Monday, November 23, 2009

symbols of nature

The belief system of the Native Americans assigned an animal spirit keeper for each of the four directions.
The buffalo was the totem of the North. It taught endurance and contemplating knowledge.

The spirit of the East is represented by the eagle who teaches new beginnings and creativity.

The coyote, spirit keeper of the South known as the Trickster, gives the gift of trust.

The animal spirit keeper of the West is the grizzly bear, a problem solver and teacher of family and community values.

Drumming was often used to communicate with the spirit keepers and to get in touch with one's own heartbeat, which was sacred.

The first Thanksgiving held in 1621 between the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Native Americans was as it is today: an expression of gratitude, giving thanks.
Wild turkey was on the menu from the Pilgrims.

The Native Americans brought five deer for the venison meat.

Indian corn and gourds were crops raised and harvested by the Native Americans.

Gratitude to my blogger friends!
Dancing with the Wheel by Sun Bear, Wabun Wind, and Crysalis Mulligan.
Sacred Drumming by Steven Ash.
The First Thanksgiving, article by Kathleen Curtin, Historian at Plymouth Plantation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the last of his tribe

Ishi, the last survivor of the Yahi tribe, Shasta County, northern California,
ca. 1860 - 1916

My pioneer ancestors settled in this area, creating a ranch on Bear Creek.

My father was raised here after the last remaining Native American, Ishi, had died.

Ishi returned to Deer Creek with anthropologists from the University of California where he showed them the Yahi method of salmon spearing.

Years later, my father fished a different way.

My parents traveled a different way.

My parents are on the original family homestead.

My grandparents on the right were born and raised here when a handful of Native Americans still lived there, too (my parents on the left).

My grandmother told my sister and me the following story: "One day in the late fall it started to feel like the first snow of winter: geese were flying overhead, squirrels were scurrying around collecting acorns, dark clouds were forming, and the sheets weren't getting dry on the line. I brought them in for ironing.
As I went back to the woodshed for more firewood, I found myself staring at a shriveled up, tiny Indian woman standing there stark naked. She began speaking rapidly in a language I couldn't understand. She pointed to her stomach and I could see her ribs sticking out. The first thing I thought to do was grab a housedress and hand it to her. How could I even think of communicating with her standing there totally nude?"

"She took the dress, distractedly folded it up and put it in a bundle she was carrying made of birch twigs and deer hide. She was so distressed she did it without thinking and continued gesturing and speaking excitedly.
I just could't invite her in undressed, so I ran to get something for her to eat. Some dried venison and a jar of canned cherries were the best I could do that afternoon. She carefully wrapped the food in the dress and securely fastened it into the backback, touched her heart, and ran away."

Ishi's tribe dwindled down to just him in 1911, and he walked to Oroville, California, where he was ultimately turned over to the Department of Anthropology at the University of California. They were very kind to Ishi and in turn learned much of an extinct civilization from him.

Ishi died from a "white man's" disease, tuberculosis, in 1916 at the age of 56. This is his death mask.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Something Told the Wild Geese

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,--"Snow."
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,--"Frost."
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,--
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.
by Rachel Field

Monday, November 9, 2009

peaceful moment at end of day

(photo montage by Carol Jessop)
a cup of tea tonight

a fire in the chiminea this afternoon

later a walk down to the woods past the glowing chiminea

(photo by David Grewcock)
the hoot of the owl in the moonlight to his friend

the blooming Christmas cactus as a centerpiece

("Seven Metals, Singing Bowls of Tibet" by Benjamin Iobst)
the chiming resonance of the singing bowls in the background

the pets nestling down in the quiet

("The Breakfast Room" by Pierre Bonnard)
the tranquil, aromatic cup of tea

quiet, calm time

Recipe from Aromatherapy by Valerie Gennari Cooksley, R.N.:
"Tea for Two"
2 tsp rose petals
1 tsp spearmint herb
1 tsp licorice root (ground)
1 tsp hawthorn herb
a pinch of the following:
coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg
vanilla or ginger honey to taste
Bring three cups of water to a boil.
Place the herbs in the hot water and simmer on low for three minutes.
Remove from the heat and steep for five minutes.
Strain and drink.
(I substitute any missing herbs with drops of Young Living Essential Oils.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

the frost moon

(photo of moon over Mt. Fitzroy in Argentina by

"The Child and Grandmother Moon"
Grandmother Moon,
Teach me how to touch the stars,
To give the sky a smile,
To wait for the rainbow after the storm.
And I will share with you
The laughter in my eyes,
The warmness of my love,
The trust within my heart,
And the innocence of my greatest joy--
Knowing I am watched over by you.
~from Earth Medicine by Jamie Sams

"And the Dark Has Encapsulated the Nighttime, and the Trees Are Gone"
The moon was out last night, mysterious as ever,
Janus-faced, casting its light over the stubborn trees,
and when I went out, singing beneath the willow,
who else but the lucky owls, the inscrutable fox,
the secretive hedgehog, and the scotopic moles
would have seen me there, who else might have
known that I was singing to no one? . . .
~ from And by Michael Blumenthal

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

icon Leonard Cohen

Bird on the Wire by Leonard Cohen
"Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in an old midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free. Like a worm on a hook, like a knight bent down in some old-fashioned book, it was the shape of our love that twisted me. . . "

Leonard Cohen, icon, poet/songwriter

Composer/performer of the most amazing song, Hallelujah:

Suzanne by Leonard Cohen
"Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river, you can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night beside her. And you know that she's half crazy but that's why you want to be there, and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China. And just when you mean to tell her that you have no love to give her, she gets you on her wavelength and she lets the river answer that you've always been her lover. And you want to travel with her, you want to travel blind, and you know that she can trust you for you've touched her perfect body with your mind. . . "

Book of Longing, poetry and drawings by Leonard Cohen

from Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

from Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

from Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Sunday, November 1, 2009

in loving memory

In loving memory of those who have gone on before.
All Saints' Day ~ All Souls' Day