Monthly Archives: October 2018

In Honour of the Great Pumpkin

[totally off the wall, by Sha’Tara]

Forget everything you know… or think you know, and follow, follow, follow… the Great Pumpkin as SheHeIt rises out of the pumpkin patch and rolls merrily down the street, spewing out GMO candies for all the obese little boys and girls. The Great Pumpkin, akin to all gods, likes to see those over whom he rules and drools, resemble herhimitself.

Ideas from quotes found wherever and other sources too numerous to enumerate. Some of them could even have evolved from my own vale of imagining-making. Let’s not be sickly sweet truthful or honest.

Choices, choices: I do not know what, or how, to decide my next move. But am I asking you for help or direction? No, so relax while I digress.

Sometimes, out of the blue and for no particular reason, I smile. Please do not interrupt me when I am thus so rarely occupied.

Out there, in the far distant distance, behind some trees and a small muddy river, hidden by rising clumps of blackberries and red elderberry bushes a cow mooed. Not just once, but many times. No one answered. I’m assuming that’s OK with the cow. I’m assuming it didn’t expect any answer. I didn’t answer: my bullshit analyzer and mooing translator was dead; I’d forgot to put it on the charger when last at the barn. I also realized I wasn’t up to the embarrassment if I mooed the wrong message and called up a load of bullshit.

This shady suburban area collects cats and squirrels. Squirrels are destructive rodents, I do not like them. Cats are rodent killers, but do I like that better? I’ll leave that answer blank, the STTTPCTDA* might take exception to whatever answer I give. Honestly I think it’s a trick question.

The advantage of self-empowerment over self-delusion is, you don’t have to ponder rhetorical questions: they ponder themselves into senselessness. (I thought I’d throw that in while the lid was open.)

There’s a giant box store just out of town. It’s full of stuff it’s convinced people they can’t live without. House sparrows make their homes in the rafters and girders. I like that. If the business of selling crap isn’t too loud (or noisy if you prefer), you can even hear them chirp in those heavenly highs. Brave little guys, living up there in their chosen heaven, inhaling all those fumes from Chinese plastic wrap. Box Store House Sparrows are known to have short life-spans. It’s in the Threatened Species book, no, not last years’, the new one published last month.  They sell copies at the box store.

They have a freeway out here. It isn’t free and it’s over fifty years old. It’s obsolete – two lanes each way when three would barely accommodate commuter and long weekend traffic. Doesn’t matter, weekenders have lemming brains. (Sorry, lemmings and I hope the STTTPCTDA doesn’t read this part.) Necessary or not, tell them it’s a long weekend and they have to be on that freeway with all the claptrap of an imploding middle class of two-day tourism to rented cabins and over-crowded campsites on unwashed lakes. Do they care that they’ll be wasting ten or more hours of their lives commuting to those places and back? Of course not. Caring implies intelligence; please don’t spoil the weekend.

Feel free to browse, she said with a commercial smile. Was she telling me how I should feel? How presumptuous. I left the store, crossed the street, walked over the raised railway track and stared at the sea. The fog was lifting. I wondered what it would be like to feel free? Neither the fog nor the pale sun had any answer.  I was on my own here.

You can’t “feel” free said the Darwinist scientist. Freedom doesn’t exist; it’s a mental concept, and the mind only exists as brain, so you are mindless, he said. And I thought, what does that make you, you insipid idiot? I didn’t say it out loud though I itched to do it.  Sometimes I think it’s good to be proprietary, or do I mean simply proper?

Here’s a short list of the types I don’t like. My “like” or “don’t like” aren’t arbitrary. I spent an entire lifetime (up to now, that is) deciding which professions I liked and didn’t like. Here it is, in “don’t like” order: doctors, lawyers (liars), judges, every sort of academic twat, psychiatrists (shrinks), counselors, preachers (without exceptions, should have put them in with the lawyers), bankers (in with the lawyers you go, now!) politicians (without exceptions also – in you go, into the lawyer tank!), lobbyists, evolution-pushing Darwinists, professional entertainers, sports figures, military types (any military type), commentators, TV anchor people drones and talking heads, CEO’s (disliking those who don’t even know they’ll become one- I can always tell, there’s a smell about them), gods, born-again Jesus peddlers and newspaper editors.  OK, don’t go away mad… just go away.

