January 29th 2009 - SHIMMERING IS
Time began as story uttered
Form expanded and creations sang
Cycles connected as stories
Legends layered as Families
Words are words are words
Songs are sung and hearing is seasonal
Time will continue until all movement is Sung
WOMYNS ELDER SHIMMERING
Adult woman is an individual. Of course, she has family, community and more. Her growth, inspirations, influence and movement are GATHERING. Her hunger is SEEKING. Her humility makes room for risking depth. Endurance is an ally.
A woman entering mid 40’s will feel her individual core threads synthesize a gathering of layers. Swings in outer perspectives and inner moods – from guru like peace and presence to possible cave like urges, pushing away others and mental struggles. All necessary changes. An adult woman is entering the Elder Womyns Rite of Passage. Reach out for resources.
YOUR PARTICIPATION WILL OCCUR ON MANY LEVELS
Through the transmission of knowledge designed to root you in your sacredness as a woman
Second, through introspection to journal your feelings and observe the core changes in how you hold yourself in the world
Third, through healing your adolescent and mid-life selves through meditative practices, creative exercises and ceremonial honoring of our rites of passage so that regardless of a woman's age, our foundation and dignity as women is restored.
Elder Womyns’ Rite of Passage is a series of Rituals to surrender and quiet the skills of GATHERING. With the support of other women these Rituals then opens the Elder Womyns’ Portals of VISIONS. Her llifetime of gathering Common Reverence/respect, Common Sense, Common Ground and Sense of Place are threaded into her Elder Shawl.
If a woman in puberty and adulthood made herself available in any sacred way during MoonTime there was a Vision shed/cast from GrandMother Moon, GrandMother Earth and GrandFather Sun. These Visions are stored in the Elder Womyns’. They are revealed to her in the Last Quarter of each Moon cycle. The infinite 8 is the Vision symbol of the Four Way Spiral.
Words and writing are difficult when discussing Rituals. Experiencing and cognitive mentoring bring clarity and revelation.
CONTACT The Ancient Schools of Mysteries for more resources –
Offered are more stories and perspectives on women's bodies, cycles, sexuality and power as shared through an Ancient Lineage. Unfortunately manmade politics and religions destroyed access for generations to some. These revealed teachings embrace the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, erotic, ecological and cultural dimensions of Women's Blood Mysteries, in particular, menstruation and menopause, as relevant to women of all ages.
Elder Womyns imitate Wolf Families Teachings and Strengths
When a wolf family is separated the choices are clear die or survive.
A band of Athapaskan Gwich'in, stricken by famine, decides to abandon two very old women to die. Left only with some hides and a bone knife, the unlucky elders react struggling for life and succeed. This story, written by the Gwich'in writer Velma Wallis, transforms into a novel an old Gwich'in myth. Published in 1993 by a small Alaskan publisher is a best seller though it was severely criticized by the tribe's traditionalists. But there is nothing that denigrates the Gwich'in in the novel, if we consider the myth as the story of an infraction of a fundamental cultural trait, respect for the elders. This is the main leitmotiv, together with the relationship between mankind and animal world. The famine stricken Gwich'in band is represented as people forced to imitate a pack of wolves to survive. The victims of this shift from culture to nature, the two old women, answer reaffirming their humanity, re-inventing the material culture of their people. They survive till spring and scarcity becomes plenty, which means closeness to the source of animal power: protecting themselves from mosquitoes they disguise themselves with muskrat grease and hides, while the break of cultural respect for the elders causes further scarcity for the unfortunate band. The recomposition of the Gwich'in group with the two women is very gradual and involves rules of hospitality, gift exchanging and, finally, reunion of relatives. The novel demonstrates that social order bases itself on indeterminate roles, on the inverted signs of strength and weakness. Ignorance of this on the social level means ignorance on the natural level; transgression of codes and famine are equivalent and the balance is re-established through the sharing of the goods between the weak and the (supposed) strong.
