Monday, February 27, 2017

Keep an eye on the wave

Alex Santiago. Now that man appeared solid to many people who have known him. Dependable as a repair and fabrication man in his early years, there was also the magic and subtlety or mutable-nature of the signs he created. 'Old magic' meant many things: tradition and established rules; methods kept secret and passed mouth to mouth/hand to hand. But, as well 'old magic' could mean a legacy of methods was passing through and on its way out. Now that his literal deck of favorite cards was a pile of ash a man who was known for his hands had none. Skeena of the Silver-haired Raven Clan, now a fully-grown man was initiating his mentor in the finer points of magic.

"Like a reverse walking lesson," Skeena explained when Shine asked about The Old Man's whereabouts. "The Old Man has his feet now thanks to banana skins, but he must learn what to do without his hands. Seems odd?" Skeena laughed a belly laugh that would greatly please his mother. "Alex had huge hands, banana sized hands! Without them his whole body will need a different kind of balance."

"So, are you telling me Alex won't be back for pie and ginger tea?" Shine sat up on her elbow, and cradled her head to look into the Raven Man's golden eyes.

"It may be both our elders are on their own for ... well, for awhile. You put Camilia on a surfboard living life rather than wearing it, and put a mele a song in her mind and heart with lyrics that will test her investment in producing moments when ancestral knowledge is reborn again. That is no easy meat to chew!"

"Does this mean I don't get that Apple Banana Pie until they return?" Shine had listened to Skeena's words and knew this story was all about making bargains and taking small and unusual steps. The Old People will have to keep an eye, or all four eyes on the spiraling wave. Life will be a little shaky. Her hearing was keen, and though she was in the small bathroom now, showering and cleansing herself she listened for Skeen's answer. This is what she heard. "New rules for old magic make allowances for rewards, and seems to me there's nothing stopping us from walking down those stairs, and asking 'Aka for a slice of that pie and some hot and spicy ginger tea."

"... Something is brewing. Something that starts out with a deep desire within and results in an adjustment to your fortunes, your story, from the outside. There are walls that must come down in order for your outer fortune and inner desire to balance.
This week there are rumblings of such. And Mars moves from its involvement in the Jupiter-Uranus opposition into trine with Saturn: Sudden actions propel us on a new course, one of work over time. One that pays off down the road. Just keep that in mind if you find yourself stymied in love or money, frustrated. Take those first steps that are experimental and bigger than usual..." - more from Satori
Like homeopathic remedies, Wise Woman Medicine and medicine stories, the pause is everything and patience or ho'omanawanui the long haul key to the journey. We press the 'PAUSE' button for now and let this story infuse...

Banana Skin and Ginger UPDATE: 
Nana kela! Look there!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Losar, Tibetan New Year

"...There’s going to be stability offered, available, something recognizable and reliable is there to catch on to and navigate by. Jealousy can flair when people are awash in emotion. Validate your connection to others and the same twinge can solidify into reassurance and connection. All creatures crave connection. When deprived they can lash out. So offer it freely. Touch base and renew that promise.
Sunday morning the Moon conjoins the Sun in Pisces at 8 degrees...The fire of the Leo full moon eclipse is quenched by the healing water of the Pisces new moon eclipse. Fire burned something out. This is a fresh, wet start that everyone is taking together. How together? How indeed. That’s what we’re just starting to find out. Take those first moments to acclimatize to something new, something different. How does it feel? Relax and let it simmer and flow.
In some ways, we’re all wiped clean… to reveal a great history that we share. Don’t look for what’s lost. Follow what shows up. Lost, gained, these are constructs that won’t necessarily apply at this juncture. Look for the side of the truth that feels like the active stream, the healthy stream. Get in that stream and flow with it. Don’t waste your energy fighting the current. Mars conjoins Uranus and moves into opposition with Jupiter. Push off into the flow and get somewhere NEW. Jump in! The water’s fine." - Satori
Normally Camilia and her family celebrated the Chinese New Year, cleaning their homes, cooking a meal of abundance to share with friends, having fun and finally walking the land banging pots and pans to clear out the rascals left from the old. This year had ended or begun quite differently. It was the harshest winter yet. With all the challenges of health and conflagration the Chinese Lunar New Year went without ritual or recognition. Camilia and Alex had stalled in their combined spirals until a certain mouse took up residency and familiarity with the old welder. A small thing, a being, unblocked the flow.

The tides in prelude to Losar, the Tibetan New Year offered two pair of highs and lows. Saddled loosely atop the small board Camilia breathed in the newness of her strengthened pelvic floor. The winking had stopped but her confidence with the blossoming was memory she would commit to in the coming new year. A New Moon finds both Sun and Moon in the sky and in the same astrological sign. All day long the Moon shares a close conjunction with the Sun. As Camilia parked herself both in between the dream and the threshold of the mundane world, she was conscious of the beginning of a fresh start.

