Wise Fool

12 11 2006

First steps…

Once again I find myself on the precipice – one foot extended over the abyss – blissfully, innocently unaware of the gaping chasm – for this is the fool’s journey – the trip through the wheel of life. Finding myself at the completion of a four year journey into the underworld, resting topside for a bit, I find myself excited and embracing this new journey.

I bring the wisdom and experiences of every ascent and every descent to the portal. I lower myself to the ground – rest my forehead on the earth – breathing slowly – making contact with the firmament. I rise, open my arms, bare my chest and heart to the starfilled sky and bathe in the light of the moon mother – making contact with the heavens. I wrap myself in my own embrace – swaying and twirling – making contact with my center.

Now – I am ready to travel this sacred path with Enchanteur. It is her imagery that first attracted me to this site – and from here to Soul Food Cafe and the other corners of Lemuria – but the Baba Yaga and the night rides – were magnetic forces that I could not resist.

So here I am… a woman approaching the sixth decade of her life… once again at the beginning – adventure awaits me here…

Shall we commence?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Posted by Soulwright





A Woman’s Claim

11 09 2006

you’all seem to like these medieval stories. This one is ‘manly’,
yet the real courage lies with a woman …
as with many of my stories it is 20% fact, 40% period documentation
and 40% imagineering …
but then — perhaps I was there

papa faucon
………………………………………………………..

THE BEAR

Koynan stood motionless beside the scrub pine and viewed the lumbering train of carts and horsemen that skirted the edge of the dark forest. He did not attempt to hide, for experience had shown that his eyesight was far more distant-keen than that of the soldiers from the West. With the sun behind him he had no fear of reflection from the jewels on his helm. His cloak was wrapped around the scabbard of a great curving sword to still it in the breeze, while the slight flutter of his doublet against chain mail echoed the quickening pace of his heart. The ambush and assault was imminent and well planned. However, the Alan warrior placed only partial confidence in an attack plan scratched into the sandy soil of the steppes. As the leader of the marauding band he placed more faith in the skill of his men to react quickly to changes of battle and the silent preparation each would make in playing out the attack in advance. Such was the way of his people. They had not lost a decisive battle in more than 1200 years. The Roman legions avoided them and the slavs had been quickly subdued. For more than 500 years the Alan had lived by extracting tribute and ransom from the Magyar towns, as they did from the Turkish Marmalukes. He thirsted for real battle. It was fortunate, he thought, that the armored knights had come from the west. Such armor already hung on poles before his tent.

The supply train consisted of 20 mounted knights in colorful surcoats and glistening coifs escorting a cadre of women and Dominican Friars-Preachers. These were followed, at a distance, by a mixed collection of oxen and serf-pulled carts of varying size. The rear guard of six knights had been reduced to four when two had ridden into the woods in search of game. They would not return! A thick undergrowth of hazel brush mixed with birch and tall pines to make passage within the safety of the forest impossible. The mottled hues of green, yellow and white produced a languid affect on the soldiers in the warming morning sun. Only the serfs remained alert, probing ahead with their long staffs for rodent holes that might cause the cattle to stumble. Even then, thoughts were on reaching the safety of the village before nightfall, thankful for a night on a straw pallet rather than the hard ground beneath a leaky cart.

Koynan played out his role in the ambush in his mind. When the train reached the river ahead they would have to come down to the shallows away from the trees. He knew that the mounted knights and travelers would cross first, separating them from the struggling carts. They could not know that a band of 40 hid behind the group of kurgan mounds to the south. At this point, Koyan would lead his band of six in charge from the thicket into the carts while his pair of comrades in the woods would spear the rear guard and join the melee. When the knights turned to aid the caravan they would be attacked from the rear by an infamous Alan spear charge. Only the serfs would be spared, as they also tilled the fields and gathered honey from the dark woods. He had given his own two spears to the forest warriors for their part and would rely solely on his proven skill with scimitar and lasso. His steed would attack on its own with only his knees to guide it. Even if he dismounted, Thron would guard his back with slashing hooves. He joined his band in the thicket for a last fortifying drink of fermented curdled mare’s milk and awaited the crossing.

