Feather Work:

This post is just a couple of pictures about what is now happening to my feathers:

Here is the latest crop of Feather Earrings:

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Normally I make some quite involved Prayer Feathers like these:

But for these I just wanted to keep it simple. They just have to find someone who loves and uses them.

The Large one is from “Vulture Woman”

Then there is a Raven. Of course it is dressed in white Deer leather, because of the Siberian story, that in the Beginning the Raven was white….

Have I told that legend?

The Owl feathers and the Hawk are some of the ones I brought back – see last post….

 

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We are in the midst of the Market and Craft Show season and we both are trying to keep up with making Jewellery for our booth and of course I am having some of my Shaman Art there as well. 

Here are 2 Rattles .

They are painted rawhide and Deer leather  and of course some feathers:DSCN4459

Law versus Spirit

Stop!!!!!”

Peter hated it, when I yelled that at the top of my lungs, – while we were driving top speed along one of the US Interstate highways, 18 wheelers roaring behind us and past us even faster with NO WAY to hit the breaks, pull over and survive……

But in most cases Peter managed to stop – in spite of it all – usually a mile or so further down the Hwy. Then I would grab a plastic bag and get out and track back along the shoulder of the roadway towards my often distant target. I usually had seen it only for a fraction of a second in the corner of my visual field, but I KNEW, what it was and that I had to “go get it”.

An Owl.

What else?

This is me, you are reading about, so this most likely has to do something with Owls, right?

While I stumbled along the road shoulder I most often passed other unlucky road victims: Deer, sometimes more than one, Coyotes, that had come to feed and became victims too, Badgers, Foxes, Vultures, Dogs, anything…..

Horrrrible!!!!!

By the time I reached , what I had seen, I usually was in tears.

Horrrrrible.

But these Owls I could not just leave here, they had to be carefully taken up and a more dignified last Resting place had to be found. A song, a chant, for these Owls, their mates and for all the others, that I had to pass and had to leave there…..

Oftentimes there was a suitable place nearby in a field, under a Tree, facing East, out of wind and sun. Often there was not and I trudged back to the “Turtle” carrying my sad burden along a trail of death and sadness.

We then had to get off the hwy – fast- before …. the smell, you know…..

Find that little clearing with some Trees or Mesquit brush…..

On time, I “found” a Long Eared Owl just at the turnoff to a busy rest area and proceeded to carry him into the nearby woods, under the highest Tree. When I put him there, I discovered Owl Pellets. This was HIS Tree! Where he had roosted during the day and dropped his pellets. I was indescribably unravelled, emotionally, and cried for the better part of an hour…….

Yes, I also took some feathers, promising to create something beautiful and lasting in honour of all these Creature – and all that lived and died along with them.

But, having wild Bird feathers is prohibited in the US.

So there was – always will be the conundrum:

Law versus Spirit.

In instances like this, I HAVE to go with Spirit.

It is the VOICE OF THE SPIRIT, that showed me where that Owl was to be found, and to take a few feathers……..

And I am not the only one, that votes for Spirit and against the tight fist of the law:

On my sad walks to and from “my Owls” I also passed by Raptors.

Red Tailed Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, Kestrels,…..

The large Raptors most often had the tail and large wing feathers missing. – So someone was here. Native Americans most likely, because sometimes there was a fistful of crumbled up cigarets beside or underneath the Bird. A gift in reciprocity for the feathers taken.

Often all I had to give in exchange was a chant and a more dignified resting place, sometimes a few Cedar twigs, collected for this purpose.

0 Hawk feathers

Another time, during a lonely drive on Hwy 87 from Clayton to Des Moines in New Mexico, Peter struggggeling to hold on, to force the motorhome forward against a blasting 40 miles/ hour West wind, white knuckled hands clamped around the steering wheel, the Turtle shaking like a bucking bronco, when I SAW HER!

Wrapped around a road sign post.

Stoppppppp!!!!

He did and I ran back.

She was still warm.

She was absolutely beautiful.

Large, well preened beautiful feather dress, silky soft.

Broken neck.

I cradled her in my arms like a baby, my tears dropping onto her perfect feathers.