When she was newly faceless decades earlier, it was the ending of a marriage to an old life she left in the Gypsy Woman's cauldron. Another lifetime now ... ginger blossoms and kelp thongs had a message of sovereignty for her at 70 years of age. "This is a great time! Great time to be old, and powerful." It was the last thing Shine Molina had said to her before you became part of the old color of love.

Thoughts of returning to Waipi'o Valley, home of her mother's mother's mother haunted Camilia. "Will I be truly ready, this time." When the girls were young she had left them with their father. What a mistake. She shivered at the memory. At the time, Camilia had returned to Hawaii hoping to find her hiapo her first-born, the son she had never held, the same son she knew as well as the palms of her hands.

"Always in dreams, we know each other without question," the tide was shifting from slack to rise.  She felt the sea move toward land.  Dangling free from the blue velvet nest between her breasts the narrow rope with a wish bone, hallow bone, funny bone and back bone titillated her. How funny to feel such pleasure when there was still nothing solid or sure. The sea was curling into a wave. Camilia instinctively lowered herself into a paddling position, securing the bones into their nest for this new adventure. A memory of a progression came to her as she pointed her surfboard toward land, a shore she could not yet see. The memory was a bit of astrology written for the Aquarian Sun-signs; the sign of her current progression.

"Take the time to put your feelings into words and share them. Size is not everything, though I suggest this be longer than a tweet. Reach into some of the unusual depths that you’ve been feeling, and that may be daunting. It is, however, the expression and sharing that will help you validate your experiences and keep your exploration going. If you keep silent, you won’t hear yourself as clearly. If you don’t write down your thoughts, you’re less likely to remember what ground you’re covering. It’s not just your arrival to a new place that counts (and such is inevitable). Rather, it’s how you got there that matters. "

- Planet Waves for February, 2017 by Eric Francis

How grand that I, the storyteller of this tale of Banana Skin and Ginger, have an arrangement with Camilia to 'put those feelings into words and share them...It's not just your arrival to a new place that counts...Rather, it's how you got there that matters."' As the wave crested strong and confidence Camilia with her backbone and roots born in Waipi'o Valley pulled herself into standing position and rode.

In her mind and heart, this music of Waipi'o accompanied her.

To read what happened next go here. 
To read Banana Skin and Ginger from the beginning go here.

Friday, February 24, 2017


The door between the mundane and mythic worlds opened to the human and interstitial traffic of feet, paws, claws and wings. The Safety Pin Cafe maintained its allowances for any and all beings. The ducks padded in and waited patiently for human hands to push the way in and the hospitable clan that operated this way station made space for the web-footed ones. Though some humans writhed or vacated when resident rodents made their presence known, these small beings were welcome too, with some special provisos. I would say if you dear reader be squeamish or locked in a predisposition regarding rodents, now would be a good time to take your leave for a fresh pot of tea while I go on with the history of this myth.

It all started long ago when Raven and Fairy Woman happened upon the notion of a cafe of safety for the beings. In a way, the place they imagined was a substitute situation, a culture where old worlds and traditional ways came together between borders. Raven was a place-based maverick  -- indigenous would fit, known for his trickery of course. But, this Raven was silver-haired and cross bred with something all together, or at least in the main, open to making allowances. The Fairy Woman was a mostly traditional urban spirit facile with the goings on of commerce, exchanges, cookery, and particularly fond of spells that aided in transitions of any sort. Hospitality was her prime motivation.

The first of these medicine stories began with The Safety Pin Cafe "on a day a duck could love." Behind the scenes and as a result of being both a mundane and mythic gathering spot, provisions had to be made to accommodate mice and rats.

"Eradication," that is the only solution said the Gypsy Woman. "They carry disease and since these rats ..." Gypsy Woman was turning a brilliant shade of red that said without doubt Don't Fuck With Me!' "don't eat mice, you will just have to bait them and snap them and dispose of them. This is an eatery." There were exclamations on that last bit. The Gypsy Woman was the matron and reader of Tarot and her opinions were always well regarded. Why in some camps Raven ate mice just as Owl did though not as stealthfully. But, in this story Raven did not eat mice, and there was a twist of karma involved. Mounds of furry cats made good security and like it or not mice and rats will likely remain residents of this planet along side, or not far from humans.

Over many pots of peppermint tea and slices of apple pie the Silver-haired Raven and Fairy Woman conjured a most creative solution to the issue of rodents in the cafe. The provision applied only to the ground floor. The Gypsy Woman put both feet and her clear opinion about eradication in place when it came to the rooms upstairs. NO RODENTS period. Thus you understand why Resident Mouse remained where he did in the earlier installment, "Dangling Bones." 

But downstairs in the cafe itself, an extraordinary negotiation took place between Mouse, Rat, the Silver-Haired Raven and Fairy Woman. It became known as the time of The I.A.D. Treaty (Inoculate And Diaper) and it probably takes little imagination to come up with the details of this agreement. It started with a great feast on a New Moon one winter in the long ago. After hours and long into the wee hours of the morning stores of food and invitations of welcome brought dignitaries and representation from Rodent Clans within the mundane and mythic borders. Raven's people and Fairy people, and Mouse Woman, came to hear the issue and tell the stories of their worthiness; why not worthy?

