That other night in Las Vegas

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When they started playing ‘Thank god I’m American where at least I know I’m free,’ I knew then that we were in a mind-control zone. Las Vegas is a place of entrancement and of illusion. My third eye glowed and pressed the entire time- I wasn’t going to be fooled or sucked in.

All this year my lips have refrained from alcohol- a message I received while with ayahuasca bid me to abstain for the year. It’s the first year since my early 20s I’ve not had anything to drink. On Bourbon St in New Orleans, the closest thing I’ve witnessed to Las Vegas, I tried all of the ‘drinks to have’ and, of course, wound up incredibly drunk in a near-stranger’s bed.

Being very sensitive, alcohol, paradoxically, was my way of coping with strong & base energies, cigarette smoke and ‘heavy’ environments. It gave me a kick of unconsciousness that I would’ve otherwise not had, and probably wouldn’t’ve been able to endure nor had the desire to engage in many of the social climes I’ve dipped in.

Yet tonight, and all this year, I’ve been thankful for this sobriety. My warrior self needs it as I connect dots and see all that I can see. We didn’t spend any money on the strip, save $2 for parking. We were driving through the area on our way to California from Arizona and thought, Hey, let’s check it out (in a “keep your enemies closer” line of thinking– and from curiosity). We tried the free slots on Freemont St. Ini got 2/3 on all three we tried. A man tried to rope us into some promo deal. We walked on.

Quickly I started to feel sick in the unnatural lighting, smoke and glaring emptiness. In an earlier moment I might’ve grabbed some booze to acclimate, so that I could actually be there/ stand the environment. Yet we walked on, observing all of the displays.

Only two people, out of hundreds, were dancing and singing as if they had won something significant. They were two older republican-looking men wearing near-matching Polos, skipping, arms around each other. Everyone else was wrapped up zombie-like staring at some half-naked dancing person, street display, or glued into the machines.

I knew we were in a mind-control area when that song started playing. Everyone stopped moving and many took their phones/cameras out and started videotaping the ceiling which became a uniform image of an American flag with scrolling military faces and fighter jets. Then that song came on. All noises collaborated with this one song. Every disparate energy became united beneath the American Flag. Drunk people started singing and tearing up. We were surrounded by patriots and, though previously they were like hotels flashing vacancy signs, they all suddenly woke up and started marching like wind-up toy soldiers. It felt like a moment at church when the people are moved by something that strikes you as preposterous. Yet everyone was playing along, entranced. That’s when I saw the thread connecting this reptilian lineage. Money, War, Oil, bright flashings lights (media) and the songs and symbols (flag) that tie it all together.

I learned that song in 5th grade. We sang it, all of the grades in unison, at our end of the year performance at Amy Beverland in middle-Indiana. It probably felt so good at the time, as we basically unconsciously learned this song, to all sing together, ages 6-10. The attempt at programming, you see, has passed by all of our gazes. It’s especially strong with the bright lights, naked dancers, cheap booze and possibility of winning thousands of dollars, but it’s as subtle as a McDonalds on every corner and the media craze of the ‘War on Terrorism.’ The Patriarchs from our country are terrorists enough; they ought to call war with themselves and leave our land and people alone.

As we drive away from the bright lights into the solitude and darkness of death valley, the moon rests in front of us. Yellow timeless crescent, she will far outlast these bright shining lights. Our culture is like a pigmy elephant riding the back of a large whale in the middle of the ocean the size of three worlds. It doesn’t make any sense and it is so very small in comparison… With time & galaxies firing and off setting.

Ayahuasca gave me this message, too, as we laughed into the night. We all are so small! Generations! Ha! It’s like the skin off of that Great Serpents back. Shed and shed and shed. We are like a flicker in comparison of the passing sands of time.

It’s good for me to remember this, to reflect with the moon as she sits there cradled in the sky and I feel the dark close in around me, the pressing dark of the cold desert night. In the reptilian game of bright flashing lights, the built up system of money, all of that illusion of external gain, it is good to feel the cold, powerful desert press close, womblike, as we ride into the night and I remember what endures as the stars shine overhead. Perhaps tomorrow we will be mesmerized and directed by our solar system’s brightest flashing light, our sun and further humbled by the heat. We are out of Las Vegas into Death Valley, after all, and that precludes a whole different game of survival.

