Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Self-care over time

As the shape of Mahina, Moon Goddess, fattens on this Mohalu day the sky is mostly clear and blue. The temperature has dropped at night, and the family of clouds that gathered yesterday emptied on us while we slept, attempted sleep and finally found a doorway into dreams. 

The Huna Po (yesterday moon phase) watched us travel north on the island, and then onto another island for a follow-up appointment at the dentist for me. Pete drove while I sat with my porcelain glazed oxygen mask. The mask and oxygen make it easier for me to manage the pollens, and in particular that of the Scotch Broom. The ninety minute journey was made more challenging because Pete has a back knot that was slowly and progressively aggravating him. 

While I sat in that dental chair, the Assistant slowly and skillfully removed the sutures, flushed the mending puka (hole) with salt water and appraised the healing as "very good." It was a day at that clinic where the doctor was not in. Without knowing it I felt the difference in the energy. Women were in charge. Once again, the Assistant clarified what was next. "Are we going to prepare for a bridge next?" I told her "No, I can't afford that." What I knew I did need was to plan for using the remaining money (dental credit allowance) to care for my teeth as best I could.

I stood and she looked at the teeth on the other side of my jaw that need attention. "I'll make a note of that so you don't need another exam (and another fee.)" I explained again what my budget is; asked questions about estimates and discovered options new to me. Before I left the room the Assistant asked me what the greenery on my left wrist was. "Is that a palm from Palm Sunday?" I answered "No, it's Hawaiian healing herbs, called la'i. It's from the Ti Leaf." 


"Care was crossing a shallow river. She paused and scooped up a handful of soft wet clay. As she molded and fashioned she meditated on the creation she had made. Her wish was to name it after herself. But both Earth and Jupiter had the same wish. Saturn, father-of-Jupiter, stepped in and said, "The name will be Homo for it is made of dirt, humus, earth. When the creation dies, Earth shall have its body. Jupiter shall have its spirit. But while it lives Care shall have it."
- a Roman myth

Mud River, Wikipedia
Armed with an estimate for repair and care of my teeth, and a healing puka in my jaw Pete and I continued our Huna morning. We went to our favorite deli in Anacortes, ordered and ate at the window. Pete's knot tightened. He told me, "You'll have to drive." Of course I'd drive. I adjust the driver's seat. Pete adjusted the passenger side. With a little fiddling I was able to reach the mask with one hand when I needed extra oxygen and Pete was able to regulate the flow without discomfort.

The Roman myth and story of Care is one of my favorites. I quote it often, and find meaning in it over and again. I discovered the story for the first time when I began my study of Angeles Arrien's The Second Half of Life Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom. The story of Care comes from the pages describing The Clay Gate. The only gate that is always changing (as we) and transforming. 

We are living on the Aging Road, literally and figuratively the place and the time is one where we humans, our friends and neighbors and Pete and I are clay breaking and transforming before our eyes. Unlike the aging that takes place in the first-half of a human's life, aging now is like the robust and exuberance of youthful exclamations and physical prowess. 

Without the village community of children, youth, adults and elders together on a day-and-night twenty-four seven calendar, most of us experience the Aging Road alone. We, Pete and I made the drive home grateful to be back in the woods. The self-care routines test us to be care-givers and receivers of what the body demands of us. The ways in which we use the tiny spaces Pete has built over the past five years change. JOTS is now strictly an out doors feline: her dander, the warming temperatures shift the way this Quonset is used.

Inside Pete finds a flat space long enough to hold his six foot plus body. He rests as I write. JOTS is asleep on the vardo porch. In the sky last night the Huna moon was bright in the hazy sky. Framed by the Tall Ones the Goddess and Jupiter illuminated potentiality. Our senses and our creativity are tapped and poked as we remember it is up to us to care for the clay of our physical self. Molding the words together a medicine story forms. 

I fit it onto the page, preview for an edit. And then ... let the words fly.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

If you meet the Buddha ...

“Embrace nothing:
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
If you meet your father, kill your father.

Only live life as it is, Not bound to anything."

― Gautama Siddharta

Charles Mudede's Pothole ,,, from the Seattle Slog
In the past month I have received three reader communications. One was a personal note of thanks for my blogs from a reader who lives not far from us, here, in the Pacific Northwest. She had discovered Vardofortwo when she was researching living in a vardo. There was no request in her email, simply a thank you. I appreciated her note and replied in kind. The second note was from a TV producer/anchor who had read that same blog and wrote that she'd love to do something about Vardofortwo on TV. Our joint desire (Pete's and mine) is not notoriety.  Blog publication is plenty public. I chose not to reply. The third communication came just the other day. It is a request from a community liaison who had also read (one of my) blogs. She was writing to ask me to publicize the activities of her alliance. It's not important in this post to describe it. I'm simply noting that the communication came with a request to spread information. I'm not 100% sure, but pretty sure, I will not respond.

