Thursday, June 21, 2012

Medicine wheels

Peace y'all,
I had some time alone today and absolutely NOTHING to do (shocking right?) so I meditated on my back deck after drinking one of my juices, realizing that we heal, I got my behind up, collected some stones and built a medicine wheel in my yard. Y'all can take the best part, yet this has been done for too long to document, and has benefits to me. Medicine wheels are different for different people, they can be constructed with many numbers of stones...I use the 36 stone method because it's what my papi taught me and I'm comfortable with it. There is something about focus and determination that calms my spirit, the universe is a beautiful place and I use this also as a model of that. At any rate, the method I use is as follows, let me know if you try it and if you got anything positive from it or were just lugging rocks around ;)

1. The Center Stone is the 'Many worlds' stone that contains the essential person - the deepest inner soul. Some post-European descriptions of this stone refer to it as 'The Creator' stone, a concept born out of the notion of a Supreme Being which was imposed by Christianity on the belief systems of many First Nations. I do not build mine in a way that aligns with the imposition of Christianity. This stone can also be called the Cosmos or Universe Stone.

2-5. Four Directions Stones: East (Teacher), South (Healer), West (Visionary), North (Warrior).

6-12. Seven stones surround the Centre stone, and stand for: Father Sky, Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon, Grandfather Sun, Star Nation, Other Worlds (Planets), Wolf Road (Milky Way).

Two stones are placed between each Direction on the outer perimeter of the circle which will compose 13-20.
13-14. Northeast: Earth Crawlers, Flying Beings
15-16. Southeast: Rooted Beings, Earth Walkers (4 leggeds)
17-18. Southwest: Ancestors, Stone Beings
19-20. Northwest: Rainbow Spirits, Water Beings

Four stones between each direction and the Universe stone, with the "Element" stone closest to the Direction stone compose 21-36.
21-24. East: Air, Illumination, Wisdom, Clarity
25-28. South: Earth, Spirit, Trust, Love, Growth
29-32. West: Fire, Emotions, Dreams, Experience, Introspection
33-36. North: Water, Body, Physical Cleansing, Purity, Renewal

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Wolves Within

So...while I was watching my children jump up and down along the beach today, sometimes giggling with glee, sometimes staring curiously at some creature and sometimes, of course, pinching or kicking eachother(lol)... I was thinking about mathematics and how we know what we can and can not affect, what changes we can make to ensure homeostasis and what we need to stand our ground on with all that we are to ensure equilibrium. My thoughts went to this particular legend that my papi always said was important...only we know our true power and the limits of our abilities. Sometimes, as a parent I have to make choices about whether to let them fight it out or try to enforce a code of, I chose to let them both know that they alone control their experience and that the wolf they feed will win. They kissed and made up. Okay, they didn't kiss...they just decided that I was the enemy and that crab running by was really neat. Lol. At any rate, the legend is as follows:

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger,for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Pleiades and the Pine

This myth is Cherokee in origin, however amongst the pan indigenous nations, there exist many such myths...there similarities are often identical and the lesson is valuable. Enjoy.

There was once a group of friends -7 boys- who always played together. In fact, they did everything together; often losing track of time and not reporting home for dinner as their mothers had instructed.

One day, the boys were out playing one of their favorite games, which involved rolling a wheel along the ground with a stick. Each boy did better than the one before him and, before long, they had spent hours laughing, playing, and teasing one another.

"Oh, no!" cried one young brave, as he glanced at the sun beginning to set in the sky. "We are late again. We must hurry and go now."

Although clearly no one was ready to go home, they gathered their things and shuffled off toward the village. They were greeted at the edge of the village by all seven of their mothers who were clearly angry that they had, once again, broken the rules.

"Will you never learn?" questioned one mother. "Will you never show us respect?" questioned another. "The answer is clear," said a third. "Since you cannot come home in time for dinner, then you will have to make your own," the third mother announced. "Here, use these stones for corn to make your soup."

The boys were angry at being scolded and even angrier that their mothers dared to offer them nothing to eat but stone soup. "What did we do that was so wrong?" questioned young brave.

"If our mothers don't love us, I say we go away and bother them no more," announced another. The other boys agreed and, together, all headed away from their village to the nearby hills where they always played.

