Monthly Archives: March 2012

Imagine: Pura Vida

The most admirable animal I know is the Emperor Penguin: those noble beasts that live a life of incredible focus. I would like to nominate the Emperor Penguin official father figure of the planet. He carries the single precious egg upon his feet for months, without food, facing the harshest winter conditions this beautiful planet has to offer.
Imagine: male penguins by the thousands huddled together through Antarctic blizzards with just one purpose… to protect the egg; the single precious egg layed by their mate who then must march to the sea to feed or die. Never fear father of the year, she will return, gods willing… in about two more months! When his mate returns he will at last be relieved of duty that he may then march, famished, for days on end to the sea to eat and try not to be eaten. And thus it goes… parents taking turns, marching to the sea to feed that they might then return to the colony to feed their young.
Imagine: the stark landscape, the stunning black and white birds with the blaze of father sun upon their cheeks, marching back and forth to feed and feed their young. They recognize their mate and young by mysterious powers of longing to be reunited, given voice in song. Only death disrupts this arduous and holy journey. They are the incarnation of Father Sun humbly generating solar power with their own bodies to keep their young alive.

What is true love, if it is not this?

This love of life itself and each other, as they say in Costa Rica, “Pura Vida!”
Pure life! Life stripped bare, simple to the point of stark, stunning in its harsh reality. Let us all bravely march together to the sea of imagination to feast and bring back the spiritual food that will nourish the young of our kind.
I dreamt many years ago of a Navajo woman: one of those Dine Shamaness prowling the dreamtime. She carries a ceremonial knife in the form of a penguin. She is Dine; of the southern central region of North America and she carries a sacred penguin knife into ceremony. She is, like me, a citizen of a reality where the usual boundaries do not exist. Where penguins roam the desert and black bears and jaguars reside in the center of Tucson. I bear witness to a reality where elephants walk with little girls in the suburbs of Los Angeles. We are all in this one great mysterious carnival of life together.

Pura Vida!

P.S. It is now March and the male Emperor Penguin has begun his four month fast to do his best to insure the safety of his future. Let us stop, for just one moment, and offer a prayer for his success.