Can you imagine the discussion, the jokes, the mischief? In fact it took the better part of four months of winter to make the details stick and the diapering of rodents is no less a task. Since that winter so long ago, all rodents are inoculated with a homeopathic formula created after-hours in the kitchen of The Safety Pin Cafe. The Gypsy Woman was chief inspector for the proportion of ingredients and distribution of the serum. All very secret this formula. Even I, the teller allowed to birth this tale am not privy to the serum's specifics. The important part is that it worked to transmorph any disease carrying and the diapering ... well, from senior rodent ware to new born nappies the idea is to keep the leavings to a minimum while allowing for ease of motion, and tailoring more wildcraft than Patagonia.

Alex Santiago's nearly new born Resident Mouse carries the genes of inoculation thanks to his dear and departed mother. But, she was taken by owl before he could be diapered, so that explains the distasteful smell. A bit of a waggle in the tale to give you reader a place to hang unexpressed queries about Resident Mouse. His part in the story was to begin this tale. Where is he now? Well, I can't be sure and isn't that just like life.

Here we go.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"If only ..."

The blazing light of the Raven Skeena was lazer sharp and directed at the cedar plank door with the spring-hinge. Alex clamped his eyes against the glow shielding his face with his arms. The old cedar boards burned quick and hot. This was a dreamscape rendition of the old welding barn, and in it the spirit being directed and controlled the burn. The door and the box within were his targets.

"So much for the old deck," the smoke was real enough. Alex coughed to clear his lungs, then opened his eyes to survey the damage. A small pile of ash remained a pile that was quickly reconfiguring itself into palm-size rectangles.

"A new deck of cards old master Alexander," the bird man was now only a voice. His body form hovered somewhere close, but it was his magic that sustained the dream. One after another the large deck fanned itself. Eight cards the thickness of cardboard. "The deck of Iktumi, the Trickster and Illusionist.These are the lies he tempts us with, the illusions that consume us, and disappoint us." the disembodied voice of the Raven was as a stage production fit for audiences at Banana Skin and Ginger. The fully grown changeling child had created a one-audience performance. Words and a single figure animated each card. Each line of words on each card began the same way.

If only I was rich, then I would be happy
If only I was beautiful or handsome, than I would be happy
If only I had no physical handicap in any way, than I would be happy 
If only I had more or better friends, than I would be happy
If only I,               than I would be happy 
If only I,               than I would be happy 
If only someone close to me had not died, than I would be happy
If only the world was a better place, than I would be happy 

Alex read the cards in turn and digested the figure on each palm-sized card. A fine woodcut point had etched the lettering and drawn each image. One by one Alexander Santiago considered the lies, and chewed on the fit. His was a long and lean body that wore no fat for long. Where does a man with no visible bulge bear an illusion, and for how long can an illusion wear a man such as this? These were questions that weren't dealt with in a common day or night in the life of the welder schooled in old magic.

In that place where Those-Who-Watch pause while waiting for the infusion of nourishing herbs to steep in their recipes requiring more time than tea Shine Molina tapped Raven on his left shoulder. The silver and black wing feathers rippled in a shiver at her touch. "My bit is done Raven man," she said her voice as deep and unforgiving as a tsunami. "Like a wave, the spiral has curved onto itself. I left the woman with painted nails and blossoming privates. She will never be quite the same. If your man is to be a suitable partner the future will be interesting, at the very least."

The pair of meddlers watched. The hefty yellow metal kettle continued to let off more steam from the water left in its belly. The glass jars capped with boiled water and dried Stinging Nettle and Comfrey were already turning deep green and amber. Both jars sat on the simple wooden table over looking the alley in back of the cafe. The smell of pies baking in the kitchen below made even the spirit being hungry for the delights promised.

"Shall we?" Shine had put in a full day's work and hadn't had banana pie made from the small fingers of Apple Bananas, contraband bootie thanks to the new apprentice. "Must we wait for both their dreams to bake as well!" There was a protocol and she knew as well as the Raven all involved must sit together.

"It won't be much longer, Whale Woman," he rarely called her by that name the sacred name that few knew. The remnants of kombu and sea lettuce made the naming impossible to resist. Shine still smelled of the old color of love. To answer him Shine dug her claw like fingers the color of pomegranate into the wings of the now giant bird and pressed herself into him with unbridled passion. "If I must wait," she thrust her breasts into his heaving chest. They fell together as Raven became a fully grown man with all the anatomy to prove him so.

While we all wait for Alex Santiago to deal with his next deck of cards, let's step back a little.