When I laid her out on the floor of the Turtle, Peter cried too.

What to do.

Gently straightening out her broken neck and singing it back together, singing her back to LIFE.

– If only shamanism and shamanic ways were like this, like in the books and fancy multicoloured magazines, in the tall tales of some practitioners……

But it is not. Death is our last friend, for all of us.

Death is her friend too.

Better like this, than slowly starving in the ditch with a broken wing.

We agonized over her for the better part of the afternoon. We could not bring her to some taxidermist to treat her and send her to Ontario. We could not, in this climate take her perfect wings and claws and do the work ourselves. We could only take a few feathers and then try and find a bush to put her under or into, away from the sand-blasting winds. It took 30 miles, to find such a place at the foot of Carpulin Volcano.

5 Capulin Vulcanoe

A Cedar bush, away from the murderous road and the murderous winds.

Through my tears I sang for her.

I also sang for a Fox or Brother Coyote, to come find her – for a meal for the Little Ones in the den……

After this gut wrenching encounter, the Spirits must have thought, that “I had enough”.

Enought tears shed and definitely enough feathers – in fact, waaay more, than I could handle, and so for the next month or so the “sightings” and the “Stop screams” ceased.

But, there were other “second sight” , that were happening. I will be back to bring these to (virtual ) paper.

What did I do with my feather treasures?

I have a few trusted students living in the US, that got strange parcels with mummified Hawk claws, Fox Skulls and of course Owl feathers. I also know quite a few First Nations leaders, that live and work in large cities and appreciate Hawk feathers for sprucing up their Gustowes and for the Feather Dance for the kids they teach.

Gustoweh-traditional-headdress-of-condoled-Royanni-Chiefs-Six-Nations-Copy-Copy1

 

A few treasured Owl feathers I send home.

They now eagerly await me working on/ with them.

Ultimately they wait for YOU, to own and treasure them as I do.

Owl feather wand

Blessed Summer Solstice – and Strawberry Full Moon ♥

Strawberry Moon Blessings and Happy Summer Solstice to you all!

strawberry reconciliation moon

For many Native people and in many tribes in Siberia the June Full Moon is associated with the first harvest of forest Strawberries – not the ones that are commercially grown and overbloated….
The Haudenosaunee for example see the Strawberry as the Leader of all the Fruits…..
Summer Solstice is National Aboriginal Day here in North America.

Here is a little about the Strawberry Moon on the Summer Solstice:

http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sc…are-thing.html

and:

Here is the traditional Summer Solstice Prayer I am offering to the Community this year again:

https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/summer-solstice-prayers-for-the-community-and-the-natural-world/

Turkey feather fan (2)

 

Let us not forget, that the People in the Southern Hemisphere are celebrating the Winter Solstice today!

strawberry-moon from the net artist unnamed

Just 1 Feather!

One thing about travelling is, that your daily spiritual practice has to go travel with you, to provide continuity. Some personal rituals may have to be adapted to fit seamlessly into the ever changing days of a traveller. Peter and me on the road in the “Turtle” quickly fell back into an old routine, established loooong ago, when we travelled the continent first in our old VW bus and later in the larger “Bumblebee, our Mercedes motorhome, that was roughly the same size, but had none of the comfort that a small modern motorhome has. Back room and space was at an absolute premium, especially because we had a full jewellery making workshop on board, but today there is no need for that and so there is space in the many cupboards for among other things a box containing my smudging shell, some herbs, a small Rattle and a small Medicine Pouch, things that will make up a portable Altar.

In another cabinet there is my bag with my travelling Drum.

This is the one I first created for the trip to Nepal and that has since then always been tossed into the back of one of our cars, when we were away for a few days – be it to an out of town craft show or a week’s vacation in Algonquin park.

Here is a post about this drum:

Drum front side

https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/a-new-drum/

 

Here at home in Canada I can take along pretty much any “Medicine item” I want, but on this trip we were going across the border into the USA. That means we can not have any feathers or other “Animal products” on board and we and our vehicle have to weather hours of searches and interrogation before being allowed to pass.

