Friday, July 31, 2015

CUMBRIA, A Holy Longing, Part II - Augurs, Omens, Visitations & Murmurations & A Blue Moon

I listened, motionless and still; And, as I
mounted up the hill, The music in my heart
I bore, Long after it was heard no more.
William Wordsworth

Cumbria, Lakes District - July 2015

Heart+Mountain+Sun - Lenormand Revolution, Cartomancy

Illumination - Bank Ground Farm, Coniston

June was a fluid, almost unnerving month of augurs, visitations and signs.  The Holy Longing was slowly unfolding and each time a starling arrived, or I met a serpent on the road, I realized the messages were stacking up, along with the challenge of how to best interpret them? I had contracted to do some tarot readings in July in the UK, but the Lakes District was not in the mix.  

My "Shining Prince" - Vital Energy, Elixir of Life,
Viper on the road to Grassac
Le Serpent - Lenormand Revolution

I usually think about shedding an old skin when I see a
snake; illusions and limitations, rejuvenation - wisdom
and knowledge on one hand, treachery & deceit on another. 
Religious and mythical differences exist between snakes and serpents,
but I'm not going to get into that here.   

                             Photos Guido Mocafico:

In Revelation, Serpent = Beast/Devil
In Genesis, Snake jumpstarts the Sin-mobile

In the Lenormand cartomancy tradition, it is the Queen of Clubs:
could be a female rival or, an older, intellectual wise woman with glasses
(like me!) or a detour, a misfortune, medical issue, betrayal, adultery.
You might just need to clean your pipes, or maybe things are coming
full circle.  "Surround" yourself with like-minded people, who will lift you 
up, or show you something you haven't dreamed of, like Diaz's  mural below.     

Mural - Alexis Diaz

I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.   Rainer Maria Rilke

Earlier in June, we had three baby starlings on our window sill, making a racket, whistling and screeching. Vocally talented they can mimic a whole range of calls, songs & sounds like car engines, and fragments of human speech, weaving them into soliloquies.  Mozart had a pet starling, purchased on May 27, 1784 from a pet store he frequented. He wrote down the melody whistled by the bird, which closely resembles his Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453, the last movement. The bird did make a key change and later research studies showed that mimicry in Starlings is less frequent than improvisation.  When his little songbird died after three years, Mozart gave him a proper and solemn burial, commemorating the loss with a poem.

Starling waiting for his siblings

For some reason, these talented creatures have been much maligned, though prized in Netherlands, Spain and France as a food source.  I came across a recipe for Starling Pâté...eeeeeek!  Though it does have Armagnac and Juniper berries in it.

And it's locally produced

I don't know why, but it made me think of Clarice Starling from "Silence of the Lambs" - Chianti & fava beans.

Anthony Hopkins & Jodie Foster
Starling Nest

European Starling - Isn't he beautiful?

If you observe starlings closely, you can learn things about etiquette, social standing, family relationships. The intricacies of their vocalizations and nuances of communication, coupled with their clear, piercing expression, is a shining example of  where one might take one's voice in the world.  Their sensitivity to each other and how they work together as a unit in their airy world, reminds me of one of the interpretations of the Lenormand Oiseaux (Birds) card:  "Divine Thoughts".

Le Petit Lenormand, Dondorf Deck

"Only we pass everything by like an exchange of air.  And all is in accord, to keep us a secret, perhaps half out of shame and half out of some inexpressible hope." Duino Elegies, Second Elegy
I saw my first starling "murmuration", pre-roosting phenomenon, in a field in the Dordogne.  I didn't have a camera, but I doubt I could have captured the exquisite ballet at dusk.  I was swept away by the swooping and swirling; the sound like a wave or a small tornado and yet there was such a silence in the center of it.  And I remembered the poem, "the Holy Longing," and words teetering on a cliff's edge, waiting to be borne, 20 years ago in Ireland.  Such a stirring inside me; a holy listening.

Photo - Fayez Nureldine

Some say starlings are messengers from the spirit realms, signaling the end of one cycle and beginning of another. The Irish and Gaelic word for starling is "druid".  See how it all fits together!

Murmurations of Starlings - Marseille, France

"Recently scientists have been able to apply high-powered video analysis and computational modeling to flocks of starlings which has revealed patterns related more to physics than biology. They describe the flocks with equations of "critical transitions" - systems that are poised to be almost instantly and completely transformed, like metals becoming magnetized or liquid turning to gas.  Each starling in a flock is connected to every other.  When a flock turns in unison, it's a phase transition.  When a neighbor moves, so do you, and depending on the flock's size and speed, member's flight physiologies, the large scale pattern changes.  What is not known is how criticality is created and maintained." 
                                         From, Brandon Keim (Science)

Bank Ground Farm, Coniston, Lakes District, July 2015

Bank Ground Farm - Coniston

Later that day I received a text from Julie at Many Rivers in Langley, Wash., letting me know that there was a space opening up in David Whyte's Lakes poetry tour - with one small hitch: it was about two weeks away.   It seemed impossible with all the commitments I had locked into place, here, there, everywhere.  Travel arrangements, I'm so bad at them, I'm like Lucille Ball on steroids...and I don't have any of those nice flying perks, mile high clubs or extra miles to get 3 more inches of leg room in steerage.   I started to check out trains, boats and planes...and waffled. 

The next day I was coming back from doing some readings for a large group at a private house near Paussac and St. Vivienne, & I stumbled upon a Neolithic Dolmen, the Dolmen de Peyrelevade.

Dolmen de Peyrelevade - Paussac et St. Vivienne

And since I had my two decks with me I decided to pull some cards and see if I could get some clarity about pending travels.  Oh, I forgot to mention, there was also a giant stone hand along the route.

Sarl Constant et Fils

And a Sanglier with a boot                                                

8 of Wands - Swiftness
Sarl Constant et Fils

The Tower - XVI

I got the Tower in both decks + Swiftness.  So the Fool (that's me) felt as if a lightning bolt had just opened up my inner eye and  flashed a "Change" sign in Neon. The Tower is a card of revelation and liberation - so no pfaffing about. 

Lenormand Revolution 7 card line reading

And as if all the augurs, signs, omens, murmurations etc. weren't enough, that night I had a "visitation" which cinched it all.  

The rest of the story will have to wait for the next installment because tonight I'm reading the cards at the Vertaillac night market, and I must get my dog and pony show on the way.  It is a Blue Moon a-risin' which should make for a very atmospheric evening. 

Yet to come: French air controller strike, trains cancelled due to canicule (heat wave), spending the night in Prayer room at Manchester Airport, a Celtic Pilgrimage, the stone circle at Keswick, tarot readings for Peregrinas & Peregrinos, Cards, Clouds, Coffins, Crosses, Contracts, Cows, Crows and Crisps, Celestial Music, Invisible World, Incantation, Imperium Light...stories, stories, stories, and much much more.

Strange fits of passion I have known - Wordsworth

Bank Ground Farm - Coniston, July 2015


It became what it was because of us, in that sense loved.

It was the name of a time over there, a place

It was the simplest way to know one another,

It is as if space were touching itself through us.

It is more ominous than any oblivion to see the world as it is...

- Blue Hour, On Earth - C. Forché

In a mythical time, crow and weasel set out on a trip north. They learn the value of friendship, the necessity of giving thanks, and a respect for the land.

Remember on this one thing, said Badger. The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves.  - Barry Lopez, Crow & Weasel

Cumbria - Lakes District, July 2015

Slate Heart found by Kate on the Mountain

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