Indigenize!

Rekindle Your Wild Joy through spiritual ecopsychology and the arts, including bioregional awareness, animism, & no-tech DIY fun.

“Making Thought Whole Again” Evolver event June 11, 2015

“Making Thought Whole Again.”

That’s the topic on which I’ll be in invited dialogue with host Glenn Aparicio Parry, linguist Matthew Bronson, and philosopher Ashok Kumar Gangadean as part of Native Wisdom for Modern Times on Evolver Learning Lab on July 16, 2015.

On a personal note, I must admit that the messenger from Evolver won me over not only with the interesting topic, but with her invitational email: “We would like some influential and radical women who can talk on various topics he will be covering.”  Influential and radical. Who can resist being flattered like that? :-)

Seriously, it felt so refreshing to see “radical” reflected back as a positive professional achievement. After all, along with meaning “extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms,” the word radical also means something quite fundamental: “forming a basis or foundation”; “of, or going to, the root or origin“; and existing inherently in a thing or person.”* So it makes sense to view radical thinking as a root teaching, instead of some weird offshoot to raise one’s eyebrows at. (I’m actually not digressing. My point is that Evolver’s courageous attitude bodes well for their endeavors, including this series.)

From the Evolver website:

Native Wisdom for Modern Times

Native Wisdom for Modern Times

5 Sessions • Starts June 25, 2015.

Host: Glenn Aparicio Parry, with Special Guests: Gregg Braden, Grandmother Mona Polacca, James O’Dea, Grandmother Susan Ka’iulani Stanton, Vernon Masayesva, Ashok Gangadean, Tina Fields, Carole Hart, Matthew Bronson, David Christopher, and Jerry Honawa.

“For all of the achievements of modern “progress,” the Western way of thinking has led us — personally and collectively — to a crisis. We experience ourselves as fragmented beings, separated from one another and Nature, and this alienation has led to destructive behavior that endangers the future of life on this planet.

“But each of us has the potential to transcend this crisis, and leave the era of separation behind.

“…At the legendary SEED Gatherings, [Parry] convened pioneering dialogues that brought together Native American elders and leading-edge Western scientists, to uncover the common perspectives of scientists and mystics. They also shared traditional Indigenous and Eastern spiritual techniques to help integrate this understanding into a reimagined, contemporary way of life.

“For this unique course, Glenn has gathered some of the most insightful and celebrated participants from the SEED dialogues and more to lead you to a deep appreciation of the emergent paradigm. They will teach time honored practices that will support you on the journey to a new way of thinking and being. And they will share their own experiences of the same journey.

 “These sessions will be filled with provocative information, honest testimonials, and practical advice from some of the thinkers, writers, and doers at the leading edge of this new, emerging paradigm of reality.”

*

To check it out or learn more, click:  Native Wisdom for Modern Times

*
  * Definitions of “radical” are from http://dictionary.reference.com

 

 

Dreams at 98 May 6, 2015

Filed under: Adventures,With Elderly Parents — Tina Fields @ 11:38 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Dad, 2013

My dad has been having dreams about my long-dead mom. At first he didn’t want to tell me their content. They’re sexy dreams; sweet dreams. He’s in bed with her. He gets up to go to the bathroom, and they are conversing. So simple; so sweet.

He often feels now that she, or his also-deceased second wife, are there in the room with him. Sometimes he gets the strong sensation that one of them is in a room he’s just about to enter, and he’s surprised when he opens the door to find she is not there — even though he knows full well they’ve not got bodies anymore.

The veils between the worlds are growing thin for him.

This is one element of what it means to be 98 years old.

***

I haven’t been writing about life with him here. I share some stuff with my friends on Facebook, but not here because I keep thinking this blog should not be personal in nature, but of widespread interest. The longer I go through this journey with my beloved elder, though, the more I shake my head and think, “Wow, I sure wish I’d known about that before.” So I’m going to start writing about it here for myself to process and help remember, and also for you folks, because there’s a chance you might find something useful for yourself in my experiences. And also because what the heck: life is short, and stories are best shared.

 

Thugamar Féin am Samhradh Linn May 1, 2015

Tulips in Boulder, 2012***

Today is May 1, and the flowers are blooming, sometimes even through the snow so you know they are serious and not about to back down anymore.

Happy Beltaine! Here’s a festive Maypole (earth-fertility symbol) and an old song in Irish to celebrate.

