I have most of my hearing back today – coming and going, it is true, but more here than not-here.

I stepped out on the decking which runs along the West Street side of the office and immediately a little bird flew down to sing at me. A robin.

Later, the same bird was perched, singing, on the second-floor fire escape, while I looked up at it and a pigeon on the third floor railing looked down on it.

Ken Wilber:

That very Witness is Spirit within, looking out on a world that it created. It sees but cannot be seen; it hears but cannot be heard; it knows but cannot be known. It is Spirit itself that sees with your eyes, speaks with your lips, hears with your ears, reaches out with your arms. When will you confess this simple secret and awaken from the gruesome nightmare? 

Can you see the words on this page? Then 100% of Spirit is present, looking out through your eyes. Can you feel the book in your hands? Then 100% of Spirit is present, taking the world in its hands. Can you hear the sound of that bird singing? Then 100% of Spirit is present, listening to that song. 


Entwined With Birds

Nearly 8000 years ago, we were imagining we were birds.

The site currently being excavated at Koutroulou Magoula must represent one of the earliest “farming” communities. Yet there is no evidence of hierarchical structure in the settlement. We were operating as true humans,still.

And we were dreaming of turning into birds.

We built houses of stone and mudbrick, and rebuilt houses on the same spot for thousands of years.

And thought we were entwined with birds.

We have forgotten how to build our dwellings in harmony with the land. Forgotten how to live in community without hierarchy.

But we haven’t quite forgotten that we’ve always longed to be birds.

When I Die..

..There will be Crows.

Probably Pied ones.

“We have accounts of birds who come into the room of the dying, are seen on their window sills and collect in large groups around the hospice at the time the person is dying. In the cases we’ve heard, the dying person who has had such visits has always been interested in birds and the type of birds which appear around their time of death is the one in which they have been interested.

Change of Helping Spirits

Christina always has something interesting to say.
Last week, her podcast on the Shaman Sickness contained much good sense, as usual.

..I might add here that Christina was also the recipient of a Western Scientific education, which she uses as another lens through which to view the world, but she doesn’t rely on it exclusively.Which is a lesson I fear the simplistic materialists could learn. But I digress..

The subject of ones initiatory helping spirit is a fascinating one to me, especially now as I seem to be in helping spirit transition.

To be a bit clearer, I have considered the Pied Crow to be my primary helping spirit for some years now, with the Panther as Shadow helper. Before that time, I was connected to Eagle.This appears to be changing again, with the advent of Owl into my personal space last weekend.

On Sunday I took a half hour’s meditation, and when I came back to this space, Owl was perched on the roof just above my altar. Now, when I try to visualise my upper level helping spirit, the form of Owl is what I get. Those huge yellow eyes..

Ah, but the more things change, the more I’m in ecstasy. Interesting that my primary upper totem is now transitioning into a nocturnal bird. I can see the paralells with a new phase of my shamanic apprenticeship: one which flows deeper into the cthonic consciousness which springs directly from the Field. I hope that I have the courage to mantain.

Pic: I actually found it here, although I doubt that it originates there.

Too Much To Lose

For the second week in March, it’s very hot. The temperatures have soared into the 30s, and I don’t tolerate heat with anything like the grace I would prefer to show – I sweat, my feet swell, I’m sleepy and frequently get testy. But it won’t last, and with this thought I comfort myself, holding out for the Equinox and, later, the promise of Samhain.

After a period of several years -oh, at least 3 – we haven’t seen a single huge, terrifyingly hairy Rain Spider in the house. Before that, they used to pitch up unexpectedly and park on the wall just above the bed, or hover over the doorways, threatening me with their immense size. So I started talking to them, standing right under them, holding forth on all kinds of topics, silently or aloud. After a while, the terror passed, and I accepted them into my life as the beautifully necessary agents of doom for mosquitoes that they are.
Then, just as suddenly as they would loom, they were all gone. Not a single giant arachnid showed up in my house – and I didn’t know whether to be grateful or resentful. Now we have one resident in the bathroom. After it scared the crap out of Warren by dropping onto his shoulder – it was hiding in the towel he whipped off the rail to dry himself after his morning shower – it sulked for a little while between the shower doors, and then moved to a position behind the Fluffy Face Towel, where it seems content to spend the long post-summer days, waiting for prey.

And speaking of predators: we were disturbed this morning by an usual amount of noise from the Luries who live off fruit from the suburban trees. The go-away calls were so loud and insistent that Warren and I went outside to see what the problem was. Just then, with an astounding silence of great big wings, an Owl launched itself out of the Cycad and flew not two feet over my head. I’ve never seen an Owl in the daylight in Bloubosrand before – and I’ve certainly never been so close to one.

Owl returned to the Cycad, where he is well camouflaged against the dry fronds. The Luries have continued to complain all day, and a couple of Pied Crows (of course!) turned up to add to the suburban avian disapproval of this raptor. He has been sitting in that tree all day, his great yellow eyes opening when I approach; blinking slowly at me, shuffling his talons a little, but mostly napping, I think, until night falls and he can see to hunt again.

I feel so damned blessed, sitting here with a ruddy great spider in the bathroom and an owl outside the bedroom, that I start to wonder why and how I ever came to feel fear of this existence. But that fear, like my life-threatening drinking and my terrified ingestion of handfuls of tranquilisers, seems to have melted into the mists of someone-who-was-once-me. Someone I know I was, but who I can never entertain the knowledge of ever becoming again. I have too much Love to lose, now.

Pic: Spotted Eagle Owl gracing me with his presence(enlargement from photo)

Today Is Also..

fluffy post day.

I have decreed it so.

For the purposes of this particular Fluffy Post, let me set the scene:

The smokers’ balcony at work is three stories above ground level. There is nary a tree in sight. Well – one potted fica over there in the corner, but no, like, actual trees.

The balcony is tiled,runs around the inside of a courtyard, and open mostly to the air – which means that we get wet when it rains and bake in summer, but we don’t get to see much of anything natural, unless you count the birds.

Most mornings, I set aside the last of my breakfast, usually rooibos-and-rye sandwiches with cheese and tomato (and please, don’t upbraid me on such a voluminous breakfast. My body knows what it needs, which is a huge breakfast, a lighter lunch and no supper at all) to crumble and scatter on the balcony, always in a set place, for the littler birds to come share.

So, this usually means Sparrows – sometimes Minahs – have come to recognise me and will stop what they’re doing at about 7 o’clock to feast on bread and cheese together.

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years, and what is absolutely delightful is that the Sparrows -actually, one Sparrow in particular – will, maybe 3 or four times a year, leave something behind in the place where I shared my food with them. Quite often, it’s a feather. This morning, as has happened only twice before, it was a leaf.

A dried, brown, Pin Oak leaf which comes from 3 floors down  and right around the other side of the building, for the closest specimen.

My little, fluffy, brown-and-grey friend was perched, at 8 in the morning, on the railing above my head, yelling at me as only a Sparrow can, until I walked over and picked up the anomalously-positioned leaf.
And thanked him. Whereupon he shut up and flew away again.