Friday, July 30, 2004

The sacred spiral, the organic wisdom of Snake

Snake medicine for aboriginal peoples such as the Hopi, Pueblo, and Zuni tribes of the American Southwest is both extremely potent and very rare. To align with Snake is to live through the painful bites of venomous snakes and near-death hallucinations that ensue. To acquire snake medicine, you must walk through the veil that stands between the physical and spiritual world and survive.

Generically speaking, snake is associated with primordial knowing, the wisdom of creation, the keeper of dreams.

Snake symbolism has widely been linked with wisdom and protection of the sacred in many religions and spiritual paths. Snake appears as Hesha, the coiled protector of Vishnu, in Hindu Mythology; as Hatuibwari in Malaysian mythology, the creator who suckled all his creations; Eingana, the mother of humanity and water creatures of aboriginal Australia.

The Minoan Snake Goddess , goddess of home and earth (and one of my personal favorites), appears as a female figure holding two snakes in her outstretched hands. In ancient Greece, the Oracle of Delphi used a serpent to communicate with the underworld. Mesopotamian sea creatrix, Nammu, who created heaven and earth, was imaged with the head of a serpent in the ancient excavations of former Sumeria.

Early polytheistic religions and goddess based religions portray Snake as neither good nor evil, but rather an extension of the natural life cycle, regenerative. The shedding of skin represents the leaving of the old / death to make way for the new / birth. The symbolism of Snake is most powerfully expressed in Ouroboros' circular formation, with his tail in mouth.

Ouroboros is especially potent for me as it is a reminder that nothing can be "consumed" lightly. His own consumption leads to his demise. For the ultimate price of life is simply death.

On my 30th birthday, I called upon the power of snake, my own ability to transform the old and enter into the new with a fresh perspective, renewed energy, and another layer of knowing. The experiences throughout my turbulent childhood and cataclysmic twenties required processing. As difficult a process as it is, the transformation of old memories and traumas must be faced with honesty, courage, and, frankly, embodiment.

For true change to occur in our world, true change must happen in our being. Just as the shamans of South America, escaping the trance state that holds them captive inside the monstrous body of the white anaconda, so we must metaphorically emerge from our own "clouds of misperception" and personal pain.

This year, I step into the lair and await the painful kiss of Mother Snake.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Killer whale attacks some poor corporate lackey

I am sorry, folks, but I have to post this as the issue is close to my heart.

Adolescent hormones, eh? Could it be that they orca attacked because HE'S A FREAKING WILD ANIMAL???!!! Perhaps he attacked because it is not natural for him to be impounded in a tank that for an animal his size would compare to that of a large bathtub for you and I. Or, perhaps the frustrations involved in the training sessions created undue stress in the animal -- FYI, these grand animals do not land in the amusement parks with a clever ensemble of stage tricks under their flipper.

I have been to an assortment of animal parks, ranging from large, well branded monoliths to your run-of-the-mill, backyard menageries. Yet I have never seen a facility I believe to be even slightly comparable to the wild. Aesthetically pleasing to the human eye, perhaps, but not one met the specific needs of the animals they house. It is appalling.

The conditions most large mammals dwell in are even more horrifying to me because, they, by design, require lots of space / territory. It pains me to witness lions and other large cats compulsively pacing back and forth, back and forth, mindlessly repeating their well trodden path day in and day out. To witness primates forcing themselves to vomit and reingesting the mess (despite what park directors tell you, this is NOT a normal behavior). To watch orcas float lifelessly in tiny, shallow pools... It makes me wonder what anyone gets from seeing a wild animal in these settings.

Furthermore, animal parks pander their pathetic displays to animal lovers under the guise of wildlife rehabilitation and captive release. The sad reality is that most animals used for displays and entertainment cannot be released. In some cases, they have been defanged, declawed, and/or have faced some modification that would make release impossible. Offspring are, as you can imagine, cherished by facilities, large and small, for they are the $ makers, the cute babies that draw the public in. In my investigations, I have never found the capture-and-release or "conservation" programs to be true to their purpose. But rather, a clever PR tactic to divert animal rights activists and appease the concerns of their patrons.