Maypole erection at New College of CA's Permaculture Intensive, 2007

Maypole erection at New College of CA’s Permaculture Intensive, 2007

According to An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa, this traditional Irish song Thugamar Fein an Samhradh Linn, sung on May Day (Beltaine), dates back a ways: “Edward Bunting—a 19th century music collector—said this song “is probably extremely ancient” and was sung in the Dublin area around 1633. Even so, Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin says it dates back to 1745, yet Mary Devlin (author of The Lost Music of Ireland) claims it was 1726, so the origin is rather vague.”

Want to hear it? Here’s the magnificent soprano Nóirín ní Riain singing it. I learned this song from listening to her CD, Celtic Soul.

There are of course numerous versions, as with all old folk songs. Check the bottom of this post for a second version that for some reason also involves herring.

It’s fun to honor the changing seasons in creative ways like singing. You too can sing in Irish!

This song is presented in three ways to  make it relatively easy for you to learn. The first line is in Gaeilge (Irish), the second is phoneticized pronounciation for native English-speakers (Foghraíocht), and the third is Béarla, a rough English translation. (Apologies to all native speakers and my relevant distant ancestors for any mistakes here: I grew up in an American desert region where Irish is rarely, if ever, spoken, and still don’t know much so must rely on others. Just doing my best to keep it alive and spreading, at least in song.)

***

THUGAMAR FÉIN AN SAMHRADH LINN

Gorgeous Maypole top from Buddha's Birthday celebration, northern CA. Photo by Tina Fields

Gorgeous Maypole top from Buddha’s Birthday celebration, northern CA. Photo by Tina Fields

   (We Brought the Summer With Us)

Véarsa 1 (Verse 1):
Babóg na Bealtaine, Maighdean an tSamhraidh,
(BA-bohg nuh BAL-tin-yeh, MY-jen uh TOW-ree)
Doll of May Day, Maiden of Summer,

Suas gach cnoc is síos gach gleann,
(SOO-uss gakh cruk iss SHEE-uss gakh glyan)
Up every hill and down every glen,

Cailíní maisithe, bán-ghéala gléasta,
(KAL-yee-nee MASH-ih-heh, bahn YAL-uh GLAY-sstuh)

Beautiful girls, radiant and shining in dress,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn
(HUG-uh-mar hayn un SOW-roo lin)
We brought the summer with us.

Curfá (Chorus):

Samhradh, samhradh, bainne na ngamhna,
(SOW-roo, SOW-roo, BA-nyeh nuh NGOW-nuh)
Summer, summer, milk of the calves,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We have brought the summer with us,

Samhradh buí ná nóinín gléigeal,
(SOW-roo bwee nah NOH-ih-neen GLAY-gyal)
Yellow summer of glistening daisies,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We have brought the summer with us.

Véarsa 2 (Verse 2) 

Thugamar linn é ón gcoill chraobhaigh,
Hug-a-mar lin ay oo-n gill khreev-ee,
We brought it in from the leafy woods,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We have brought the Summer in.

Samhradh buí ó luí na gréine,
Sa-u-roo bwee o lee na grayn-ya,
Yellow Summer from the time of the sunset,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We have brought the Summer in.   (sing CHORUS)

 

Kendall & me Permy 07

With Kendall Dunnigan, wild queen of OAEC, 2007. Flowers can be worn anywhere!

Véarsa 3 (Verse 3)

Tá an fhuiseog ag seinm ‘s ag luascadh sna spéartha,
(Tahn ISH-yohg egg SHEN-yim segg lOOS-koo snuh SPAYR-huh)
The lark is singing and soaring in the skies,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

Tá an chuach is na héanlaith ag seinm le pléisiúr,
(Tahn KHOO-ukh snuh HAYN-lee egg SHEN-yim leh PLAY-shoor)
The cuckoo and the lark are singing with pleasure,

Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
We brought the summer with us.
[Sing Curfá (CHORUS) again.]

Singing to welcome in the vibrant Spring spirits as we erect the maypole, 2007

 

 

According to the folks of An Chuallacht Ghaol Naofa , “…“féin” can be pronounced “hayn” or “fayn”, and “thugamar” can be “hugamar” or “hoogamar” depending on the speaker. Same with “Samhradh”, which can be “Sau-roo” or “Sau-rah”.”

***

Here are a couple more verses found on the most excellent folksong-nerd site Mudcat Cafe, posted by Malcolm Douglas on 7 July 2001, after he found it appearing as song #502 in George Petrie’s Complete Collection of Irish Music (ed. C. S. Villiers, 1903):

Of all the fish that’s in the sea
The herring is king, the herring is king.
Sing thugamur fein an samhra linn
‘Tis we have brought the summer in

The storm is o’er ’tis calm again;
We’re safe on shore from the raging main,
Sing thugamar fein an samhra linn,
‘Tis we have brought the summer in.

