Thursday, February 26, 2009

My First Spirit Guide


About one week ago, I had a strange dream. I was in a station wagon with my grandfather who has been dead for over 20 years. We were driving through Wallingford, Connecticut, and there were dark clouds everywhere. Dipping in and out of the dark clouds were tornado funnels, marking the second time that I’ve actually dreamed about tornados. There is no direct, real time connotation that I am aware of between my life and the presence of tornadoes in my subconscious, although I acknowledge them as intense, powerful, and chaotic forces of nature. It was my grandfather’s dream-time presence that struck me as somehow significant, however, and I have been thinking on him ever since. I called him Pop.

My grandfather was a double Aries, a musician and teacher, a bandleader, a gardener, and a painter. He was an independent businessman, who lived life on his own terms. He was a husband of 45 years, and despite the fact that my grandparents often played swords with words, my grandmother spoke of him with great affection, and missed him terribly from her bed at the rest home. My grandfather played with Benny Goodman’s band around the time of the war, and avoided being shipped overseas because of this commitment. I grew up hearing stories of his unpredictable childhood temper; how he held his brothers at knifepoint in the closet because they ditched him before heading for the beach. He was the youngest boy in a large, Italian family. As a young adult, he once held a group of young men at bay with a pistol in the street, because they made him angry. He spit fire like a dragon from time to time, so the stories told.

Pop was a cook, and had a special dish called “jombot”, a mixture of rice, mushrooms, and other delicious ingredients that he made on Sunday mornings when my Aunt Jean, his sister, was at the house to play cards. I can’t think of my grandfather without thinking of jombot in the next breath. He frequently played a trick on his sister, Jean, by leaving enormous mushrooms in her plate, ones she couldn’t possibly eat in one bite, or setting her place with an enormous serving fork. The mushrooms were always wild, hand picked by my grandparents from nearby forests. In fact, I saw my first faeries in those forests while picking mushrooms with them. Then, when I was a small child, the esoteric world superimposed itself over the mundane unexpectedly.

bandleader

When I was young, perhaps my daughter’s age now, I took comfort from curling up in his lap. I did it often, then, and would lie with my ear against his chest, listening to his heart beat, and waiting for my love tanks to fill up. “Ding” the bell would ring, tanks are full, and off I would go.

50594315_66215107ef

Often enough, when times were bad, he came through for me in the oddest of ways. I was 13 when we lived on East Broadway. I had just gotten my period, but I couldn’t convince my mother to purchase pads for me. I have a clear memory of my grandfather standing at the backdoor with a box of pads in his outstretched arms.

That was an awkward moment.

When I was 16, and my mother’s current husband began beating me, I asked to move into my grandparent’s home. It was my grandfather’s decision, and he said yes. Thank the Goddess. My grandparents suffered an enormous emotional and financial burden when my brothers and I lived with them. Both parents had abandoned us, but Thelma and Ed did the right thing every time. I would have ended up in foster care had they turned their back on me.

My life would have been so different.

I was almost 20 years old and still living in their house the first time my grandfather got sick. He’d been up unusually early that morning, working in his garden, as was his favorite pastime. He buzzed from here to there on their acre of property in his tractor, with a wide brim hat atop his bald head, and a towel or “mopene” wrapped around his neck. He suffered his first cardiac event atop the hill, but found the strength to bring the tractor down to the driveway and sit on the cement retaining wall. His heart completely stopped then, and Pop toppled over, face first, onto the blacktop, where my grandmother found him moments later. It was her shriek that drew me out of my room that day.

teacher

My grandfather lived another two years thereafter, quietly, and without much memory. Much later on, my Aunt, the smart one, discovered he had cardiomyopathy, or chronic inflammation of the heart muscle. He was 67 in 1985, when we buried him at the foot of his mother’s grave in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

There is so much out there on angels and spirit guides, those ephemeral, other worldly entities who watch over us. I’ve never seriously honed in on it, although I am fascinated by the work of clairvoyants like Lisa Williams and James Van Praagh. Just before the near year, I began thinking on it in earnest, felt the pull, you might say, and thought about going to see Felix Lee Lerma, who gave my friend, Jen, a few terrific readings, and who lives right here on the Castro. I even placed the call, but was side railed completely by going out of town in late January and bringing back a case of the stomach flu.

