Raindance

Dani had started the absurdities, being the lightweight drinker of the four of us. The smoke from the fire seemed to follow her no matter where she sat and, in a fit of pique, she decided to try incantations and cantrips. “Dead bunnies bed bunnies dead bunnies!” she shouted at the smoke. Nonsense, of course, until the smoke attached itself to Tim, her fiance. He’d poo-pooed the idea the loudest, but was quick to copy her. She smirked when the smoke ignored his chants until it finally listened and found me.

I didn’t move. The mosquitoes vanished when it chose me as the next victim and I didn’t mind watery eyes.

Anna just smirked. The smoke wouldn’t dare find her. This, she knew. “Y’all, we’re tapped,” she informed us, showing the empty case of what had previously held beer. “I’m going to crash.” She started for the tent and Dani stagger-swayed towards her own.

“Let’s see if we can piss the fire out,” whispered Tim once they’d crawled in. I had to admit I was curious if it could be done. “It’ll stink,” I warned. “eh,” he said and started anyway. I joined in, figuring what the hell. For science, of course.

We had unexpected help.

Within minutes our minds shifted from beer and makeshift rituals to ward off magnetic smoke to trying to piss out the fire in the fire-pit — the next was a glorious midsummer downpour that crashed all camping plans. Without warning we were swallowed whole by a soaking downpour.

There’d be no sleep that night — no one had trenched, or put up a tarp to keep the heaviest rains off. We were drenched and there was nothing to do but revel in it. So we did what any drunk guy in a situation like that would do. We stripped and ran naked, howling like wolves in the rain.

We were two men gone batshit crazy as far as the women were concerned, as they crawled out to try to save the sleeping bags from the downpour, but to no avail — it took only moments for everything to get pregnant with the rainwater and, as quick as they moved, they didn’t make it to the cars in time to save anything. We were too busy howling like animals in the rain to help, probably pissing off the other campers who hid in their tents, still soaked from the unexpected downpour. No one had prepared for a rain event. No one.

And here were two idiots, howling while their partners rolled eyes and gave up trying to restrain themselves from laughter and finally howled with us.

Sometimes, there is no point in shaking your fist at adversity.


Mostly true. Some names changed, not all.I think I was 23 at the time.

Dead bunnies.

Buttons.

©2021 Michael Raven

"Buttons for eyes, buttons for eyes," she sang joyfully as she set to sewing large, black buttons into place. She loved this little chore, although she often wished the children wouldn't make such a fuss and scream so loudly as she sewed the disks onto their little cherub faces.

File under horror.

trickster/

©2021 Michael Raven

touching woven webs
the ties that bind in mind 
& spirit spider, i 
skinwalk, shapechange
so singing at the moon
brother coyote, i
skinwalk, shapechange
flying over the plains
a raven with the moon
in beak, i
stone sit silent
...
baking in sun
waiting for sky cry, for
rain

WISKIGO

I was handed this word (title of post) in a dream last night and was lead to believe it was important. Then again, it was followed by a floating pike in an office building, just hovering there in the air, so it might be nonsense.

It was strange, as I’m not usually able to perceive letters in dream. Numbers, occasionally. Letters, not so much.

My own immediate thoughts gave me some triggers that were insightful when I woke up and investigated my intuitive interpretation. An internet search turns up very little (but more than nothing, amazingly enough).

Does this trigger anything for someone else? I may have misremembered and it might be “whiskigo” or “wiskago” or “wiskijo” or some variant of those. Phonetically, they are all near equivalents.

Asking for a friend…

Tarot for Fun | 31March2021

Mostly based on whim, but also because I have a birthday coming up and I thought I’d I’ll draw a single tarot card each day for the next week. Everything through Thursday this week as past/present readings and the weekend (including Friday) for the shape of things to come.

Caveats: See my 29 March post for full caveat language. I don’t see use as a divination tool, but as a tool for self-reflection. Interpretations are paraphrased or quoted from biddytarot.com unless I note otherwise. This is not an endorsement of the site or their definitions. Images are Rider Waite for copyright reasons, but I use the Crow Tarot deck in person.

Today is V | The Hierophant (reversed):

Rider Waite image

Interpretation:

You are your own teacher, the wisdom sought is from within — you are being encouraged to follow your own path and break from tradition. External approval is no longer needed — you are ready to go at it alone and in your own way.

“The Hierophant reversed is also about challenging the status quo. You see alternative ways of viewing the world and are ready to test the very ideas and concepts you were taught were the ‘truth’. You no longer accept the rigid structures, tradition and dogma surrounding you; instead, you seek out opportunities to rebel and reclaim your personal power… Taken further, the Hierophant reversed is like a rebellious teenager who begins to question society and take part in anti-institutional activities.” [Biddy Tarot]

Reflection:

What is it with me and reversed cards? Or Major Arcana for that matter? I swear, I do shuffle each time, cut the deck at various intervals (not always approximating half a deck) and I checked and it seems like an equal distribution of right-side-up and inverted… Anyway…

Again, this card seems to align with the recent past and present (we are closer to the mental pivot between past and present in my week-long tarot reading plans, so “present” seems reasonable). I’ve been my own teacher for quite some time in terms of spiritual matters, roughly 25 years, although I’ve consulted respected people during that period. Just never anything long-term. I’ve been a “solitary” seeker since my return from Seattle to the Minneapolis area in ’95.