Monday, February 20, 2017


"The victim cries, the woman who is going to change things gets angry!" Shine Molina was quoting her mentor, Green Blessings Susun Weed. "I apprenticed with Susun Weed after Skeena's mom,the Border Witch and I switched places. Skeena was a very angry man when we first met. Raging angry because his mother chose death. As a sacrifice, she  gave her life for mine." Camilia had heard the stories, told from more than one point of view. This was not a venue she could have predicted. But, what she was getting: Shine Molina was not just another pretty face or a fairy princess kinda gal. A fully grown woman, the girl who began life signing as language was brightly lit with audacious voice and she was letting it fly. Literally.

Her words spiraled from her lips. Streaming kombu Pacific kelp swelled into the sea around Camilia and Shine. "Is there a particular verse in that song that strikes your gong, rings your bells, flutters your vagina!?" The silver and ginger gold of Shine Molina's rope of hair sparked with the question as she pulled at the kelp words and split the thick green stock into three strands with claw length finger nails painted pomegranate.

With no hesitation Camilia responded, "The spiral is a bubbling cauldron... When I showed up at The Safety Pin Cafe. Met the Gypsy Woman who read the cards. My flesh, my former face, fell into her cauldron. She sang to me, 'So long to your Hit Parade ...' No sweet Giselle McKenzie version either. You aren't old enough to remember Giselle McKenzie or the Lucky Strike TV show."

"I get the drift Camilia. She was one of the harsh and fierce tribe of witches, like Susun Weed, she was the Baba Yaga." Camilia was mesmerized and in spite of the old propaganda about good girls' oughta her vagina was winking ... fluttering like a hummingbird sucking nectar.

"Ha, ha, ha," Shine cackled and twirled spinning the three narrow strands of kombu into an intricate braid. Like welding a whip Shine threw the braid at Camilia's ankles. The tether and harness snapped from the board and Camilia's ankle. The flexible and slimy seaweed wound like leather binding that stopped just short of the winking and fluttering vagina. The kombu continued to cinch and tighten on the older woman's calves and thighs. "Ouch!"

"What? Did you think transformation would be painless!" Shine continued.

"This is one weird dream," was all Camilia could manage. Shine wasn't done. She quoted memorized segments from Remedios.

"Ginger is the lover who looks at your malaise of self-doubt and insecurity and tells you to stop indulging yourself with reruns of the past," Shine paused one of those Banana Skin and Ginger signature moments -- the thirteen step -- the pregnant pause. Camilia realized she was holding her breath. A bubble of connection raised that cauldron across the sea the old color of love. Shine went on, " when your present is strong and sweet and spicy. Though ginger may burn your throat, its intention is never to be harsh. It's just that ginger knows exactly what is needed. With its flowers like sex and its roots like firm hands with a grasp of the essential, there is no better friend. Cultivate ginger!"

From the freshly implanted braids of kombu sprouts of ginger unfurled and knobs of ginger root bulged from the seaweed laces. The fragile and pungent flowers, yellow and white ginger blossomed between her legs. If it were possible to see a brown skinned woman blush on a surfboard that is what you'd have seen.

"Of all the medicine plants you could have as ally your guardian, your 'aumakua, ginger, ke `awapuhi,in your mother's language, is the one you need close-by. Always."

"When this dream is over, will I remember? Will I invest in it and defend it?" Camilia was thinking out loud.

"Don't doubt yourself. No need to rerun that old hit parade!" Shine left one last talisman. With snaps of her fingers on both hands, a school of gold fish swam in and between Camilia's bare feet. The fish disappeared as quickly as they appeared in their place Camilia was left with ten toenails brightly painted the color of pomegranate.

This Banana Skin and Ginger is spicy! Is there more? Oh yeah.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"One step beyond is thirteen"

The soothing flow of warm salty water relaxed tension she had ignored or denied. How old these knots, cramps, and rage-bundles? Camilia pushed herself to sit astride the perfectly-shaped wooden board. The current was slack, only a gentle rolling motion rose from the deep aquamarine womb. The blue velvet swim suit was more accurately a wrap that encircled her body but left her ma'i her genitals free, unencumbered. From Womb to womb the old color of love entered and escaped her reminding her of things she forgot things -- pleasure among them-- she might have been taught if the protocol the rituals the caring ways had not be damned.

"Oh, the injustice of oppression!" The voice was sonic, a deep and Ancient Mother sound. The sound of Whale Mother Guardian. Rising in a spiral Camilia watched as the now fully grown Shine Molina sang her way toward her.