I am a firm believer in the subtle signs, and write on them frequently enough. Numerous animal signposts and other telling things light the path on my journey … and so, they did most recently.

About three weeks ago, a single mushroom sprouted at the base of the back stairs in our backyard. It was a very tall mushroom, quite the phallic little bugger, as well; defiant and proud, and I passed it each and every time I took the garbage out, every single day for over two weeks.

At approximately the same time, Isis began rising in me like high tide at Ocean Beach. It knew it heralded the visit of my spiritual mother, Karunamayi, who is scheduled to visit the Bay Area in late March. By early January, I found myself rifling through favorite books, seeking visual inspiration, and creating a huge pile of creative chaos on the dining room table

Spiders appeared as they typically do, announcing a subtle message from the ethers.

Then, I had that dream about my grandfather and the tornadoes, and thoughts of him weaved into many waking moments.

Last weekend, while we were kanoodling around Millbrae, I found whole cluster of wild mushrooms just outside the skateboard park and not far from where Elizabeth went to grammar school. I even took pictures (but can’t unload them right now due to the most annoying of technical difficulties). They drew me like a magnet, despite the fact that my daughter and I were squabbling about finding the right place to use her skateboard for the very first time. This was going on the same weekend she crossed the ultimate feminine threshold herself, which we cried over privately. Leslie and I mourn the rapid passing of our little girl, and welcome the fine young woman.

Mushrooms Close Up

Early this week, I answered the call of Isis and finished a piece called “Gregor”. Gregor is a dragon whose mythos came to me spontaneously as I posted him.

“The ancient ones lie quietly, as old as the mountains, as strong as the rocks, stability and fortitude their mainstay ... that, and waiting, of course. They wait patiently for the world to turn on its spiritual and historical axis. With weathered wings that long to soar, eyes that see absolutely everything, and ruby red hearts of the purest crystal, they wait and wait until the sleepers awaken. They know that some of the sleeping ones can see them from time to time, tentatively aware as they are in their slumber. For the ancient ones, who need no mirror to realize themselves, and for whom existence is whether seen or not, this is only consequential. Soon the sleepers will awaken and ask them to be guides again, and, oh, the glory will return! But until then, with patience of the ages, they remain content to wait ... and listen to the primordial om, the sound of all being.

Meet Gregor, one of the ancient ones. Master of all the elements, this ancient guide prefers the earth to the skies, and wraps himself in a comforting drape of aromatic flora simply because it pleases him.

Om ...”

Gregor emerged as a guardian, which was also intuited by A. Venifica, a blogger I’ve grown to admire and whose focus is on symbolism and totems. She wrote, “Your Gregor is a stunning beast. You've rendered him in painstaking detail - gloriously bejeweled. I watched him, then closed my eyes. His scales still glitter in my inner sight. Gently approaching him, I see my reflection in each of his faceted crystals (trippy). Thanks so much for sharing your sparkling gifts. And, for resurfacing a very well kept secret. Angels got the credit first...for being spirit guides, guardians, messengers, fill-in-the- blank. Dragons serve in the same capacity and beyond. their inception was simply more primitive. Hence, the subjective understanding of the dragon was less received by human perception than angels were. Angels came on the scene a bit more formulated, more digestible to human logic than dragons. Some of us identify deeply with your artistic rendering, and wholly with what you've written here. There are some of us who have been awake and have taken the dragon as their consort. Some of us even move as one accord amongst a legion of them. Thank you for seeing, recognizing, translating and being awake. And, thanks also for wiping the sleep from the eyes of all who would See. "

The people I work with are enthralled with Gregor, as well, although they know him only as a drawing. Somehow, he’s emerged out of the two dimensional realm, and they recognize the energy, but don’t understand it or call it by name.

