Thursday, November 29, 2007

I would be happier if

Yesterday, I wrote THE definitive list of what would make me happier. Because this is MY blog, and it's all about ME ME ME, I could (if I wanted) bore everyone to death, and put the entire (6 page) list up right here, right now.

I have, however, decided to post just one small piece of it. See how I care about you guys? Thank you notes will be read and appreciated.

Ok, here goes:

I would be happier if I wasn't so full of self-doubt. If I trusted the inner voice of Spirit. If I wasn't so clenched up in fear - if I could trust the process, if I could let go of the need to know in advance or in detail what the outcome of any decision will be, and instead be able to follow my heart and my intuition even into a dark and mysterious place - knowing that somehow, some way, I will come out the other side wiser and deeper - fuller - with more to share, to give.

Host unlimited photos at for FREE!

Sometime in the near future, I am going to put all the rest of it up. And I will be kind, and put them up post dated and divided up into manageable pieces and parts, so that if anyone DOES happen to be interested, they could go see it. I want to post the whole thing, because I intend to keep track and see how well I am doing at manifesting my intentions. And my intention is to take the steps necessary to be happier if...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Living Will

Last night, my friend and I were sitting in the living room and I said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

She got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.

She's such a bitch.....

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Llewellyn Adventure

I was rooting around at Llewellyn, and found this fun little quiz. It's about finding out who your "Mythical Creature" is. This is what I came up with:

On the plus side:
Air with Water
The main strength of the Air types is intellect. The second element (water) indicates the most probable focus for this intellectual activity.

Unicorn types are very concerned with the communication of ideas. They are witty and likeable but can also be quite shy. They are easily bored and easily distracted, and may seem unpredictable and superficial for this reason. Actually they are very deep and are usually trying to find the connections between the people and things around them. They are highly imaginative but not very practical. They love knowledge for its own sake and are not concerned about putting it to use. They are socially astute and sensitive to others’ feelings, but may still appear somewhat aloof. They are drawn to grand schemes for unifying people but these often don’t extend beyond the initial idea. Very logical and rational, Unicorn types are also unconventional and even bizarre. Other people may regard them as fey or just strange.

OK, yes. This could be me. I do take exception to the part about grand schemes not extending beyond the initial idea. I don't do that, do I? Please say no.

Your Shadow Creature:
Earth and Fire
All the Earth types have problems relating to productivity and stability. The weakest element (Fire) indicates the main focus of these problems.

This shadow is beset by inertia and a feeling of hopelessness and stagnation. They are prone to depression linked to apparently insuperable odds. They exhibit an attitude of defeat that is betrayed by their fatalism and pessimism. They often find themselves trapped in a rut of grinding routine. They have no energy or sense of direction. They often alienate others because of their negativity and narrow outlook and because they feel anger and resentment toward them. Passive aggression is used to good effect. They are self-neglectful of their physical needs although they may binge on unhealthy foods and substances. The biggest obstacle of weak Fire is to overcome anger and aggression; the biggest obstacle of weak Earth is to overcome self-centeredness and greed.

Say what? Inertia? Me? Depression and negativity? Me? Trapped in a rut of a grinding routine? Me? Can this be true?


Well, I really didn't like the sound of my "shadow side". Didn't like it at all. It came way too close to the bone. So I decided that I would do one of their Tarot Card readings. (My intention being to come up with something nice and inspirational... something to totally erase the idea of me being stagnant, defeated, greedy, passive aggressive, angry, self-centered... etc.)

The question I asked was this: What is a true picture... an accurate image of my life and how it is progressing towards my highest good?

Notice how I stuck the word accurate in there? I picked a "past - present - future" reading, and this is what came up:

Queen of Wands - Reversed
in the Past position.

A card in the left position indicates what has happened to affect your question in the past.

A strident, sharp-tongued woman. Unpleasant company. Anger causing one to become judgmental and habitually suspicious. Unsympathetic, alienating behaviour.

So... I'm like "OK, that was in the past. Maybe it wasn't even me... maybe it was someone else... and even it it was me, it's not me anymore."

Ace of Wands
in the Present position.

A card in the middle position indicates what is affecting your question at this time.

Inspiration. Rising to a challenge. Breakthrough in thinking. Self-reliance, spiritual strength, and confidence. Conviction and faith in vision or path. Reason reigning over impulse. Ideas empowered by desire. Creative heights and achievement. Quick thinking, humour, and balance. Revelations and transcendent thoughts. Fruitful plans and far-reaching ideas. Empathy and understanding. Marriage and fertility.

