Friday, September 30, 2005

Limora's Glade

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Sally was quiet because she was listening. She didn't have to talk to understand. The trees moved close to her and they sang....Tree branches bowed and waved in joyful play -- responding to the breeze -- a thought not felt on cheek or golden hair.

Kiyan’s first sounding part 1

Kiyan’s first sounding contained a number of things that `pinged’ with me. For example, this sentence:
Changes in the world around you have forced your PRACTICAL alignment from one of belief to knowledge -- and you do not like this.
One of the difficulties I have is figuring `how it works’ – when it comes to trying to fit in and work with the system, I’m like Ozzie Osborne with a remote control. I call for help from one of my kids, who grew up in this different world and know the secret is knowing which button does what.
When I was a kid I believed absolutely in the world I knew – the changing of the seasons, living close to the patterns of nature, using your instinct to find your way. None of this works now. In fact, I have come to distrust my instinct and `signs’ so strongly that I avoid them if possible. Simply because they are old technology, old `magick’ if you will, and don’t work well in the world I find myself in now.
Now I have to read the manual, and Kiyan is right – I do NOT like it.

I am having a little trouble with the terms as I read on – Kiyan speaks of the Conceptual Plane and the Practical Plane. The former I am interpreting as the `idea’ of a thing (or as the dictionary says `idea of the attributes common to a class of things’ – not making it much clearer); the latter I see as the `hands on’ doing aspect, and suggests I shift some beliefs from the conceptual to the practical, an alchemical process. This I take to mean I attempt to transmute some of the leaden ideas lying around my psyche into creative gold (although I am well aware alchemy is more than that, this analogy seems to fit here.)
One of those leaden ideas, I think, is that it is all about ME – yet, as I work on my Frida Kahlo retablo, I realise that she did actually achieve this alchemy, turning it into the gold of her paintings. ``I paint self portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.'
Thus I am reminded that, whether I avoid it or not, synchronicity and signs still make themselves felt, like an insistent shoe brush salesman who pops up at your window after you’ve chased him off the doorstep.

Kiyan went on to make a critical point about my craving for a `cleared path’ while still desiring a high degree of `free spirit’. This relates directly to how I was raised, and brings my father into the picture. I have inherited a lot of his traits, and freedom was his religion. Like him, I chafe if restricted to a routine, yet, like my mother, I fall easily into a routine and enjoy comforts. She missed the comforts of the settled life when she joined the travelling life – things settled people take for granted, like bathrooms and toilets. Like my parents arguing over freedom versus convenience, there are two people at war in me – one who wants to say `sod it’ and seek total freedom, and one who constantly reminds me how much I enjoy having a hot shower.
Social obligations and routine chafe the free spirit, but she goes remarkably silent on the subject of giving up her comforts.
As Kiyan says: One representation of this Casting is that of the 'fireside cat'. You are in a comfort zone embracing your sensual, artistic side, and fear losing this comfort if your 'get up and stretch' in the practical world. While you should be able to observe situations without judgment and make good decisions, you force yourself into indecision and then have to rely on others -- often with unhappy results.
One of those uncomfortable observations that I have to reluctantly admit is true – and I must ask myself, at this point, if I am the author of my own story or if I am letting other people write the chapters because I have lost the plot – or perhaps because I am dimly trying to follow a plot familiar to me, but unapplicable in my current circumstances?

Lots of food for thought here, lots to digest.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Presense - Glade


I would tell you of the glade the Gusari has chosen,
so that if you chance to wander by after he has gone,
you’ll know right off what is of what, and stuff like that.

This is to say that whatever spot he chooses is haven,
and wherever he gives council becomes a glade by right,
which has nothing to do with number of trees and such.

So what I will describe isn’t rightly what you would see,
‘cause the sum of he and thee would be different
and the world would find a different balance – sort of.

Anyway – before I confuse myself, I’ll just get on with it –
trying to give you a feel of the magick that transpires
when I remember – or by remembering be as now.

See, it’s important to me to have trees and boulders,
leaves, waterfalls and flowers and birds hid but loud;
‘cause that was where I found peace as a little kid.

When I hunkered down across from the Gusari,
he wrapped me in this memory gentle slow,
allowing me to choose what was important, and all.

I know we talked about a lot of things – problems and fears,
but don’t recall the questions or specific answers either –
just know he mostly listened me though an hour or two.

