emberleo: A dark-haired woman weaving strands of light (dreaming)
I dreamt this yesterday (Monday) morning:

I had to ford a slow-moving but very cold river that was about 4 feet deep, in my car. It was the kind of river that is near the sea, because the waves would periodically flood the car, so I couldn't stay dry. Finally I had to turn my car into a little boat and get out and kick-paddle to push us to the other shore.

On the other shore was a strange house full of wanderers, where I could rest for a bit. Once I was well-rested, I found myself in a bazaar, talking to an older woman with dark hair and caramel skin. I picked up a gorgeously-illustrated picture book, and looked at a picture of a beautiful older African man. The style of the painting was a sort of splotchy watercolor. I grinned and turned the picture around to show the woman. "This reminds me of Obatala!" I said, pleased, but not expecting her to know what I meant. She replied that it was Orunla.

She started to tell me the story, which was indeed about an Orixa. I wasn't quite sure of the name.
"Wait, you mean Oxala?" I asked.
"You're not LISTENING!" she replied sharply.
I was abashed, and apologized, explaining that I WAS listening, but I knew different names for the Orixa and wanted to make sure I understood her story correctly. She grumbled and told me to read the book myself, then.
----------------------------------------------

The book told the story of the first two Orixa, with Oludumare: a Man and a Woman, made to be immortal, to keep Oludumare company, and guard the world. Oludumare had created a world full of wondrous things that moved in cycles of life, creation, and death. The Man and Woman at first were occupied learning about all of the many things in Oludumare's world. They loved each other as husband and wife do.

One day, Oludumare came to the Man and said "She wants to die."

The Woman had made her case, that if she could not create, she had no reason for existence. She wanted very much to create children, as all the plants and animals do. Everything else in all of Oludumare's creation was part of the beautiful cycle, why not her?

Oludumare admonished that they had been created to be immortal and thus did not need children to carry on their traditions in their absence.
"Then let me die," she replied.

But the Man did not want her to die, and did not himself want to die. He loved the Woman and wanted her to stay with him. Oludumare was firm.

"You must help her die."
"You can't want me to kill her?!"
"Go out into the world and learn all there is to know of death."

Reluctantly, the Man did as he was told. At first he was angry with Oludumare, then resigned. Finally he began to see the beauty of the cycle that the Woman had perceived. As it moved before him and swirled around him in its mysterious glory, the Man understood the value of death in the cycle.

He returned to the hall where the Woman and Oludumare were waiting, his garments stained with blood, with mud, with salt water and sweat, with all the substances of creation and death marking his garments.

"I understand," he said.
Oludumare smiled. The Woman was relieved.
"Then I may die now?" She asked. And it was so.

That the Man would not be lonely, Oludumare made another Woman. She was able to die, and able to create, both these things built into her being from the first. The Man, too, was given the possibility to die. He, too, could create now, his journey having initiated him into the mysteries of the cycle.

They soon had children, who became part of the cycle themselves. They multiplied, and spread across the world, and each in time took up guardianship of different aspects of Oludumare's creation.

Oludumare was never lonely again.
----------------------------------------------

I closed the book, and brought it back to the woman. I told her I MUST own the book, and asked its price. She was reluctant, as though she was obliged to let me have the story, but didn't believe I deserved it, and thus didn't want to sell me the book. I was in tears - it was the most beautiful story I had ever heard, and I could see myself the mysteries of the cycle moving through the artwork, the beauty of Death moving through the cycle. She relented, selling me the book for some strange fee I no longer remember. Not coins, certainly, but perhaps bites of bread, and a snippet of my hair, or somesuch.

I woke up not being sure if the story was about Obatala or Orunla, and knowing no name for the first Woman.

I thought the story was about Obatala until just now, when I looked up Orunla and saw that Orunla (Orunmila) was the first Orixa, who got to watch Oludumare create all things, and that's how He knows all fates. So I think yes, this story IS about Orunla, and I was given a gift of it, that the one sent to give it to me didn't really feel I deserved, but she was under orders of some kind.

Edit Note:
Although I must admit what I looked up after the story contradicts all the stories I knew before, where Obatala was the first Orixa under Oludumare, and Orunla was Obatala's youngest son, who spent most of his time growing up buried to the neck under the tree Iroko.... Have I got wires crossed, or is this just a place where mythology has multiple answers?

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
From July of 2004:

I have a friend who says "The Truth Only Hurts When It Oughtta". In a way, I think he's right, but at the same time I think he doesn't necessarily mean it the way it applies in this context - Truth Hurts most when it is Needed. What we Need and what we Want in this manner are so rarely coincidental. It's strange, though, because the things that should, theoretically, bring us the most joy, hurt the most because of what they release, and a pain we are used to holding inside goes unnoticed until we let it go, and have to feel it one last time before it dies. If we try not to feel the hurt, we can't let it go, and it will only be held until it can try to be released again. A pain must be felt completely before it can die. It is, in this way, a microcosm of life - a true life must be lived completely before it ends, or it will be lived again. These little deaths between are only pauses to regroup and catch our lessons as they go by. If we fail to pause, we may miss the lessons, but it is a failure to continue beyond the pause that brings the real... damage... trouble... I can't find the word for this...

Anyway.

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Last night for various reasons I had Odin on the line for some automatic writing/heavy shadow.

