I have a poem over at Gods & Radicals. Check it out.
The wound of the border.
I have a poem over at Gods & Radicals. Check it out.
The wound of the border.
I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus here, I admit, but I plan on getting back to this blog. A lots been going on in the last few months including an inspiring trip to the Philippines. Here on the island the eruption of Kilauea has been much in the news and continues to be (in case you were wondering, we’re safe and lucky to have a nearly 14,000 foot mountain between us and the eruption). Here, instead, it’s been very wet for the last couple months. Fire and water (hmm, fire in water is quite the Brigidine theme, right?).
The goddess Pele continues to expel sulfur dioxide gas, lava bombs, and splinters of volcanic glass causing even shutting down a geothermal plant on the other side of the island in a reminder of who’s boss.
Meanwhile, recent study reveals that chickens and other poultry make up 70% of all birds on the planet at this time and 60% of mammals are livestock, mostly cattle and pigs. 36% are humans. 4% are wild. The ubiquitous distribution of domestic chicken bones across the planet is now considered a mark or the ‘Anthropocene’.
I recoil from this, there is something disgusting here. Yeah, chicken McNuggets come from birds (along with 37 other ingredients), kids, really. There is a certain irony in that the Hawai’ian islands are overrun with feral chickens, even supermarket parking lots.
In fact, since the dawn of civilization, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/21/human-race-just-001-of-all-life-but-has-destroyed-over-80-of-wild-mammals-study
An animist can easily succumb to despair in these times. But then Pele shows herself with greater force. And in very intriguing timing an idol of the Hawai’ian war god Ku, under whom King Kamehameha I united the archipelago, was returned to Hawaii just a week before the start of the most recent eruption. Estimated to be around 200 years old, it came up for auction in Paris and was purchased for over $7 million dollars by the Salesforce CEO who has an estate in Hawai’i. He returned it to Hawai’i, giving it to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu (not often such a commendable act by a tech tycoon). Coincidence? Ku and Pele taking notice?
To see such interactions of holy forces/agencies, including elemental ones can be recharging (even though I have compassion for those who have lost homes to them). Wherever we are, we need to work hard to build stronger relationships with the spirits and gods of the wild, to build on the fury of the boar and the wolf, to call on the dead who would aid us. There is so much that needs to be (re)moved.
Who is your local spirit(s) of the wild?
One of mine is the stream that runs below our hidden place. I made it an offering the other night. From what I hear it has been known to take a human. These are (holy) powers. Part of civilization’s problem is how it has forgotten this most basic knowledge.
It’s been over four months since we moved up here on the north coast of the island (how did the time go by so quickly?). Settling in a very rural place where the soundscape is punctuated with the calls of roosters, frogs (invasive coquis from Puerto Rico) among other things. An intermittent stream runs below our house, often just pools in rocks, but it flowed whitewater and fierce for a couple weeks from Thanksgiving on—we had 10 days of almost non-stop rain. The strongest presence here whose music has delighted my heart. Obviously this Nie-nie has many moods, often reticent, sometimes exuberant, and from what I hear even ferocious at times, having taken a woman a few years back, who carelessly thought she could cross it during full cascade.
In a time of endless bad news and seemingly ever-increasing chaos in the world, being in such an isolated place has its advantages. We had a great mac nut harvest from the trees behind the house but the sweet potatoes were taken, tuber, stem and leaf by the wild pigs who know the place well!
We’re upslope, some 1700 or 1800 feet on the north shore, and the nights have recently grown chilly, a welcomed hint of winter. I know some of you year for more sun in your northern locations, but I year for more darkness. I’ve always found darkness deeply nurturing.
It’s challenge to live in such a different environment than I’m used to from the west coast of North America, but slowly making acquaintance with the local spirits is an ongoing and rewarding process.
Over at paganbloggers I have some mythic thoughts you may want to read: http://paganbloggers.com/finnchuillstrack/2017/11/30/plastic-abyss/
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s well over a year that I’ve been on this island. But it has. The holiday of King Kamehameha the Great came around again last weekend, and we went back to the little town of Kapa’au for the parade, festival, and to see the leis and offerings at his statue. Cycling. It’s beautiful to see the indigenous Hawaiian spirituality in operation here in this festivity open to all. I really enjoy this holiday–I have found the king helps me to connect to the powers of the island. Here are a few photos.
Also I have a new post over at paganbloggers about the trap of people thinking their spirituality is based on genetics, something that’s become unfortunately commonplace.
Another post at paganbloggers:
I’m sitting on a bench, happy that the stream that has been dry lately, except for a few diminishing pools, the last hideout for the frogs, has water again.
