Come join us for SHIFT at Whitaker Ponds:

Saturdays at 12 noon, next to the north baseball field.

Dress for cold, wet, and muddy! Woo hoo!

The Children Eat Story

To homeless children sleeping on the street, neon is as comforting as a night-light. Angels love colored light too. After nightfall in downtown Miami, they nibble on the NationsBank building — always drenched in a green, pink, or golden glow. “They eat light so they can fly,” eight-year-old Andre tells the children sitting on the patio of the Salvation Army’s emergency shelter on NW 38th Street. Andre explains that the angels hide in the building while they study battle maps. “There’s a lot of killing going on in Miami,” he says. “You want to fight, want to learn how to live, you got to learn the secret stories.” The small group listens intently to these tales told by homeless children in shelters.

This one will break your heart, but in a good way — a ten year old article on the secret folklore of homeless children.

(From a link posted at Anthropik…thanks to them!) :

Myths Over Miami

Rainy Day Rant

Last night my dad called me, wanting to chat.

He lives in a warehouse in the countryside south of Portland, next to a major stopping point for trains, in a strange set-up we like to call the “batcave”. Sometimes he needs to talk to someone besides his neighbors, and we have good conversations. Mostly about how excited we feel knowing the state of the world. Like two magicians sharing techniques, we go on and on. Sometimes we disagree about how to come at a certain topic.

Last night he called with the news of the Supreme Court tossing out a tobacco trial verdict originally tried in Portland, Oregon. I myself belonged to the jury of a multi-million dollar tobacco trial back in…2002? Something like that. “the Estate of Michelle Schwarz vs. Phillip Morris USA”. My dad thought the news might have involved my trial, but no…it involved another multi-million dollar trial concerning a different dead smoker from Oregon.

Realizing the confusion did remind me of my experiences on the trial…I still have my little notebook full of detailed immaculate notes on secret documents, strange diagrams, expert testimony, etc.

It reminded me of how I felt back then…I don’t believe in an adversarial system to resolve conflict then, nor do I now. I only believe in remedy, the system humans used for uncounted millenia before civilization. “How do we make things right again among us, as best as possible? How do we heal the hurt?” Not “how do we find fault, make blame, and punish.” As much as a fascinating modern innovation this may appear to the general public, it does no more than insert an extra step between the injury and the healing of it. Usually it misdirects the social inquiry into the harm enough to cause everyone to forget that the healing still remains undone. Once you’ve killed the murderer, whew, that solves it, right? Oops. Forgot about the victim’s loved ones who may never recover, because they all believe the lie that punishment will resolve the damage. I almost want to say it sounds like a child’s version of resolving conflict, but that offends the sensibilities of my friendship with many children…more accurately, it sounds like an abused child’s version of resolving conflict.

All this to say, what do I care if Phillip Morris USA (in my trial) gets “pants-ed” or not? I decided to go along for the ride and judge as impartially as possible, without bringing any bias of “evil corporations” into it. So I played by their rules, looking for fault and blame.

In the end, the entire jury saw very clearly that Phillip Morris USA had a cruel and manipulative streak that spanned decades. A few still thought that a smoker should know better than to smoke, but no-one had any illusions that Phillip Morris USA had not done some profoundly sketchy things.

So hearing about this new case got me ranting about things, about people who think smokers should know better, about a corporation who realized that they only needed to create a little-doubt, an almost doubt, the tiniest of excuses to keep smoking. A tiny little crack in the door suffices for an addict. The gap in the door may only amount to a fraction of an inch, but that still means the door remains open, right?

But then the whole idea of that addict got to me. Addicts. How does that differ from consumers? Consumers have an addiction to the modern american lifestyle, to cheap goods, to cheap drugs, to cheap food. It reminded me of Derrick Jensen’s writings against civilization. It got me thinking. Americans, Europeans, whomever, they still just want that tiny little excuse that our civilization won’t destroy itself, that it could go on forever, that everyone can have their toys and numbing lifestyles.

