Indigenize!

Spiritual ecopsychology and the arts, including bioregional awareness, animism, shamanism, & no-tech DIY fun.

5:20 AM, another farewell July 17, 2014

Filed under: Adventures,Animism — BrujaHa @ 1:41 pm
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Stars

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5:20 am

 

Another dear friend

lost to this world

 

Her last message to me,

with a continent between us, was,

 

“Can’t talk right now: I’m on my way.”

 

Did she confuse me with someone else?

Or was there a deeper meaning?

 

Just in case, I’m paying attention;

watching for

yet another familiar pair of eyes

looking back at me

when I gaze up at the stars at night.

 

 

 

 

Iñupiaq ancient lore in video game May 11, 2014

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Exciting news on the indigenous storytelling front: the Iñupiaq people (of the place currently known as northern Alaska) will soon release a video game based on their traditional stories. For those who haven’t the ability to physically sit at the feet of their First Nations elders and listen, what better way to get this ancient knowledge of how to live in right relationship with the more-than-human world into the ears of today’s youth — and even the world?

Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa) is the story of a young girl who, with her arctic fox companion, must save her people from an endless blizzard.  From their trailer:

“Welcome to the top of the world. Where nature challenges life in the extreme. Where death lies waiting in the cold. Where you must explore the fantastical world of Iñupiaq stories to help a young girl save her people from an endless blizzard. …A game of survival in a place where survival shouldn’t be possible. A game that opens a gateway to explore what it means to be human.”

Indigenous-Owned

Upper One, the creators of this “atmospheric puzzle platformer” adventure game, say they are the first indigenous-owned video game developer and publisher in the U.S. To create Never Alone, they had experienced game developers join forces with Alaska Native storytellers and elders. Some of the stories are thousands of years old.

Ecopsychological Dimensions

On the one hand, such video games encourage more staring at glowing machines indoors instead of actually interacting with the natural world in both its physical and magical dimensions, as seen in Never Alone‘s storyline. From an ecopsychological viewpoint, I find this a painfully ironic disjoint. But if we accept the fact that the burgeoning use of internet technology is here to stay for now, telling traditional stories in an interactive way like this is a wonderful use of it – especially if players then apply the principles to their own lives, seeking deep relationships of the sort featured in the game.

Native Language

The game will be released in Fall 2014 so I obviously haven’t played it, but from the trailer alone I love nearly everything about it. Besides the sheer gorgeousness of the visuals and the fact that it offers vitally important traditional lore in such a delicious and widely accessible package, one of the best things about this game is that it is presented in the characters’ own language of Inupiat, with an English translation below.

Why is this so great? Because native languages are in serious trouble. According to MIT’s Indigenous Language Initiative, “In the world, approximately 6,000 languages are spoken, of which only about 600 are confidently expected to survive this century.” Preserving them is important not only for the speakers of the languages themselves and the integrity of their cultures each one’s language creates and holds, but the fact that diversity of languages is intimately tied to biodiversity. First Nations languages contain words and phrases for local natural events and features. They therefore hold keys for the local natural world’s survival and thriving, so when the language is lost, this knowledge of how to work with and care for the local environment is lost as well. The loss of a native language is therefore a painful loss for the whole world. Exposure like this game offers could go a long way toward preserving and even expanding these languages’ use.

What, no Mac version?

The game will cost a reasonable $15, but is only going to be released for PS4, Xbox One and PC. No mention of Mac. :-(   So I only hope I can gain access to the right kind of machine for awhile to play it. (Hey Upper One developers, if you’re reading this, please make a version for Mac too!!)

To learn more or to play it once it’s released, here is the game’s websitehttp://neveralonegame.com

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Spring Potential March 20, 2014

Filed under: Spiritual Ecopsychology — BrujaHa @ 8:47 pm
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Happy Spring Equinox!

The warmth and light are growing.

What kind of seeds or life reboot

Will you consider sowing?

 

Meyer lemon tree. Image by Tina Fields, 2014.

Meyer lemon tree which I couldn’t bear to leave behind when moving from Northern California, now living in my Colorado living room, thinks it’s bloody well time for spring.

 

 

 

 

 

“Dear Winter” letter March 2, 2014

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Dear Winter,

Despite your many fine qualities, I’m sorry but I don’t think we are suitable as a long-term match.

I want to break up and start seeing other seasons, beginning with Spring.  (I’d ideally love to be with Summer, but s/he is currently unavailable.)

Please leave my home as soon as you can, and try to be a bit kinder to us in the meantime.

Thank you.