I don’t remember leaving, or what my problems were exactly;
but now I have a couple of simple things to do
so as my journey will be in balance if I choose.

Best be, I know that all I need do to return to this glade
is whisper his name, and rub this pebble gift from his hand;

but that’s another story all together, you understand

Musing in the Glade - Ancient Song

Inside it seems there is some kind of balance
finally - to see,
and some kind of new logic,
an ancient song,
uncommon sense.

The peace of the Glade is not always there in real life -
can it be trusted to be enough if I go that way?

Is solitude/gathering/idealism ideal?
Will it sustain me?

To withdraw from common judgement
and see in new ways,
to reach into the ancient and find food there -
that is the way and the rich life.

The perilous path that spawns the changes,
ridden and trodden by those who choose it,
or it chooses you,
depending on everything and nothing.

I sit in the sunshine glade and breathe,
with closed eyes
and a red glow.

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Thoughts on the Duuran process

I still want time to thoroughly read and digest Kiyan's soundings, but here are my experiences of the process so far:

Kiyan asked me to list six symbols of importance to me. This took some doing as I don't wear symbols or carry talismans. I had to look around my environment, my writings, my everyday life to see what recurred - the first thing that I noticed was the wheel. This is a recurring theme, particularly in writing - I once wrote a long philosophical poem called the Wheel, but I won't inflict it on you here.

The Wheel is also a powerful symbol in the earliest Tarot I ever saw, not the familiar tarot, but a set of Gypsy fortune cards owned by my grandmother. I designed a saet of Romany cards based on the symbols I remembered from that set, and included the wheel - and of course, the Wheel of Fortune is a Major Arcana card as well, and one I often turn up in readings. So it seemed to me that the Wheel was a strong symbol in my life, I felt an affinity with it, and I listed it.

The next symbol came to me very quickly - the Horse. Horses have always been a big part of my life, but what clinched it was remembering something my son said years ago - he likened me to a wild horse and said the horse was my spirit animal, something I understood immediately was the simple truth.

Colour is important to me, since I have loved art since I was a small child - but the one colour I love most is the colour of the ocean, that deep jade blue green gemlike colour. I use it often, try to reproduce it, wear it - it recurs in my life and qualified as a symbol.

Then it got hard - finally I chose lavender for the next symbol because like the others, it is a common recurring theme for me. I specifed wild lavender - not sure why, but that's how it came out so I left it.

Looking around, I saw some religious symbols in my life - a statue of Buddha given to me by my daughter, a small brass Buddha my son gave me, a picture of my favourite Indian God, Ganesh - but only one - how shall I put this - gives me an emotional reaction. I have a small statue of Kwan Yin, and I love her dearly. Her counterpart in Indian mythology, Lakshmi, is currently one of my projects as I remake an Indian doll into a shrine for Duwali, the Festival of Lights. I showed my children this celebration when they were small and they loved lighting the candles and leaving gifts for the Goddess. So it seemed this Goddess is a recurring theme as well, and I included her.

Finally the Celtic Knot - simply because it is a symbol of who I am, a Celt and a traveller, Irish born and still steeped in the lore I heard as a child.It wasn't easy to make this list - as a young woman I surrounded myself with symbols and would have had difficulty choosing, but lately I haven't given it much thought.

Yet when I did look, I was surprised to see that some symbols still so persist.I wrote them down pretty much as I thought of them, in an instinctual way, and did not at that time, add any details or thoughts on why or how I chose them. I'm not sure now if I should have done that for Kiyan, but it seemed the proper way at the time.

Meadow Near the Gusari Glade

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Story - Basket - Glade


I had wandered medium far to find her,
following ragged maps and antipodal advice.
Upon the seeing I was even less believing;
for she was too young to be a crone,
too tall to be an elf,
and too nice to be witch…
still --
flowers grew out of the rocks nearby,
and a spider was spinning webs between her hands
which were busy conducting a chorus of frogs …
so I guessed she be the one!

“I’ve get a problem,’ says I in practiced voice.

The frogs changed to three part harmony, but she doesn’t stop.

“It’s about this balance thing. I keep dreaming of this crooked stick with my spirit shining bright on one end, and my mind ajumble on the other, and it’s teeterin’ on this quivering point that appears to be my soul.”

