Thursday, January 24, 2019

A drum for the Winter Wolf

This new shamanic frame drum from the Journey Oracle was made on Winter Solstice.

 I was reluctant to begin because I thought the blacktail deer hide was too uneven in its surface, too wrinkled and marked by age to have a good voice.  I noted in my inventory book that I had already passed this deer skin over twice before, selecting other skins for a workshop and a custom order rather than choosing this one.

But I only had two already prepared skins left and its too cold to work hides during December so  I spent some time with a fleshing tool, trying to thin the membrane.

The creature that emerged looks to me like the wolf in winter.  

Lean and watchful, silent, poised to move yet still. 
 I think of winter in the same way.  

 The feeling of stillness before the storm comes: 
the thin hard rain or silent snow.  

The snake on the back of the drum is a symbol of going deep. 

The wrapping of white doeskin is in honour of snow. 

The interlacement pattern forms an Octagram.
An 8-pointed star which represents regeneration.

Winter Solstice is the time of regeneration. 
The Sun's birthday.  
The turning toward the light. 

This Winter Wolf drum has one of the finest voices I have stretched in many years.  You can hear it being played with a felted beater by clicking on this youtube link:  

Even though I appreciate this technology because you can have a taste of its voice, this is nothing compared to being in its presence; just like the difference between watching a video about wolves, and seeing a wolf in winter. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Finding solutions to community discord in a dream

We have created a storm.  A cold front of litigation, investigation, accusation and counter-accusation. A storm of social media threads so dense that it feels like hard rain.   So how do we find solutions to our community discord?  I have discovered some solutions in a painting of a dream. 

Here is the full painting. Number 6 in the on-going series of 47, each based on one of my 47 Journey Oracle cards.    And here are some insights I found while musing about the meaning of some of the details in this work titled: Are you dressing appropriately for the weather? 


Get rid of the fence.  Fences are barriers made mostly of fear.  Fear of trespass, fear of escape, fear of violation, fear of change.  This fence looks old and flimsy.  Probably could be pushed over, if the people just turned around and put some effort into it. We may each need to ask "What am I afraid of?" and then sit in a circle and tell our answers to each other. 

Dress appropriately for the weather.  What are they thinking?  Such a strange combination of vulnerability and formality.  What are the most practical ideas and useful actions to wear in a storm of  bullying negativity and misinformation?  Let's figure those out and wear them instead.

Send kind words to everyone. Energy follows the path of purpose. Have a word with yourself about your own purposes in participating in the whispering conversations, the media threads, the long phone calls. 

Stop breaking more glass.  Reconciliation is not retribution, and certainly not revenge. Questions help to join the edges of our perceptions and reality together, demands break us apart.

Remember why we live here.  We love this place.  We each had to make an effort to arrive on this Cortes island.  Its not just a gradual meander along the road to the next likely location, but a place that requires crossing a moat.

Aldous Huxley, who for years owned little more than an automobile and a few books, said, "I must confess, I regret the chains with which I have not loaded myself.  In these moods I desire a house full of stuff, a plot of land with things growing on it; I feel that I should like to know one small place and its people intimately, that I should like to have known them for years, all my life.  But one cannot be two incompatible things at the same time  If one desires freedom, one must sacrifice the advantages of being bound." (as quoted in On Trails, by Robert Moor)

I think most of us who are trying to find solutions to our community discord are doing so because we are bound to this place.  I believe this is our higher unity.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Oracle advice for troubled times in my community

I think my community is broken.  What used to feel like amused tolerance for our differences now feels like a willingness to hurt each other because we think differently. Like a community-generated climate change is affecting our ability to function together toward a greater good, or even to decide what a greater good might look like.  

So I decided to do a Journey Oracle reading for myself, not asking anything so presumptive as "what to do?"  More just sitting in the feelings of  confusion about our disharmony.  Here are the four Oracle cards I drew, plus my impressions of their advice in blue text.  I am including each entire page of Oracle pronouncements, just in case some other part of the writing is insightful for you, if you have your own situation of seeking advice for troubled times in your community. 


At first I see confusion, and then I see a bare brown hill or rock shape floating in a sea. of blue green.  Old timers often call Cortes Island "the rock," and so this image feels like a significant beginning. 

