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With the Wind Comes the Muse

April 9, 2013

Or maybe it’s the other way around, perhaps the wind brings the muse, not on wings or whispers but banging and raging against the windowpane, rattling the door in its jamb. Spring is here and the north wind blows. In a day the wet world becomes dry, the character of the garden changes from winter mulch to a realm of possibility. And so, it seems, does the inside of my head where the little nagging voice that for months has been a soft and quiet reminder suddenly becomes insistent. It is time. For me it is time to write, but each of us has something brewing, some seedling started, some sense of promise not to be ignored. A boat to build before June, a sleeve to knit, a room to rearrange. It’s spring. 

Often I find that spring cleaning is an interesting interior event, while shaking out the drapes and rearranging the sofa, the interior furniture of my imagination gets dusted off and plumped up, adjusted and polished so that the little bits and pieces of ideas that over winter have come and gone with varying degrees of light and enthusiasm in front of the hearth fire of my creative mind now order themselves into voices, insistent voices, the voice of the Muse. Now is the time to begin. 

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Imbolc

January 25, 2013

Imbolc In the darkness of winter we crave light, any light, and so this weekend as we come up to the full moon of January our instinct to close our eyes and sleep is disrupted by the clear bright ice of night: the Wolf Moon. The ancient ones marked this cross-quarter day Imbolc and celebrated the goddess Brighid, patron of poets and smiths– later adopted by the Catholics as ‘Candlemass’ honoring St Brigid. The message is light. Whether it be candle, fire, incandescent, or moonlight, whether it is the light in your lover’s eyes or the creative fire in your heart, this is the time to take notice of the light around you: stoke it, muck around in the ashes of the tribal collective and find the light of truths glowing at its edges. Re-sort, rearrange, and revisit your own personal truths, your own light. Like our brother wolves, we tend to learn our place and then conform, eating at a common table according to a predestined hierarchy of safety. Perhaps there are new ideas to welcome into our process? In preparation for the coming spring, now is the time to sit by the fire and sift through the embers of your life. What seeds will you plant come the time of the great thaw? What part of your tribe makes your heart glow with certainty? What must you abandon in order to step into the light of the full moon of winter?

Pachacuti – 12/21/2012

December 17, 2012

12/21/12 Pachacuti – World Turning Over

 

I guess I haven’t been paying attention, or perhaps (as is usually the case) mania is a localized phenomenon, but it didn’t seem to me that 2012’s big date December 21st was causing as much furor as I expected, say seven years ago, when I first thought about it. But now that the Russians are heading for high ground and everyone who can possibly con or otherwise take advantage of evangelical stupidity has done so, let’s get a little perspective on the issue of Friday’s big event.

 

            First, a calendar is a construct of a tribe through which they track important recurring events. There are several calendars in operation today, and none of them is particularly accurate. They function as general place holders for accounting for one’s whereabouts. Nothing more. What is accurate and valid is marking the passage of time via the phases of the moon through the four quarters of the year– the two solstices and two equinoxes are exact measurements. (In case you’re interested, this is the pagan calendar cycle).  There should really be thirteen moons in a year, but that’s perhaps a different discussion. December 21 is the solstice, the shortest day of the year. Westerners happen to call this December 21, but it has always been so, even in the Dream Time when there were no names for things like days/weeks/months. At some point in the earth’s orbit, there is a short day and there is a long day. In our north, December 21 is the shortest day…but for the Inca and the Maya, it is the longest day. But the solstice as an event is real no matter where you are or what tribe you belong to. So what is going to happen?

 

            Calendars provide the blackboard upon which the tribal stories are drawn. For the Mayans, the calendar predicted certain eras. We in the west have the habit of naming historical periods, but we don’t predict the future. Many indigenous peoples do have predictive values in their mythology that tell of the times to come. And religions have a habit of using predicted doom and gloom to blackmail good behavior from their constituents. As I said, it’s tribal.  The Inca too have within their mythology a prediction for this solstice. Their own calendar predicted the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in the 15th century, and so too, it predicts that the world will ‘turn over’. For them, the world was turned upside down by the Spanish, their once mighty empire was ravaged, their people enslaved. Dec 21, 2012, the solstice, is the date the world will right itself.  

           

            The Inca elders say that there will be a return to the Divine Feminine, a turning away from masculine warring tendencies, a new awareness of our responsibility to the Earth as provider. I won’t go so far as to say that we’ve been looking in the wrong direction when we pray, but I will say that for the last two thousand years the wrong principles have been in place. Power and politics and religious dogma are great crowd control tools, but they are short term, insular strategies. The Earth has other ideas.

