healing haven

July 21, 2008

Pirates of Panama (13)

Filed under: Enchanteur,fiction,memoir — by thalia @ 6:49 pm
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Thalia inhaled the wonderful, familiar smell of the ocean and listened to the gentle lapping of the waves onto the beach.  Nearby, a group of people were dancing and delighting as the creative rainbow flowed onto the beach and everyone on it.  She was about to join them, but still felt a little dizzy from the marvelous Rainbow/Comet ride from Tholos, so she looked around for a spot where she might be able to sit quietly and gather all her senses back into the here and now.

 

A little ways off were what appeared to be, stone ruins barely visible above the undulating sea grasses.  She ambled along a path and came upon a cluster of old ruins.  Thalia walked over to the closest one, placing her hands on its rough surface.   She then moved from one to the other, touching the remaining stone walls and buildings, feeling the heat the stone captured from the sun.  She sat on a protruding rock, leaned back, felt the solid stone beneath and behind her, great for grounding her.  Closing her eyes, she allowed her mind to drift on the still-heard sounds of the nearby rolling tides.  The warm air soothed her skin that had become somewhat cold from the comet portion of her ride.  It felt good to feel the heat to penetrate into her, warming her core.

 

 

 

 

 

She smelled smoke just as she felt a sudden heat blast surging through the rocks and stones into her. Thalia jumped up and was thrown into masses of people yelling as they stampeded for cover.  “Pirates!”  “Pirates are here!  Run for your life!” “It’s Morgan the Pirate!”  Screams, smoke, chaos surrounded her as people scrambled every which way to escape.  She started to seek cover, but then realized they moved right through her, seemingly oblivious to her presence.  She was the observer of this madness—she wasn’t actually there in it. 

 

Thalia then recognized what she was seeing.  Years ago, when she was first married she lived in Panama for almost a year.  While there, she and her husband, and 2 of his service buddies, went to visit Old Panama—Panama Viejo—after a Thanksgiving dinner at their apartment.  She loved walking among the many stone ruins and then reading about the history of the place, which was fascinating.  Old Panama was located near the ocean.  Her husband took many pictures, most of which were turned into slides, with a few later made into photographs.

  

 

Panama Viejo, a World Heritage site founded in 1519 by Peter Arias and 100 other inhabitants, was the first permanent inhabited settlement in the America’s along the Pacific.  After being presented with a coat of arms by Charles V of Spain, the town became an important base where gold and silver gathered from Peru was sent back to Spain.  Much wealth accumulated in the port city. 

  

 

By 1610, the city grew to a population of 5,000 with 500 homes, a convent, a hospital and a cathedral.  At the beginning of the 17th century, the city had been attacked by pirates, attracted by the wealth, and by the indigenous people of Darien.  An earthquake in 1620 and the Great Fire in 1644 destroyed much of the city, which was then rebuilt. 

 

However, on January 28, 1671, the English pirate, Henry Morgan, attacked the city of 10,000 inhabitants with his 1400 soldiers.  The resulting fire completely destroyed the city, necessitating a new city to be rebuilt a few kilometers away.  Between the massacre and the fire, this action by Morgan the Pirate is still considered to be “the most barbarous atrocity ever perpetuated by a British privateer against Spanish colonies in America.” (Wikipedia)

 

 

Morgan was arrested and taken to England, proved he had no prior knowledge of the peace treaty between England and Spain, so was knighted in 1674 before returning to Jamaica to assume the post of Lieutenant Governor.  He died in 1688, one of the few pirates able to ‘retire’ from piracy.  Errol Flynn’s 1935 film, Captain Blood, was loosely based on Morgan’s life.

 

Panama Viejo was so peaceful when Thalia visited it in the early 1960’s—a contrast to those tumultuous days in 1671.  An even greater contrast was the real damage pirates do compared to the entertainment versions like Mary Martin in Peter Pan where Thalia was thrilled to see her glide across the stage in the play and loved the Walt Disney cartoon-movie version of Captain Hook. And, of course, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  The modern version of pirates was presented in Pirates of the Caribbean.

 

Quite a difference between the brutal reality and the romanticized fictional.  But it is nice to be aware of both as each balances the other. 

