Tag Archives: nature

Listening in Time

(short story,  by Sha’Tara)

“I know you are keen, and willing.  Good traits in a researcher.  But you are missing the key ingredients.  You must sit quietly, by yourself, for hours, maybe days, and listen in time.  Listen to the voices of the dead, and the pre-incarnate.  They are in the voices of “others” and in the sounds of the earth: the wind, the cracking soil, the moving grains of sand, the patter of the rain on scrabbly hard-pan soil.  They come on the heat waves.  Sometimes they get playful and paint mirages which tell stories from within your own heart and soul which your tired and bleary eyes will translate into images of desires.  

If you do not learn to listen, all you will accomplish in these places as you sift through dirt and rubble is collect garbage.  It will be recognizable as works of the people but it will reveal no stories, no myths, no history.  These you will have to create from your own imagination and trust me on this, it will not be the same stories as what was, even if the entire world should buy your interpretations.  Honest archaeologists are a rare breed but there is nothing written, either in this desert or in mountains, that says you can not be one of that small group.  When you teach yourself the secret of time listening the people who made and used the objects you unearth, they will tell you their stories.  Some will seem strange and some will be, to your modern understanding, quite unbelievable, but just listen.  It is not your call to re-interpret the lives of others according to your current knowledge: that is sacrilege.  Let the ghosts speak; let them tell their story, and accept it at face value.  It may be that they lie to you, but let it be: do not add insult to injury by adding to the lies.  After all, as you will discover in time, all of your history is lies.  There is no truth to be found on this world, or in this universe.  We know, we’ve been looking for millions of your years and there is no such chimera.”

I was young then, and I’d been experimenting with the local flora under the auspices of a would-be witch doctor who called himself George but whose real name was an unpronounceable Mexican word that sounded like apple-cotle or aptly cotli.  This particular drug induced “time dreams” he had told me, and… “You should only smoke a small amount at sunset.  Sit against a rock, or a tree if you can find one, and set your mind free to roam.  Do not try anything, just let it all go.  It is the time of the spirits and sometimes one of them will notice you and approach you with a story, or some advice.  Just listen and do not try to make any judgment about what you hear, or think you hear.  Put your own thoughts aside and just absorb.” 

I smoked slowly, not eagerly, trying to practice “wisdom” in my folly.  How long I sat against the rock that dug into my back, feeling the sand getting cold beneath me, I don’t know.  Darkness came and the sky exploded with myriads of pin-points of lights: star, planets, meteors, even satellites and flashing lights of planes.  Time passed and I no longer felt the cold, nor the loneliness or that deep fear of the dark unknown.  I “slept” with eyes open, hearing and learning to listen.  I heard small animals squeaking to one-another, some unrecognizable insects repeating endless calls; owls, even one loud shriek of what could only be some wild cat, cougar perhaps.  It didn’t matter.

It seemed as if I’d become a part of the landscape, an extension of the rock I leaned against.  I felt a deep well-being; a thoroughly unfamiliar certainty.  I was “here” and “here” was where I belonged.  This was “home” like nothing had ever been.  “Here I sit, and here I remain,” I thought, against all common sense.  I felt the cold, hunger and thirst but it did not matter to this “me” that was being absorbed by the land, the air, the sky, the universe, the cosmos.  In that time I was no longer a body-centered, or physical being.  I was a member of the cosmic races, with a part of me resting upon a planet called earth – a very small, very strange planet. 

That’s when the voice came to my mind; when I heard the words I quoted above. 

I have been digging up history in this part of the world for almost fifty years now.  I’ve become old and bent.  My skin is like that of a lizard, dry and scaly, with brown spots.  I’ve loved being naked in the sun and it has left its marks on my body but I don’t care.  He was my lover and I cherish his touch still.  I haven’t become famous.  No best seller came from my notes; no following.  People came here to dig with me, and left to seek fame and fortune.  Some managed it, returning to tell me about it.  Some even provided funds so I could remain here, on my wind-swept plateaus digging up ghost stories; me, the crazy Canadian who should have been more at home on the snowy wilds of northern Canada, than here. 