Aldic was called Bern after the brown forest bear that foraged near his homeland Odra valley. His size, ferocity and tinge of red in his hair had forged the nickname. Even Aldic was not his true name. As a peasant miller he had no official name. He had joined the forces of Charles the Lame years earlier with nothing but a shingling froe for a weapon. The name meant “stalwart one”, and its conference by Charlemagne was a granting of knighthood in a sense. Leadership and promotion came from action within the Frankish armies, rather than from effete noblistic abuse. Thus, Aldic the Bern did not lead from the head of his troops, but rather from the front of a cart where he knew the battle would be the thickest. His cowled robe hid helm, hauberk and two-handed barbarian sword across his back. His walking staff had inlayed strips of iron and a dagger was strapped upside down against his thigh. An instinct born of experience told him that the attack was coming. A low whistle alerted the rear guard and other disguised knights. Swords were loosened in their scabbards.

The charging Alan came when only half the carts were in the stream and Aldic still on land, else he might have perished in the assault. The thunder of hooves gave fair warning and he had time to pull the great lance head from its sheath and affix it to the end of his staff. Thus prepared, he did not run as a serf might, but turned to meet the charging war-horse Thorn. With the butt of the shaft anchored beneath his foot, Aldic dropped to knee and saw the spearhead true to the chest of the steed. The force of the impact sent the splayed point a foot through bone and muscle and levered the beast high into the air. With slashing knife the knight severed the saddle straps and rolled aside as horse and surprised Koynan came crashing to earth. With his curved sword trapped beneath saddle and flesh Koynan had an eternity to contemplate the terrible bearded visage that approached from the dust cloud. He did not even attempt to avoid the awful slash of steel that sparkled against the sky. He thought only of his bride in the distant camp and the honor she would feel over his death in battle. In some ways he was fortunate to die quickly. He did not see that the soldiers emerging from the woods were not his, nor the swordsmen who sprang from the covered carts, nor women and friars who became archers and a brought a rain of death.

She did not feel honor, nor dread with the approach of the Frankish soldiers. She knew that Koynan must be dead now and unable to protect her, but also that the western knights did not war on women and children. She wondered why they came. “Ah, the horses of course.” They Alan horses were legend across the land, both a basis of survival and trade. As she was the wife of the leader, and a Princess in her own right, she came out to meet them, her black hair betraying a Scythian rather than Alan heritage. The largest man she had ever seen dismounted and approached her stand, placing at her feet the armor and weapons of her defeated husband. She knew instantly that all of the Alan warriors were gone. She also somehow knew that their hubris had killed them, not the powerful knights. A known enemy was indeed a blunt sword and this Frankish chieftain clearly knew more about Alan customs than Koynan had known of theirs.

Other knights were collecting all the spare horses, leaving only enough for the tribal band to return to their people. Without the horses the women would die, such was the way of the Alan. They were clearly to hastily depart the land of the Agar, but still, she did not move. She had been drawn to the fire of Koynan because of his great strength and felt now the stirring of his son within her loins. From instinct more than cunnings she made a choice. The sudden appearance of the forearm length curved short-sword in her hand did not seem to surprise this looming bear of a man. Perhaps he thought she meant to take her own life. At another time, perhaps. But the survival of Koynan’s bloodline was paramount now and she sensed that the honor and power of this strange knight could protect her. She slowly drew the blade across the thick part of her palm and handed Aldic the blade. No words or prior understanding was required. The silence between them seemed both detached and alive with fearful portent. Then a smile replaced his furrowed brow and he cut himself in kind. Their hands joined hotly, with her’s displaying a strength he had not expected. She held out her other hand for the Kinjal sword and smiled at his slight hesitation. Some surprises would always be good for their future years. He caller her Thrasa, which she learned meant courageous. The blood of Vikings, Huns, Mongols, Franks and Aryans mixed in their veins.

