blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Life ~ Death

This is a story-poem by Jen Marsh, who has been primary caregiver for the last five years to her mother, now sliding ever deeper into dementia. 

Jen's powerful meditation is perfect for the original intent of the founding mothers of Cronehenge, who now find themselves looking back as much as looking forward. Several of us have already taken this challenging mother-daughter journey. 

We have already attended upon the first two Fates, Urd and Verdandi. Now, we who are Crones move into the presence of Skuld, where begins our final unwinding.








Are life and death the same?
Is one more precious than the other?
My mom has dementia.
I have been supporting her care on a daily basis
For over 5 years.
Witnessing her reversal.
I cannot use the word death here
Because what I have been taught about death
Just doesn't seem to fit.

One of my greatest pains in life
Has been my inability to conceive a child,
My inability to create and bring forth another life.
My life seems to have been focused 
More on what most would consider
The opposite of birth or life.
With so many of my animal friends
I have been the main one supporting
Their end of life needs.
To truly be there
Connected and engaged
All the way to the point of death,
I cannot describe it as anything but
The most beautiful
And the most painful
Experience in my life thus far.
In that moment of letting go
Death became a birth.

As I scroll through my Facebook feed
I am aware of a change in my habits.
I used to skip all of the posts
About mothers sharing their experiences.
Honestly it was too painful
To read about motherhood,
Something I will never experience.
Now I am drawn to these posts.
As my mother is reverse learning
Many of these "motherhood" experiences
That I am reading about,
I am experiencing with my mother.
Battles with not wanting to bathe or shower.
The slow process of not using a fork.
Worrying about what can be swallowed safely.
The reverse potty training.
So much of what these mothers are talking about
Are things I am experiencing in reverse.

When my dear canine friend Zaboo died,
The last moments felt like a birth
Into something unknown.
A letting go.
A moving on.
And I was the midwife
Encouraging the process.



I am approaching this moment
With my mom
The slow reversal of learning
The slow process of forgetting
All life supporting processes.
And, there are no set guidelines
For the unlearning,
For the forgetting.
By age 9?
She should forget how to walk.
By age 9?  
She should forget how to use the toilet.
By age 9?
She should forget how to swallow.

Experiencing this reversal
Has encouraged me to look at death
With new eyes, from a new perspective,
One very different from what I was taught.
The difference between life and death
Is becoming very unclear to me.
Am I witnessing
An approach to an end
Or an approach to a beginning?

~~Jen Marsh







Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Urgent Message from Mother




Poem by ~~

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.  
quoted from Urgent Message from Mother
Gather the Women, Save the World

Circle up, sisters! 
The time to save our world -- for our grandchildren, for our fellow species--is NOW.




Untapped source of peace,
The only real hope
Is to draw upon the collective wisdom of women.
Those with direct experience of the cost of war:
The life of child, grandchild, sibling, spouse,
The loss of limb or mind of someone near and dear,
The loss of laughter, the pervasiveness of fear,
The loss of hope for the future.

Untapped source of peace,
Those who have known domestic violence:
Seen the effect of bullying on sons,
Seen daughters become silent,
Seen light go out in their eyes.
Those who know
That when every child matters,
When none are hungry, abused, or discounted,
The world will become a kinder place
For us all.

Untapped source of peace,
Women with empathy
Who live in a world apart,
Are safe, loved, and fortunate,
Yet can imagine
Being helpless, beaten, and raped,
Then forced to bear a child
Conceived in violence.
Women who know in their hearts
That what happens to any woman
Anywhere
Could happen to them.

Untapped source of peace,
Women who see loved ones filled with vengeance and hate,
Hypervigilant, fear-ridden, or afraid to sleep
Because of the nightmares.
Husbands, brothers, sons and now daughters
Home from wars,
Bearing little resemblance to who they could have been
In a peaceful world.



Untapped source of peace,
Women in circles,
Women connecting,
Women together
Bringing the sacred feminine,
Maternal instinct, sister archetype,
Mother power
Into the world.




