Earthways Shamanic Path meets AutumnMeet 2017

20171014_125939.jpgI have returned from a short trip to AutumnMeet, which is a pagan festival put on by the great folks with Phoenix Festivals, Inc.

I presented a workshop on the Earthways Shamanic Path.  In this workshop, we learned about the Earthwats Path, and about Core Shsmamism, and ushered  out Hurricane Season, and welcomed in Dry Season.  I had a small but very attentive audience.

Then, Dayan Martinez and I co-led the workshop called, “Encountering the Native Goddess.”  Dayan is a generous co-facilatator, and it is always fun to see Dayan in person.

This was a nice family-oriented festival, at a lovely camp ground North of Lakeland, Fl.

I hope we get invited back next year!

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Hurricane Timewarp

One of the odd dynamics of a hurricane, is that we enter a Timewarp: we loose all track of time, for several weeks. This happens for several reasons.

First, our normal schedules get interrupted with the effort of monitoring a storm. The storm predictions are posted at 2am, 5am, 8am, 11 am, 2 pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm. Once a storm is close to making land-fall, the advisories are posted hourly. You would think the rhythmic nature of this service would help you keep track of time, but it does not.

That’s because suddenly, you have so much else to do, preparing your home, and deciding whether to stay or to leave.

Then you are either in your home, eating all your hurricane snacks, too early. Or, you are traveling away frim your home, evacuating. Time is moving at a different speed. You might even go to a different time zine when you evacuate

Then, you are inside some shelter for 24-48 hours, and all the windows are boarded up. It is dark and quiet. You don’t know what day it is. Or the tine.

Then, the lights go out. You sit in your room with a few tgings poeered by a distsnt humming generator, or a flashlight, or candles. Waiting. The longer you sit there, the longer it seems to take. Eventually, you know the storm is over, and you go outside.

The sky is grey-yellow, dark, and ragged. The clouds are beat up, it’s windy, and exhilarating. But you have no clue whst time it is. You return indoors.

Then the clean up begins, while you wait for things to happen: when will the streets be cleared of tree limbs, when will the utility trucks arrive, when will the debris piles be collected, when will insurance agents arrive, when will the gas stations open, when will flood waters receed, when will school reopen, where the heck is FEMA, and when will my lights come back on?

When the lights do return, we all pause to do the Happy Dance.

And then you begin to return to your normal life, while all around your town are the very real signs of a hurticane having passed just a short while ago. Was that just yesterday? Or last week?

It will take awhile before you know.

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

What Have We Learned, After Hurricane Irma

Now that Hurrican Irma has passed through all of the Florida Peninsula at somewhere between 9 mph and 15 mph, we can all sit somewhere, and reflect upon what we have learned.

1. Florida is a long state, and it takes a really long time for a storm that is 800 miles across, to get all the way out of Florida. Paper maps would have been handy. A tv at the storm shelter, would have been reaally helpful. Or a marine radio.

2. If you bugged out, did you over pack? Do you know what you used, and what you didn’t use, what you could have left behind (strappy sandals) and what you wished you had with you? I wish I had brought more warm shirts. And a rain poncho. This is an opoortunity to reflect upon one’s ability to travel light

3. If you bugged put, did you leave soon enough? Did you get delayed by employers (Dang Them!), or by well meaning friends who were not tracking Irma since September 1st, when it was already a Cat. 3 Hurricane. Most employers were inflexible until the Governor issueed the state-wide disaster declaration (I think THAT happened September 5th), and the schools close. This is an individualized problem.

4. Many people reached out to me before the storm hit, to ask, what should I do, where should I go. I tried to provide suggestions, based upon your property’s elevation, and the age of the building and how it was constructed. The main thing I told people who were deciding whether to evacuate, was to get as far north as possible, as soon as possible, and then pick a diagonal based upon the storm’s updated information.

This is still good advice, but the difficulty is, it takes most people in Southwest Florida a long day to get that far north, and it creates a really long evacuation trip, if you leave soon enough.

I tried to guide some people to local shelters, too, depending upon their circumstances.