Well, that's more like it! I liked this card. So, now I'm starting to feel better about everything. "Yes! This is me now! How cool is that?" I stuck my tongue out at that strident angry sharp-tongued woman. And moved on to the next card. "Good is coming to me now!" That's what I was thinking.

The Fool - Reversed
in the Future position.

A card in the right position indicates your question's future.

Missed opportunity. Having the attitude of a spoiled child. Arrested development. Crippling insecurity as a result of a sheltered life. Poor work ethic. Lack of conviction, purpose, or avoiding responsibilities by aimless wandering. Unfulfilling travels. Inability to recognize opportunities, or not being willing to work for them. Failure to learn. Cowardice. Lack of humour.

Oh my God! I decided the cards were full of shit. I decided that it was stupid to try to figure anything out about myself using a random card generator on a website on the Internet. I decided to ask another question and do another spread.


I picked a card layout called "the path to the goal" because it looked to me like it might be a spread that would give me some guidance. And this is the question I asked:

So how can I avoid the bad outcome of the fool reversed?

And this is what came up:

Queen of Swords - Reversed
in the Health position.
Hidden health; physical and emotional.

Overweening ambition. Greed and lust for power. Dangerous, even violent woman. Fanatical zeal. Abuse. Jealousy.

She sounds familiar, doesn't she?

Two of Wands - Reversed
in the Health position.
Visible health; physical and emotional.

A creative block. Being ill-prepared for the task at hand. Avoiding responsibility. Dread, pessimism, and delays. Thwarted plans and loss.

OK, and doesn't this sound a lot like the "woodwose"?

The Magician - Reversed
in the Attitude position.
Hidden mental attitude.

Gimmicks and tricks substituting for art. A showoff and profiteer. Unscrupulous liar and cheat. The hijacking of an art for personal gain. A superiority complex. The borrowed robes of an imposter. Shapeshifter. Falsehood.

Dang! I don't like the sound of that one!

The Wheel of Fortune - Reversed
in the Attitude position.
Visible mental attitude.

Instability. Temporary fortune. Displacement and roaming. Hounding, demanding people or circumstances. Shifting fortunes make it difficult to set a course. Sheer bad luck born of simple chance.

This really sounds bad...
But clearly it's not my fault - it does say bad luck!

Six of Swords
in the Relationships position.
Hidden relationships.

Movement. Improvement of any situation. Safe passage. More than sympathy, but help from others. Moving away from an unhealthy situation. Lessening stress, yet destination unknown. Travel over water. A new chapter. Sometimes interpreted as a declaration of love. Direction. A powerful card in aligning heart and mind. Focus and follow-through, yet unpredictable result.

OK, this is nice. Unpredictable but nice.

Ten of Swords
in the Relationships position.
Visible relationships.

Conflict. Destruction. Loss. Breakdown of relationships. Slander. Hurt. Misfortune. Plans that seemed promising end in failure. Disillusion. Grief. Temporary alliances. Being forsaken. A sacrifice. Withdrawing from the world due to trauma. The apex and end of a matter. Does not represent violent death.

OMG! I guess if I was to look on the bright side, I suppose could be happy about the NOT a violent death part...

Page of Wands
in the Career position.
Hidden career.

Arrival of a positive phase. Good news brought by a cheerful friend or ally. Youth, potential, and flexibility. Socializing. Being open to new ideas. Stimulation. Broadening horizons. A true, faithful heart. Play and excitement.

This sounds pretty good!
Maybe Daniel won the lottery!

in the Career position.
Visible career.

Evolution. Change, death, and transformation. A natural end to a situation, whether it be positive or negative; for example, the card may refer to the end of a relationship, illusion, financial source, or the completion of a project. Closure. Releasing of the past. The end of an era. Necessary change. Freedom that allows for renewal. Sudden change brings fears of the unknown, but ultimately alters life in such a way as to initiate new growth. May mean death, a fear of death, or a brush with death. Natural course and progression of life. Lastly, Death is sometimes portrayed as a beautiful and dignified figure since dying can be seen as a blessing in release from suffering.

I sincerely hope this means I get to quit my job!

The Chariot
in the Spirit position.
Hidden spiritual path.

Triumph. Victory parade. Success of a multifaceted endeavour. Leadership, competence, and maturity. Conquest. An evolved personality. Courage. Being centered and secure. Moral, ethical progress and conduct. A high-minded, honourable approach to life. Balance, integration. Harmony of opposite tensions. Equilibrium. Reconciling opposing forces or views. Uniting right and left brain functions. Control over inner conflicts. Harnessing wild energies. Life unfolding at an accelerated pace, yet maintaining direction. Finding one's stride. Enjoying the thrill and ride of life. Engaging an ambition or dream. Achievement. High energy. Promotion, honours, and reward. Overcoming opposition. May indicate a rescue, as in the arrival of the cavalry.