My reason for blogging in the first place was to have a way to make sense of life changes that made no sense to me. Using the one form of expression I had available, I began to write. There were so few things I could do to change others, so, I simply put life down as I was experiencing it. Yes, I had been critically damaged by repeated exposures to a very popular pesticide, Roundup. Yes, the application was done by people I knew (my neighbors) and others who should have known better (The City and County of Honolulu, the owners of golf course, resort owners, museum groundskeepers). At one crucial point along the way I experienced what Taupouri Tangaro described as the hua in my life's journey; the event that spurred me to know ... time to move on!

In so many ways my decision to move on (from my place of birth) again has led me to my now. Here in the woods seated in the black iron chair that was a gift from the people, friends now, who share their land with us, I have received three more communications. I call all of these communications (the pair of three) gifts. The ones that follow are further evidence of discernment ... the slow to medium pace of folding inspiration into the mix of oxygen that makes for a changing sense of being human.

These three posts come from sources I explore routinely. The reason I put them here is simple. Each of them contradicts a personal bias I have held dear for many reasons, and for a long time. Instead of reviewing or previewing these post I hope you will read them yourself and see where your biases or agreements fall. As the opening quote proposes, "Only live your life as it is, Not bound to anything." No an easy path for most, I count myself among them.

On Grief and Climate Change (scroll down a bit on this Homepage)

Realities of Bt Cotton 

Why We Must Learn to Love Potholes

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reflections on the moon

Cafe Astrology 
"There is a crisis theme surrounding any quarter Moon phase, as we feel compelled to take action. Shortly after, we are made aware of how our actions affect those close to us, perhaps through trial and error. Whatever project or initiative we began around the New Moon is now off the ground, and it may face its first obstacles." 

Heavy rain last night emptied the healing waters of Kane all over us. The sun is bright, and strong through the rippling wall of clear plastic that is our Quonset's North East facing side. By Kaulana Mahina's tracking, these are the 'Ole Moons the quarter Moon phases. During these moon phases I have learned through practice and experience not to begin new projects and to attend to what has already begun. The commentary from Cafe Astrology was a bit of calling for help on my part. We are in the middle of another 'crisis theme' as described and I am sorting through the 'how our actions affect those close to us' bit. A new awareness lit for me as I read the commentary (as depicted in the glyphs). In a First Quarter Moon the Sun squares the Moon. 'Squares create tension like legs on a table square the table top to hold it up.

Astrology is one of my primary sources for deconstructing and reconstructing my world. I have come to see it as a de- and re-construction process thanks to my connections with Hawaiian practitioners like Kalei Nu'uhiwa and Dr. Pualani Kanahele. Through their scholarship and the accessibility of the Internet's cyberlibrary I source the legacy of my ancient Hawaiian creation myth and learn (through these practitioners' translations). Nu'uhiwa aptly describes these translations in her presentation "Papaku Makawalu."  Astrology is my regular observational practice of the natural re-occurrences in the sky, or in Hawaiian, Papa Huli Lani

If you look closely three thin and snaking Bracken ferns are unfurling, makawalu-ing.
 I took this photo the other day, during the 'ole moons. 
In this close-up shot the imagery speaks loudly to the action of each fern leaflet being a universe of its own ... potential to become more over this season (and the long season over the backbone of time)

In the process of unfurling, or living the life that is mine here in the woods I see that our tiny homes arrangement was the unfolding dream bred from survivors of seafarers and land-based farmers. Pete and I have the DNA of very different beginnings. When we experience the seasonal shifts, as we are now with the Equinox unfurling spring, we adapt to our environment with an inherent difference. To survive our ancestors did different things; they in turn have passed those behaviors down the string of heredity.

This post will ramble and buckle as I attempt to make sense of it even as I am going through it. If I will maintain my focus on the original quote about the quality of a Quarter Moon phase, I find this clue: "Whatever project or initiative we began around the New Moon is now off the ground, and it may face its first obstacles." 

The clue offers me this insight ... the raging pollens' early unset during the New Moon on March 20th and the need for me to have unexpected dental surgery delayed a planned event. I made a choice to cancel a storytelling and teaching gathering. I slowed things down. Pete does not slow down. Spring is literally his choice of action. He can't wait to be more active, and be active with as many people as possible. The challenge is to be aware of how our very different native survival techniques are addressed.

