Walk the talk of rocks when you place your feet on the sand at Sagrada.
Go into the realm of timelessness
where dark is not dark and light is not light
and the way the sun glows on the sand looks the same
as when rain makes the surface of all things glisten
Allow rockspeak to enter your body through the pores of your sadness and the orifices of pleasure
Don’t expect to hear words, only noiseless sounds
that wrap around your head like pieces of white cloth torn from sacred garments
Let it go deep into your bones like nourishing marrow
Keep listening as your heart opens
with a force so powerful that if forms ridges, fissures and gaps in the solid mass of your being
Hear the stories before time became time
and here was not here and there was not there
and in the belly of the earth
galaxies of life were incubating
If you feel ecstatic, you will smile from the inside out
If you are overcome with grief you will cry like you’ve never known how and then
you will never walk the same again
The rocks of Sagrada are the sacred storytellers
of your spirit
bound to the soul of all creation
- Cheryl Scholar 1
It is 3am. The hour lingers with noiseless sound, a pitch black, pitch silent dynamic vitality. Seated beside me is the requested pumpkin pie, occasionally illuminated by streetlight sweeping into my car as I drive along Los Osos Valley Road. Soon, I will pass through the corridor of farmlands enwrapped by the local hills and mountains as I make my way east to Highway 101, head north, and then east on Highway 58 for the winding, dark and silent drive to Carrizo Plain National Monument. After actively following Raven’s clues regarding where to find him today, I hope I am right by heading to the Carrizo. It is where ravens gather in open grasslands cradling Painted Rock, the ancient-present sacred Chumash site, a sandstone outcropping shaped 20 million years ago by a prehistoric sea.2
As I drive, joy tries to break out from under a layer of depression that embraces wounds as savored delicacies. Over the past two months, Raven’s healings have been powerful, but some wounds I still pick at, old familiars hard to release, allowing for their transmutation into healing, fruiting tissue. The wounds are ready to heal, but I keep them enflamed so as to be grabbed by the ankles and taken into a familiar underbelly of despair where the image is always the same: it is a painting by Francisco Goya, of a giant who is erotically intoxicated and chewing on the bones, blood, flesh and marrow of a bewildered and terrified human.3
The wounds I am picking are as active as the earthquake aftershocks still rippling the ground. Each aftershock brings to the surface longing for Dancing Sorcerer mixed with despondency over Western culture’s treatment of body and World Body. But something is different. I am aware that this depression, this restless grappling with wounds, is an illusion. Something else is emerging – shoots of new green growth – yet I am habituated to the familiarity of despair and peel away the scabbing matter as easily as a garment, especially while passing the fertile lands, as I am now, mapped with orange plastic fencing. These orange lines appear as lines drawn on a woman’s body, a torso prepared for liposuction surgery, signifying the imminent cutting of fertile soil soon to come.
Big box stores soon will be built near big box stores with a doubling or tripling madness of vision.4 Is it really necessary to have a big pet store walking distance from another big pet store? The world’s most fertile soil, this soil, will be covered, and the street into the maw of development will be named after the destroyed ranch. Picking at this wound, I remember scabs, not festering sores, are the fruiting matter that bonds Raven to earth and stimulates his hunger. I also remember being fed by him his healing substance, yet return to picking, not to eat, but to release fury harboring under depression, fury over Western culture’s naming places after the very thing it destroys: the Froom Ranch, monarch butterfly groves, oak groves, Los Osos (The Bears), Chumash. I am festering and long for Dancing Sorcerer because he was formed by the hands of our Western ancestors when we lived in balance.5 They knew, as Fools Crow expresses, “Only human beings have the power to unbalance the earth, and when they unbalance the earth they unbalance themselves.” 6
Turning onto 101, a memory of Dancing Sorcerer flashes through me, and quietly I smile, remembering. He was dressed as a girl at my dissertation defense to offer playful and loving support as I presented carnival’s capacity to expand cultural perceptions of body and World Body. I was dressed as Female Pan with goat frocked legs and hoofed feet, gold lame blouse, goat ears and a tiara; and I felt alive as trickster’s representative. Dancing Sorcerer must have sensed that I had found my sure-footed ground because shortly thereafter he returned to his grotto, Les Trois Freres, and my dissertation on carnival and beauty unfolded amidst the strangest dynamics. Seemingly overnight, the demands for constructed female beauty became a $10 billion dollar a year industry in America, dependent on the hatred of unique bodies and sensual flesh to stay afloat, and women began claiming cosmetic surgeries as feminism, a form of liberation.7
Exiting onto Highway 58, my voice breaks the darkness, shouting, “Where’s the OUTRAGE? Where is my OUTRAGE?!” The earth’s body, all of life’s bodies, the human-animal body, can only be mistreated when not held sacred. As my rage broke from under the dead weight of depression, illuminated oak trees were lining the road, compassionately calling out for me to remember. I do. I remember the beginning of this depression and the picking at wounds that began while glimpsing a cosmetic surgery show where a woman was having her pubic mound liposuctioned. Within this short glimpse, Goya’s monster grabbed my ankles, pulled me down into his dank chamber and began chewing on my arm. The most sacred aspect of a woman’s body was deemed an “unsightly bulge” to reduce, although actually the oldest and most enduring force within Western culture. Celebrated through creative expression for more than 38,000 years, the first art was the creation of thousands of sculptures and cave wall incizings of vulvas. Our ancestors knew that the mounded, fat, fleshy glory of the female connects us to the World’s Body and its myriad mysteries. The vulva, the pubic mound, is the grand entrance to the grotto where body and World Body pattern one another.8
Western culture is jeopardizing this relationship. How one changes the self impacts the Self and its relationship to the Great World (and how one changes the World impacts the Self in a reciprocal exchange). Today, people are using Botox, a poison injected to paralyze facial muscles, to create a more youthful look. However, this lessens our capacity to facially express emotion, and the capacity to feel the emotions our muscular structure triggers is diminished: the sneer of disapproval or revulsion; the scowling forehead of anger; smiling cheeks of mischief-making; raised eyebrows of intrigue or curiosity; the weight of facial muscles compressing and depressing, penetrating sadness.9 Botox is only one cosmetic procedure reducing patients’ capacities to feel. Cosmetic procedures, also known as “aesthetic procedures”, are the very antithesis of the word’s original meaning. The ancient Greek word, Aisthitikos, meant “sense perception, perception by feeling.” 10 Our senses, our aesthetic experiences, create a living invisible membrane that enables expressive, reciprocal relationship with the World and all of her inhabitants, body to Body.