She looks at me with eyes ‘bout a thousand years old, and puts on this scarf the spider finished and sits down on a stool that wasn’t there before. The frogs have all turned into a couple dozen baskets – each a different make and shape, but with gaping mouths the same.

“Tell me your story, quick and clear,” a tiny bird chirped overhead.

As I rambled about in mem’ry – more lost than found, she wrote strange symbols on selected stones and tossed them into baskets – no plan that I could see – no pattern nor rhythm nor chant – never missed though.

I recon some held more stones at the end than others even empty. I could have kept on except for fear of overflowing some, so I kinda wound down to telling a joke or two. More pebbles.

“Tell me now what you believe is important,” whispered she in a voice too rough for this smallish maid – and held up five finger plus one. I thought a bit and called three right off, as I had been taught by dad. The others were tougher as I had dozens from which to choose and only three fingers left to guide. I sorted through thoughts and teachings and promises from priests and shop keepers, knights and stable boys, tavern stories and what Amy told me last Thursday. She smiled a little to help me some, I think – least wise I forgot to be afraid. There! It is done.

She didn’t write any of these down, but the baskets skuddled about into a new pattern and an acorn dropped on my head. I was thirsty and noticed a little waterfall nearby where there had been a bush before.

Her voice was most musical now. “Now tell sir, what do you know that is true? Her other voice boomed, “What true things do you know?”

Well, no amount of head scratching and lip pluckin’ got me a very long list. Perhaps that is an easy question for you, my friend; but then you were not standing there with baskets a shaking time like rattle snakes. What I told her must have been all right since she didn’t disappear or lightning strike, but I felt as though both things had happened once or twice.

She pranced around the baskets like she had extra feet – or maybe her slippers kept changing color. Then she tipped over all of the baskets, each by each, and let the contents dribble out. Many held water that seeped into the ground. Others held ashes the fluttered away on a sudden breeze. A couple held leaves that spread a blanket on the gravel path. Onto this fell four stone – no more!

“The answer to these are all you need,’ she sighed, while describing the symbols on each – the focus of a problem segment self defined. “Now you may choose two of these, and I will give you solutions guaranteed for eternity.”

I left of course, with four stones in my pocket – and they lay softly now in my garden pool. The solutions I selected were better by far, methinks –
once I learned the complexity of my life was of my choosing …
and but a breath away from knowing,
once false beliefs drifted away.

There is only one thing I really know –
I mean with finality …

that someday another will come to me,
and I will set out some baskets,
and together we will be free.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Meditating at the Cross Roads

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I have arrived near the glade and I am sitting at the crossroads meditating upon my future directions. I am wearing green to represent my connection to the earth. Note that all my important symbols are present.

Pegasus, winged horse of my beloved Muse, upon whose wings of imagination I fly,
The Raven to my right, bringing messages from around the world
A cup of Castalian Water from Delphi Greece, the waters of creative inspiration
A graceful black swan, a true Australian
The limb of a Cypress, my tree, is ever present
and last but not least,
Statement beads, helping to express my an artistic side.

Guide me wise Gusari! Help me choose a pathway that will nourish my creativity. Tell me what I need to release in order to move forward toward my destiny.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Divination - (glade) a story

(the knowing)

The blanket became a feasting table, and the darkness a cave of enchantment; each invoked by need and fancy of two strangers – at least up to an hour ago. She was scarcely more than maiden, yet a widow and homeless too – lucky to have escaped the Horde with more than tears. He was Kiyan, nothing more – yet of that all that has even been before. She had come to his fire amidst the silver firs and guardian boulders without fear, driven by strength of legend and simple trust. He had welcomed her problems and poignant plea because he must – for he was The Gusari. Had she any deceit in her heart or darkness of spirit she never would have found him. If anyone else could have assisted her, she would not have heard his name whispered by the moon. That is just the way it was – it could be no other way. His needs were greater – but not of this story at all.

A leaf-cup of rabbit stew, fresh found onions, and spring washed berries were enough. Her story was neither long nor short, not really of import at all, save that she relived it and that he listened. A gentle nod, a twist of finger or brief connection of eye and soul soon fleshed out the meager tale. There were two stories to unfold; one of events and times and players – the other of passion and dreams and faith. Each had its part of truth and delusion. Each was sired by beliefs and mothered by biased observation. Neither held any wisdom. Any solution must be born of knowledge and nourished by confidence. There was work to be done!