The clash happens. Pete's Libra Moon needs company and many people to be satisfied. My Capricorn Moon is conservative and finds satisfaction from digging, alone. I need to remember this, these Quarter Moon/'Ole Phases give me a chance to understand how to keep my soul close without turning black when Pete's very different needs overshadow.

How to make sense of it: Lawe i ka ma'alea a ku'ono'ono Take wisdom and make it deep. Between us we love to explore the deep and far-reaching potential found in the practices like Papaku Makawalu. Somewhere between the differences of styles we have there is room for understanding. I find ways to breathe the deep breaths to clear my mind, and feed it oxygen. Flushing the pollens with snorts of salt water the memories of my sea-faring ancestors make room for adaptation today. Out and about as he is today the many contacts (makawalu) Pete makes will feed him as needed.

Reflecting on the moon, I remember that she dances and moves regularly around Earth giving light and darkness equal time. Her body affects mine. I observe and notice. I employ the potential to forgive myself when I explode in anger; and be compassionate as I slip on those banana peels of judgment and impatience.

Today and tonight the Moon is in her own sign, Cancer. Settle in. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

I hold my nomadic skills in great esteem

From the passenger's seat of Scout our valued Subaru station wagon I watched the generous body relax into the collapsible chair. Snacking on the contents of a cellophane-wrapped bag he crunched most of it, yet saved one tidbit for the small black pup leased not more than a foot from his slippered feet. His vehicle, an older black pickup truck, is filled with the trappings of his everyday. A canvas sheet covered the bed, a bicycle perched over the covering. He, like us, is a modern day nomad, blood kin or not to the Romani, we are society's new culture whether favored or recognized makes little difference really. We know who we are, and as the mortgaged middle class quickly suffers the weight of promises too heavy to keep, our nomadic tribe will multiple.

The town we have made our home over the past six months is part of the Windward community of O'ahu. Kailua is smaller than urban Honolulu by what? tree or four-fold, with buildings lower to the ground and streets more easily navigated in a four-wheel vehicle or a foot-pedaled cycle. This place is a parking lot miniature of her Honolulu sister's high-rise/underground, cemented parking structure reality. Those of the Nomadics who live from and in our vehicles come to know parking lots intimately. I remember the humiliation I used to feel early in my nomadic life. The ego still unwilling to accept the changes to her place in the cycle of my everyday. A steep learning curve characterize the rituals of the new nomad, and though similar for most, each is probably more unique than I know.

Within a week one will recognize another. We seem to be very solitary rarely engaged by the eye and rarer yet in conversation. As I write, now at a favorite library table positioned over one of the only uncarpeted floors, I spot at least three of the tribe; familiar by sight or by trappings. If I were more courageous or maybe, it is detachment.  If I were more detached ... time will tell, I would be igniting my formerly useful interviewing skills from a recent past life to learn who my fellow nomadics are. What are their stories?

Nearly closing time. I hear, as well everyone else at this end of the library, the regular and even snore coming from a young brother. He has fallen into blissful sleep in the comfort of one of the dark blue upholstered reading chairs. Sleep. Glorious and restorative healing rest is not an every night given when you are nomadic. The first weeks are hardest when place and surroundings offer no reassurances. Society--societal regulation, the laws meant to keep genteel wall and roof dwellers safe and assure, view the Tribe as untouchables. The cast system in America is real.

Perhaps my journey as nomad is karmic, needing to experience first-hand, walk in the shoes of simplicity viewed and judged as I have judged. I have feared the people on the streets who wore faces like mine; brown or red-skinned in their flannel shirts looking to me for a hand (full of change, a common goodness). I crossed the street to avoid them. Now I watch as others avoid me when I roll from the back of my car where I have spent the night. Our car has become noticed...known in the neighborhood because we park on my cousins' lawn at night. No fence or wall shields our home/car from the dog walkers inches from my window. We live a public life. Ego? Recycled into informed doubter--I have new skills, nomadic skills which I have come to hold in great esteem.

This piece was written in 2007. The mostly handwritten musings were folded and tucked into a rose-covered box, a gift box that holds the notes and writing on coffee shop napkins during the months of living from our Subaru. I found the box and this writing when I pulled the wire basket out from its place beneath our vardo bed. I was cleaning house, a fitting task for the quarter moon cycle, or 'ole moons of the Hawaiian Moon Calendar ... times for weeding, repair nets, preparing ground for planting, and cleaning. These are skills  I have come to hold in great esteem. 

