Wednesday, September 28, 2016


"The beauty of the true ideal," Donohue insists, "is its hospitality towards woundedness, weakness, failure and fall-back. Yet so many people are infected with the virus of perfection. They cannot rest; they allow themselves no ease until they come close to the cleansed domain of perfection. This false notion of perfection does damage and puts their lives under great strain. It is a wonderful day in a life when one is finally able to stand before the long, deep mirror of one's own reflection and view oneself with appreciation, acceptance, and forgiveness. On that day one breaks through the falsity of images and expectations which have blinded one's spirit. One can only learn to see who one is when one learns to view oneself with the most intimate and forgiving compassion."
This quotation comes from Terri Windling's post today at her blog Myth & Moor. A perfect reminder for me, especially the line I've embolded. It's a line I need to whisper in my ear today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The women gathered to dispense the blended medicine

Angie (above) read
"... Hares, even blended ones such as Hand and Shore have keenly sensitive noses. The snug burrow and the jolly-tunes of a blessed dream were no match for the smell of fall and the promise of a full belly. With a shake and a shiver to wake himself Hand pulled on his denim coveralls. The patches of many kinds stitched in place by his own hand, and that of his mother were his favorite human Pretty. He rubbed each patch to give off the smell of their memory. The pleasure. The sadness. The time of sheer gladness.
To leap full as a Hare, Hand wore no rubber boots. To feed the land the Wild nature must touch land's skin full-footed. The Blended Hare, Hand, heard his sister's chanting. He responded ... 
"The count is seven, we blend with heaven."The morning meal awaits, my dear..." - from the chapter, The Smell of Fall, Feed the Land
Sunday while The Safety Pin Cafe was fully occupied with two dogs, a towheaded boy with a snail, and human women and men of all ages, the season on Earth shifted. In the culture of Hawaii this shift begins when the season of Ku moves into the season of Lono. The sky cleared as if to get a better view and angle to hear the voices and the intention of the people. Clouds occasioned the space above us. Brother Wind had a hand in movement in the heavens.

 I was reminded by Kalei Nu'uhiwa via the 'Aimalama Facebook page that this is the time when "Politically, it is a time to maintain what you have, to prepare for the makahiki (Hawaiian New Year)  and to settle any political disturbances. Kū is going to be put away into storage until the next season."

Yesterday, in the spirit of the new season of Lono I made time to blend Hawaiian kilo (observation skills) with Western astrology.  Satori wrote about Monday as a time to "sit with things, contemplate, and to avoid drama or shooting oneself in the foot. You know how you don’t get something quite right and you’re inclined to follow it up with something more? Maybe think twice before you do that. Let it rest. Let everything catch up. The Moon moves into quincunx with Pluto and things can feel as though they’re of dire importance – but wait and see if that lasts before you saddle up and ride herd on it."

The photo above from Sunday's "Power of Story" event in The Safety Pin Cafe has a touching significance for me. I see a gathering of women of different ages, the youngest among them is the canine, who one could miss if you didn't know she is busy licking a bowl of smoked salmon scraps. What is significant for me is this line from Satori, "sit with things, contemplate, and avoid drama or shooting oneself in the foot." It was a big day, and the day after was a fine day to reflect on how the dispensing of medicine stories comes when all present are allowed to participate. The healing, not the rescuing, happens voice is given to the many rather than to one. 

My son, after seeing the pictures and captions from the event wrote, "Good you making them work." I laughed at his incite, and said I didn't look at it that way. But, yes, everyone who wishes to make an effort to dispense and receive the medicine worked it.

Pete and I were talking about the gathering and I said it made all the difference in the world to share the microphone with all who cared to hold it. Two hours of story told and read by the group was a healing event. What and how the medicine reached people is as the chant E Ho Mai asks, Give to me what I need to understand, the wisdom from above ... for me, you, different for each of us. It's in the asking that the giving is given. 

Blending practices -- such as pinning together Hawaiian kilo practice with Western astrology -- is not always such a bad thing.  I'm not talking homogeneity here or appropriating another culture and calling it your own. There are way too many examples of that kind of neocolonialism. What I am talking about is a conscious patchwork quilting; pinning first perhaps before sewing together skillfully; knowing and naming the various pieces, the memory of its value, the meaning and application to the present, and asking for permission before using the 'patch'; giving credit for the source. To make art from the diverse ways life pieces itself together individually and collectively it helps to recognize the patterns. 
Pallas Athene with all her attributes Via Wikimedia

One final astrological insight that helps with this patchwork post is how Pallas Athena (the asteroid's archetypal influence) influences a person's perception. At the end of my reflective time yesterday I learned something new about astrology and applied it to my experience. I learned that in the mythology of the Greeks, Pallas Athena originated from the head of Zeus (Jupiter) a fully formed female warrior. The Greek myth rang bells from the mythology or he mo'okuauhau (Hawaiian genealogical chants) of the Pele family. Those like myself who must 'study' the language of my Ancestors to know it, learn through books:

Kamohoali'i (M), born from the fontanel

Kanehekili (M), born from the mouth
Kauilananuimakehaikalani (M), born from the eyes
Kuha'imoana (M), born from the ears ... 