It is still so early, no sign of the day’s light, and I pull to the side of the road. These swirling thoughts have become so maddening that they have turned inward as self-attack and a voice inside me relinquishes itself to the norms of our culture, begging, “Pump my face with Botox because this is too much to feel. Inject my lips with collagen made from a boy’s foreskin or a dead man’s body so the sensual kiss will never again burst my heart. Manufacture my breasts so I will be unable to nurse future generations or experience another orgasm from a man’s playful breast seduction. Cut my skin like you cut my land depleting it of its fertility.” 11 I am broken, and in this state, remember Raven. I need to reach him “before the Raven calls”.12
The last sharp turn on Highway 58 has opened into a desert-like ecosystem, and first pink heralds the sun’s light as I enter the Carrizo Plain. Rallying a shift in energy, I must get to Painted Rock “before the Raven calls”, knowing, without doubt, that Raven is here! 13 Jumping out of the car with the requested dessert, running along the trail, I am suddenly stopped. Five tule elk bulls have gathered and glare a warning. Waiting, I hoped they would leave; remembering Raven, I forcefully gestured with my whole body the desire to proceed. The glares only intensified: I was barreling toward an ancient sacred site without preparation or permission after intensely picking at wounds and the tule elk knew. Once I acknowledged this transgression, a throaty bellow sounded, granting permission to proceed.14
Turning my attention to the morning frost, suddenly there was a thunderclap. Almost dropping the pie as I dropped to the ground, I discovered it was not lightning but a hoard of ravens flying overhead, the collective beating of wings creating the sound of thunder. The ruckus of their calls intermixing with the thunderclap of wings traveled the ground with a force powerful enough to create fissures, like sound vibrations shifting land during earthquakes, and I could not distinguish if the cacophony was theirs or actually another aftershock. But I could see him! I still had a distance to go but I could see Raven in Raven-man form! His figure was lithe with an erect phallus, raven claw-hands, raven head and human feet. And, to announce his arrival, the ravens flew a round, open sphere above him while the sun rose, illuminating their wings a black-white dance of light.
Standing before him in disbelief, surprised that my detective skills actually worked, I lunged to hug. Raven, however, quietly took my hand instead. Clearly in charge, he led me into Painted Rock’s vulva-shaped interior, taking the pie and setting it down, taking me in his arms not to hug but to guide. As the ravens’ lacey sphere dissolved, I was taken to the uppermost nook of the sandstone’s sacred interior and laid down. Scraping the hair from my forehead, Raven revealed he knew I had been in pain, compassionately singing, “You have a heart and I have a key, lie back and let me unlock you. Those heathens you hang with down by the sea, all they want to do is defrock you. I know a river, where we can dream. It will swell up, burst its banks, babe, and rock you.” 15
There was a shift in his voice, anger offering caution, unleashing liberation, “But if you’re gonna dine with them cannibals, sooner or later, darling, you’re gonna get eaten. But I’m glad you’ve come around here with your animals and your heart that is bruised but unbeaten and beating like a drum.” A wild, luminous blue pigeon flew out of one of the small interior caves, startled by Raven’s pounding voice reverberating off of the soft, curved walls. The combined sounds were piercing. A place I had become familiar with as impeccably silent was thunderous with the sound of wings and force of song.
Returning my attention to Raven, he was missing. He had shifted into feathered form and flown to the top of Painted Rock’s body that also opens to the sky. His crooning continued from above, “I will sit like a bird on a fence, sing you songs with a happy ending.” Swooping down, he added, “Swoop down and tell you that it don’t make much sense, to attack the very thing you’re defending. Didn’t I just buy that dress for you, that pink paper pinafore that you keep mending?” 16
With his wing outstretched, Raven gestured for me to stand and flew into my arms, his feet slipped into my coat pockets as if shoes for waltzing. One wing against my back, the other outstretched to receive my outstretched arm, we danced circles on the fine dirt floor as I absorbed every lyrical word as medicine: “I can see that they’ve hurt you, dear, here is some moonlight to cloak us. I will never desert you here, unpetaled among the crocus. Allow me, my love, to allay your fear, as I swim, in and out of focus. Qwaaaaaa!!!!!!” 17 On that final, resounding note, Raven burst forth full of life, coyly asking, “How did you know to find me here?!” pecking sharp pointed kisses all over my face.
Giggling under the onslaught of kisses, I responded, “Duh? Clues.”
Raven pressed further, “But how did you know the clues were from me?”
“Complete trust,” I said with a scheming, playful raise of my eyebrows.
Jumping down to scrutinize me, Raven sternly commented, “I sure hope you gathered enough trickster-heyoka energy along the detective trail for your birthday adventure; otherwise it will be really hard to pull off.”
“Raven, I don’t know if I can assure you. It feels good to be with you but I can’t shake this undercurrent of depression.”
“Okay, let’s start there. How does this place, Painted Rock, relate to being de-pressed, pressed below, in despair? And by the way, there is heyoka in your sadness, despair led to adorning yourself with goat-frocked feet – one example, mind you. But dining with cannibals? Not a good thing. There are other approaches to dark matter which aren’t so destructive, dismembering yes, but not destructive. They require an animal helper and knowing him intimately – ME!” Pretending to still have the imaginal cosmos quiz in hand, Raven noted, “‘the domain of the shaman who in vision and/or actuality has enjoyed intercourse with an animal who has been transformed into his or her animal familiar.’ Krrrr. How’s the research on shamanism coming along, Ms. Huntress?” 18
“I’ve been busy chasing your clues just to get here today so haven’t started.”
“Oh, you’ve been researching, alright – it’s just not obvious to you yet.”
Returning to the nook, we sat with our backs against the large boulders, and I resisted sharing something that had been growing: rockspeak. I had started hearing glimpses of the voices rocks possess, noiseless sounds, faint reverberations, that leave me wanting to know more, to fine tune my senses so their voices could break through. Silently, I said, “I sure wish I could hear these rocks. They’ve got 20 million years of stories to tell.”
“Exactly,” Raven replied, his answer indicating that he was already aware of that growing within. Feigning ignorance, I turned the conversation back towards despair: “You know, Raven, I started thinking sadness is a solution and when it is distilled it reveals that it is made of rage, rage and water, I guess. Rage is easier to manage as depression, and as so many Americans are managing depression, I can’t help but wonder just how much of our culture’s epidemia is actually managed fury.” 19
Raven’s plumped chest feathers revealed his excitement as he cried, “HA! HA! You just slipped something out without even knowing it!!!!!” Swinging his wing like a conductor’s baton, he cried, “Whoop, Whoop! Oh my, you just nailed it!!! What a birthday present already!!!!! Wow! Let’s eat some pie and don’t tell me you can’t hear rockspeak, one of these elders just told your spine something quite directly.” Raven flew over to the pumpkin pie, and balancing it on his wings, waddled back over.
