Musings

Musings

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What's in a Name

Greetings all,

I've had a week.  I was feeling under the weather, but I'm beginning to pull through.  I've had events and classes for which I am grateful.  When I don't feel well I get easily bored.  There is really only so much a person can rest before they get well restless.

I have been thinking for a while about this post.  People ask me all the time about my name.  I get the, "Is that your real name?" or ,"So are you Native American?" The answer to the second is as far as I am aware I don't think I'm Native American.  I've not had the DNA ancestry test done to see where all my people are from so I can't know for certain, but I was not raised on a reservation or with any of the disadvantages that a tribal heritage brings in this country.  As to whether or not my name is real well that depends on what you mean by real.

A name is a placeholder, a description.  It is a shorthand for identity.  The name Mooneagle was given to me by one of my teachers.  She just walked up to my booth at a psychic fair and said, "You're Mooneagle."  It stuck, I mean she's a shamanic practitioner and she used the power of naming.  I liked the name but was nervous about using it.  At first it felt like I was misleading people, or that people would think I am silly.  What made it stick was that at the time I was being stalked by a group of people I had cut ties with.  I was beginning to teach and offer services and I didn't want them to find me.  So when a flier was made about a workshop I was going to help teach I joked with a friend that they should use Mooneagle.  They thought I was serious and by the time I told them no the fliers were all printed.  The rest as they say is history.

A funny thing happened after a few years.  The name of Mooneagle felt more and more like me than my birth name.  I sort of grew into it.  Occasionally people still try to shame me about it, but I am Mooneagle and Mooneagle is me.  It allowed me to become more than my family's expectations or limits, it allowed me to be just myself.  Plus after I published my book that pretty much sealed the deal.  

What does the name Mooneagle mean.  Well although people think it sounds vaguely Native American it is more astrological in nature.  My moon was in the sign of Scorpio when I was born.  There are 3 animals associated with that sign: the serpent, the scorpion, and when the sign transcends its shadow the eagle.  The moon sign often is thought of as our hidden side or our inner emotional landscape.  I've been sneaky like a snake, sharp like a scorpion, but I want to soar like the eagle taking in the view without being mired in it.  To feel and to understand rather than just react, that is what the Mooneagle means to me.

So how about you?  What names do you claim for yourself? Are they limiting or do they give you space to grow into them? There is a power in a name that most of us have forgotten.  We should be respectful of them and wary of the names we choose for ourselves and others.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, November 5, 2017

En"lighten"ing

Greetings all,

I hope you had a Happy Halloween.  I got into the spirit of it with the local jack-o-lantern spectacular.  It inspired me to carve quite a large smile on my seasonal squash's face.  Scraping his insides felt very cleansing for myself.  I've been sorting through what matters and what doesn't.  October has been one of my busiest months with me gadding about, out in the real world more and staying behind the screen less, well some of that was not my doing but rather the doing of my late laptop.

I have this last week been rather skeptical of social media.  It is a siren song to see what everybody is up to.  The algorithms are designed to be addictive.  I've been drawn in a few times.  However I'm waking up more and more to the fact that Facebook isn't real.  It's been a realization a long time coming.  It started a few years ago attending a party which in my mind seemed less like a party and more like a photo shoot for social media.  "Look at us, aren't we having fun?  Don't you wish your life was like ours?"

This past year and a half social media has been a minefield of political confrontation.  It was nonstop outrage and yet it felt wrong to unplug because of the idea that I had to stay informed.  Well I can say my 12 day break didn't leave me feeling uniformed, but it did bring me a sense of peace and rhythm that I had forgotten about.  I felt so much lighter.  I spent time talking to people undistracted, truly listening.  I have begun and continue to purge my social media feeds of most of the inflammatory posts.  It is not me sticking my head in the sand.  I just realized I didn't want to have outrage on a constant loop.  I make decisions that aren't well thought out when I am outraged. I wonder if that is the real point to keep people outraged and divided while the powerful raid the coffers, to keep people afraid so that they vote for more brutal responses in order to feel safe.

Why am I telling you this?  Well I am lucky to have good people around me.  I am lucky to have had the benefit of multiple perspectives due to the trait of never quite fitting in with any one place.  I am lucky to have the sight of radiant autumn leaves outside my bedroom window to see, rather than just photos on a computer screen.  I am lucky to know the difference between glamour and life.

What about you?  Are you walking in a daze convinced that your screen is reality?  Do you know the difference between sitting in a room together and being together?  Do you remind yourself that people's social media feed is a carefully crafted illusion meant to portray a story of a life rather than an actual life.  Does your inner world take more from your screen or more from your daily habits and interactions with the people you love?  What if you scrubbed your screen so that it really was a vehicle of connection?  What if you made it back into the tool?  What if you connected with people face to face and let photo opportunities slide so that you could be completely present.  Seeing life through a lens separates us from that life, what if you gave yourself permission to live that life rather than just document it?

Peace and Blessings.
Thomas Mooneagle

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Serpent and the Apple


Greetings all,

I haven't written in two weeks.  This is the first time I've taken a break from the blog since 2013.  It was the right decision, and also convenient seeing as how I would have had to borrow a laptop to do it.  I am once more plugged in, and I am not sure how I feel about it.  I should backtrack a little to give you some context.