In view of the previous card...
rescue and the arrival of the cavalry sound pretty damn good!

Ten of Wands - Reversed
in the Spirit position.
Visible spiritual path.

Being foiled by a perceived shortcut. Being duped. Being distracted by glitter. Succumbing to intrigues. Being led astray. Shirking responsibilities. Shallow, self-serving philosophy.

Oh Good Grief! Will I never learn?
And what's with the "shirking responsibilities" yet again ???

Ten of Pentacles
in the Outcome position.
Outcome of the present path.

Freedom from financial concerns. Prosperity. Strong, established family setting. Protection and stability within a clan. Family traditions and gatherings. Having the time to enjoy the fruits of one's labour. Achieving of worldly dreams. Benefiting from the work of one's predecessors. Gifts, inheritance, archives. Celebrations and reunions.

Finally, something good!
I'm exhausted now from all the drama!
What a wild ride that was!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Squid Anyone?

curried squid dimsum
Originally uploaded by u m a m i
So, today is Thanksgiving, and I am NOT spending it with family and friends. And I woke up feeling particularly alone and sad. In fact, I could feel myself slipping into a real funk!

Then it occurred to me that it might be helpful to think of something to be grateful for today. And here it is. I am really glad that Curried Squid is NOT on the menu for today! THANK GOD that I don't have to look at it, or pick at it, or try to eat it! I don't even have to see someone else eating it! What a relief!!

WOW! I feel better already!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Asking the Oracle

I asked the I Ching Oracle:
What simple thing could I actually do today to make this a really good day for me?

(present) 30. Li - Brightness, Clinging
Fire can be dangerously explosive if over-fueled, or die quickly if underfed. Healthy and under control, it indicates good fortune.

(future) 36. Meng I - Darkening Force
Keep your inner light burning in order to prevail. Patiently await the sunrise.

What does the Oracle hold for you?

And so now, what does this mean? I'm going to have to get out my copy of the I Ching and read more in depth. I'm thinking it means stay balanced and stay calm. And I'm wondering if it's really true that I could actually do that.

I remember a time in my life, fresh out of high school and living on my own, when I would throw the I Ching every single day and then record the questions and the results. I did this for about a year... maybe longer. It was my daily meditation, my prayer, and my guidance. I used to get the hexagram "The Abysmal" all the time... Later, when my marriage was going bad I got back into it again and had a long rash of getting "Work on That Which Has Been Spoiled" ... I got it so often I almost knew the text by heart. Even now, when I look at that old trailer and walk past the burn pile, it comes into my mind....

So, I just got out my book and here is what it says about the first line: It is early morning and work begins. The mind has been closed to the outside world in sleep; now its connections with the world begin again. The traces of one's impressions run crisscross. Activity and haste prevail. It is important then to preserve inner composure and not allow oneself to be swept along by the bustle of life. If one is serious and composed, he can aquire the clarity of mind needed for coming to terms with the innumerable impressions that pour in. It is precisely at the beginning that serious concentration is important, because the beginning holds the seed of all that is to follow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Flickr Profile

I've been playing with my new Flikr account. Surprisingly, the photos I have uploaded get looked at! I've even been invited to submit some photos to a couple of groups, which was fun. And several have been marked as "favorites".

All of this would be even cooler if the photos were pictures that I actually took, instead of stuff I found on the internet. But, hey, I'll take whatever appreciation I can get.

Here is a screen capture of one of my most looked at sets, Burning Man 2007. It's been up for about a week and already has had 86 views and a number of comments.

So, this is what I put on my Flikr Profile:

I am an artist, a blogger, a reader, a writer, a Reiki Master, a gypsy, a shaman, a psychic, a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.

Other words that apply to me include: out of the box, unusual, outspoken, odd, eccentric, free spirited, employed, unemployed, foolish, wise, stupid, smart, funny, sad, ridiculous, sensible, practical, down to earth, driven, gifted, calm, relaxed, freaked out, dumb, mental, open minded, bound and determined, stubborn, persistent, opinionated, ambivalent, physical, emotional, spiritual, human... the list goes on and on.