Poem by ~~
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.  
quoted from Urgent Message from Mother
Gather the Women, Save the World



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

SAVE THE ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE





I cannot believe that this vandalism of an actual treasure -- drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- is even being contemplated. It's time to ask where the souls of the people now proposing this atrocity are, and in what black hole of greed they dwell. 

This is the only planet we have, and so much of what our grandkids' future will look like depends upon our generation's changing our attitude toward Mother Earth. She's not Ours. We're Hers. We're part of a system, a part that's taken to acting like a virus. here, at the bottom of the sky, we are goldfish in a small bowl, where no one's going to come and change the water.  The way we're being taken by our corporate leaders can only end with the human race dying in it's own excrement. 

There has to be a major mental shift inside the heads of a lot of people if we are to protect such places from the "take paradise and put in...." an oil rig tendency of the guys who have made themselves our masters. 

The sad facts are that's it's just another shell game. The money from drilling is pie in the sky. Someone among our complicit legislator needs to feel the stirring of conscience and put unbiased eyes on the numbers. These show that drilling in the Refuge is the usual corporate scam, which ends with one rich guy (Think The Baron Harkonnen,) a lot of busted folks--and with the bill for the clean-up for the toxic ruin left behind-- as well as for the many "subsidies" the industry will require--all the responsibility of the taxpayer. 

If the peasants stopped staring into the daily electronic Circus Maximus and looked around them, they'd see the shackles being locked onto to their ankles--once again--by the thugs who seem to always-- in this and every other human civilization to date -- eventually rig/bully/steal/murder their way to the top. 

  
From The Audubon Society:
      
"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge supports millions of birds that migrate through our state and all 50 states to raise their chicks in its pristine habitat. Birds like the Tundra Swan and Northern Pintail return year after year to nest on its coastal plain, while caribou undertake one the world's longest land migrations to reach the coastal plain and give birth to their young.


The Arctic Refuge does not belong in a tax bill. Yet the Senate tax bill, which could soon receive a vote in the House, opens the Refuge to drilling while avoiding regular order and real debate. The numbers don't add up. Leasing is unlikely to meet the $1 billion instructions--more realistic estimates suggest it would only raise $37.5M.  U.S. oil production and exports are at record levels while oil prices are near record lows. Further, the bill makes oil drilling the primary purpose for the Refuge's coastal plain, limiting environmental review in a precedent that puts all of our federally protected lands at risk. The Arctic Refuge is one of our last truly wild places and an iconic American landscape." 


The Arctic Refuge is even more--it's a living, breathing World Heritage site, a vital part of the heart-beat of our planet. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Judy Chicago's DINNER PARTY




During 1974-79, Judy Chicago, along with collaborators both male and female in what are patronizingly called “decorative arts,” (embroidery, weaving, painting on ceramic) created a work called The Dinner Party. This was a triangular table with an exquisitely embroidered runner and 39 hand-painted and decorated ceramic plates. Each was made in the shape of a vulva, and decorated in a way which was meant to express the spiritual, artistic and esthetic contribution to society made by a famous woman. 


The Dinner Party Wolstonecraft Plate may be seen, along with the rest, 
at the Brooklyn Museum: 


The work has plenty of critics, some, the usual suspects, powerful old men in high places who loudly declared that it was “pornographic,” but also quite a few feminists. Some criticism has to do with the way certain famous women are represented—for instance, frilly 50's petticoat frills might not have been the best choice for the solitary lady in white Emily Dickinson. Perhaps the inclusion of Georgia O’Keeffe, who declared that her flower paintings had nothing to do with the vaginal, showed a disregard for her often stated opinion. Perhaps Virginia Woolf, a writer who despised the public’s obsession with the gender of authors, is another who should not have been included.  Other female critics have said that The Dinner Party is not only vulgar, a tune with one note, but demeaning to women, reducing these brave and brilliant fore-mothers to a bad-joke common denominator.




http://www.sacredsource.com/Sheela-Na-Gig-4/productinfo/BZ-SHE/

I’m not a visual artist, but it seems to me that while you might find fault with a part of the whole, The Dinner Party accomplishes its purpose, both as a work of art and as a powerful, provocative feminist statement.  It is estimated that 15 million people on three continents have seen it, pondered it, and argued about it.

