~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Friday, June 9, 2017

POV to Systems

I was struck how appropriate the following quote could be when applied to other systems besides organ systems (and plant systems, which is the focus of the book); for instance, consider its potential for understanding cultural, political, social, or religious systems, not to mention simply other personalities, and how we can relate to them.

"The closer the reality of the organ system is to your normal point of view, the easier it will be to experience its reality. The farther away it is, the more disturbing it will be. Experientially assuming an extremely different orientation will in itself teach you about the narrowness of your normal point of view. The resistance you have to this new and very different perspective is information about how and how much you cling to your normal perceptions." ~ Stephen Harrod Buhner, The Secret Teachings of Plants


The book Secret Teachings of Plants is profoundly moving; I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Will I Ever Read What I Used To?

When an email popped into my in-box, I was curious about one of the authors being interviewed. Not because I currently read his work, but because, until about seven or eight years ago, I had read everything he had written. Dean Koontz. Yup. There was a time when I couldn't get enough of his stories. But I gave all his books to a friend when we moved to Arizona, figuring I'd never read him again; I felt like his books were far too intense for the older me. In hindsight, there were a few I ought to have kept.

Anyway, he is starting a new series and it sounds intriguing; if he keeps the horror parts to a minimum, I might just find myself pulled into the new stories. With a female protagonist who is a rogue FBI agent, I'm definitely interested.

A bit of trivia I liked in the interview -- available on Goodreads -- was that Dean Koontz says one of his all-time favorite authors is Charles Dickens:

This is one of those odd coincidences because several months ago, I became determined to re-read A Tale of Two Cities, recalling how much I enjoyed it in high school. And, hey, if I could enjoy that book when I was 17 years old, chances are I would enjoy it even more now.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Its Home On Its Back

This little box turtle (wish I had a good telephoto lens because he or she would tuck its head inside every time I tried to get very close), trudging along with its home on its back, reminded me of travel, the meaning of home, withdrawal when in danger, being hard on one side and soft on the other, and the ancient fable of the tortoise and the hare. Just to name a few imaginings that came up.

And those musings recalled how everything I read, most of which is non-fiction, seems to inspire a story line. Books about our planet like The Dream of the Earth by Thomas Berry to A Tear at the Edge of Creation by Marcelo Gleiser; on society and religion as from Age of Anger by Pankaj Mishra to Evolution of God by Robert Wright; from Reasons to Stay Alive by Haig to Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Levine. Not to mention the variety of books on history, psychology, and spirituality.

Then there is the basic review of my own life experiences from divorce to single living, from competing in dog shows to hiking on mountain trails, from moving across the country to making new friends, from learning about natural remedies to falling in love later in life.

Most of the abundance of ideas or themes can be woven into tales that could take place within my fictional series, except that the first book isn't even finished yet. I've dozens and dozens of possible tales. How will I ever get to all of the stories? I guess the simple answer is that I will get to the ones that I'm meant to write. And that will have to suffice. My Muse will have to offer the rest to other people, although I hope she waits until after I've officially discarded them.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Celtic Family Roots

Carnac in Brittany, 1909

I have ancestors with Celtic connections on both sides of my family tree. Most Americans whose families have been here for 350 years probably do as well. Of my ancestors who I’ve been able to trace back to country of origin, there were 59 (at last count) who emigrated from the Celtic locales of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, alas none from Brittany (in context, there were 208 from England, the clearly predominant country, with a smattering from countries on the continent including Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and France, plus a few drops of Native American mixed in for good measure).
My primary fascination with the Celts is due to their visceral and spiritual link
to the landscape, one that I resonate with, as well as their belief in a mysterious parallel dimension, referred to as the Otherworld, inhabited by fairy-folk. On the other hand, the Celtic aspect completely alien to me is that they were renowned as a warrior culture; I definitely didn’t receive those genes. I also try to extricate Celtic women’s past out from under the heavy weight of the patriarchal times and mythologies (since the 1970s, thankfully, many other women have been absorbed in this effort as well so I have plenty of guides). Unfortunately, most non-mythological records focused on battles and wars; that’s what interested most men and they wrote the histories, so one has to peek between the lines to find cultural nuggets beyond those limitations.
The Baker family tree on my mother’s side reveals a robust blend of Celtic lineage. My great-grandmother Rosetta Jane Baker’s line contains 10 individuals from Scotland, 5 from Wales, and 7 from Ireland (possibly Scots-Irish, based upon the time period of emigration; further research would be needed to verify), a few of which I’ll mention here.
© Trustees of the British Museum
According to an online genealogy resource for the Baker family, it is said that, “The dark rolling moors of the Scottish/English border are home to the notable surname, Baker. Its ancient history is closely woven into the rich and beautiful tapestry of the border chronicles” and that the family motto is “Dum spiro spero. (While I have breath I hope.)” The theory is that the Baker name and family descended from the northern mix of Scottish Picts and Angles (about 400-1000 CE). That adds in the intriguing history of the Picts, current theory emerging that they were the “indigenous population,” the original inhabitants, for that part of the world.
My 4th-great-grandparents were James and Rebeckah (Small) Baker; their families were from Kentucky, and previous to that, Virginia in the 18th century. I am still trying to unearth the definite direct link for James Baker, but it was recorded in 1889, in a county historical tome, that his wife Rebeckah Small was of Irish descent. This statement is a curious puzzle, however, since most of my research points to the Small ancestors (plus the Burnett and Henderson wives in that family tree) as being from Scotland; immigrant John Small was born in 1716 in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland (southwest of Glasgow, though he could have Irish roots) and the others in the northeast lands of Aberdeen and St. Andrews (both are northeast of Edinburgh). James and Rebeckah’s son Hiram married Clarisy Maddy, and her family line brought in some Welsh through the Morris lineage.
This indomitable Celtic family line gradually traversed America from Virginia, then to Kentucky and Tennessee, before finally arriving in Missouri in the mid-19th century. There’s a generational story here, one of many, just waiting to be told!
My husband doesn't really understand my recent interest in ancestors and cultural family history. I tell him it's not that I think this knowledge will change me--life is good and I like who I am--but rather that it does seem to help me understand myself a bit better. Plus, I've always been curious and a seeker, learning is fun for me, and "visiting" my ancestors or ancestral cultures is also a way to honor their journey.
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