And doesn’t civilization deliver? It just keeps that door open a crack, a fraction of an inch. A little doubt. You can watch our science fiction and see people in the future, flying space-ships. If we can write a story about living in the future, that means we could live there, right?

Science fiction can’t contradict the verdict of science, right? So our scientists must have just confused things. We’ll make it through climate change a-ok! Peak Oil just means we’ll switch to free, unlimited energy! It doesn’t matter about the evidence. Hell, even our scientists will find the avenue of inquiry leading to the abandonment of civilization an almost absurd notion. Because, look! See, in that movie…you can see us on other planets! That must mean something.

Every day of the week you can turn on the television and see snippets of the bright and shiny future awaiting us, just on the other side of this inconvenient worldwide catastrophe that has just begun to really gain steam. If we think 200 species a day felt uncomfortable, just wait! We can do better than that.

I’d say the door stands open more than a crack. We’ve managed to make this culture of addicts act like a bunch of creationists, saying “sure, we may have to change, but look how wide the door stands open…that leaves a lot of room for doubt in your theory…since you don’t have 100% proof, that means you don’t really know, do you?”

We all know (or might find useful to know, if we don’t yet) that Creationists differ from the supporters of Evolutionary theory in no more than that Creationists look for data to fit a story they already have, whereas the Theory of Evolution came about through the attempt to find an explanation to fit the data we already have. One started with data, the other started with a story. No big deal. Two ways to go about things. Two starkly different uses for information, in fact. The Creationists need to do the work they do, to continue to use their story in a meaningful way. No hard feelings. They have to look for data that fits their story, and ignore data that doesn’t, to service the story.

To look down on this practice, in fact, shows the hypocrisy in most modern folks…because what other explanation can you provide for the lack of activity in dissolving civilization? We have plenty of clear evidence for the inevitable collapse of civilization. But we don’t find it interesting, any more than an addict would to know about more reasons to quit smoking. We have plenty of information right now. We don’t need Al Gore to tell us. Simply looking out our kitchen windows has sufficed for decades to give us all the information we need.

Do you really need satellite photos of receding glaciers to tell you that something has gone terribly, terribly amiss? Did the disappearing frogs not tip you off? The exterminated native peoples? The poisoned, unswimmable, undrinkable rivers? The burgeoning generations of asthmatics?

I found Phillip Morris USA guilty of negligence, certainly, for attempting to manipulate Michelle Schwarz into leaving that door open a crack. But I don’t for a moment think that Michelle Schwarz didn’t desire for them to let her have that illusion.

Anymore than I think the billions of modern humans want someone to close the door on their illusions, on the possibility of continuing their addiction that will someday soon close the door on a vast diversity of life.

Punishment makes things so simple. Judging makes things so simple.

Remedy takes a lot of work.

Remedy forces you to look in the mirror and see what you need to do to make things right again.


Come join us for SHIFT at Whitaker Ponds:

Saturdays at 12 noon, next to the north baseball field.

Dress for cold, wet, and muddy! Woo hoo!

Coming Up: March’s Natural Way Indigenous Speaker Series

Once again, co-sponsored by the College of Mythic Cartography:

March 9th, at 7pm — download flyer

Circle of Life, Medicine Wheel – A Balanced Way of Life

Charles Fast Horse is an Oglala Sioux Medicine Man and artist. Born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1941, Charles leads workshops on the Lakota way of life at conferences and colleges throughout North America and is an intercessor for many ceremonies. His grandfather, Tom Spotted Bear, was a direct descendant of Thick Bread, who fought in the Battle of Little Big Horn when he was only 18 years old.

Charles graduated from United Tribes Educational Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. He is past president of the nonprofit Lakota Lodge Training and Learning Center and has led workshops for the justice system as well as other governmental agencies. In 1997 he was invited to bless America’s holiday tree in Washington, DC.

