Monday, October 16, 2017

BE ALWAYS DRUNKEN #blog #MondayMotivation #WorldFoodDay

see @FlynnGrayWriter blog

















ABOUT THAT NEW BOOK

“It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.”– Charles Baudelaire




I must admit I have been having a bit of trouble pulling a press kit together to launch the marketing campaign for my new poetry book, Monsters & Bugs. My new book published August 27, 2017 just ahead of my 65th birthday on the 31st.

I am not quite three weeks and four pages into shaping the press kit when I have a quite sinister car accident which totals my 2004 Mazada Miata convertible.  The wreck of my world bangs me about a bit.  Some part of me feels like it has become part of the crushing wreckage, now a burden of time. It is not in this moment but in another, the one in the gap between then and now the ghost of Baudelaire finds me.  “Become drunken,” whispers his shade. It is between moments when death flashes underneath the green light at the intersection where the accident occurs, and I now, marveling that the severest of my several injuries is a soft tissue, contusion of the wrist the doctor advises will heal in six weeks, that I think of Baudelaire who suggests how to become drunken in one’s inner nature and why.

All this while ice has been my friend, I have become aware of existence and the burden of time. Rest and compression using a Spica thumb brace, then elevation of the injury are constant companions. Being a mythologist, I examined “Spica” in Greek mythology by pressing the image back into its archetypal, historical pattern.  Spica is the grain of the goddess. In this September-October moment Spica reflects the Ceres sacrifice, the horrible burden crushing one into Earth, dust to dust. And one does not die, one lives.

The doctor assures me I will still be able to type but I find the constant throbbing between thumb and wrist hampers entering into necessary levels of depth that allow one of Baudelaire’s other maxims to operate.  Baudelaire’s second insight suggests when one is writing one continually strive waxing poetic even in one’s prose.  Thusly I recall the miracle in my transitoriness: blood becomes ink and water becomes wine and who is the poet whispers nearby, “be always drunken.”

Over the weekend I’ve begun car hunting for a new Mazda Miata convertible and this morning I have reopened the press kit to revise what I’ve written plus add some poetic touches to those lively monsters of my fancy you will encounter in Monsters & Bugs.


notes

1. Inspiration for this blog as well as finishing my press kit came to me while checking into Baudelaire’s turning of beauty.  One of the inspirations for insects as soul guides was noticing how not often insects are included in images of beauty.  Yet their very strangeness suggests to me they must be included.  I was checking into Baudelaire’s quote on including the strange and bizarre in our Beauty Way when I found @FlynnGrayWriter blog, a very fine, fingertip source for getting at the writings of Baudelaire on line.

2.  Pope, Stephanie. Monsters & Bugs: Selected Poems. ©2017, Mandorla Books.

ON AMAZON
Monsters & Bugs





Friday, September 29, 2017

DAVE ALBER GUEST POST #blog 6 of 6 The Myths Of The Crow (Apsaalooke) People #NorthAmerica #native #mythology

Heart Of Myth Kindle Edition Amazon













THE MYTHS OF THE CROW (APSAALOOKE) PEOPLE



Hello Blogosphere!

I’m Dave Alber, the guest blogger for September on Stephanie Pope’s mythopoetry.com blog.

In previous blogs… I introduced the core grammar of myth, described the alchemical nature of myth, as well as the ecological vision of polytheistic myth. We took a look at some of the characteristics of the mythology of Native North America.

In The Heart of Myth: Wisdom Stories from Endangered People, we explore the myths of six geographic regions (North America, Arctic, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceana.) Beginning with North America, lets take a look at one specific community of people in North America and their myth of world creation.

[What follows is from The Heart of Myth.] 

Chapter 1—Crow (Apsaalooke): The Earth Diver

The Crow people call themselves the Apsaalooke, meaning “people of the large beaked bird,” after a mythological trickster in their oral tradition.[1] Many modern Apsaalooke tell their history in mythological terms. “We know where we came from, we know where we’ve been, and we know whom we are,” states the Crow Nation website:

We came through three transitions to become who we are. We were (Awaakiiwilaxpaake) People of the Earth, we were all one mankind, we became (Biiluke) on Our Side, we became (Awashe) Earthen Lodges, and we became Apsaalooke some 2000 years ago.[2]