 

 

 

Thalia got up and walked to join the others on the beach.  I love my time alone, but I also love time spent with people.  Good balance—to be able to ride the Rainbow and to walk the sand.

 

(see also http://enchanteur.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/pirates-of-panama/#comments)

 

 

July 18, 2008

Tholos Forgiveness

 

The sounds of bubbling water enhanced her awareness.  She felt serene in all aspects of herself.  This is a good space in which to live, where one is totally at peace.  And what a wonderful place in which to die—in a hammock in water—not drowning, but just floating in water in the ocean or a lake or, even a pool such as this.  She lay still, attempting to remember her dream, or was it an experience?  So wonderful, but what was wonderful?  Oh, yes.  I was told to prepare to leave at any moment.  Made total sense at the time, but what did it really mean?  That I’ll die so I need to be unattached to the world and centered, or a crisis is coming and so I’ll need to be prepared to leave the house?  The water sounds so happy…bubbling and frolicking in the pool.  Does the water carry the fumes of the oracle to me?

 

I remember reading in the American Book of Dying: Lesson in Healing Spiritual Pain where the authors Gross and Klauser talked of a medieval l’Hotel-Dieu–God’s Hotel–in Burgundy, France.  In the 15th century A.D., this hospice served the social outcasts and was built over a river with a glass floor underneath the beds of the patients.  This way they could hear the soothing sounds of the moving water, as I am now.   I can tell this must be a special place, because I’m not aching from lying on the mossy ground.  This hospice had clean linens, also, almost unheard of in that time, even for the wealthy. 

 

Now I remember, another dream or experience, where someone in high authority asked if I wanted to go back and redo or eliminate some difficult times in my past. My parents were there, too, even though both are deceased for many years.  No, I said to all of them.  I wouldn’t change anything, as difficult as some things were at the time.  For then I wouldn’t be who I am today.  I wouldn’t have grown into the life I have, but still be stuck in the mundane, never having to be forced to have the opportunity to forgive both myself and another I deeply trusted, never having understood the great gift it is to be placed in a situation where one had to learn to forgive a deep wound.

 

The deeper the bond of trust with the person,

 the deeper the hurt and wounding,

the harder it is  to forgive,

 the more precious the gift of forgiveness

for oneself and for the other.

 

 May all  people who have been so hurt

 come to this gift of forgiveness

in the time that is right for them.

 

 

 

 (see also http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/tholos-forgiveness/#comments)

 

July 12, 2008

Rainbow from Tholos (12)

 

Thalia followed the guidebook and signs to the Tholos.  As she climbed upward, she smelled the pine trees before she eventually arrived at a grove of the trees.  On either side of the entrance path leading into the grove were snakes on the trees.  Their serpentine motions reminded her of the medical caduceus and of the chakra-energy swirls ascending from root to head, weaving in the familiar sine-wave pattern. 

 

When she thought of this energy, and how we are all energy, she became aware of her third chakra starting to knot, quickly slipping into the total wounding of the fourth chakra—the heart.  She remembered her recent flash of anger, quickly turning to hurt and disappointment, and in turn, feeling the tears catch at the fifth chakra—the throat—as the pressure built up before tumbling out yesterday.  For the moment, it didn’t seem fair.  

 

Right now I feel some anger and, by hook or by crook, these snakes won’t keep me from entering the grove.  I stride in, with no fear even as I don’t want to become a woman as obnoxious as many I’ve known as they claimed their power and were determined not to allow a man to control them.   No, I don’t want to be like that even though it seems they get what they want because of their sometimes arrogant, demanding ways.  Maybe I need to change what I want, or better yet, allow for the real things I desire and release the old wants and needs.

 

She approached a clear pool.  I would love to sink into the soothing water.  She hesitated, then slipped off her clothes and melted into the warm water.  So clear… so wonderful…  Finding a comfortable, sloping ledge just perfect for reclining and being mostly submerged, she found, as always, in a warm bath, concerns and heartbreak wash away.  I always feel better in the water.  I really wish I could be gently floating in a hammock in the ocean, or even in a lake, able to view the beautiful surroundings, as I am dying.  Would be easy to drift away with awareness and gratitude for my lives as I leave it all behind and transform higher.  As she floated and closed her eyes, she relaxed easily into a place of peace, of the Oneness of All things.  She breathed deeply, releasing her inner toxins carried on air currents as well as those toxins carried on energy waves.  