The entwined branches of the brush behind the girl’s head allowed for a patterning of imagined form – a lattice structure of boxes and baskets where bits of facts and emotion could be hung. As the story and questions wound to protected silence, the invisible matrix revealed patterns and relationships within which the seer could work. As always, the sought answers were within her. Yet, as she could only learn and understand that for which life had prepared her, she was blind – just as she could not see the mole on her back. She also did not yet know of the child in her womb. It fell to Kiyan to answer these and all. This he could do by experience alone. That was not enough.

Any solution, large or small, must be bound by three things learned:

"where to find and easy bind,
be as life what can enjoin
in trust of thee as I must."

Kiyan mused but an instant. She had been guided to him, so the “where to find” was done. He now had the balance between what she “believed” and what she “knew”. Now she must “trust”. She trusted him enough to pay attention – now he must instill retention, and that would take some magick. And that too had to come from her. She must walk away with her goals and dreams as one. In truth, any of a myriad of solutions might serve. For which of these would she trust herself? Which would she empower, nurture and protect?

He asked from her six symbols -- things of import to her alone, and these to be sung, a she surly had the voice of her mother -- as Kiyan much remembered. This last was not a requirement of Duuran, but served to gain her commitment and focused intent.

I would dance to the color yellow,
Soft as the daffodils of Spring.

I would claim the bold number four,
In mem'ry of brothers gone to war.

I would climb the Three Tier Mountain
In quest of peaceful Summer snow.

I carry a fine Toledo blade
That my dearest father gave me.

I carry a blue stone round my neck,
Found by my lover in a steam.

I have but one tortoise shell comb --
The other lies in my mother's grave.

I find peace in the call of an owl,
Whose silent wings watch over me.

Her lilting notes had attracted small eyes at the fire's edge, but she noticed only Kiyan's moving hands. As she introduced each favored symbol he had placed a tiny pinecone on the blanket to define as many piles of thoughts. Then he shook a basket beneath her nose and had her draw out six sticks, each by each -- then six again to form a cross on each centering seed. These he called Casters, and she marveled at the intricate stripes, dots and swirls that made each unique. He alone knew of their meaning -- he alone heard their song. It began!

The story he told wove a fabric of the secret messages, her symbols and clues of truth buried in the matrix behind her. This projection of a mental lattice came from training in far off Kazan, but of this she need not know. The magic portent of Trebusca spoke of Priests of the Mother Hen in Trace, but only to the Gusari. The Casting Sticks had been crafted by a WindHorse Nokud of the Great Khan, but as her lover lay dead by Mongol hand she must not know of this! The six verses he told linked images of herself as seen in a spirit mirror, as seen by others friend and foe, as she might be if she continued on her path, and of what she might claim if she but chose. This 'Sounding of the Soul' pulsed with ancient currents of the Alan, but she need only listen and understand. The remaining two stories were of her child and of a village by a mountain stream where he might grow strong if she sought its shelter.

All he gave her was choices, but also the courage to choose. With magick tools of her own making, he carved out her false beliefs that had failed her -- creating open spaces in the necklace of her destiny, that she might fill with gems of wisdom. He did not guide her choice -- that must be hers alone. He but held her soul at peace while she learned of how she could be what no other was -- could do what no other could.

What she chose I do not know -- only that she did; for the paths rejected carried no regret. At the Village Gathering the next day she sang songs of joy, and stood silent as Kiyan walked away.

For that is as it must be -- and surely was.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Posting Thoughts

Postings here can be of two types determined by the focus of the piece:

GLADE -- members may participate in direct, one-on-one interaction in the Gusari tradition; either asking questions or posing a problem. Either should be directed to Further instructions will be sent. Your posts under the tile of GLADE should relate such experiences and thoughts about the process rather than any confidentialities of the subjects involved. The results of this communication may be a "Sounding", a poem or incantation, or a direct answer. See the blog "Strum of the Gusli" for more info.

VILLAGE -- members are encouraged to share stories, songs, poems and performance thoughts relevant to a 13th century picnic/campfire. Subjcts should be ones of concern then, like natural disasters, political bafoonery, spiritual confusion and the humor of daily life. Ideally, these offerings would include things learned during the GLADE process. Kiyan will certainly strive to create postings reflective of the braiding of new and old ideas.

above all -- enjoy!