His enthusiasm, or was it his baton waving, shook me completely out of depression and suddenly I was scared. Raven heard too much, he is listening and I let out a “Whoop” too, only mine had a “s” at the end of it, as I tried to backpedal out of this unknown birthday adventure.
Sensing my alarm, Raven flew over and landed in my lap to glare the same glare as the tule elk bulls, commanding, “Stop!” I could feel a shift, an expansion of my heart. Raven lifted his wings, creating a kingly robe, and fed me regurgitated pumpkin pie as my reward.
Intoxicated by the care if not by the transmuted pie, I reclined into the softness of the boulders as if taking a bath, and Raven, perched on my belly, impatiently tilted his head one direction then another, waiting for me to speak. Pacing on my body’s rounded surface, he finally squawked, “EPIDEMIA!”
“What? Oh.” I said, startled. I had dropped into a deep rest while looking at the ancient Chumash red and blue-black painting of a boat directly over his head. I felt transported in the same way as the time on Aphrodite’s altar when I was looking at the little rosette and the slate stone surface above and it suddenly shifted into the cave of Lascaux. Shaking off this sensation, I remarked, “Epidemia? Oh right. I meant epidemic – the culture’s epidemic of depression.”
Attempting to camouflage his irritation, Raven bluntly added, “You’re the one researching all this stuff. Why do you think I would be sooo excited that epidemia slipped out as your word of choice?”
“Ohhhhh, riiggghhtt,” I said, scooting to sit up with my spine pressed against a boulder. Raven jumped onto another boulder in concert with my shift, and slowly I noted, “Dionysus’ epidemia is his arrival by boat, by ship cart, the carrum navale. If he is arriving then the emotional turbulence being managed is because we have lost, repressed, the wisdom to ritualize chaotic experience, the lost wisdom of carnival, carrum navale, trickster, and heyoka rituals.” 20
“Yup. Bring back sensuous, aesthetic, ritualized space for joy and sorrow and all sorts of amazing changes can happen simple as pie!”
Reclining again, this time resting on my side, I was mesmerized by the soft, powdery quality of the earth. Raven seized the opportunity and jumped onto my hip. With wings outstretched, he pretended to surf, or balance beam strut. Whatever he was pretending, it was hysterical to watch and his intense determination to stay on was made all the harder by the waves of guffaws I produced. Concentrating on his balance, he added, “There are many traditions the world over where new knowledge comes by boat, and, for nature-based cultures, to which you are kin, a symbolic return to Chaos is equivalent to preparing a new Creation. Dionysus and carnival all summed up, eh? Things may appear Chaotic right now but what you are seeing is actually similar to the bottom of a lake turning to generate new balance and health. The waters look murky but they are teeming with new life. So tell me, how is Painted Rock connected to your feelings of despair? Only way through is through.” 21
“Isn’t it obvious?” I said with rage harboring right below the surface, “Look what my people have done. It’s that simple.” I could feel the rage coming back as self-attack: Goya’s monster was primed to chew on my arm again.
“You sure are cultivated, quite well-mannered,” Raven commented with a quizzical look as he hopped off my hip. “I’m not going anywhere and if you give your anger a little breathing room that cannibal will no longer eat you, and you will be able to tend to dark matters more effectively. You’ve got my help!” Once again, feigning having the cosmos quiz in hand, Raven pronounced, “‘the animal guide is both the threshold guardian and the porter at the door to the creative plentitude that the cosmos expresses.’ These things you’ll be learning when you settle into your research on shamanism, though you are already experiencing it firsthand. I told you I’m the founder, right? Who but a Trickster would be brilliant enough to add in ‘sex with an animal guide’ as a requirement? Brilliant!” Raven began trilling a quiet sound through his half-opened beak, and I dropped into some other place, or some other time. I shrugged off the sensation like another garment and returned to picking at scabs.22
Walking over to the ancient painting of the boat floating within the curve of the sandstone, I said, “Raven, look at this beautiful ancient boat painted by Chumash peoples.” With a sweeping gesture, I was taken aback by the sensation that my arm was a wing. The experience was force-filled but fleeting, and I shrugged it off to return to what I was saying: “All of these paintings are sacred and intermix, cohabitate, with birds nesting in the small caves. Like the wild pigeon, ravens, prairie falcons, and other raptors will soon come and build their nests – amazing really. It is amazing. Three thousand years later, this created living art, art that is still alive and vital to the Chumash’s ritual traditions, extends out much further to birds, grasslands, the night sky, and well, to me! This is art integral with its environment, the lichens, the tones of the sandstone, the community of birds. It is living art.
“Then there is the part that is not integral. In the late 1800s, and into contemporary times, people without sacred connection to the earth began cutting their initials into these paintings and shooting at them! My people! Need I go on?” 23
“Yes.” Raven lovingly said, placing his wing against my spine.
Tears emerged from the deepest recesses, their sound amplified by the acoustics of the vulva-shaped rock, and wiping the wet from my face, I added, “The tule elk population went from 500,000 to five in 50 years right here because of greed.24 And recently, the boys from Columbine High School, prior to their shooting rampage at their school – do you know of this?” Raven nodded for me to continue, “– they made a video in the Rockies where they were shooting trees – no different an act than shooting these sacred paintings. For thousands of years the tree or image of the tree was sacred, it is sacred: the World Tree, the axis mundi would open one to connection with the invisible. And here, these teenagers had no attachment to the tree or forest. Worse still, their teacher, their elder, when seeing this video only weeks before the shooting rampage, did not recognize the boys’ loss of connection, or the harm that could ensue because of the loss of connection, because the teacher, their elder, had lost connection to the sacredness of the earth, the tree, as well. My people!” 25
Hopping onto the boulder in front of the painted boat to look me eye to eye, Raven held his gaze until I melted into his dark depth. Slowly, he commented, “Mary, there is a sacrifice you need to make. It will lead to the renewal of your dismembered limbs, for in the act of sacrifice, sacredness is accomplished. Nothing returns to its former state once given up.” 26
Brushing tears from my cheeks, I asked, “What do I need to sacrifice?”
“You need to leave on the garments that I keep giving to cloak you. Let wounds transmute into healing tissue and don’t shake off unfamiliar sensations that are your power. I saw your arm shift into a wing too; it was quite beautiful. You need to welcome these things. No more tearing the pink paper pinafore. The lake is turning, the murky waters are teaming with life.”
“Raven, I don’t get you. Last time we met you were telling me the Great World is reversing her polarities and may just shake us off like fleas.”
