Young People Woo Woo

03-2 This is what Peace looks Like

This is What Peace Looks Like, 2003

“Cali, there’s like a poster in the bathroom about a class you mom is starting next week.” Skinny decaf soy latte in hand in a new metal traveling mug, Mariposa joined the group of sustainability interns and local young people lolling on the outside terrace at Angel’s on a balmy fall day. It was midweek so some had the day off. The brightly painted tables and chairs set off the many hues of their clothing. Battered backpacks and bikes were perched around them. And one baby asleep in her papa’s front pack.

“Yeah, she says it’s time to pass on what she and the Medicine Circles have been playing with. Rhea’s going.”

“I’m thinking of signing up,” ventured Janna.

“Seriously? Is there is anything to all that fuckin’ woo woo shit?” asked Gabe, still boggled by his recent talk with Molly.

“I grew up with it,” said Cali. “Mom says the questions us kids asked helped her grok the Earth as something to worship, though she never uses that word. Am I hardcore about organic cuz it’s right for the soil and my body or b’cuz I’ve learned to sense the living being named Gaia? I guess that makes me pagan.”

“The Earth Goddess is Pachamama in South American,” said Robin. “She’s very real to me ever since my exchange student stint in Peru.”

“Dad claims the ocean is his church,” added Cali.

“I like thinking of it as a mystery,” said Carlos.

“It was kinda scary when my folks first got into all that,” said Robin Logan, thinking of her teenage embarrassment at Owen’s first appearances as the Green Man in the 4th of July Parade. “I thought we’d be called weirdos.”

“Seemed like a natural progression to me,” said Arlo. “They already made fun of us. Called us hippies. Granola eaters.”

“Birkenstockers,” added Carlos.

“We were hardly the only ones smoking weed,” Arlo reminded them miming that action.

“I get the connection with Earth, but like Tarot cards and ritual? Magic? Seems like wishful thinking,” blurted Mariposa.

“Mom says she chooses to live as if it’s true – you know, reincarnation, psychic connections and dreams.

“Ursula claims she doesn’t have the direct 3-D connection some do,” said Carlos. “She takes it pretty much on faith. Says it makes her happy. Now June…. She’s a counselor and healer. Doesn’t go to many group things. Ever talk to her? She’s pretty hard-core…. In a very gentle way.”

“Some of the massage therapists are dreamers and seers and channelers – generally kind of out there,” agreed Robin.

“But Ursula actually calls herself a fuckin’ witch,” persisted Gabe.

“Yeah, she declared herself one years ago. Had a bunch of people over one time when we weren’t home and they ceremoniously cleansed her and painted her body. I’ve seen the pictures. She wanted to reclaim that word – do her part to take the bad juju out of it. Not many others in the Medicine Groups use the term ‘witch.’ None of them are Wiccan. That’s more organized like a religion. She says “shaman” feels way above her, but “witch” just means a wisewoman in the woods.”

“Right on,” said Janna.

“June and Celeste are part of a Crone Circle,” said Carlos. “They want to reclaim the “crone” and “hag” words too.”

“Medicine Groups?” asked Zydeco who had just walked up.

“Men and women together, alternating with men and women separately, get together on Friday evenings. Sometimes the gatherings are closed to outsiders to develop intimacy and trust,” said Cali, reaching over to unstrap Menolly who was beginning to stir. “Sometimes, like now, they are open to whoever wants to come. There is a core – most of whom you can guess, who hold the space and come up with the activities.”

“And they do what?”

“Don’t really know, man,” said Carlos watching fondly as Cali pulled down her sundress top to put Menolly to her breast. “Practice healing and visioning? General woo woo? Plan the more public rituals.”

“Oh, you’ve been to a few,” teased his partner. “And so have most of us.”

“Is it possible for Tarot, like, actually predict the future?” asked Mariposa.

“It’s more about focusing in on the present. I don’t see the future as written in stone – as inevitable in any way. There’s always free will. Divination is more about considering what comes up in the cards, coins or yarrow sticks or whatever to see the threads and what might come to pass if current patterns play themselves out. They show me the challenges I’m dancing with and where I can make adjustments if I don’t like what’s taking shape.”

“But what decides what cards get drawn?”