To the local people, I am “loca perdida” or the crazy one, though many come just to be with me, or to listen to my stories.  They come to get me sometimes, either with a jeep, or even a donkey, and take me to a village feast so they can hear some of my stories about their ancient peoples.  They seem to have no difficulty believing me, and I have wondered about that.  Do they also listen in time? They “pay” me in food, or in new blankets for my tents or shelters.  Good people, all of them.  I’ve always felt safe here; not sure I could have managed that in cities where people crowd unhappily together, hardly ever getting to know each other though rubbing shoulders every day.  How sad is that life, I think.

Here I remain.  Here I belong for my body’s time being.  Here I taught myself to listen in time and it is here that I will die so another archaeologist, another time listener, can find bits and pieces of my presence in this place and unearth my own story – a story that will have meaning only to her and the few who carry our vision of living in time.  

How I wish I could express, in words, how blessed my life has been and how much I look forward to new digs out there in the stars, knowing that when I sit down and look up I will see more stars.

Of Fremen and Individualism – an observation

I ran this “essay” a couple of years ago on this blog, but most people “following” now weren’t following then.  Plus, I’ve done some mega revising, so, if you have the time, read and ponder.  And if you have even more time, let me know what you think, and where you believe my rationale is faulty.  That’s what blogging is all about.  

   Of Fremen and Individualism
             [observations from  ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]
 
I’ve been watching the Dune movie series.  I like the way Frank Herbert viewed the world and life.  Speaking to Mua’dib (Paul Atreides) Chani explains the ways of the Fremen in the deep southern desert of planet Arrakis or Dune.
 
“Everything is connected” she says and draws a circle in the sand with snake symbols in it representing Shai-hulud the Great Worm, god of the Fremen.  “The living and the dead, inanimate and animate, all parts functioning to serve the whole.” (Dune – the movie, part II)
 
It seems so “natural” to accept this explanation of life as if it explained all of life.  It’s so easy to just nod and agree.  We observe this phenomenon of “connectedness” and we accept it as normal and necessary.  And we go to sleep knowing we are connected to “all that is” and we dream our petty dreams waiting for the day when we too will be a complete part of “all that is” and “all my struggles, Lord, will be over…”
 
We have this observation, and the zillions of teachings to back it up.  Does that really make it true?  Is everything truly connected to (dependent upon) everything else, or is it just one gigantic artificial machine put together with parts that continually pull apart, away from each other?
 
How would our perception of who we are change if we turned it around?  If we said, “Everything is individual.  Every bit exists for itself alone.  Every part that unites with another to create something “else” does so for a limited time only, knowing that it must return to being an individual “self” among all the other “selves. 
 
If we were truly observant, we would see that there are MORE manifestations of individualism than collectivism.  That collectives coerce individuals to serve them and that individuals push away from the collective all the time, the greatest push being when they “die”.  
 
The problem is one of skewed observation.  Bad science.  Wishful thinking passing itself off as law.  A universe is a collective.  It is made up of “things” that serve it.  Do these “things” need the universe more than the universe needs the things?  Our bodies are made up of individual particles.  Do the particles need the body to survive, or does the body need the particles to exist?  Is it mutual need?  When the organic system we call a body dies, what becomes of the particles who had joined to maintain the body?  Do they die?
 
OK, here’s another one: what is death?  When the body dies, what or who dies?  What remains?  What can once more move freely and decide to join itself to another body… or not?  Seems to me that only two aspects of the “body” remain after death:  the mind and the particles.  These no longer need each other, so go their separate ways.  And what of the body of which so much was made “in real life”?  Dust to dust, ashes to ashes…
 
Observation (from memory and awareness). 
When particles and mind join into body, a change happens.  Both lose their individuality and become more body.  Their awareness shrinks.  All that they are is taken (usurped?) by the body to serve it’s needs.  Individual awareness of self becomes a huge gob of incredible selfishness.  From this arises fear.  Fear because the body, an artificial concept, a collective, knows that it must control its “event horizon” to survive.  It believes that it can somehow survive.  And it seeks ways to enhance itself.  To protect itself and to please itself.  Willy-nilly, mind and particles are conned into this process and convert natural energy to feed the monster they inhabit.
 