I have a bunch of blogs and websites.. come and see them if you are interested, they are: shirley twofeathers, Mandala Madness, Way Cool Pictures, More Cool Pictures, Gypsy Magic, Green Dolphin Studio, Way Cool Quotes, The Prosperity Project, As Within, and Question of the Day. How's that for a long list?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

knotted laces

shirley gibson

yes she is coming i hear her old lady shoes clonking up the stairs she said your shoe laces must be tied and not knotted tied and not knotted
yes they are knotted i must not be late for breakfast it is six oclock the laces are knotted and i am late
yes she is coming up the long stairs in her old lady shoes the laces are stubborn and garbled
yes the other children spill out of their rooms every morning with bright eyes shoes tied and tumble down the stairs like so many puppies i stay behind
yes my eyes are not bright my hair hangs down over my face my shoe laces are not tied
yes i am not a friendly puppy child i am the runt
yes my nose is running i am afraid my stubborn fingers fight with the laces i am only five years old my heart is beating so hard my whole body is beating so hard my whole body is shaking
yes i want my mama my mama is not coming she is not my mama she is the aunty edith the
yes maam my mama is never coming
yes i hear the murmur of the happy puppy children sitting down to breakfast
yes i am late she is coming and my shoe laces are like thin white snakes doing what they want and not what i want
yes they will not come unknotted
yes i am crying thick ugly tears i am scraggly and wet with a runny nose and red eyes i will never be able to tie these shoes i wish i could melt into the floor and disappear but i cant
yes she will hit me because i cant disappear into the floor because i am late for breakfast because my shoe laces are knotted she will hit me because i am a runt child
yes she thinks i will grovel and pee on the floor like a puppy but she is wrong
yes i am a runt puppy a runt coyote puppy child i will not cower i will curl my lip and snarl i will chew up those knotted laces with my sharp bright teeth i will chew up her old lady shoes
yes and gnaw on her ankles i will glide down the stairs like a shadow
yes i will sit at the table with those bright puppy children with their shoe laces tied with their hair neatly braided
yes i will show them my teeth i will lay my ears back
yes she is coming her old lady shoes clonking on the long hallway
yes she is opening the tall door
yes i am not sorry for my knotted laces for my red eyes i am not sorry for my stringy hair
yes i am the coyote child
yes i do not grovel when she hits me
yes i do not cry
yes i sit down to breakfast with soft puppy children
yes i am late
yes i show them my hard eyes my sharp teeth
yes my laces are still knotted

Can you spot the "coyote kid"? Here's a hint.
She is the only girl wearing cowboy boots.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Faeries answer my question!

I asked the Faery Oracle Cards this question: What is the best way for me to get out from under my Bank of America debt?

Here is the answer: The Journeyman

Key words: Adventure. Independence. Polishing of skills. Travel.

Overview: All the great ones - the saints, the bodhisattvas, and all of those who are filled by the spiritual light - have been on this journey. They went into the wilderness stepping, like fools, off the safe paths, into the waiting hands of their gods and goddesses. This is the journey of life, a pilgrimage that begins in ignorant trust, passes through all of the doubts, fears, ups and downs, probably all of the delusions and certainly all of the confusions. Through it, we learn slowly, painfully, a new kind of trust, a trust in the process, detached from the goal.

About the image: Our young Oengus Journeyman, bless him, is stepping out on the journey of life, positively glowing with enthusiasm. Even his toes sparkle. Bright handsome, and educated, he has completed his apprenticeship in faery crafts and magics, but he has not yet achieved true mastery of his trade. To accomplish this he must leave the protection of his master and step out onto his path as an independent journeyman craftsman. He is testing himself and his knowledge in the world. He hopes to eventually achieve the status of Master maker. Right now he knows a lot of facts, has all the basic skills, but probably knows less than he thinks he does. He is about to learn about the skills of survival - bartering, persuading, selling, buying wisely, enjoying life, making friends.

Oengus still has lovely playful, childlike qualities, and now it is time to learn to care for himself. No one is looking over his shoulder to see that he does his work right and eats properly. Oengus may take chances and even make mistakes sometimes, as we all do, but this is how we learn. He is now confronting (and being confronted by) the real world. Here, he will discover that excuses don't buy bread and that the quality and integrity of one's work and actions are what counts, but he has been well taught and pretty well knows this already.

He has romantic dreams of being a great hero, of becoming the supreme master of his craft, and of winning a faery princess. Some of these dreams will come true - perhaps all of them.

Here we see an innocent being walking trustfully into a situation for which he is not fully prepared (and indeed, cannot be fully prepared) or for which his preparation is as yet untested by reality. He is innocent of previous practical experience of the path he is now treading or the realm of life into which he is moving. This card could be called Innocent Encounters Reality - which is by no means a bad thing.

