Thursday, May 12, 2016

More about Moemoea'ali'i: ancient story, new story, collective story

Hover on the image to read about it.
I hardly know where to begin.

Sometimes tendrils or rootlets of thought, like the bright colors that magnetize a bee with a promise of nectar, pull me this way then that way. Ironic that those same tiny brilliant blue flowers with dots of yellow at their centers are so powerfully fragrant with pollen I clog up with allergic reactions to them.

So many things are sprouting in my interior landscape, matched only by what is happening all around me as spring settles herself into the 'aina that is where we are in the Pacific Northwest. My six to eight weeks of woods-bound isolation overlays itself over the retrograde of planets happening as I find the letters to make sentences. Just as I cannot do anything to move the planets in their journey, there is little I can do (alone) to affect the Scotch broom growth on the highways of Whidbey Island.

But. What is happening is the subtle and powerful shift of my attitude about the slowdown created by the planets' retrograde motions and the harmful effects of the invasive Scotch broom. I put these attitude changes here to acknowledge the metaphoric value found in the Ancient story (the genealogy) of the goddess Haumea and Moemoea'ali'i. As I wrote in this post, Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele keeper and teller of Hawaiian cultural knowledge feeds me like the bees who swarm the blossoms of weeds whose names I do not yet know, raspberries turning rapidly to fruit, bells of tiny huckleberry, and the first of wood berries, salmonberry.

What Kanahele puts into words in her book Ka Honua Ola tell the old story. What I see if I am observant here on this Salish Island is the bridgework, or perhaps more accurately, the rootlet of connectivity. I feel the long sense of island wisdom, the collective wisdom. "Communal storytelling was a self-correcting process," writes Native American writer Leslie Marmon Silko in her essay, "Interior and Exterior Landscapes."1 Silko, who, like myself, is a woman of mixed blood, tells stories that attract me. She sorts and gathers the many stories that do the same for me ... gathers me close even as I live in isolation. They are stories that wander, not from Point A to Point B but rather like the bee's journey zigzagging and overlapping because ... perhaps, they hardly know where to begin as well.

More about Moemoea'ali'i is a general enough promise to fuel the fluids of my interior landscape. Those writer's synapses that need to run disciplined sometimes, but, for me often like my cousins the nectar seekers. I love it all. Occasionally, a bee stops her frenzied activity and parks. I notice. It is not a common site. She is not engorging her self with sweetness; she is simply still heavy with her collection and not yet ready to head to the hive. I notice that, and wonder.

The story, and the mo'okuauhau (genealogy) of the births that come from the mating of Haumea the Mother of Creation with Moemoea'ali'i names the children from this union. Through the scholarship and translation found in Ka Honua Ola, those like me, read and study ... then read and study some more. One reading is not enough to integrate meaning that I can apply.

This time, after perhaps, four or five readings, I found a thread of meaning that connected with life being lived here where I call home. I feel myself knotting threads, as other women have done before doing their handwork. I stitch. I knot. I write. Moemoe as a reference 'to lie in wait" fits the condition of my weeks of isolation. Here in the woods I too wait. Knowing there is so much else happening beyond my zone, there is so much potential to be diluted, disillusioned, and depressed. Why me? I could be caught up in that (and have in the not distant past).

A'ali'i growing near Pele, an active volcano, Hawai'i Island.

This time, the Universe and all those retrograde planets have something other to offer me. Slowed down, the planet of Mercury offers editing words rather than forcing them forward; Mars in retrograde with Saturn combine to discipline my actions; Pluto in Capricorn backs up after years(since 2008) of movement in my deeply private 12th House. Before it finally moves forward again, and enters my 1st House there is time to assure myself that I am honestly who I believe I am; and is this person the one I wish to be once Pluto goes on her way (Pluto in some astrologers view is Pelehonuamea -- Pele goddess of vulcanism).

Cleaning house, offspring and plants out of place

In the translation of the mo'okuauhau, the genealogical chant Haumea laua o Moemoea'ali'i, the offspring of Haumea and Moemoea'ali'i "describes the components of the earth, specifically the volcano or other forms of nature involving eruptions...all the names and births included in this genealogy also possess a primary form having the same quality and specificity in nature."2

My own genealogy, my ancestry, is inseparably linked with the position of the heavenly bodies at the time of my birth (natal astrology). This practice of studying astrology and genealogy are baked-into me. Little by little or in lightning flashes of inspiration the study of astrology and the stories -- Ancient, new, and family/collective stories help me understand my responsibility my kuleana. Earlier this week I was struck with a troubling question about my natal astrology chart. The troubling thought led me to look at the possibility that I may have been 'out of place.' The clue for me starred at me from the Nodes of the Moon. Click on the link if you are unfamiliar with the Nodes of the Moon, and their significance in a natal chart.