Did I miss anyone important, impotent? As I said, it’s a short list, a very sort list. Don’t feel bad if your profession is mentioned, I don’t know you and that means you remain redeemable, even if you are a god or a gynecologist. People have been known to come back from the dead. Even if they didn’t remember being dead that takes nothing from their accomplishment.

I digress, I know, but I love digressing. You can dress casually when digressing and society doesn’t go into lock-down or fakebook global panic.

Imagine, if you will, a wide sandy beach. The tide is almost completely out; the sea sparkles out there a half a mile away, blue-grey, shining it’s brightest.
Imagine if you will a lone individual walking towards what is about to become a returning tide, purposefully striding away from the safety of the shore.

Imagine if you will that same individual of no discernible gender or vintage, walking naked and unafraid to the open sea, a silhouette of dreams.

Watch carefully as the individual’s stature shrinks steadily with each naked footstep in the wet sands; as the distance separating the individual from the returning tide diminishes, as the water wraps itself hungrily around the feet, ankles, calves, thighs and finally wraps itself entirely around the body, picking it up and casually floating it back towards the shore. 
Imagine… I don’t have to, I’ve done that, many, many times. I can’t explain how wonderful it felt then and still does now.

That’s digressing. Wonderful, isn’t it?

I wrapped up the job, he said as he sat down beside me. (“He” being Dave). We were in a restaurant where we had planned to meet. So far, so good. I wondered, as I’m wont to do when I’m not digressing and trying hard to be in the moment, what you do with a wrapped up job. Do you put it on a shelf? Do you mail it back to yourself, or send it to someone you like, or someone you dislike? Your boss? The customer? Is it like a birthday present? A Christmas present? I wondered what colour of ribbon he used and if he affixed a bow? The bow is always a nice touch, especially if the job was well done. I’ll ask the cook.

Speaking of presents, would you like a job already wrapped? If yes, I’ll need your address, of course. How much does it cost to mail a job? If no, then it doesn’t matter, does it. Of course if you say yes, I’ll have to ask Dave what he did with the wrapped up job. How much insurance do you put on the package? Is it valued in weight or in time? So many questions, so little time.

The waitress came to our table. She looked harassed and haggard. Both. I wondered if she ate there and thought I’d ask Dave if we could go somewhere else to eat. He was ogling the waitress, below her harassed and haggard looks and down her tip-expectant cleavage. Dave isn’t big on discernment. (Take that as an opinion backed by some serious observation.) She had on a short black skirt and heels, both well below the haggard and harassed looks, both also tip-expectant recent purchases. New to the beat, hm.

I sighed, long and deep, with much feeling involved on my part. We were going to stay, order, and he was going to eat. I could hear his thoughts, ‘I’m not about to waste a perfectly delectable waitress.’ Of course he didn’t use the word ‘delectable’, that being way beyond his vocabularian expertise. It’s practically beyond mine!

With so little to do and Dave totally engrossed between steak and lust, I thought I should digress a little. Digression isn’t fattening and I didn’t think it would make me harassed or give me haggard looks. A good digression beats a good digestion any day of the week except maybe after Sunday brunch. It is well behaved, and totally reliable. Besides, I was wearing a turtleneck sweater and slacks. I felt safe from both harassment and haggardness.

Now just in case I come down with something and can’t answer when you ask, “Haggardness” used to be a small town in eastern Scotland. It had two golf courses but it played havoc with their tourist trade so they traded it to Australia, or so I’m told. I don’t, of course, believe everything I’m told, but this particular telling is intriguing, so I am partially believing it. I wonder what they got in exchange? Kangaroos, I’d bet. There are ten zoos in Glasgow, start looking!

… and finally, as I return from plagiarizing my own mind and a wonderfully satisfying digression… a reminder: “The owners of this country know the truth, said George Carlin: its called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

And closing with this one because if you don’t think about it, it has a Halloween touch:
“Trees talk to each other at night.
“All fish are named either Lorna or Jack.
“Before your eyeballs fall out from watching too much TV, they get very loose.
“Tiny bears live in drain pipes.
“If you are very very quiet you can hear the clouds rub against the sky.
“The moon and the sun had a fight a long time ago.
“Everyone knows at least one secret language.
“When nobody is looking, I can fly.
“We are all held together by invisible threads.
“Books get lonely too.
“Sadness can be eaten.
“I will always be there.
— Raul Gutierrez, “Lies I’ve Told My 3 Year Old Recently,”

( STTTPCTDA: Society To Try To Prevent Cruelty To Dumb Animals)

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What Happened When Migrants Moved into My Family’s Sicilian Village

Thumbing my nose at all slimeball racists and their Fuhrer, whatever country he may be leading, I’m reblogging this great story of one kind of reality on accepting refugees.