His faery godmother is lurking somewhere, just out of his sight - as faery godmothers tend to do. Her expression is both gleeful and worried. Her hair is already whiter than it was before he began, and she is keeping her wand fully charged at all times. Although this is his journey and he must undertake it himself, almost everyone needs (and is given) a little faery godmothering from time to time. Good-natured innocence attracts faery guardians - it attracts helpful beings on all planes and in all worlds. It may also attract those who would abuse that innocence, but as long as our intentions are good, our guardians will offer good guidance. We are blessed and cared for - if we allow ourselves to be.

The world is before Oengus with smiles and teeth. Oengus has optimism, cheerfulness, magic skills, and a diligent faery godmother. Oengus grows within us when we step bravely into the unknown, developing our potentials with hope and optimism and an open heart.

Key words: Adventure. Independence. Travel.

Reading: A long path ahead - we hope. This card speaks to the need to perfect skills in working and living, but it acknowledges having a sound grounding in the basics. Optimistic, innocent, and willing to learn, Oengus also shows us that intuition serves us well - but only if we pay attention to it.

Sometimes, we are operating from theory alone, and our knowledge may or may not be well grounded in reality. This card does not necessarily refer exclusively to beginnings; it can also signify a progression along a path, moving into the unknown from the known, a new phase in an ongoing process. The card may also represent untested concepts or ideas, and suggest a need for balance between the intuitive and the rational as one approaches the unknown.

Something to think about: Consider where you are going. What are your long term goals? What are you doing that is helping you move toward them?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another Vardo Van Idea

With the price of gas going up and up and up, it occured to me that it might be a good idea to do some research into what kind of gas mileage I could expect to get if I turned a van into a vardo. So I went on a search for the largest, most fuel efficient van available. I wanted something that wasn't too big and clunky to drive, something I could stand up in, and something big enough to actually live in. And here it is:

This is the 2008 Dodge Sprinter. It gets 20 mpg, which is pretty good for a big cargo van. I found a nice little review of it at Allpar. Here are some more pictures.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Vardo Van

At work the other day, my friend Daniel and I were talking about my greatest idea yet. Daniel thinks I should go for it, and has been supporting me by visualizing that I can actually pull it off in a good way. We got to talking about what the Vardo Van might look like, which sent me on an image search for vans made into vardos. This is what I found:

I do do think the van should be a deep rich color instead of white, and that being said, isn't it cute? I love how scrumptiously luxurious the interior is. I wonder what kind of gas mileage it gets. I wonder how much something like that would cost.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I sold something!

I made a sale at cafe press! How cool is that?
This is what I sold: The Abundance Mandala Ornament

This handmade flat ball shaped ornament measures 2 7/8 inches across. Made of high quality porcelain in a classic holiday shape. Red ribbon included.

  • High quality porcelain
  • Round 2 7/8" diameter circle
  • Ribbon for hanging included

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Are you a genius?

This is quite amazing..

If you see this lady turning in clockwise you are using your right brain. If you see it the other way, you are using left brain. Some people do see both ways, but most people see it only one way.

Supposedly, if you try to see it the other way and if you do see, your IQ is above 160 which is almost a genius. Then see if you can make her go one way and then the other by shifting the brain's current.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So, how did you do? Is there a trick to getting her to switch directions? Is this interesting, or what? Initially, I could make her change direction fairly easily, and now I can't anymore. If anyone figures out the "trick" let me know.

I found a long commentary of people trying to figure it out here. If you get really fascinated, or really frustrated, or both, you could go and see what they have to say about how they got it to work (or not work) for them.

I got an award for one of my blogs!

Bob over at Black Holes and Astrostuff, who by the way has a really nifty blog about space, stars, comets, and other cool astronomical stuff, has honoured me with the "Community Blogger Award" for Way Cool Pictures. It is awarded to people who reach out and make the blogging community a better one. He gave it to me because the pictures I post always make him smile. Thank you Bob.

I would like to pass on this award to Marilyn's Non-Violent News Page. I really appreciate her dedication to making the world a better place to live in.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What color is YOUR aura?

I found this nifty thingy at Towards 2012, and when I took the quiz and here is what it said about me. I think there might be some truth to it, maybe rage does drive me.... It doesn't feel like it, feels more like fear... but I dunno. It's certainly something to think about.

I like the part of adventures, and travels, that seems to be right in line with what I've been thinking a lot about lately. I'm not at all sure about the dancer, boxer, surgeon part though. So... What color is YOUR aura? Go take the test yourself, and tell me what it says.