My point of this rant is this: If you must visit these facilities, consider doing some research of your own and find out if the park's truly following through on their "rehabilitation" or "conservation" efforts. If they say "yes," don't leave it at that, ask them what they are doing specifically. Do some reading about the habitats and behaviors of the species you are about to view. Does the the facility provide similar settings / environment? Does the facility provide behavioral enrichment for the animal(s) they house? What are the conditions of their enclosure(s)? What stereotypic behaviors (pacing, neck craning, regurgitation, self-mutilation, cage licking, etc.) are you witnessing?

Many well meaning individuals visit wildlife parks with good intentions: chiefly, to educate themselves and/or their children. Unfortunately, many wild animals pay the price for our curiosity. Consider, rather, the many documentaries, IMAX films, simulations, television programs, books, and lectures available that provide more valuable information than does viewing a species devoid of its natural setting and behaviors.

Some valuable resources for more information are as follows: Zoocheck Canada Animal Protection Insititute Performing Animal Welfare Society

I don't deny the awe one feels when witnessing a tiger for the first time. The sheer power of their physical stature is overwhelming. However, is it my right, just because I am human, to take them out of their natural environment and put them on display? This arrogant belief of human superiority is depleting the world of thousands of species and polluting the environment at an alarming rate.

Furthermore, if we are interested in conservation, why not ensure that the wild spaces and habitats of large mammals be protected at all costs (thus protecting other small species with whom they share that land mass)? When nearly 10,000 tigers are owned privately in North America, while in the wild, the numbers of tigers in the wild are now estimated to be only 5,000 - 7,000, one must question our sincere conservation  objectives.

jane_crow, questioning the value of wild animals in captivity

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Snake handling in kentuckiana

Sorry for this brief posting, but I am getting ready to leave the beloved computer for the day and wanted to post this:,_going_to_church_can_prove_deadly.html

I know, I cringe at the thought of linking to the above weblog (eeeekkkk), but am kind of fascinated by the topic of snake handling and had a provocative chat with a friend today, who is delighted that so called evangelists are using an ancient Goddess-based ritual in the name of extreme allegiance to their version of Jesus.

Snakes have long been maligned by monotheistic religions as the consort of the devil, so to speak, the provider of forbidden wisdom. We all know the Garden of Eden and what transpired there.

In truth, the snake is symbolic of primordial secrets, guardian of spiritual wisdom and transformation. Snake imagery has been unearthed in several burial sites and in the ruins of ancient communities. I will explore more of this tomorrow (in a longer posting).

In the meantime, I would like to reclaim the powerfully benevolent symbolism of snake and snake medicine. I feel it is my personal duty (for reasons I will explain tomorrow -- oh so mysterious!), over the next few weeks, to explore and expose the hidden beauty and wisdom of Snake.

Enjoy the link to good hillbilly amusement.

jane_crow, laying low and slllllliiiiinnnnnkkkkkking around

Monday, July 26, 2004

Heated debates and hormone run-off

So next week is the National Poetry Slam in St Louis. I wish I knew about it earlier because I would have tried to go, but that serves me right for not paying attention to these things. My newfound poet-acquaintance, Corbet Dean, will be performing, representing Mesa. Since Arizona is my old home and I love Corbet's poetry, then I will have to cheer for them; Although, looks like an Evansville, Indiana team will be representin' too. Cool. J*me, my other poet-friend, isn't performing this year (so it seems). Guess he's taking a break from the fame and fortune of the Slam (wink).

As for me and why I don't perform, I am terrified of getting on stage! My only hope is for people (i.e. friends and family) to buy my books (which will appear in the near future, I hope.) That, and I am trying to coax slam-poets to perform my work for me -- hah -- but that seems to be not so kosher. Ah well. ;-)

I think I've gotten past my little tirade over the weekend. Mister Smartypants no longer annoys me, and I am taken the "high road" by just letting the snippy comments roll off my back. My mantra: Let it all go and breathe....Ah....

Still, I do love a good heated debate. Verbal warfare can be fun, if done properly and with the right person. Since I have been reading a TON of books on goddess culture and polytheism versus monotheism, I am dying to discuss God with my Christian friends. Especially after I get my hands on the book, God Against the Gods ( for a review, follow link. Has anyone read this?

