I think I’m going to call the new book “Coyote and Hummingbird” because those two characters from my medicine cards keep showing up in my day to day life. Somehow or other, they represent the oppositional aspects of the metaphysical quagmire that I am trying to understand. In other words… sometimes I feel like Coyote and sometimes I feel like Hummingbird. This new book, the one I am writing now, will contain stories and essays from the perspective of each character.
Coyote exists to disrupt the Empire. He is the trouble-maker, the scoundrel, the outlaw. He is the metaphorical embodiment of the imaginary revolution. He wants to see the whole horrible evil empire come crashing down and he is on a continual quest to help make that happen. His quest, however, is complicated and also rather reckless. By challenging the empire philosophically, economically, politically, and artistically, he puts at risk his own very good life. Luckily, he’s a fictional character.
Hummingbird, on the other hand, can’t be bothered with the evil empire. He just wants to enjoy life and live the now. He has a good life with a wonderful family, a happy home, and a moderately successful business. He travels the world and tells fun stories about his various adventures. The empire is obviously collapsing anyway. It doesn’t need to be challenged. Hummingbird plays enough of the reality game to stay out of trouble and tries to create oasises (oasi?) of beauty amid the horrors of the modern industrial civilization. Hummingbird is also a fictional character.
The overarching story of the book will be relationship between the two characters. Will hummingbird lead coyote away from trouble… Or will coyote eat hummingbird?
I will state once again for the record: this is a work of fiction. The story may be “true” but the narrator is not a real person….
Three days after the coyotes appeared in the pre-dawn forest, another coyote appears.. this time as my morning coffee card. It is the 16th of December and I am planning to drive into town to get supplies for the Winter Solstice. I have gone almost six weeks now without my favorite indulgences; I want them to be on hand when the moment comes. I don’t have to pick up weed because it is going to be delivered here tomorrow; but I have to get coffee, alcohol and ice cream… I also have to go to the bank.
“Are you sure you want to go?” questions Ms.B.? “I have to go into town tomorrow anyway. I could just do your errands then.” She is aware of the coyote’s appearance as my morning card and she fully understands the implications.
“I refuse to let a card game change my behavior,” I answer, “I’m not afraid of any coyote. I’m going to town.”
Here is another new “travel story.” Like usual, it is presented as fiction even though it might be more of less true…
The Coyotes Howl
The coyote has now appeared to me three times in recent days. Once, in reality, on a pre-dawn walk in the forest and twice in the cards with my morning coffee. Does that, perhaps, mean that the coyote character or the coyote experience is about to manifest and throw my day to day existence for a loop? I don’t know. I can only ride this roller coaster I can’t direct which way it goes. The first encounter occurred on December 13 at dawn. I was tripping out from food fasting and I went for a wander around the pre-dawn wintry forest without a flashlight. Does that sound crazy? Well, yes, maybe a little, but not really. I should probably explain.
It all started with my annual cleansing ritual. My cleanse… that’s what I call it. I have followed the same routine every year for over twenty years. At the end of my work season in early November, I quit all four of my favorite indulgences; no more weed, no more caffeine, no more alcohol and no more more sugar. I give them all up for about six weeks up until the moment of the winter solstice. There is no specific religious or spiritual motive behind my cleanse as I first began the cleanse to help me with severe winter depression. But I have continued the ritual for over twenty years now so it sort of does feel like a spiritual or meditative process. I rather enjoy the re-boot to my system and I think it is very good for my overall well-being.
Some years back, in 2007, I added a three day food fast to the middle of the cleanse. Again, the fast does not have a religious or spiritual motive. I just met this impressive older world traveler human at a cafe in Chiapas, Mexico and in the midst of regaling me with his tales of travels far and wide he detoured into a rather detailed and interesting dissertation on the benefits of fasting. I was fascinated by his story so I decided to try a three day fast a few days later when I was camped out in the jungle near the Guatemalan border. My experience was amazing and I believe very beneficial for my physical and mental health. As such, I have added it to my annual routine.
This year, I started my fast on the 10th of December. I ate my last meal for dinner on the 9th and would not eat again until sunrise on the 13th. Nothing but water with a little cheater squeezed lemon juice flavor for four nights and three days. It’s probably a weird thing to say but I rather enjoy fasting and I can understand how a person could become addicted to it. But I only do it once a year. It’s been ten years now… every year some time in early December. I go for 80 something hours… Sunset to sunrise with three full days in between. The fasting guru at the cafe in Chiapas told me you have to go a minimum of 70 hours to transform your body and kick on the cell rejuvenator. I’ve never researched it further and I’m not exactly sure what a cell rejuvenator is but I can say from my experience that something remarkable does indeed happen to the body on or about the 70 hour point. The sensation of hunger disappears, the body feels weak and the brain starts to wander in ethereal realms. The hours that follow are like some kind of spirit ride… Continue reading →
I’m still working out the details for my plan to add audio stories to this site or somewhere else. In the mean time, here is a new written story… not exactly a travel story but it does have a tenuous connection to my world wandering. As usual, I present it as fiction… but it just might be a little bit true.
The Coyote Strikes…
I don’t really believe in my medicine cards… But, I sort of do. Actually, I feel pretty much the same about all “spiritual games.” A long time ago, when I was but a young aspiring writer, I learned how to read tarot cards because a character in one of my novels was a tarot card reader and I wanted to understand the conceptual framework so that I could properly write the character. I even made my own deck and began doing readings for people at parties and social events. It was fun. Kind of like juggling metaphors and using your “client” as the main character in a spontaneous story. After a while though, things got kind of strange. My spontaneous stories were eerily accurate. My “clients” started to take my readings way too seriously. On several occasions, “clients,” burst into sobbing tears and unloaded deep dark personal family secrets on me. Totally bizarre situations. I was reading the cards for fun. It was a free service. I never charged any money because I really enjoy story-telling for a captive audience. But then, I started to feel like a psycho-therapist. I was practicing without a license and was way unqualified. When I came to understand this strange power I had over my “enthusiastic clients,” it sort of freaked me out. So I just stopped doing readings for other people.
Nowadays, I still read the cards on occasion, but only for myself personally or people I know and trust to be light-hearted about such stuff. I also like to read Nordic Runes and toss the sticks for I Ching combos. Astrology is fun in every culture. And once you understand the game… the principles of dynamic opposition. You only need to know the names of the characters and you can tell a story in any religion/metaphor. The question is; do you believe the story to be “true” of do you realize it is just a story?
What I call “subjective truth,” is believing that your reality is the reality. If you believe in the validity of tarot cards or runes or your astrological charts, or even your lord and savior J.C., your belief in those stories will cause those stories to have a significant impact on your day to day experience as a human being. In other words, the stories are subjectively true for you because as a variable they impact your consciousness. If you don’t believe, it’s not true… if you do believe it is true.. But what if you are somewhere in the middle? You kind of sort of believe all of it but you don’t really believe any of it? Which brings me to the coyote… Continue reading →