Wolfessblog -- Guillotine mediocrity in all its forms!

sicily.jpg

Main image: The village of Sutera in Sicily.
Photograph: Alessio Mamo for the Observer

Refugees are breathing vibrant new life into the dying home town of Lorenzo Tondo’s father-in-law. If only Italy’s ascendant rightwingers saw it that way

At the same time every afternoon, while seated on the same bench, my father-in-law, Rosario Buttaci, silently watches John Babalola Wale and his family climb the steep walkway in the village of Sutera that leads from Piazza Europa to the old Arab quarter of Rabato.

In Rosario’s day, the “foreigner” who came to this picturesque Sicilian village was likely to be from Palermo, 100km away, or nearby Agrigento. But Wale, 35, is from Ekiti state in Nigeria, and he reached Sutera four months ago after a trek covering 6,000km. He lives with his wife and a son, like dozens of other African people seeking asylum who have come from another…

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A Bit of Wisdom from my El Issa Days

[essay on compassion – by ~burning woman~ ]

El Issa’s name should not be new to those who have read some of my blog articles. I’ve mentioned her work in my life, her teachings on compassion, on detachment, on servanthood to the point of voluntarily giving one’s life for another. Some will even remember the dream I related where she described to me how she healed her world in the darkness of her Shadowlands.

I came across a book some years back called “The Gods of Eden” written by William Bramley. Seven years of intensive research by this man looking for the answer to his life-long question: why do humans indulge in war? culminated in this book. This is what struck me as I was reading today. I am going to quote some parts from Chapter 12 entitled “The Jesus Ministry.” This passage is about the so-called “lost years” of the life of Jesus.

Quote: “Several years ago I happened to see an intriguing film documentary by Richard Bock entitled The Lost Years. The film suggests that Jesus journeyed to Asia where he spent his teens and early adulthood studying the religions practiced there. One source from which the filmmaker drew this remarkable conclusion was the “Legend of Issa,” a very old Buddhist document purportedly discovered in the Himi Monastery of India by Russian traveler Nicolas Notovitch in 1887.

According to the Buddhist legend uncovered by Notovitch, a remarkable young man named “Issa” had departed for Asia at the age of thirteen. Issa studied under several religious masters of the East, did some preaching of his own, and returned to Palestine sixteen years later, at the age of 29. The significant parallels between the lives of “Issa” and Jesus have led to the conclusion that Issa was, in fact, Jesus. If true, such a journey would certainly be omitted from the Bible because it contradicts the idea that Jesus had achieved spiritual enlightenment solely by divine inspiration.

If Jesus was an Essene (a point already made in Bramley’s book) and he traveled to Asia under Essene sponsorship, and if the Essenes indeed followed an Aryan tradition, we would expect Jesus to be sent to study under the Aryan Brahmans of the Indian subcontinent. According to the legend of Issa that is precisely what happened:

“In his fourteenth year, young Issa, the Blessed One, came this side of the Sindh [a province in Western Pakistan] and settled among the Aryas [Aryans]…”

Upon Jesus’ arrival, “the white priests of Brahma welcomed him joyfully” and taught him, among other things, to read and understand the Vedas, and to teach and expound sacred Hindu scriptures. This joyful reception quickly turned sour, however, because Jesus insisted upon associating with the lower castes. That led to friction between the young headstrong Jesus and Brahmin hosts. According to the legend:
“But the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas [members of the military caste] told him that they were forbidden by the great Para-Brahma [Hindu god] to come near to those who were created from his belly and his feet [the mythical origin of the lower castes];
“[…] But Issa, disregarding their words, remained with the Sudras, preaching against the Brahmins and Kshatriyas. He declaimed strongly against man’s arrogating to himself the authority to deprive his fellow-beings of their human and spiritual rights. “Verily,” he said, “God has made no difference between his children, who are all alike dear to Him.”
“Issa denied the divine inspiration of the Vedas and the Puranas [a class of sacred writings] …”

I don’t need to quote more. Anyone interested can find this book and read it for themselves. The point I wanted to make here was that I’ve discovered why El Issa’s teachings so closely and intimately paralleled those of Jesus still found in the Christian section of the Bible called the “New Testament.” In nature, they are the same person.