"The above genealogy describes the components of the earth, specifically the volcano or other forms of nature...Over eons," writes Pualani Kanakaole Kanahele, in Ka Honua Ola " each of the names in this genealogy has taken on varied forms to accommodate local metaphors..." 

So, yesterday I learned, it is inevitable that my journey as an elder in the process would blend, pin, or in diverse ways make art of the many practices that I value. Pallas Athena was in my Second Half (Personal Values) in the sign of Aquarius when I was born. Satori's article includes this about Pallas Athena, "She is associated with creative intelligence, particularly as it relates to war, healing and arts and crafts. The energy this asteroid expresses resonates with a blending of Aquarius, Leo and Libra. As simply as possible she represents the creative intelligence, perception of wholly realized concepts and balance."

What's your experience with blending practices from one culture with another and honoring the protocol of permission? Where is Pallas Athena in your astrological chart?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Story filled the air and fed the land

We pitched the tents and hung the banner as the Earth shifted from the season of Ku to the season of Lono, and announced the arrival of The Safety Pin Cafe. The overcast sky cleared, and we were treated to a warm late September Sunday.

 People we had never met before joined in the reading of the original medicine story of The Safety Pin Cafe.

Maria hung out with the humans, listening? hearing what she needed. Only she knows.
 Liz, a dear and long-time friend drove down the island from her island of Fidalgo (Anacortes) to share beautifully smoked salmon, and oranges then joined in the reading of medicine, too.
Adults sitting with their eyes closed, or minds in the story. I saw this often as I looked under the tent.
These were the first folks to arrive for story. We have seen them before here at The Safety Pin Cafe.
There were two canine story fans.
Our friend, Jude, reading the chapter of The Safety Pin Cafe, suitable for a pie maker, which she is in real life.
Liz, and Mark and Sophia a couple who we just met who live on Whidbey, sometimes, and in other places, too. From them we learned of something called 'Couch Surfing' ... we have to investigate. Travelers hook-up with people who have a place, a space to offer to land/spend the night. 
No money is exchanged! 
Have you heard of 'Couch Surfing?"
This young boy came with a snail that he was very, very surprised to discover was still at home. 
Prescott reading a chapter from Feed the Land, about what happens when Hares deal with orange growling machines. 
Angie Hart read from the newly written medicine story Feed the Land, a story written especially for the 'prairie front' the Tilth. 

There was no stage today, it was not a day for stages ... the power of story was in the voice, eye-to-eye. I told one tale of Pele and Lono, to begin the day,  and everyone joined in to make the story live. We heard many voices and it was very good! Thank you, mahalo nui to all the folks who joined Pete and me participating, learning about fire-making, whispering a treasured gift of ho'omana into the ear of a potential 'stranger.' Mahalo Kawika and Puni for sharing that mana'o with me, so I could pass it along to those who came. Story filled the air, soothed the heart and fed the land at the prairie front.

That is all, there is no more. Ho, ha, and so the stories were let go ... Amama.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Power of Story*

 *with a nod of acknowledgement to Terri Windling, who presented a talk of the same name "The Power of Story". There are so many versions of myth to spread the magic of story.

Sometimes life in the civilized world creates symptoms & situations that demand crossing borders for remedy & solutions. A massage helps, a prescription might do, but often it’s ...

Story these symptoms crave. 


Mokihana Calizar will be at the South Whidbey Tilth Farmers' Market with her husband Pete Little telling a Hawaiian tale "Pele and Lono", and strumming her ukulele between and betwicks. She invites the audience to join in group readings. First, the reading of the original medicine of"The Safety Pin Cafe", and then a freshly minted story for the Tilth land, called "Feed the Land."
This is a medicine story about land, not property, about people, not consumers, about community not ownership, about pirates dressed in everyday clothes, about hearts and souls craving remedy and solutions that criss-cross the borders.

Your DONATIONS will benefit the work of Real Change, a Seattle-based group which "exists to provide opportunity and a voice for low-income and homeless people while taking action for economic, social and racial justice", and South Whidbey Homeless Coalition (SWHC) whose mission is to "Help us make homeless a brief and rare experience in our community."