The symbol of the Wise Woman tradition is a spiral.
A spiral is a cycle as It moves through time.
A spiral is movement around and beyond a circle, always returning to itself,
But never at exactly the same place. Spirals never repeat themselves.
The symbol of the Wise Woman tradition is the spiral.
The spiral is the bubbling cauldron.
The spiral is the curl of the wave.
The spiral is the lift of the wind.
The spiral is the whirlpool of water.
The spiral is the umbilical cord.
The spiral is the great serpent.
The spiral is the path of the earth.
The spiral is the twist of the helix.
The spiral is the spin of our galaxy. The spiral is the soft guts.
The spiral is the labyrinth.
The spiral is the womb-moon-tide mobius pull.
The spiral is your individual life.
The spiral is the passage between worlds: birth passing into death passing into birth.
The path of enlightenment is the spiral dance of bliss.
The symbol of the Wise Woman Tradition is a spiral.
Twelve is the number of established order.
One step beyond is thirteen, the wild card, the indivisible prime, the number of change.
Walk a spiral, you will inevitably come to the unique next step, the unknown, the thirteenth step, the opportunity for change, the window of transformation.
The thirteenth step creates the spiral. - THE WISE WOMAN TRADITION IS A SPIRAL by Susun S Weed

This gets wilder! 

To read Banana Skin and Ginger from the beginning, click here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Playing the old deck

Alex Santiago was a man who enjoyed the challenge of playing the same game, like solitaire, day in day out. His enjoyment came from seeing how the old deck turned the corner every time he laid the grid. The idea of sacrifice wasn't an easy one, he'd never liked the word and was having to retool the steel grip of his thinking. But, he was a welder after all the element of fire and the properties of metal were known to him. Between the soldering he had found the spiral of magic, the spin that brought soft to hard, and counter to the usual tick of clockworks. His wizardry called for practice, and rigidity? Things break when they're brittle. "Hmm," mumbling to himself, and using his feet to push himself up from the blue corduroy couch his wit chinked into a groove with his sense of humor. He saw a new angle on this game.

"If this is my old welding shop, there ought to be a deck of cards a few paces from this spot," swinging his long limbs so his freshly restored feet found solid ground the welder headed for the stairwell that led to his former domicile in the loft. The wooden stairs and custom brass railing raised memories sweet and long tucked in some safe and out of the way location. Alex reached his right arm toward the carved wooden box stowed shoulder high behind a spring-loaded hinge then  he remembered he had no hands. The light at the end of his arms pulsed a pale glow of a beeswax candle. Soft, warm but not something to hold an old wooden box. "How 'bout a hand?" Alex turned to Skeena and laughed at the pun, then laughed some more when he saw the Raven fly over his head to wait at the top of the stairs.

"To be of service from this point on old master," the Raven started, "you must know what you are giving up. It doesn't need to be something you're ready to give up. In fact if you cling to a thing, a belief like one of those lies Iktumi taunts us with at the point of Initiation? Well, if you feel you cannot do with out it ... then, you can be sure THAT is precisely the sacrifice to be made."

"The thing, the things I most cling to. Geez Raven Child! You know the answer to that," Alex was very uncomfortable with this edge. Irritable didn't come close. He exhaled and continued, "You know how I cling to those old paws of mine. Shuffling those old cards. Shuffled them till the marks and color made the game one of guessing."

"Right," Skeena remembered the game and the deck of cards, and remembered also the big magic the rest of the world attached to him. "Signs were your calling card. Funny how the curve of a rune, the shadow inside a letter could cause it to switch and reshape itself." The Raven paused that pregnant silence that all good musicians and comedians knew to be the essential difference. Alex recalled the day Camilia's girls had been enchanted by the glamour from his shop sign. Mend Metal Magic or ... was it Mend, Meddle, Magic? * " With that one transforming bit Alex Santiago had changed his fortune and his destiny from solitary man to stepfather and mate. Now that, was legion.

"A whole 'nother game old master." Skeena the man was very careful not to read another's thought without permission. Raven on the other hand did what Tricksters do. With a pluck as quick as this the spirit being snipped the memory of the sign from the old welder. From his perch on the stairs the Raven's golden eyes shone bright. What sunlight had been streaming through the wavy windows and leaks from the weathered cedar walls blinked out. All that shone were Skeena's golden eyes glowing brighter and warmer as though the sun was present in the old welding shop. "How will you turn a guessing game onto its head and make your magic live again?"

Keep on here.

* Click on the sign  Mend, Meddle, Magic to read just what happened that fateful day, or return to "Playing the old deck" once you've followed this tale to its end.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


As she stood in line the day before a loaf of bread, half pound of Alex's favorite granola and a bag of frozen beans filled both her hands. The young cashier chatted with the man two ahead of her. He was asking about her headdress. "It's Valentine's Day tomorrow, I'm reminding you ... don't forget!" The guy chucked and bobbed "Flowers maybe." "Or chocolate, sweets are fine," she was enjoying the banter and added to the sodden weather that kept coming and going between the occasional blue skied day.

The young woman's headdress was a lavender fluffy band anchoring two lavender hearts. She wore her costume without skipping a beat, greeting her customers with equal and personal exchange. Camilia always noticed how service was offered her first job as a drug store clerk still made her smile. Stocking shelves of Pond's Cold Cream, working the register once she learned where things were so she could answer questions without her throat closing down -- Camilia was sixteen, shy but itchy for something else to call herself. Counting out her till in the backroom with Old Martha when her shift was over, or laughing when Laverne teased Arnold the Assistant Manager about his lack of girlfriends.  These were her neighbors and her best friend got her the job, all part of the small staff of a store now long gone from the memory of most of O'ahu.