Charles and his wife, Hazel, are both artists. They work together to produce museum quality beadwork. For them, art is a way of life. Their art is a testament to the Indian traditions, as each creation is part of a story expressing the beauty and history of Lakota life. Their work is on display at Prairie Edge gallery in South Dakota.

Victory Dance

Ridiculously bound
crowded round by wire
and unhappy horrors

the tale of this territory
sounds more like
a wretched terror-story

but I have a happy-ending
in my pocket

Look I’ll show you
can you see it?

here we slip between cruel teeth
here we cross a stricken desert
here amidst the hiddens
we have our first child
laughing at her destiny

you sing the song
that the raven wrote
I bleed from an old wound
that you wrap anew
with bandages
that tie us
to the loving hands
all around
a basket woven
out of shared woundedness

Seekers of Holy Places

How do the Places on the landscape help, teach, or mentor you?

What does it mean to receive the wisdom of a place, or to ruminate on its riddle?

How do you know when you’ve entered a place?

Mêsna-ilêhi, natiki mêsnawawa, namamuk-kwêlan.

An Obsession of Relatedness

What does it mean to base oneself entiredly around the rewilded relationship to basic needs, especially food?

To site one’s Temples on the shores of a fish-run, in sacred anticipation, to hold one’s ceremonies on the edge of forest full of venerated deer before the hunt, to have one’s holiday on the day of a great homecoming of geese…to endlessly speculate on the soap opera of the daily lives of maples, of ducks, of dandelions, of weathers and stars?

To make one’s obsession the rewilded relationships to flavors, sights, comforts, and fulfillments of the shimmering living Land?

Namêsklahawyêm-mersi, manamama-ilêhi.

“Reclaiming the Body: the Bodybased Arts as Center of the New Village”

I’ve tried before to write down my view on rewilding our bodies, and my own journey there, but I’ve never felt very satisfied about it. I’d much rather show you — hence why every week we do SHIFT at local wildspaces and so on. But author Nala Walla has really articulated some vital perspectives on this reclaiming of the body in her article “Reclaiming the Body: the Bodybased Arts as Center of the New Village”.

So thank you to Nala!

I cannot overstress the importance of bringing one’s own animism, one’s own rewildedness, home to the body. It makes it all real. I don’t find any use in the notion of the “mind-body” split. Mind? Body? What?

We live. We breathe. We feel. We move. Together, in family.


Come join us for SHIFT at Whitaker Ponds:

Saturdays at 12 noon, next to the north baseball field.

Dress for cold, wet, and muddy! Woo hoo!

Rod McAfee at Natural Way Speaker Series

Native American Student and Community Center

SW Broadway and Jackson, Portland, Oregon

7:00 – 9:00 pm

Rod McAfee Friday, February 9, 2007

Spirituality is Being Real

Rod McAfee speaks from his own experience on the meaning of spirituality in our lives. His words go beyond cultural traditions, race, or creed to the fundamental experience of being a human being on this planet today. He encourages people to develop a spiritual practice that is grounded in the teachings of the natural world, a practice that connects Earth and Spirit.

Rod is an Akimel O’odham (Pima) elder. Raised “by the desert” on his Arizona reservation, he witnessed the assimilation of most of his family by Western religions, education, and culture, and still managed to retain his native language and beliefs.

For fifteen years Rod led ceremonies for Native inmates in prisons in Oregon and Washington. A former drug and alcohol counselor for the Native American Rehabilitation Association, he is active in ceremonies throughout the Northwest. Rod is the lead singer for the Spirit Learning Drum, and is intimately connected to the original medicine of water.

$10-20 donation requested for speaker’s honorarium

Download the Flyer!

co-sponsored by the College of Mythic Cartography

and the Earth and Spirit Council


Come join us for SHIFT at Whitaker Ponds:

Saturdays at 12 noon, next to the north baseball field.

Dress for cold, wet, and muddy! Woo hoo!