Mokihana Calizar is a Hawaiian storyteller, blogger and writer of medicine stories. She lives with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and knows first-hand the issues of homelessness and life on the edges of a civilized society. 

Come FRAGRANCE FREE, suspend your disbelief and be open to create a more robust version of reality.

Sunday, September 25, 2016
The stories will start at 
11:30 A.M.
And end when the last word is told.
Where: South Whidbey Tilth Farmers' Market
Corner of Thompson Road and Highway 525

Contact Mokihana

Saturday, September 10, 2016


Old news, new news what's the big deal about news? Good news, bad news wait a second and there's more news. Good news, bad news ... I woke from sleep and a dream about identity and dress-up. In the dream an friend from a former life who lives just across the pond, a ferry ride away, was switching costumes at the last minute. "I love this one," she was gushing with delight at the look. This one was a green silk floral kimono that when opened revealed a stunning purple swimsuit or lingerie thing. In the dream the switch would change the whole arrangement, the whole agreement between a community of undercover agents. How would we recognize her if she changed her look. What difference would it make, the implication. We were being watched anyway what difference did it make if there was a costume change?

I had to open my eyes to see if I could wake from the dream.

In the Quonset I walked to the kettle, it was nearly empty. I hefted the glass jug of water, unscrewed the cap and tipped the filtered water into the opened kettle mouth. While I waited for the water to boil I opened my mail to find my old crony had sent a brief message, "Yes bank the fires" with a link to this You Tube of film director Petra Eppelein.


In an interview with Petra Epperlein, Co-director of the 2016 film Karl Max City, East German-born Epperlein was asked, "What do you want people to think about when they're leaving the theatre?" Her answer:

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
PE: It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of the subject of modern surveillance and come out sounding like a raving paranoid. However, for anyone who has lived under the gaze of surveillance in a dictatorship, the implications — and dangers — of our data driven future are chilling, no matter what its architects tell us.
In 2009, when Google’s Eric Schmidt was asked by CNBC if users could trust Google, he replied, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” These words, spoken by a Silicon Valley techno-libertarian, reveal just how much our fundamental definition of privacy has changed in the age of social media, where the most observed are the most valued, and personal validation comes from publicizing the private. Who needs informants when we so readily inform on ourselves?
In this new cryptopticon, we have become the apparatus. It doesn’t just watch us, it is us and every aspect of our public, private, and social lives is mediated by a network that is controlled not by governments, but by corporations that entice users with “free” services that promise efficiency and convenience, while, in reality, they are simply brokers and aggregators of human behavior. We are the products and our behavior is the new currency.
Unchecked, we are in danger of enabling our own worst dystopian nightmare, where privacy is a luxury, not a right. If that sounds crazy, ponder for a moment that Facebook users have uploaded over 250 billion photographs of themselves, their families, and their friends to a company that operates the most sophisticated facial recognition software in the world. I can only imagine what the “who is who?” obsessed Stasi would have thought of a population that eagerly hits the streets armed with radio-equipped cameras that capture, tag, map, and broadcast their every encounter.
It’s easy to fear the future, but I wouldn’t trade it for the past. Just as we finished the film, the UK voted for the Brexit and Donald Trump was promising to “Make America Great Again.” Nostalgia is a powerful thing, but does anyone really want to go back to a world of walls and closed borders?

 "[]Her Benton Place home burned down in 2001, and she moved into an RV on her property. Bakke said that in 2003 county officials told her of her violation and told her to get a building permit."
"Bakke said that she has applied for a permit for a home that he characterized as above-average size. What she has not done, however, is pay for the permit. Today [2008], she continues to defy Island County Code and live in the RV...[]"
"The rule falls under the county’s zoning ordinance and has been in effect since the early ‘70s. According to the planning department, neither camping nor the use of a recreational vehicle is permitted for occupation. Also, storage of an RV is prohibited on property without a single-family residence."
"Bakke (Island County Planning Director at the time of this article) said that people who prompt complaints fall into two categories: Either it is an on-going dispute between neighbors or it is people who come to a friend’s property and party."
Normally, the infractions go unreported, unless the people camping are being especially rowdy. Bakke said that people living in communities with smaller parcels usually call more often.
“I think a lot of those communities have benefited form the enforcement of those codes,” Bakke, who was the county’s first code enforcement officer, said. “There are places where it is a really big deal.”
Living in an RV, or even in a tent, creates several problems that Bakke said are enough to justify it being against the law. When people live in an RV, they usually bring in television sets, microwaves and other amenities, which the RV is not designed for.
“When you start plugging in a TV and a microwave, it’s common for them to catch fire,” Bakke said.