I am ever aware of how transient the quality of surety is. From these nomadic times on O'ahu, my place of birth, the medicine and magic of myth found a strong and enduring place in my heart. To make sense of nonsense deeply rooted qualities offered me the portable and simple magic of small joys, and my heart becomes more resilient, vulnerable and open; it becomes less afraid to be nomadic. Like the magic of a safety pin, I find the efficacy of a tool is in its being able to serve without being grand. For a time, the pin holds. Opened, there is the potential for something else. To read some of the myth that grew from these times go here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Slow down, notice, make adjustments, continue the journey

This is a test; you know those tests with your name on it that show up on your pysche's desk?   The Pisces New Moon and Lunar Eclipse has brought the tide in, and then out. Pollen season and then the surgery has laid me out, I rest, and my racing mind looks for distractions to anchor me as my body mends. The pain from the surgery has eased. So many dreams have dipped me into the psychic soup and I wobble. Pete and I watch Season Three of Merlin. The magic and the cinema opens windows of escape at least temporarily.

I wrote to my son yesterday asking him about the air quality in Paris where he works. He and my daughter in law live just outside the large city. The mayor of Paris issued a reduction of vehicles driving in the city by 50% to help with the smog. My son wrote back this morning and said the smog was an everyday (for a long time) thing. Here in the woods, the trees are quality control agents when it comes to smog, but, have their own demands: they must pollinate and that creates a different sort of challenge for some of us.

Anyway ... I sent a reply to my son and attached a link to this YouTube "Our Narratives Continue". I've also added this YouTube to my permanent sidebar over to the right. I wrote, "I'm watching this for pollen therapy."

The YouTube is the keynote address and presentation at the 2014 WIPCE Conference on O'ahu with Dr. Taupouri Tangaro, Kekuhi Kanahele and their village. Layers of meaning found in the epic saga and myth of the fire goddess Pele Honua Mea and her sister Hi'iaka i ka poli of Pele create a contemporary teaching story. As the newest season of growth begins and I am challenged to clear the way for my ongoing journey at 67 years, the presentation "Our Narratives Continue" help me to discern how valuable it is to know the stories that root us.

Sliding or dancing with words, story and dance I listen and feel the mythic value of Pele's journey and the journey her younger sister Hi'iaka undertakes. Through the re-listening and insertion of Tangaro's translations I navigate the newest spring and wade through the healing tides as a old woman. What is valuable now? What are the dreams telling me ... the deep and soul addressing dreams? Over and again I come to the cyber-library and click on the arrow of YouTube. An important story is told, and I listen with my whole body.

The tools of the makua o'o surface ... they are the tests. I lay them on top of the listening I do as I watch "Our Narratives Continue". Answers come. The right ones? Maybe. This one, but not that one. Sorting. Tide comes in. Tide goes out. Mahina progresses. We notice the shape of the moon, and observe the nature of life as the moon's shape changes. We notice how we change. Do we? Fluid or fixed? Patient or restless?

  1.  Keep a keen sense of observation … NOTICE 
  2. Listen … with your whole body … LISTEN RESPECTFULLY
  3. Do your best in all things … LIVE LIFE WITH A PASSION *
  4. Know that wisdom is found in many places … SOFTEN THE GROUND OF YOUR BEING
  5. Question for clarity when making decisions … ASK
  6. Practice patience and endurance … TIMING IS DIVINE
  7. Engage in good health practices … CARE
  8. Feel the heartbeat of the culture … SENSE YOUR PLACE
  9. Believe in Ke Akua, for this higher power makes all life possible … WE ARE NEVER ALONE, ALWAYS LOVED

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Face Recognition ... the entitlement of teeth

Warning: the content may trigger reactions!

The music was irritating. The drilling next door added to my anxiousness. To get here on time we left the woods midmorning, my appointment was for 2:45. By 3:15 the dental assistant I remember from my first visits here three years ago had asked me why I was here, focusing on what was to be done. The dentist wanted a current set of x-rays to assess the health of my teeth.

"How much?" I asked.
"$135" Too much, but I said, "Okay." I figured we needed something to use as a base, and it has been years since I've had dental x-rays.

 A mother of five, this woman is an orchestrator. Mothering may have honed her skill, I wonder but that she had it prior. Before my appointment was over I was pretty sure this woman came with orchestration as her calling.

People with MCS share their experiences with 'the professions' much the same way good cooks and bakers share recipes that are consistently delicious, and comforting. If we can afford their fees we sensitives go to a dentist like this one. The building itself was built with environmental safety in mind from the ground up, and fragrance and chemical free practices make it possible to be within a space for routine and/or specialized medical care.

Living on a fixed-income and being a recipient of a monthly Social Security, the reality of dental care requires juggling reality with faith. Satori wrote about the quality of today's planetary line-up and included the following paragraph. I find its worth and plug it into my experience with dental surgery.