The installation has been a taking off place for women to think about their obscured history and about their accomplishments, about their historical and mythical power, their works of art and their creativity.  It's a shout-out for the central fact of the feminine. 

Hindu Temple, Goddess gives birth

If the penis has been celebrated as the ejaculator of ideas, why can’t the vulva, too, be celebrated and honored as it once was in pagan times? Let's reclaim that old time pride in our bodies and what they can do. Woman is the portal through which all creation emerges.





Judy Chicago's artwork is ongoing:

Birth Tear, from the Birth Project, by Judy Chicago

Senior curator David Revere McFadden wrote about The Creation tapestry:
“...Casting this archetypal story as that of female fecundity flies in the face of visual, cultural, and religious history. It becomes a metanarrative by implication, reflecting Chicago’s determination to challenge the status quo and to question received knowledge”.


~~~Juliet Waldron


http://www.julietwaldron.com

See all my historical novels and many bookstores where these are available @
https://www.facebook.com/jwhistfic/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Visit to the Fey



I was recently privileged to join in a procession of the Fey--behind no less a personage than the Queen of Fairies, as a part of her entourage. This doesn't happen to a human very often, and certainly not often to elder humans. 

Old people remind the Queen of decay and death, things she does not allow within her realm, her realm which is eternal--ever-green--as they say. She and her subjects do not age; they are forever young and fair. Therefore, to sing to her and walk beside her people was a great honor for this old woman, definitely a bucket list item.

(Not to say I've never danced with the Fey. I, in the days of my youth--back in the now legendary and generally misunderstood sixties, back when I was young and fair, I participated in her rites--rites which raise energy, and all that naturally follows after, those encounters in the dark scented forest, where all celebrants channeled Venus and Mars. Never mind, it's all back of me now.)



Bay Laurel


The Fairy Queen is a lover of high fashion, of flashing sequined quirks, tinkling bells, supple bare flesh, bejeweled dresses woven with spider's web. She even loves kinky boots, so her devotees wore them too.

Her entourage was more than ready to indulge her every whim, and upon this high magical occasion, they certainly pulled it off. I wore the best dress I had, long sleeves, flowing in mauve, in blue and green. A generous member of Her court gilded my cheek with a star. I braided my long white hair and carried a wand taken from the Holy Laurel. At first I held an inspirational leaf between my lips, like the Delphic Priestess.


  The Queen of Elphame, by Fuseli


Oh, how these fairies shone as they walked, fairy lights and fairy dust around them, making music with their sweet voices, a procession through twilight, following the glorious Queen and her tasty Year King! Beguiled, I followed after. When they began to sing, I took the laurel leaf from between my lips, lifted my laurel wand and had the pleasure of joining my still true voice with theirs.

And what did we sing in our ecstasy--again and again in an endless spiral--but one of the songs which captivate mortals and carry them into a realm that is fickle, cruel, and totally enthralling, a song which the fairies will sing even as the silver flash of a sacrificial knife pierces their own cool fairy hearts:

We shall be free
We shall be free
To sing 
And dance 
And make love--
Won't you come with me?



~~ Walker



Saturday, December 31, 2016

Packaging Problems :( By J. Olmstead






Ok !  Hey this is great.. Saves on finding a container to store your unused portions away until your stomach demands a bit of ham.. Or frozen meatballs...
I seemed to have uncovered a small problem with this wonder technology .
And that is......how to get them unsealed to start with.
Dispite little arrows, dotted lines , clearly visible zippers ,  little  printed tiny fingers pointing  to how to get the package opened.  I seem to fail miserably on achieving a clean open.
My packages often end up stabbed, scissored , shredded . Cursed at.. And occasionally thrown hard on the counter with.. I didn't want to eat you anyways...
 Others are left with Ragged plastic edges that defy any form of closing at all.
So, into another container to store... This one with easy snap on lids..another brilliant invention .

If, one can find the right one in a drawer stuffed with containers...and lids...