 

She lost track of the time.

 

With a start, she climbed out, noticing her discarded clothing had been somehow replaced without her being aware.  Her satchel was gone, too.  Not that I’ve needed anything in it recently.  But it is was a leftover from the “be prepared” days, and frequently something within was helpful.  How much makes sense to be prepared and how much is trying to stay in control?  Always a thought.  As she slipped into the long flowing white gauzy dress—flowing and free—she was aware of a voice nearby saying her clothes and bag would be returned afterwards and to please follow.  The hazy outline of a woman led her into the Tholos. The music is so faint I am not sure if it is coming from within or without.  An altar!  I don’t have anything to leave on the altar, for even my concerns and questions are gone, so I’ll offer my gratitude such places even exist.

 

In respect, she nodded at the altar as she passed and continued to follow the misty outline down the tight, circular stairs, which reminded her of the winding stairs at the satsanghar at Dera.  This memory further centered her as it re-set her priorities.

 

Moving towards a labyrinth, she entered it, walking slowly and mindfully.  Such a serpentine way to walk—with folds undulating this way and then, that.  Perhaps that is why snakes guard the entrance.  This labyrinth reminds me of the first time I walked one—the huge canvas one at the Hospice Volunteer Inservice, so large I had a hard time finding a room large enough to hold it.  Needed to use the auditorium at the Health Department.  That kernel blossomed into the outdoor one at the new hospital built from our prompting.  To walk the labyrinth, tucked down low among the trees and near the fountain, between the overwhelming emotions emanating from the hospital on the hill and the overwhelming frantic-ness of the nearby traffic, seemed surreal.  The hollow the labyrinth was in was outside it all, in its own space and time.  As I am now…     

 

She weaved in and out the folds of the labyrinth, getting ever closer to the center and finally reaching a small pool where water bubbled up.  She realized she was alone, but wasn’t sure when the wraith had disappeared.  Reaching down into the water, she let the bubbles play with her hands.  She drank from cupped hands, then allowing the water to pour over her head and onto her heart.

 

A mossy area on the side of the pool formed by the underground springs looked so inviting.  How comfy looking!  Maybe I’ll just lie down here, I feel so dreamy.  Eyes closed, she listened to the murmuring, bubbling spring, and inhaled a sweet smell.  Is this the effects of the ethylene vapors the oracles used?  Plutarch said it was as if “the adyton was sending forth the essences of the sweetest and most expensive perfumes from a spring.”  Or is this from my being relaxed and un-anxious, everything harmonious… peaceful… our natural way of being…

       

Floating… drifting… She watched facets of her life as if she were in a boat with the people and events lined up along the banks in vignettes of moments.  This isn’t exactly my life flashing before my eyes so I guess I’m not dying.  More like a leisurely stroll through my life.  Maybe I can discern patterns better this way.  Yes, I was such a serious child… don’t make noise… don’t run in the apartment… everything will be better.  Mostly a serious child with bursts of fun. Mostly vigilant with moments of trust… look at the lilies of the field… quietly reading and writing… processing my life, processing me.  The woman over there  looks like Thalia, Muse of Comedy, from the Mouseion.  What is she saying to me?  Oh, “Lighten up.  Ride the rainbow.”  What rainbow?  I don’t see a rainbow.

 

She was floating in the sky now, amidst the stars as comets whizzed by, way above any river of events.  That comet seems close, and it’s coming closer.  I thought the tails of comets contained ice and rock, but this one seemed to sparkle.  Maybe the limited light is reflecting on the ice.  One particularly interesting piece drifted close, so she grabbed onto a natural outcropping on it and rode the comet.  I guess this is what Muse Thalia meant.  What an exhilarating feeling!  Like a roller coaster, but way higher.  What was it that Aristotle called a comet?  Oh yes, a star with hair – kometes – hair of the head.

 

The comet plunged on in the dark sky.  In the distance was a smudge of something. She and the comet drew ever nearer.  It was revealing itself to be a planet, growing ever larger as they approached.  Down they flew.  Are we going to crash?  Maybe I should get off?  Maybe I should wake up from this dream.  an I wake up?