"... Sensations and feelings are neutral until interpreted. The Moon is moving toward conjunction with Neptune and Mercury. Slow down and consciously look for positive interpretations of any sensations that seem crushing or jarring. Pain or discomfort is a signal, information. Overreactions can be circumvented by altering perception..."

As I sit to write this piece JOTS is curled on her tiles on the table. She's asleep but would wake with a flash if the sparrows outside flitter and fuss just outside the Quonset window. She keeps me company. Yesterday's procedure has left me with another gap on the left side of my jaw. Sutures hold in a clot of my own specially spun blood to begin the healing process. Homeopathic dental remedy calms my system rather than antibiotics and an ice pack slows the swelling. A case of young Thai coconuts ordered this weekend are part of my liquid diet, and provide me with the electrolytes and the comfort of Island connection. Pete has made me quarts of freshly made calcium rich sesame seed milk to drink too. I've had cups of carrot and cashew ginger soup.

The extraction was incredible.

"This was sensational!" I told the assistant when she was giving me the icepack and second dose of homeopathic remedy. The word surprised her, "Sensational?"

"Yeah, like so many sensations." I said.

"Oh ..." She got my drift.

I had come to have a couple other teeth checked: a temporary build-up on a molar had kept me going for three years. It was wearing down. "Are we going to put that crown on it today?"

"Well," I said, prepared for this question I put it to the dentist this way. "I know how much money I DO have, and also know how much money I don't have. How much is the crown?"


"That's half of all the money I do have (to spend of teeth)."

"The surgery (extraction) will cost me $400 or $500."

The dentist said, "Yes, we can do it for that much." (Hear the unspoken there?) This is a costly enterprise.

By this time the irritating music and the drilling elsewhere was drowned by the focus of my conversation with this medical practitioner.

The Orchestrator/Assistant stepped in at this point and suggested being able to repair the temporary and file-down the eye tooth that was causing me problems. The dental said, "Yes, I can do that with no charge."

The surgery was necessary. I knew that, and had put it on hold as I managed other parts of my life, and my health, and paid down the expenses from previous dental work; I prepared myself over time to have the tooth extracted. Yesterday, several hundreds of dollars later, I have a way to make payments for the procedure. As my astrologer suggests in her insight for today's astrology, "Sensations and feelings are neutral until interpreted." After three years the infection that has affected me and my immune system is gone. The sensations I feel are many: I consider the choices. I could be grateful to have a way to pay for these treatments on a fixed income. I could be grateful for a partner and husband who considers waiting for me for two hours as "Down time, doing nothing. Something I don't do otherwise." My teeth? They are old and others of them will need care. I discern my approach with the money I do have to spend, and keep the rest of Satori's advice in hand:

"... Slow down and consciously look for positive interpretations of any sensations that seem crushing or jarring."

Extractions leave holes. A pretty smile (with teeth) is one of those Western entitlements many cultures on the planet view differently. I remember the blood that flows through me comes from ancient Eastern and Island stock. I still have a few teeth left, and a few more gaps as well. It's a wild world we humans live in. The young ravens raising a ruckus in the tree tops recognize my face. They recognize Pete's face too. Will their skill of face recognition change because we have more gaps and fewer teeth? I doubt that. We'll see though. We'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Placeholder Soul: a Saturn in Scorpio story

"Placeholder names are words that can refer to objects or people whose names are temporarily forgotten, irrelevant, or unknown in the context in which they are being discussed." - "Placeholder name" Wikipedia

"I am a old woman," it wasn't an excuse. As the two of us stood at the entrance to the nightclub it was a statement. The guy was asking for my I.D. My date was laughing out loud.

"You're kidding right?" I looked the bouncer in the eye; I looked up off the top of my trifocals and waited for his answer. Right, I should have been ... what? Felt complimented. Neither of us seemed primed with humor that night. And, my partner played along waiting to see what happened. The chicks behind us were fumbling for their wallets, and didn't mind waiting as I finally fished my driver's license from my purse.

Humor must have finally bit the guy, he looked at my picture, and the date. D.O.B. November 16, 1947. He was grinning now. "Wow, you're the same age as my grandmother."

"Told you!"

The young man with seriously bulging biceps bowed low. Maybe he forgot his contacts or maybe what my husband kept telling me was true-- "You don't age. How do you do that?" I never look in mirrors, haven't got one big enough to look at so I've stopped bothering.