CHEROKEES CALLED THE SUN THEIR GRANDMOTHER
In traditional Cherokee cosmology there is a pervasive symbolic association between ceremonial and domestic fire and the aged. According to W. Gilbert Grandmother Fire is the old woman out gathering wood. Since old age and the adjective old or ancient denotes wisdom, ritual power, and imposes respect, traditional Cherokees address fire, in ritual context, as Ancient White or Ancient Red, Grandfather or Grandmother. Fire is also closely associated with the sun. Thus both fire and the sun, two of the most powerful forces in Cherokee cosmology are regarded as grandparents. In Cherokee color symbolism, red is associated with victory and success; conversely, white reflects old age, wisdom, purity and peace. The Cherokee beloved men, observed J. Adair, are men resembling holy fire? Fire's white and red attributes also reflected the ancient dual political organization of the beloved men in the White and Red hierarchies. Like the elderly, fire ought to be treated with respect. Knowledge of the association of specific illnesses with a lack of respect toward fire is also widespread among today's older Eastern Cherokees. The Celebration of Togetherness between the Eastern and Western Cherokees has revitalized the symbolic association between fire and the aged, both the living ones and the tribal ancestors. The sun and the moon played an important role in traditional Cherokee social, economic, and ceremonial life. The native term for both sun and moon is Nunda, which conveys the idea of luminary. The sun/moon was often regarded as an important intermediary sent to help mankind. As mythical grandparents, the sun/moon and fire are the only spirits to which prayers, in the true meaning of the term, are offered. In the old days, the Cherokees called the sun their grandmother and appealed to her in various rites for love attraction and for the cure of certain diseases. The moon, the sun's incestuous elder brother, was referred to as maternal grandfather. According to Gilbert the moon is the especial protector of ball players, just as the fire is of the hunter. Like the beloved men and women of the tribe, whose roles were those of "apportioners" of economic goods and medico-religious services, the sun/moon is ritually called unehlanuhi, meaning "he has apportioned", referring to the time dividing role of the sun, or "the provider". The control women had over much of the agricultural activities was reflected in the symbolic association of corn with the female gender and, more specifically, with "old woman", by which appellative corn was also known to the Cherokees. The mythical ancestor of corn was Selu (lit. corn), the wife of Kanati, the Lucky Hunter. Directly connected with the corn/grandmother complex is another symbolic association between the mortar used to grind corn and old woman. The mortar is symbolic of abundance and economic well being and was used by the leading medicine man as a seat or a stool for his ritual paraphernalia, placed upside down in the center of the room where dances were held during winter months. A key element of Eastern Cherokee winter ceremonials that used an overturned mortar and/or ceremonial fire as its center was the so-called Booger Dance, interpreted as a ritual dramatization of Cherokee-white relations. Recently R. Fogelson and associates have suggested an alternative explanation to Speck and Broom's classic interpretation of the Booger Dance. It acts out a basic tension between old men and young men in which each fear and desires the power of the other, yet neither can exist alone. In such a context, the temporary disruption of the traditional harmonious order caused by the intrusion and rowdy behavior of the boogers serves to emphasize the need to return to normality and to control anti-social forces. Aboriginal Cherokee mythology and ceremonialism present a number of symbolic and ritual associations between the aged and certain animals. Among the birds, the eagle was considered sacred and associated with the wisest beloved man, the Uku, or town chief. While the eagle was symbolic of victory, peace, and the White Chief, the raven was unmistakably associated with the War Chief, whose native title means precisely The Raven. This bird is also associated with witches and conjuring. Older Eastern Cherokee openly admit that witches are generally old. Like the raven, the owl is also associated with old people and, more specifically, with witches, but this is not always the case. In fact, the ancient fire can also take on the appearance of an owl in order to detect the presence of witches and defend the people from their attacks. There seems to be an overall positive connection between the animal world and the aged. This positive relationship is often reflected in tribal mythology wherein animals are often featured as helpers, assistants, and even avengers for the aged.
AMATERASU SUN GODDESS BORN FROM WATER
Amaterasu is described in the Kojiki as the SUN GODDESS who was born from Izanagi, who was also accompanied by her siblings Susano'o, the storm deity, and Tsukuyomi, the moon deity. In the Kojiki, Amaterasu is described as the goddess from which all light emanates and is often referred to as the sun goddess because of her warmth and compassion for the people who worshipped her. Some other myths state that Amaterasu was born from water.
Most of her myths revolve around an incident where the goddess traps herself in a cave because of her brother's actions. For a while, everything amongst the three revered gods was peaceful and all of the world ran smoothly. One day, Susano'o, in a drunken rampage, trampled Amaterasu's rice fields, filled all of her irrigation ditches, and threw excrement into her palace and her shrines. The Omikami asked her brother to stop but he ignored her and even went so far as to throw the corpse of a skinned horse at her hand-maidens who were weaving at the time. The women were killed by the wood breaking apart and piercing their bodies (in the Kojiki it was their reproductive organs that were pierced.
Amaterasu was greatly angered and in protest she shut herself in the Heavenly Cave and sealed it shut with a giant rock. As a result, the world was consumed with darkness. Without her, everything began to wither and die. Eight million Kami gathered in front of her cave and devised a way to lure her out. They all sat around the cave and set up a mirror across from the entrance. Ame-no-Uzume, the voluptuous goddess of merriment turned over a wash-tub and began a sensual dance, tapping the beat on the tub. She exposed her breasts and lifted her skirts as she danced. All of the gods made a great noise of yelling and cheering and laughing. Amaterasu peeked out to see what the noise was about. She asked the nearest god what was going on and he replied that there was a new goddess. When Amaterasu asked where she was, he pointed to the mirror.
The Omikami had never seen herself before and when she caught her reflection, she stared at the radiance of her own form. She was so surprised she said "omo-shiroi,” which means both "white face," which the Omikami had, and "fascinating.” When she was out of the way, Tajikara-O shut the rock behind her. Having lured her out of the cave, the gods convinced her to go back into the Celestial Plain and all life began to grow again and become strong in her light. Once back in the Celestial Plain, she made sure that she was ready for her brother's harsh actions again by having a bow and quiver at her side.