The long-term living in a recreational vehicle also creates an issue for the health department. Disposal of grey and brown water, which is runoff from dishes or laundry and sewage, is difficult to do over a long period of time.
But Bakke said that if people are being respectful and not bothering anybody, a complaint generally won’t be filed. The planning department does not proactively enforce county codes such as this, but it will respond to complaints.
“So long as you don’t get blasting drunk and pee on the neighbor’s pansies, there'’s generally not a problem,” Bakke said."
- Read the entire article "County targets RV camping"  Whidbey News-Time Jul 9, 2005 at 12:00AM updated Jul 3, 2008 at 4:23PM
Did you hear about the bombing of a homeless RV this morning?”
I hadn’t. The news was just breaking. Jeremy Patrick Kidwell, a 46 year-old family man from Portland, had placed a pipe bomb under an RV in his neighborhood. The owner of the RV recovered the device and confronted Kidwell.
Police searched Kidwell’s home and found PVC pipes, hobby fuses, gunpowder and literature about booby traps. They placed the man under arrest.
The Hoekstra family, who lives in the RV, confronted Kidwell after he placed the device. KATU in Portland reported a conversation between them that went like this: “Are you that aggravated with homeless people? I’m so sorry that we live on this street and obscure your view of whatever!”[]When progress is being made, that’s when churches start getting bombed. We saw this during the last civil rights movement. Where there is progress, there is backlash.
All the ugliness, in a weird way, is really a sign of change. We need to just keep pushing. We need to keep showing people how homeless folks aren’t any different from the rest of us. That the threat that some of us feel is a reflection of our own fears and insecurities..." -Read the entire article " Director's Corner" Timothy Harris, Founding Director, Real Change, August 31, 2016 

My mug of honey-sweetened Red Hibiscus tea is empty. I tip the cold mug up and drain the dregs to comfirm: I have drank it. Asleep and dreaming or awake and being the app(aratus) writing a blog will a costume change matter, Alice?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Venus enters Libra

I was on the phone with a crony checking in on our lives as old gals and old friends who have not just witnessed but held for safe-keeping the reality of life when it's not pretty or easy. We live in the same state but are hours apart and in many ways a universe separate. My writing is the common ground we meet on. I write she reads. Every once in awhile I call and we talk.

"So, what happened," my friend asked.

I explained as best I could, though the written version is the mundane and the mythic truth. She'd read this already and it's times like this when a bit of voice is necessary. Banking the fire. I'm loving the textured meaning of that image of a banked fire loving the irony of not being able to be with fire for years now. The irony of life is such bitter sweet reality touching the core of a good thing even when you can't have the real life.

After hearing me out, I could hear the catch in my friend's voice when I suspected she wanted to say something ... something to help. She is a solutions-oriented Taurus and to be without a solution to our current dilemma is painful. But she, this old crony, told me of what she imagined possible for us. She spoke of how her partner and she dream of possibilities.

Hearing me out as I spoke of the limitations and challenges of a life with MCS as we experience it, she made me privy to the challenges and solutions in her life. A door is opening up the winter bleakness to light, and space outside. Literal solution for a Bull is big. I was happy to be hearing the scraping and sawing of tools in the background. I imagined the big glass sliding door, a steaming mug of fresh coffee and my friend barefooted or in booties in winter.

When it was time to say good-bye my friend said, "I won't give you platitudes like 'hang in there." She knows that's what we do. She knows we make do and then she said, "I know enough to know there is magic waiting. I wish that for you! (or something close to that)"

"Keep writing," she said. "I'm reading the new one."

"Thanks. I really appreciate that you aren't giving me platitudes." Others give us that, and that's just a sign that they don't get it. Uncomfortable with their helplessness, and in some cases, so attached to their fear of our version of homelessness it's all they believe they can do.

Venus the planet of love is newly in the area of the sky where Libra reigns (Relationships). It's possible to use the power of love to learn how to light a fire that could burn and burn well into the night. It's a practiced skill to bank a fire, but one that would benefit the wood being burned, the beings awaiting heat, and the one who woke early to start it. Warmth for the long term, bank the fire.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Spider bite

These are the 'Ole moons, the reflective and reconsidering times (4 of them before the moon comes full, 3 of them when the moon is waning). We have "pulled the plug" on our proposal to move onto the prairie front. Too many risks and too little real support. So yesterday Pete and I spent time here in the woods a bit stunned by the attempt. Talking about what happened helped a little, but mostly what helped was to clean up the dust and cobwebs inside the vardo and the Quonset. As I prepared the vardo for Pete to vacuum I pulled off a length of cloth that warms the underside of our futon. I felt a small sharp sting. Quick bite! A nanosecond of doubt fled. I knew I had been bitten by Spider. I searched for it. There. Circled into a tight ball, 'playing possum' was 'Uku'uku. Using a small cloth I unfurled the spider, very much alive. Looking at my finger I saw the bite already reddening.

