Lessons from Hurricanes Long Since Passed

One of the biggest Lessons from Hurricanes Long Since Passed, is how to ask for help, as a grown up.

In my culture, I was taught as a person growing up, that I was to become an independent, self-sufficient adult. And I did this: I went to college, I got an entry-level job in my field when I graduated, I paid off my college loans. I moved up through hard work and strategic promotions, year after year. My life was stable and predictable, and I didn’t need too much help, too often. Ocassionally, I needed help moving from one place to another, and rounded up friends, treating them to pizza and beer afterwards. My friends asked me to help them, and I reciprocated.

All that changed on August 13, 2004, when the WINDS from Hurrucane Charley tore the porch roof off my house and rolled it over the roof of the house, and tossed it in the front yard. The RAINS, driven by hurricane -force winds, poured through the gash in my roof, over my kitchen appliances, and flooded my entire house.

For a few days, I tried to take care of this problem –this disaster– all by myself, because, I Am A Grownup!

One day, some friends of mine from work came over to help me put up a tarp. These two grown men got on the roof with a ladder and I handed them a roll of visquine plastic I’d obtained in a frenzy, and they yelled down, “You need Help with this!” Up until then, it did not ocurr to me that I couldn’t solve this problem on my own.

I didn’t even know who to ask for help at that point, but the answers came in a confluence of coordinated helpers: my fire department, the Red Cross, my insurance company, a “dry out specialist,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA), a home restoration contractor, and their honestly good guys, and two families from my church, who housed my family for the next two months.

So, along with the lessons of the elements, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, the lessons of Wind and Rain and flooding, came this lesson which I am still absorbing and appreciating, 13 years later.

Be kind to yourself. Ask for help when you need it. Sometimes, you may not realize that what you are going through is in fact, bigger than you can handle alone, or by your self. That it is, in fact, a disaster. When in doubt, ask for help It’s a grown-up thing to do.

Now, review your Hurricane Plans, monitor the weather, and understand, there is so much help out there for you.

Share your peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path. All rights reserved.

Hurricane season is coming*… time to check your plans

HURRICANE SEASON IS COMING* , and it is time to check your plans.

(*) The Atlantic Hurricane Season, according to NOAA, runs from June 1 to November 30.  In the Earthways Shamanic Path, we observe Hurricane Season which  starts around August 15 and runs to October 15.  It’s a micro-season.

Each day in July, the Gulf of Mexico water temperature increases, the average daily temperature increases, and the whole Southwest Florida region ripens for a Hurricane.

It is us well past time, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, for you to make your plans so that you can keep you and your family (however you define that word,) safe.

Quickly:

1. Learn every thing you can about how hurricanes (“tropical disturbsnces”) form, and how they move around.  You must know the difference between a parallel storm, an exiting storm, and, an onshore storm.   (On shore storms are also “entering” storms, they make landfall. )  The way these storms interact on the Southwest coast, are different from the Southeast coast.  You should know why.

2.  You should know what the Saffer-Simpson Scale is.  Google-thusly.

3. Elevation determines evacuation times.  You should know how many feet you live above sea level.  The smaller the number, the more likely you will be asked to evacuate your home during a big storm.  

4.  You need to decide, depending on where you live,  and for each type of storm (parallel, exiting, onshore), what you and your family plan to do, for the different strengths of storms. 

5.  Every family is different, and family needs sometimes change.  Perhaps your family now includes a woman who is now 8 1/2 months pregnant.  Or, perhaps you now have a new born.  Or maybe you are now caring for a frail eldey person.  Or puppies.  This is the time to find shelters which can accommodate your needs.

 6.  Every family’s resources are different, and changable.  For example, if you normally have  a reliable car, what would you do if you needed to evacuate from an onshore storm, but your only car is in the shop, and you have been commuting by bicycle. 

      A typical stormy afternoon in Florida.

7.  Plan, don’t panic.  There is a lot to consider, but if you think about it now, today, and by that I mean over the weekend, you should be able to have an idea, before the middle of August.  Make a gaming session out of it.  (If this, tgen that…)  Then, you can relax and go about your regular day-to-day adventures.

8.  The Spiritual aspect of Hurricane Season is this:  how do you balance the need to plan, the tendency to panic, and the goal of relaxing into your life on a day-to-day basis.  You just do it.