“Yes, that is true, but it doesn’t entitle you to remove the garments I give you. It’s no different than the story I shared as a detective trail clue where Hawk had to remind me of my power, of Morro Rock – near your home in Los Osos – being my source of power, so we could join together and save Morro Rock from Snake intent on strangling it. This was a huge feat but one connected to the sacred.” 27 Raven stopped to eat some more pie, and then added, “Okay, I know what you are wondering. It’s ‘Why haven’t the Chumash sanded away the vandalism within this sacred place?’”
“Wow, Raven. You surprise me.”
“It’s all in the senses, aesthetics. Not hard to gather another’s heart-thoughts when the senses are attuned. Present-day sacred Chumash ceremonies happen here and why have they not simply taken a little sandpaper to the sandstone? It is a type of maturity: possession of the wisdom that life cannot be repaired, it can only be re-created by a return to sources.28
“Consider this as your new garment: The Great Mother needs balance, the wobbly wheel is disease, but there are amazing pockets of health all around you, the oxygen at the bottom of the lake that is creating the great turning. There are pockets of oxygen the world over. For instance, your people, to stay with your emphasis – though all people are your people – took the last five tule elks into a sanctuary, and today, the elks’ population has grown to 800 and they were returned to the wild again, right here. California condors, whom I know you had the honor of meeting on your detective trail, the sacred Thunderbird with a nine foot wingspan who thrived in this land for 15 millions years, well, when their populations dropped to only 27 because of your people, your people also created a sanctuary and are now reintroducing the condors back into the wild again right here.29
“As for the Chumash and other Native peoples, their re-membering – and this is true for all those caring for the balance of the Great World – their return to sources, is through active remembrance that renews Creation, where the spirits of place, however altered, keep breathing. The Chumash lived in balance with their surroundings for thousands of years and they know this balance must be maintained for cultures to survive and prosper.30
“So, balance! The first and last word in the sacred is BALANCE.” Raven stretched out one wing, adding, “on this side we have the shaman discerning and using the order in the universe, and,” stretching out his other wing, “on the other, there is the clown, the fool, the trickster filled with fear, invention, pride, vanity, every sin both mortal and venal, graced with that most human of vices, or maybe virtues, HUMOR!! Yes, the sacred clown, the heyoka, must go against order and find solutions in CHAOS. And here’s the best trick of all: the trickster and shaman unite in the artist, shaping the invisible into visible form!!! Whoop, Whoop, Whoop!” Raven exclaimed, using his two outstretched wings as half-lift aviation devices, his entire body appearing to applaud.31
“The land’s voice is the greatest of all; it is speaking and shaping things in ways we don’t even know, and because body and World Body pattern one another, when we move with generativity and care, the World does too. Your sacrifice, then, is to wear my garments, even when they are uncomfortable. You will grow into them. Enough. I want to hear about your detective adventure. I am actually quite impressed that you picked up on all the clues and found me. You are a mighty fine Huntress, Mary.”
Smirking, I said, “Raven, not all of your clues were subtle,” taking the opportunity to nudge him in his side. When nudging a bird, however, it is easy to trigger their impulse to fly, which was the case. Raven flew to the top of Painted Rock and scouted for his kin. A few ravens called from the distance and Raven warbled in return. Struck by his beauty, his regal authority, the deep blue-black luminous shimmer of his feather robe, this time entranced, I reclined to take in the sensation. It felt like being in a boat, and I turned my gaze to the painted one. With the sun caressing my skin, I closed my eyes. Occasionally I would peek at Raven perched above, and sometimes peek to glimpse the boat. My body, gently rocking, offered the sense of being in the boat swathed in sunlight and floating.
Raven flew down, perched on my belly, and sang, “I know a river where we can dream. Hmmmm.” Pulling out the imagined cosmos quiz again, he whispered: “‘the diver is always dependent upon bottom mud, clay, or silt…. One could say that such a mixture (earth and water, or in the case of the caves, mineral and water) is necessary for earth to become accessible to humankind.’ Now, Ms. Huntress, tell me about your detective trail.” 32
Shifting a little within my rocking boat, I said, “Your first clue actually was subtle, Raven, so subtle that it left me wondering what you would have done had I not found it. It was the apple skin left on my drive in the very same place Coyote had left things, the navel and stifle. First, I paid no mind, I had no idea our meeting today would involve a detective trail and thought the skin was a curled leaf. Yet I was curious. It kept capturing my attention because it was in the exact place as Coyote’s presents. A few hours passed and finally I was curious enough to pick it up. There were peaks and vales left in the remaining flesh, delicate little pyramids of fruit only a beak could make. I knew in a flash, literally, that you stood in my drive at dawn: tall, lithe, erect, raven-headed, claw-handed, human footed, cupping the apple and enjoying the delicious fruit. Just as quickly, I knew to go to Sagrada.
“Arriving, I rushed with ‘thy bull’s foot’ across the field as quickly as possible, crossing through the dunes to get to Aphrodite’s altar. Sure enough, there was more evidence: the remains of a small fire that I pressed into the sand, burying the memory of fire, and taking the soft heat fully into my body. Also, I could hear the sand speak, the rock world in miniature, though I do not know what was being said. Actually, that’s not true. I heard the sand transmuting into glass, ash-infused glass, and was reminded of Coyote’s Tale.
“Next, I noticed you had written quite a lengthy letter on Phanes, Eros, Raven – Aphrodite’s companion and I was impressed. I was impressed by your confidence in my ‘getting’ the apple clue and having enough chutzpa to track your mischief to Sagrada. Had the timing been any different, high tide would have washed your letter away and I know it was painstakingly hard for you to write it – you either held driftwood charcoal made by the fire in your beak, or you found a shell and made an ink of seawater and coal and wrote with your talon-hands.”
Raven exclaimed, “You ARE a Huntress, no detail has escaped you yet!!!! Which technique do you suppose I used?”
