Sorry for the very long pause between Part I and II. It's the way of life sometimes.
3. I got ANOTHER bladder infection.
I have a history with bladder infections. For years I have nursed myself with herbal remedies, homeopathic pellets off the shelf or sought collaboration with the experts -- naturopaths. The remedies have worked short term, or a few months, or until the next time my sweetheart and I make love. This time the calendar turned from 2016 to 2017 I was in a lot of pain, was feverish alternating with chills. I made an appointment with my nurse practitioner who squeezed me for an appointment; she did a pelvic exam and conducted or sent out for a hand-full of tests. All of these tests were negative, showing no indication of infection. But still the pain continued.
I turned to the Ancestors and asked for help. They said, "Susun Weed." With Scorpio Spider senses on high I began researching. Susun Weed is a long-practiced herbalist and healer who teaches The Wise Woman Tradition. With the Ancestors' message I reserved two of Weed's books from our local library. It would be a week before the books arrived. Fortunately, one of Weed's first promises as a healer is to be accessible; and she's kept her promise. She describes herself as "The YouTube Herbalist" on the dozens of video presentations available online. I googled. I listened. I prepared. When her books arrived I began reading. From the first page of her newest book DOWN THERE Sexual and Reproductive Health The Wise Woman Way, Weed writes:
"This book speaks from the Wise Woman in me to the Wise Woman in you. (Wo/man inclues man, as you can see.) It is based on the belief that we are capable of observing our own body, heart, and mind, responding to the messages we receive, and caring for ourselves in a context of loving support and assistance. The Wise Woman Way nourishes health."
This tradition resonates strongly with me. I believe it. Weed asks at the bottom of that first page "Do you hear her singing? Do you feel her? Take her hand. Come." I did. The book DOWN THERE is an encyclopedia of information relating to sexual and reproductive health, laid out in layers of research and approaches with steps that begin Step O: "Do nothing." and ends with Step 6: "Break and Enter." I've found the help and guidance I needed and not the answers I expected. Therein lies the problem with my circular thinking: it kept bringing me back to exactly the same beginning.
So for the past several weeks we have taken those steps forward. On the Spiral Path it is the 13th Step that is the unexpected one. The one that turns a circle into an open-ended next. I put Susun Weeds poem about that 13th Step into the latest of my medicine stories (freshly ended, but the way! But don't spoil it for yourself if you have not read the bits before. Go here to start.).
The symbol of the Wise Woman tradition is a spiral.
A spiral is a cycle as It moves through time.
A spiral is movement around and beyond a circle, always returning to itself,
But never at exactly the same place. Spirals never repeat themselves.
The symbol of the Wise Woman tradition is the spiral.
The spiral is the bubbling cauldron.
The spiral is the curl of the wave.
The spiral is the lift of the wind.
The spiral is the whirlpool of water.
The spiral is the umbilical cord.
The spiral is the great serpent.
The spiral is the path of the earth.
The spiral is the twist of the helix.
The spiral is the spin of our galaxy. The spiral is the soft guts.
The spiral is the labyrinth.
The spiral is the womb-moon-tide mobius pull.
The spiral is your individual life.
The spiral is the passage between worlds: birth passing into death passing into birth.
The path of enlightenment is the spiral dance of bliss.
The symbol of the Wise Woman Tradition is a spiral.
Twelve is the number of established order.
One step beyond is thirteen, the wild card, the indivisible prime, the number of change.
Walk a spiral, you will inevitably come to the unique next step, the unknown, the thirteenth step, the opportunity for change, the window of transformation.
The thirteenth step creates the spiral. - THE WISE WOMAN TRADITION IS A SPIRAL by Susun S Weed
4. I enrolled and began studying 'Olelo Hawaii the Hawaiian Language via Niuolahiki Distance Learning (in January).
The self-directed course challenges me at every possible level and in all the best and the messiest of ways. Because the world of bits and bites, and codes made common for us barely cyber-literate I am able to pay a modest fee ($30.00 per module) to navigate the metaphoric and literal eight seas of the Hawaiian Island chain. Though these lessons can be done completely online without a text, I did purchase a text designed to compliment the coursework. From the first pages of Na Kai 'Ewalu.
"To the Student The title of this text book, Na Kai 'Ewalu (I do not have the Hawaiian keyboard built-into my computer, so will not be able to accurate punctuate the vowels.) refers to the eight seas that join the Hawaiian islands together like a lei. So important in their function of creating a whole from seperate pieces of land, Hawaii's seas are unfortunately often overlooked. Until recently, these eight seas provided the only means of communication between our islands and they are expected to take on more traffic in the future.My pace of learning to navigate these eight seas is slow, deliberate, and often distracted by the reality of my very haole (foreign) mundane life. My son asked me the other day while we chatted on the phone, "Don't you have any classmates?" "No," I answered. Although there are others online while I am, we paddle our virtual surfboards alone...mostly. My mother sits across from the keyboard, or sometimes I bring her framed photograph to be at my elbow so we both look at a lesson together. In spirit Ma keeps me rooted to the context she has always given me. I wish my history had been different, but that's like a time-traveler expecting to retrace history without tampering with the present; it can't be done. So instead I use the mythic writing I do to explore that territory crisscrossing time.
Any successful trip across our islands requires seriousness and a positive respect for their true nature. Never to be taken lightly, a trip through the eight seas of Hawaii is something very enjoyable, always offering a beautiful view of our islands."
This step forward influences me perhaps more than any of the others, perhaps just as much as all the others. I see how being fed the context of 'olelo (Hawaiian language) oxygenates my brain and that affects my thinking. Bound with the new language of the Wise Woman Tradition nourishment takes on a full and unexpected multiplicity of forms. It doesn't balance me, nor does it fix me let me assure you of that! I am as whacky and curious as I ever have been, probably more.
Which leads me to the end of this long tale of two parts. I look forward to new menus of Artful exploration here at The Safety Pin Cafe with spring very truly setting herself into the Salish Sea where Pete and I do live. I do wish you a good and creative new season in whatever condition of health/wholeness/heartiness you find yourself. Every step does matter.