Archive for May, 2007
His description of the experience:
Making the Sound of the Jeweled Toad
What do you do after discovering that your Heart is actually a shiny jeweled Toad trying to dig her way out of the deep hibernating ground of who your think you are? A toad whose wild noise can startle the world into life again, back from this frowning, know-it-all, self-destructive drift toward a synthetic, machine-dependent, free-fall existence in the bottomless abyss of cynicism’s insatiable hunger. What happens when each of us in our own way making our indigenous sounds together finds out that being human does not mean what we have been taught, but that we on the other hand could become a grove of never-before-seen trees whose flowers of deep and unstoppable life-giving sounds make symphonies of natural jazz that cause the real world to sing again, dream again, swim again, jump-up-doing-mysterious-things again, armed only with the unarmed courage that comes from a vision of our diverse collective natural beauty: the sounds of each of our hearts in love with life, a sound of such an irresistible character as to cause the endangered spiritual DNA of all things to jump back out of their hiding place into their normal ecstatic, semi-random exuberant enormity whose staggered flowering, fruiting, reseeding and scattering is the face of the Holy in Nature?
Please come, help me, Martín Prechtel, not only to sing, but to try to ritually reseed in the ground of grief’s remembrance, the possibility of a time of hope beyond our own with the flowering of our hands and voices, driven by the magnificent spiritual pump of our dreaming hearts.
All Blessings- Martín Prechtel
“The people of your culture imagine that the treasury was completely empty when you came along and began to build civilization ten thousand years ago. You imagine that the first three million years of human life brought nothing of value to the store of human knowledge but fire and stone tools. In fact, however, you began by emptying the treasury of its most precious elements. You wanted to start with nothing and invent it all, and you did. Unfortunately, aside from the products (which work very well), you’ve been able to invent very little that works well–for people.”
Daniel Quinn, My Ishmael
The name SHIFT refers to the idea that rewilding, re-nativing, re-indigenizing, requires us to reconnect with natural forces and rhythms. It requires us to acquire a flexibility and flow, constantly attuned to our world, in both a moment-to-moment sense and a big-picture sense.
At SHIFT we explore this, by first connecting to the body, breathing life into its movements, imitating the living world, and then learning simple protector skills such as stick-fighting, but most of all: finding our natural and wild center, and moving from it.
.Many of the movements in martial arts training are taken from the
natural realm. For example, tai chi – perhaps the best-known practice
– has movements with names such as “cloud hands,” “White stork
cools its wings,” and “snake creeps down.” Practitioners learn from
people who learned from people who learned from people who
originally learned from their animal relations. Would it not be more
honoring, and perhaps a better learning experience, to go back to the
source and learn as did the original masters? It is the way our
ancestors learned, and it is the way of all native people –
Two-leggeds, Four-leggeds, Six-leggeds, Wingeds, and Rooteds. It
could serve us well and are healing and reawakening to return to this
relationship of belonging, of learning from each other in a
Circle-relationship way, rather than turning our back on our
relations and purporting to know what they have to teach us. Is
dishonoring them in this way what we really want to do?
… I watch people in a building imitating their teacher in the practice of
an exercise such as Dancing in the Clouds when just a doorway away
they could be outside learning directly from real clouds. I see others
practicing Golden Pheasant Stretches his Leg with the birds
watching them from the nearby woods, wondering why the people
are learning from another person and not from them, as in the days
of old. And why are they learning a golden pheasant movement
when there are none for thousands of miles? Raven, heron and eagle
stand by watching, and saying to themselves “are we not good
By living in the city we daily take a powerful domesticating medicine, a medicine that atrophies senses and capacities, that though natural to our human bodies, they remain antithetical to the needs and practicalities of civilization.
By practicing SHIFT, and by urban animal tracking and nature awareness, we take a different and balancing medicine, one that encourages the return of the quiet and waiting wildness within ourselves.
Until we can finally step into a fully rewilded life, living softly and simply amongst all our untamed relations, we must deal with the challenge of the urban and modern world.
So what do we do here at the College of Mythic Cartography?
We also provide one on one and small-group mentoring support for unschoolers, beginning animal trackers, aspiring “coyote teachers”, mythic cartographers, rewilders, and ongoing support for any of the skills or subjects addressed in the blog entries. Keep in mind: you can find several organizations in our area (Portland, Oregon), that teach wilderness and naturalist skills. We take a different tack into these kinds of skills by combining them with the “spoken tradition” skillsets of storytelling, riddlecraft, oral memory, sacred questioning, empathic tools, practical ceremony, and other oft-overlooked and undertaught skills of awareness and relating.
Contact Willem at mythic dot cartographer at gmail dot com, for more information, donations/exchange for services, and so on.