Counter Mapping

Beautiful and rich, these films and article reintroduce the inner world of mapping, inhabited by memory, living spirit and the stories of who we are….

“The Zuni maps are, first and foremost, for the Zuni people. But they hold a powerful message for a non-Zuni audience as well: we are all part of a greater process. We would not be here if the sun did not rise every morning, if the rivers stopped flowing. The maps are in many ways an invitation: How would you map the places that live in your memory? What are the voices of the land that are forgotten, unheard? To ensure the resilience and well-being of the places where we live, we cannot assume that land is simply ours for the taking, a means to our own ends. The Zuni maps remind all of us that we, too, must take the time to deeply listen, to hear and share stories in which we and the land have equal voice.”

Follow this link for the full article and films >>>

Counter Mapping

Wilding, Nature’s Way

” ‘Fools & Dreamers: Regenerating a Native Forest’ is a 30-minute documentary about Hinewai Nature Reserve, on New Zealand’s Banks Peninsula, and its kaitiaki/manager of 30 years, botanist Hugh Wilson.

When, in 1987, Hugh let the local community know of his plans to allow the introduced ‘weed’ gorse to grow as a nurse canopy to regenerate farmland into native forest, people were not only skeptical but outright angry – the plan was the sort to be expected only of “fools and dreamers”.

Now considered a hero locally and across the country, Hugh oversees 1500 hectares resplendent in native forest, where birds and other wildlife are abundant and 47 known waterfalls are in permanent flow. He has proven without doubt that nature knows best – and that he is no fool.”

Lee Maracle ~ Violence Against Women & The Earth

Lee Maracle is a member of the Stó:lo Nation of British Columbia; a celebrated author, poet, storyteller, speaker and educator she here talks of the direct connection between violence against the earth and violence against women: a grandaughter of Chief Dan George and descendant of Mary Agnes Joe Capilano, known as the Princess of Peace of Capilano Reserve, Lee Maracle carries an ancestral torch of grounded and centred wisdom, humour and understanding.

Sila’s Song

 This carving in Green New Zealand Soapstone honours the spirit energy and quality that fills all things – the pneuma or breath of Life. Here she takes on singing feminine form, but, it was almost by accident that this came about – as she emerged, working with her brought a diverse array of challenges, responsibilities and gifts. Even in stillness the spirit moves…..and, sometimes, it speaks to us….

When I began shaping this sumptious stone, I simply had it in mind that there was a kind of flowing energy within it, both corporial and ethereal, but, as the work progressed I began to uncover elements of this energy that I could not have fore-seen.

At the outset the image that came up suggested a wind or water being – but I could also see a face, so that is where I began. As the shaping developed I was surprised to find a vein of white and gold quartz crystals emerging from within the matrix, manifesting a lightning streak across her face, one crystal in particular sitting magically within the pupil of her left eye (you can just see it in the pic) – she tested me with this, for, while this particular piece of soapstone is actually quite hard for its type, the quartz was much harder, and brought in a tension that slowed things down – the risk of making a mistake within the process increased significantly – one slip could change everything…..and slip I did!

Being a reductive process, there is no going back in carving and mistakes have to be capitalised upon – this can be a challenge, but, is often very helpful in finding the form that works best – its as though something intervenes, as if to say, “no mate, your going in the wrong direction – try this!”

Nevertheless, the carving of the quartz went well and, perhaps, thinking I had gotten past the challenge, the energy of the process began to build up again – thats when it happened! It was when I came to shape her mouth – the carving tool glanced off a hidden chip of quartz and, unintentionally on my part, her mouth opened – she ended up singing……..but, looking back, I am glad of this…..as it also became very clear that she wanted to be seen in this particular way – through her animated singing expression, her song, the rest of her began to come more into focus.

