Native American flute

Day 64

Exodus 14

The famous parting of the Red Sea. If I were really interested, I’d go look up all the names of the cities/places the Bible mentions to try and determine if they were actually talking about the Red Sea or a “Sea of Reeds,” which would be a possible translation or spelling or whatever. I am currently not interested.

The point is, the Egyptians get their panties in a bunch and decide to send their army after the Israelites. Quite frankly I have no idea why someone would decide to send their army onto a sea bed when the sea is only being held aside by the power of the person you are chasing but these Egyptians are a pretty dense bunch. A few bricks short of a pyramid, so to speak.

Israelites escape, Egyptians leave, and nothing bad ever happened to the Jews again. (cringe)

But what I really want to talk about today is…


Thunder Dreamer

I bought my first firearm. The NRA should be contacting me any time now.

It is a thing of beauty: a 1950-something bolt-action 12-gauge shotgun. It looks like something you’d find in a post-apocalyptic setting and between the age and size has this very crude brutality about it. Simple, crude, but elegant in its own way. I have this tendency of falling for things/ideas based mostly upon their novelty. This is so aesthetically novel to me that I couldn’t help but love it. I cleaned it out for the first time and paid as much attention as I could to the details.

My friend told me that he “couldn’t wait to see her,” and after reading that I felt like it needed a name. With the bolt being such a crucial and identifying part of the gun, I wanted to name it after some sort of thunder god. I was looking for a female name, but there are few female thunder gods in mythology, at least few that a quick Google search could turn up.

(This is a great example of my Moose medicine in action; I’ve told this story twice already and I want to tell it several more times.)

So then on the advice of my brother I started looking up female names from the 30’s and 50’s. No such luck; nothing jumped out at me. So I told my brother about the “thunder god” idea, and we went back to a list. He pointed to one that was Lakota in origin: Haokah.

I looked at the article on Wikipedia and learned about Heyoka (or Haokah, or Heyókȟa). You’re welcome to read the article for yourself here, but I will tell you that it is perfect. The name applies to a set of joking, contrary holy men or medicine men that use humor and satire to teach lessons, to show people that which is not easily shown, and to bring humility and laughter even (or especially) in dire circumstances.

I saw a video while researching the heyoka that purported to tell how to find out if you are a heyoka. I did not watch it. Another video featuring a man named Chief Walking Bear has an explanation of a heyoka “initiation” or test. I don’t think I’m even remotely qualified, and I do not have the arrogance to proclaim myself one of these special teachers. I do however share some of the qualities they possess, and I love the concept. Now that I have a term for such a thing as a “sacred clown,” I really enjoy the thought of that. It especially made me think of the trickster mask I made long ago, and the jester mask I purchased. I have always liked trickster gods.

Anyway, Chief Walking Bear talks about being struck by lightning, how he saw it wrap around his ankles as he ran, and the explosion from the lightning flipped him end over end and landed him right back on his feet. If I get struck by lightning this weekend, I’ll come back and tell you all about it. They are predicting rain…

But seriously. The other half of the Wikipedia article talks about Heyoka as the name of a spirit. He is a hunting spirit, and a spirit of thunder and lightning. This quote from Black Elk struck me like lightning, and I knew I had the name I was looking for:

“When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West, it comes with terror like a thunder storm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greener and happier; for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world, it is like a rain. The world, you see, is happier after the terror of the storm… you have noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping… as lightning illuminates the dark, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas have.”

— Black Elk

Read the article; do your own research. To me, the idea of an unconventional hunting spirit of thunder suits this new gun perfectly. Plus, I wanted to find something American, and the Lakota language/mythology is excellent, having been in this land for God knows how long before white people showed up. Also, I’m pretty sure the Lakota make flutes similar to the one I have. Not to be disrespectful, but I seem to have a theme going.

I’ll be taking Thunder Dreamer with me on my camping trip. I can’t wait.

Day 62

Just staring at this blank text field makes me weary. Especially since Exodus 12 is super duper long. The whole thing is basically one long description of the Passover and how God needs everyone to do the thing with the blood so that he knows which houses to skip. God basically goes through and wipes out the firstborn of everyone in Egypt except the Israelites. I’m sure we’ve all heard this story before.

“Do the thing.” I’m an incredible writer.

I honestly can’t tell you how close I am to giving up on this project. It’s just so difficult to do this! I knew that trying to write regularly would be tough but not like this. Trying to sit here and read through the Bible and everything in it is a big task. It’d almost be easier to do multiple chapters daily of both the Old and New Testaments. But that was not my agreement.

Granted, I haven’t been able to keep the original agreement of one chapter/post per day either. It’s just too damn much. My schedule is just too crazy. I have financial stability but no temporal stability. The story of my f***ing life. It’s always one or the other.