I’ve been very quiet about my reflections and practices since then, even around immediate family (for example, my kids have no clue what I practice/believe, although the eldest suspects she knows at least some of it). This is quite contrary to how I approached things in the late 80s and early 90s, where I was quite vocal about my stance on a number of issues, and quite involved in the community at large, trying to shake things up and get people to stand up and be recognized.

While I had some private conversations with several people on how to push things to the next level for (at least) us, I didn’t have enough “time in” to push things too hard, so I largely followed what was then the common practices at the time. I’m sure I would have stay involved and built up “cred” to start suggesting some of the things our little group discussed amongst ourselves if I hadn’t left the area to live on the West Coast. But I did and, even then, I might have returned to something when I came back if I hadn’t be so utterly devastated by the divorce that took place while I was away from the area. In retrospect, I should have jumped back in to the community and I might have benefitted quite a bit from doing so, but I was an emotional ruin of the person I had been after feeling utterly betrayed by everything I valued and loved.

So I dug into other things and kept to myself, embracing the shadows. Going more philosophical than ecstatic spiritualism (shorthand for shamanic).

Recently, however, I’ve been drawn back to some of these investigations over the past few years, as I discovered I am not really suited for Zen (I’m too rebellious, much like Ikkyu). I find value in just sitting (zazen, meditation), but I reject the idea that it is the only way, or even the best way, to practice. Plus, I’ve never been able to reconcile some of my more mystic experiences with those I’ve had practicing Zen and Tao. So, in the past year or two, I’ve picked up my backpack and started another spiritual journey, except that it is back to where I began, informed in a way that was different before and with hopefully more wisdom than I had 25 years ago.

As always, however, I am suspicious of rules and rote rites, so I’m not sure I’d find a collective who would have me — as I would be that over-aged teenager questioning things that were established as tradition if I felt it needed to be questioned. Instead, I should probably continue to blaze my own trail, as I can “feel” I am at the edge of grasping something that exists without dogma or rigidity — or maybe even “form”, if that makes any sense. Plus, it might only be useful for me, so I see no point in foisting it on others.

Once again, the draw is eerily applicable and would not have been so much if I had drawn the same card upright. Webs and intrigues…

Touch.

©2021 Michael Raven

Of course no one else could see the tree coming alive at his touch, but it mattered not to him. He was past the point of needing to prove these things to those who couldn’t see what was right in front of them. The tree lowered a branch to Jonah and he took it like a parent would clasp the hand of a child, and the two of them walked deeper into the forest so that the young ash could be with the other trees Jonah had touched since he’d discovered this gift last summer.

rebirthed/

©2021 Michael Raven

gnawing
i scrape away sinew
tear away flesh &
strip myself down
to raw bone

ignoring the mantra
"too late too late"
i sculpt with clay
of the earth anew
rebirthed

diving into the ocean
raw salt stung skin

Tarot for Fun | 30March2021

Mostly based on whim, but also because I have a birthday coming up and I thought I’d I’ll draw a single tarot card each day for the next week. Everything through Thursday this week as past/present readings and the weekend (including Friday) for the shape of things to come.

Caveats: See 29 March post for full caveat language. I don’t see use as a divination tool, but as a tool for self-reflection. Interpretations are paraphrased or quoted from biddytarot.com unless I note otherwise. This is not an endorsement of the site or their definitions. Images are Rider Waite for copyright reasons, but I use the Crow Tarot deck in person.

Today is X | Swords (reversed):

Rider Waite image

Interpretation:

One thing I’ve got to commit to with drawing cards in to lay them down and worry less about how they got to the position they are in when down (upright or inverted). I overthink it, honestly and I started to place this one upright because I was not consistent with my draw and placement and I initially laid it down as inverted. I realized that it would have looked different if I had drawn and placed as I did yesterday and started to “correct” the placement — then stopped myself. It is what it is.

Unable or unwilling or resistant to inevitable change. Time to “rip off the bandage and get it over with”. Personal growth and regeneration is on the horizon. Old pains need to be dealt with once and for all so progress can be made. Time to stop dwelling on a painful past and make plans to reshape the self. Forward looking.

Recovery, resistance, regrowth.

“Finally, the Ten of Swords reversed can appear as a welcome sign that the pain and sadness you have been feeling is ending. When upside-down, the swords in the man’s back look to be falling out, releasing him of the pain and hurt he has been suffering. You are releasing the memories of the past and allowing yourself the opportunity to move forward with a sense of renewal and hope for the future.” [Biddy Tarot]

Reflection:

Well, there you are, Swords… I was wondering when you’d show up.

While I know quite a few people consider Swords cards to be unfavorable, I think a large part of that is because they are not ready to accept being told that change is needed and inevitable. I’m not one of those people — my studies into Taoism and Zen Buddhism have prepared me to accept that everything is transient and ephemeral. For instance, I’m one of those strange people who doesn’t see death (the ultimate change for some people, the point of no return) as a finality, but part of a larger cycle. So, I accept the messaging of the Sword cards as being vehicles for change, as painful as it might be.

This message does seem to work hand in hand with yesterday’s Judgment card. Resistance to change, a need for recovery and healing. Then — move forward, even if I’m hesitant to go the direction I am left pointing.

If one looks at this card for direction, I think it tells me to put the past in the past, let it go (pains and transgressions of others and by myself), embrace hope and acceptance, and realize my true potential.