“The latter,” I said, enlivened by recounting the adventure and by the new name Raven was calling me. With Raven perched on my belly eating everything up, his feet lifting in a gesture of eager enthusiasm, I continued, “I have your letter memorized,” and recited,
Dear Sacred Huntress, I will meet you on your birthday in the place of my raven kin, located near your home. You must find this place by February 25th and don’t forget the pie. It’s a detective trail worthy of a Huntress searching invisible game:
Hawk and Raven heard about the Snake who ate People. They asked each other where their powers were located. Hawk’s power was at Me:neka and Raven’s was at Morro Rock. They decided to go see the Snake. On the way, Snake awoke and began to chase Hawk and Raven. They flew away with Snake close behind. Raven faltered and said he was going to cry. Hawk encouraged him to remember his power. They arrived at Morro Rock as Snake was winding himself around it. Hawk and Raven landed on top as Snake wound himself around and around the Rock. Hawk jumped and grabbed his cha’hal and killed Snake cutting him into four pieces.33
“After reading your letter, I found that the little rosette near Aphrodite had been taken by the sea but a much bigger rosette was now growing nestled in the rocks, a chorus of rocks, further up in the nook. Finding my footing, balancing as on a tightrope, I made my way through the rocks to sit beside the new rosette and, boy, did I hear rockspeak! Nothing I could decipher except for a faint-loud clattering sound, a sound that was utterly alive though hardly perceptible.”
“Oh, you are hearing more than you think. This is good. Go on.”
“I sat for quite some time, woozy from the rockspeak, and started picking up these little brown stones. Here,” I said, pulling them from my coat pocket, “I’ve been carrying them with me ever since. They look like deer pellets, and I am not exactly sure why I find this appealing. Oh, yes, it was rockspeak, I could hear them only for a moment telling me they were fertilizing matter for me to gather.”
“A Huntress seeking invisible quarry!! Good work!” Raven cheered, touching each stone with his beak, tickling my cupped hand. As I shifted to sit upright, my spine against a boulder, Raven jumped off my belly and flew to perch in the opening of one of the small nesting caves. It was as if we were dancing the land because I moved again to face him, sitting upon a boulder within the sacred alcove. There within, I discovered a long fissure, a crack that seemed endless in depth. Completely absorbed by this fissure, I traced the edge of the opening with my index finger while holding the small brown rockspeak stones folded in my hand.
Silent, Raven watched from his perch as I dropped further in. I felt like I was returning home, a depth of connection offering sustenance, and I remembered Raven telling me when we first met, after my Winter Solstice invocation to Dionysus, “All that you are missing and longing for, all that appears missing is right here, just below the surface.” Wet tears rolled silently down my cheeks and into the fissure, and Raven swooped down to offer a small peck on my lips as I began to pet him. His dark, feathered body, soft and regal, revealed all the colors of the world, and I was blessed to have him as a companion.
Returning my attention to the fissure while continuing to pet Raven, I said, “This moment feels exactly the same as when I was gathering the pellets. Time stopped; actually it was something else. Ha-ha! I will finally draw on shamanism, where’s your cosmos quiz?” Tickling Raven’s sides pretending to search for it, I pulled out the imaginary Cosmos magazine and turned to one of the first quiz questions, quoting, “‘Do you experience the “perverse” upside-down physics of the shamanic universe – in which time is stretchable, space is solid, matter is transparent, and conventional manifestations of energy are replaced by invisible subtle forces?’ The only difference is that when I was sitting and gathering the pellets, I was unaware that the tide had come in, and leaving Aphrodite’s nook became quite the ordeal. Having gathered the pellets, I sat, mesmerized by your letter, and forgot about the tide. I never knew ravens could be close by here and I had never seen one, well, except for you,” I said with a nudge. “My sense was the detective trail was guiding me up the coast –” 34
Chiming in, Raven commented, “It was.”
“– from my house north and it made sense I would find ravens, your kin, in Big Sur which is still wild and undeveloped. I wanted to rush straight there but the high tide and the remainder of fire told me otherwise. I placed my hands on the warm crater of sand once more and it filled my whole chest with its power, and then I waited, I waited for that one pause when the ocean’s outgoing wave would be stronger than the incoming and ran.
“Rounding the nook, I had to laugh because once again I was stopped. Two elephant seal bulls were engaged in the most elegant fight – so elegant that I question if they were even fighting. They were pressed so intensely against each other’s bodies that their front fins were raised off the ground and the two stood more than six feet tall. Near the dunes, two other seals were mating, and at the edge of the ocean another fight erupted. I knew it would be awhile before I could go anywhere, so I waited for a lull in the ocean and returned to Aphrodite’s nook to sit with rockspeak. One more pellet wanted to be gathered, and this time, as I exited the nook, everything was peaceful. Without pause, I ran up the beach, crossed the dunes and field, jumped in my car, and headed north to Big Sur.”
Nodding his head, Raven quietly responded, “Eight pellets, good.”
“While driving, I began thinking about Morro Rock. You’ve been around from the beginning and created everything collaboratively with Mother Earth and it just feels good to know a source of your power is close by. I also started wondering what it was like 25 million years ago when Morro Rock formed with her sisters, the volcanic chain of seven molten plugs. Twenty-five million years ago, was Morro Rock sitting as the threshold guardian between ocean and land, the entrance to the bay? It’s a very powerful Rock; understandable that it would be your source and I am glad you and Hawk rescued it from Snake!
“Driving, I was unaware that I was absorbed in your Salinan tribe’s Hawk and Raven tale until I noticed I was already in Big Sur with something dark flying overhead. I had only a split second to make a decision whether to cross the road on a sharp, blind turn. The decision to cross was instinctual and immediate and just as quickly I was out of the car standing with two huge black birds circling directly above me. As they swirled, I assessed: yes, not turkey vultures, no, not condors – I had seen pictures of adult condors and they have orange heads; I didn’t know their juveniles were black-headed. These birds were your size, Raven, and it had not occurred to me you might be bigger than your actual kin. Thinking these black birds were ravens, I said aloud, ‘It was that easy?’ disappointed that the detective trail ended before it had barely begun, and I wished I had been happier to see them. I think I already knew something was off, that I was being presented with another riddle to solve.”
Hopping onto the ground, waddling into a cavern-like opening at the base of the alcove, Raven cried, “Wow, the rock ceiling in here looks liquid, come see.” Sure enough, sliding on my back to join him, I too saw the beautiful and strange liquid quality of the ceiling. Mimicking me, Raven rolled onto his back and pointed his raven feet straight up with his toes touching the ceiling. Pretending to walk upside down, he slowly asked, “Did you notice the direction of their spiraling flight, Ms. Huntress?”
“Actually I did. They circled counter-clockwise, moved into a playful tangle, and then parted, one to the south, the other to the north, and reconvened to head east into the mountains. It was an exceptional sight to witness but it was dizzying. Something happened in that moment but I don’t know what. I felt radically altered, altared, part of something else.”
“Nothing has escaped you!! I am so pleased. You have gathered every element so far.”