Incidentally, because of my intimate relationship with El Issa I’ve come to understand why those teachings mean so much to me and why I think that applied properly, with detachment and true self-empowerment they have the power to change the direction man has taken and bring this world to a true “new age” of understanding and peace – without Earth having to go through some horrific aspect of “Armageddon.”

A conflict ends when one of the protagonists discovers compassion and finds that she or he would rather die than cause harm to another. Indeed the basic teaching of El Issa to me over the years has been, “Far better it is for you to give your [physical] life for another than to take another’s life to protect yours or that of a loved one. Life is much, much more than most even have an inkling of.”

War is our greatest sin, our greatest folly, our greatest downfall. But according to “Issa” it is not inevitable. Each one of us has the power to end it – right now, without any need of further interference from so-called divine beings, or for that matter, aliens. Who but us knows this place best? Who but us has the most to lose if things continue as they are today? Seems to me it is foolishness to expect some unknown entity to care more about this world than we do.

A thought: How do we know when we are truly free? When death is no longer either feared or desired as release from responsibility or from pain.

Think about this: as people, we expect nature to provide for us. When we believe that nature is a bit slow in responding to our expectations or entitlements, we force her hand. We’ve been doing this for millennia and with so little negative reaction that we’ve come to think of it as the proper way to proceed. Force and violence is good, waiting, nurturing, sharing and accepting is bad. We made ourselves into violent creatures and from our violence we became vile creatures with no intention of changing.

Now ask yourselves this: what would happen to the world if we all became compassionate beings “overnight”? Then ask, “Why not? What’s preventing me from choosing compassion as my sole modus operandi? Is it because I’m afraid, a “chicken shit” or because I too believe that might is right and to not use force to get my way indicates that I am a weakling?”

How could you (generic) wage war in a world of compassionate people? How could you cause pain or harm deliberately as a compassionate being? How could you accept social injustice? Racism? Misogyny? Imagine the joy felt as a world as we inexorably x’d out our long list of societal evils?

Well, there’s no magic in it, is there. I’ve made that choice and I hope that it shows a bit even on this blog. I’m an ordinary member of the great uneducated, unwashed, never heard masses. No better certainly, hopefully no worse, morally speaking, than any other. That being said, as I’ve said it before, if I can do this, anyone can do this. It’s a matter of choice and if you (generic) choose not to consider becoming a compassionate being, what does that say of your character? That would be a frightening admission!

The offer is simple, the consequences from accepting can save a world and possibly billions of lives.

Too much to ask?

Quote from the fantasy novel, “The Sword, the Bow and the Staff” by Sha’Tara: … “The strongest arm isn’t the one who can throw fires, move storms, overthrow a fortification or destroy an army.

“The strongest arm is the one that cradles a child; that picks up a broken body and heals it; that wraps itself around the grieving and provides comfort; that blocks a blow meant to harm an innocent. That is the strongest arm.

“The second strongest arm is the one who can wield the sword, throw the spear, shoot the bow, pull back and notch the wire of the crossbow or manipulate a staff but only in the service of justice.

“In the end it comes down to humility, courage and compassion.”

An Anguished Question

Sometimes I post reblogs that are not popular. As a Canadian, perhaps this article is not terribly relevant and yet, we do have our share of “Trump supporters” in this country, many of them being people who consider themselves to be “good Christians” – I know this from personal experience and interaction through my Mennonite Disaster Service volunteer work. I have resigned from MDS not just because of the in-your-face overt religious programming but because so many of the participants in that organization were/are ardent, unthinking, Trump supporters. How anyone calling her/himself a Christian and support Donald Trump is beyond my understanding but it is a fact. What does it mean to be a Trump supporter? This article makes it abundantly clear and it’s not hyperbole.