Posting Instructions

On behalf of Kiyan, The Gusari,
I welcome you to both his Glade
and Village settings. In the Glade
you can meet with him one-on-one,
and either get a question answered
or a 'Sounding' through ancient
divination methods.

Then write about the experience here
as thee may (confidential on his end).
(Include 'Glade' in the title)


Join the picnic in the Village Square
and share stories, songs, poems and
performance thoughts relevant to the
13th century -- ideally mirrored today!
(Include 'Village' in the title)

Check out 'Strum of the Gusli' blog
for ideas and restriction.

above all, be a good audience!


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Setting the Scene - 'The Bandits' by faucon

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Thrasa set out the implements and supplies for supper and pretended to not see what Aldic was about. Under the guise of gathering smokeless wood for the long night fire he was clipping tips from soft fir boughs hidden in the shadows of towering spruce. Her laughter was hidden by the tinkling spring which splashed into a perfect granite bowl - a feature which had caused them to stop their journey earlier this day. Of course, there was tomorrow's assault on the high Carpathian pass that would require an early start.

The simple meal of nuts, onions and apples might be enhanced by a mountain hare as the Baron had already placed some snares. Each was attached to a 'ground drum' brass wire that would sing a tune to indicate its location. In this way, the hunter could safely release the hapless curious not meant for their fire. This forest gentleness in the giant of a man bound Thrasa to him as much as the marriage scar on her palm. He always wiped away his tears with his own deep pledging mark.

His cloak lay over the pillow of scented, caressing forest gifts; close by the spring where a slight mist might strike sparkles in her hair. They lay there for awhile afterward and watched the clouds pass by. Like their growing sons; birthed, swirling into shapes filled with mirth and mystery, then gone to far off lands. She nestled close, the hinted secret of a daughter not yet to be revealed.

As two rabbits crackled above the flickering coals the lovers came to instant alert. Strangers approaching! Three they were, mounted on small Sythian ponies, but by clothing, not of Alani decent.
Their language was beyond even their widely experienced vocabulary, but the intent was clear. They had food to share and would like to join the evening fire. The strangers properly touched open fingers to forehead, lips and heart. Their cloaks were thrown back to expose only short curved knives of a quality beyond their well-worn boots. Date cakes and wine were added to the feast and stories were acted out in pantomime, more of clever trading than of warrior deeds. Aldic, keeping pace and cautious, made it clear he was a miller, and hid his general's past. They stayed up later than was their intent but fine companionship was always a boon to savor.

They all rose before dawn, planning to eat along the way. Packing was alternated with hand warming trips to the waning fire, for the night had whispered yet of the departing snows. Then, with Thrasa on her knees and Aldic apart near the donkey, the bandits attacked. A shout to build courage! A grasp of small shield and sword from saddle ties! A deliberate advance - two on to the Baron - one for the maid. The ill-missioned knave was laughing as he slowly drew his sword, but Thrasa was quick in response. As she rose her Kama blade swept up and out across his wrist and the unsheathed sword was useless! A feint to the head brought the shield up and she kicked him with a blow that would have gelded his fine horse. She whirled about to her lover's plight and found him only armed with a shingling fro. He parried back and forth using friendly trees to keep the two assailants apart. Then with fierce upward swing he did break the bandit's sword in twain, where upon the thief stumbled backwards in dismay. Taking advantage of the moment, Thrasa did clobber him with a cooking iron such that his helm flew into the bush, and he lay still. Then using a hunter's whistled signal, Thrasa tossed the first knave's sword through the air. Caught! So met, the last standing stranger did circle about the fire in caution quickly learned.

Thrasa's first foe did attempted to rise, clutching severed hand. Limping still, his back provided footing for the Bear who, above the screams could leap full into the fray. The now wounded traveler did attempt an escape but was turned by Thrasa's spinning blade. On turning back e was cleaved from neck to belt and chimes sounded as golden necklaces were scattered to the stones.

The pair circled about in practiced, cautious sweep. Their backs touched through tunics dripping with exhaustion's fetid stench. Though their joining here was different from before, each was touched with both life and death. The tears that tasted on their lips were for joy profound, but also in prayer for those now fallen whose home fires would be ever silent.

The first rays of the new day spilled red and gold on flesh and blood abound. It took brave eyes to look to the mountains and leave the past behind.