“Well, I don’t know if this was part of the detective trail,” I said, drawing my finger along the texture of the cave’s ceiling, “– it had to be though. I came home and fell ill for a good week – slept and slept and slept – real turbulent, chaotic – every time I closed my eyes I dreamt of black wings in motion, and when not sleeping, I was researching ravens and condors. I knew the birds were smaller than adult condors – they certainly did not have a nine-foot wingspan – but I also knew they were still bigger than eagles and learned actual ravens are not. Finally, looking specifically at images of condors, I found one that was black-headed – a juvenile! – and dropped into the ‘Ohhhhhh, so that’s what I saw!’
“While doing the search, I also learned the California condor is Thunderbird in many Native American traditions and you know what that means? Thunderbird-as-condor came close to extinction; when one dreams of Thunderbird they become heyoka, sacred clown. Without Thunderbird, we’d really lose our way – carrum navale.” 35
“So, were you dreaming of Thunderbird?”
“I’m not sure. All of the dreams were chaotic, electric movement of black wings, like black lightning, and after a week, suddenly some form began to appear. One dream was of this boat right here,” I said, scooting back out of the crevice to point to the painting, “and another was of a human dressed in full Raven regalia elegantly waltzing with ravens balanced on top of one another, standing collectively as tall as Big Raven. Ah! These dreams mirror what you said earlier: the flurry of wings a symbolic return to Chaos with the final two dreams the equivalent to preparing a new Creation.”
“Yes, good work!” Raven cheered, following my lead out of the crevice.
Brushing a fine layer of dust from his coat, I continued my tale: “With the restoring of my health, health becoming re-storied, I returned to my research on condors and Thunderbird, sending emails to various environmental groups, hoping someone would respond and tell me where to find ravens. I never did hear back from anyone, but I learned that Thunderbird reveals the mysterious polarities of nature, and heyoka, sacred clown, is Thunderbird’s helpmate!” 36
“Does this feel familiar to you?” Raven asked.
“You bet!” I exclaimed, excited to tell Raven about another significant discovery. “While doing this research I came upon a print by Manuel Salazar, a Northwest Coast Salish artist from the lands where many of your tales originate. The image is of a dancing Thunderbird dressed in Thunderbird regalia – a double Thunderbird carrying a Raven rattle and this reveals the entire detective trail up to the point of my getting sick: your Raven-power being Morro Rock – your sharing of the Salinan tale – and then my meeting “double Thunderbird”, the two California condors! In the print, the Raven rattle assists Trickster-heyoka’s dance of double Thunderbird, and noticing this, I had to laugh. I had the rare experience of seeing young condors, two huge, endangered ancient birds, and was pouting because they weren’t ravens. Well, I was really pouting because I began to assume that I had my work cut out for me in finding ravens, your kin, living in this area.” 37
Raven hopped over to the boulders that had been my comfy bathtub-boat and reclined with outstretched wings, inviting me to join him. Openly receiving the invitation, I laid my head on his soft breast, his wings enwrapping my body. Raven crooned, “The Raven rattle is very powerful. Traditionally, it is the possession of chiefs, elders and shamans so the print is of a leader who knows the wisdom Tricksters offer and is bringing this into the community. But I need to make a correction to your tale, Ms. Huntress. The print holds the entire detective trail including your illness. Had you not fallen ill, you would not have encountered the artwork. Didn’t you find the illness and its timing odd? The illness must be recognized as part of the trail because power emerges through the openings only ‘weakness’ can produce. I am glad you procured the print; it was a potent clue on the detective trail, confirming a different type of doubling – vision, one aligned with Dionysus’ healing ways, heyoka’s healing, carrum navale, new-old wisdom arriving by ship cart.”
Eager to share more, full of enthousiasmos, I said, “Next, the trail seemed easy again, but only for a moment. On impulse, I asked my car mechanic – a true lover of nature – if he knew where I might find ravens. Regretfully, he said he didn’t think I’d find any in this area but suggested I call one of his friends. As it so happened, his friend knew ravens had just started making their home east of here, and there were two roads I could follow. When he mentioned Highway 58, I quickly opted for the other. Highway 58 had become a dark passage; the last time I traveled it was with Dancing Sorcerer when returning from Bisbee. I knew it was the beginning of the end on that road, that he was leaving.”38
“And now you are learning that dark passages, when faced, bring you into light.”
“Yes. Your teachings have been essential.” I continued my tale: “When this man heard my hesitation, he resolutely said, ‘If you take 58 to the Carrizo Plain you will find hundreds of ravens; the other road east is much more chancy – maybe you would find one or two.’ I was being sent to ravens’ home, the place where you were leading me, to a road that would catalyze grief.”
Raven crooned, “Dionysus, twice born from lightning, god of joy and suffering, god of those divine unions of opposites Thunderbird also oversees: the dual nature of heyoka and the dual nature of electricity, both heyoka and electricity capable of carrying positive and negative charges and being wave and particle simultaneously.” 39
Confused by another uncomfortable garment Raven had just wrapped around me, I resisted the desire to shrug it off and continued telling the tale: “The first time I drove out here, well, let’s just say Goya’s monster was riding in the back seat as despair swirled around grief. There was not one sign of ravens and I felt tricked – how dare the detective trail only lead me on this road of grief! And then, I rounded that last sharp turn which opens into a wholly other ecosystem and right there on the highway was a gathering of ravens! Talk about joy and suffering sitting side by side, or darkness transmuting into light, because in that glimpse I felt happiness wash over me like never before. Seeing the gathering, I was seeing my kin. I jumped out of the car to listen to their voices and study their feathers strewn along the roadside.
“I made several trips out here just to sit and be with the ravens, hear their calls, watch the dance of light on their wings – and the raven sphere that welcomed you today, well, that was not the first time I saw it. A few weeks ago, I was sitting out here in the grasses soaking in the soft, warm winter sunlight when it occurred to me I had not seen any ravens that day. And just as the thought passed through, two groups of ravens flew over the hills and came together to create a sphere, a perfect, fluid, three-dimensional round.”
A raven flew overhead, sounding a guttural, “Qwaaak”, and the pigeon returned to its Painted Rock cave with intense acoustics of wings resounding off the sandstone walls. Taking in the activity, Raven and I grew silent. Everything returned to impeccable stillness, open silence. In a hushed tone, I added, “Raven, it felt like chance that I came here the first time. I actually thought you would be meeting me at the row of pine trees in the place I first saw ravens.”
“Well, you clearly have a relationship to Dionysus even though you don’t want to share it with me, and pine trees are sacred to him, pine cones crown his thyrsus, his staff from which honey flows.” 40
Craggy, Raven gruffly remarked, “I told you. My connection to Dionysus is soooo obvious you just aren’t seeing it and I am looking forward to your moment of ‘Duh?’ Some things I hold to myself for entertainment purposes, and this is one of them.”