Your Aura is Red

You have a high level of emotion. This can mean passion, but it can also mean rage.
Usually, you don't take these emotions out on others. You just use them as motivation - and it works!

The purpose of your life: embracing all the wonders of the life, lots of travels, and tons of adventures

Famous reds include: Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Jennifer Lopez

Careers for you to try: Dancer, Boxer, Surgeon

Saturday, November 3, 2007

An Interview with Friar Tuck

On the prosperity project this month, we are doing The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, and one of our tasks is to find our archetypes. One of the ones I chose was Friar Tuck, here's why:

An interview with Brother Tuck by Marian Fitzwater -

Difficult as it may be to tell, but Brother Tuck is a white monk of the Cistercian order. His thick red stockings are as brash as his matching skirts tucked knee-high into a scarlet girdle that stretches forever around his enormous girth; and his face is as round as the moon and as rosy as any small child's in the winter sunshine.

His piggy-eyes twinkle out from underneath a ring of fuzzy ginger hair that skirts warily around a shaven bald patch before he blows out his cheeks, folds his palms, closes his eyes and blesses me as sonorously as any bishop.

A few moments later, after a lark has added its own song. I ask him: 'I believe you come from the abbey of St. Mary of the Fountains near Ripon in Yorkshire?'

His eyes begin to twinkle again: 'Yes, it was becoming too crowded inside the monastery. A lot of monks had quit St. Mary's of York to come to Fountains Abbey so I decided to leave and form a cell of my own.'

'You live on your own here in the woods?'

'A cell of one suits me just fine, though I keep a few dogs for hunting.'

We sit down together under a fair and stately oak, one of many set deep in Harlow Wood. Nearby rises a spring of clear water, flowing hurriedly away, stretching across the field and down into the valley between the woods. This is the place where Brother Tuck has made his home and has called it Fountainsdale. Ideal for a hermit, the area is densely forested and criss-crossed by streams fed from the fountain spring.

'The monks of the Cistercian order usually build their abbeys far away from people, for they believe in solitude and isolation from the world, don't they?' I ask him.

'Yes, you are correct.... ' (He goes on to explain the history of the order.)

Although you live as a hermit, is it not true that you are very friendly with Robin Hood?'

His eye suddenly brightens: 'I wouldn't say very friendly, well acquainted - yes. We had a little argument when we first met and he hasn't taken any liberties with me since. Must be three winters past since we first crossed paths - or streams to be more precise. Would you like to hear the merry tale?' he asks with a chortle, and we settle comfortably under the oak tree while I listen to Brother Tuck's story.

'The flowers were fresh and gay that morning in May, and I was contemplating by the side of the stream. Because of the many outlaws that lived hereabouts, I wore a leather coat and a cap of steel with a sword and buckler by my side - becomes me quite well, I think.

Well, this fellow comes strolling by, grand as you please, carrying a bow with a sheaf of arrows at his belt - I only learned later that he was the outlaw named Robin Hood.

'Good fellow,' the fellow greeted me, 'as you can see I am a weary man. Will you carry me over this water for Saint Charity?'

I thought I might do a good deed - not having done one for a while - so I lifted him on my back and carried him over the stream. Good deed done, I drew my long sword and ordered this cheeky fellow: 'Carry me back again, bold outlaw, or you shall have some of this!'

Speaking neither good nor ill, in fact nothing at all, Robin carried me back to the other side, the water reaching a span above his knees. But as soon as he had dropped me off his back, Robin drew his own sword and ordered me to carry him back again! Well this time, when we came to the middle of the stream, I just threw him in. 'Now choose, fine fellow, whether to sink or swim,' I told him.

I swam to a wicker wand to help me out of the water while he swam to a bush of broom. When he had climbed on to the bank he let fly with an arrow at me but I deflected it with my steel buckler. 'Shoot on, fine fellow,' I informed him. 'You will not hit me if you shoot all this summer's day.'

He shot a few more arrows without hitting me so we took to our swords and bucklers and fought with might and main. Must have been ten o'clock in the morning when we started and by two in the afternoon Robin had sunk to his knees begging for respite: 'A boon, a boon, curtailed brother! I beg it on my knee!' he cried. 'Give me leave to set my horn to my mouth and blow three blasts.'

'That I will do,' I told him. 'And I hope you blow so hard that your eyes fall out.'

He blew three blasts and fifty yeomen with bows bent came ranging over the lee.

'Whose men are these who come so hastily?' I demanded.

'These men are mine, brother,' said Robin Hood, 'and what is that to you?'