Slipping in and between the mundane dream of life with eyes wide open, Camilia left the young cashier and her old friends and didn't get an answer to her call for Alex's whereabouts. At this point anyway the two of them were dreaming separately. "Just as well I suppose," tough decisions needed to be made. After twenty years of marriage, fifty years of separation from her west O'ahu birth place and Alex pushing eighty it was no wonder Spirit Beings from this place were showing up with protocol for him. This harshest of winters was growing a dream neither of them had allowed much juice: move back home. Home where winters were warmer, oceans invited swimming, and "culture fed instantaneous moments when ancestral knowledge is reborm again." That was Pua Kanaka'ole Kanahele's voice again. Camilia wanted this. She was enrolled in an online Beginning Hawaiian Language Course to mark her commitment to fill in the puka the holes that made her cultural knowledge incomplete. Alex wanted it for Camilia. Now it seemed the split bench technique was giving them a chance to map out a common dream.

It was Valentine's Day. In the luminous space of dreaming the lavender headdress flickered behind her eyes as blue remained the dominant sense. She could feel the board as she remembered the compass rock tattooed on her left wrist, Camilia pressed it. Her Aunty Lily's appearance was a gift Camilia couldn't have predicted, "I haven't seen you for so long!" The Japanese woman and next door neighbor who loved her as a girl was smiling as she counted out the thick layer of bills. "This is five hundred dollars," she said to Camilia who was trying with no success to decline the gift. Aunty was having none of it, simply went on counting. Valentine's Day a great time to remember Blue is the old color of love.

Where is Alex Santiago?

* A link to a piece about Dream Incubation by Robert Moss helped inspire this bit of the story.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pulling coins

Skeena waited for his old friend and mentor to adjust to the speed of time at mythic pace. Of course Alex Santiago was not new to the diversity of magic he was only out of practice. By the clock it was going on ten in the morning. The sky was red, and if one looked up out from a cozy bed it would be difficult to tell whether it was sunrise or sunset.

"Ahhmm," Alex moaned stretching his long body the way he did when we woke. Without hands it was tough to feel his way into the moment or rub his eyes with gestures of coming to.

"Morning," Skeena knelt at Alex's long limbs, and was busy rubbing something on the older man's ankles.

"And what young Skeena is that?" Alex could feel the mushy stickiness on his ankles. If he had hands he'd have been scratching an itch where his feet should of been.

"Banana skin or banana peel. I'm rubbing the inside of the skin onto this rash at the back of your ankles. '"Below the thick yellow jacket that covers melting sweetness, inside the lining, is a layer, pale brown and potent, that can carry your burdens, take up your scars...Banana Peel is the scavenger that cleans up the damage, that scours the residue, chews up the no longer needed. Banana says leave it behind, cast it off, time to move on.

"So is that what you've been learning ... slid banana into your magic, moved on from pulling coins and freshly laid eggs from of thin air?" In spite of his urge to change position, Alex Santiago could not move. Skeena kept rubbing the insides of banana skin first to Alex's right ankle. "Banana Skin has been very very good to me and Shine. Banana Skin and Ginger are very potent magic Alex a very earthy kind of medicine."

"You sound like your mother, the Border Witch had a feel for earthy magic," Alex missed his friend Pale. More than any thing it was her decency he missed most. "Your mother had an innocence about her, never arrogant of her own potency it was those stories she wrote that held the potency." Where was this coming from, a feeling he hadn't allowed himself ... longing for old friends and the company of heart-based adventures.

Skeena nodded and smiled. " I miss her soup. She does figure into things and would have loved knowing about the power of banana skins. The wisdom of the skins comes from the writing of another brown-skinned witch, also a storyteller. Goes by the name of Aurora." Skeena kept on rubbing, moving from the right to the left ankle, gentle and careful to let the one ankle ease down before starting on the left. The old mender, and former welder relaxed as his thoughts and observation skills pointed out the details of his current surroundings.

His part of the bench had transformed into a couch long enough to accommodate Alex's length. The hard though smooth wooden surface was instead padded and covered in corduroy, wide wale, the same deep blue of Camilia's robe with the generous hood. "You in charge of this Mystery?" Alex asked. His curiosity was piqued and in equal measure Alex asked the question knowing the answer already.

"We are never in charge of the Mystery. You know that. You taught me that ... Ravens don't forget," now both men were laughing and with each echoed chuckle Alex felt the pins and needles of awakening, he noticed he could wiggle his toes. "You have become very good at your magic. Now all I really want is a slice of that banana pie you enticed me with."

"Ah, first you will need a hand to hold a fork, or both hands to bring the slice to your hungry mouth. What was it the tiny mouse said you would need to do before crossing the beaded curtain of dangling bones?" Setting down his mentor's newly anointed left foot Alex Santiago recognized he was in his old welding shop. "The Resident Mouse said I would need to sacrifice something of my old self."