I’d checked the whole stone closely by this time for colouration that might reveal other hidden surprises. Her flowing energy became more visible and, appearing within the rippled and dappled colouring of the stone, became wind blown hair – within this there were other distinct shapes also visible, feathers on the one side and fingers on the other, and yet she seemed to have no body. This was intriguing. Around that time, I was also given a book on the Inuit carving traditions as part payment for a commission and as I fell under the spell of these wonderfull carvings I came across representations of shamans in spirit flight, bodyless, except for a hand, representing their humanity and sole (or soul) link to the physical worlds as they journey through the spirit realms. This was helpful, but, it was not quite right – I did not want to copy or re-interpret; this carving had an identity of its own. I did however find one carving that spoke louder than the rest – it showed Sedna, her long partly braided hair assuming flowing, rippling forms around her. There was something in this….

I knew of Sedna’s story, filled with a confrontational and difficult energy, tragedy arising from the clash between the young Sedna’s power of choice, paternal will and supernatural power. It is a strong story and there is much sadness in Sedna; having refused to bend to her father’s will in his choice of suitor he takes her out to sea, the supernatural intervenes and she not only becomes the victim of that confrontation, but, is exiled as a result – where have we heard that particular thread before?! However, in some tellings, hers is also a creation story – in the struggle to save herself, she looses her fingers and these become the Whale, Dolphin and Seal families. There is a radical give-away, an exchange at work in this – through it she becomes very powerful, assimilated into the oceanic worlds as a mistress of the sea creatures, protecting their spirits from exploitation. Sedna’s original right to choose her own soul path merges with the world of soul that the ocean represents, but, she looses the ability to use her hands in the process.

There is within many indigenous traditions the understanding that the spirits do not have thumbs! and are reliant upon us humans to work the physical – and while that may be our human power, theirs is in the inspirational and animating force that makes it possible for us to work creatively, through use our hands for example. Within indigenous wisdom it is a symbiotic relationship that requires us to feed the spirits so that they may fund our world with their nourishing and inspirational powers, that the world will remain animated. When we neglect this relationship the world falls into disarray and decay (look around!). The spirits and divinities seem to particularly like it when we make give-aways or offerings to them through our creativity. With Sedna this symbiosis with the spirit worlds also takes shape, but, she must be negotiated with, her hair combed and washed as an offering that is made in the hope that she will release the souls of the animals through the hunt – so that the people may live.

As Sedna’s story came alive in the Inuit carving many things seemed to be speaking together, to be in conversation with the emerging carving – but it was not her story itself, it was an essence within her story, that was coming through – her element is water; the carving continually spoke of the air – so, I decided to dig deeper. I felt that behind Sedna’s story as a creation myth there might be another layer and thats where I found Sila.

Amongst northern peoples of the arctic in particular, Sila has the power to shape the weather, the wind and the sky – along with other traditions, Inuit peoples have portrayed Sila as male, calling this spirit Silap Inua amongst other honorific names – however, Sila is also very ancient, considered formless. While Sedna is sometimes thought of as the daughter of the great spirit who created all Life, Sila is translated as ‘universal’, associated with the great spirit itself, animating all Life. But, the strongest scent came from the fact that Sila is found across the northern latitudes, in the Siberian as well as the northern Canadian and Greenland indigenous traditions. Sedna is considered more contemporary, allied with the animals that provide the Inuit with their primary food sources – Sila too is connected with the hunt, as well as the observance of the customs and rites between the people and the spirits, but, she embraces the animating spirit that fills all, on land, sea and in air – she appears to be an ancestor of Sedna. And like Sedna, Sila’s story has a shadow side too…..

Magical power is not to be toyed with, it demands respect and aquiring it has its risks and responsibilities – we can be very easily overcome by its ‘glamour’. It is one of the traditional dangers of ‘glamour’ that it can entice us into the vast interior of the wilds, perhaps never to be seen again – perhaps this shows a common expression of parental and communal fear, much the same as that associated with the magical enticement of the faerie realms, a place in which a different order of time exists from whose enchantment we may never return. The faerie realms spin their glamour around us continuously, and, for the most part remain hidden behind the appearance of things – once the veil is parted and we are touched by the ‘glamour’ our lives are never the same – Sedna herself has some of this quality – through hard won lessons in survival she is both mediator and protector of this power.