 

            Pachacuti, the world turning over. Wouldn’t that be great? How to prepare? Simple. Put away the weapons, get down on your knees and bend your head to touch the earth. Breath in the beauty, delicacy, and grace that is this universe and figure out one thing to do on Friday December 21, 2012 that will make your world a better safer, happier, place for all creatures, all creatures on Earth.

 

Jane Galer  Dec. 17, 2012

  

The Navigator’s Wife

July 31, 2012

It took 20 years, of course there were plenty of breaks and even other books written in the meantime, but this story stayed alive in my consciousness someplace until it was done. I’m thrilled to announce that my first novel has finally made it to print! The Navigator’s Wife, published by Long Nights Press is now available! This is a tale of a woman’s fierce quest for survival following a ship wreck off the Olympic peninsula coast in 1808. She is Russian, her captors are Makah. The surprising and thrilling story is true, and all the more compelling as a result.

Available now online and at bookshops worldwide. eBook coming soon!

poem on the Rowan moon

January 12, 2012

Máthair Críonna – Wise Mother

 

Grandmother Moon,

it seems you have taken it upon yourself to fill the void–

the one created by our striving,

to shelter us with your pale light, a quilt of calm.

You make us look more closely at the tiny cracks

the crevices, the shadows, this is the way of winter seeing.

You ask us to sit long into the night,

still and watching, a vigil to your passage.

 

And so I settle myself in the window, perched

over the forest of silence, hoping,

watching, holding the space between us

as sacred, alive. A quiet wondering

comes with each illumination, each grove in light,

as if you say, be calm,

watch beneath the surface

make the measure of your longing.

 

Be as the child in wonder

that the moon could come visiting the stairwell

shining, night beyond night, and no longer care why.

Just think about what it would be like

to lie naked drinking her light, the grassy earth your bed,

on a rowan moon in January, no tears to shed, nothing

needed at last but this simple self.

 

Grandmother moon, máthair críonna, mamakilla,

hold us gently sweet mother, hold us.

 

 

 

Jane Galer  Jan. 11, 2012

 

 

 

Winter Seeing

January 12, 2012

Winter Seeing

 

It is in our genetic memory. Somewhere in the fluid strands of our living is a set of codes that brings on seasonal longing. In summer we crave the sun. We want to stretch our physical selves with a sense of timelessness and youth. In fall, we become sober, serious planners and thinkers. In fall we sigh that summer is gone, but we are pragmatic and plan to move on.

            Come winter, we are battling a crippling fatigue, a reminder of our animal cousins who hibernate. The light is slanted, dim and short-lived. It creates shadows where we don’t expect them. Winter brings a silence down upon us. Deep within, we search for memory. We ache to sit at the fire of the ancestors, and some of us do, by passing over. The door of death seems more open in winter, more willing to take us. Death is, after all, all around us in the natural world.

            We want to come together as a tribe now. Lean forward and sit quietly, straining to hear every word spoken and not. We want to remember our stories. We want to see back to our destiny. Winter seeing.

            Winter seeing is a meditative journey, an opportunity brought by the paleness of light, the chill of the air, the softening of the world in snow and darkness. Now is the time to hone the stories we want to tell. To create with words an opening of peace, an opportunity that brewed quietly in winter will give birth in spring.

            Take advantage of the sacred geometry of your personal landscape, relish the relief from the sun. Find your den, your burrow, and go there with the two or three most sacred things you cherish, and be, just be. In the quiet space of your retreat, you will see your destiny. Be assured that to fill this quiet time with frenetic activity will only leave you exhausted when spring calls for the season of planting and rebirth. This is the time to empty your mind and let the muse fill it again with gentle ripples of truth. Remember your own personal and unique story and where it is you are meant to travel in this amazing journey that is life.

 

Jane Galer

The Whales Destiny

December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice blessings!

I love this time of year, the low sun slanting through the trees to the south, the smell of wood smoke outside, the visiting water birds feasting on the full belly of the river, and the grey whales heading south to their birthing land. The Q’ero live at 12 thousand feet in the Andes mountains, and yet in their mythology they give great reverence to the whale, the largest creature on earth, she is the keeper of our destiny. The Q’ero say if you want to know how your life is going as a human, look to the whale. If they are well, we are well.

            The whale lives at the very top of the upper world realm, where all possibility resides. She is our collective memory. She is our potential self. Destiny lines begin to fray if neglected, begin to tangle if we abuse our gifts. The whale remembers the story we learned long before we were born and have now forgotten. Retrieving our best destiny requires us to look to the future to define who we are. We are not the sum of our past, a haggard being dragged forever downward by failures and broken dreams. To live fully, we must throw a line forward to the future we know we are capable of as our best selves. Be inspired, spend time by the fire remembering your story. This is the purpose of the long night of winter. Discard what is no longer of use, unhitch the past, throw out a line to that destiny that fills you with excitement and joy, take a step, a single step toward it, and speak with the whale.