"And so what will it be?" Skeena was now his fully Raven self. "In exchange for these two new feet that can take you places before you are given hands to be of service, again, what will you leave behind master mender? What do you no longer need?"

What about Camilia?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Those in charge of the Mystery

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

-Last Night As I Was Sleeping, Antonio Machado

A pause, a whisper, a message from the storyteller, between the coiling adventure  

It wasn't so long ago, but long enough for time and seasons to heal an otherwise untouchable wound. Even demi-gods and spirit beings have their vulnerabilities. Skeena and his twin are changelings with the genes of Raven and the sensibilities of a particularly sensitive human being. That story laid itself into medicine for this storyteller, weaving myth and parallel possibilities, and unknown to me a family of adventures would continue from the place of common magic. Banana Skins and Ginger nods at the Mystery that is surely working me on the incubator Island in the middle of the Salish Sea. If I had been born more practical money and stable solutions might be common the need for myth perhaps less potent an option. Perhaps. Pela. Paha. Practicality does thread itself in me, leaving a light in the form of a North Node signature in earthy Taurus. Friends with powerful Taurus natures come and go like Mahina the moon to be the ginger I need on mornings when I'd much rather sleep the day or week in dreaming. With heavy pelting rain sounding on the metal roof my practical nature is comforted: the roof is sure, curved like Earth and does not leak, I have a partner who has practical hands and a funny bone close to his backbone. Beyond that, those in charge of the Mystery make room for my imagination to be healthy, and feed me characters who expand the path for a robust life. 
"Last night as I was sleeping, I dreamt--marvelous error!"


Here now ... the bench upon which the two old lovers sat stayed just as it was. At least for as long as it took for the elder and teacher to chant her way into the heart and gut of both Alex Santiago and his wife Camilia. But then, the bench split in two, time moved and space became different.

Camilia was a swimmer long before she found how much she loved to play with needle and threads, buttons, scraps of ribbon and soft well-worn fabric. The thick velvet robe with deep pockets and generous hood began to slowly and steadily unravel into threads of blue ... the old color of love. With each unfurling motion Camilia spun counter-clockwise creating her personal low pressure system a small and growing storm system. If she tried to control the storm nausea overtook her. Instead she remembered who she really was and rode the wave through.

Her part of the bench formed a vessel, a kind of canoe, ka wa`a?

"No, not ka wa`a, a surfboard a small one," Camilia was having a conversation with herself and found those in charge of the Mystery have a great sense of humor and practicality. In this dream the seamstress was strong and comfortable with deep water. The threads from the long thick robe filled space with ocean and waves leaving just enough fabric for a nicely fitted swim suit. Spiral tattoos on both wrists and ankles, the left spiral on her wrist ended with the shape of the compass rock. A bias cut slender length of soft velvet fell from her neck. From it four small bones dangled: a wishbone, a backbone, a hallow bone, and a funny bone.

"Marvelous!" Camilia had not been on a wave or a board for more than forty years. The feeling was exhilaration a sensation of such joy. Dreams allow for the stretch we too often call a limit, but maybe we have more than one life being lived at once. With dream body memory Camilia pushed into the wave as she lay upon it her left arm held the board her right paddled and guided. The board fit between her legs, Camilia kicked noticing for the first time there was a strap and tether something not yet invented when she was a girl woman on a surfboard.

Surrounded and enfolded with warm salt water the only thing missing was Alex.The four bones dangled from the velvet around her neck, Camilia focused on the wishbone as she tucked all four bones between her breasts, and called, "`Auhea where are you?"

Click here to find out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Sacrifice. That word had come up more than once in the last few days. The sacredness of everyday had never felt more real. Camilia instinctively shoved her hands deep into the pockets of the velvet robe. A chill seized her as her left hand felt something, a disc of smooth stone? Pulling the object out it was indeed a disc the size of a silver dollar put plump so more like a hard small dumpling. Across the face of the stone were lines within a circle. "A compass rock." Without thinking Camilia rubbed and then pressed the point where the two lines crossed.

Whoosh ...  Across the room projected this imagery. "How clever and contemporary those in charge of this mystery ," Camilia's voice and the structure of that one sentence tickled something within the woman. She had slid into a contemporary pidgin, a pattern and grammar not used in her everyday world of Salish. How comforting, she had not forgotten how.

Camilia recognized Pua Kanaka`ole Kanahele right away. Alex did not. "This won't take more than a few minutes," Camilia had seen this presentation before. She laughed out loud and in response a bench appeared for them to sit while the Hawaiian elder did her thing.