**

If you would like to learn how to sing more songs in Irish, check out Mary McLaughlin’s very user-friendly intro book/CD combo, Singing in Irish Gaelic (Mel Bay Publishing). It contains some great material, including a bouncy little childrens’ ditty about “Phillip’s little boat with Phillip in it” drowning in the sea.

Yep, pretty authentic Irish material, singing cheerily about death. Enjoy being alive right now to see another Spring!

 

***

 

Jay Bird Service April 21, 2015

stellers jay mid-flight

I am allergic to bee and wasp stings, so when I realized that wasps were building a large nest beneath the porch roof right above my front door, I naturally felt concerned. Every time the door opened, there was a high chance that a wasp would fly in – and then I would have to deal with it. I lived alone and was new to this community, so didn’t yet have any brave helpers to call upon to remove any interloping hymenoptera, let alone the whole dangerous nest.

When a wasp came into the cottage, I felt both scared and relieved to have noticed it before I inadvertently touched or grabbed it along with whatever it was sitting on. I would carefully capture the beastie against a windowpane with a drinking glass and a piece of paper, take it outside, and release it in a nearby wild field. But that nest? That was beyond me. If I messed with their nest in this warm weather season when wasps don’t sleep that deeply, there’s no way I could’ve gotten out of being stung. So I was stuck, and the nest’s presence there felt like a time bomb.

One day, something amazing happened.

I was inside, thinking about this dilemma – what to do; how long it would be before I wind up taking a trip to the ER; whether or not I should compromise my deeply held ethics by just using some bug killing spray like most Americans would without batting an eyelash.

At that moment, I heard a giant clanging sound outside. Clang, clang! Bang! What on earth was going on out there? I looked out the window, and noticed my porch wind chimes swinging wildly – but there was no wind. I went to the door for a closer look.

As I watched, I saw the source. A Steller’s Jay was swooping down under my porch roof, repeatedly, his wings hitting the wind chimes as he swooped and dived. Why was this happening? I went closer yet to investigate.

What happened next, I would never have believed had I not seen it with my own eyes. That jaybird swooped down one more time, then hovered, fluttering, beneath my porch roof, and snapped off the entire wasp nest with his beak. He then flew off with it to that same field where I had been releasing each individual wasp and threw the nest down in the grass over there.

I don’t know why he did that. Perhaps it was in order to eat the larvae later. But why go to the trouble of moving the nest for that, thereby riling up the entire swarm of adult wasps?

All I know is that this bird’s act served as an incredible kindness to me. He took the wasp nest far enough away where it would do me no harm. In one clean swoop, my worries were over for another full year.

A month or so, some afternoon guests (humans) and I were sitting together in lawn chairs in the back. They were admiring the many birds who came to my feeders and small open water source. But when a jay came among the songbirds, they expressed disapproval. “Jays are such nasty birds,” one opined. “Always thieving, and their voices are so loud and unpleasant. I wouldn’t let them feed here. If I were you, I’d chase them away.”  I just laughed and told them I saw things a bit differently from that. Those jays can have anything they want from me, forever.

*

*

Notes:

I have no idea about this bird’s gender, but decided to go with the pronoun “he” in this story to offer a bit of concessional balance to its main point of view that bucks current societal norms.

I enjoyed writing this love letter to a member of the avian family Corvidae, which includes crows, ravens, jackdaws, magpies and others along with jays. Thanks to my students in Transpersonal Service Learning at Naropa University for inspiring me to finally write it down by sharing their own wonderful stories of awakening through bird encounters.

Photo credit: Steller’s jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) photographed mid-flight, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk

***

 

Happy Pi Day! March 14, 2015

Filed under: Spiritual Ecopsychology — Tina Fields @ 3:46 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Happy Pi day!

As you likely know, pi (π) is a mathematical constant found in all circles. Perhaps you remember the old joke from geometry class: “πR2? No, pie are round.” (Hardy-har.) Since pi’s decimal expansion starts off 3.14… and today’s date is 3/14, it’s the perfect day to celebrate Pi and to feel wonder at the mathematically amazing world we get to live in. 

Taking Pi’s numerical sequence further, we get the exact moment of 9:26 today. If you missed it this morning, take advantage of the 12-hour clock option and nab another chance this evening to eat cosmic pi.

Perhaps you, like me, tend more toward greater skills in the arts or humanities than in mathematics. Well, you need not be left out. Here’s a super nerdy-cool thing to do: play with the connection between math and poems by trying to write a “PIEM” – that is, a poem where the number of letters in each word yields the sequence of pi’s digits. 