“‘Magic. Spirit. Your Higher Self. Your guides. If you don’t have a concept of The Greater Mystery then you have to apply ‘willing suspension of disbelief.’ You have to say, ‘I’m going to trust that the cards I pull have some meaning in my life. I’m going to notice them at least and think about what comes up.’ The images are powerful archetypes that work at a subtle level.”

“Maybe you should be teaching the class, Cali. You sound like you know a lot.”

“Maybe more than I think I do, eh?”

Drumming 1

Ursula was curled up on the couch happily ensconced in the newest Diana Gabaldon time traveling novel, when Charley came into the living room at full speed. “Are we going to drumming tonight?”

“Shit. I forgot. What time is it now? I’ll need to make something for the potluck.”

“It’s almost 5. We’ve got some potatoes and rosemary. How ‘bout scalloped potatoes. I actually liked it when you made it with rice milk recently.”

“You know, that takes a while and we’ll be at the beach. Let’s just roast the potatoes in foil in the fire.”

“Good idea.”

 

“Looks like the weather is good enough for drumming outside tonight,” said Pia happily to Raven gathering things for the evening from their own cozy kitchen. “I’m glad we have Sitka House as a backup but I’m looking forward to one more beach night.”

“Have you been weather witching again, girl?”

“A little – I just put it out there as a low key request. Nothing urgent. Owen did too. There might not be a connection but it looks to be a good night. So yay.”

“It’s a delicate balance knowing when to ask and when to plead and when to let it go, isn’t it? I guess we’re all getting better at that sort of thing.”

“Anyway, I’ve marinated potatoes, mushrooms and zukes for shish-ka-bob. I think Carlos is bringing lamb for the carnivores. So we’ll need to take the grill for the fire. Did you put the drums and my flute in the car?”

“Yep, we’re all set. Are we taking anybody?”

“Arlo said he’d hitch over and carpool with us. I suggested he invite Jay and Fern from here. Oh and their little one. I think we can fit them all in.”

“Here they come now.”

 

“I kinda wanna to the Full Moon drumming tonight,” Uri said to Michael who was working as usual on his laptop. The desk in the house they’d just moved into was already cluttered with papers.

“Mmmm,” responded Michael noncommitally.

“I know it’s not your thing, but I’m shy about going by myself. You know all those people and can help me connect in.”

“You don’t need me.”

“Yes, no, maybe, but I want to spend the evening with you and I’m getting that I need to do this. I’m feeling some important stirrings in the air this night. I’ve got my special vegetable curry rice all ready to go.”

“You and your stirrings. Okay. You know I’m skeptical of all that, but I know the music means a lot to you. Let me get to a stopping place with this report. There probably are some people there I ought to be talking to.”

 

“Golly, Miss Molly, I’m tired,” thought Molly eying the cold wood stove as she took off her work boots in her living room. “Should I really be going out to drum tonight? Yes. It will be good for me to move my body differently. I can pick up some chips at the store. I certainly don’t have the energy to fix anything.”

 

Owen carried an armload of kindling and newspapers down to the beach access just north of the fork in the road beyond Sitka house. The sky was gray but the rain was holding off. His and Pia’s conspiracy seemed to have worked. They were getting better at knowing when and how to judiciously use their weather juju. This had seemed like an important night to gather outside.

There were some burned bits of driftwood in a circle of rocks and he was soon able to scrounge up more. The pickings were slim this time of year after the summer hoards and before the winter storms brought more in. He started to worry whether others would bring some to add, but reminded himself firmly that he could go get more at the house if need be.

He knelt and built a teepee of kindling stuffed with newspaper, and with a prayer for just the right mix of harmony and edgy dissonance in the evening, set the match to it. He had to do a little blowing but it was soon burning merrily. He loved the act of building the fire to call others in.

As he sat by the growing blaze, he noticed an eagle cruising up the beach towards him. He watched it happily, and then his heart soared as it circled low over his head before heading up towards the Mountain.