So too, for the shaman – amongst the Copper Inuit of the Northwest territories of Canada, Sila as ‘wind in-dweller’ has the tradition of empowering the shaman with the ability to shamanise on behalf of the community. For the initiate too the challenge is in the return – it is through transformation, burning off the old personality and complete inner re-structuring through initiation, that s/he can deliver the promise of the calling. If the ego or independant personal will are out of balance within, the use of that magical power becomes an issue and potential for ‘shadow’ to manifest remains….perhaps there is a lesson for us all in this.

The more I learned of Sila the more her qualities, the better her story seemed to fit….there was no attempt on my part to portray Sila, but, the story of Sedna and Sila had opened up a deeper resonance within the carving and, working with this, the whole form fell into place and the carving quickly came to completion.

I cannot help wondering how much the usurping of the divine feminine, of her rightful powers, is also present within Sila’s story. There was never any doubt in my mind that the spirit in the stone had a woman’s face and it felt wholly fitting to honour both Sedna and Sila through this….but, it was a difficult journey in many ways, intense, uncertain and mystifying.

Sila’s challenge is not only to pay attention to the calling of spirit – she also requires us to do our inner work and to maintain the balance we find through this, within our personal empowerment – Sila’s challenge also symbolises a return to the original unity of matter and spirit and she reminds us that we have to be willing to enter the wilderness, the wild raw nature of our unknowing, before we can reclaim something of our original state – it is perhaps no wonder that Sila is also regarded as the substance out of which soul is made!

Very soon after she was completed this carving found a new home, also through a chance encounter, but, thats a story for another time. As it happens I am about to embark on a new carving to celebrate this spirit – this time in wood. The piece is Ash wood from a tree that was first struck by lightning and subsequently blown down in a hurricane! I have a seat carved from the same tree – its actually very comfortable….but, I have it in mind to do something with this carving that I have not done before – to record the whole process of its making, and I hope to make this the subject of a future article at ‘owlmirror’……..we will see!

…..a certain magic brings us into the world, often forgotten and overlooked once we begin our adult years – but, it never dies – we only need to keep our hearts open to the messages and signs that it sends us, and Sila exemplifies this magic. Sometimes you may even hear her singing on the wind……

Triskele Moon – Solar Eclipse!

We welcome the start of 2011 with an Eclipse of the Sun in Capricorn – ordinarily this would bring our focus towards addressing how power issues and idealogies of leadership are grounded within the body politic, but, there is much more to this eclipse than meets the eye, literally….

Heres a Synopsis of the planetary alignments : being on Capricorn 13.39 this eclipse is at the midpoint between Venus in late Scorpio and Neptune in late Aquarius who are squaring off to within 1 minute of arc – there can be no illusions about the kind of power we are here to manifest, radically different, otherworldly even; for sure, both in the arena of the mundane world, on the big ‘screen’ of global affairs and in our inner sexuality, the politics of power is being challenged – but, with Venus being so strongly and tightly aspected by Neptune (and from other very significant quarters too, as we will see) we are being made aware that sexual power at its higher octave manifests Kundalini, a sacred vision of fusion within divine ecstacy – at its lower octave it becomes lust, usery and sexploitation; abuse of Life as matter seperated from the divine. We know the corruption present in this world is an emination of the latter, and that has been affecting women and men alike for far too long….the masculine too has become subverted by the poisons of patriarchy, so, lets keep with the rising wave of transformative energy and both individually and collectively aim for the higher octave – nothing else makes sense, but, more than this, nothing else will serve us in our upcoming times! And, what of the male players….