All seemingly divorced. Or at least.. In a heavy argument.
There are a few places in the mexican market where I shop.. Mainly on the street.. Where life is very simple.
A round of homemade cheese is wrapped in plastic.. No seals.. And placed in a small clear plastic bag. Freshly made this morning .
Fruits and vegetables.. Fresh fish filleted before your eyes. Shrimp.. Similar .
Eggs.. Fresh baked rolls..  All slipped into an open ended plastic bag. Also  Drinks served in a bag with a straw poking out.
I am more and more enjoying that loose, no nonsense way of bringing things home.
While I may on occasion break an egg.. Or want to put my drink down for a moment...
I am not reduced to a blithering idiot trying to get at the product. Stabbing. Cursing frustrated.
Ok, thank you for reading my lament...
On purpose, I did not put it in a sealed bag for you!







~~ Joy Olmstead

Friday, November 11, 2016

An Ancient Fable



Now, dear readers, after the events of the last week, it is time for a retelling of a very old story, first written down in Aesop's Fables. This, I fear, is a prophecy.

Once upon a time there was a lovely pond full of frogs, all happy and fat and singing. Things were  largely good. The pond always stayed full; it didn't dry up like other ponds and leave them stranded in mud. There were lots of bugs and many large green lily pads to sit upon. Still, the frogs were not happy because they were bored. Things were dull here, always the same. They thought they might like to have a king so that he could devise things for them to do. Kings, they knew, paraded about in pomp and splendor, which would be entertaining. So they petitioned Jupiter, Father of Gods and Men, to send them a king.

Jupiter, understanding the true nature of kings, thought the little frogs were foolish, but decided that, as they weren't very bright either, he'd send them a king who would neither hurt them nor take advantage. He dropped a huge log into the pool. This fell with a tremendous splash, and the frogs, naturally, were terrified. They all hid, some down deep in the water, others under the lily pads and behind rocks. Trembling, they waited to see what this new king would do. Of course, the log did nothing.

After a while, the frogs recovered from their initial fright. They approached the log and swam around it. Nothing happened. After a little while, the young frogs jumped up on the log and took turns diving into the pond. Growing braver, they began to sit on the log and take in the sun and hunt for flies. The log was excellent for these purposes.

This was entertaining for a time, but pretty soon the frogs were again sitting around complaining about how boring things were in their lovely green pond. This king that Jupiter had sent, they said, was "a milk and water king," nothing to be afraid of. This king made no great displays of his power or courage; he didn't go to war. This king held no ceremonies filled where they all had to bow and salute. Eventually, the elder frogs made the log their meet-up place and here they sat around for hours upon hours, complaining endlessly about the state of the government. Near the end of summer, the log grew sodden and sank.

Once again the frogs petitioned Jupiter, Father of Gods and Men, saying that this king he'd sent hadn't added up to much. In fact, he hadn't been a king at all, hadn't done a single kingly thing during his rule. Now, he'd sunk, leaving them in the same state as before,
without a king.  "This time," they said, "Oh great God, send us a REAL KING."




Jupiter had pretty much had it by now. After all, he'd been listening to them gripe all summer, so, this time he sent a large crane to be king over frog land. The crane was different right from the start. As soon as he landed, big feet entering the shallow water with a splosh, he began to gobble up frogs as fast as he could choke them down his long skinny neck. He ate and ate and ate while the frogs scattered, hopping and swimming in utter terror. The crane used his long bill to probe the mud where they tried to hide; he turned over rocks. When he found them, he skewered them like shish-kabobs.

The frogs who survived the first onslaught
cried out pitifully, once again calling upon Jupiter, Father of Gods and Men. "Oh, please, no! This is not the king we wanted! Save us! Take the crane away! He's cruel; he's a tyrant! His belly is a bottomless pit! His appetite is insatiable! If this continues, he will soon devour every single one of us!" 

"How now!" Jupiter said. "Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes."