I need help. I’m bringing a lot of books with me on my camping trip (Bible included) and I’m hoping to find some insights along the way. I feel a tension within myself, as though some point of change is coming. Valentine Michael Smith called moments like these “cusps” in the novel Stranger in a Strange Land. “Waiting will fill.” I’m struggling so hard against all of my circumstances and coming up with nothing. It’s like I’m wrestling the wind.

One thing I noticed about my new flute is that if you play it right, it has a very cathartic sound that reminds me of crying.

Peace be upon you.

Day 52

Today was a long and difficult day. I really wanted to write this first thing in the morning, but due to a lot of things I was unable to do so. Yesterday it felt so good to write my post right away, getting everything done and out of the way for later. It was not to be.

Today was just a huge mess full of missed deadlines and lost time. I was stressed out and I was mad. I can’t wait to finish this, take a shower, and go to bed.

I have two fortune cookie fortunes that I saved in my wallet for some reason. They don’t strike me now as being terribly profound, but I’ll share them here anyway.

Your mind is creative, original and alert.

And the second:

You will win success in whatever you adopt.

Even if the first one comes across as self-congratulatory, I still like the second one. I’m going to work very hard to make it a reality. Unfortunately some of my work is now locked away on a hard drive that’s in a computer with a broken motherboard. I need to pull the hard drive out and hook it up somewhere else so I can pull all my stuff off of it. Huzzah for technology!


Exodus 2

I like Exodus so far. Granted, this is only day 2 of Exodus but still. To kick off today’s chapter, the house of Levi gives birth to a child: a boy. Fearing for the life of her child, the mother raises him in secret for three months and then hides him in reeds by the river.

The Pharaoh’s daughter comes to the river, spies the child, and feels compassion, recognizing the baby as Hebrew. Now, the child’s sister had been watching, and asked Pharaoh’s daughter if she wanted the sister to call a woman to nurse the baby. So the baby’s original mom is called to nurse the baby; after a time, the child is given to Pharaoh’s daughter and becomes her son, given the name Moses. (You may have heard of him.)

Later in life, after he is grown, Moses sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. He does a 360° check for the law, and finding none, kills the Egyptian. Later he realizes that people know about this, and before Pharaoh can crack down on him, he dips and heads for a land called Midian.

He hangs out by a well and helps the daughters of a priest who are being bullied by some shepherds; for his assistance, the priest brings Moses to live with him, and Moses has a son with Zipporah, one of the priest’s daughters. The son’s name is Gershom.

During this time, it seems, the king of Egypt passes away, and the Israelites cry out because of their enslavement. God catches wind of all this, remembers the old covenants, and rolls up His sleeves to do something about it.

Darn cliffhangers.


In unrelated news, my flute playing is coming along nicely. I’m absolutely terrible at it right now, but I’m working on it! I’ve found lots of good resources for songs and tabs. Breath control is going to be the hardest part, but it’s going to be so awesome once I get good.

I guess between the flute, this blog, my life’s dreams, and that fortune cookie, today’s message is this:

Find what you love, find what makes your heart sing, find what makes your soul cry out. Find it and do it. Do it if it takes five years, if it takes ten years, if it takes twenty or thirty or forty years. Do it if you can do it now! Honor yourself, honor your heart’s desire, honor your soul’s duty. Honor yourself, and in doing so, honor God.

Beautiful day today. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Peace be upon you.

Day 51

So it begins! Alert, well-rested, and on time!

In cool news, I got my wooden flute today. It’s a Native American-style flute called the “Red-Tailed Hawk” from a company called High Spirits Flutes. Anyone interested in a really fun and simple instrument will enjoy them. Good prices, too, for a shaman on a budget. 😉

fluteAromatic cedar with a turquoise inlay. Made right here in Arizona! Beautiful. Thank you, God. It’s a good day to be alive.

Down to business!


The Second Book of Moses Called

exodusI stepped it up and found a better font for my heading this time around. Maybe one of these days I’ll hire some monks to draw in the margins of my blog and design really flowery heading script.

Anyway. Exodus 1 opens by saying that Joseph and his family had settled in Egypt. All of his brothers, the sons of Jacob, were living there, and somewhere around seventy or seventy-five direct descendents of Jacob were there.

The children of Israel grew and multiplied, and in a display of anti-foreigner sentiment that feels all too modern, the new Egyptian king who did not know Joseph grows tired of these people filling the land with their strange traditions. First the Egyptians force them into bondage, and then they try to have all the male Israelites killed at birth by the midwives.

The funny thing is, one thing the Egyptians are afraid of is the Israelites rising against them should they ever be attacked from outside. I love the self-fulfilling prophecy… if they hadn’t forced them into slavery and attempted genocide on them, the Israelites might have been just fine! But it was not to be.

Finally, after being disobeyed by the midwives, Pharaoh spreads the word to all his people that any male child born to the Israelites must be thrown into the river, while the daughters shall be kept alive.

That’s all for today, dear readers! Thank you for joining me once again on Day 51!

Peace be upon you.