The ancestors of the Crow had varied life ways including hunting, gathering, and farming, stories of which survive today in cultural memory. In the 1400s, under the leadership of the legendary ancestor, No-vitals, the Crow people migrated to the Great Plains culture area.[3] The Native Americans of the Great Plains lived primarily through large game hunting, particularly the buffalo, which people trapped in box canyons or stampeded off cliffs. Small family tribes lived in portable tepees covered with buffalo skins, each tepee being a symbol of the people’s relationship with the land. “The tepee is a spiritual habitat that symbolically embraces her occupants as a mother.”[4] With the decline of the buffalo in the nineteenth century, the Crow people worked with the United States to integrate into the European American culture.[5] Loss of traditional lands has been a major threat to the Crow community. Today most Crow people live on their reservation in south central Montana.[6] Many see their children’s education as key to their cultural survival. For example, the Crow or Apsaalooke language is vigorously maintained and taught in Crow schools. This Siouan language is one of the most widely spoken Native American languages.[7] Another vital concern is the preservation of sacred lands. Oil drilling in Montana’s Valley of the Chiefs, for example, endangers a religious site containing the largest Native American collection of rock art.[8]

Myth: The Earth Diver

In the beginning, there was just That Old Man Who Did Everything wandering around. And it seemed to him that there was only his awareness . . . his attention . . . his presence. He noticed the water below him, stretching out for as far as he could see. But soon there were voices and circular ripples on the surface of the water. He listened.





[1] Grim, John A. and Magdalene Mocassin Top. “The Crow/ Apsaalooke in Montana.” Endangered Peoples of North America. Ed. Tom Greaves. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2002. p. 23.
[2] From the Official Site of the Crow Tribe: Apsaalooke Nation. http://www.crowtribe.com/history.htm. Retrieved 12-30-08.
[3] Medicine Crow, Joseph. The Crow Indians’ Own Stories. Lincoln: U. of Nebraska P., 2000. p. 23.
[4] Grim, p. 23-4, 29. George Bird Grinnell relates a Blackfoot myth of the buffalo maiden in his Blackfoot Lodge Tales. Joseph Campbell retells the myth in his Historical Atlas of World Mythology, Vol. 1, Part 2, and again in “The Message of the Myth” segment of The Power of Myth series.
[5] Grim. p. 24.
[6] Ibid. p. 23.
[7] 4,280 speakers in 1990 U.S. census. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=cro. Retrieved 12-30-08.
[8] Endangered Peoples of the World. Sierra Club: Montana Chapter website. http://montana.sierraclub.org/weatherman.html. Retrieved 12-30-08.



In the beginning, there was just That Old Man Who Did Everything wandering around. And it seemed to him that there was only his awareness . . . his attention . . . his presence. He noticed the water below him, stretching out for as far as he could see. But soon there were voices and circular ripples on the surface of the water. He listened.

“I suppose it’s just us.”
“Yeah, there is no one else here.”

That Old Man Who Did Everything followed the voices and the ripples in the water to their center, where he saw four ducks. Two were blue-eyed ducks and two were smaller red-eyed ducks. The small red-eyed ducks had just finished talking. On seeing someone other than themselves they appeared shocked and even a bit embarrassed for just having said that there was no one else about.

“Ha,” laughed That Old Man Who Did Everything. “Did you really believe that you were alone? I am here, too.”

The big blue-eyed ducks said, “Our hearts told us that there were others and we believed.”

“Yes,” smiled That Old Man Who Did Everything. “Tell me what your hearts say to you.”

“Our hearts say that there is something below the water.”

“Yes,” said That Old Man Who Did Everything. “You can dive and swim through the water. Why don’t you dive down, down, down and see what is there?”

So, the first blue-eyed duck dove down, down, down into the water. The others waited on the surface. Their friend had been gone a long time. “Maybe he is drowning,” said the second big duck.

“No,” said one of the two smaller ducks. “He’s a good swimmer. He’ll be fine.”

At last, with a gasp, the big duck broke the surface of the water. The other ducks waited for him to catch his breath.

“Well?” asked That Old Man Who Did Everything. “What did you find?”

“Just water, liquid currents pushing me to and fro, water above, water below.”

“Hmmm,” said That Old Man Who Did Everything. He pondered the duck’s words.

The second big duck flapped his wings on the water’s surface. “I’m sure I can make it. I’m going to find out what’s below all this water.” And so, he dove down, down, down into the deep water and was gone a long, long, long time. That Old Man Who Did Everything waited with the ducks and they waited together for a long, long time.

“I don’t know if he is still alive,” said the first big blue-eyed duck.
“What does your heart tell you?” asked That Old Man Who Did Everything.
“He’s alive,” said the first small duck. “Look!”

He pointed where the surface of the water broke with feathers, a winged body, frantic splashing, and panting. The others waited for their friend to catch his breath.
After a time, he spoke,

“I don’t know what there is down there. It seems to be all water.”
The first of the smaller red-eyed duck said,

“These ducks are too big to reach the bottom. I’ll dive down this time. I know I’ll make it!”
That Old Man Who Did Everything contemplated those words.