I am drawn to the upper center of the Oracle card, to what looks like a bare tree--no leaves, no growth, no shade from the glare of white.  A good metaphor for this troubled situation. 


This situation began by getting affairs in order.
The prevailing energy of this situation is buffeting.
The core energy pattern of this situation is awash in uncertainty.
The three statements above have the most potency for me.  I need to not trust gossip and rumor but go to my neighbors, as best as I can, and learn why some are so dissatisfied. 
The Mother of this situation is yellow strength.
The Father of this situation is opening from the center.

Your relationship to the prevailing energy is eyes straight ahead.
I like the above statement--don't be distracted into assumptions and projections, as apparently, according to the next statement, I have been.  
Your perception of the situation is distracted.
The impact of your perception is filled with damage.
The connection between the core energy pattern and the situation is felt as delicate
The momentum of this situation is fed by hearing the cries of the world.
This statement has such a ring of truth for me.  It seems like this climate change of ill will and intolerance is everywhere.

This Oracle card shows my experience in this situation of community troubles.  Wow.  Is this me? Am I speaking in circles? Looking detached and at the same time afire with jagged thoughts and feelings?

Or is this image corresponding to the name the Oracle gives my experience: remembered song.  Red is the colour of deep belonging, of being rooted,  as well as a colour of aggression.  Can I remember another song, one in which we speak kindness instead of hate about each other?  



threatening danger
be careful what you say

unexpected nourishment
not speaking the truth, the maze
agitation, strength to resist weakness
be careful what you say

If the above list of phrases is a map of my experience in these troubled times, where am I on the map?  I think I am in the space between being careful what I say, and unexpected nourishment. This Journey Oracle reading is one way of identifying that nourishment.  


An exterior or support system for the situation is majesty.

This Oracle card is about change.  The woman is looking up and seems quite reverent, righteous even, while holding inside a frighteningly dark creature.  Is this a picture of the energy that is doing so much damage in my community?  Is this the energy that needs to change?


 The power needed to shift this situation will be a sound of gentle calling.
Change will come by not being able to step on shore.
Your relationship to the change in this situation is seeing in the depth.
The moment of letting go into the change will smell ripe.
The concern to be avoided within this change will taste same as before.

The wisdom of floating away will empower the transformation.
Completed transformation will be felt as a quality of active mind.


Are you comfortable?
Do you want to go home?

Yes I do.  I want to go home again.  To a community where I could knock on any door to say my car died, and could I borrow some gloves to walk home, and know I would be met with a smile, and the offer of tea, and probably a ride.  


This is the Oracle card showing the resolution of these troubled times in my community.  

The central elements feel very significant to me.  A young woman holding a heart and a snake with eyes made from a volute spiral.  An image of transformation, keeping the heart visible, being flexible like the young who are the inheritors of  however we shape this community.

A Journey Oracle fairy tale
There were three children who loved their father. All thought “aren’t we special” as they received his attention at games, or on drives in the dusk to watch the deer, or during late night conversations while eating fried egg sandwiches.
Perhaps he told each one, “you have the help you need,” and each one felt they were holding treasure—but none of the children talked to each other about how they felt, or shared their stories.
The children’s father died an old man, well loved by many people that he helped to succeed at dancing the fire of their dreams and hopes. And so the community decided to make a celebration of honoring, and invited the old man’s three grown children to attend. But one child could not be found, and so the other two were asked “where is that child?”
It was not because of mischievousness that one child told the community “She will not come.” It was not about just honoring ourselves that the other child understood this statement to be a truth when it was an opinion. And the child who could not be found was not told and so did not come to honor her father.
Many years later the three children were gathered with their children to celebrate their families, and the tangled story of not being found and not being told came out.

         Later the child who did not attend the honouring of her father felt his presence and said “the witness is here.” She understood the value of seeing all sides, and heard “you in balance comfortably, you have the help you need.”

This is a true story.  I was that child who was not told and did not come.  And the meaning to me of this story as the Oracle's resolution for my broken community is not in feeling hurt and angry at being left out.  It is in the second paragraph:

but none of the children talked to each other about how they felt, or shared their stories.

We have to talk to each other.  We have to understand the value of seeing all sides.