I was preparing to co-facilitate a class on Self Sabotage and Spirit Animals.  (To be clear the spirit animals were not the cause of the sabotage they were the help).  Part of my preparations was a journey to see Sashamama for a healing dismemberment.  Yes I realize that last sentence had a lot in it that made no sense, let's start with the who first.  Sashamama is the mother serpent of the Amazon, you know her more popularly as Anaconda.  In the South American medicine wheel she is the Guardian of the South.  She teaches us to shed our past as she sheds her skin.  Okay introductions done, now you are probably wondering about a healing dismemberment, how can being dismembered ever be a good thing?  Well in shamanism when an animal eats you in a journey it is considered a healing.  They are taking you apart so that you can be restructured, they can make you better, faster, stronger, and less of an asshole.  I have had many such dismemberments in the past ten years as I have taken my trainings.  In fact if I hadn't had a dismemberment in more than six months I get to it,  otherwise it will happen in dreamtime.  That is not pleasant for anybody.  The spirit has to chase me down, and I'm quite fast in the dream realms.  If they do catch me I will physically feel the sensation of being ripped apart and wake up still feeling it for a second or two.  That little side effect makes me a bit more proactive in journeying.

It had been a while, and I knew that I needed Sashamama's help for this class.  Here's the sticky point, I've never been dismembered by any serpent before.  I am afraid of snakes in ordinary reality.  Remember what I said about me being fast in the dream realms.  Mama Anaconda has tried to catch me before, but she never did.  So I went into this journey knowing it would be a bit uncomfortable.  When her mouth opened to swallow me I had to close my spirit's eyes and pretend I was in a wet sleeping bag.  I went in and she shat me out.  Did I forget to mention how glamorous shamanism can be kids?  So with the dismemberment done she agreed to help the participants for the class.  They would all be getting a taste of that snaky love bite.

All was going well, I did my weekly prayer ceremony mailed it off, and then the computer crashed.  I ran some diagnostics and rebooted and all was fine so I went home for supper.  After supper I was in for a shock, the computer wouldn't boot.  So the next day I took it to the Mac repair place.  Monday afternoon I received a call that the video card failed, but I couldn't get it repaired because it was a vintage model (Apple's term for anything more than 5 years old).  So I had to buy a new computer and they wanted close to a thousand more than what I paid for the previous one to get similar capabilities.  So after I leveled every curse in the tongues, of elves, men, and hobbits  I set out on a quest for a new computer.  This quest took twelve days.

Twelve days I was cast forth from the digital realm, only touching it on occasion with borrowed time on another's window to the blogosphere.  In this time out of time I found myself meditating more, practicing yoga and tai chi for longer periods, getting to bed earlier, and with plenty of time to get where I needed to be without rushing.  Digital distractions had been eating away at my moments of life for a while, but it had gotten pretty bad.  I had begun to sanitize my Facebook feed and declutter, but it wasn't enough.  The computer was always on, in part because I had this fear of it failing if I turned it off (self fulfilling prophecy).  With it always online, any little thought to check messages or see a video took me away from real life and sucked me into digital fantasy land.  So Sashamama ate the element of self sabotage.  It was a great lesson, but a very expensive one.  Truth is with a business I really have to have a computer.  However when this new one arrived I was wary of it.  I have turned it off every evening and waited until after I've gotten things done in the day to turn it on.  This time I am trying to use it responsibly without the addictive behavior I'd developed prior.  I am hoping twelve days was enough to retrain the patterns.

Why am I telling you this?  Well as I look around the world, I see people consumed by their tech.  Running around to find charge ports to service its needs, they have become the servant and the machine the master.  We are only given so much time on this earth, and many of us are wasting it on phones rather than friends.  Rather than sit with our feelings we feed our impulses to escape any uncomfortable moments.  I'm not saying we should never numb ourselves or let ourselves be entertained, but it is clear to me that my life was suffering due to my imbalanced relationship with my technology.

So ask yourself?  Am I subservient to my tech?  Do I dodge human interaction, trading it for a digital facsimile? Do I get sucked into digital quizzes promising to tell me who I am?  Am I losing sleep surfing through youtube how to videos?  Do I feel a pull on my attention every few minutes to check in and see if something is happening someplace else?  Well if you answered yes you may need Mama Anaconda's help too, just make sure you back up your data before you enlist her expertise.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Millennials

Greetings all,

I am typing from a borrowed machine.  My laptop is in the shop.  It is currently dead. I only hope that the high priests of tech can resurrect it easily and cheaply.  So no photos on this week's blog post.

Having been cut off for two days from easy internet access I am finding there is so much more time in my day.  There is time for more meditation and yoga.  There is time to give people my full attention.  It can be startling to realize how much we compulsively look stuff up until we are without the means to do so.  I've never much cared for using my phone as a computer except at great need so I am having some flashbacks to the 90s before hi speed internet was everywhere, and google wasn't able to find us anyone and anything instantly.  The other thing that happened in the 90s were the Millennials.