 

Moving through a layer of clouds, she recognized they were going to crash into a rainbow—a huge rainbow.  Before she could duck or hop off—or wake up—she was immersed in the rainbow.

 

Ohhh! So many colors… so beautiful.  Droplets of mist of all colors.  Looks like a box of crayons.  Her ice chunk was melting as comet and rainbow merged.  She was on her own—flying downwards with the rainbow.  As it approached the ground, she could see this part of the rainbow wasn’t made up of mist or water droplets, but what appeared to be, shavings of crayons and colored pencils, of pastel chalk and paints.  Bits of the alphabet were interspersed: letters, words, phrases.  Even snatches of music notes and chords played. 

 

 

This is the rainbow my Muse Thalia meant.  The Rainbow of Creativity—lighten up—ride the rainbow—be creative.  Ram Das said, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”  Lighten up!   Laughing, giggling, enjoying the blend of color and words and music—she couldn’t help but to dance amidst it all.  Swirling, twirling, as the rainbow eased her down to the ocean and the beach.  She saw people on the sand, arms upraised, reveling and dancing in the creativity rainbow, as she gently landed. 

 

What a ride!  The Creativity Rainbow from Tholos.  What beauty!  Do I wake up now or am I already awake?

(see also http://enchanteur.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/rainbow-from-tholos/#comments   and http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/rainbow-from-tholos/#comments)

(came across this quote by Robert Fulghum weeks after writing this post: “Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon.  A happiness weapon.  A beauty bomb.  And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.  It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air.  Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas.  And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight.  Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in.  With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.  And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” )

 

July 2, 2008

Where the Clouds are Hung for the Poet’s Eye (11)

 

Emerging from the Mouseium into the bright sunlight, Thalia noticed not many people were around.  Maybe they take siestas here.  I’m exhausted and need to mull over all I’ve experienced so far on this walking tour.  It’s not only hard on my aging body and feet but also on my emotions. Time to mull this over and rest.

 

She ambled over to where a great oak shadowed a bench next to an abundantly flowering garden with a spring-fed bubbling pool.  Happy to rest her feet by sitting and her emotions by zoning out to allow for mulling as she enjoyed the lovely flowers and ferns, she plopped down.  Need to get these shoes off.  They’re great for walking but don’t let your toes move.   She leaned back, wiggled her toes and breathed deeply.  Looking at the cotton candy white clouds against the azure sky, she watched a bird far away dance among the fluff.  Hard to tell what kind of a bird.  Is that a seagull?  Maybe Jonathan Livingston Seagull?   Neil Diamond sang some great songs with fantastic words in his album recorded years ago.  “Where the clouds are hung for the poet’s eye.”  Anything to do with Thalia—muse of pastoral poetry?  And “I sleep, and I may dream…”  Maybe it’s an eagle?  An eagle’s eye view…up among the clouds…I sleep…I dream…

 

Rising on strong wings, she felt transformed once again.  The air felt invigorating as it raced against her face-that-wasn’t-her-face because what she saw and the way she saw was very different from usual.  Moving, free, light, ever upwards into and through the misty clouds… hung in the sky for the poet’s eye.  More like a bird’s eye view here.  How incredibly beautiful!  She had a sense of purpose, of having been set on a mission to travel.  She couldn’t remember what but just followed what seemed to be right, or maybe instinct.   She rose above the level where some other sea-birds were flying and thought again of the book she read back in the early 1970’s, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach where Jonathan learns everything he can about flying, but his lack of conformity distances himself from the other seagulls.  He then meets two gulls who escort him to a place way beyond where all the others are flying in conformity.  He meets the wisest gull who teaches him that to move instantaneously anywhere, he needs to begin by knowing that you have already arrived.  We are already where we want to be.  Perhaps that is how I can change forms so easily—just by knowing where I want to be or rather, who I want to be.  And Jonathan learned that in order to be really free one must learn how to forgive. 

 

She seemed to have been released by something? someone? to take this form at ocean’s edge and now flew over mountains and rivers and valleys.

 

            

So exhilarating!  To be able to view so well at a great distance, without glasses, much better than glasses could ever be.  The details… the distance…  What’s that in the distance?  It looks like a classical temple but it’s all hazy.  I sort of see it, but sort of don’t.  Maybe when I get closer.