Wanting to mirror Raven’s sharpness, instead I nuzzled into his breast and continued, “When I first came to Painted Rock, the space was impeccably silent and I stood mesmerized by the beauty: lichens intermixing with sacred paintings, small caves in the sandstone carved by a prehistoric sea, bird’s nests nestled within them, and I could sense the Chumash’s ancient use of egg whites as pigment binder. Just incredible! Silly me, though: it had not occurred to me that the painting of the boat from my dream might be right here because I became distracted by raven feathers strewn about the soft dirt floor and made what felt like a wedding bouquet. Slowly, I realized the feathers were from you: a hawk had killed and plucked a raven.”
“Yes, sacrifice, making sacred. Good detection.”
“Somehow my peripheral vision must have seen the boat because that night, back home sleeping, I bolted upright, straight out of sound sleep as if through an electrical surge, leapt out of bed, dressed, and arrived back here ‘before the Raven calls.’ It must have been the dress rehearsal for today. I was certain I would find the painting of the boat on these walls but didn’t. Talk about dropping into despair. I couldn’t believe I had been wrong; and just as I was about to give up, I saw it!! And, I found the rabbit’s foot you left for me – found it on the big boulder directly under the boat, the one with the deep fissure – not a rabbit’s foot found in a novelty shop, but a visceral, living, dried rabbit’s foot, just like Coyote had left the stifle.”
“You are an impressive Huntress. I left you a lucky rabbit’s foot. Luck is procured and sustained by strictly following the rules of conduct toward natural things and you have been successful.41 Now for your birthday present: it is clear you have gathered enough heyoka wisdom necessary for this feat. Do you remember when you rescued the injured loon?”
Discombobulated by Raven’s quick shifts in conversation, I said, “My present is a feat?” and jumped to the other topic just as quickly, “Up in Montana de Oro? Yes.”
“What do you remember about the experience?”
“It was the first time I rescued a seabird with others’ help.”
“No. What do you remember about the loon?”
“I remember its breathing being almost imperceptible – checking to make sure it had not died in my arms.”
“Exactly. Loons are capable of slowing their breathing to a barely perceptible rhythm. To sink and dive, the loon empties its lungs. Now, I want you to do this. Climb up here,” Raven said, patting his belly, “I want you to lay with your back against my belly as I wrap you in my wings, and as you reduce your breathing, I want you to keep your sight connected with the painted boat.”
Settling into the memory of the loon wrapped in my green coat so it could be safely carried, I mirrored its breathing while being lulled by Raven’s embrace and the image of the boat. As I continued to sink into this state of deep rest, I heard Raven say, “It is this that defines a shaman: the ability to readily slip out of the perceptual boundaries that demarcate his or her particular culture – boundaries reinforced by social customs, taboos, and most importantly, the common speech or language – in order to make contact with, and learn from, the other powers in the land.” 42
The state of rest was intoxicating: it became harder and harder to keep my focus on the boat because Raven felt like a boat. I was rocking to and fro on a calm body of water and then there was a doubling of vision. I knew I was still resting on Raven but I also witnessed him walking up to me in the form of Raven-man, the form Raven had tattooed on my back. Raven whispered, “Remember how I told you you’d be growing into this tattoo element? Today is the day you grow into the fullness of your whole tattoo, Willa and her trickster consort.”
Fearful, I remembered the loon and dropped my breathing back to imperceptible as the doubling of Raven occurred. Raven-man stepped onto Raven’s tail, standing erect at my feet, carrying his Raven baton and broken spear. He sang, “Allow me, my love, to allay your fear as I swim in and out of focus” with complete and utter love. Leaning in, he trilled, “I know a river where we can dream. It will swell up, burst its banks, babe, and rock you”. And just as on the day of the earthquake, when I thought I was about to be kissed, instead, my tongue was clamped tight. There was a sense of dropping into the fissure and traversing rapids; the painted boat was no longer in sight because I was in it. The boat was Raven, and the oarsman, Raven-man. When the waters calmed, they became illuminated by emerald phosphorescence, revealing Raven-man standing erect, using his Raven baton as an oar. Each time fear reared its head, I would think of carrying the loon to calm my breathing, both Ravens crooning desire to allay my fear.
When we popped to the surface, though I was unaware that we had ever been below. Raven announced, “The shaman-creator dives to the bottom of the sea as an animal or bird in order to bring up creational material and it seems he is not the same creature when he comes up as when he went down.” Assisting me off his belly, Raven eagerly said, “Hold on, I’ll go get the light.” 43
1 “Rockspeak” by Cheryl Scholar, personal exchange, February 24, 2005.
2 Goodwin Education Center Information Brochure, and, Plaintalk Newsletter, Spring 2005, Carrizo Plain National Monument.
3 Saturn by Francisco Goya in Andre Malraux, Saturn: An Essay on Goya, 167.
4 William Arrowsmith (Trans.). “The Bacchae”, Euripides V, 195.
5 “The view of nature which predominated in the West down to the eve of the Scientific Revolution was that of an enchanted world. Rocks, trees, rivers, and clouds were all seen as wondrous, alive, and human beings felt at home in this environment. The cosmos, in short, was a place of belonging. A member of this cosmos was not an alienated observer of it but a direct participant in its drama.” (Morris Berman, The Reenchantment of the World, 16.) Also see Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade.
6 Thomas E. Mails in Dialogue with Fools Crow, Fools Crow: Wisdom and Power, 67. Additionally, Morris Berman writes, “For more than 99 percent of human history, the world was enchanted and man saw himself as an integral part of it. The complete reversal of this perception in a mere four hundred years or so has destroyed the continuity of human experience and the integrity of the human psyche. It has very nearly wrecked the planet as well. The only hope, or so it seems to me, lies in a reenchantment of the world.” (Berman, The Reenchantment of the World, 23.)
7 As Naomi Wolf states, “The surgeon’s market is imaginary, since there is nothing wrong with women’s faces or bodies that social change won’t cure; so the surgeons depend for their income on warping female self-perception and multiplying female self-hatred.” (Wolf, The Beauty Myth, 232.)
Alex Kuczynski, Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession With Cosmetic Surgery, 5. This “feminism” betrays the work and legacy of first and second wave feminists. Feminists of the 1970s brought awareness to the repressive act of Chinese footbinding, the breaking of the female child’s foot for the creation of a smaller and less mobile adult foot. How is having one’s toes surgically shortened to wear spiked heel shoes any different? Feminists of the 1970s brought attention to female genital mutilation practices in Africa. How is “labial rejuvenation” any different, or, the liposuctioning of fat from the pubic mound with a tool made for providing abortions? Feminists of the late 1800s protested the restrictive, immobilizing fashionable woman’s corsets, which, on average, exerted twenty-one pounds of pressure on the internal organs. How much change is there when we now have gastric bypass surgery to reduce the stomach to the size of one’s thumb, a normalized, though highly risky, weight loss procedure? See Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology, 134 and 153; Alex Kuczynski, Beauty Junkies, 3, 172 and 207; and, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women, 109.