atheistsmeowatrandom

An anguished question from a Trump supporter: “Why do liberals think Trump supporters are stupid?”
The serious answer: Here’s what we really think about Trump supporters – the rich, the poor, the malignant and the innocently well-meaning, the ones who think and the ones who don’t…
That when you saw a man who had owned a fraudulent University, intent on scamming poor people, you thought “Fine.”
That when you saw a man who had made it his business practice to stiff his creditors, you said, “Okay.”
That when you heard him proudly brag about his own history of sexual abuse, you said, “No problem.”
That when he made up stories about seeing muslim-Americans in the thousands cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center, you said, “Not an issue.”
That when you saw him brag that he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and you wouldn’t care, you chirped…

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A Meditative Journey into the Cave of Fear

This story uses the prompt “Cave” and was written for the October “blog battle” at rachaelritchey.com,    https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/stories-cave/

Short Story by Sha’Tara

It began as a deliberate entry into a gaping opening in the side of a low mountain. I could hear water dripping from wet walls and feel the clinging cold dampness of the place. The question I had to face was whether to proceed into this cave. Of course I could not know the end of it without the experience of it, so I decided to enter.

There was a kind of track sloping down, made of natural crushed shale and slippery under my hiking shoes. After finding my balance, down I went, surrounded by a growing opaque darkness. I had no fire or flashlight, just my senses to guide me and my unquenchable curiosity to push me onward.

As I walked deeper into the cave, it became pitch black and I had to give up trying to use my eyes.  Without any light to define the surrounding darkness, there was nothing to see.  But wait, that’s when I “saw” a new kind of light, surreal, somewhat as depicted in Kirlian photographs.  I could see without seeing!  I could now step forward and down with greater confidence.  The water still dripped from the black walls and I could see it glistening on the ceiling.

There was a warm dankness about the place and I smelled an unpleasant odor. At this point the eerie lighting showed me a small tunnel branching off on the right. I walked to its entrance and saw a dry surface leading upward.  It had an easy walking surface, no loose rocks or shale, just flat grey rock.

Choice.  Should I take this inviting tunnel, or keep on the downward journey of the other one?  Something within me reasoned this drier tunnel would be a dead end, or take me back up and out the other side of the mountain.  I chose to continue down the original cave, ever deeper under the mountain.  That’s when I realized I had passed my first test.

I continued to question the purpose of this weird quest and who had carved these tunnels, and why?  Where was the King under the Mountain?  Where was the sound of hammers as Dwarves carved out the hard black rock to find their precious stones, their silver and gold?

“What will I find in the tunnel?” asks Luke Skywalker of Yoda.  “Fear” he replied.  “Your greatest fear.  Do not take your weapons down there, they will only contribute to your downfall.”  But the young, the rash, the foolish seldom listen to the voice of experience and wisdom.  He went fully armed into the tunnel to be  confronted by his arch-enemy, Darth Vader.  They fought.  Luke won and cut Vader’s head off.  When he looked into the terrible mask, his own face stared back at him.  Fear gives birth to anger, anger to hate and hate to death.  There is no escape. The undisciplined, un-empowered overconfident self is always our own worst enemy.

My fear of what lay ahead became palpable. I sensed a ‘Something’ not alive as we understand the concept and I knew it was lurking further down. It had eyes that could see the minutest details in the dark; that could see into the heart and find every weakness, every frailty, every shadow, every dark, hidden corner where residues of resentment, shame and guilt are stored.  That is what it wanted to feast upon.  It was starving for an orgy on human sin.

I knew then it would never let me leave this place, even if I turned and tried to run back up the way I’d come.  This was its world or perhaps better put, an underworld.  There were hidden passages I sensed as flow of air coming from the sides of the cave. It used these as shortcuts to waylay any creature that wandered this far.

If we intend to walk the darkness of the underworld we must not carry darkness within our mind-heart.  Only the pure of heart can pass unmolested to enter the sacred place of sacrifice.  Yes, that’s what had drawn me down this corridor of non-time.  I remembered what came at the end of this place: sacrifice and redemption.  I understood fully why the beast or beasts, for I now sensed many,  waylaid me.  If I passed, I would have a clear conscience and they would be defeated, left starving.  Thus I would be permitted to offer myself as a sacrifice upon the altar of fire at the end of this journey and in doing so I could call upon the great forces of spirit to grant my one wish. If I passed.