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This Year’s Travels Across the US: History, Herstory, the Land’s Story

rainbow above the grand canyon

rainbow above the grand canyon

As we make our way throughout the United States of America, I am reflective on the use and ownership of land- of the rigorous, insane (literally etymologically, unhealthy, unwhole) and whole sale theft and disrespect (can’t really find a fitting word strong enough for what actually took place) on the part of the pioneering and enterprising Europeans to the native groups of this land. Nearly everywhere we go there is the sorry story of some native group pillaged and removed from their homeland.

I feel a sense of loss for their vibrant and wise indigenous (of the land, of a place) cultures. Poignantly do I feel the absence of my own generational land-based heritage. Instead of being something intimately known and loved, land is a commodity, something to own.

There are two songs here that reflect well some thoughts/feelings I have journeying through this land, reflective on history. I want to share them here:

The Nightwatchman – Take Away My Name
and
Diane Cluck – Sylvania

Medicine for the People – My Country

2014, for us, started in Peru, in South America, which is, indigenously speaking, very related and in kinship with ancient native trade routes, customs and beliefs stretching all the way up to what is today North America. I cried many times then feeling the connection the people have with the land, with pachamama. In March, Ini and I went out to Massachusetts to pick up this veggie oil car we love and use so well. I distinctly recall sitting on the Boston Commons watching a squirrel scramble up trees, Unafraid of people or heights. The commemorative placeholders and memorials in that region are largely Patriarchal in heritage and remembrance. A very clearly delineated His-tory.

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Then, an image of homesteading on an Appalachian mountainside. Fresh, cool mountain stream. Generations of people “eeking out a living” in this fertile land. At the local library, I read accounts from ancestors of people who neighbor the land we’re on who say, “Wake up, it’s time to hoe. After lunch, more hoeing. When I close my eyes I see corn and beans.” Their descendants now have a garden, yes with corn and beans, yet also with a motion-controlled radio to scare away deer. Living on the land is tough, they all seem to say. After a few months of dipping my hand in these waters, though refreshed by the mountain spring water, I realize I’m not quite ready to go “back to the land” in such a vigorous -or isolated- way quite yet.

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So back to Indiana, my place of birth and raising. Will I follow the footsteps of my forebearers? Start a business, get a 9-5 working for the Man? I am not quite ready to start a large-scale alternative project to What Is. But we gotta eat, after all. Can’t live on idealism. Yet, the inner drive wants nothing to do with the machinations of my father. We do not see eye to eye; we hardly see the same world at all. Again, jumping the nest after touching base with the karma of birth, we are freebirds once again, taken by the travel.

Boulder, Colorado it is. Yet when we get there to meet some teachers who drew our attention, we find the land far commercialized from the initial hippy hay-day we heard it once was. No fodder for us, we continue on the travel. Well out of vegetable oil fuel for the car, we are now running mostly on the dinosaur bone and ancient fern slop that dictates the actions of so much of our warring and exploitive governmental system. It’s against our internal compass, but it’s “the way things are now.” We continue along on the highways, occasionally off-roading it, like so many others channeled and funneled along the main stream.

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Yet we are not mainstream. For the first time in my life, I catch people stopping to stare at me, whispering about our rig (the car is full!) or possibly about me. I’m not really sure, but I feel the difference. And I continue to feel how far I’ve strayed from being a good daughter of the Patriarchy.

I am not loyal to my government or the mores of the cultures of this land. So much of it ain’t sitting pretty with me.

We continue on through the ancient dwellings of the Southwest, reaping inspiration each step of the way. Pueblos stretching across miles of desert aligned to star and moon, equinox and solstice. These people were in rhythm with the earth. Give me some of that old time living! And the living ancestors of the people of Canyon de Chelly, still farming and shepherding amid the deep canyon walls near the ancient petroglyphs of old. (And even these Navajos were originally removed from the canyon only to be allowed to return a few years later, most of them dead or ill, spirits sick.) So many times I catch wind of what the native peoples did (and at times still do) and I think, “That’s the way I want to live! How to do it this day in age of rentals and bills and impossibly expensive land?”

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As Thoreau once said, perhaps the person who seems out of sync with the dominant culture is just marching to the beat of their own, privately heard drum. In the old days, this internal que could be called someone’s daemon, or creative spirit. Now the church, as in so many cases, has skewed the meanings of old words and daemon is too close to the evil in demon to be commonly employed, Yet it is this creative force which leads me into the future, into the bright realm of possibility, the unforeseen.

Now we are in California and I already, in some ways, feel “at home” again (though Ini and I have established a pretty good home on the road). The freedoms in the air of this most western point on the map are historical as well as current. Diversity is rich, as are alternative lifestyles and natural beauty.