“You are small,” he said. “So be careful not to go beyond the capacities of your body. Bring awareness with you as you dive, maintain that awareness in the depths, lest you should black out and drown. Remember to be aware in the depths. I should be very happy to see you safely return to the surface.”
The small red-eyed duck took a deep breath and dove down, down, down into the depths of the water. Down, down, down he dove. On the surface, his friends waited. They looked around at each other and waited, waited, waited.

Finally, the small duck broke the surface of the water. He panted, but was quick to catch his breath.

“Aha,” cried That Old Man Who Did Everything. “Tell me what did you find?”

The small red-eyed duck said, “I swam down, down, down into the depths. Down, down, and down. And then my head struck something. And so, I placed that thing in my bill and carried it up to the surface.

He handed That Old Man Who Did Everything a small plant.

That Old Man Who Did Everything turned the plant over in his hands as he eyed it intently.

“Well, what your heart directly knew you have found through experience to be true,” he said, then turned to the second small red-eyed bird. “Now, you dive down, little brother, your friends are too tired. Beneath the water you will find something hard . . . and maybe beneath that there will be something soft. Take that soft something and place it in your bill. Bring it up to the surface.”

The fourth duck dove down, down, down into the water. He dove deeper, deeper, and deeper. Eventually, he struck something hard. He pressed his feet into it and broke that surface below. Deeper and deeper he went. His feet were now in something sticky and soft. He filled his beak with this soft something. Blowing air out of the nose holes in his beak, he rose to the surface. Up, up, up he rose and splashed on the surface.

“Aha,” That Old Man Who Did Everything said, “Our friend.”

The fourth duck was exhausted. He took the soft earth out of his beak and placed it in That Old Man Who Did Everything’s hands.

That Old Man Who Did Everything felt the earth in his hands. He looked at it, tasted it, and smelled it. 

“This is earth,” he said. “Creation can now begin.”

So, That Old Man Who Did Everything, with the aid of the ducks, divided the earth into four quarters . . . and directed the course of water on the land . . . and placed trees and living plants about . . . and arranged the sky above it all . . . and above the above they placed the sun, moon, and stars. That Old Man Who Did Everything addressed the ducks, “You have wings to fly in the air, feet to walk on land, and sleek bodies capable of swimming in the water. You embody this story of creation and transmit its knowledge in your flying, diving, and even in your most easygoing gestures. In the beginning, I brought my awareness to you. When men bring their awareness to you they will remember your story and progressively (or maybe all at once) attain knowledge of creation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dave Alber is the author of To the DawnMyth & Medium, and Alien Sex in Silicon Valley. His book The Heart of Myth is a global anthology of living myth that unpacks the grammar of world mythology. His website is DaveAlber.com and his English learning products are at EasyAmericanAccent.com.


DAVE ALBER SEPTEMBER GUEST BLOGS



Blog1
What Is Myth For You?


Blog 2

What Is The Core Grammar of Mythology?


Blog 3

What Is The Alchemy Of Myth?


Blog 4

What Is The Ecological Vision Of Myth


Blog 5
The Myths Of Native North America

Blog 6
The Myths Of The Crow (Apsaalooke) People

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

DAVE ALBER GUEST POST The Myths Of Native North America #mythology #September #blog Heart Of Myth Kindle Edition Amazon

Heart Of Myth Kindle Edition Amazon

















The Myths of Native North America
Hello Blogosphere!

I’m Dave Alber, the guest blogger for September on Stephanie Pope’s mythopoetry.com blog.


In previous blogs… I introduced the core grammar of myth, described the alchemical nature of myth, as well as the ecological vision of polytheistic myth. Now lets take a look at one geographical region and see how these attributes of myth apply.
In The Heart of Myth: Wisdom Stories from Endangered People, we explore the myths of six geographic regions (North America, Arctic, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceana.) Let’s begin with North America.

[The following is from The Heart Of Myth

Section 1: North America

Hear me, four quarters of the world—a relative I am! Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is! Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds.[1]

We start our journey in the spiritual landscape of North America, where every Native American ceremony gives evidence to the spiritual recognition of balance—for each Native American ceremony begins with a salutation to the four directions. No less than the Ancient Greeks’ centering themselves within cardinal virtues, the Native American salutation is a totalizing invocation of harmony. Hartley Burr Alexander writes of Native American mandalas, artistic representations of visualization practices that express the cosmos invoked in their salutary prayers:

As the colours, so the elements are related to the Quarters: to the North belongs the air, element of wind and breath, from it come the strong winter winds; the West is characterized by water, for in the Pueblo land rains sweep in from the Pacific; fire is of the South; while the earth and the seeds of life which fructify the earth are of the East.[2]