'A boon, a boon!' I cried. 'The same as I gave to you. Allow me to set my fist to my mouth and whistle three times.'

'A whistling fist can do me no ill,' he said, so I whistled three times and my fifty savage dogs came running up to me. 'Here's a dog for every man,' I told the outlaw, 'and you are matched with me.'

'God forbid that should ever be,' said Robin. 'I'd rather be matched with three of your curs than matched with thee.'

I blew a loud whistle again and all the dogs couched down in a row. 'What now fine yeoman?' I asked him.

'Come, good brother, let us agree. If you will forsake Fountainsdale every Sunday throughout the year, I will pay you a fee of ten shillings; and if you will go with me to Nottingham on every holy day throughout the year I'll provide you with new garments.'

'It seems a fair bargain,' I said, 'By Saint Charity I agree.'

And that's how I became acquainted with Robin Hood'

After a few moments he adds: 'That happened three winters past and apart from helping Robin Hood and his merry band on holy days I have never moved from this place. For there is no earl, or lord, or knight who could make me move from Fountainsdale.'

Gaining his feet with surprising agility for a big man, Brother Tuck courteously helped me to mine. After escorting me as far as the Nottingham road he wished me a safe journey home and bid me farewell.

When he turned back towards his own home, his wooded sanctuary, he strongly reminded me of a Knights Templar: as a white monk of the Cistercian order, he lived the life of hermit - one of the poor soldiers of Jesus Christ; and like the Templars who have taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience - he was normally as gentle as a lamb but as bold as a lion if it came to a fight.

On reflection though, perhaps not so strong on the obedience part.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rima, Bird Girl of the Amazon

In my ongoing search for archetypes over at the Prosperity Project, I became somewhat entranced with the idea of Rima, the heroine of Green Mansions. What a contrast she is to the Little Spartan Boy. I wonder how different my life would be now, if I had been able to adopt her as my inner archetype instead of that little boy. Here is how he describes her:

Chapter Five:
It was a human being-- a girl form, reclining on the moss among the ferns and herbage, near the roots of a small tree. One arm was doubled behind her neck for her head to rest upon, while the other arm was held extended before her, the hand raised towards a small brown bird perched on a pendulous twig just beyond its reach. She appeared to be playing with the bird, possibly amusing herself by trying to entice it on to her hand; and the hand appeared to tempt it greatly, for it persistently hopped up and down, turning rapidly about this way and that, flirting it swings and tail, and always appearing just on the point of dropping on to her finger.

I could make out that she was small, not above four feet six or seven inches in height, in figure slim, with delicately shaped little hands and feet. Her feet were bare, and her only garment was a slight chemise-shaped dress reaching below her knees, of a whitish-gray colour, with a faint lustre as of a silky material. Her hair was loose and abundant, and seemed wavy or curly, falling in a cloud on her shoulders and arms. Dark it appeared, but the precise tint was indeterminable, as was that of her skin, which looked neither brown nor white. All together, near to me as she actually was, there was a kind of mistiness in the figure which made it appear somewhat vague and distant, and a greenish grey seemed the prevailing colour.

This tint I presently attributed to the effect of the sunlight falling on her through the green foliage; for once, for a moment, she raised herself to reach her finger nearer to the bird, and then a gleam of unsubdued sunlight fell on her hair and arm, and the arm at that moment appeared of a pearly whiteness, and the hair, just where the light touched it, had a strange lustre and play of iridescent colour.

I had not been watching her more than three seconds before the bird, with a sharp, creaking little chirp, flew up and away in sudden alarm; at the same moment she turned and saw me through the light leafy screen. But although catching sight of me thus suddenly, she did not exhibit alarm like the bird; only her eyes, wide open, with a surprised look in them, remained immovably fixed on my face.

And then slowly, imperceptibly-- for I did not notice the actual movement, so gradual and smooth it was, like the motion of a cloud of mist which changes its form and place, yet to the eye seems not to have moved-- she rose to her knees, to her feet, retired, and with face still towards me, and eyes fixed on mine, finally disappeared, going as if she had melted away into the verdure. The leafage was there occupying the precise spot where she had been a moment before-- the feathery foliage of an acacia shrub, and stems and broad, arrow- shaped leaves of an aquatic plant, and slim, drooping fern fronds, and they were motionless and seemed not to have been touched by something passing through them.