Honor the Seasons where you live.  Delve deeper and Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us.

(c) 2017 to present, Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

Drafting a blog, 7 pages and I’m not even started 

I’m sitting in a waiting room with time on my hands so I’m drafting my next blog post by hand.  On paper.  Long hand.  I’ve written six pages so far, I’m  starting on page 7, and in some ways, I’m not even STARTED. 

 It’s a sprawling theme, something I have been chewing on actively, for three weeks, but which I now realize I’ve been thinking about my whole life:  home.

What is home, how do you define home, what makes a home, home?  Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, your sense of home defines you, and has a lot to do with how you see yourself in your Spiritual life.

Thoughts on Tribe

THOUGHTS ON TRIBES.  Are you in a Tribe of any kind?  Are you in more than one Tribe?  How big are your Tribes?  Where do they overlap or intersect?  How did you find this Tribe?  How did you gain admission or acceptance?  What are the goals and mission of the Tribe?

A Tribe, for the purposes of this post, is a group of people who may or may not be related by family status, who.have shared values and a shared mission, and meet on a regular basis to do things in support of this mission, but who are not necessarily organized as a 501 (c) (3) organization. 

Over the past year or two, I’ve noticed that more and more of my friends, are referring to the naturally formed groups of friends and family/non-family members as “Tribes.”  It may be that I mingle with groups that are predominantly “hippie,” but the hippie mindset isn’t a requirement of Tribe.  People who graduate in a commencement, may feel a close affinity, and may describe tgat as a Tribe.   I am thinking about this this morning, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans.

When I was #HuntingWaves yesterday, I was thinking about how many Tribes I am in, and I’m in at least three.  Except for the Water Warriors (a subset of which are folks who support the Water Blessing Ceremonies in some way, ) most Tribes don’t have a set name; they just exist.

Facebook helps all these Tribes stay in touch and network.  Oh, I just remembered my 4th Tribe.  And my 5th one.  One is about water.  One is about music.  And the other three are various branches of my spiritual growth and development.

Photo caption:  a Tribe graduating, May 2017.

Does your participation in your Tribes help you share your peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us?  

(c) 2017 to present by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

There Be Dragons, Rip Tide, and Synchronicity

Before I set out on my journey South by Southeast this weekend, to visit friends, attend ceremony, and go swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, my very good friend cautioned me to be careful swimming, because, “There be Dragons… And Rip Tides.”  I laughed with him nervously about the Dragons, and assured him I know what to do about Rip Tides.  

So I set out on my road trip, covering 100 miles on Friday, arriving at my friend’s house, after some mild excitement on the way down.

Next morning, I overslept my alarm, so I missed the 8:00 am water blessing ceremony.  I eventually completed the last 50 miles at about 10:30 am, arriving in the town with absolutely no idea where to find the Water Tribe, having only a list of four parking lots in my memory.  Ok.  I drove east until I had to go left or right.  I went right.  I drove a few blicks, and saw one of the named parking lots, pulled in and got the last space.  Got out of my car and realized I know the woman walking towards me.  She’s a member if my UU Church from Fort Myers, a member of the Water Tribe.  Synchronicity!

She told me where to find the rest of the Water Tribe.  I headed over to the Beach.  As I reached the crest of the Dunes, I immediately began scanning the surf, to gauge the  shape of the waves, and how they were breaking and running.  I grew up going to the New Jersey Shore, and learned all about Rip Tides there.  I was satisfied the current would be safe, and proceeded to the water’s edge.

I greeted my fellow Water Tribe, peeled off my mumu, put all my stuff in a pile, blew kisses to everyone, and strode into the Ocean.  

The waves were running about 18 inches high, which is hardly worth jumping, but it’s better than the Gulf which is like the World’s Biggest bathtub.  There, the waves are maybe 5 inches high.  On the other hand, there was a fairly strong tow to the North, but not an undertow.  I had to swim back to my mark on the beach, frequently.

Time slowed down, and I relaxed, and enjoyed the waves, the water, the sand under foot.  I practiced my wave jumping form.  I stretched my legs, I did slow spins, and corkscrew spins.  These are all the things you would expect a Pisces Whale Person to do at the beach.