Lets take a look at Mars who has now slipped out of sextile with Venus, thanks to her greater speed, and has begun to feel the backlash. There is now radical pressure on the martial misuse of force to under-go a purging – with Mars conjunct Waldemath to within 13 minutes of arc, this spectral Moon will release any demons eminating from the patriarchal paradigm that are sucking in the low side and force them out into the open to be recognised and owned – look out all sleaze mongers and misogynists; wise up all war-mongers and clandestine politicians – for, every time you wave the patriotic flag, declare a holy crusade and/or initiate a ‘necessary’ regime of austerity measures ‘on behalf of the people’ you will be putting yourselves under the increasingly illuminated spotlight of public awareness! And this illumination is growing from within…..

Awareness! The consciousness we bring to our desire for unity must be seen to be an expression of balance in awareness, for without it we cannot live within the truth of the moment and otherwise will be slipping off to one side or the other, away from the fulcrum point in the Now. So, with Saturn donning the judge’s wig in mid Libra and squaring off to this Moon, and with Mercury racing back from Sagittarius to join the fray, heading directly for the action amongst the Cardinals, Captains and Heads in Castle Capricorn once again, the message is – you, Sirs, are heading for the dock, this time for the verdict…..the evidence is being heard by all, and the jury are assembling….

Well, they say that money can’t buy you love, ok……so, while the top brass hang onto control through the currency of fear and scarcity, a coven of earthy wise women, steeped in potent Lunar cunning, are convening to guide the rest of us into this, our ‘right relationship’ within, so that we may reclaim our inner wealth, and thats Love as pure magic, luminous from within! When rising Kundalini enters consciousness she illuminates our whole being with the fire of creation.

We are now entering sacred space, and, as with any ritual that seeks unity with the divine, the purging is a necessary part of this process – this is where the wise women come in……

…..Venus is conjunct asteroid Lilith to within 1 minute of arc – so look out sleazey, here comes the kickback! And don’t mess….this lady is ready to dispose of the whole issue of gender and do it her own way, gratis….sayonara guys! Asteroid Lilith is the goth/punk creative who doesn’t entertain, she demonstrates – and her brand of creativity is feminist, manifesting an earthy vigor that pulls the shadow of Uranus’ transformative charge and Mercury’s trickster approach to initiating change into the base chakra to awaken the coil of kundalini – she’s the horny crescent Moon of the Lilith sistren, and Venus receives her as an energy of radical passion for her womanhood.

And then there is Pluto, the underworld ‘godfather’, still on the scene in early Cap and, having pulled the rug from the balding heads of the political aristocracy, Pluto is going to expose just how naked the big-wigs are and just how phoney the Emperors new clothes really look to us all, and he has brilliant de-sexualised help at hand – Pallas, conjunct the big P to within 25 minutes says “I am the high-ground and I bring you the LIGHT, of higher knowledge!”

Mercury, sextile Black Moon Lilith to within 7 minutes of arc, is soon once again going to ping the galactic highway of higher knowledge, the Galactic Center – we will be getting a new message from the ‘other side’, but, first……

BM Lilith herself is busy with her oscilating sister, spinning the energy of their corridor of occult power around Jupiter and Uranus – yes, the dynamic duo J/U are conjunct to within 1 minute in late Pisces for the third and last time in this wave of initiatic expansion and they are feeding their combined power by trine into Venus and her new mate, the goth/punk Little Lilith, full on from within the cauldron – we would be tempted to shout out “GO GIRLS!!” But, we will also want to reprise the intrinsic nature of this energy matrix before we leave J/U to transmute within the cauldron….there’s a storm brewing in there and within no time at all Jupiter will be vapour trailing electric fire as he steps into Aries to expand the initiatic energies anew.

Chiron meanwhile is in shamanic trance…..having been sitting in Neptune’s vision inducing field drenching atmosphere these last, er, how long was it now….he is ready to bring the healing into manifestation; the spirits are calling him from Pisces and he will deliver their transformative power in a great sea-change of the energy field that is upcoming in the next few months…but, more of that in the future.