The polytheistic worldview of Native Americans harmoniously integrates the paradoxes of simultaneous material and spiritual realities as well as an Ultimate Reality (referred to as Wakan-Tanka, Awoawilonas, Tirawa, May Wah-Kon-Tah, Tatanga Mani, Usen, a’nehimu, the Great Spirit, Grandfather, or the Creator)[3] that expresses itself through diverse manifestations. Indeed, Native Americans are exemplary as a devotional people who accept life’s universal paradoxes by rising above all apparent conflicts of duality. Sympathetic awareness, the recognition of the heart is, for Native Americans, the guide to this devotional worldview. For example, “Zuni prayers to the directions begin and end with reverence given to the ‘Middle Place’ which is also related to the ‘heart or navel of the world.’”[4] The elaborate mandalas of the Zuni and Hopi that develop their social planning must be understood as projections through this “Middle Place” of the Eternal powers of the mythological dimension.[5] Humanities role, therefore, is seen as that of a mediator of these raw universal energies into the world. Likewise, a sacred circle of the Sioux is divided into the elemental powers of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air, and an Omaha creation story similarly relates, “Suddenly from the midst of the water uprose a great rock. It burst into flames and the waters floated into the air in clouds.”[6] From a materialistic observation, the elemental myth merely describes cosmological phenomena, yet, like any elemental myth in the Native American tradition, it presents a map for alchemical transformations of consciousness.

As a mediator of universal energies, every human being is a transforming agent. The impacts on our environment tell us as much. However, the act of transformation begins with the spiritual practitioner’s own consciousness. Native American spirituality is rich with the alchemical recognition of the mutability of consciousness. As the Zuni myth The Beginning of Newness relates:

Now like all the surpassing beings the Earth-mother and the Sky-father were changeable, even as smoke in the wind; transmutable at thought, manifesting themselves in any form at will, like as dancers may by mask-making.

In the Omaha ceremonial myth of the sacred pole, during a time of community conflict, a glowing tree is discovered in the forest. “The Thunder birds come and go upon this tree, making a trail of fire that leaves four paths on the burnt grass that stretch toward the four Winds.”[7] Furthermore, in the myth, the Omaha called the tree “a human being, and fastened a scalp lock to it for hair.”[8] The alchemical potential of human beings (whether individually or culturally realized and expressed) only makes itself known when the center is recognized—when balance is achieved. In the Native American mythological worldview this is achieved through maintaining awareness of one’s physical, emotional, and mental experiences in relation to the windy drag of the four cardinal powers.

Thus, the spiritual worldview of Native Americans has its feet planted firmly on the ground. And what is the ground of existence but something that is vigorously alive? Many of North America’s indigenous peoples still call the land Turtle Island. The myth The Woman Who Fell From the Sky tells why this is so. The myth also relates the creation of the landscape and its animals from the efforts of two brothers of differing temperament. Mudjikiwis is another story of brothers, one of which encounters four spiritual guides on his journey to the home of his lost wife—a being of transformative power—a Thunder bird.

The diversity of Energy’s manifestation in Native American mythology is consistently recognized as something to be celebrated. And what opens the heart and unites all people in the recognition of our ultimate sameness—our one heart—more so than laughter? Horned Toad Meets the Giants invites us to participate in the mythological world, not from the forced habit of the solemn misperception of separateness, but rather from the joyous commonality of recognition and celebration in life’s hilarious absurdity. 

notes




[1] Neihardt, John G. and Nicolas Black Elk. Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. Lincoln: U. of Nebraska P., 2000. p. 4.
[2] Alexander, Hartley Burr, Ph.D.. The Mythology of All Races: North America. New York: Cooper Square Pub., 1964. p. 186.
[3] Smith, Huston. A Seat at the Table: Huston Smith In Conversation With Native Americans on Religious Freedom. Ed. Phil Cousineau. Berkeley: U. of California P., 2006. p. xix.
[4] Alexander. p. 187.
[5] Ibid. pp. 185–7.
[6] Ibid. p. 98.
[7] Ibid. p. 100.
[8] Ibid. p. 100.


COMING THIS FRIDAY BLOG 6 of 6


In the next blog… we examine one group of polytheistic people from the Native American tradition — the Crow (Apsaalooke) people — exploring their culture and living myths.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dave Alber is the author of To the DawnMyth & Medium, and Alien Sex in Silicon Valley. His book The Heart of Myth is a global anthology of living myth that unpacks the grammar of world mythology. His website is DaveAlber.com and his English learning products are at EasyAmericanAccent.com

DAVE ALBER SEPTEMBER GUEST BLOGS