Once there, they began to dance and chant. "Spirits of our people, take us into the sky so blue. Our mothers no longer want us and we wish to be with you."

Over and over they danced and chanted their rhyme. For hours they continued without once halting.

Back in the village, one of the mothers decided that she should check to see in which friend's home her son was hiding. However, as she traveled from home to home to find that none of the boys could be found, she began to worry that something was wrong.

The seven mothers gathered together and headed toward the hills where their sons played. As they grew closer, they saw the boys dancing and singing their chant.

"Look!" cried one mother in abject fear. "They are dancing off of the ground. We must hurry or they will be gone forever."

As the mothers grew closer, their fear and panic took hold. They realized that they might not be able to reach their sons, who now danced above their heads.

Each jumped and tried to grab her son, but only one was able to reach hers. Grabbing hold and yanking as hard as she could, the mother pulled her son to the ground so hard that he hit the earth with a thud, forming a hole into which he fell with the earth enclosing around him.

As she fell to her knees in tears, she looked to see the other six boys had now danced into the clouds and could no longer be seen. In what seemed like mere seconds, all seven mothers had lost their most prized possessions.

It is said that the seven mothers never again laughed or smiled, since in a single moment they had lost that which brought them the most joy. Each day they returned to the place where they lost their sons. While six of them looked toward the skies in prayer, the seventh fell to the earth, soaking it with her tears of grief.

Day after day; week after week; month after month they continued their trek. One day, the six mothers noticed stars had formed exactly where they last saw their sons. They are called the Pleiades. On the site where her son fell to the ground, the seventh mother noticed a tiny pine tree had begun to grow.

That, they say, is why the pine tree has always been one of the most sacred trees to the Cherokee people. It is also why they look to the Pleiades to pray. It is a reminder that life can change in an instant; bringing you untold joy or immeasurable grief.

Friday, February 24, 2012

29 days of Black poets - Countee Cullen

A Brown Girl Dead
by Countee Cullen

With two white roses on her breasts,
White candles at head and feet,
Dark Madonna of the grave she rests;
Lord Death has found her sweet.

Her mother pawned her wedding ring
To lay her out in white;
She'd be so proud she'd dance and sing
to see herself tonight.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

29 days of Black poets - Lucille Clifton

shapeshifter poems
by Lucille Clifton


the legend is whispered
in the women's tent
how the moon when she rises
follows some men into themselves
and changes them there
the season is short
but dreadful shapeshifters
they wear strange hands
they walk through the houses
at night their daughters
do not know them


who is there to protect her
from the hands of the father
not the windows which see and
say nothing not the moon
that awful eye not the woman
she will become with her
scarred tongue who who who the owl
laments into the evening who
will protect her this prettylittlegirl


if the little girl lies
still enough
shut enough
hard enough
shapeshifter may not
walk tonight
the full moon may not
find him here
the hair on him


the poem at the end of the world
is the poem the little girl breathes
into her pillow the one
she cannot tell the one
there is no one to hear this poem
is a political poem is a war poem is a
universal poem but is not about
these things this poem
is about one human heart this poem
is the poem at the end of the world

Saturday, February 18, 2012

29 days of Black poets - James A. Emanuel

For A Depressed Woman
by James A. Emanuel

My friends do not know.
But what could my friends not know?
About what? What friends?

She sleeps late each day,
stifling each reason to rise,
choked into the quilt.

"I'll never find work."
She swallows this thought with pills,
finds tears in the glass.

29 days of Black poets - Robert Hayden

Full Moon
by Robert Hayden

No longer throne of a goddess to whom we pray,
no longer the bubble house of childhood's
tumbling Mother Goose man,

The emphatic moon ascends--
the brilliant challenger of rocket experts,
the white hope of communications men.

Some I love who are dead
were watchers of the moon and knew its lore;
planted seeds, trimmed their hair,

Pierced their ears for gold hoop earrings
as it waxed or waned.
It shines tonight upon their graves.

And burned in the garden of Gethsemane,
its light made holy by the dazzling tears
with which it mingled.

And spread its radiance on the exile's path
of Him who was The Glorious One,
its light made holy by His holiness.

Already a mooted goal and tomorrow perhaps
an arms base, a livid sector,
the full moon dominates the dark.