Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Best time to go sailing

 When the sky finally goes blue and the sparkle is on the water from a westerly breeze in the Gorge Harbour, it is time to go sailing. This is a very difficult  time of year to live in such a beautiful part of the BC coast, because everyone else is coming here to Desolation Sound for a holiday and we want to get out there, as the sailors are fond of saying. So I am going to put aside a new drum that is almost ready to show you, and not finish quite yet a new painting that will be very exciting to complete, and not work on my new version of reading the Journey Oracle cards, so we too can say, "See you out there!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Keeping a memory book

I see lots of materials for making memory books in stores now, but the real thrill is discovering that I have been keeping a memory book--this one about a sabbatical taken in 1978 when my partner and I camped across Canada and then hiked up the Rockies from the base of BC to the Yukon.
 I decided to keep an art journal, and to fill it with lessons from going to nature school. Although now the pages are yellowed and frail from time, my memories are clear of those high mountain passes and the art I painted and drew in the evening after camp was made. In rediscovering this journal, I also discovered that many of the lessons received during that remarkable 14 months are still teaching me.
 Many of the shamanic insights I have about how everything is alive and is conscious of its form of aliveness, I learned in alpine meadows and beside glacial lakes above treeline. My years of shamanic painting and drum making have been my efforts to honor with a face and a voice to the fragile, powerful spirits of wild places.
 I think my body may be too old now to hike through the first snow storms of August in the Horseranch range, to wade barefoot the streams of glacial runoff above Mt. Robson, or climb to alpine lakes in Kluane that are so high the clouds are like gauze curtains on the shore.
 Some parts of me never age, though.  The willingness to take a risk, get dirty and have an adventure is with me still. My willingness to give effort as food to the spirit world is as much in the 18 years of my work on the Journey Oracle cards as it is in the new drum drying in the living room.  My memory book of wild places is always fresh in my art.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Saying goodbye to an old dog

Our beautiful  16 ½  year old Lochi dog passed away yesterday, but before this happened I asked the Journey Oracle for the wisdom to help her, and me, let go with dignity and grace.  First I asked for a dream to show me if this was the right time, and when I received what seemed a clear yes in my dream language, I drew an oracle card for an answer to the question: “How may I help Lochi be with Death?”  Unexpectedly, I drew the one card in the deck that stops a reading: the card of fate.  This card has no number, phrase, question or story attached to its two sides of black and white images.  There is no explanation for its appearance or use in any of the instructions written for how to divine with the oracle cards.  It is as if this card is waiting outside the parameters of what is known and described; of what is orderly and predictable in human seeking.

And I drew the card in this orientation.  It is the only card in the Journey Oracle deck that allows itself to be read as “upright” or “reversed” because there is no repetition of text on each of the four sides to indicate that all sides are equally correct.

So what does the card of fate mean?  Both sides have a reference to the four Journey Oracle suites in a composite image: a full moon, two of the four seasons, trees, and a path upon which to journey.  I have personally named the black side “no food here” to indicate that there is no nourishment in the path I am choosing to take, and the white side as “all food here” to indicate that there is nourishment in every direction. Yet this reversed image felt like my question was spoken into a world that was turned upside down by Death, and that I am not able to go there, “because there is no path to walk.”

So I stayed in this present, earthly moment, and Lochi and I leaned against each other, and we breathed together, and I sang Tibetan seed syllables from my heart to hers, and she relaxed and let go with more simplicity than struggle, and although hardship leaked through with my tears, I felt my accountability to just be, as my loyal companion has always just been—with me in strength and vulnerability—my Lochi girl.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Names for cats

Some names for cats have to be hunted rather than chosen.  I love the naming of creatures and paintings, because while the creature is not the thing named, it is also true that naming it makes it so.  My Journey Oracle divination cards were called the Journey Oracle from the very beginning, even though now, 18 years later, I keep finding new meanings to understand.

 This little grey boy kitty was called Hope (pronounced Ho-pee) from before his eyes were open, in honor of several wild and tame creatures that have passed through my life.  In my personal gift language, that I created when I learned the importance of eloquence from Martin Prechtel, hope means “choose.”  And certainly he has always been my choice.

These two kitties are Egypt (reclining in front) and Soma (standing in rear) in honor of the possible bloodline connection to the Egyptian Mau and the Bengal cat breeds.  These names came from researching the Silver Tabby breed, which most exactly fits the coat and behavior characteristics of the mama cat, except for her gooseberry green eyes, which I understand is a Mau trait.

 But this little kitty required a hunt for her name.  For these past weeks she has been “baby girl,” or “girl kitty.” She is aloof and engaging, compelling and challenging all in equal measure.  No name that named her a ‘something’ would fit, and yet often she seemed to be waiting for us to discover her identity.   Finally my partner said just to call her Mau,  since her coat is the most typical of this most ancient breed.  It was an easy step to Mauchica (Mau-chee-ka) which literally translates from the Egyptian and Spanish into “cat girl.”  A perfect fit.  I love the naming of something, because every name tells a story.