Writing has taken an interesting path as of late -- ever since hitting thirty, my creative work has gotten, well, less polished, less complicated. For my thirty-something girlfriends, have you experienced the full-on-rush-of-hormones yet? I am baby crazy and less uncertain about my body persona since hitting thirty. And I am completely "on the prowl," at least, in a metaphorical sense. I am afraid it's going to get worse in the next few years. Anyone with muscles better watch out at this rate.

As I was saying, my creative work is moving in a direction that I seem to have lost control over. I am convinced it has something to do with the changes I am going through physically, thereby playing out in my everyday thoughts and priorities. The gradual shift in thinking from one of a romantic ideal to one of physical practicality has manifested into some new creative work, which I will soon share. And I have been drawn to the subject of power, authority, confidence...all contributing to my recent head-butting incident with arrogant men(see previous post).

Hmmmm... Something primal is giving my "higher self" a run for the money. Personally, I prefer my lower self, anyway. Less work and certainly a hell of a lot more fun....Has anyone heard Dar Williams' song, Wilder than Her? LOVE IT. LIVE IT.

jane_crow, hot and bothered

My elusive friend, Dave.... Posted by Hello

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Sound off first, ask questions later...

First off, I want to send everyone to a wonderful charity's website:, Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking outreach organization based out of the US. They do some incredible work and are one of the charities closest to my heart. Rather than get into a heated debate with some of you about the sex trade biz, I think we can all agree that the gross exploitation of the poorer women, men, and children of the world by wealthier countries / political bodies / military is abhorrent.

Check them out. They do some wonderful things for suffering individuals.

My topic today is arrogance.

I'm sorry, my friends, but I am feeling the need to rant about my unlucky habit of weird run-ins with arrogant men. It's never women (not that they don't exist, because they most certainly do). I am a magnet for intellectual chauvinists, the pedantic academics, the grossly anal retentive scholars obsessively stroking their degrees. You know the type.

Most of us run across these slithery snakes and their waxing philosophic sidekicks, those sophomoric proteges they just love to surround themselves with!  Their typical territories include college pubs, where they are almost certain to find a group of sluggish twenty-somethings, sitting in corners with well worn copies of Ulysses, discussing US politics or bad karma; city courthouses (need I explain?); church; and in most corporate settings, although they are harder to spot since everyone has the same uncomfortable demeanor.

I thought I escaped the chance of recurring run-ins with them since leaving the US. But no, to my chagrin, they are in Canada, too. Grrr... Why do I let them bother me?

Of all the bad habits floating around, I cannot tolerate arrogance. It gets under my skin like nothing else. (I wonder what psychoanalysis would find in that? Hah.) What's worse is that I cannot let it go. I always get into a battle of stubborn wit with these guys, and I end up feeling let down that I allowed myself to indulge in the pettiness of it all. I mean, it is better to just let it go, to try and rationalize their reason for behaving in an asshole-ish fashion..."They have low self-esteem, "They have a gall stone," "They suffered from acne as a teen." Still, before that little filtering process kicks in, my mouth starts moving and it's too late--I've sent a fury of venomous words spewing out.

My mouth almost always gets me in trouble. (Shocking, isn't it?!) I frequently sound off before thinking things through. Not something to brag about, but hey, you can't accuse me of not knowing my Achilles heel well.

I accept that I  have a long way to go in training myself to remain calm in the face of patronizing characters. So what do you think, friends? I am open to any suggestions outside of watching 20 hours of British television.

Tell me what gets under your skin...

jane_crow, still kicking against the pricks

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

5th Life of The Cat Woman

I am re-reading one of my favorite books, Fifth Life of the Cat Woman (sorry, anonymous, I wasn't able to find Blue Like Jazz) and am enjoying the fantasy of living in a desert mirage with 50 cats. [You'll have to read it to know what I am referring to...Read it!] And I am thinking about what it must be like to be fully cognizant of past lives. The book does explore the idea that if we could remember the past via having lived through it, and each time being born into a different class, skin color, culture, religion, political climate, etc., we would most likely behave quite differently in this lifetime. For example, we would be less classist or racist because we would not have that fear of "the other" as we would have been "the other" at some point in our past lives.