GRANDMOTHER SPIDER WOMAN
The fire god is perhaps the oldest image of a Mexican god; its Aztec name is Huehueteotl, meaning "the old one,” and is represented as a toothless, decrepit, bearded old man by the Olmecs, Zapotecs, Teotihuacans and Aztecs. He is the god of the center related to the cardinal directions and the Lord of the Year. His female counterpart is CHANTICO, an aspect of the GREAT GODDESS COYOLXAUHQUI, who is connected with the moon, agriculture and war. Very important in the North American mythology and ritual is Grandmother Spider Woman; related to the underworld, fire, the center, war, she often is the Lady of the animals and seeds. Spider Woman is sometimes also a Creator and a trickster; she leads mankind through the underground worlds to this earth and is associated to ants in Southwestern mythology. In the Southeast the image of a spider is connected with fire, sun, the cross symbol of the center and the four directions in many gorgets of the Southern Cult. I cannot demonstrate that this very ancient divine figure developed into a female Creator in North America and a male fire god in Mexico, but the hypothesis is fascinating. In Northern Mexico Grandfather Sun or Fire is worshipped by the Tarahumara, Huicholes, Cora and Huaxtecs. The supreme Mayan god was Itzamnà; cross-eyed, toothless and decrepit, he was the god of the most important day of the sacred calendar, Ahau, the god of the Mayan ruling class, protector of medicine and inventor of the writing, his solar aspect was God G, lord of the sacred number four. Selected old women danced wearing special dresses at his feast. The association between the ideas of heat, esoteric knowledge and old age is developed not only at a mythic level but it is also important in today's Mayan religion and society. The opposition "warm-cold" is fundamental in Maya Tzotzil universe. Life is a journey through various stages of warmth from birth to death. An elder, a shaman and a veteran in the system of the political-religious charges reaches the warmest stage of all. Meaningful oppositions between "old-young" and "male-female", associated with "warm-cold", show everybody's position within this very patriarchal hierarchical culture, where the more powerful, the warmest, are the old men and the least powerful, the coldest, are the young women. Among the Tewa, in New Mexico, there is a similar relationship between warmth and religious-political charges. The animal aspect of the lords of the Mayan villages, their nagual, shows old age's somber side: witchcraft. On one hand, shaman ambiguity makes initiates respected, feared and looked for, for example Midewiwin medicine men and women; on the other hand, old people envy the young ones and try to steal their life span by means of their dark powers.
Old age may be considered as a "social disease,” a consequence of human domestication. Animals usually do not live long enough to show old age decadence and only when they are tame, they are permitted to become old. Tameness, that is socialized and "civilized" life, therefore, allows old age to show itself as well as chronic - degenerative or long brewing diseases. Usually pathologies spread especially in an urban context and reduced child mortality rate contributed to population increase, often accompanied by too high birth rates. This process frequently provoked a further diminution of average life hope, that is people are not likely to become old where development of productive forces has not occurred historically. As to North America average mortality birth rate was usually high, but, once overcome this risky age, one might reasonably hope to live a long life, if traumatic incidents were excluded. Since old age was the evidence of one's own experience and ability to avoid death, the elders were feared and respected for their spiritual powers, even if skeletal remains, mummies, myths and pictorial representations depict a picture of Indian old age not precisely idyllic from our modern point of view. However, the Anasazi inhabitants of the American Southwest reached the average age of forty, more or less the same as Europeans at the same period and today's average for many Third and Fourth World people. Diet was important: a diet based especially on cereals was reflected in adult life on the skeleton and blood apparatus and it was especially influential on dental care. Teeth were usually consumed also by the habit of softening hides in the Plains and among the Inuit. Osteoporosis, arthritides and arthroses were influenced by the habits of carrying weights with a burden strap, crossing legs in sitting, kneeling long hours grinding corn and seeds. Pretty frequent were both natural and induced bone deformities as well as bone tuberculosis (Pott's disease) as shown by pottery vases. Bad home ventilation caused lung affections, while anemia due to iron lack was a consequence of an unbalanced corn diet. Most Indian cultures were subject to the risk of famine, that was especially frequent among the hunting cultures. Where medical science was scarcely developed, as was the case in North America compared to Mesoamerica and the Andes, sometimes families were forced to put and end to their aged ones' lives. This was the sad custom in the Arctic, the Subarctic, the Desert and the Plains.
Old and Abandoned
In a highly individualist, poorly structured society, which glorifies strength, the aged did not always find economic support, especially if they belonged to the poor. Two examples, E. Wallace, E. Adamson Hoebel' Comanches and R. B. Hassrick's Sioux demonstrate the point.
Wa-do, Talking Stick is now passed to you, listening
The serious problems in life are never fully solved. If ever they should appear to be so it is a sure sign that something has been lost. The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solution but in our working at it incessantly. This alone preserves us from stultification and petrefaction.
Human can learn from the river~~~~~ When the river is controlled draught comes. When the river flows in the cycles of the seasons the River teaches====== When a human is the River dreams speak. What would change in you and your relations to cycle as the River?
The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
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