I still don’t know where we’ll land for now; I remain curious about that. Until then, we continue following the trans-migrational rhythms of cyclical nomadics or seasonal workers from coast to coast.

So much of this country is in dire need of soul. And chances are it’s not going to be found on the TV. It’s so important that we can still see our night sky. It connects us Ineffably and magically with so much of what it means to be human. Spend more time outside. Breathe in the winds. Go hug a tree, really. Give thanks for water. Cities and waters are too often polluted. We need to start caring about the places we live, it’s our only way forward if we will pass on any beauty to our future generations. This is a message we so desperately need to hear, and the indigenous cultures, among other uprisings, have it.

A call from the earth heart: Let your actions be your song of gratitude ~~

For years I have been dreaming of some-day homesteading & it is a grand possibility that the day is here that this dream can begin in full. In groundedness. In partnership & possibility. I think the day is here that the land-based experimenting begins (for it will always be an experiment). The land beckons. The land needs me (and don’t I know how I need it!). It is continually amazing to me the things which are valued in our present culture. It is true we are divorced from the earth as a culture. Inherent in this problem is not technology (though without boundaries, this development contributes to this divide). It is an orientation toward the earth which does not value the things of the earth which are, which exist and have existed for millions of years. This is clean pure water & air. These are two things which our society treats as throwaway commodities. I remember living in LA and weeping, feeling such pain over the degradation and devaluing of water & air. As if there is anything more important. And land-use is tied up in this, too. For everywhere throughout the United States the government is funding  & subsidizing on a mass scale farm operations which are inherently damaging to the soil and water of the earth, which is our body & blood, too.

And so here, in this Appalachian homestead, to find pure water, clean air, good soil is like an unnamable gift that seemingly should be available to everyone (as it is so natural and inherent), yet is a scarcity. All over people complain of the city water and in many other countries, water is even more devastated. Yet why? How have we let it slip this far?

I am humbled to have the opportunity to caretake this land, to care for and enjoy & relish in this opportunity. Oddly enough the earth & the people groups most closely associated with life of the earth are the most often devastated. Why do you think this is? To me it seems to be because there is this greed-instict for more – an insatiable desire to dominate which has taken over people of the earth. Those that don’t have it or who don’t feed that part of themselves, who are more peaceable, less interested in expanding and taking over and who are more inherently of-the-earth up until now have continually gotten taken-over by this contingent that would seek to exploit & continue conquering & dominating. Up until now this dominating contingent has been able to continually spread out over the earth extracting resources, gaining in material wealth & therefore in control. But now the very resources of our planet, the fabric of the earth is crying out for us to listen, to stand, to call out this dominating streak, to change our ways and return to the earth. It is up to us what we will do and each of our actions makes a difference. All the difference in the world, in fact.

To have found a remaining place undamaged and into perpetuity placed into a land conservation is a dream-come-true. It is an unnamable vestige of the primordial gift humans have a right to on this planet. The gods of petroleum, the dollar, flashy shiny things like cars and new appliances, bigger less efficient spacious homes~ full of comfort and ease – these all attract the people of the earth away from this inherently rewarding life-style of tending the earth, caring for what already is. Let me ask, when will the material things ever be enough? Christmas after Christmas- or whenever!- of getting gifts- when will that one gift ever be enough? Or is there within the modern human an insatiable wanting for the next thing & the next (which is natural enough). But look at what happens if this desire-penchant is never examined or named. Everyone has plenty of things filling their homes, but what has happened to the clean air & water? What has happened to the beauty of the natural world?

Everyone is moving around so fast, maybe they couldn’t see it anyway. But has the speed & commodities of the culture taken us away from something inherent and very important to what it means to be human? I believe it has. And I believe the answer lies in returning to the earth. Returning to her rhythms, to relationship with her. Practicing listening to the land instead of placing our temporary, this-one-lifetime wills and desires into the mix. For if we do not listen, the earth is going to respond to us. She has all the gifts to give us, but if we do not start treating her with respect & loving her, the systems are going to fail. The things which we need to live (clean air, water & good food) are going to become scarce. Then the money, the car, the house will not matter. If we don’t have these very basic things, which now we take for granted, humans will not be able to inhabit this place any longer. It is time to wake up. This is a wake up call. Wake Up! Let these words impress upon you and see for yourself, from within, if they are true to you. If they are, ask yourself from within what the next step is for you. We must all begin seeing our true roots in mother earth. Enough of the divide, the divorce from her seeking only to consume. We must become active participants in the earth story. Planting, harvesting, sharing and tending. Experimenting in relationship with the earth. Then let our actions be our song of thanks for this great gift of being here.