This is a bit of fiction wrapping itself around truth, it's my process of making my way through a time of de-stabilization (it's Saturn retrograde and Jupiter retrograde ... so luck and understanding are both on hold). I'm giving thanks on a Kane Po (a Kane phase of the moon) and seriously considering the effects of the recent dose of medicine I received last week. The small wooden kinolau appeared on the beach after a session with my medicine woman. We worked with some very old and lingering soul pain, and the specific effects that pain has when spring and the rites of pollen riotously fill the environment where I live.

Now ... to disclose and continue with the story, I find it necessary to shift from truth to myth to be comfortable moving forward. That's why I'm mixing things together here. The definition from Wikipedia is significant. This is about Placeholder names. We've all had occasion, or seasons, where we can't remember the name of something and call the thing a whatchacallit. If you're as old as I am the gizmo might be a placeholder name for the hand-held thingy that makes phone calls and takes pictures.

The short conversation with the old woman being asked for her I.D. by the young man with serious biceps is meant to breed a little silliness, because the issue my medicine woman and I are dealing with has to do with rituals of gratitude and acceptance. At this point in my life (Saturn retrogrades back into Scorpio for the last time in my lifetime) I'm calling on my Ancestors and the Soul they have cared for (that is me) This is about clicking of sticks to ask the ancestors for help. It's the Placeholder Soul I've forgotten to acknowledge and give gratitude to.

Let's see how I can unwind the story well enough.

When I was trying to make sense of life for the umpteenth time back in 2008, I hunted up a psychic who read Akashic Records. She told me that when I was born, the soul assigned to me was not yet ready for prime time Earth life. The primitive reality of Earth was too much for this other star system soul. In a nutshell Earth did not look like a safe place to be living the rest of her life. So ... she opted out. Played the waiting game. Well, no baby can be born on Earth without a soul. It just can't happen. Remember Raven and the Whale? It's a story about every living being having and needing a soul. If you haven't listened to that story, it would be worth a little diversion ... really!

In my case, my pre-mature purple skinned baby girl self needed a soul. A Placeholder Soul, a 'simple and down-to-earth' soul stepped in to take the reluctant other star system soul meant for me. For sixty-one years BakBak (the name I gave my Placeholder Soul; a character name I borrowed from one of Sheherazade's 1001 Tales of the Arabian Nights) had been my soul's guide. The work was complicated by the eventual arrival of that reluctant other star-system soul. For decades the two souls have tugged and pulled at my life path like a rubber band.

When I began working with the psychic in 2008 she sent BakBak off to have a soul's life independent of me. I never said a true good-bye, nor did I set up an altar where BakBak's memory, and sacrifice is acknowledged every day. Can you imagine what it's like to have two souls for sixty years? Let me tell you the astrological natal chart could tell you a lot if you read charts.

Anyway ... on and on.

My medicine woman and I have begun the work of gratitude for my Placeholder Soul, BakBak. Placed at the altar, along with Kainoa this old woman who appears to be aging in reverse does the work while Saturn reverses into the sign of my Sun, Chiron, Mercury and Mid-Heaven. Perhaps the elixir of compassion for both my Placehold Soul and me can be concocted this spring. An offering for the approaching New Moon in Pisces and Solar Eclipse at Equinox.

A lot goes into making a life, with a soul that dances for the fullness of being human. Without reservations, this kind of life could embrace springtime with all its bombastic appreciation for life. I have much to unlearn, and BakBak in his/her new place of honor at the altar can help from the other side of the borders.

See why both myth and truth must braid for a full, complicated story requiring time (Saturn) and depth (Scorpio)?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Common magic for an 'Ole Moon

The parallel stories began once we hit the ground. Funny, the sound of that is exactly right. When those jet wheels hit the tarmac at SEATAC we were in the latter throngs of chaos but we had learned a lot, would have many more experiences to integrate; but, we were into the practice. There would be no turning back.
O ke kahua mamua, mahope ke kukulu. The site first; and then the building. Learn all you can, then practice. - 'Olelo No'eau
The pollens have begun their riotous beginnings, stirred by the strong winds and the songs that wing their way through the trees; spring is here. The bees are back. Since I was a girl I have been allergic or sensitive to seasonal changes, etc. This post is not about that so much as it is the remedies and the magic that have been my solution to not being able to ... play with the other kids because I was sick. My sixty-seventh season is familiar in some ways. My swollen glands and discomfort challenge me; I rest more.

What this post is about are the parallel stories "Medicine Stories" I have called them. Not for the first time are myths, parables or truth stories called medicine. They are the original medicine to many First Peoples, and as I sit out of the wind and the swirling pollens on this 'Ole Po time the winds' songs remind me how, and why, the stories that came want to have their due appreciation. As I write I heard the thud and rattle of a tree falling close-by. I reflect on life, and unravelings.