Then, like a bolt of lighting today, it hit me.

It is no coincidence that Gregor emerged from my pen at the same time I was thinking of spirit guides and dreaming about my grandfather, seeing mushrooms everywhere, and watching Grandmother spider wave her eight feet at me to get my attention. As I ask the question “who are my spirit guides?”, I remain unable to connect with the concept of angels or people as guides. I am, however, wholly able to connect with the primordial dragon, who was a guide and protector long before Christianity came up with the word angel to identify these subtle entities.

Gregor closeup

I am the Witch of the West, once called Melufa, The Recordkeeper, and once called Morgaine and Aurora. I am a Daughter of the Living Goddess, as well as a lover of women, and a mother. I acknowledge Grandmother spider, who appears from time to time to help me toward my destiny. I am blessed by the hummingbird, who reminds me to stop and smell the blossoms. I am blessed by the Great Blue Heron, who assures me I am where I am supposed to be. I acknowledge the faeries in my life, tiny embodiments of my personal discoveries.

I meditate on Gregor and he emerges at once as my ever present spirit guide, a shimmering creature of multi-faceted crystal clarity. I acknowledge Gregor as my spirit guide, and in him feel the spirit of my grandfather, also a dragon, who once protected me. I call upon Gregor now and through him nurture my masculine energy, the ever present Shiva, handed down to me through my mother’s blood, also from my grandfather.

I am awake, and I can see.

I am the Keeper of Mysteries in my home. I am protected by the Goddess, who often gives me what I need (as opposed to what I want).

To those who wish me harm, or who waste their time weaving negative webs I am expected to get caught in, I say this …

Deal with Gregor.

And may the goddess help you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

FROM OUR WORKSHOP: Gregor


The ancient ones lie quietly, as old as the mountains, as strong as the rocks, stability and fortitude their mainstay ... that, and waiting, of course. They wait patiently for the world to turn on its spiritual and historical axis. With weathered wings that long to soar, eyes that see absolutely everything, and ruby red hearts of the purest crystal, they wait and wait until the sleepers awaken. They know that some of the sleeping ones can see them from time to time, tentatively aware as they are in their slumber. For the ancient ones, who need no mirror to realize themselves, and for whom existence is whether seen or not, this is only consequential. Soon the sleepers will awaken and ask them to be guides again, and, oh, the glory will return! But until then, with patience of the ages, they remain content to wait ... and listen to the primordial om, the sound of all being.

Meet Gregor, one of the ancient ones. Master of all the elements, this ancient guide prefers the earth to the skies, and wraps himself in a comforting drape of aromatic flora simply because it pleases him.

Om ...


Look here for A. Venifica's wonderful information on dragon totem symbolism.


Look here for information on Amma's visit to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Monday, February 16, 2009

FROM OUR WORKSHOP: Buto, The Cobra Goddess


(c) February 16, 2009 by Donna L. Faber, Original is 8.5x11, image done in pen & ink on Strathmore smooth bristol paper, then cut out and mounted in black textured paper. Highlights done in silver metallic ink. Some colored pencil used. While the text below indicates that Buto's venom comes from her bite, in my rendition it is Buto's tail which carries the deadly blow; hence, the eldritch flame and energy pulse from it.
Learn more about snake symbolism here.

Buto
(Uatchit, Udjat, Wadjit, Edjo)

Buto was a cobra-goddess whose original home and cult center was in the Delta of the Nile at Per-Uatchit. In time she became a prominent protectress of all of Lower Egypt. As such she was routinely connected to the goddess of Upper Egypt, Nekhebet. Together, they appeared in many pieces of art as symbols of the Two Lands, a united Egypt.

Buto did not just protect Egypt, she also was an aggressive defender of the king. She was portrayed as the uraeus cobra first worn on the brow of Re, and later the pharaohs'. Her hood is spread in a threatening position and she is ready to spit poison on all of the pharaoh's enemies or burn them with her fiery glare. It is thought perhaps that her powers could be used against the pharaoh as well. Her bite may have been the deadly device used by Anubis at the appointed time of the pharaoh's death.