NO FEATHERS!?? How am I ever going to do that?? Rip off all the feathers and fur off my drum?? NO WAY!

I decided to just risk it and leave the drum as is and ifffff custom rips the feathers off I would replace them with whatever I found on the road.

My beautiful Rattle however had to stay home…..

…..sniffle…….

But for my Night Prayers, for my nightly “giving Thanks to my Miahanits and Ancestors” and my prayers for my clients and charges I realllly wanted to have at least 1 Owl feather – to focus my thoughts. So I hid one large Great Horned Owl feather among our travel brochures.

At the US border we ended up being rudely questioned as to our motives for travelling, finances, jobs, family situations, affiliation to bomb makers and terrorists for 5 1/2 hours. The Turtle was searched through – top to bottom twice. They did not confiscate my 2 onions and 1/2 cucumber, or our yogurt and 2 pieces of bread from the fridge, they did not care about that feathered noisemaker in a bag, they did not take away our 3 pieces of firewood from home…… They were just loooooking for guns and bombs. We have none of those.

Finally we got our visa stamped and were on our way.

Phew!

What a degrading experience that was!

But that rainy evening, on a loud rest area South of Duluth I dug out my Owl feather and said Night Prayers for us and a safe journey, for everyone, that has to endure these kinds of indignities and for all the people that are being kept out of the ”Land of Plenty” bu bureaucracy and fear.

 

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Back home!

Hi Folks!

I have not posted in a little while. Now I can tell you why:

We were away from home and to a certain extend also from the internet.

A little well deserved break.

We took our mini motorhome, called “the Turtle” on the road for 2 1/2 months travelling down to Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and then up to South Dakota and sloooowly back home to Ontario.

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It was WONDERFUL!

It was MAGICAL!

Many of you guys know, that we used to travel like this – first in our oooold beat up VW Bus, then in our little bigger but just as beat up Mercedes cargo van. From 1981 to 1989 we crisscrossed the country, spending summers in Alaska or the Yukon, in the fall went down to Mexico to create a whole bunch of beautiful jewellery and then sell it first in Florida between February and April and then on markets all across the US and Canada. THAT really was the birth of Bearpaw Jewellery.

But as you remember, that, when we settled in Ontario very soon Bearpaw Jewellery and our creations took over our life and I had to struggle fitting my shamanic clients and patients as well as teaching engagements, students and lots more in and between craft shows and art exhibitions…….

Well, now Peter is 63 and I will be 61 soon, so we decided, to “switch gears” again , demote the almighty Bearpaw to hobby status, quit a whole bunch of shows and galleries and do a few more things we reallllly love doing, like travelling.

For my shamanic practice that is a huuuuge switch as well:

I will not be home year round and available at all hours of day and night.

But on the other hand, I can stay in touch with my clients via internet, I can skype with them and some of them I also can stop by and visit.

Spirits of course travel VERY WELL!

Mine also like it, when I am on the road.

However some of my personal daily practice = interaction with them had to change around as well. – I can not drum in the motorhome late at night and keep poor Peter awake. Never mind neighbours on the campgrounds……

But I can find secluded places in Nature to do that.

So now, back home, I will

….. first have to catch up with all the stuffff that piled up, while we were away…..

and then I want to write a little about my experiences with “shamanic practice on the road”

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Fisher Medicine Guide?

After the previous post appeared, I was asked; When I do see a Fisher – or in this case Mathilda, in a shamanic sense, what does that mean to me?

What Medicine wisdom does Mathilda – or any other Fisher carry – or point towards?

In front of workshop window (2)

For me personally a Fisher has the connotation of “adversity” living , dealing and overcoming adversity – and reaping the rewards of that.

How come?

It has its roots in how my neighbours see and HATE Fishers, How I fear MR Fisher and his appetite for Raccoon babies, how I remember the tears when “Midnight” my friend Barb’s cat got taken by a Fisher……

So when we moved here learned to despise Fishers…..