Thrasa refused to part with the proud blade even in the court of Charlemagne, and all knew that she would defend her new husband and many sons with a terrible passion. For his valor and deeds Aldic was made Baron over the valley of the Odra and became the eastern defense of the Carolingian Empire and the great Duchy of Sachen, later to be known as Saxony. Tales of the exploits of Aldebern and Thrasa became one with myth and fable. All retained a core of truth in which cunning and preparation held sway against pride and stealth. Centuries later the hordes of Ganghis Kahn would be stopped at the Oder River by the soldiers of Baron von Saxe-Odra. The Mongol warriors and Slav soldiers greatly feared the huge Teutonic Knights, resplendent in pure white with black cross and weapons. This in part was based on superstitious tales about why many of these knights had slightly slanted Mongolian eyes, and why they often charged rather than defend their ground.





Song of Star Woman

8 09 2006

“It was in the winters

Before The People

Came into being

That Star Woman Came.

She saw Mother Earth

And thought her lonely.

All praise Star Woman.

Star Woman spoke to

The Great Sprit of this. 

He agreed,

Mother Earth

Needed children to love.

Together Great Spirit

And Star Woman

Fashioned The People.

Brother to the wild things.

From the dust of the Stars

From the Oceans made them.

Gave them life with

A warm breath from

White Tatanka’s mouth.

Awaken, Great Spirit’s children.

Blessed them with

Plenty, and faith.

Set them in a good land.

Made us caretakers

Of our Mother Earth.

Walk softly on our Mother.

Great Spirit spoke to them,

‘Care well for your Mother,

Love her, keep her happy.’

I will watch over you,

And shine upon you.

Great Sprit’s first promise.

In times of great trouble,

I will return to you,

And never abandon you.

You are my children,

Born of the dust of the stars

And the tears of Mother Earth.

Heed Great Spirit’s words.”

                         GwenGuin





Princess Burning Hair

7 09 2006

Princess Burning Hair sat in a corner of the attic. Motes of sunshine had faded her red hair and moths had made holes in the fabric of her being. To add insult to injury successive generations of mice had gnawed away at the rubber bands that held her limbs together. Now she was an apology for what she had been.

Downstairs Mrs Jones, owner of the doll, huddled deeper into the bedclothes, her body felt numb. Yet again her husband had launched a stream of invective against her.

Why had she done this or that when she knew the consequences of her actions would be disastrous? The constant criticism nibbled away at her being, Chinese water torture eroding the sharp edges of her consciousness into a soft, shapeless blur. The bamboo spikes of his barbed comments lodging in her ears and working into her brain. Months would go by without, and then suddenly, out of the blue, something would happen to disturb the equilibrium. The strings of her heart were unravelling a little more each day.

Her life underwent the same decline and degradation as the doll with no witness except for the reflections in the numerous mirrors hung on the walls. Why were there so many mirrors, she wondered. She never looked at herself and her husband paid little apparent attention to his appearance – he had no need to for he was always immaculately turned out.

Outside the home she had no life for she never went anywhere. Once her husband had brought a woman home, introducing her as a work colleague and green shards of jealousy stabbed at her already fragile self-confidence for the woman was attractive and self-assured. Not unlike how she had been, once upon a time.

When had this slow decline started and what had prompted it? Not given to in-depth self analysis she was hard put to identify the when and the why. Was it the day he had taken her pet away? The one being with whom she felt a special communion. Her last lifeline was gone, even if it wasn’t human. She had no close family, no close friends in whom to confide – what – anyway?

How could she describe the internal void, the lack of purpose to her life? Although they had not had children, she had gone out to work – not that she needed to but it gave her a reason to get up in the morning. Apart from feeding her husband breakfast, that is.

In the beginning her days had been filled, she had gone out and met friends, visited museums, art galleries but now she found she preferred her own company. She lost herself in travel books and composed endless mental journeys. Once she had even lain out on the bed all the clothes and things she would take on an imaginary trip to Zanzibar – the spice island of her dreams.

Her salvation had come the day she discovered the reference room at the local library – where they had computers. Hitherto an undiscovered world, she joined a class of computer illiterates and the world was never the same place again. She made new friends and discovered new places. But she said nothing of this at home. Her husband never noticed the tiny changes taking place on an almost daily basis. He had grown careless. It never occurred to him that she actually examined the contents of his pockets, read all the mail that arrived and returned it quietly to the stack on his bureau. She painted her toenails red. Hidden inside her sensible shoes he never saw them but she knew they were there – a beacon in the night. She started to wear new underwear too, which he was too blind to see, having long since ceased to bed her. All of these miniature rebellions giving her pleasure and increased confidence.

