Monday, February 23, 2009

How to tell if you've been poisoned or cured

A cure gives some kind of insight into a hard knot of a problem you thought was impossible. If you follow the insight, you will feel great sorrow or grief because that's what's in knots. Knots made to hold the wind, for instance, will always have some grief seep into them eventually. Untying an old one on a calm sea will make you weep, make the ship creak. But if you let yourself cry, on the other side is peace.

Poison leaves you some trouble that must now be overcome, an antidote must be found or the effects must be waited out. If you make it through the poison, you will have proven something to yourself. You will know more. You will have developed a skill or an ability you didn't have before. And now that you have the skill the poison gave you, you'll be asked to use that skill. Be warned; skills learned from poison are rarely for nice situations, although once I did learn embroidery from a poisonous relationship. If you use your skill well and wisely, you'll find you have changed some small part of the world, accomplished something more difficult than you thought you were capable of. And if you let yourself appreciate that, you will find peace.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dog Fight

[Click to see all installments of the Legend of Fowl Feng .]

On the day that Fowl Feng faced Rarely There in battle, the morning sun came in on blazing clouds, hustling the stars out of the sky to look upon the great booming day. Fowl Feng took one look at Rarely There's mangy coat of piebald wire and hated the dog deep down in his empty belly. Rarely There returned the favor, immediately harboring a deep disgust for Fowl's wild yellow wolf eyes. The two squared off. The city around them would have hushed in anticipation, but it had two car chases, a wedding, an apartment fire, and an indie-rock concert to contend with. As the adversaries circled each other, a current built up between them, raising their fur and making their jaws ache and slaver. In the sky, a bird banked sharply to the south like a flag being dropped. Both dogs fell upon the other.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Green Lion

We hate the idea that we are not already perfect almost as much as we fear we might one day arrive at perfection. It's a trick to juggle improving the parts of ourselves we're ashamed of, while not getting so good that other people tear us apart at the first opportunity.

Our ability to grow has been labeled original sin and used to shame us. We fall down. We fail. We hurt others and ourselves. And sometimes we imagine that because we have done some bad things, we can never become better. Or that if we were good enough for greatness to be possible, we’d already be there. But that’s not how it works. We get better by the downfalls. The things that can shame us can also change us.

One useful symbol for getting handle on all this in the Green Lion. The Green Lion is our urge to perfection. It is that which moves us to grow, to push past pain, to struggle forward. It assumes that we aren't all there yet. We haven't completely arrived. We've started something, but it ain't done by a longshot. In mystical terms, we've discovered there's a way out of our misery, but we're still looking for the door.

Like a lot of alchemical characters, the Green Lion is shown eating something. Alchemical characters are often eating. Dragons devour each other. Snakes eat their own tails. Wolves devour kings. Fathers eat their children. Hermaphrodites eat coconuts. (Okay, I made that last one up.) Eating is a communion with the rest of the world. In the case of the Green Lion, he eats the Sun.

The Sun is the underlying source of all energy on this planet. (And that's true of all the other planets out in space as well. Different stars, same Sun.) On a nutritional level, plants use sunlight to build carbohydrates thus forming the basis of the entire food chain. On a spiritual level, the Sun is taken into the soul and fixed as part of an individual. We are all part sunlight.

So eat a plant. A big green leafy thing like chard or beet greens. (And notice how much our culture hates leafy greens. Aren't they just the hardest to get into your health conscious diet? There's a reason for that.) Find a leaf you like, but go as dark green as you can. (We're keeping things simple here, but other dark colors work too so if you really like purple cabbage, go for it.) And as you eat it, know that you are eating the Sun. Be a Green Lion.

Sunday, February 1, 2009