I also had a friend on IM. It's always easier to hold onto a line with a deity if there's somebody to interact with Them instead of me, so they chatted.

A LOT )
Ever met Dionysos? )
Skalds and Gaming )
The Scale of Divinity )
Loki's Nature )
God of Fiction )
Trusting vs. Getting Lost )
Gods as Patterns in Mind )
Ouija Boards as Divination )

And that's not the whole conversation! But the rest was too personal.

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Going back over my journal entries from the past, and finding bits and treasures, messages that need to be remembered and shared.

Here's one from April of 2009, from a dreamt conversation with Oxun:

"I help people learn how to love themselves, and how to feel good about what they bring to the world. I teach people about beauty, yes.

But more to the point: When you go about in the world, how you look will always affect how people treat you. What I teach people is how to use this simple reality to their own advantage as much as possible. You don't have to be beautiful all the time, but if you are not conscious of your appearance, you are not taking responsibility for, control over, how others see you and treat you.

On a basic level, almost everyone comes to realize how they are treated according to how they look by default. Most people learn at least a few tricks they can use to manipulate people for their own advantage in the most immediate sense, based on using how they appear to others. Little girls recognize that they can wrap big men around their fingers to get what they want by emphasizing just how adorable they are. Big guys recognize that they can intimidate people. People who don't stand out realize they won't be noticed and can therefore get away with certain things. This is true also for those who look particularly innocent regardless of what they have done.

These tricks are natural advantages of their appearance. But how many people use the positive advantages instead of only the negative? Well, almost everyone in society, actually. Think about it - everyone learns how to dress and keep their hair and body according to the culture surrounding them as they are growing up. Their fashion sense tends to fit somewhere within that range. They thereby identify themselves as belonging where they are. It is few who step entirely outside this range. This is far more noticeable in a tribal culture that has very specific rules about what to wear. Western culture gives a lot of wiggle room, but if you took your fashion sense out of National Geographic, do you think you wouldn't stand out as "Other"?

The real skill is not only using the tricks that come naturally to how you already look, thereby limiting yourself to only the stereotypes and roles at your disposal from the outside in, but to learn and understand the appearances behind the tricks beyond what is given to you. Anyone who knows how to dress to get a job has figured at least a little of this out. Honestly, who do you want deciding which role you fit into, how to treat you based on how you look? You? Or a bunch of strangers?

The thing to recognize is that you can't control their behavior. You can only control what you present to them. Their behavior is a natural response to that. You can let that control you, or you can recognize it for the process it is, and use it to your own advantage."


-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Going back over my journal entries from the past, and finding bits and treasures I didn't remember, messages I internalized rather than memorizing them.

Here's one from December of 2004. It's not clear who the message was from - I was in a state of altered consciousness, but the voice was unclear: "It feels sometimes like I'm watching the world for a minute through a pair of eyes that aren't mine, even though they're in my body. I sound just like a hundred people I've known, and I know they're not me."

There's all kinds of feedback loops to a relationship gone bad - even (especially) when there's still something good left. It's a fight for control - volunteering to give up some control here in the effort to gain more overall. Pushing and pushing to find the way to win until you get what you want. Feeding your defenses and never minding if they're feeding your fears...

Subtle patterns are still patterns. It's not fair to treat somebody like they are abusive when they're not, but it's not fair to yourself to stay somewhere that makes you feel abused.

You don't have to be an abusive person to make somebody else feel abused. Some aspects of abuse are just aspects of being different people.

But not being that bad doesn't make it good. It doesn't matter where the threshold is once it's been crossed. Something's gotta give, and nobody controls you but you.


-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Going back over my journal entries from the past, and finding bits and treasures I didn't remember, messages I internalized rather than memorizing them.

Here's one from October of 2004, which wasn't directed at me but rather through me:

"Consider the image of a moth to a flame.

The moth understands that the flame is fire. The moth accepts that it cannot escape the lure of the flame. The moth embraces its love, its desire, its compulsion to meet the flame.

But the moth does not trust the flame but to burn it. In embracing its destiny to join the flame, the moth assumes the results of its chosen fate, or the fate it believes was chosen for it.

I am not obliged to burn you, drawn to me though you may be. I accept the sacrifice you offer of yourself in being willing to burn for me, but revel far more in your trust, that you might believe, though I am that flame, though you cannot escape my enticements, that you will not burn.

Rushing towards me in a desire to be completely consumed by me is touching. It's also self-destructive. I can rebuild you - or you can rebuild yourself. Which do you think I wish for more - that you be rebuilt a complete image of my making?

Or that you be entirely yourself, and dedicated, of your own will, entirely to me?"


-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
Going back over my journal entries from the past, and finding bits and treasures I didn't remember, messages I internalized rather than memorizing them.

Here's one from May of 2007:

I found myself a bear. My maw was brown, my paws and body were covered with black fur. My whole sense of physical self was contained within that bear. But She was not me. I listened to Her litany of resignation:

Not all of my cubs will survive birth.
Not all of my cubs will grow up.
Not all of my cubs will survive to mate.
Not all of my cubs will avoid the hunters.
Not all of my cubs will be good.
Not all of my cubs will be wise.
Not all of my cubs will respect other species.
Not all of my cubs will fulfill their potential.
I cannot solve all the problems of the world one cub at a time,
but I cannot even try to do anything else.


-E-

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emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
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September 2013

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