They knew.  And they came upon me to find my darkness; to feed on my fear, for fear is darkness.  I am so close to being devoured here.  I have no weapon with which to ward these starving demons.  I have no protection.  There is no place to turn, not even against a wall – they are all around me, salivating, snarling, growling.  “Give in to your fear… give in and hate me with all the passion that is within you.  Anticipate the pain you are going to endure when my poisoned fangs sink into your flesh, and scream your rage!”

This is when I found some of my power. “Peace!” I said to myself, I came to this place, to confront my fear and not to give in to it.  To test my resolve since that day long ago when I had made a decision and chosen my own name. Shalom Tara! I closed my eyes and slowly sank upon the rough floor.  Beings of light completed this vision then, approaching and taking my hands, helping me to stand and leading me through the rest of the way.

So did I pass my second test. The third has yet to come.

Little Beaver

A short story, by Sha’Tara
(Part 2 – with last paragraph from part 1 to make the link)

They followed her until she came to the edge of a small lake. She made several signs in the water with her fingers, then stood facing the sun, not moving a muscle for a long time. It was as if she was asleep they said later. They approached stealthily, as trained hunters can do, two from one side, two from another and one from behind. When the one behind her was close enough to grab her, he stretched out his arm to put his hand around her throat. As he did so, she turned and let out a blood-curdling screech. Her right arm shot out and at the end, what seemed like huge talons, locked around the man’s neck and snapped it as if it was a dry twig. Still screeching, she unfolded huge wings and flew away to the west, over the trees.

The four men brought back the body of their dead comrade to the village and told their story.

At first no one believed them, but they saw the marks on the dead man’s neck and the story became more and more believable. I was confused. I thought I knew your mother quite well. I knew she was strong, but she was not a beast. I also knew she was a healer, not a killer. Your mother would not have killed the man, just beat him down and made sport of him, taunting him for being weaker than a mere woman. Then she would have challenged the other four men to try their skills against hers. She would have beaten them, as easily as an eagle takes a rabbit. I know this about your mother.

My son, sometimes people think they know the truth. Sometimes they believe that they saw what they say was there. I believe that there are others, like your mother, out there. Some are not like her in spirit. Perhaps these young fools thought they followed your mother, but I know she was a master at disappearing from any stalker. In fact that is the only time anyone was ever able to claim to have crept up on her unnoticed. I believe, to this day, that the creature they encountered was another one, perhaps a spirit which resembled her. I know it wasn’t your mother.

When she returned to the village after three suns she was smiling and happy. She showed unbelief when she heard the story, and would speak to no one. It was as if she was hurt by their willingness to believe such things of her. The story became a part of her legacy, nevertheless. She became restless again. You were three summers when she exuded that strange scent again, and I went with her to a hut in the forest. We made your sister that time. I will tell you about your sister, but for now, let me finish this part. I decided to return to the place where she had made the hut, after two suns had passed. There was no hut, not a single sign that anyone had ever been there. I know it was the right place. I had broken a twig to mark the place, and scuffed the earth in one spot. The broken twig was there, and the mark of my moccasin in the earth, but nothing else. No scent and no flowers. I was saddened and apprehensive.

When your mother began to show signs of being pregnant, I rejoiced. She had told me it was a girl child this time. It didn’t matter to me. You were so beautiful already, and slightly different than the other young children. You were already taller than all the others, and your eyes were of a yellow hue. Your hair, though thinner than mine, was longer and had the same strange waves in it. I knew by observing you that you would become a great hunter and chief in your time. I dreamt also of having a daughter who would be as strong and intelligent as your mother; a true Shaman, who would belong to the tribe, and not to the wilderness. We are too small a village to hire and keep our own Shaman. We need one born among us, one with the great powers of your mother, so the people from the other villages will respect us and come to us in their time of need. You see, as long as She-ya-neh, your mother, lived among us, we had no disease and we were never attacked or raided.

About four moons after we had been in the hut, your mother came to me at dusk. It was a beautiful evening after a sunset filled with the fire of the Great Spirit. It meant well for the fishing…

The man stopped here. He reached down and poked the embers of their small fire. The boy ran into the bushes then came back and wrapped a warm beaded blanket around his slim figure.

“Please continue, Father. When I am chief, I will need to know all about my mother, so I won’t have to listen to stories made up to make her look bad and discredit my place among the elders.”