I do so love a bench, and now what happens?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dangling Bones

The tiny mouse listened as Alex described the relationship he and the old mender and magician had struck up. It was an odd but fitting partnership that was in fact an Initiation for both mouse and man. Not meant at all to be a pun on the obvious, Resident Mouse was learning something he would need to demonstrate to his most respected Elder, Mouse Woman. She was not eavesdropping or monitoring the young mouse's activity at this point and was busy with her hands making cozy nests of wild goat fleece in some other place. The man Alex Santiago who was trying on a new name was very much involved with Raven, Mouse Woman's spiritual counter-part. In many traditional tales the adventures and misadventures of beings tangled up with Raven might have to do with creating mischief. This story has a bit of a twist to it: an agreement has been struck and the reverse is in the making. Raven, the son of the Silver-haired Raven and his mate Pale Wawae the Border Witch must undo the stitchery of misplaced values. And who better to assist but a woman familiar with handwork.

Like they say about sacrifice, it happens all the time. Sacrifice, from the root sacra, to make sacred. The tiny mouse moved aside as Camilia and Alex stood. Alex tentatively pulled the door wider. "I stay on this side," Resident Mouse read Alex's thoughts and explained, "They don't like the leavings that are inevitable for a creature such as I." The man understood, it was just those signatures that were most distasteful about this arrangement.

Alex automatically reached to hold the door open but the light that now substituted for his once facile and busy hands moved through the heavy door. Camilia stood beside him and helped. Together they looked at long and short bones, hallow bones and funny bones dangled like a beaded curtain just inside the now fully-open doorway. "You, both, must sacrifice something of yourselves on the way into the room," said Resident Mouse. "There is something of your old selves no longer necessary. Can you imagine what that might be?" First looking at each other the old married couple exhaled at the same moment. Resident Mouse was gone in the same instant, his shadow as quick as that.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

The door ajar

The smells were the only pieces of time that followed them into the crack. The ducks remained in place, the other customers chattered with hands still nestling their warm mugs, the tiny lights cast their pin-sized reflection against the windows. `Aka and Skeena made space for Alex and Camilia with the magic of old knowing in the hands of service and wing tips of Raven. The common magic for uncommon necessity had enchanted and reassembled Camilia as a young and newly-faceless woman, she recognized the well worn steps leading to the floor above the cafe. Her heart beat loudly in her chest when she realized her eyes Saw the shifting grace that led between the ordinary and the world wild with textures.

"Have I died? Have we died?"Alex Santiago had the very odd sensation of being like cheese, Swiss and full of holes. In erratic fashion light shown through his long tall body. A lot of light substituted for his hands, a similar but different effect opened a section of his chest and belly. He could not see his feet though he moved ... with less effort ... up the steep and narrow stairway.

Camilia appeared as she always did to Alex, nearly perfect. Except for the clothes she was wearing downstairs Camilia was unchanged. In place of her jeans and warm hooded coat a robe of blue settled comfortably over her shoulders. The robe was velvet with deep pockets and a generous hood. A pair of thick padded slippers the color of persimmons with embroidered symbols she didn't recognize cradled her toes and cushioned her feet.

"No, not dead. We, we're between my darling, that former student of yours is casting spells and setting a stage for something ... I vote for something delicious!" She nodded to the one door among the four in the hallway that was left ajar. The smell of hot banana pie and ginger tea was coming from the room beyond. A deep resonant woman's voice seduced them with song, in case the smell of pie and tea were not incentive enough.

Transitional places were everywhere if one was looking for them. When Earth was Wild and those on two feet lived with protocol and reciprocity asking permission, and giving back was common magic. "Is there too much distraction or perhaps you have become obsessed with embroidering those shrouds of insufficiency?" The very small voice was coming from the top of the stairway. From the edge of the landing Alex spotted Resident Mouse.

"For a mouse just barely born, you get around." Alex squinted, it would be four to six weeks before his new glasses arrived, to be sure it was indeed his mouse that was speaking in such esoteric language.

"I'm not all that familiar with this sort of travel, but it appears you and I are fused in a special bond and until further notice I am here to keep you on track. Where you go I go," explained the little mouse.

Camilia was used to picking up conversations her husband had with himself. That was not unusual. But the leaning over and speaking into the floor boards was a new activity. She asked, "Honey, is there someone you want to introduce me to?"

"You don't see him?" Alex asked.

Camilia shook her head. Alex was truly surprised. "Remember that pistachio shell I showed you the other day. I was telling you about how a mouse had eaten the meat but left the shell?"

"Sure, I remember that." Camilia said.

"Well, that mouse and I have developed a rather friendly relationship," Alex continued. Camilia decided it might be a good idea to sit down. Some of her husband's explanations could get windy. She pulled the long robe up and sat at the top of the steps, and leaned against the wall.

"Resident Mouse, that's what I've come to call him. He's a very young mouse and lives in our wash house. We have conversations almost every night. I've gotten into this habit of setting out food for him. Not trapping him, I gave that up after seeing there was no trap quick enough to contain him. Anyway, this mouse, Resident Mouse is something more than just a mouse. And though you can't see him he is waiting just outside the door left ajar."

And then what happened?