She had gone, yet I continued still, bent almost double, gazing fixedly at the spot where I had last seen her, my mind in a strange condition, possessed by sensations which were keenly felt and yet contradictory. So vivid was the image left on my brain that she still seemed to be actually before my eyes; and she was not there, nor had been, for it was a dream, an illusion, and no such being existed, or could exist, in this gross world; and at the same time I knew that she had been there-- that imagination was powerless to conjure up a form so exquisite.

Very romantic and beautiful isn't she? I think she is too young and altogether too beautiful and I'm not quite comfortable with her as an archetype. I do however think that I will begin to think of her as my lost child. Maybe I will root around and find her bones, each and every delicate one. And maybe, La Loba will sing through me and bring her into being once again.

Green Mansions

When I was in sixth grade, Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson was my favorite book. I fell in love with its poetic, mystical language, the enchanting natural innocence of Rima, the bird-girl of the Amazon jungle, and the haunting, evocative, ultimately tragic storyline. I wanted to be her, and I wanted the story to end differently.

Over at The Prosperity Project, we are exploring archetypes, and this book kept coming to mind. Amazingly, I found it posted on the internet where it can either be downloaded from Gutenberg or read at Ibiblio. How cool is that? It was also made into a movie in 1959.

This is a description of the basic plot:

Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson (1841-1922): An exotic romance set in the dark, mystical green Amazon rainforest of South America, the novel is narrated by a man named Abel who as a young man had lived among the Indians. He tells of Rima, a strange birdlike woman, a creature of the forest, with whom he falls in love, but whom is feared by the superstitious Indians. Through his relationship to her, Abel discovers the greatest joy--and the darkest despair.

And here's an exerpt from Chapter Four: After making a hasty meal at the house, I started, full of pleasing anticipations, for the wood; for how pleasant a place it was to be in! What a wild beauty and fragrance and melodiousness it possessed above all forests, because of that mystery that drew me to it! ....The precious woods and fruits and fragrant gums that would never be trafficked away; its wild animals that man would never persecute; nor would any jealous savage dispute my ownership or pretend that it was part of his hunting-ground.

As I crossed the savannah I played with this fancy; but when I reached the ridgy eminence, to look down once more on my new domain, the fancy changed to a feeling so keen that it pierced to my heart and was like pain in its intensity, causing tears to rush to my eyes. And caring not in that solitude to disguise my feelings from myself, and from the wide heaven that looked down and saw me-- for this is the sweetest thing that solitude has for us, that we are free in it, and no convention holds us-- I dropped on my knees and kissed the stony ground, then casting up my eyes, thanked the Author of my being for the gift of that wild forest, those green mansions where I had found so great a happiness!

La Loba

There is an old woman who lives in a hidden place that everyone knows in their souls but few have ever seen. As in the fairy tales of Eastern Europe, she seems to wait for lost or wandering people and seekers to come to her place.

She is circumspect, often hairy, always fat, and especially wishes to evade most company. She is both a crower and a cackler, generally having more animal sounds than human ones.

I might say she lives among the rotten granite slopes in Tarahumara Indian territory. Or that she is buried outside Phoenix near a well. Perhaps she will be seen traveling south to Monte Alban in a burnt out car with the back window shot out. Or maybe she will be spotted standing by the highway near El Paso, or riding shotgun with truckers to Morelia, Mexico, or walking to market above Oaxaca with strangely formed boughs of firewood on her back. She calls herself by many names: La Huesera, Bone Woman; La Trapera, The Gatherer; and La Loba, Wolf Woman.

The sole work of La Loba is the collecting of bones. She collects and preserves especially that which is in danger of being lost to the world. Her cave is filled with the bones of all manner of desert creatures: the deer, the rattlesnake, the crow. But her specialty is wolves.

She creeps and crawls and sifts through the mountains, and arroyos, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful white sculpture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.

And when she is sure, she stands over the criatura, raises her arms over it, and sings out. That is when the rib bones and leg bones of the wolf begin to flesh out and the creature becomes furred. La Loba sings some more, and more of the creature comes into being; its tail curls upward, shaggy and strong.

And La Loba sings more and the wolf creature begins to breathe.

And still La Loba sings so deeply that the floor of the desert shakes, and as she sings, the wolf opens its eyes, leaps up, and runs away down the canyon.

Somewhere in its running, whether by the speed of its running, or by splashing its way into a river, or by way of a ray of sunlight or moonlight hitting it right in the side, the wolf is suddenly transformed into a laughing woman who runs free toward the horizon.

So remember if you wander the desert, and it is near sundown, and you are perhaps a little bit lost, and certainly tired, that you are lucky, for La Loba may take a liking to you and show you something - something of the soul.

~from Women Who Run With the Wolves
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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