One day he returned to an empty apartment. No furniture, no food in the kitchen – which had been fitted and therefore she hadn’t been able to take it away with her. Even his computer had gone. When he went into the bedroom there was a single sheet of paper on the floor, propped against an old doll wearing a torn lace dress, with lifeless glass eyes in a pale china face, but with the most astonishingly brilliant, burning, chestnut coloured hair.

“Thank you for the life you have not given me. You gave up on me when I couldn’t follow you. Now the tables have turned. Don’t look for me for you will never find me again although you may hear of me from time to time in the papers.” It was signed Princess Burning Hair

Attached to this note was a newspaper clipping. He picked it up and read …….

The House of Roses today confirmed reports that Prince Charming has a new girlfriend and below was a photograph…..

 

Traveller





To Honor One Woman — To Honor All

3 09 2006

I have avoided posting this true story because it seems too much of me …

but I must share the honor due to a woman who created the setting and events that made this possible. Like our Heather, it was not her direct action of will, nor guiding words that engendered creation in this way, but the internal knowledge (FAITH) that her actions would create ‘touches of wonder’ somewhere — always.

papa faucon
………………………………………………………………..

CROSSING

There was a crossing — of Paths, Currents, Metaphysical tremors, whatever. No special portents. A featureless steel sky with sense of snow, but a ‘shirt-sleeve’ 70° for all of that. Each Sunday morning in Salt Lake City, a famed charitable woman hosted a breakfast beneath the stretch of freeway fingered overpasses. Hardly a set cathedral arches and buttresses, but by conjoined will a spiritual place, and the only ‘mass’ the teaming homeless were likely to attend. Others came, like myself, to participate and support the event — to honor perhaps both the simple fellowship of strangers and the non-religious giving of so many volunteers. I ‘paid’ for my ham and eggs and pancakes and juice by wandering about with pitchers of coffee and loading garbage bags on trucks. There were about 300 fed that morning, more than most Sundays, as this was the last breakfast to be held. I don’t know why he came.

Due to the impending Winter Olympics the entire road system was being rebuilt. There would be no room in the inn, and no other place was willing to allow the hordes of unwashed to accumulate on their property. Yet with each death there is always rebirth, and meeting Dann was part of that. I had arrived early in order to secure a special parking place, but now could not get out from the bumper-locked, inching traffic. Several pedestrians, some with physical disabilities, were also ‘grid-locked’ and unable to cross the street. From no where, a largish man with a broken staff paced boldly into the fray and stopped the flow from both directions. He might have been Moses parting the sea — arms outstretched and commanding presence — though his bald head and knee high boots would not have attracted Hollywood’s attention. No one honked — strange! With a parade of wheel chairs to guard my escape, I was able to cross both lines of traffic as if by right. I might have continued unabashed had I not noticed that the extended staff was burned as well as broken. I pulled aside down the block and walked back, after securing an article from the trunk. It was meant to be.

Three years before in the mountains of California, a branch had fallen from a giant tree and hit my car rather painfully. I would have picked up such a branch at any time, because of a hobby I make staffs and canes for people — just to give away. This piece was seven feet long and reasonably straight and the width of an axe handle. Perfect. It also came from a 1000 year old Sequoia with a ruddy bark that flaked softly in my hands. Over the years I had worked it some, just wire brushing the outer bark to reveal whorls of iridescent reds and black and ochre. The few protrusions yielded to knife and file, and a leather tip and a coat of teak oil seemed right. Then it lived in my car for a year — just waiting.

I just walked out into the street and handed it to him. He did not speak or smile — but his eyes did. I will not attempt to describe what I saw there, but the phrase, “pale blue of sorrowful joy” came to mind. He pointed to a jagged scar on his throat and then to my shirt pocket. I handed over two business cards and a pen. One he placed in a pouch on his belt. The other received a quick note, which I assumed would be his name. Not so. He visibly swallowed some air and issued forth a sound not possible from his smashed larynx. “Dawwnn” was what I heard. “Hello, Dann, with two ‘n’s,” I said. His eyes flashed another smile. A brief nod. Then he strode away and I have never seen him since.