“Thanks, Eagle, for the gift of your presence. Good happenings tonight, eh? Thank you, Mountain, for your continued…ummm…. sourcing of our process.” He didn’t know quite what he meant by the latter, but certainly the Mountain’s presence was a constant in their lives that brought the Medicine Circles good energy as well as challenges. Full Moon Drumming wasn’t necessarily a Medicine Circle function, but there was a definite overlap of folks who liked this kind of anarchistic hippie thunder drum music with those who were the healers and seekers of his soul tribe. Certainly the bonds forged at these gatherings, usually held at a different people’s homes, helped the community as a whole, both spiritually and with their sustainability “agenda.”

He turned from his musing as some folks he didn’t recognize came up behind him. Newcomers were often a little early, not sure of the protocol.

“Hi, I’m Owen Logan.” He held out his hand.

“We met at Bear Essentials recently,” said the woman. “We’re Jasmine and Gideon Terranova and this is our son, Finch. We don’t have any drums, but Ursula said….”

“There will be plenty,” Owen assured her.

As if in confirmation, Pia and Raven appeared over the dunes carrying a big conga and its stand, followed by Arlo with his djembe. Jay and Fern staggered in with a cooler of their beer between them. Little Anise followed lugging a bag of percussion instruments. Gabe brought two doumbeks and Alex another conga.

Soon there was a goodly crowd of all ages, glowing in the golden light of the magic hour. A table had been improvised on a relatively flat-topped log a little ways from the fire circle. A couple of people were already digging into Cali’s cookies. Pia added her veggie shish kabob sticks on a grill along side the ones Carlos had already laid down. Underneath were Charley’s potatoes pre-wrapped in foil with rosemary and a dollop of butter.

Ursula stood behind them, holding baby Menolly and cooing to the bright-eyed little one who was cooing right back. Pia stood up to admire her. “Such a sweet little Dragon Girl, isn’t she?”

“Always a miracle that she’s here,” Ursula whispered, knowing that Pia understood how much her granddaughter meant to her. Children and dogs raced around them in the sand, a few middle school aged teens wandered down the beach picking up trash, while groups of adults clustered in conversation.

“Pia, I hear from Charley that you’re cooling on the idea of doing the workshop and Re-Treat business,” said Ursula after she’d handed the baby back to Cali to nurse.

“I’m not cooling on the idea, but I realized after talking to you guys the other night that I just don’t have the right energy to do it. My body gives off unhappy vibes whenever I think of making the phone calls to get things rolling.”

“An important sign you need to listen to.” Ursula turned conversationally to the newcomers who were standing at her elbow.

“We’ve been wishing a long time for someone to set up what we’ve been calling a Re-Treat and Re-Creation program to do speaker gigs and workshops here. A form of eco-tourism we could live with. Yoga weekends or visiting shamans and healers who could teach us new stuff, or whatever.”

“It doesn’t even have to be outsiders,” added Pia. “Plenty of folks here might be coaxed into doing a workshop if details like regional PR were handled for them. My partner Raven and I were talking about organizing this effort but now don’t think we’re going to.”

“Where would the workshops be given and where would people stay?” asked Gideon. “There certainly aren’t any big lodges or conference centers here.”

“We think it would work to use places like the community centers in each of the towns and various meeting rooms here and there. The Art Center often has space, for instance, and so do some of the spas. Actually, the vacation rental agencies have the conference room facilities scoped out, but they don’t have time to book groups or handle logistics. Obviously places for people to stay are scattered about – rental houses plus B & B’s. There are several restaurants like Arachne’s Web who do side catering work.“

“Sounds intriguing to do it in a decentralized way,” said Jasmine. “I used to do retreats for a conference center back east. Where would we start if we were to do something like this?”

“Wow,” said Pia. “Not to jump all over you, but you might be the answer to our prayers. I’d be happy to fill you in on what we’ve been thinking. It’s perfect for an economic development grant since it can be pitched as taking advantage of our existing visitor population yet keeps us from filling with T-shirt shops.”

“I love it when you talk ‘dirty’ like this, Pia,” said Molly. “I can just hear those well-oiled wheels in your brain turning.”

“Takes one to know one,” laughed Pia. “I haven’t been able to think of any reason why it wouldn’t be viable…. besides my own lack of energy for it. My wheels aren’t rusty but they’re ready for a different kind of track….”

“Or something like that,” laughed Ursula.