–Tina

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dear winter snow tent

Unexpected overnight snow in the southern Arizona desert. Several tents were totaled. –Photo by Tina Fields

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Skiing accident á deux

Skiing accident á deux

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Farewell, Pete – and thanks January 28, 2014

Filed under: Announcements,Arts,Singing — BrujaHa @ 10:50 am
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Pete Seeger's banjo

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“To my old brown earth, and to my old blue sky
I now give these last few molecules of ‘I;’
And you who weep, and you who stand nearby,
I do charge you not to cry:
Guard well our human chain–
Watch well you keep it strong
As long as sun will shine.
And this, our home, keep pure and sweet and green,
For now I’m yours, and you are also mine.”

—Pete Seeger

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Pete Seeger young singout

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R.I.P. and deep thanks to our elder Pete Seeger, who just passed on at age 94, in late January of 2014. They say he was chopping wood just 10 days before he died.

Pete Seeger wielded folk music as a guerrilla tool to create a better world. His legacy spreads around campfires and along picket lines still, and on the sloop Clearwater (where a number of my students did environmental education internships). His powerful banjo inscription: “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender,” is, in my opinion, a sign of wisdom, showing a way to make deep and lasting change from a place of positive, inviting joy rather than from angry confrontation.

What an example of a life well lived.

Sing on, sir – sing on.  And we will too.

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pete seeger walking banjo rr

 

Our Wondrous World: Magnetism & Dog Poop January 4, 2014

Statue by Adriano Cecioni, 1880_Dog Defecating

Statue by Adriano Cecioni, 1880: “Dog Defecating.”  (Do you believe this subject? Hope it’s public city art! Ha ha!)

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Ever wonder why on earth your dog twists and gyrates around in some area before deciding where to “go?”

New research suggests that the reason dogs take so long to figure out where to poop is that they have an internal compass that they use to search for the optimum location along a north-south axis, thus lining up their intestinal offering with the Earth’s magnetic field.

Sometimes the field gets muddied, so it takes your dog longer to find The Spot.

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EARTH-MAGNETIC-FIELD

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What difference do you suppose it makes which alignment along which animals poop? Does the magnetic pull facilitate elimination, or is the choice purely aesthetic?

Although the pooping news is new, the phenomenon is not. Other animals are known to work with magnetic north. Migratory birds come immediately to mind, and even city birds have that capacity.  Li-Qing Wu and David Dickman’s work published in Science demonstrates that pigeons’ brains contain special single cells and a substrate that “encode magnetic field direction, intensity, and polarity”, thus, it seems, conferring their famous “homing” ability.

Not only birds use magnetic guidance: fish, turtles and mammals can do it too. According to European research reported in National Geographic, deer and cattle often graze in a north-south direction that aligns with magnetic north. African mole rats have also been shown to possess a magnetic compass, as does one species of bat.

Inspired by others’ prolific output via this method, I’ve decided to re-blog the following well-written article from NPR (my first reblog) rather than researching further and writing about it myself. -erm, except for this preface, which I suppose amounts to exactly that. Oh well. –What do you think of the practice of reblogging? Is it okay?

At any rate, hope you enjoy thinking about this as I did.

–TF

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Everyone Poops, But Dogs Do It With Magnetism

by Mark Memmott
Reblog from The Two-Way: Breaking News from NPR, January 03, 2014

Dog owners have all been there when walking their canine companions.

Fido sniffs the ground and maybe turns around a few times. He searches. “No, not that patch,” he seems to say. “Maybe this one. … Or over here. … Umm, maybe not.”

Then, finally, he gets into position to … well, let’s just say leave that deposit that you’ll have to pick up.

According to researchers from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, the pooch might be aiming to poop along a north-south axis that lines up with the Earth’s magnetic field.

In the journal Frontiers in Zoology, they report that after watching 70 dogs do their business over a two-year period (1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations), they reached the conclusion that they (the dogs) preferred to do their No. 2s “aligned along the North-south axis under calm [magnetic field] conditions.”

And when the magnetic field is in flux, “this directional behavior was abolished” — which might sometimes explain why your dog just can’t seem to settle on a place to go.

One might ask why this discovery might be important.

Well, , this is the first time a “measurable, predictable behavioral reaction” to the magnetic field’s fluctuation has been demonstrated in mammals. And that, in turn, could mean that other behavior scientists need to “revise their former experiments and observations and consider the phenomenon in their current and future experiments.” It also might mean that “biologists and physicians [should] seriously reconsider effects magnetic storms might pose on organisms.”