5. People who have not gone through a hurrucane before, have absolutely no frame of reference for how big a problem this storm was for Florida. Our state population is 20 million people, plus tourists and animals. At one point before Irma hit, 18 million people, were under evacuation orders. That is 90% of the state’s population. And none of us knew with any comfortable certainty, where the Eye would hit, or when. So, the opportunity to second-guess any decision you make, is very high. And, comments from well-meaning friends/family can derail peiple even further.

6. Making so many major decisions, is a brain-drain. As I edit this on September 20th, many people are still memtally exhausted and suffering from what we now call Post Irma Depression. Be nice to us.

Relaxing Into Irma

There comes a certain point in Hurricane Planning, Honorable Shamans and Fellow Pagans everywhere, where you have to just “relax into,” whatever the Impending Hurricane Irma is going to do. That is the moment where you finally stop second- or third- or even fourth-guessing yourself, and say firmly, “I have done all I could, based on everything I know, up until now.” There is an ever-expanding quantify of information about Hurricane Irma out in the internet at this time. You can’t possibly read all of it, and make a decision about things like, whether to stay in your home, or to leave. And then once you make one decision, then the decision tree opens up, and you are making multiple decisions for days and days. “Ok, so, we’ll leave.” “Fine. Where shall we go?” Here, here, here, … it depends on the storm track! “When shall we go?” Who knows. Go early. Go late. It depends. You can read numerous articles with helpful checklists of what to take with you, if you evacuate. (We like to call it, Bugging Out in my neck of the woods. Then you can put your vital essential objects into your Bug Out Bag.) Sometimes it seems like it should be obvious to take warm clothes with you, if you bug out to the north, in fall, for example. But September in Southwest Florida has no resemblance to Fall, and tge week before a Hurrucane it’s been 90 degrees out and himid, so it is totally out of our minds. Or, to take a rain poncho with you, because this is a Hurricane. No matter what else happens in a Hurricane, you can count on it raining. Just about every person I know in Southwest Florida carries an umbrella in their car. But since Hurricanes also bring WIND, you want the poncho. Sooner or later, the Wind and the Rain will find you. Ypur power will go out. You will light candles and wonder if you have enough, or what was it that article said about oxygen? When your flashlight doesn’t work, you may want to resist the urge to think, “gee, i should have bought just one more battery. I should have gone to the store an hour earlier when they had some…” Stop. Breathe. Be right here. If you are by yourself riding the storm out, know that it will be over soon. You did the best you could. If you are with pets and otger friends and family members, take care of each other, comfort each otger, and enjoy the timevyou spend together. If you are in an evacuation shelter, or a Bug Out Chateaux, smile at your fellow weary travelers. Say Please and Thank you. Hold doors open for people. Share limited resources. See if the Volunteers have a spare poncho. And remember, Hurricanes and other big weather events are just Mother Earth’s way of restoring balance, moving the hot and cold masses around. None of us can change this or control it. So we may as well Relax. 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.

My goal: to save lives

Why do I write so much about Hurricanes and preparedness? To help you save your life.

Go to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov, and learn all you can about storms. Figure out where you live, in relation to where Irma is predicted to go. Make some decisions. Learn how to stay flexible. Go outside and look at the sky.

This is how you put all your shamanic skills, your pagan skills into action. You don’t just sit around and say, “Goddess, help me,” or, “O Great Spirit, keep me safe.” You are part of the equation. You have to take an active role to save your life.

Some of my dearest friends may think I’m overreacting. Understand this: the 50 inches of rain that fell on Houston last week, is still moving around, flooding new places.

Understand that Irma is a big storm right now, and sure, all we can do is get prepared, make sure our friends are prepared, and hope Irma goes out to sea to dissipate. Many Pagans I know disagree about the ethics of manipulating the storms, you know, whether it is acceptable to “Face East and blow the storm out to sea.”

But it is acceptable for all of us, to face the North. To communicate with our Florida Governor, and our Legislators in Tallahassee to make hurricanes, and sea level rise, and public safety, a priority.

It is not acceptable for them to do nothing.

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.

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.