"You need to go outside!" It's warm in the vardo and they love to sneak inside. I get that. It's been a few years since my last spider bite. I remember what the Medicine Woman told me, "Have you asked what Spider is trying to tell you?"  I had not thought to ask that question back then. After tossing the cloth and spider outside I walked into the orchard, looked for the green leaves of Laukahi (Plantain) and picked two and chewed them into a poultice for the bite.

I asked Pete for a band-aid to hold the poultice in place and told him what had happened. Through out the day and into the night I asked Spider, "What are you trying to tell me?"

As I write early in the morning, the redness of Spider's bite has been eased. Thank you Laukahi. I listen. Answers seem to be coming, unexpected or perhaps answers that are more and more "Listen more often to things than to beings. Tis the Ancestors breath ..."

With the 'Ole Moons, the answers unfurl. I pray to have ears to listen, and hear what is true, and write the story to express the medicine.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"There is some evidence of ripening." - Satori

Emu in the Sky, Milky Way (photo credit: Barnaby Norris )

"... Saturn-Neptune is the longer term, common feature here. It’s reality in shift, in flux. In July there was a focus on considering what we wanted in relationship to what was real and possible – updating our thinking and our attitudes. Now we’re seeing how those ideas panned out in their infancy. There is some evidence of ripening. Something useful is becoming solid now, or it can become solid if we take advantage of the opportunities presented and claim the reward..." - Satori's Daily Forecast: September 4, 2016

September 4th is our wedding anniversary. Twelve years ago Pete and I signed a document that said we were legally married, I did the asking and after some deliberation Pete said yes. A friend was our officiant and with her husband as witness the four of us sat in our Wailuku Drive rental cottage, in Hilo to celebrate our wedding. A week later we would gather a larger group of family and friends but this intimate sit down do was a time I remember with fondness, especially as I reflect on the title for this post, "There is some evidence of ripening." 

We were in a time of flux in 2004 having sold my family home early that year I was also making decisions about addressing health issues. Instead of opting to surgically remove my thyroid I chose instead to keep my thyroid and alkalize my body -- I went to New Mexico and learned the Anne Wigmore Raw Food Lifestyle. Me and my thyroid was still here to live another day, and Pete and I can celebrate a relationship begun in 1995, ripening in commitment with a marriage license nine years later, and an anniversary twelve years after that!

As a couple we have a Scorpio Ascendent, "With a Scorpio ascendant you’ll have a subtle and compelling power about you. Perhaps you look a bit dangerous." We are a bit dangerous looking together, a lanky wild-haired white man and a dumpling brown woman who live in a house no bigger than a shoe, on wheels. What we are doing today, perhaps as a form of celebrating, is attend to the kilo (observation) of the stars, and planets, along with the Sun and Moon. Satori's description is such useful knowledge. Our challenge at the moment is to keep doing the homework necessary to understand the issues of 'hunting' and the characteristics of the prey we seek -- a safe next home in community. To do that we are looking to the navigators (Ancient wayfinders) who have never forgotten how Emu in the Sky, The Milky Way has the answers mirrored in the sweet honey in the rock.

If you are still with me, remember I am weaving a story that pulls threads like a spider pulling silk. The process is exquisite, but, not fast. The pieces will stick together ... eventually. Trust me, suspend all disbelief.

Using Satori's Daily Horoscope that begins this post, I pick the bits of her narrative to feed this ramble. 

"Saturn-Neptune is the longer term, common feature here. It’s reality in shift, in flux." As a couple via our Composite Astrology Chart the Saturn-Neptune square is testing the way we appear to the world (Saturn is transiting our composite First House) with the way we relate to our 'siblings'(Neptune is in our Third House of neighbors, community, siblings, our relationships, the way we communicate). This planetary affect is subject to change, because Neptune is all about water and water cannot be contained. Saturn on the other hand is about long term reality lessons. Mm.

"In July there was a focus on considering what we wanted in relationship to what was real and possible – updating our thinking and our attitudes. " In July we recognized we had to make a move from the woods. Winter winds have been bringing down trees and limbs around us and the mold in the wet woods is more difficult on me. I started to write my way into understanding why and how; and together Pete and I went on a road trip. It was on this trip to the dry country desert of Central Oregon that we slept on an old wooden stage, on a foil-insulated air mattress under the Milky Way. I didn't sleep at all the first night and was visited and realigned by the Emu.