“You are wise, my son, far beyond your summers. Your mother did not take her gifts away when she left. I believe that soon, you will find within your hands, great powers, my son. You will be the Shaman we have been asking for. Chief and Shaman. No one has had such honour among us before. Yet I know this is to be…

“So that evening, your mother knelt before me in our house. In her large eyes, I saw tears. She seldom showed tears. Her face was sad, yet I felt a deep excitement in her. She spoke into my mind as she always did when she expressed deep feelings.

“I am going away tonight. I will not be returning, ever. Our son is well. Nothing will happen to him now. Our daughter will be with me, and well taken care of. Some day, you will meet her. I cannot say more. Now let me go, and do not come after me, or even look at me as I go. Put your love in our son, and when I am gone, find him a suitable mother and wife to cook for you and to comfort you at night when it is cold. I must return to the place where I come from. Here, take this talisman I wore in my hair all these years, and when our son is old enough, put it on his head. It is a living thing, a gift of the Great Spirit for the great travelers. Do not forget. Yo nah la! Aheya noha!”

With these strange words, she crossed her arms in front of her face, closed her fingers gently then turned and walked away. I heard her footsteps for a short time, then nothing. I stepped outside our house, holding you in my arms. The night suddenly became very still. The coyotes quieted down and the owls stopped hooting. Even the frogs became still, and the breeze died down. After some time, I saw a great fire in the forest. It lit up the sky, even the underside of the clouds. Then I heard a great waterfall roaring, after which the fire rose up and soon there was just a thin trail in the sky, above the village. Then, like the shooting stars, it was gone. I never saw your mother again.

My son, look up there. See that small star village? Often your mother pointed there and sighed. She said she felt something being sent to her from those stars. She also said that the spirits who travel the trails of the stars must obey their own seasons. Stars wander all over, and sometimes they are close enough to each other to send visitors there. The visitor must then wait until the star returns at that same place to return to his own village. Your mother’s people travel the paths of the stars, my son. They come once, then are gone. Sometimes, they can return, and sometimes not. It takes much power to follow the paths of the stars, and you must also be a true friend of the Great Spirit if you do not want to lose yourself in that great blackness between the star villages.

Listen to me, my son, if one day a tall grey-eyed woman appears to you, or wanders into your village, or meets you on the shore of a far-away lake, do not look upon her as a man looks upon a woman. That woman will be your sister. Remember that. When you marry, you shall marry one of our kind, one born in a village within this valley. That is how it must be.”

“Thank you father.” The boy yawned and leaned against the man. Overhead, it seemed to the man that one star twinkled brighter and faster than any other. He pointed at it with his finger but the son had fallen asleep on his lap. The man rolled himself off the log and wrapped in their warm blankets, they both slept peacefully as the moon was hid by a bank of black clouds rolling in slowly from the far mountains.

Little Beaver

[a short story in two parts, by Sha’Tara]

(This short story is a bit long for a blog post so I split it in 2 parts.  Hope you find it enjoyable, at least as much as I found writing it!  Remembrances? Oh the wonderful mysteries and mystical ways of the mind as it wanders ‘the star paths’.)

(and, for Roger of Woebegone but Hopeful, if you read this, note the colours of the flowers mentioned here and see if they remind you of someone! 🙂 )

“My son, it is time to tell you about your mother.”

The man and his young son were sitting on a log by the river, as the moon rose over snow-covered peaks. The water made a lapping sound and somewhere across the little river, in the bushes, an owl called. It was followed by the evening ritual song of the coyotes.

“You were just past three Summers when your mother left us. You hear many strange stories about her, but I must tell you what I know, so you will be less confused.

They say your mother was a great Shaman — she was. They say she was crazy: she was not. Many Summers ago, a party of hunters from another village came upon a young girl wandering alone in the mountains along the big River. She could not speak our tongue, and she was different than anyone they had ever seen. She had very large eyes the colour of water in ice. Her hair was like the water when a small breeze moves it, and it resembled the bark of the cedar in colour. They kept the girl through the hunt. In one moon cycle, the girl had learned to speak our tongue perfectly. When asked where she came from, she explained, “From a cave full of fire. I was in an egg which was shot out of the flame and when it stopped rolling, it opened and I do not know anything else. I remember a name which in your language sounds like ‘She-ya-neh’ but I do not know what it means.”