 

She finally approached right near the beam of haze, like a cloud extending down to the ground, encompassing what she thought was a temple.  Should I enter the haze?  Why not?  Just like the gar in the tunnel, this eagle needs to enter the unknown ahead.  Here goes…

 

 It was like she was standing still, the view around here didn’t change, just the view directly below her.  Like she was treading water somehow, but this was air.  And here was another eagle who came in from the opposite side.  A voice boomed:  Well done, my two eagles.  I, Zeus, released you so where you came together, one from the East and one from the West, there would be the omphalos, the navel of the world. The lines of force all come together here at the cleft from which emerges the sacred pneuma.  Watch and see what I, Zeus, foretell as the future of this sacred place. 

 

Caught in the vortex of time and space, she could only watch and wonder as the images flew by: chasm in earth with vapors escaping; sacred space for Gaia with goddesses Themis and Phoebe as the oracles; then sacred to Poseidon “Earth shaker,” the god of earthquakes and later-child of Gaia; Apollo arrives around 8th century BC and expels the snake god Pytho, the serpent of Gaia, but Apollo honors him by maintaining his name for his priestess (Pythia) and for his games (Pythian); as Apollo is god of music and arts, the games held every 4 years incorporate music and the arts along with athletics; presiding Pythia priestess delivers oracles; fire destroys temple during First Sacred War about 590 BC; landslide saves Delphi from Persians about 490 BC; other Sacred Wars where control is taken by various Greek city states; 4th century BC the  Macedonians seize it and save from Gaul invasion; Romans conquer in 189 BC; Sulla sacks site in 86 BC; Nero carts off statues in 51 AD; then the site sits neglected for many, many years after treasures and stonework are pillaged; earthquakes, dust and time cover the site; people build over and make a more modern village; French begin to dig in 1861 and find artifacts; the Greek Department of Antiquities move the village in 1891 to allow excavation; the French continue to dig and reconstruct buildings and a few columns as they unearth remains; studies show evidence of the presence of ethylene, a potential hallucinogen found at the temple location emanating from the chasm and fissures leading into the adyton (“do not enter”) sacred space where oracles were transmitted, as well as other surrounding areas.

 

 

But at the same time, she could also see nearby areas undergoing similar change: an amphitheater, seating 5000, being built in the 4th century BC, restored in 159AD and later by the Romans; a stadium, seating 7000, well above the theater built in 5th century BC with the four Roman pillars of the Triumphal Arch remaining; the comings and goings at the Castalia Springs tucked into a ravine, first a simple spring then a Roman fountain house then ruins; the Gymnasium built in the Greek classical period, rebuilt in Roman times, then a monastery; then ruins.

 

Also the Athena Pronoia Temple, “the Marmaria,” with earliest occupation as a Mycean cult center; then Temple Athena destroyed by a landslide 5th century BC, replaced along with other structures; the circular, marble Thalos with 20 slender Doric columns built between 380 and 360 BC, falls to ruins before three columns are reconstructed in 1938; many tourists come.

 

Finally a modern museum built in 1902 where many of the ancient artifacts and statues are on display including the bronze Charioteer…oh!…I’ve seen that…spinning, stopping…haze lifting to show the way Delphi looks now from an eagle’s view… head spinning… clouds floating by… close eyes…

 

She woke with a start.  That dream?  Was it a dream?  It was from my world.  My world’s history.  My feet feel rested even if my head still is spinning with all the images and history in the passing of time.  But here I am in the Lemurian City of Ladies. What is the connection to the Delphi of my world?  Only way to find out is to follow the guide book and walk there.  Great scenery being an eagle, but now I have to rely on these two feet to move.

 

She looked at the clouds drifting by a moment with affection and nostalgia, pushed herself up from the bench.  A small sign next to the bench caught her eye:  “THIS AREA CONTAINS NUMEROUS SMALL FISSURES LEADING UP THROUGH THE LIMESTONE OF THE LOCAL GEOLOGY.  VAPORS POSSIBLE.” 

 

She smiled, and followed the path.

(see also http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/07/04/where-the-clouds-are-hung-for-the-poets-eye/#comments)

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