I met this stream last year, just about a year ago, and since walk along the ‘streamside trail’ frequently. Walking is a druidic practice for me. The land by the stream slowly opens itself to me. Small naio trees form an open grove about me.
And a few photos form Bealtaine:
November 30th is Remembrance Day for Lost Species. I believe commemorations like this can be channels for the grief that any authentic living in this time must confront. Definitely a good day to mark for those with an animist bent.
More information can be found at this website.
I’ve also found valuable thoughts from Lo (Keen) on extinction on this blog: https://rotwork.wordpress.com/
I’ve written a couple of poems and tributes to the lost birds of the Big Island of Hawai’i for this day.
A distinctively human consciousness arose in Paleolithic
linguistics and painted its wrestle with abyssal animal mind,
staving guilt of hunt and anxiety separation
with ritual’s diplomacy:
ochre and feathers
and sorcerers dancing on the edge of worlds,
occasionally falling off into the pit of bones.
now centuries of the rites cast aside,
suppressed volcanoes of grief wait unaddressed
and sedimentary layers of numbness press on our continents—
a society looks for the forgotten
who peek occasionally from sedated dreams,
in pixar and pokemon-alert smartphones
(the children were out in August—I hadn’t known there were any,
but there they’d gathered near where the stream gushes by the supermarket unseen)
while outside barely known
the Sixth Extinction rages on.
We the truly lost species as tectonic plates grind on.
Here on the island of Hawai’i there are at least ten species of bird that have gone extinct since the arrival of whites in the late 18th century. There are many more if the entire archipelago is included. Hawaii has suffered more extinctions and more endangered species than any other US state. The majority of these lost species are of a group of birds called Hawaiian honeycreepers that underwent diverse speciation as they adapted to a multitude of island environments much like the finches that led Darwin to theorizing evolution. In many cases their habitat was destroyed by sugar plantations and cattle ranching; also the introduction of rats, mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit (there were none before the Europeans came), mongooses and cats have led to the demise of others.
The Hawaii mamo, Drepanis pacifica, last seen in 1898.
The greater Koa finch, Rhodocanthis palmeri. Last confirmed sighting in 1896.
The lesser Koa finch, R. flaviceps, 1891.
The Kona grosbeak, Chloridops kona. 1894.
The Hawai’i o’o, Moho nobilis, last seen in 1934.
The ula-‘ai-hawene, Ciridops anna, extinct at the latest by 1937.
The greater ‘amakini, Viridonia sagittirostris, last seen in1901. Lost to sugar plantations destroying its habitat.
The lesser ‘akialoa, Akialoa obscura. Last seen in 1940.
The Hawaiian rail, Porzana sandwichensis. 1884 or maybe 1893.
The kioea, Chaetoptila angustipluma, 1859.
All images Wikipedia, public domain.
before the cattle, before the sugar,
before the mosquitoes and rats
brought by whalers’ ships,
before the plantations
how much richer the island life—
when the lost birds could be heard cracking
the naio fruits, flitting in gold epaulettes and black dress
among the ohia trees,
opening the seed pods in the koa groves,
sheltering from fierce noon sun and plundering
nectar with long curved beaks. Your flights
haunt, a lost net of sorrow.
Many of you are aware of the protests and violence happening in North Dakota, I’m sure, but there are aspects of what is happening I’m not seeing much talked about. I’ve written a fair amount about the Dead—and here we had a desecration of the Dead occurring on the Land over the Labor Day weekend, a desecration of native burial and other sacred locations in North Dakota just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Sioux/Lakota Treaty Lands (Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868).
An appalling attack made by hired oil security with badly trained (abused?) dogs biting and bloodying the Protectors of the land and water, a violence that carries long shadows of the long history of genocide in the Americas. “This demolition is devastating. These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.” -Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman
Dakota Access Pipeline pushed through in its bulldozing, using info that had been provided in court by the tribe regarding locations of burials, using it for the counter-purpose of destroying sacred sites and burials when they thought the outside world wouldn’t be looking (even though there was an injunction).
Something I find of note is that this is magical warfare, the attempt to demoralize the ‘other’ by destroying their most holy places and destruction of graves of their ancestors (a very ancient practice).
A crude attempt at erasure and violence but the Protectors are standing strong and prayerful at Sacred Stone Camp. But a federal judge has now denied the request to stop the pipeline construction even though it would have 200 river crossings. What now? And what of the Dead?
Map from Wikipedia.
A positive statement today from the Office of Public Affairs (source: justice.gov):
The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.
“Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.
“Finally, we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities. The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.
Plenty of info at Democracy Now:
How to help:
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