Aesop for Children (translator not identified), 1919. Illustrations by Milo Winter (1886-1956). Available online at Project Gutenberg




~~Walker

Sunday, August 21, 2016

ELIZABETH IN FREEFORM By Orb Weaver



Elizabeth w/violets and dandelions


ELIZABETH IN FREEFORM





A not very encouraging beginning,
Here.  We cain’t keep’er no more.
Lucky you.  Lucky my best friend.
Lucky me.

I was your wuffler, your
Trained human,
And you never got enough,
Elizabeth Rex.




You, of glittery eye,
Barely veiled contempt,
Going comatose in my hands,
Drooling on my jeans.



You and I
Understood each other.
Evil spirits separated
At birth.

Love.
You were.
You are.





Radiant bows to a fellow cat person, one who truly gets it.
Juliet W.

Kimi in the wuffle seat.
Now that the old Queen is dead, it'll be the new Queen's turn all the time!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Element of Fire



I wait for sunrise
Beneath the white oak.

Dew bejewels young corn,
Static pillars of fog arise
In the valley.

Morning stars fade.
Birds wake in the prescient glow.
Twilight sublimates into blue,
Ending the unfixed time.

For years I have come to bear witness,
But only in this year of heart-break
Does the full glory greet me.

Now, through a door of silence
Steps Sun,
First, a crescent of fire.

Serpentine arms flourish and glitter,
Reaching from  the horizon
To warm my heart.

I am
No longer solitary, but
Among a rejoicing multitude
In an infinite well of space and time.

A billion souls,
And mine...

Past and Present,
Quick and Dead,
All One, incandescent,
On the altar
Of Sunrise.







~~ Juliet Waldron


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

DEPARTMENT OF AGING~~VANITIES, by ORB WEAVER


On this, the 29 day of June, 2016, at 12:37 a.m., I hereby declare war on cellular phone service in general, and so-called ‘Smart’ phones in particular.  It has always been my conviction that this monstrous invasion of privacy was perpetrated upon us by the young Millennials, to prove their superiority by their creations of unparalleled stupidity, having no taste, no style, and no integrity.  It is the cesspool of a wireless age.  It is distasteful at best and dangerous at worst. 

It is every minute of every phone owner every day.  Do they ever sleep?  Do they not have jobs?  Is it so difficult for them to understand that driving at 60 miles per hour on a major 6-lane resort highway where EVERYONE is in a hurry with their iPhone or SmartPhone clutched in their crabbed little hands, pecking away between glances up to see what’s going on in traffic, is paramount to murder and maybe suicide, as it if mattered. 

How can the vast majority of car driving, phone wielding citizens who wreak havoc on our highways every single day in every single state be absolutely DUMB on the concept of distracted driving?  What kind of generation have we produced who think that whatever it is that THEY are doing at any given minute is infinitely more important that what the other guy is doing.  And on down the line like dominoes.  And when did everyone become so goddamn important?  
  

So.  Let me tell you what has brought me to raging at the machine.  First of all, I have never been a fan of cell phones.  It became readily apparent very early on that a large majority of users used them EVERYwhere.  And they especially liked theatres.  I knew, from those boxy little flip phones, that life was going to become very much more difficult for the gomers, the geezers,  the folks who are never considered in the design of these various things to make them more geezer-friendly.  It seems as though the Silicon Valley boys really don’t want any help.  They are managing to make simple life functions as difficult as I imagine getting a passport must be. 



Case in point.  There is an outdoor tiki-styled restaurant on the water near where we live.  Before it was taken over by people who obviously had worked for Disney in Florida, it was a nice neighborhood bar/restaurant, very quaint, and very pleasant.  When grands and great-grands visited a week ago, they wanted to go there for lunch, and so we did.  When I talked to the reservation girl to put our name on the waiting list, she asked me for my phone number.  I gave it to her, and she then told me when our table was ready, I would get a text.  “Hold up,” I said, that’s my home phone.  Oh, she said, very sarcastically, don’t you have a smart phone?  “No, I said, “I have a flip phone in the bottom of my purse somewhere, and the condition of its battery is unknown.  Can’t you just come and find us?” 


