Sunday, November 4, 2007
Changes and Syncronicities
It's been a long time since I've written in this blog. Much has changed since I came back to Tucson, or perhaps it's easier to say that returning, I was immediately cast into any number of internal sea storms that precede change. My environment in Tucson is unchanged. Just me. I'm changing.
Returning several things happened: I became depressed. And angry. My life seemed so lonely here, purposeless, my concerns for my mother and troubled brother overwhelming and something I feel powerless to change or even talk about, many of my connections with others now seemed superficial. Feelings of needing to move on, not knowing where to move on to.........and so on. In other words, after my wanderings, I returned to find myself immersed in melancholy and confusion, feeling ashamed for feeling that way. After all, haven't I been talking about interconnectedness, and community, and healing, for all these years? How could I find myself in this Saturnine morass?
There are times when, like it or not, various illusions that have sustained a worldview, a personal myth, a relationship, the cocoon of a personality............breakdown, activate, digest, bloom, become......obvious. I found myself unhappy with myself, and just about everything else. That wasn't supposed to happen after my wonderful summer!
Meanwhile, butterflies turned up. Fluttering by at appropriate moments in the course of my thoughts, flying over my windshield while waiting in traffic as if to say "follow me". Then a woman from N.Y.C. called, and wanted two custom "Butterfly Women" for a convention. After making those masks (which I'm quite pleased with, they were beautiful), I also received an invitation to join "The Butterfly Connection", an arts organization in Ft. Worth, Texas! Depressed, and recovering from surgery, butterflies flutter metaphorically, creatively, literally, bringing their message of beauty, mystery, CHANGE.
I'd like to make a comment here about Butterflies. When the caterpillar is neatly cocooned in its crystallise, it's not necessarily having a great time, or even a nice nap in there. The "Imaginal Cells" (yes, that's what they are actually called) are enzymes and agents of change that basically reduce the poor caterpillar, and all of it's juvenile memories of munching contentedly on glossy summer leaves...............to SOUP. Change is rarely effortless, or comfortable.
One of the painful discoveries I made in the course of the past 6 Saturnine weeks is that my Masks of the Goddess project, at least as it has been for the past 8 years, is over. I need to move on, bringing closure to both the project and the past, a place and time I realize I'm stuck in. I no longer have the means to continue to keep the collection circulating, financially or emotionally. Coming to this realization has forced me as well to be honest with myself about many negative feelings that have accumulated like soot over the years as well - feelings of disappointment, anger at others, anger and shame at myself for often being unfair in my expectations of others. I feel lightened now, having done this "8 year life review". And all throughout, butterflies occurred.
Alan Moore, who created the Butterfly Gardener's Network, has often said that butterflies are messengers. I could write about magic, synchronicity, and Butterflies at considerable length, but first, I I think I need to write about the syncronicities that have occurred just recently, the reason for putting the cover to Robert Hopke's 1997 book
THERE ARE NO ACCIDENTS - Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives
at the top of this page. Because, well, I've been given such an affirmation!
1997, ten years ago, was a visionary, intense year for me. My marriage was over, my psyche was wide open as I grieved the past and also opened to new life and possibility. That fall, after the papers came through, I left my home on the East Coast, and by early November, was settled into my little trailer on the grounds of the Arizona Renaissance Faire. Since the Faire is out in the desert outside of Apache Junction, and didn't open until February, I had lots of time to go crazy, dream, heal, and grieve, in relative isolation. I didn't have a clue what the next step was, but I did begin to learn about the Internet, and was enjoying my first computer, creating my first website. I had November, 1997 through March of 1998 to figure out what I was going to do next.
I began to get on the Web, looking up anything I could think that interested me. Transformative arts, masks, art and consciousness, ritual theatre, women's spirituality...........and every time, without fail, everything came up either San Francisco, Berkeley, or Marin Country, California. Without fail.
I lived in Berkeley in it's heyday, and went to U.C. Berkeley. I left in 1976, to move to the East Coast. I hadn't thought of returning to California, but now my interest struck. The clincher was when I searched for "The Center for Symbolic Studies", founded by Stephen Larsen in Rosendale, New York. I wanted to ask his wife, Robin, to write a recommendation for me, as I'd taught a workshop and given a performance there.
Up came "The Center for Symbolic Studies", in Berkeley, California. The founder, Robert H. Hopke, had just published a book called: "There Are No Accidents - Synchronicity and the Stories of our Lives".
I'm not sure it gets better than that, but perhaps Dr. Hopke has stories to match. Being at the crossroads anyway, that was the clincher. I packed up my van at the end of the season, my cat, and my laptop and headed back to Berkeley after 20 years absence, prepared to sleep in my car if necessary until I found a place.
Fortunately for me, my idea of finding a place in Berkeley was based on my memories of 1976. Otherwise, I might have been daunted indeed. On a glorious spring day, I rolled onto Telegraph Avenue, parked my van, and decided to have a cup of coffee at the Med before I began my new life. I walked in, stood in the cappachino line, and ran into an old friend, Joji Yokoi, who remembered me after all those years. Remembered me, bought me a coffee, and offered me a room in his house while I looked for a place.
I didn't have to sleep in my car even one night. Two months later I was Judy Foster's roomate, working with Food Not Bombs, and celebrating the summer Solstice with Starhawk and Reclaiming (Judy was one of the founders of Reclaiming). A year after that I had my Rites of Passage Gallery in Berkeley, created the Masks of the Goddess for the Spiral Dance, and was fire dancing with Serene Zloof and her friends. Everything that happened in those years ...... seemed like that. Seamless.
And then I returned to Arizona, in 2000. I've often wondered what it might have been like if I'd stayed, kept my gallery, continued the life I was enjoying so much in Berkeley. There was a period when I was desperate to return to California, to return to the life I had, the project that seemed to vital there, and so difficult to generate here - but of course, you can't really do that. You can't go back.
Concluding my project, selling the masks, brings up a lot. So I was delighted when I attended, just yesterday, a meeting of the Southern Arizona Friends of Jung. Their subject was the Divine Feminine, and I enjoyed sharing both my masks and knowledge with them. And there on the coffee table was Dr. Hopke's book, which one of the members had brought in randomly. It's not a common book at all, but to me, it was like a talisman. In the warmth of the group and their appreciation for my work I felt - affirmed.
The talisman opened, and closed, my ten year journey. A postcard from Spiderwoman. I don't know what to say at such moments, except, Thankyou. GRACE.