Last time there was an eclipse Juno was opposite Uranus and Jupiter expressing their expansion of left field awareness through our inner search for “Right Relationship”. Now, like the sacred marraige guidance counscellor she is, first sessions over, she’s slipping her coat on as she stands at the doorway to Libra – Juno now coming out of opposition to Jupiter and Uranus, but, ever the pragmatist by hard won lessons, brings the timely reminder that there are two sides to every story – every drama wears the double mask of comedy and tragedy, Janus faced reality, like two sides of the same coin, but, one coin, nevertheless…..and, this is no soap – the drama is in real time. So, having fleshed out the scene in ‘the field’, lets explore how this is playing out right now and how it can best be put to personal use – for every one of us is now a key to bringing about the ‘Great Transformation’….

…..with a collective of divine wise women, predominantly Lunar in their affiliation, spinning a web of potent subtle energies from within the planetary and star field, this combination of energies carries a qualitative vibration that can manifest in two ways – emergency or emergence – on the one hand there is the purging that will out any ‘shadow’ and its projections that is embroiled in power issues. The wise women are making this power of process available to their sistren to charge the ‘field’ with radical and emanicipating occult wisdom. This will be visible especially wherever controlling patriarchy casts its shadow, and, as with Mars, its demons will be outed and held accountable for – its a purging that is necessary for the balancing of our sexuality within and will prepare us for full engagement with the over-arching zeitgeist of our times – the re-volution of matter as divine. Volution is a circling motion around an energetic center, manifest within spirals and, with the tri-une Lunar energy, this embodies the triskel.

So, on the other hand, however, it will enable anyone who has already engaged with their inner work to entrain with the zeitgeist – birthing the spiritual body. Where the Moon’s cycles and phases throughout the last year, in unison with the eclipses and planetary alignments, have been pushing us to become more awake to our potential within, this Eclipse will bring us into pragmatic appliance of this potential as we begin to birth it into the sphere of incarnation. What we see will be the outward manifestations of this process – however, in order to work with these energies we will have to be ready to fully birth our ‘seeing’, and, in the nature of midwives, the wise women know how to guide and facilitate the birth process – we have been here before and will remember much as the process goes exponential – it has all been fore-seen by our ancestors. Within the prophecies, the sacred calendars, the myths and ancient stories, are the seeds of knowing that will awaken from within, stored within our spiritual DNA.

As we move towards the culmination point of the Mayan Calendar, as our Solar system moves into complete alignment with the radial highways of energy emanating from the Galactic Center, we enter the new reality of a globaly manifesting Cosmic Spiritual Alchemy. But, it will need us to be here for it. Earth will get on quite nicely otherwise. From the human perspective this means that, if we have paying attention to doing our ‘inner work’ and if we are full term in our development as embodiments of the spiritual embryo, we will begin to experience these energies as an emergence. And this too will impact on the mundane levels of life experience.

Where-as the December Eclipse offered us a sharp wake-up call and a way-out of the cultural miasm that has been hijacking our collective energies with such dangerous results, this one in mid-Capricorn will offer a pragmatic way forward, a chance to focus on our personal power that is going to sex-up the world zeitgeist, and this is just the beginning….we are going to see transformation upon transformation enfolding in on top of each other as our outer lives respond to the inner processes now at work – THIS, if nothing else, is the manifestation of a new body politic – it is one that, ultimately, we will fully recognise is sourced  at galactic levels, and, because of this and our current technological status, it is unlikely to be like anything we have ever seen on Earth before…..we are poised on the cusp.

There is no script for this…in the theatre of Life we are in improv territory, but, all we have to do to play the part is be ourselves truthfully, and make all of our gifts available for the spirit to manifest through. Sound like a fairytale? Well, yes, this New Moon has a fairytale ending for sure, its all a question of which wing you entered the stage by and whether you can play the part and are ready to be part of the action – and, at the end of the last New Moon post, we were waiting for the curtain to rise on Sleeping beauty, knowing that we are both in the audience and in the cast! This is  everyones story. But, there is something about this particular fairy-tale that is disturbing…..in Sleeping Beauty the popular version has it that the handsome Prince comes to the rescue and through the agency of Love, brings Beauty out of the comatose grip of the evil spell, and everyone in the land wakes up with her – this fairy-tale, mind you, like so many others, has been doctored with!