First, there was Sam and Sally (2008).  "This is the story of the poisonous apple disease. It reads like fiction but alas, it is true." I was new to the world of fiction, and the experiences of living with that 'poisonous apple disease' so raw there had to be a way to step through the hell of it. Later in the story of those two old dear came a poem called "Braid" it reads like this ...

Upon one head
The plait does lay
Over under,
Over under,
One hank at a time.

Upon one head
The tale is wove
Over under,
Over under,
Whose voice is shown?

Upon one head
A voice still timid
Calls for a hand
Over under,
Over under,
The words grow in timber.

Upon one head
The plait does lay
The tale woven
Hand to finger
Finger to Heart
Forged like silver.

Braid the tale, teller.
Braid the tale.

I have long loved the braid. To handle each hank, to see the plait laid flat, and to feel the sense of more than one version become a whole 'nother ... there is a visceral satisfaction in it. Filling. Tactile. And metaphoric at the same time.

Common magic. Weaving is one of those practices of magic. Words and images speak for the loss that my soul has difficulty with. What is truth and what is fiction? In the braiding one and other over lap. And, then the hanks can become undone.

P.S. The software bug is back, blocking my attempts to add pictures. Instead a lot of extra space is showing up. Any sort of mischief is possible when working during the  'Ole moon. 'Aue.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Last chances: Saturn returns (retrograde) to Scorpio March 14, 2015

My favorite astrologer Elsa P. wrote this morning,

"Saturn will turn retrograde in Sagittarius on March 14th, 2015.  He’ll return to Scorpio the second half of June through the first half of September. Scorpio and the other fixed signs (Taurus, Leo & Aquarius) read this and groan. However, I see this as an opportunity.
Saturn only transits a sign every 28.5 years. If you keep this in mind, you can see this is your last chance to get a grip on Scorpio-themed problems and set yourself up for close to three decades..."

I discovered Elsa P, blogger and astrologer when Pete and I were rebuilding our lives and building the tiny home we call VardoForTwo. Regular readers know the story of how and when I first discovered Elsa, but I'll recap, and use a scene and line from a movie we watched the other night. The movie is "Love is strange".

The movie is about two older men, Ben and George (71) who marry. Ben teaches music in a Catholic school and when news of the same-sex marriage gets to the higher ups Ben is fired. Without his income the newly married couple are forced to sell their apartment and separate as the only solution; Ben moves in with their former neighbors (two party-loving gay cops) and George goes to stay with his nephew's family and sleeps in the lower bunk with his grand-nephew.

These are deep (Scorpio) issues and both men, and their families and friends are challenged (Saturn) to deal with life in its murky reality. The line and scene from the movie happens very late in the film. George is sitting on the couch during one of the party-loving cops' party. He really wants to sleep, but, a young man comes to sit on the other end of the couch. They start talking. George wonders whether the young man is hitting on him. He isn't. But, when the young man discovers the couch is George's bed he asks, "Are you homeless?" George says, "Yes." The conversation grows and both men lead to the discovery that the young (anthropologist) is about to leave the city for another country and has the keys to a rent-control apartment. The apartment that is now empty.

Through the adversity late in life George and Ben make the most of their opportunities to deal with Scorpio issues (sex, power, legacy). A new home comes just in time ... but there is a bitter quirk to it (and I won't spoil it for those of you who might want to see the excellent portrayal of men on the screen).

Circling around to how this relates to meeting my astrologer, and the upcoming Saturn retrograde to Scorpio. When I first discovered Elsa Panizzon, Pete and I were sleeping on the floor of a basement apartment kitchen. We were to most peoples' eyes/thinking homeless. We were learning to live with an illness that many couldn't understand, and though we had money to rent, we had to live in a foil-wrapped kitchen floor because 'normal' housing was unsafe for me.

While Pete found the material and built an eight foot by twelve foot mobile bedroom on a lawn perched over industrial Seattle, I struggled and dealt with a body and soul that needed re-fitting. We had internet, and an old laptop. As I searched for materials and processes to build our new life I found the first astrology blog ever ... Elsa Elsa.

Since the resources and values that suited me pre-illness were not working (Scorpio-stuff) I would need to find a larger picture to reframe life to survive. Elsa Panizzon taught me to use astrology to understand myself in relationship to the whole. That was 2008. Elsa was my 'young anthropologist at the other end of the couch.'