The hunters came to our small village with their captive. My father, the chief, had the women clean the girl and inspect her. He decided to buy her, if she displayed a healthy bleeding. There was much feasting at that time. The hunters stayed in our village, enjoying the food and the girls were happy. Some babies were made at that time, yes. I was very young then, too young yet to enjoy the girls, but I made friends with the strange slave girl. She did not speak much, so we just sat together, or swam in the river. She was very strong and fast, faster than any boy. She won all the foot races, and could climb trees as if she had a squirrel’s claws. She became fascinated with our canoes and soon could paddle away so fast, only the strongest hunters in the bigger canoes, could catch her. She was forbidden to use the canoes then.

At her bleeding, my father decided to buy her. Again, there was much feasting. Then he made a ceremony in which she was set free from bondage, and could become my wife. After two more Summers, we were finally married. It had been expected that she would be very fertile, and give me many healthy sons. However, no child could she grow. Years passed and the women began to shun my wife. She became a loner, mysterious, sometimes disappearing in the hills for an entire moon cycle.

During these years, she demonstrated the ability to heal broken bones and to prevent disease from spreading. She talked to the animals, and even the spirits of the plants and the land, obeyed her. Yes, she was a great Shaman, my wonderful and barren She-ya-neh. She never seemed to miss not having children. She was full of curiosity and everything to her was a wonder. She was, hmmm, very promiscuous also — well — she went with many men, and they told stories of her ways which were strange to us. I was not jealous of this. One could not get jealous of your mother, unless one were a woman. Many women in the village came to hate her popularity, her crazy, wild ways, and especially her freedom among the men.

Your mother’s physical strength was known across many valleys. How she shamed the men in their hunts, their sports, their fights! She could outrun any man, outsmart and outfight anyone. She had skills with her hands and feet we had never seen. She was as fast as the lightning: when she struck a blow, it was impossible to see where it came from.

During the high water season, when the canoe races are held, she would taunt the men to best her. She was not, by law, permitted to compete with the men. So she would sit quietly in her canoe, behind the starting line, wait until the men were into their race, then push her own canoe in the race, soon overtaking even the fastest one and always finishing first. How my own heart swelled with pride to see her win that way, yet how puzzled I was, that such a woman could not bear a child for her man, or for any man.

Let me now speak of a time, many summers past our wedding. One day, just before the long shadows, she came to the shore where I was preparing my canoe for the fishing, and took my arm. Her eyes spoke a powerful thought and her body gave off a strange, pleasant and irresistible scent. I tried to explain that I was very busy and we could do that later, at night, but she spoke again, from within her mind, and I went with her. We walked for a long time, through places I had never been, until we came to a clearing. In the middle, there was a small hut, large enough to accommodate two adult people. All around were flowers, and even on the roof: red and blue flowers. They gave off the same scent she did. It was like a drug to me. I reached for her, as you have seen the young men and women do, but she stopped me. She undressed me, then herself, and together, we rolled our bodies among the strange flowers. Soon, my head was buzzing like a nest of wild bees, and my heart sounded like our drums at the great feasts by the ocean. She then took my hands, and pushed me inside the hut. I felt as if I were inside one of those great black clouds that give off lighting and thunder.

At that time, we made you. When she was pregnant with you, she became more normal. She was careful for you, and after you were born, she was a perfect mother. She took you everywhere, and you always slept next to her. She gave you her milk freely and you never went hungry and seldom cried. All her energies were spent on you. No more sports or men or wanderings in the forests. She stayed near the village and attended to her duties as healer and midwife with great diligence. She began to be liked by some of the women again.

But one day, she disappeared. She left you in the care of her best friend, and just walked away. This was bad luck, because in the village were five strangers, hunters, who had heard the stories about her sexual prowess, and her fighting abilities were now a legend. These young hot-blooded fools decided to track your mother to see where she would go, and perhaps to beat her down and have their way with her.

They followed her until she came to the edge of a small lake. She made several signs in the water with her fingers, then stood facing the sun, not moving a muscle for a long time. It was as if she was asleep they said later. They approached stealthily, as trained hunters can do, two from one side, two from another and one from behind. When the one behind her was close enough to grab her, he stretched out his arm to put his hand around her throat. As he did so, she turned and let out a blood-curdling screech. Her right arm shot out and at the end, what seemed like huge talons, locked around the man’s neck and snapped it as if it was a dry twig. Still screeching, she unfolded huge wings and flew away to the west, over the trees.

[End of Part 1 of 2]