But the amount of energy required to feed the monster is always more than the individual parts can supply.  One after another, particles flee the monster.  For a time, others are attracted to it and take their place, but eventually the movement is more “out” than “in”.  Sometimes, the clouded mind too begins to question her role in all of this and with tremendous effort, reaches out and looks around.  Sometimes she actually decides that “enough is enough” and she plans her escape.  She knows she must leave or she will be trapped in the throes of the monster’s ultimate death.
 
Yes, it’s comforting to believe.  There are many belief systems.  Being systems, they will go along with the truism that all parts function to serve the whole.  The Fremen are very superstitious people.  And the harsh conditions of life in the deep desert of Arrakis makes it imperative that they work cooperatively.  But to take necessary cooperation and translate that into a “whole” is taking too much of a giant step: it is to do the splits.  The individual can still exist without “the whole” but “the whole” cannot exist without its captured complement of individual parts. 
 
Why is Earth in such a shambles today?  Because individuals have been buying into the collective mindset for thousands of years and seldom questioned it.  Individuals have not moved to that magic place of personal awareness and true independence.  They continue to serve their collectives because they do not understand the mind space.  They cannot, as yet, comprehend the concept of self empowerment.
 
Serving “the whole” requires the conversion of incredible amounts of energy.  The whole would exist just as well, and would not require feeding if it was totally ignored, was not served, by individuals.  There would be a whole, observable through natural interaction and cooperation.  But to serve the whole you need laws, coercive, heavy, destructive.  You need control.  That’s what a “served” whole does: it makes laws to control energy so it can feed itself.  It has no natural life.  Only individuals have natural life.
 
The whole is not infinite, only individuals.  Individuals throughout space, ever moving, ever expanding, ever discovering.  Only where individuals have passed can there be a whole.  And when all individualism becomes the whole, all that will remain is a hole.  Entropy. 
 
In a  nutshell then:  The whole does not exist as such.  However, where individualism expresses, a “background” is formed.  Call it history or memory or whatever.  That is not “you” but just a record of your passage “there”.  As long as background remains as background, all is well.  But when the background, when the record, moves to the front and obliterates the individuals that make it, then you have oppression and eventually mass death – oppression, war, genocide
 
Earth has become a “whole” and is at an interesting point.  Individual humans can no longer support their collectives as these have grown too fat and too demanding.  People are dying at a terrifying rate and their death creates a palpable wave of suffering and fear that poisons the minds of those who remain alive and the minds of those being born.  Depression, paranoia, anger and hate, along with horrible addictions are endemic.  And the old guard which calls itself the New World Order has no way of preventing this from escalating into chaos.  So it will attempt to fight fire with fire by initiating “limited and controllable” chaos: a state of permanent war, fought with threats of weapons of mass destruction (but without actually using them, or using them tactically) so the fear, the anger and the hate, the undergirding of every institution, will be manageable and controllable.
 
That is their hope.  And every Earthian human who puts “the whole” ahead of his or her own individuality and personal common sense, will struggle and die to support that hope.  Carnage will be the result.  As universal carnage was the result of the Fremen finding their collective power and unleashing their Jihad, their “holy war”, upon the entire universe in the name of their new god: Mua’dib.
 
The individual mind set free is more powerful than the whole.  This I have demonstrated to myself and for myself. 
 
Observation: cooperation out of felt need leads to institutionalization and the empowering of the whole – best exemplified by fascist capitalism, corporatism and organized religion (totalitarian theocracies).
 