“The Healers Guild will collaborate,” offered Charley who had come over to add his two cents. “That always appeals to funders.”

“Wouldn’t you need non-profit status?” asked Gideon.

“Maybe,” said Charley. “We just happen to have the Cedar ReSource Center’s 501c3 to sponsor projects that are….”

“….moving our River and Mountain community towards sustainability.” Molly and Ursula chanted this last bit in unison with Charley. “Don’t we sound like a grant proposal already?”

“We’re both on the Board,” Molly explained to the Terranovas. “Charley is staff.”

“I’ve been wondering what that was about,” Jasmine said. “It all sounds intriguing.”

“The Center helps pull pieces together for new projects. Dreaming. Conjuring. Networking. Manifesting. Even providing technical help sometimes like bookkeeping and grant writing. That’s how the Portland State Locus program landed here,” said Charley.

“Wow, I wonder if I could do this project and write too,” said Jasmine. “But maybe they would kind of feed each other. It would be cool to have the Harner people come to town. I’d really like to learn from such folks….”

“I worked with them training for Soul Retrieval work,” said Owen.

“We figured it could start with all the teachers each of us has had over the years,” said Molly.

“In fact, you could probably get a Locus intern right off the bat,” said Charley.

“It could be musicians too,” mused Finch who had been listening intently to all this.

“The ‘shishes are ready,” called Raven squatting by the fire. One of the young mothers, a two year old clutching her pant leg, began helping the bigger kids roast hot dogs on skewers.

“Let’s have tea together next week and I can give you names and contacts on the local end.”

Ursula and Pia gave each other high fives as the others turned toward the food. “Yesss!”

“I knew they were live ones!

ReBound as a Healing Center

“You did a great job giving the tour, Gabe,” said Molly after the Locus crew left.

“Thanks. It helps that you’ve had me track the monthly numbers recently.”

“I love you doing that. It gives me a little more breathing room to think through the next steps and how to tie them into this proposal we’ve got brewing.”

“Can I ask a question, though? I’ve never known what you mean when you talk about ReBound being a healing center,” ventured Gabe. “I have a feeling it’s more than just the healing of the earth by giving re-useables another shot at life.”

“Aaahh,” Molly breathed aloud. “It’s very subtle. Have you ever noticed how cheerful most folks are when they come here? People going to ordinary dumps are grouchy. My theory is that they feel awful about throwing things away. Maybe not consciously but if they have any sensitivity our culture’s waste has got to eat at them.”

“I remember I hated to see furniture and stuff in dumpsters growing up.”

“Exactly. Not only do we rescue things but our work here is literally healing and cleansing those things we handle by getting rid of the stuck energy in them.”

“How’s that?”

“Stuff comes through here carrying energetic baggage. Some is positive, but some has absorbed sad, tired, cruddy energy. Obviously, anything literally dirty, smelling of cigarette smoke or cat pee goes in the trash. But some things just feel icky. I threw away a perfectly good bedspread the other day that gave me the creeps. Occasionally I give a conscious blessing as I sort, but most things just need a little energy polish that’s somehow more than a swipe with the rag. It’s such an automatic, unconscious process that it took me ages to even realize I was doing it. I think about how pretty or fun an item is – maybe it wasn’t appreciated before. I think about who will want it. Not usually who literally.”

“Although we do that too sometimes,” Gabe pointed out.

“Indeed. We made sure that the herb collecting basket got into Owen’s hands recently and remembered Mrs. Crowe needing a floor lamp. But mostly I assure the item that it will be loved – that it hasn’t been abandoned, but can bring light and love into a new circumstance. As I learned more about psychic energy I began to see what I’d only been vaguely aware of before and to trust my feelings about the things I touch.

“Some people worry about us doing this work,” Molly continued. “June, Chloe and Stella can barely stand to be here or in any second hand store for that matter. They’re acutely attuned to the psychic and get flooded with pictures about what the previous owners have been through. The assault of impressions can be overwhelming. I used to think I wasn’t psychic at all. Now I know it’s just more subtle for me. But at their urging, we have our witchy folk come in to do cleansing now and then, energetically sweeping the place with smudge, fanciful brooms, bells and rattles, and sprinkles of water. It’s a lovely light-giving process that I wish could be done monthly.”