When Saturn retrogrades into Scorpio again in June (through the first half of September) 2015, the planet gives me a second chance to look at the power struggles I have with my public image Sun (10th House of Career); Mercury (how I think); and the deep and primal wounds of Chiron. My dreams rehash my past roles and careers, I revisit homes I have long ago left. Are there any gems of good to bring with me at this stage of life? Or, can I move into this new spring and summer and fall of 2015 willingly and easily letting go of the struggle.

Can I go back to school and learn my lessons well as the old Crosby Still Nash and Young song goes? I am a Scorpio-sun woman, born in the year of the Golden Pig in the Chinese zodiac. Can I use this Saturn retrograde school time and become the good-natured essential Pig at 67. The I was born to be?

Any other Scorpios (or Fixed signs) relate?


Friday, March 6, 2015

Moon Watchers

LAST NIGHT: Our friend Prescott and Pete at the Tilth watch the Mahealani moon and the stars showed up in this photo because they
... just couldn't resist
THE NIGHT BEFORE: We went to the shore to watch the Hoku moon rising. Behind a hazy sky she rose above one of the sprawling mansions that fence the beach. We parked at the public access lot and stood to see our companion moon, Hina.

Well, some time since the computer software 'bug' came to occupy and today, the 'bug' is either in remission or gone away. I am able to load pictures from the Quonset ... so, here are a few. There are many more pictures at Count on the Moon, as I try notice and journal the observations of my place.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Count on the Moon ... Learning from Mahina

This is a new post from Count on the Moon the on-line workshop and blog my husband and I created four years ago on March 27, 2011. The new venture of teaching and learning from the Hawaiian Moon Calendar opened up deep and unexpected sources of connectivity with Mahina. We have re-opened that on-line space and blog and here is what motivates me:

"... Contemporary life has distracted us, most of us, from the values and practices that are foundational -- that is, some things are greater than ourselves, our believed entitlements. In 2007 those distractions and beliefs that were my world washed out with the tide. Homeless. Health bereft. Humbled. While we relearned what was sustainable, Mahina the Hawaiian Moon rose from the ocean over the horizon off the Eastern shore of O'ahu as we made our bed for the night. From our car which was our home for many months at that time, Pete and I literally began our journey of counting on the moon. We have rebuilt a life, and rooted ourselves in a new island-based community in South Whidbey Island in the Salish Sea (Pacific Northwest America/Washington state). Our practices as elders in training (Makua o'o) are magic made manifest like the braided cord..."

Count on the Moon is a public blog/and sharing space which we hope will expand peoples' awareness and relationship with moon-time; a tool to become more attuned to Nature, and specifically the changing climate on Earth. Wherever you are on the planet there are simple and valuable things you (and we) can notice, and record.

The following Lunar Observation Sheet was modified(expanded to include areas beyond Hawaii) from Kalei Nu'uhiwa's website. This woman has influenced my husband and me with her research and teaching of Kaulana Mahina The Hawaiian Moon Calendar. This sheet is available on her website as a free downloadable pdf.

Lunar Observation Sheet

Date: ______________________         Time of observation: _____________________________

  1. Location of observation: Where were you when you saw the moon?
  2. Where was the moon located in the sky at the time of the observation?
  3. Weather observations: Is it windy? Is it hot? Is it cold? Is it raining? What kind of rain? What kind of wind? How hot? Record anything you noticed about that particular day or night.
  4. Daily tidal report: There are two sets of tides that usually happen daily. Record both. Notice what time the moon rises and sets in conjunction with the high and low tides. Daily tide reports can be gotten from many resources. The newspaper gives daily tide reports. Online: United States Geological Service, NASA, or simply Google Tide chart for the area where you live.
  5. Record blooming, fruiting or leaf growing stages of plants.
  6. What plants are prevalent?
  7. Note fish/marine species spawning, migration, aggregation or appearance. What types of fish/marine species are prevalent?
  8. Record ocean activities. Is it rough? Is it calm? Are there swells? Do the waves barrel?
  9. Record bird activities. Migration, nesting, flocking and other activities.
  10. Record weather or climate season activities.
  11. *Any other natural growth or parallel form activities.
  12. Plants planted on his phase. Followed by noted growth patterns and activities.

Shape of the moon observed: Draw the shape of the moon you observed.


A Pacific wide lunar calendar conference is scheduled for September 24-27, 2015 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, on the island of O'ahu. Travel to O'ahu is not within my scope of doable at this stage of life. Pete and I fantasized about the possibility and then messages and messengers arrived telling me to imagine something different instead. That is what we're doing. If we are not able to board a plane and be in safe quarters in the islands, we can open the possibilities for being part of the process WHERE WE ARE. That's one reason I have decided to re-open the Count on the Moon blog. STAY TUNED FOR MORE AS IT UNFURLED.