There were lots of people about, some seaweed here and there,  but no bait fish.  But all at once I knew I was not alone in the water.  The Dragon had come.  Or in this case, maybe two small dragons.  It/they was to my right, and close to the sand.  I stopped jumping the waves and stood still and LOOKED.  I had removed my prescription sun glasses when I put everything down to go swimming, so I hoped I could figure out what this critter was, quickly.  I wasn’t positive, but I thought I had a good idea…

(Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, it’s important to remain calm when you are in this kind of situation.) 

I stood still and the critter did not advance.  Good.  I backed up about 5 feet, going parallel to the beach and the critter did not advance.  Good.  Then I turned to the beach and moved 5 feet in, toward the beach.  The critter stayed put.  EXCELLENT.  By then, I calmly skipped out of the water, and LOOKED back to the surf.  The critter was where I left it.  Great.

I think it was a pair of large sting rays.   No pictures of them.  I’m glad I didn’t accidentally step on them!

Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us.  Remember, when you are swimming in the Ocean, you are in someone’s living room.

(c) 2017 by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved

Shamanic Driving 

Shamanic Driving is when you drive your car somewhere, and reach an altered state in the process.  I’m not advocating this as a technique, but I’m going to describe it in this post.  Shamanic Driving is different from Sonic Driving, which is when you go into an altered state through the use of a rapid, monotonous sound or vibration.

Here’s home Shamanic Driving works: 

Get in your car.

Put on music 

Head out on a highway, for a 100 mile journey through beautiful, but somewhat monotonous scenery.

Add a rain storm, and then windshield wipers.  

Note the drone of other cars and trucks on the highway all around your car, to the East of you, to the South of you, to the West of you, to the North of you, above you the sky or rain, below you, the hiss of tires running through the rain on the  pavement…

By this time, you have “Siri,” ocassionally telling you, “you are on the fastest route and the way ahead is clear.”

I feel focused yet relaxed.  

My phone rings.  My friend is reminding me how to get to her house.  We’re chatting.  A motorcyclist has just whipped around me, going way too fast in the rain.  I change lanes to avoid him, and end up in the fast lane, and suddenly,  I’m passing a truck.  I’m in the truck’s blind spot, pulling up, now along side the back third of the truck.  

Suddenly, “because everything happens suddenly, or not at all,” the truck signals, and starts moving into the fast lane, where I am.   I begin narrating this, calmly, to my friend,”why’s this truck coming over here?” I’m breaking, defensively, I’m honking the horn, I’m moving to my left, not wanting to leave the pavement, still honking.  My friend on the phone is telling me to focus, and we all are.  And the truck backs off, yet we keep going, and ahead to the right, I see the police car lights blinking blue in the rain, and I realize, the truck was just trying to obey the Move Over law.

I pass him, and wipe my brow, my way of signaling to him, “that was close but we pulled through” because I drive With Spirit, tuned in, where ever I go.

And I am blessed.

Where ever you go, take Spirit wih you, and Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky and the Big Waters all around us.

(c) 2017 to present, by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.

Talking to Plants:  feel the connections

On my present journey, during the day, I go outside and walk among the plants.  The green calls me in, deeper and deeper.  I sniff the air, and take in the scents.  How can I describe these smells, these different shades of green?  They are familiar smells, since I grew up with them.  Arbor vitae, linden tree, rhododendron… When I was young and lived here, I never noticed these smells at all.  Now I perceive them as individual notes.

Some plants are sleeping when I approach, and I let them sleep.  Others are awake and call to me, to tell me their names.  Not their scientific name, or their colloquial name.  But the name they call themselves.

 I visit each plant, reach out and run my fingers on a branch, or a tendrils or blossom.  On it, over it, like you might trace your fingers on you loved one’s face, or their back. 

Yes, some of these plants may have healing properties, or they may make a good smudge substance.  But at the beginning, you have to remember, we are all connected.  When you go out and talk to the plants, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans, you will feel this to be true.  Touch the plants and take time to speak with them.  Share your Peace with Mother Earth and Father Sky, and the Big Waters all around us.

For more information about the Earthways Shamanic Path visit, http://www.earthwaysshamsnicpath.com

(c) 2017 by Whale Maiden for the Earthways Shamanic Path.  All rights reserved.