Walked on fire with and last night. Had a great walk. My small blister is gone as of this morning, so that’s good. I walked for me once, for my students, with and for our ancestors and descendants. It was good.
During the walking, and I sang a number of songs. We did two by J.C from J.P., and one or two by Abbi Spinner, and one by me, and maybe two others. I’m a little vague on some of the singing. I hope we didn’t freak out Alan too much, but it’s clear that he and got a great charge out of the whole experience. So did many of the other attendees. It was a powerful, awesome night, and we were still finished by quarter of ten.
It was also powerful to realize that until 4:30 or so, I wasn’t at all sure that I’d be able to firewalk at all. I didn’t have any money. But for my role in setting up (yeah, like I really did a lot other than shift rocks around and haul a bathtub out of the workspace in the studio) and my connection to , I didn’t have to pay for attending. Even so, it felt a little weird not paying. I think the next time, I’ll slip her some extra.
We discussed the firewalk — Ch, and I — in the morning, and I urged making this one of our equinox events in March. I’ve got this sense that at the Solstices, in summer and winter, everybody’s energy is focused on holidays and family or gardens and kayaking. It’s a low energy time for getting people out of their houses to do spiritual and magical work. On the other hand, at the equinoxes everyone is deep in the business of change: school is starting, there’s maybe a school vacation, the leaves are falling or starting to come out, and in general there’s a lot of rushing about. It’s a great time to pause for a little while, rake out a bed of coals, and walk across in an effort to transform your life. So we may see about getting Barbara W to come back mid-winter and do one, but I at least am definitely pushing for March.
Ch cut her foot during the set-up time, and it was bleeding and pus-y during the walk, and during the cool-down time afterward when we were having soup and stuff up at the house. A bunch of the women were nagging her to go take care of it — clean it and bandage it, and she wouldn’t. She asked me if I knew the origins of “ess” as a feminine ending in English, e.g., actor/actress, host/hostess, priest/priestess, god/goddess, and so on. She wanted to know if it was deliberately diminutive, because she had the sense that it was more diminutive today, and she was having a hard time with it of late.
I pointed out to her that the issue was less with the -ess ending than whether she was a priest or a shaman, and she asked what I meant. I told her that in my mind, shamans were solitary practitioners, usually acting as the spiritual agent for one tribe, and defending that one tribe against rival shamans and tribes. Whereas priests were collegial, operating in conjunction with one another and supporting one another in upholding a community together with ritual and pastoral care — and right now, her fellow priests and priestesses were urging her to take care of herself. So please, go wash your foot, put salve on it, and bandage it. D and W loved it! Ch was less enthusiastic.
She got the hint, finally.
I’m not sure what firewalking means to me. It feels very physical, very grounding. It tends to get me out of my head. There’s hot coals underfoot, and it changes me to walk on them. Am I more shamanistic, more poetic, more priestly, more magical for walking? I don’t know. Have I changed myself? Yes. Do I know how I’ve changed myself? No, not yet. I’m looking forward to discovering how I’ve changed.
I’m also wondering what the reaction at school will be. HA and BG and PB all know that I was planning to walk this weekend, and I don’t know who they’ll talk to, or what they’ll say. I do know that I’m looking forward to answering some questions, if they come my way; I’m also worried about the adult reaction, to some degree, from older and more conservative teachers. We’ll see.
Went out for breakfast this morning, but the line was too long, so we went to the co-op for groceries instead, followed by yogurt at home, and a trip to the Coventry farmers’ market. Then home to ‘s house, and then home to my house. Bought a coconut macaroon at the farmers’ market that was just incredible — until I bit down on something hard and unyielding within it, and hurt one of my teeth. It’s better now, but the shock reduced the macaroon from incredible to simply delicious.
Planning on going to poetry tonight, but just feel way too drained to do the Eastern MA Pagan Pride Day. Plus there’s correcting to do and planning for classes next week, etc. etc.
Bought a magazine called Green Teacher that looked sorta interesting. I’d like to subscribe to Utne Reader and some other magazines again, including National Geographic, as a way of getting and keeping up-to-date on the world.
Managed to get three verses of the epic done this past week, and I’m going to try to finish Canto VI today. We’ll see.
Had a conversation with my colleague GA about recycling. He asked me if recycling was a good idea, and I told him no, it wasn’t really. As I understand it, most recycling involves using just as much energy as making new product — an aluminum can, for example, can be produced just as cheaply from recycled cans as from new aluminum. All well and good. The same applies to glass, steel, and numerous other materials, including recycled plastics. But the real kicker, I suggested, is this. Let’s say you’re a fan of a particular brand of tomato sauce, and you buy a jar of it a week. If you subtract ten years in a nursing home from the end of your life, and twenty years from the beginning of your life, that means you’re buying 52 weeks x 50 years = 2,600 jars. The reality is that no one needs 2600 jars, ever. I’m experiencing this right now with yogurt containers. You can’t buy yogurt in paper containers; they always come in plastic. I eat two containers of yogurt a week usually, which means I’m going to generate 104 empty containers a year. As it is, I have ten or twelve serving secondary functions around the house, right now. Two are holding brown rice (from the co-op), one is holding barley (from the co-op), one is holding granola (from the co-op), one is holding couscous (from the co-op), one is holding cashew pieces (from the co-op), one is holding almonds (from the co-op), one is holding laundry detergent (from the co-op), four are sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be used, and one is in the fridge, holding its original yogurt. It’s easy to see that if I try to recycle all these containers personally, and make use of them, I’m going to have hundreds more containers than I actually need, by a wide margin. I’m also going to have a lot more bulk goods from the co-op than I actually need, by a wide margin.
One of the things I got for my birthday was a cookbook, which contains among other things, a recipe for yogurt. If I started buying whole milk in paper cartons, I could make my own yogurt in all my existing containers, and reduce my waste. A paper milk carton must require less energy than the same size plastic container… does anyone know? And bacteria do most of the work of making yogurt, after all. It could be worth the experimental time, in any case.
Have a great Sunday, everyone.