Cooperation out of compassion leads to a soft and gentle interplay of energies, not demonstratable except by the individual to the individual. 
 
As to the conditions (and conditioning) regarding mankind and his earth, it is quite likely too late now to honestly speak of choice.  Collectivism has pushed all available forms of energy into a process of unavoidable competition.  Under increased tension all competition tends to war.  The competititve mindset is the mindset of the predator.  Man is not just a predator, but an insane one, unfairly competitive.  Under current hegemony, man’s legacy is death on a massive scale.  Only self empowered individuals carry any hope of reversing this trend.   And how likely is that to happen?  
How likely is it that “man” wakes up one fine morning and realizes, individual by individual, that s/he no longer needs religion, God or gods, leaders, bosses, politicians, militaries and security agencies, way showers, priests, gurus, counselors, lawyers, a “medical” profession, or the propaganda apparatus called universal education and the info-tainment mainstream media and let’s throw in charitable organizations and the United Nations in the discard pile.   How about, not a chance in hell?  Man, after all, is a creature of habit.  It may not work, in fact it may be totally disruptive and destructive, but its tradition.  As the Fremen would say, “It’s our way.”  
 

Conversation with a Crow

Conversation with a Crow
[Voice from the Other Side – Sha’Tara]
 
A crow lands on my shoulder.  Why am I not surprised?  She speaks in my ear:
 
“Yes, I’m a crow.  An ordinary crow.  You have to believe me, this is a vision — visions don’t lie.
 
You don’t like us much.  We know.  We know why too.  You don’t like our ways and you don’t like the sounds we make.  You’d like to get rid of us, maybe kill us because we interfere with your idea of a quite back yard with lots of song birds flitting about and building nests in your hedges and shrubs.
 
But killing us or getting rid of us isn’t going to solve the problem.  I’d like you to understand us. 
 
We are creatures of programming.  We don’t have any choice in being who we are, or how we are.  We think that you are our gods and you made us in your image.  We try to live up to that.  We like you, so many of us choose to live in your neighborhoods.  We try to fit.  We observe your ways and try to become more and more like you.  We are raucous, aggressive, greedy and gregarious – just like you.  We are predators and successful survivors.  We do not respect the space of others and we take or steal whatever we find with the least effort to ourselves.  We feed our young with the young taken from the nests of those who can’t defend themselves – just like you do.  OK, we have not yet learned to eat the young of our own species but we are thinking about that.  If that becomes necessary to be more like you, we will undoubtedly accept it as part of our evolution. 
 
Our young are loud and squawky when they come out of the nest, expecting us to feed them long after they are quite capable of doing so on their own.  To shut them up we try to satisfy their wants – just like you do with yours.  It’s all a matter of observation and evolution.
 
There are  prophecies in the crow world that say the gods (you humans) will disappear from this world and another species would be promoted to take their place.  It is said that we crows will inherit that place.  That is why we are so close to you; why we adapt to your ways and emulate your actions.  We want to evolve, it’s that simple.  We will be “Crowman.” 
 
You think I make no sense?”  Then she flew off when she saw a robin carrying twigs to build a nest.

I Yearn to find a Land so Free – a poem

 

I realize now, they should never allow me to stay near a computer this long: that keyboard is mesmerizing… well, keep on posting then…

I Yearn to find a Land so Free
  [ ~a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

I yearn to find a land so free,
Where no one need ever fear
From animals or man, thee, or me.

I yearn to see the trees in bloom
Each with a nest in its branches
From which birds sing, no fear of doom.

I yearn to lie on grasses soft
Lulled by waters pure and sweet
Gentle winds holding clouds aloft.

I yearn to see the sun slowly setting
To happy laughter and songs of joy
In the east an orange moon rising.

I yearn to watch a spreading gloaming
Across sweet-scented hay meadows
And on a butte the killdeer piping.

I yearn for the night to claim my bones
Giving me rest in simple dreams,
My name spelled on a gravestone.