A night sky where the dry country tides appear to be invisible are, in fact, incredibly powerful sources of water moving. The internal waters affected by the pull of the stars is best noticed when one sleeps outside. At our most receptive moments when the physical body is horizontal and open to restoration there is a grand opportunity to "update thinking and attitudes." The whole physical package is exposed to the giant Emu, the Milky Way. Usually diluted by civilization's human-made light the Milky Way is brilliant and magnetic in the dry country tide country. We were in Central Oregon to visit friends. It was our first 'vacation' and road trip in many years we were exploring the possibility that a different place might suit us. In this environment I could breathe without congestion; I felt different, I felt better. When we left after three days we thought: let's move here

"Now we’re seeing how those ideas panned out in their infancy." That idea did not pan out. Though many pieces could have worked, they didn't. Boundaries were laid out by the woman we visited; she had a life in motion a plan envisioned and steps being walked, the fit was not there. Emu had nonetheless begun tuning and realigning our thoughts, and attitudes.  

"There is some evidence of ripening. Something useful is becoming solid now, or it can become solid if we take advantage of the opportunities presented and claim the reward..." 

The Leo New Moon under which we made that dry country tide road trip has fattened and waned into the Solar Eclipse and New Moon in Virgo just passed on September 1st. Something useful is becoming useful, but the prize is not quite what we thought it would be, or, the story is not yet done.

I'm picking up the thread of this post after a day long road trip and anniversary celebration with Pete. Such fun we had adventuring and exploring, chatting and laughing, eating and eventually meandering north and nearly to the border of British Columbia. We were exploring the area around an Intentional Community that has been together since 1984 as one of the five communities of the Evergreen Land Trust.

In the course of our road trip yesterday with time moving at 55 MPH seated side-by-side in our Scout the Subaru, as is so often the case, I learned what a difficult day Pete had on Sunday (we were road tripping the next day, Monday, the holiday, Labor Day). The gist of Pete's difficulty came from hours of listening to opinions and attitudes from the community whose support we are seeking to establish a safe fall and winter home. Slowly but steadily the morphing reality of support was triggering his Mars, his ego. He was alone to field that exposure(I was holed up, refueling myself on the futon in the vardo), and though he is a capable and hail adult male, advocating for a 'safety pin lifestyle' is invisibly difficult work. (Saturn-Neptune again!) Reality is shifting. This proposal we made asking to move into a much more public setting was a big risk, we were thinking big thoughts, and taking a chance in the larger community. We hoped to find a way to include others, attempting to educate them about the reality of life on the edge.  

When we returned to the woods there were two new emails for us; one was addressed to me and the second was Pete's. The mail to Pete was a community member's latest response to our proposal to move onto the land where the rock lives. The email includes this opinion and vision:

"... [We] recently tentatively approved a plan to create the conditions to have our first on-site resident caretakers...This essentially involves creating a bathing facility adjoining our existing bathrooms, use of the kitchen for daily meal preparation, and allowing appropriate placement of a gypsy wagon, an equivalent of a tiny house sleeping room, for the first residents on the land this fall and winter.
This development opens the door to a broader vision for the reorientation of the [] land to better meet the needs of some lower income members of our community..."
Here's the part that challenges me to write with honesty and self-care. In essence this email piggybacks a future vision, which is noble and potentially fruitful, with our immediate  need for shelter and request to "create the conditions to have our first on-site resident caretakers."  The reason we approached this group in the first place  was our five years of our common grounds of respect for diversity and love of land. This is land not sprayed with chemicals for decades, a basic condition for our survival. However, what this email fails to recognize is the immediate harm opening the door to "a broader vision for the reorientation of land", at this specific time, will mean to our fragile lifestyle. More and broader discussion with more people including county zoning authority could tip our slim margin of safety in the blink of a key stroke on the ENTER key. 

This Safety Pin Cafe style of life is not just a metaphor for small, simple and efficient connections. Pete and I live in a vardo no bigger than a shoe, and you know what happened to the old woman in the nursery rhyme who lived in a shoe. We opened ourselves and our safety pins to believing, trusting, we could pin ourselves to this community. As the email Pete received stated, we have received "tentative approval to create the conditions for the first on-site caretakers." As a new day unfolds, and a night of sleep with Emu's watchful eye checking on our newly aligned thinking and attitudes, we know it is time to 'pull the plug' on this proposal.  The conditions for the first on-site caretakers (Pete and Mokihana) have not yet been secured. Each precious step is one we have learned must be taken with a spiritual component weighing equally as important as all else. 

The email addressed to me was from the friend who opened my heart and ears to the lyrics of Sweet Honey in the Rock's  "The Ancestors' Breath". Her mail was one I had anticipated with pleasure, and the reward I got was affirmation. It was something useful! This friend has long shared the realities of life of the edge as one who lives and moves around as part of the artful though often life-threatening dodging someone with MCS does all the time. Part of what she wrote was, " at the time we spoke, I didn't make the connection about the rock you spoke to and the great metaphor --Sweet Honey in the Rock. It's a beautiful image to think of honey in a rock, and all that can mean..."