In our past we had access to the archetypal energy field that our myths and fairy-tales helped us to understand in real ways – it was important to our health, wealth and very survival that we keep these tales alive as they provided portals to the other-worlds, the higher dimensions of innate knowledge and indigenous wisdom, always the agencies of our evolution. They too are our heritage and empowerment, and we knew it – they still are….and, within the Sleeping Beauty story we can clearly see how the agents of magic are the women. This is key…

….so why is the 13th fairy evil – well, actually, she isn’t; the story was changed to make her so – it served the purpose of elevating the masculine energy to that of saviour , and how the rising patriarchy loved that! And, thats not all – where-ever we encounter the man as the knight in shining armour we might just also have cause to smell the proverbial rat. The 13th fairy, the Lunar wise woman, was subverted through projected patriarchal fear to embody that fear, the ‘shadow’ of its own power. She may have been eclipsed, temporally, however, she still has her own power, but, it has itself been deemed subversive and so Beauty is denied her rightful blessing as a woman coming into her own power as a creatrix. She is put to sleep and made to forget…..more fool the patriarchy. Claiming the moral high-ground has its consequences….

Just as asteroid Lilith expresses the shadow side of Uranus, her asexual energy parallels his – he was castrated through jealousy for his power by his off-spring Cronus (yes thats Saturn before he emigrated to Italy) who sought to usurp and overthrow him, and Lilith is reminding us that this is a masculine fear, the male wound, emasculation at the hands of competition. At its higher octave we could say women’s creative wisdom is incarnate, a shared power within the self, literally embodied as creative matrix, and Lilith has kept the faith with this wisdom, in all her forms. We have been led to think of this power in the Liliths as occult, that is to say both esoteric, latent and eclipsed, in the shadows….the resonances are all there – shadow and light are not mutually exclusive, its how they are percieved, and our perceptions were changed when our stories were changed….

For us now the world is deeply embedded within a process of reclaiming the unity of this apparent polarity, according to, you guessed it, ‘right relationship’….we are looking to the fusion of right and left hemispheres, inner partnership, individual and collective empowerment, above and below, within and without – we are moving inexorably towards an experience of singularity as an expression of divine unity, present within the heart, just as it is present within the heart of our galaxy – our challenge is to embody it and live the truth of our experiences and perceptions of this. And it was foreseen….amongst the people, for example….

When the Mayan daykeepers, for example, began to record the Mayan Calendar, they initiated an understanding of the calendrical processes of our precessional cycles and the relationship that these expressed between the planetary and the galactic planes – they were able to calculate with great accuracy the stages and culmination of the process, a process that embodies awareness of this relationship as evolving consciousness – time, both linear and cyclical, itself appears as the agent of this process, but, we will return to explore these aspects in upcoming posts as the planets play out the star seeded potential we are here to embody!

There is a parallel appreciation of this process encapsulted within both the Mayan Calendar and the apparent division of spirit and matter…..both offer us the opportunity to realise that while we each have our own soul purpose we are ourselves enfolded within a greater purpose that flows from the ‘dreamtime’……in an earlier post, “Climate Change, the Megaliths and the Stars”, we heard of how Hunbatz Men, a Mayan Elder, Daykeeper and calendrical shaman, on visiting Avebury and interpreting a crop circle he saw there, expressed the view that Earth was ‘out of position’ – it is very likely that he was giving warning that without correct alignment within the dreamtime, the old duality will persist – the calendars tell us that now the old duality can evolve into holographic awareness – a synchronistic expression of diversity within wholeness maybe, but, our challenge remains and our calling is very much in the present. On whatever basis we live our lives the stars continue to guide us towards awakening as Seers…..