One also might ask who had to do most of the observations. Our hats are tipped to him or her.

We should also give a nod to Taro Gomi, author of Everyone Poops, for giving us a start to our headline.

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In the Comments, Serafin Garcia made a wonderful suggestion: “Must add this to the BSA Handbook as an alternative method to identify North.”

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Read the full Frontiers in Zoology article here.     Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field.  Vlastimil Hart, et. al. Frontiers in Zoology 2013,10:80 doi:10.1186/1742-9994-10-80.

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Find the original NPR post at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/01/03/259416979/everyone-poops-but-dogs-do-it-with-magnetism

 

New Year Intention Meditation December 31, 2013

drawing by jef murray

Happy new year!

From the composting wisdom of our past years, may we all grow a strong, supple new year of life; one that shelters and feeds the singing birds of the soul.

The environment has effects on us – body, mind and spirit. If we align our actions and thoughts with large natural movements like seasons, weather, lunar/solar lineups, night and day, etc., such powerful and pointed energies can help with the smaller echoed movements of our own lives.

January 1, 2014 brings a lunar perigee, a.k.a. “supermoon.” This means very special conditions. A lunar perigee occurs at a specific point in the Moon’s elliptical orbit dance around our planet: the moon is full or new, is lined up with both the Earth and the Sun, and finally, comes very close to the Earth. Balance and swing your celestial partners!  According to Cornell University’s astronomy site for laypeople, the Moon is slowly leaving us. Each year, the moon orbits earth about 3.8 centimeters further away. So the power of these lunar perigees will slowly lessen over time. Let’s enjoy it while we’ve got it. At the dark of the year with that supermoon inciting powerful tidal influences to boot, why not work now with intention setting?

On the eve of each New Year (as currently celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar), rather than setting myself up for sure failure by making soon-to-be regretted “resolutions,” I enjoy simply taking time to contemplate my life over the past year(s) and considering what I’d like to invite in for the new. These are not wishes for material possessions or specific adventures. Although both are indeed enjoyable, that’s not the point. These intentions are about habits like internal qualities, thoughts, and behaviors to further develop, or decisions about how to better relegate my time and attention, so my life is more connected and joyful.

To facilitate that process for you too, here is a simple, contemplative, intention-setting process.

Contemplative New Years Intentions

  1. Find a quiet place to comfortably sit still. Light a single candle if you like, to help focus your mind. Look into the flame and do some deep breathing to relax. Make a little internal offering of gratitude for your life and this moment.
  2. Then connect with your heart, soul, higher self, spirit helpers/ancestors/god(s)… whatever you resonate with that is larger than your ordinary-reality personality-level self; that which is vast and loving and wise.
  3. Consider the past year. Ask for help in seeing clearly, and with eyes of kindness, which aspects of your life are going well and which could use some changes.
  4. Feeling some regrets? Yeah, welcome to a human incarnation. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Kiss the regrets and let them go. You have the chance now to try a different way. If they really burden you, write them down and then set them to one side for now.
  5. Consider what you’d like to bring into your life now. What seeds do you want to plant now for germination or even full flowering over the coming year? What specific kinds of things should you consider for your intentions list? Which are simple, yet also deep leverage points for change? You can also ask for help with clarification. Choose no more than 5 intentions, maximum. (Make this an opportunity, not a burden. How much attention span, time, and energy do you really have? Only name those intentions you can, and truly want to, focus and work/play on.) Write these down on a different paper.
  6. Read each intention aloud. As you do this, connect with your heart and imagine your life with each of them coming to pass. Use all of your senses, if possible. Reading them aloud like this can bring more clarity: you may then wish to re-write them or change them. That is fine. Keep doing this process until the words feel right all through your body.
  7. Rewrite your Intentions list on a nice piece of paper. Place it on your bedside, dresser, or altar where you will see it often over the next months, reminding you to keep bringing the intentions into being.
  8. On New Year’s Eve before you go to bed, read your intentions list and feel each one in your heart.
  9. Do this again upon waking on January 1. If possible, go out into the sunshine to read them, allowing the warm golden light to energize them and you. After reading your Intentions that morn, become very still for a few moments and allow their meaning to settle deep within you. The new year has begun, and with it, your life’s potential.
  10. As the year progresses, keep asking spirit to keep giving you guidance about necessary course corrections or attitude adjustments – whatever’s needed to help what’s on that list turn into manifest reality.

May your new year of life bring you much joy.

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The lovely drawing is by Jef Murray. See more of his work at http://jefmurray.mymiddleearth.com/