Here's where the holographic picture of evidence ripening pops! While the voices and opinions, the visions and the fears of human beings, have filled the air ways and the email spaces, the Ancestors' Breath, the sight of Emu, and the sweet honey from the Rock have tied the holograph together. Like the spider connecting silk for her web. The final piece, the final voice of Ancestors came from a committee of worms. Yes, you are reading correctly, that is NOT a typo. Worms, not words.

You see, in the photograph above the missing piece of protocol and respectful practices I forgot. My son called late yesterday afternoon. Pete and I had just finished discussing the email he received and it had finally dawned on me ... my mistake. That call from my son was the family connection, the ancestor alive now, I needed to flesh that holograph out. I said, "If I am the one who is responsible, and I do take full responsibility for it, for the spiritual pono (harmony) of activity and story on this land ... then, my mistake was not asking permission of the worms in the worm bin (pictured above) who would have to be moved to accommodate our lifestyle, and the vardo. Ha!

I had indeed introduced myself and asked for permission from the rock. But to the creatures small and potent earth makers that they are, I never asked them what they thought. However, the rock knew what needed to be done, and so the message passed from the rock to the worms. And the answer: a'ole, no! This is not the place for that couple with the Scorpio Ascendent. We have the ripening evidence and who better to hear but the voice of compost makers, Earth Worms.

In the end it's all compost. Later in Satori's horoscope that begins this ramble is this: "Desire is part of this. You really have to want it. If you’ve gone off track or forgotten the ideas, that’s okay – here they come again." What I had forgotten was the lesson in "The Ancestor's Breath" ... 'listen more often to things than to [human] beings.' I hear now. The gold, the treasure, the anniversary gift was compost and what better evidence of ripening can there be. Thank you, mahalo nui loa a pau Aumakua. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Introducing myself to the rock

"We cross borders without regard, ignorant or arrogant of the protocol native to the transitional spaces that take us from this place to that place. Traditions remembered and practiced would maintain and pass along the right things to do, at the right time, and in the right frame of mind. Have we all become wanderers with passports unstamped with the memory of teachings from the Ancestors and Nature? There are rituals to remember and common magic to induce respect and reverence for the beings and places that share this planet." - Introduction to medicine story "The Safety Pin Cafe"

listen more often to things than to beings
listen more often to things than to beings
tis the ancestors breath when the fire’s voice is heard
tis the ancestors breath in the voice of the water
those who have died have never, never left
the Dead are not under the earth
they are in the rustling trees, they are in the groaning woods
they are in the crying grass, they are in the moaning rocks
the Dead are not under the earth
so listen more often to things than to beings
listen more often to things than to beings
tis the ancestors breath when the fire’s voice is heard
tis the ancestors breath in the voice of the water
those who have died have never, never left
the Dead have a pact with the living
they are in the woman’s breast
they are in the wailing child
they are with us in the home
they are with us in the crowd
the Dead have a pact with the living
so listen more often to things than to beings
listen more often to things than to beings
tis the ancestors breath when the fire’s voice is heard
tis the ancestors breath in the voice of the water
listen more often to things than to beings
listen more often to things than to beings
tis the ancestors breath when the fire’s voice is heard
tis the ancestors breath in the voice of the water
Breath of the Ancestors -
Birago Diop (1906-1989) Senegalese poet and story-teller, a prominent African francophone writer, who recorded traditional oral folktales of the Wolof people

We are just back from more exploration. This process of moving is unpredictably convergent; things are coming together in unexpected ways sometimes in larger fashion than anticipated and certainly involving more people and events than we prepared for. All of us involved are not young people, we are well into our sixties and nearly seventy. The exploration we do today is more often conversations with people. We all come with our passions, our perceptions, our opinions. We are negotiating a place with the land that is shared by many people doing things.

Yesterday when Pete and I were out at the land we are hoping will be home for us at least for the winter, I stopped and introduced myself to the large rock pictured above. "Hello Pohaku, I am Mokihana, this is my voice and the feel of my hand. I would like to be your neighbor for awhile." I felt the pohaku and opened my heart to the possibility of being here day and night for a time. I was introducing myself and asking permission from the rock.

Now I listen for the voices, that sweet honey in the rock. Thank you Amy for reminding me that Sweet Honey in the Rock is precisely what I need to be listening for ... so I might hear the Ancestors' voices.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

"Why follow astrology if you don't apply it ... - Elsa P."

