Sunday, October 31, 2010

Owl Medicine

There's an idea that when a person sees or hears an owl, it is prophetic of impending death.

One time, my cousin was driving to work in the early morning. An owl skimmed the windshield and roof of the pickup he was driving. His father, my uncle, had been quite ill, and so his death a few days later was not completely unexpected.

Another time, this time walking through the woods near a battle site between my cousin's and my ancestors and the encroaching white people, I saw an owl in a low-hanging branch. As I was bounding down the trail, I noticed the tiny bird and stopped dead in my tracks (so to speak...). Our eyes locked and I spoke to the owl; s/he waited a few moments, and then flew off. The next morning I was told my grandfather was near death.

On the other hand, I've listened to owls hooting many times as darkness descends in a forested area. Once or twice, I hooted to them and a conversation of sorts ensued. So, I don't imagine that anytime a person hears or sees an owl, it means someone is about to die.

But, I would still get upset and wonder under some circumstances.

My father (Karuk/Chetco/Euro) tells me that owls don't represent death, but that they do symbolize something like mysticism, intuition, wisdom, and a kind of spiritual awareness.

Owls are mentioned in the book, "Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies", by Bobby Lake-Thom ("a traditional Native healer and spiritual teacher of Karuk and Seneca descent"). He says, "All Owls are a bad sign, but different kinds bring somewhat different messages, and different degrees of power and knowledge....The Owls is considered a bad sign and a bad power by most Native American tribal groups. It is a messenger of evil, of sickness, or a fatal accident. It is also considered a sign of death."

Lately, though, another kind of owl medicine has caught on. My mother (Chinook/Euro) has sent me links to her beloved "Molly McGee", a barn owl of worldwide fame. Live cameras have been put into the owl box she and her mate - and two subsequent clutches of owlets - call home.

It really makes me feel good to know that so many people are tuning in to watch owls do whatever it is owls do. A forum has sprung up around the owl surveillance, and even people who are ill and homebound can cultivate a love for a little winged creature. When I asked Mom what she has gotten out of watching the owls over the past months, she said, "It has kept me from going nuts." (That's debatable. JK, Mom!)

This is the new Owl Medicine. We are not so lost as humans that we can't still be fascinated by our owl relatives. At the end of industrial civilization, how ironic that the only way we can view them is via high-tech computers and internet.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Idle promise

Mmm. I can almost smell it.

Idle promise: If California's Prop 19 to legalize pot passes on Tuesday, I am relocating forthwith to northern Cali. I've been wanting to be close to the redwoods...walk on Karuk land...make offerings to the spirits who linger at Yontocket...and live near the ocean, anyway. I will get high and stay that way for at least a year. Reggae by the River, shopping at the North Coast Co-op, grooving in Arcata, looking at trilliums under redwood trees. Maybe I'll take up painting..or spinning yarn...How could life get any sweeter?

No, I don't use pot - although it would be a cinch to get a medical marijuana card for my chronic pain(s). BUT - if pee-tested and found to be pot-positive, chances are 99% that I would lose my employment doing the work I love. Even if I smoked it legally while holding a card.

A woman can dream, and dream she does.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Heil Portland!

My little northwest haven for liberal thought has apparently shown itself to be tolerant of at least one nazi sympathizer, police captain Mark Kruger.

The wheels were set in to motion in 2002 by Alan Graf, the Hippie Lawyer to investigate the allegations that Kruger had put up in a park memorial plaques to nazis Shows what can happen if you keep talking loudly enough for long enough. (Of note is that Graf's Jewish grandparents were murdered in nazi concentration camps during WWII.) Thanks to Rev. Chuck Currie, Graf (who no longer resides in Portland), and Dan Handleman of Copwatch for keeping this in the public eye.

Read a more complete story on Oregonlive's website.