It is an interesting thought. After all, on a micro scale, most of us choose to donate to causes that personally affect us or our loved ones. This would be the macro extension of that tendency. All of us can be accused of remaining nonchalant about one issue or another simply because it hasn't affected us personally. Imagine if we had the inner wisdom of knowing what it is like to have lived through famines, wars, revolutions, natural disasters, religious inquisitions, etc. How would that resonate with us on a cellular level? How would we conduct ourselves now? Would we continue to exhibit so many ugly behaviors and prejudices?

There are many people of particular religious and spiritual paths who do believe in reincarnation. Still, without the knowledge of each previous life and the challenges we were faced with, we are left with little more than fear of repeating our current life path (for many, poverty and violence are their reality).

Television, video, film, and new technology provide a vehicle for a voyeuristic journey into the lives of other people. Historical dramas and documentaries explore the realities of various epochs. Countless hours are spent staring into a cinematic concept of what the future may hold. And yet, what are we learning from all this?

We live in an era where so much information is available to us; we cannot claim ignorance. We see what is going on in every nuance of the world, and yet, are we better people for this knowledge?

Do we have to experience the reality of what someone else is going through before we really "get it?" Or can we help to create a deep understanding that all pain and joy, regardless of the source, is still pain and joy.

I'd like to think that by creating educational, thought provoking art / film / literature that we will be able to teach future generations a reverence and an empathy for other people, the environment, and other species. I feel it is imperative to try. But I wonder what we are learning by voyeuristically peeking into the reality of "someone else," "the other." How do we make "the other" no longer distant strangers, but ourselves.

jane_crow, looking for answers to create positive change 

Saturday, July 17, 2004

the great escape

I'm dreaming about the desert again. It's no surprise to those around me now. They probably tire of hearing about my beloved ex-home, Jerome, Arizona.( Still, I keep coming back to my former home in dreams, poems, old friends, new friends, chance encounters.
It's eerie how the town has manifested itself as the "common denominator" among those I meet and befriend. You would think a town of 470 (give or take a few strays) would have a spit's chance in hell of coming up in conversation, but, time and time again, the town re-enters my life. Just last night I met a woman who knows the ex-husband of a friend who used to live in Jerome, both of them now in Toronto (a city of 4 million). Nearly everyone I meet (and their mama or shrink) have been to Jerome, or have an interesting tale to tell about the very small, magical burg.
But the "6th degrees..." topic is not my reason for bringing Jerome up.
What I want to discuss is addictions. What brought me into Jerome was an addiction – A love of experience, new experiences. I am an experience junky.
Experiences call out to me, even when I know it is time to buckle down under the weight of responsibility. It is a wicked addiction, as I am sure most of you know (being experience junkies, too). 
My time in Jerome was a twister, a crazy cacophony of loud music, bikes, male bravado, my own fire turned loose and out of control. My desire to create as much chaos as possible nearly did me in there. Fortunately, I had a lot of wise souls to bump me off my high horse before I caused problems even my stubborn-ness could not fix.
I would say that during my time in Jerome, my need for chaos reached its boiling point. That's when I left.
It occurs to me that I am still unable to process my decade old mistakes. I know I made people worry about me and inconvenienced many friends along the way. I try to piece together at what point I finally matured enough to realize the price of my addiction to new experiences, the dangerous drug of perpetual chaos.
If I had everyone I caused to worry in a room, I would say, "Sorry for being the one you worried about, and the one who relied too much on the kindness you never stopped showing..."
I think it is incredibly important to process the times in our life that we romanticize. Jerome, for me,  is both divine and wicked. The place speaks to me because it is where I learned several hard lessons about behavior I hope never again to repeat. It also speaks to me because, like any lesson learned, it has made me recognize and feel humbled by the wholly real, unabashed Source. Whether you want to call that Source God or Goddess or Self or Compassion or simply, Love.
When I think about the love I feel for my those in my life, I am grateful for the ugly lessons I learned and those lessons I will hopefully learn as I move through life. You certainly don't need to seek out chaos. Perhaps maturity is a state you reach when you acknowledge that experiences happen, that life happens without your will forcing it along. Maturity is being well aware and humbled by that knowledge.
Jerome for me, like a mantra or a prayer, is just a reminder to slow down and pay close attention. It reminds me to thank old friends  for being with me through so much, and new friends for entering my life.
To all of you, many bright blessings,
jane_crow, feeling introspective as all of that

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

damn blogger

ignore the double posting of the previous journal entry. happy fingers.