I knew intuitively at this point in my journey, with the heavily retrograde nature of the sky, I needed to change the House System I was using. House System? If this ramble of a post has kept your interest, please link here to a very informative post "How Do House System Choices Affect Your Chart?" by my friend and astrologer Donna Cunningham. Reading the article and the comment thread got me re-thinking (perfect retrograde assignment!) my navigational tools. I changed from Equal House to traditional Placidus system based on what I had read; things made a new kind of sense to me. And in particular the Placidus House system re-framed position of my North and South Node Axis.

This winding tale, lead me here. There's always more to learn (and with Saturn and Mars in Sagitarrius, well 'higher learning' is the password), and Alison Gunn, Ph.D. and authoress of this site has some very timely insite for those, like myself, with North Node in a 4th House Taurus, and South Node in a 10th House Scorpio. A change in the use of House System choice placed my Nodes in this position. It made a significant shift. I am integrating the affect.

Gunn opens her analysis with this paragraph: 
"The most trouble I have ever been in as an astrologer has been with people whose Nodal axis fell in the 4th and 10th houses, because I didn’t take seriously the strength of their family ties and what that meant to the psyche of the adult."

It got my attention, and then I kept reading. Her thoughts pierced my long-time challenge of being loyal and respectful to my Ancestors, and to the traditional values of the old stories with the reality that in order to survive I had to leave. At one point in Gunn's post she posed this question:
Does your chart tell you your role in life is to carry on the traditions of your family, or to revolutionize how your family thinks about tradition?
She got me by the rootlets of my soul, and fed me a nectar of place that had me saying to myself, "So that's what Uranus is meant to do out there in my 6th House!" Uranus is often the instigator or change, and the inciter of revolution. Time and time again and again I have gone back and forth from my home of birth to another island on the opposite side of the Pacific. Each time I have made this ocean crossing there was a story the unfurled slightly different.
Honey bee (click to enlarge the photo, and look closely at the left side) gathering nectar
from the Huckleberries surrounding our tiny homes

I was a bee gathering the metaphoric and mythic honey from at least two sources. Back and forth I have gone during my lifetime. Carrying the tradition in my bones, the revolution is both personal and ultimately collective. Only from a distance have I been able to shine brightly or breath deeply long enough to make sense of the struggle.

Irony and the trickery of the gods and goddesses plays into most stories worthy of the long telling. As I wrap up this tale the invasive Scotch weed that is native to Scotland is out of place here on Whidbey, a Salish Sea Island. But, it was brought here decades ago as the story is told here by the locals, by a grandmother who longed to have something of her native home. Warned that 'it's a weed!' It didn't stop her from planted it. The weed has tenacious roots, and a nature bent on survival. It will launch seeds encapsulated in armor to spread itself.

Like other invasives, the Scotch broom, and the A'ali'i, the plant native to my Hawaiians Islands, is an invasive when out of place. I read this article and see the trickery and the lessons involved in learning to get along on this Island Earth.  Then I wonder, do I have it in me to be as the ancient Pueblo people and "seek a communal truth, not an absolute truth?"

While the broom continues its spring and summer in riotous fashion, new stories, family stories unfurl. Pete's sister in Hilo writes to us asking for the medicine of prayers, and vision story of healing launches itself across the cybernetic lay lines. They are powerful, unique to the prayer, and awesome in their affect. Another sister reads about my wood-bound isolation and emails, "Can I send you another bag of wild rice?" I Nod, and write back, "We'd love it!" My husband Pete activates his community network: letters are written, he shows up at a board meeting, others begin voicing concern about the Scotch Broom. And on top all these stories, our dear daughter, our French Laurence, and wife to our son, emails to say, "Merci, merci, merci dear parents." Our gift of beach stones and a barnacle have finally made their way to La Reunion where she is. Separated for a time from her husband theirs is 'no common union' ... Salish Sea Island to French Island off the coast of Africa. The stories grow, Tradition's definition stretches.

There is no prioritizing the stories -- ancient (genealogy), new (wild rice/prayer chain/community activism), collective(bees, weeds, humans) -- in order of importance or worth, reminds Leslie Marmon Silko. The stories are equally important. I like the sound of that egalitarian philosophy. The revolutionary in me sees a future in that approach. My ancestors? I hope they too see how this version of tradition will sustain us as a world people, an Earth people.


1 "Interior and Exterior Landscapes", Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit,  Essays on Native American Life Today, Leslie Marmon Silko, 1996
2 "Mo'ohuauhau Genealogies", Ka Honua Ola, Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele, 2011
3 "Interior and Exterior Landscapes", Yellow Woman and a Beautify of the Spirit, Essays on Native American Life Today, Leslie Marmon Silko. 1996

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