On the card he had written, “It’s all about faith.” You decide.





What a cool link!!

26 08 2006

My dears,
There is a link below, and I know the title sounds rather Cheesy, but, this person does some amazing things with a cup o’ Joe.  I sat here for almost 15 minutes watching how this is done.  Even being behind the times (I’m still on dial-up) I still was impressed by their work.

Give this a chance and I believe you’ll be as much into it as I am.  It also proves that it is not the canvas that makes the artist, it is the artist who makes the canvas!!!

Pretty Cool Coffee Artist – BREAK.com





That’s Where She Got It From!

24 08 2006

scheherazade.jpgFrom The following exercise at the Soul Food Cafe

‘Lessons and Philosophy from the Bear of Very Little Brain’

http://www.outbackonline.net/choc%20box/choc_pooh.htm

Fe, fa, fi-fo-fum

I smell the breath of an Englishman

Let him be alive

or let him be dead

I’ll grind his bones to make my bread

And wrapped around these Merry Little Lines was a tale about Cannibalism, Breaking and Entering (or as they refer to it on the Cop shows “ B & E”) and cold blooded murder (okay, I’d settle for Manslaughter. Or would it be Giant Slaughter?) Regardless, that Giant wouldn’t have ended up dead at the foot of the beanstalk had a certain little Englishman not been snooping around places he didn’t belong!

Back to the story…before I learned to read my Mom use to buy me these children’s books called  “ Golden Readers”. They were easy to read (and by that I mean easy for the Parents to read.) The Fairy Tales were written at about an eight year olds reading level.Back in the day they were nice little books- I still have a few of them on my bookshelf. They were bound with string, not glue or paste and the pictures were wonderful.

Lots of detail, no pastels and they didn’t use block type. So no matter how little you were you felt like you were reading a ‘big kid’s book’.

And if you couldn’t read you may have done what I did: I use take the books and make my own story up to fit the pictures.

The thing is I ALWAYS saw more then what was actually there and by the ripe old age of five I was already addicted to a TV show called Nightmare Theatre. They played old horror and ghosts films every Friday and on Saturday afternoon they had a matinee.

I guess you can see where this is going…

Jack and the Beanstalk? Ha, How’s about Jack the Little Ripper?

I hated Jack.

He was mean and sneaky and remember the Harp calling out for the Giant? I thought she wanted to stay and I just knew that little Jerk Jack was going to take her down the Beanstalk and she would never see her castle again (well, that’s how I told it.)

I would read about Jack throwing all the stuff he stole from the castle down the beanstalk and just before he gets caught the last time he slides down the beanstalk, grabs an axe and he starts chopping and hacking until down comes the beanstalk and before you can say ‘busted’ the Giant crashes after it and dies.

So in the end Jack is sitting at this table and the harp is crying and Jack’s Mom is serving him stew (which I was convinced contained some Giant along with the chickens he stole…why NOT eat the Giant? He ate everything else he lifted from the Castle!)

Remember Jack swinging the axe? I do, I can still see it. So how does it end?

The last picture  in the book is of Jack at the table with the stolen harp and the chunky stew.

That picture  finally got to me in a big way.

I remember taking my little copy of Jack and The Beanstalk and tossing it under my bed where it STAYED.

That’s right…everytime I found it on my bookshelf or in my toy box I’d take that sucker and throw it under my bed because everytime I saw it I could hear that line over and over…the only one I remembered after my Mom read me the book ( I didn’t buy for a minute that malarkey she read was true)

Fe, fa, fi-fo-fumI smell the breath of an Englishman

Let  him be alive

or let him be dead

I’ll grind his bones to make my bread

It was never a Giant’s Voice I heard when I ‘read’ my little Golden Book. It was always a kid’s voice, a little boy’s voice. It was laughing the entire time and it wasn’t a happy laugh.

Fe, fa, fi-fo-fum