“I knew that was happening,” said Gabe, “but I’ve always stayed clear of it cuz it seemed pretty woo woo to me.”

“It is woo woo certainly but I think it’s effective.”

“Are you sure you aren’t just making all this up?”

“There’s always that possibility. But does it really matter? The stuff comes in and goes out, everyone benefits.”

“I can see how the process of getting things into the right hands performs a kind of healing service.”

“Everyone loves presents and this place is full of cheap thrills – the right flowerpot you didn’t even realize you were looking for, et cetera. Even with my subtle senses, I can feel people’s happiness. Plus the overall success of the mission towards zero waste here warms their hearts – most people really want the right things to be happening for the health of the planet.”

“I can feel both aspects of that. I suppose it is a literal lifting of people’s spirits.”

“ReBound is usually a pretty happy place. Though we’ve had our challenging moments, haven’t we?”

“Like when a freezer full of stinky fish comes in or the time Seth and the car mechanic were duking it out in the parking lot.”

“That Seth! Such unpredictable Coyote energy. He got us into some awful tangles. Not that he was the only one. Plus, of course, there are the periodic gut wrenching disagreements about organization priorities. Inescapable no matter how together folks are. But as long as I keep aware of the overall picture – on the good days that I’m in that mode – then I’m giving off positive energy to everyone as well as every thing that comes through.”

“You do hand out a lot of hugs.”

“And you see me talking a lot to people. Some of that is politics – I have to be conscious that it is the community that helps support this place.”

“Yet there are many ‘nobodies’ who you greet just as warmly. Sometimes it seems they come to you for a hug the same way the dogs beg for their biscuits at the counter.”

Molly laughed. “Don’t tell anyone but I don’t even know the names of some I’ve been hugging for years. But that energy goes out into their day just the same. It’s all about ripples. Like I said to those Locus kids – we attract people from all walks of life. ReBound doesn’t appeal to everyone but it appeals to a cross section of all socio-economic groups. I’m proud of that. Maybe more proud of that than anything. It’s a coming together place for so many different types. And that’s healing too.”

“I never thought of it that way. I’m still skeptical about the mystical energy stuff though.”

“I guess you don’t want to know about the dragon who helps us here.”

“Dragon??”

“Hee hee,” chuckled Molly. “June pointed it out to me a long time ago. I can only see it in occasional glimmers that could easily be my imagination. But I talk to it anyway and thank it and I hear a little ‘you’re welcome’ in my mind. It’s like a guardian for this place.”

“Now you’re getting way too weird.”

“Ah well. Just watch for the emotional energy and play around with it a bit. Notice who responds and who doesn’t and what it takes to change their reaction. That’s an important piece of learning to run this place.”

“Do you think I ever could? Run this place, I mean. I love it here. I’d really like to do this long term.”

“Fabulous. I’ve been getting that it’s time for me to hand over more of the operations to younger folks. But in the past they take off just as I get them trained so I’m a little discouraged on that score. But you seem to have more roots here than most.”

“Fern and I have an agreement that we won’t live more than an hour away from each other to make the constant parental transitions in Anise’s life easier.”

“Far out. Well, keep up the good work and I’ll give you more responsibility. Maybe I’ll show you the bookkeeping one of these days. Oddly enough, it’s hard for me to think about giving that up. It’s such a conjuring process for me. I look at the numbers and imagine how they will come out. Dream and worry and muse…. But it’s a control issue too so I’m open to loosening my grip a bit.”

“Awesome. I’ve got a kickass head for number details.”

“How about you start by taking Satish and the other new intern under your wing.”

“Show them the ropes?”

“Mentor them. They should get tastes of all the different tasks.”

“Who do I call to get them certified on the forklift?”

“Good thinking. It’s in a folder marked “training” in the personnel drawer of the red file cabinet.”

“I’m on it,” he said, heading towards the office.

Molly watched him with a speculative smile and a lightened heart, before turning to put a piece of clear plastic over the exercise bike on display in the yard, protecting it from the light rain that had started to fall. With a shout of joy she saluted the rainbow that arched over the Mountain. It had almost ceased to amaze her how often that bright omen graced moments of right decision in this place. Glory be.