This really exists!  Cadaeic.net tells us how to write in “Pilish”:

“The idea of writing a sentence (or longer piece of poetry or prose) in which the lengths of successive words represent the digits of the number π (=3.14159265358979…) has been around since the early 1900’s. One of the earliest and most well-known examples is the following sentence, believed to have been composed by the English physicist Sir James Jeans:

“How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics!
The first word in this sentence has 3 letters, the next word 1 letter, the next word 4 letters, and so on, following the first fifteen digits of the number π.”

Two longer examples of poetic Pilish offered by mathematician Nick Yates are Near a Raven, Mike Keith’s retelling of a poem by none other than Edgar Allen Poe, and this century-old piem

Yates also shared a recording of the sound of pi (this one uses pi in base 12 to match up with the chromatic scale). How cool is that?

Finally, you can play with your mathematical food visually as well. Look at this gorgeous example of secret geometry based on circles.

From the blog World Mysteries

 

Photo (c) Kenneth Vincent

 Pi can be found everywhere!

If you want to get it down to the second, celebrate Pi Day exactly at 3.141592653589793238462643383279.

The universe is full of so many wonders. What’s your favorite kind of pi?

Pi pie image nabbed from lbtimes.co.uk 

**

More Sources

Pi mandala image (c) David Reimannn, found here

See more math wizardry from Nick Yates at nyates314.wordpress.com

 

Coming Soon: The Mindful Guitarist February 4, 2015

Michael's book cover My friend Michael DeLalla‘s first book is about to be born: The Mindful Guitarist.

Michael is not only one of the finest fingerstyle guitarists I have ever heard, he possesses a deep soul that shines through his music, along with a keen and quixotic mind.

This book is not only for guitar players. Michael also teaches World Music and Myth to community college students, and he knows how to weave things together. The way this book riffs on the creative process and the concrete development of mindful attention to enhance skills makes its insights accessible to anyone. Its publication will add to the blessings of the world.

Because I see this potential, I have donated the proceeds of my last dance calling gig to his Kickstarter campaign.

If you’re looking for a place to contribute that last bit of charitable gift money burning a hole in your pocket before the tax man comes, this would be a darned good choice. Support an independent musician and a new interdisciplinary book in one swell foop. You will also get loads of neat perks back, like CDs. (I have only plugged one fundraiser before this – the attempt to keep my then-employer, the most excellent Audubon Expedition Institute (AEI), alive. –Well, and several for the Girl Scouts, with whom I was forced into junior cookie capitalism. But that’s different. The point is, believe me, this project is worthy.)

To hear some of Michael’s exquisite guitar playing, read a snippet of the book, and find a link to his time-limited Kickstarter campaign, click here to go to Falling Mountain Music.

And thanks for mindfully listening to whatever in this world is making music, whether full moon crickets, a screeching bus, the contented snore of an old dog, or your own heartbeat.

 

Stellar Days and Nights February 3, 2015

Filed under: Announcements,Dance — Tina Fields @ 10:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Stellar 2015

*

Hey contradancing folk, consider coming to a long weekend event in the lovely Colorado mountains later this month,

Stellar Days and Nights.

Excellent food, dancing ecstasy, great music, and relaxing fun. It’s held in a summer camp setting, so you get to stay in rustic cabins with running water and dance and eat together in one large hall. You can even x-c ski directly from your cabin!

I’m co-calling with Scott Higgs to the transporting music of Foxfire (Daron Douglas + Karen Axelrod), and two of my favorite local Front Range musicians, Elizabeth Wood + Rodney Sauer.

This year’s event will feature both Contra and ECD (English Country Dance). Plus Rodney will teach contra piano, Erik will lead a late-night techno contra, Daron will lead an English ballad swap, there are jams and workshops for all levels of musicians, Ceili, waltz, and Cape Breton step dancing workshops, and an evening gathering for everyone to share their talent/no-talent. And along with calling contras, I’ll also lead two song sessions (1) Bawdy British Ballads & Funny Chorus Songs;  2) Chants, Rounds and Sacred Songs from Many Traditions), and a genderplay dance workshop.

Come play!!

February 19-22, 2015, near Buena Vista, Colorado.

I just spent the eve plotting the “Gender Shenanigans” workshop with my co-leader, Erik Erhardt. Oh, are we gonna have fun. And further infiltrate the straight dance world. And help enhance everyone’s joy. Hoopla!

There is still space available for you to join in.

For more info and to sign up, see http://www.stellardaysandnights.org/

*

Stellar t-shirt

*

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136 other followers