8 Mario Ruspoli, Lascaux: The Final Photographs, 87; Clayton Eshleman, Juniper Fuse, 38; and, William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, 109.
9 Kuczynski observes, “Before it was approved in 2001 by the FDA for use in paralyzing wrinkles between the eyebrows, and without a whisper of promotion, [Botox] had already became the most popular cosmetic medical procedure in the country. More than 1 million people tried Botox in 2000, according to industry analysts. By 2004, that number had grown to somewhere around 8 million. Sales of Botox were $650 million in 2004. Allergan, the manufacturer, estimates that the company will have Botox sales of up the $840 million in 2005.” (Ibid., 35.) Also see Kuczynski, 55-56; and Donald Nathonson in regards to the facial expression of affect in his book, Shame and Pride.
10 Susan Buck-Morss, “Aesthetics and Anaesthetics: Walter Benjamin;s Artwork Essay Reconsidered”, in October: The Second Decade, 1986-1996, ed. Rosalind Krauss, Annette Michelson, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin Buchloh, Hal Foster, Denis Hollier and Silvia Kolbowski, 378-379. Kuczynski, Beauty Junkies, 249.
11 Kuczynski, Beauty Junkies, 5, 246.
12 “A common expression in Northwest Coast tales is ‘before the raven calls,’ referring to the sunrise.” (Peter Goodchild, Raven Tales, 137.)
14 Within these grasslands tule elk are once again making their home. As with the bison, this majestic animal came close to near extinction in the 1800s when its population went from 500,000 to five in 50 years through mass slaughter and greed. Today, the population has grown back to 800 mostly due to this open preserve, the Carrizo Plain. See Kathy Johnson, “Our Remarkable Elk,” New Times, December 28, 2006. newtimesslo.com.
15 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, “Cannibal’s Hymn”, Abattoir Blues. London: Mute Records Limited, 2004.
18 Clayton Eshleman, Juniper Fuse, 221.
19 “Currently 28 million Americans take Prozac and its cousins every day.” (Kuczynski, Beauty Junkies, 83.)
20 Dionysos’ epiphany was also known as epidemia, “arrival in the land”, and his “arrival in the land, his epidemia, was on shipboard (Carl Kerenyi, Dionysos, 139, 141.)
21 Robert Ryan, The Strong Eye of Shamanism, 68. Also see Mircea Eliade, Shamanism.
22 Ryan, The Strong Eye of Shamanism, 102, 244; and, Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World, 25-26.
23 Campbell Grant, The Rock Paintings of the Chumash, 97. Today, there is a notice at trailhead to Painted Rock, stating, “Archaeological resources are fragile and irreplaceable. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 protect them for the benefit of all Americans. Any person who, without authorization, excavates, removes, damages, or otherwise alters or defaces any historic or prehistoric site, artifact or object of antiquity on the public lands of the United States is subject to arrest and penalty of law.” (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management and the California Native American Heritage Commission).
24 Kathy Johnston, “Our Remarkable Elk”, New Times, December 28, 2006: 6, 6-7.
25 Aftab Omer in an interview with Jurgen Kremer, “Between Columbine and The Twin Towers”, ReVision 26, no. 2 (Fall, 2003): 38, 37-40.
26 Rowena Pattee, “Ecstacy and Sacrifice”, Shaman’s Path, ed. Gary Doore, 23; and, Joan Halifax, Shaman, 25.
27 Eduardo Jose (Joe) Freeman, Salinan descendant, pelicannetwork.net/salinan.eldersoftheland.htm). Also see Alden Mason, The Language of the Salinan Indians, 112.
28 Robert Ryan, The Strong Eye of Shamanism, 222. Also see James Hillman, The Thought of the Heart.
29 See Kathy Johnson, “Our Remarkable Elk,” New Times, December 28, 2006. newtimesslo.com; and, bigsurcalifornia.org/condors.html.
30 Gerald McMaster and Clifford Trafzer, “A New Journey”, in McMaster and Trafzer, eds., Native Universe, 15; Gabrielle Tayac in McMaster and Trafzer, eds., Native Universe, 74; and, Robert Gibson, The Chumash, 93.
31 Joe Lee, The History of Clowns for Beginners, 17-18; and, Gerald McMaster and Clifford Trafzer, “Our Universes”, in McMaster and Trafzer, eds., Native Universe, 294.
32 Clayton Eshleman, Juniper Fuse, 208.
33 Eduardo Jose (Joe) Freeman, Salinan descendant, pelicannetwork.net/salinan.eldersoftheland.htm). Also see Alden Mason, The Language of the Salinan Indians, 112.
34 “The ‘perverse’ upside-down physics of the shamanic universe – in which time is stretchable, space is solid, matter is transparent, and conventional manifestations of energy are replaced by invisible subtle forces – cannot be grasped by our customary mode of perception. Nevertheless, all tribal societies as well as our ancestors – and cultures of both the Old World and our present world – did at one time subscribe to the idea of such a universe. Our modern Western culture forms the only exception to this general rule.” (Holger Kalweit, Dreamtime & Inner Space, xii.)
35 See for example oregonzoo.org/Condors/NativeAmericanHistory.htm. Steve Mizrach notes, “Thunderbird supposedly inspired the ‘contrariness’ of the heyoka through his own contrary nature. He alternates strong winds with calm ones. While all things in nature move clockwise, Thunderbird is said to move counterclockwise.” (Mizrach, “Thunderbird and Trickster”, fiu.edu/~mizrachs/thunderbird-and-trickster.html: 4, 1-7.)
36 Steve Mizrach, “Thunderbird and Trickster”, fiu.edu/~mizrachs/thunderbird-and-trickster.html.
38 Carl Kerenyi, Dionysos, 200.
39 Steve Mizrach, “Thunderbird and Trickster”.
40 Walter Otto, Dionysus, 97 and 157.
41 Richard Nelson, Make Prayers to the Raven, 26-27.
42 David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, 9.
43 Clayton Eshleman, Juniper Fuse, 208.
Nominated in the community generated category #mythopoetics, Rockspeak, a part of the top ten nominated pages from this issue, finishes competition on 2/18/14 with an overall standing in position ***37*** among more than 3,500 nominees. Congratulations to Mary Fullwood on this fine achievement.
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