But then, about 10 years ago I had a friend come to see me – as a client – with the thread of a a rather nasty and debilitating condition hanging over her head. She is a gifted healer herself and this “thing” was threatening her independence and her livelihood. So we got to work on what was causing it and send it packing! As Medicine Gifts for that healing help she gave me a Fisher foot and a Bear Claw. During the “workings” I called on the Spirit of that Fisher to please forgive the trespass on his life and also asked, iffff he was willing to help getting rid of that problem. He was, and over all these years did a good job.

Since then that Fisher foot is on my Client Altar to help, keep my friend safe.

But soon / about a week after this shamanic session the first Fisher showed herself to me- in Animal form. I think, somewhere on this blog there is a post about it…. I have to look….

Anyway, that one we named Bissiger Beisse = “BB” = the Sharp-toothed Biting One”.

The Fisher Queen on wellfare

Soon after, even her mate appeared at the door. He is about twice as big as “BB” and had NO Fear of us at all and after only a day or 2 he took food from my hand, carefully keeping his sharp teeth in check.

Often he sat at the sliding door, waiting for me, to give him a treat.

The Fisher King

Peter thought this was soooo extraordinary, that he made for me an FFO = A “Fisher Feeding Order, complete with a staff, a Fisher head-shot and a bunch of chocolate Easter eggs, for which Mr Fisher developed a craving……

Order of the Fisher feeders sm

When the snow melted, both Fishers disappeared back into the forest- and our Raccoons all re-emerged from their hibernation trees.

So we now have a positive relationship with the wild Fishers of our surrounding forest and the Ee’ren of the Fishers = the Manitou of them sometimes helps me on trance journeys, pointing out adversities a client faces but is not conscious about.

Is he one of my Miahanits?

No, He is one of my friend’s Miahanits for sure, although I am not sure if she, as an Anishinaabe lady would see it that way……

She is a reader here and I wonder, ifff she will speak to the matter……♥!

As I said, she is a gifted healer and I would love to beat the “word of mouth drum” for her.

We neeeeeeed many more like her.

making pretty for another egg (2)

Mathilda Mustelide

It is that time of year again. Mathilda is pregnant – and hungry.

Bissiger Beiße

 

So she takes the trek across the frozen Beaver dam and along the well established wildlife path through bushes and dead falls up the slope and over, to our house.

At dusk she digs in the packed snow beneath the Bird feeders for the old lost sunflower seed – and for the Voles, that dare to come up once it is dark. It must be worth her while, because she is there for hours. I leave a light on, next to the living room window and then I can watch her. At first, when she hears me moving in the house, she runs away, back down the path, but soon she gets used to the sounds of movement in the house. She also can hear my voice. Once she gets used to that, I can go out onto the deck, call her – and toss her a turkey sausage.

She soon gets the hang of that!

I should “hate “ her, but I do not.

See, she is a Fisher. Many Canadians hate fishers and blame them for killing their Cats and small Dogs. Fishers also kill and eat Raccoons.

Our Raccoons, the kids from Cassey and her sisters, that, come spring, we treat to a morsel of Cat food…… ( see: https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/cassey-writes-to-lynn-and-john/

Yes, Fishers are considered a vermin, but in the end, they are a part of Nature and the food chain.

So, no, I do not “hate” Mathilda at al l- or any other Being for that matter…..

To the contrary, when I bring our garbage and recycling to the dump containers this Sunday, I pick up a nice Chicken for her.

Yes, the weekend cottagers here are extremely wasteful.

-Imagine that Chicken. Its life in a confined mass farming place, never being outside to scratch in the Earth, its death, the processing, and then – been tossed in the garbage 3 days after being bought – Yes, the receipt was still in the paper bag….

Well, some of the cottagers are considerate enough to put such morsels behind the garbage bins – for the Foxes and Coyotes. There is still LOTS of things there….. So this chicken can be missed.

I put it beneath the Bird feeder.

Then I cook my own Chicken – that one from our grocer in town…. (just in case you asked…)

Around 8.30 pm, when I remember to check, the Chicken is gone.

There are fresh Fisher tracks in the snow.

Mathilda is having a feast today.She is hungry (2)

 

To find our more about Mathilda and her kind:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher_(animal)