a woman who is feeding me stories that consolidate my gains, rather than focus on my losses, writes in Braiding Sweetgrass, "On one side of the world were people whose relationship with the living world was shaped by Skywoman, who created a garden for the well-being of all. On the other side was another woman with a garden and a tree. But for tsting its fruit, she was banished from the garden and the gates clanged shut behind her. That mother of men was made to wander in the wilderness and earn her bread by the sweat of her brow, not by filling her mouth with the sweet juicy fruits that bend the branches low. In order to eat, she was instructed to subdue the wilderness into which she was cast.  Same species, same earth, different stories...They tell us who we are (our stories). We are inevitably shaped by them no matter how distant they may be from our consciousness. One story leads to the generous embrace of the living world, the other to banishment...And then they met--the offspring of Skywoman and the children of Eve--and the land around us bears the scars of that meeting, the echoes of our stories. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and I can only imagine the conversation between Eve and Skywoman: "Sister, you got the short end of the stick ..."

When I awoke to the journey as Navigator and Translator, it was the limitation and reality of living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities that opened my eyes, eyes and heart to precisely what Wall describes: "We are inevitably shaped by (our stories) no matter how distant they may be from our consciousness." Again and again I have acknowledged the deep and sustaining value of living in our car, setting up our nighttime home in her small enclosure, while being at the edge of the Ocean at a place I had known since a tiny girl. The Moon, Grandmother Moon, rose from our Ocean to light our way. She was indeed showing us the way home. From those 2007 engagements my life has been timed by Mahina, the Moon.

My throat, eyes, ears and lungs burn from the air filled with the charred sadness of the Tall Ones. Kimmerer's words in Braiding Sweetgrass continues to counsel me with a picture, and stories that consolidate the gains, and the losses. "If all the world is a commodity, how poor we grow. When all the world is a gift in motion, how wealthy we become." Kimmerer continues to feed me this, "In the old times, our elders say, the trees talked to each other. They'd stand in their own council and craft a plan. But scientists decided long ago that plants were deaf and mute, locked in isolation without communication ... Until quiet recently no one seriously explored the possibility that plants might "speak" to one another. But pollen has been carried reliably on the wind for eons, communicated by males to receptive female[.] There is now compelling evidence that our elders were right--trees are talking to one another. They communicate via pheromones, hormonelike compounds that are wafted on the breeze, laden with meanings...The downwind trees catch the drift, sensing those few molecules of alarm, the whiff of danger...Forewarned is forearmed...The individual benefits, and so does the entire grove. Trees appear to be talking about mutual defense..."
Smack in the middle of the Navigating and Translating of life, like Skywoman falling, I have fallen through or off the edge, more than once. I wonder, marveling really, when I wake up after one more challenge to keep breathing. Last night while we sat in our Subaru, looking at the orange fullness of Mahina the Moon, Pete and I both rewound the nights when we were at the Ocean's shore at the Tide Pools of O'ahu's South shore. Navigating, bundled in quilts and nestling as best we could with pillows. We fell, and dreamed. Snoring a bit the dreams were scattered and shrouded, like the Sky.

Elsa P. writes of this time from her astrological sky perspective. "Saturn is direct consolidate your losses and your gains." Many people comment on her post and cite their experiences with the planet of consolidation (Saturn) and mastery in the sign of loss or gain/life and death (Scorpio). The perspective I  experiences is large and deep. It's the subtitle to my kuleana as Navigator and Translator.

The sadness, tears and difficulty breathing is no less the experience of Mother Earth as her skin burns from the wildfires in many places across the roundness of her being. What it takes for me to keep breathing is a small mirror of her experience. I make adjustments: bundle myself and my loved one Pete, and turn the key to our Subaru. We navigate away, for a time. We return hours later to the lingering smoke from our neighbor's garbage burn. With Saturn in Scorpio, I recognize my last fling at public expression (teaching in small groups) is a loss that must be let go. That part of my identity (Sun in Scorpio in the 10th House of Public Career) is dead.

Consolidating the gains and the losses I am grateful for this Quonset Hut that has an air filter to aid breathing. We invested in this small space, and the appliance when there were resources (money). Serving others through our example, I write as if my life depended upon it. And, it does. I gift it, as Gathered Magic and take the next breath. Is that what the Trees have told their entire grove when the first Tree sniffed the smell of wildfire? Did they send the gift of gathered magic ... telling the next, and the next ... there will be another time and place for dreaming the world as a gift in motion?

I hope so.