Shalom Shar Shk Buk X
©March 15, 2012

La Rana Vate

Once upon a time there was a small and oh so insignificant little tadpole. She was born of a dank and murky world. An innocent babe limited by the circumstances of her birth. She had one small appendage, a tail; a rudder of sorts that she could use to stir her course through the dimly lit murk of her watery surroundings. She knew all too well the limitations of her watery world. For there was the ever present edge: the edge of her existence, the edge of her pond, the edge of all that she knew in her short, wet life.
She hid in the murk, felt its safety and knew that this shallow world was her only hope for survival and yet a place of danger beyond imagining. There was more, but this more existed beyond her reach, beyond even her wildest dreams. She was a creature of the water; the water sustained her, she was all but water herself. And yet, within her the seed of unquenchable longing began to sprout.
And then, there came to her the Great Dream: When the moon was full and when the moon was dark, when the moon pulled at the great waters of the earth it pulled at her; for she was not but a drop of this great water herself.
The Great Dream came to her as she floated sleepily in her murky world. The dream was always the same. She dreamt that she was a towering Amazon. She walked in a strange upright fashion. The water was somehow hard beneath her feet and dry to the touch of her smooth, velvety skin. Always in the Great Dream she carried a quiver and bow. The quiver, slung across her back, was filled with arrows tipped with obsidian points that had once been tears, shed by the dark moon in her own mysterious longing. They were feathered with fiery plumes dropped by the Great Phoenix as she flew up from the ash. Her bow was made of a young tree yet living. When she pulled back her bow to gather its power her conversations with the ancient young tree were of great holiness. Too holy even for her own ears these conversations took place deep within her heart.
Always when she would awaken from the great dream she felt the same queer fluttering in her body. It was as if the hands that held the bow and arrow and the arms that gathered the power of the living bow, were truly hers. The urge to propel herself upward and out, as if to fly, haunted her awakenings. Always the Great Dream moved like a panther through the jungle of her growing consciousness.
And then one day she looked up. Her eyes broke the surface of the pond and she felt the sharp sting of air. She gasped and almost drowned in her beloved water. As she struggled for her very life she began to sense a knowing within: her animal instinct for survival. She must preserve this life at all costs: This life that was hers and hers alone. The air and its bitter sting was all that could save her now. She kicked to preserve this holy thing, this precious thing that dwelt within and found that she did indeed have legs. This astounded her for she had been certain that she was one with the murk in which she dwelt: that dank was her true nature. But now the princess frog would begin the quest to question every assumption she had ever made about herself and the world around her. With one great kick she propelled herself upward and out. It was as if she flew. And the edge of her existence, ceased to exist.
To do the unthinkable: to leave the pond; to breath air; to hop on her own four legs; to wonder at a vast new world; to strike out on her own; to follow the stream… She had crossed her own Rubicon and there was no stopping her now. As the days passed she grew more accustomed to the strange feel of the air against her skin. Many hours she spent in Quietude along the stream up to her eyeballs in Holy Communion with the water.
She learned quickly to be a great hunter. The taking of a dragon was a strange and delicious miracle. The brittle wings she crushed easily in her mighty jaws. The flesh and vital juices gave her strength and vitality. She ate not just the body of her pray but ingested the power and magic of their spirit. Under the starry, starry night she dreamt the dragonfly dream: she flew to great heights and saw the world from a magical new perspective. She became wise in the ways of all she ate. They imparted their wisdom through the sacrifice of their lives. The red ants taught her of passion burning within a patient attitude. The beatles in their endless diversity gave her reverence for all life. The worms that she ate after the big rains grounded her deeply in total love of Mother Earth. She once, inadvertently, ate a feather as it fell from the sky and was tickled with delight.
Life she began to understand is holy beyond comprehension of the mind. The holiest communions come in magical moments for which, there are no words. She was a true seeker of that which can never be found. Her life would be given into this sacred reality in the living of it.
It was known by many in the days of old and shall be known by many in the days to come that there are certain meetings long foreseen whose moment is destine to come.
As fate would have it, upon that very same stream that the princess frog was joyfully and respectfully giving her life in the living of it… further to the south, downstream, there camped a young woman. She also was born of limitation and was a true seeker of that which can never be found. In the Great Dream that she received she possessed an astonishing power. Or shall we understand, that this power possed her. In the Great Dream she ate the magic of dragonfly and called the healing rains to bless the Earth with her song. It was this power song that she was now seeking.
She camped by the little stream for three days and nights, naked and alone. She fasted and prayed to the spirit of the frog. She possessed a tiny but magical bow and arrow that she had crafted carefully in absolute reverence for the sacrifice that would be made if she was found worthy. If she was found worthy. If. This “If” was the edge of her reality: the edge upon which she stood, willing to leap.
If, she was found worthy, a sacrifice would be willingly made. She offered all that she possessed. She gave cornmeal and tobacco. Hand crafted beads of shell and stone she offered into the stream. She gifted her dress, a labor of love worn just this once as she approached the stream, to Mother Earth from which it had come. She sheared her beautiful braids with a knife and offered them into the moist earth for the worms. She cried and wailed and promised her life in holy service. At last, when she had nothing more to, give she began to sing. She sang to the stars. She sang to the Moon. She sang to the stream and her song was carried out to the sea. There in the great waters the moon pulled the tides to high and received the song of the young woman, in a good way.

And she was found worthy.

As the little frog traveled downstream many times she was confronted by death. But always, when the shadow fell upon her, she slipped back blending herself with the plants and water, thus preserving this holy thing that dwelt within her.
On this auspicious day of the transfiguration of the Great Dreams, she sat in Quietude upon a stone in the middle of the stream. Presently a butterfly appeared. It danced on the air before the little frog. She watched in gratitude as the butterfly moved in total oneness with the air. As she remembered that first bitter sting of air, she began to sing. Her song had the power to call the rains. Her song had more power than she could ever know. Her song had the power to heal the people and the Earth. With one great leap she took the power and magic of the butterfly and made it her own. She ingested the power of transformation: The feminine grace to become.
Hanging there in midair, she looked upon the towering Amazon and remembered the Great Dream. Her heart overflowed with joy and love and she knew for the first time no fear, even as the hunted. Her own death would be as natural and noble as all of those she had accepted as gifts to sustain her own life…
And so…
She turned her open heart to meet the sacred arrow;
and the woman
the frog
and the song
were one.

Shar Shk Buk aka Cathie Jo Buhlert
© March 29th. 2010