Buto was a personification of the sun's burning heat and she was called the "Lady of Heaven" and the queen of all of the gods. She was closely associated with Horus the Elder, who was the protector god of Lower Egypt. Also she was associated with Harpokrates (Horus the Younger); she protected him from Seth in the marshes of the Delta while Isis was searching for the body of Osiris.
Here is the unfinished draft ...

DRAFT -- Buto

Sunday, February 15, 2009

FROM OUR WORKSHOP: The Latest by Liz

RAWR by Liz
RAWR by Liz on February 12, 2009
In Pencil by Liz
In Pencil by Liz on February 12, 2009
By  Liz
Black & White by Liz on February 14, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

FULL MOON


LET GO

LET YOURSELF

LIVE

LOVE
Full moon over San Francisco by Gary Glass Photography.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 Random Things About Me


A Facebook Experiment Run Amok ...

1. I have been desperately in love with Dolly Parton since I was a teenager … okay, more like obsessed. I consider her my celebrity guardian angel just like Charlene in “Designing Women”. In fact, I dreamt about her last night.
2. My partner, Leslie, is my best friend. She and our daughter are the only two people I can stand being around for longer than a few hours. Everybody else gets on my nerves even though I try not to show it.
3. I really like cats better than dogs, but everybody in my family is allergic … so I had to adjust. Now I love dogs, too. Especially Daizy.
4. I feel like I was a sleep walker until the year 1999 when I first saw one of the Holy Mothers. It’s corny, and kind of borderline zealotry, but it’s the truth. I was sleeping, and now I’m awake.
5. I was happier pregnant than I’d ever been in my life. I felt purposeful and awesome. Also, Leslie waited on me hand and foot, and that was kind of cool, too.
6.I am genuinely grateful that I live in a time period in history when two women can live together, have a baby, and not have to hide it or call each other "friends".
7. My artwork is a labor of love. If you ask me what I draw, I’d say whatever asked to be drawn. People wonder why I don’t do more with it and I wonder, too, but the truth is I am compelled to take care of my family right now, so I work. Maybe one day when our daughter is older and more independent, I’ll be ready to focus on it more constructively.
8. I get immense pride and a sense of accomplishment out of working to take care of my family. Doing so gives me purpose, which is important to me.
9. I have no sense of personal style. If Leslie didn’t dress me, I’d look like a complete dork every day. A true fashion disaster.
10. I like my job. It’s important to me to work with people, and I am very good at bringing a team together and encouraging everyone to reach for their full potential. But, I also need to make a good salary, a competitive one, or it’s hard to keep my heart in it. I found that out in Connecticut. I never thought money was important until I didn’t make much.
11. I think the internet and blogging are awesome because anyone can do it have an audience. I like having an audience.
12. I've been wearing make up since I was 15 ... I started because my dance teacher, Miss Connie, did it.
13. I’m no good at staying home. (as opposed to working). I tried that in Connecticut, too, and discovered I suck at it.
14. My favorite comic strip is “For Better or For Worse” and I’ve made sure our daughter loves it, too.
15. It was particularly important to me that our daughter hate peas … mission accomplished. They are disgusting, and I don’t care what Leslie says.
16. I didn’t discover my self-confidence until I was in my mid to late thirties … everything prior to that was sheer nerve.
17. I love San Francisco a lot, but don’t have the visceral connection to the land that Leslie does.
18. I’m a pretty forgiving person and will go back again and again if I think it’ll help a relationship … however, once I’m done … I’m done. Case closed.
19. I have a shallow streak that I’ve learned to accept.
20. I love my Leslie’s cooking … it’s the best there is.
21. Having acrylic nails done in a French manicure makes me feel good, even though it’s a bitch to type with them.
22. I don’t worry much about things, in general, but I do worry about what’ll happen to my mother when she’s ancient.
23. My most favorite movie is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.
24. I love an excellent book, but admit that when I’m too into one, it’s usually escapism for the wrong reason.
25. I believe in magic, I really do, and have done some in my day.
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