By now an old guy (55+) came over and wanted to know what was going on.  Repeat the above paragraph.  The restaurant employees are getting nervous, and obviously have no solution.  Now, I’m angry.  I’m angry because what should be a fairly easy function of any major restaurant, i.e., announcing the availability of “Bashore, Table of 7”, has now evolved into a system that makes owning a Smart Phone a necessity.  I mean, how can one expect to function in a world we never even imagined?  The debacle was solved when someone in our party had their iPhone with them, and was able to get the text.  But what it there hadn’t been?  Were they that indifferent about embarrassing customers for being out of the loop that they are also indifferent as to whether or not those customers walk out.  My bill was $100 for lunch ... 4 adults, 3 children, and everything was a la carte.  And they didn’t care if they seated us or not. 


And then yesterday, since my cell phone contract had expired, I visited the local wireless store (the one that lights up all of the United States in their ad) to find out about hooking up an iPhone 4.0 that was gifted to me.  It did not go well.  First of all, he wrote down $30.00, then under it $20.00.  He pointed to the $30.00 and said, “This is your phone plan cost.”  Then he pointed to the $20.00 and said, “This is the cost of your phone.”  No, uh, wait a minute.  Doesn’t the fact that I OWN the phone make any difference here?  “No, he said, this is what it costs to have your phone on the phone plan.”  So I have to pay them to use the phone I own.  So this kid says, “Well, at $50, it’s only $15 more than you pay now, not a big deal.  And I leaned across the table and said to him quietly, Sonny, I’m on Social Security, and $15 IS a big deal for me.”  And then, of course, with all the taxes and hidden fees they don’t tell you about, I’m looking at probably $70 in the bottom line.  And so I did the only honorable thing I could do.  I cancelled the damn phone.  I lived all my adult life without a little box  running my every waking minute, telling me things I don’t need to know, and lots of other things about which I care little.  The fact that an instrument of convenience mostly for purposes of business, commerce and government has become this interconnected web from which no one knows how, or even wants to escape. 

So my spouse has decided to get a pay as you go phone.  Good.  I’ll use his.





ORB WEAVER

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Blizz of 2016



Rough times on the east coast last weekend!

From 70 degrees at Christmas, we descended into an old-fashioned hoot and holler of a snowstorm. I guess in central Pa it did not quite reach blizzard status, although the storm came, as all great blizzards do, from the Northeast, fat with ocean water.

There was wind and snow and snow and more snow. Here, where entire winters can pass without note, it was quite a sight. There was a part of me that found it welcome, after a NY childhood imprinted by stark Lake-Effect White Howlers.


New York State Thruway


For a little, I gazed out the window and sent my consciousness into The Dance of the Snowflakes (Swan Lake) and imagined Dame Helda (the German Calliach) doing her crone dance. It's beautiful when I simply fly on the wind as one of them, but frightening when I'm a human once more, gazing up at the swaying power lines upon which our civilization hangs.

Nearby, from where they'd been sitting, enjoying a grassy golf course, the local "Canadians" squawked. When the sky cleared the next day they flew in circles, bemoaning the loss of the open fields upon which they'd been so steadily grazing.



In the end, it was a local record: 30 inches of the white stuff in a 24 hour period. Briefly, our Hobbit name was "Under-Snow." It took a lot of digging--and some neighborly help--to get both cars out. And it's not so much the "digging" part, either, that's wearying. It's the trudge across the road and the toss up onto a high snow bank that's truly challenging.




Not that there was anywhere to go after we had completed our excavation. For once, most everyone paid heed to the warnings and stayed in. That steady stream of traffic which regularly hurries along "the back way" to the Park and the outlets, for today, anyhow, is silenced. Many neighborhoods in small poor urban areas remained choked with snow; days later, people had not managed to get out to work.


 
 
 
This morning, we chipped ice. As we age, falling becomes not just a concern but a definite possibility, as Gravity's attempts to drag us--once and for all--to the ground, seem to have recently redoubled.
 
 
 
 
 
 
~~Juliet Waldron