SCORPIO (Oct 23–Nov 21): The dictionary says that the verb "to schmooze" means to chat with people in order to promote oneself or make a social connection that may prove to be advantageous. But that definition puts a selfish spin on an activity that can, at least sometimes, be carried out with artful integrity. Your assignment in the coming weeks is to perform this noble version of schmoozing. If you are offering a product or service that is beautiful or useful or both, I hope you will boost its presence and influence with the power of your good listening skills and smart conversations. - Rob Brezsny
Captain Jack Sparrow via Wikimedia

Pete and I are just back from an early morning breakfast at Mukilteo Coffee. The cafe is just down the road from our woods' place. We and one of the owners go way back to times when the now-major corporate business was a sidewalk kiosk outside Mukilteo's old bus barn on Front Street. "I'm getting older," Gary said as I gave him a hug and reply that I'm pretty good. "Pretty good ha?" "Yay, we're alive another day. Live to pirate another way," I said. It got a rise out of the guy who is always ready with a comeback or quip to keep momentum up. He's a master schmoozer, who believes everyone knows his secrets. Can't vouch for that one, but he does appear to be an open book with just about everyone.

I woke this morning after a fitful sleep, trying to find a comfortable way to accommodate a pain in the neck. "Where did that come from?" Pete asked when I apologized for the loud sawing of log snoring coming from me because I couldn't sleep on my side. I answered with no hesitation, "Stress." He went no further with words. Went on with his sleep and his dreams. We are without doubt in a major period of transition, birthing something new, as we step out of the woods literally and metaphorically. It's not smart to disclose the details of where or with whom we are collaborating, but it is important to keep walking the walk reinforcing the talk of Spanish poet Antonio Machado:

Caminante, no hay camino. 
Wayfarer, there is no way

El camino se hace por andar.
You make the way by walking it.

I got an email the other day from one of the people I see for health care. She was checking in with me to see how I was getting along, hoping the warm weather was aiding in my recovery from the wet and moldy conditions of late spring. I wrote back and said I had learned a lot this year, and that among other things we were moving out of the woods. My last line in the reply was that I  had learned the limits of health. It's a paradoxical condition to say that to your health care giver; but true. There is a limit to how healthy a person can be. No matter what we do, or don't do we none of us get off the planet alive. 

In my case, and I am not alone, the limits of health include the reality that much of what my health care giver offers does not help. This excerpt from Brian Doyle's novel Mink River, a portrayal of courage, character and mythic reality was a dose of medicine story for me. The town doctor is walking and talking with Billy, Worried Man. They speak of their work, their profession.

"You know, says Worried Man so quietly that the doctor has to strain to hear him over the lap lap lap of the patient ocean, I am tired of pain.
I know the feeling.
I have smelled it all my life and I am tired of it.
Yet we are professionals, Billy.
We volunteer for other people's pain.
To carry their pain.
To heal their pain.
But we don't, do we?
We ... what?
We hardly matter most of the time.
We don't, Billy. We make our holy gestures, we conduct our intricate and complicate rituals, we apply salves and poultices, elixirs and potions, and people remain broken and torn. The best I can do is just witness the pain...Pain comes to me and I wave my arms and conduct my intricate rituals, as ephemeral as the wind, as insubstantial as shadows, as elusive as smoke." 
"I've shredded both your checks," my health care giver wrote. 
"Thank you, what an unexpected gift," I replied.

So ... this way we walk, this one that I walk with a soul that is as surely imbued with the character of pirate in all its cunning and schmooze-glue, I walk knowing, through experience, there are limits to health. Astrology, a practice I follow, a walk I walk consistently, points to my heavily tenanted 8th House; very Pluto/Pele and extreme in most of my expressions. After six years of living a cloistered and protected woods life, Pete and I prepare for a change. Extreme. Back in the day when I was a younger woman, the age when first I met the coffee baron of Mukilteo Coffee fame, I was a master of schmooze and was paid to ply my wares. Life has changed a lot. Those limits of health shorten my stores of energy, but, there is a lifetime of practice that can be edited (it's Virgo Season, Virgo is a master of edit) and applied.

Jack Sparrow may be one of the infamously famous silver screen pirate characters, and a personal favorite. But he is only as good a replicant as the pirate of my our family stories. I am a granddaughter of a pirate, Francisco Calizar. The stories of him are mine, given to me while I listened to my Papa Honey under the shade of puakenikeni and plumeria trees. They are fuel for my pirate's soul feeding my imagination dialogue and conversation to sell "a product or service that is beautiful or useful or both." 

Will we sell on the open market, or via the thriving yet repellent black market? I hope to do so with that Brezsny spin "carried out with artful integrity."

Arrrgh, Francisco, lead the way.