What can I say about this much maligned millennial demographic that hasn't already been said.  Well quite a lot actually.  Being a prognosticator of sorts I take a great interest in up and coming generations.  I think we've handed this one a pretty bad deal.  They are inheriting a world with vastly depleted resources, polluted environments, climate change, antibiotic resistance, and debt.  I technically am part of Generation X, but I come at the tail end of it almost between that and Millennials.  So I feel for them I really do. It seems every article you read about them they are getting slammed.  They are being called selfish and lazy.  Simultaneously they seem to be very active in destroying sectors of the economy.  This is mostly being written by the boomer generation and some misguided X'ers.

While the aging power structure blames them for the wholesale destruction of our way of life I think it is about time to point out all the wonderful things about them.  For starters they are all about diversity. This generation seems to be more accepting of differences among people.  Whether it is ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender preference, or economic status, Millennials don't seem to care.  They also are more environmentally conscious.  They want things to be sustainable.  Perhaps they can already see the writing on the wall but the generations before them rapaciously have gone through a good deal of the earth's resources and squandered them for short term gains and comfort.  Our Millennials are also one of the most educated and innovated generations yet, they've had to be.  They also happen to be one of the largest generations.  This is good news since they seem quite concerned with social justice.

Right now our young people need our help though.  They are saddled with debt and limited access to social services.  Instead of encouragement they are often lampooned by the media as incompetent children living in their mom's basement.  What the media conveniently leaves out for the comfort of older viewers is that those basement dwellers are often working full time jobs and can barely afford their student loan payments and healthcare.  We have turned students into profit making ventures for banks thus robbing a generation of resources, then we turn around and blame them for not consuming more to boost stock prices.  This feedback loop has created the perfect scapegoat for society.  Millennial bashing seems to be a daily occurrence in the press and online.  We've changed from, "The children are the future,", to "Screw those lazy brats I paid for my own college and got a job after to buy a house."  What most people don't want to look at is that the social contract since they were in their 20s has been altered significantly.  A person used to be able to land a good job out of college that provided medical benefits that were cheap, they could afford to buy a home, have a pension, and even put money towards retirement.  Now it is generally only state employees that have these magical unicorns known as pensions.  Healthcare even if you have a plan can bankrupt a family even with both parents working and insured.  A part time job that used to cover tuition won't even cover books for a semester.  Is it any wonder that some of this generation is thinking they shouldn't bust their ass to not even squeak by?

Why am I telling you this?  Well I am the Faery Godfather to a few in this generation and they are awesome people!  It's so maddening to see them demonized when I know how hard they work and how well they treat others.  I'm seeing ideas and inventions that they are creating at very young ages that could literally save the world.  As I look around and see all the craziness in our society they give me hope that if they could claim their power, the future would once again be something to look forward to.  We are not lacking in solutions to the world's problems only in the will to implement them.  Millennials have that will, now they just need our help.  So if you're a parent, grandparent, teacher, or in any way involved with these up and coming human beings please do what you can to encourage them and let them know that they are powerful and that they matter.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Monday, October 9, 2017

Inspirational

Greetings all,

I hope your week went well.  Mine was a flurry of activity.  I've been trying to balance it all just like the sculpture above.  Well almost like that, I tend to balance things with pants on.  This week I've been prepping a kiln load of work which is currently firing away.  I also got to goto St. James Art Fair.  I look forward to it all year.  Besides that I had an art opening to attend as one of the local ceramic artists.

As I walked through the fair with a friend.  I breathed in all the energy of creativity.  The court itself is a wonderfully tended neighborhood full of old victorian homes that borders Central Park.  Seeing all the work of so many gifted artists and craftspeople always inspires me.  It fills up my heart and feeds my own inner creative spark.  Inspiration held a special place in some of the old pagan traditions of Europe.  When you trace the word origin, it comes from the latin root inspirare which means to breathe in the divine influence.  We often use the phrase, "Divinely inspired", but that is just like saying divinely breathed in the divine.  I do consider it a gift from Spirit, but not always a deity.  Inspiration can be passed from person to person, leading to one more reason to believe that we all carry the divine within ourselves.

Inspiration is a super power.  The best leaders have it, visionaries, those who bring us scientific breakthroughs, and artists.  When society is stuck in a pattern and there seems no way forward or out of the mess we find ourselves in, it takes someone with inspiration enough to share to help us change.   It is really the only way we can ever change other people.  If you actively try to change people. you will be mostly unsuccessful.  You may even get attacked.  If you inspire someone by your words or actions they choose change.  It is done without coercion because it comes from that sacred part within ourselves which the sacred part in others recognizes.  If you look at the state of our world right now we are in sore need of inspiration.  It is the source of light amidst the darkness.

So why am I telling you this?  Well we often think change comes from a lot of applied force and effort.  It can come in passionate hope and even joy.  Think of when you were inspired in your life by someone.  How did it change your perspective about yourself?  How did it change your perspective on what you believe is possible?  Now is the time for us to act from our heart centered passions, not only for our sake, but for the sake of those we might inspire.  Inspiration wakes the spirit in us to its full potential.  The  world needs our spirits in action right now.  So take time to stoke those inner fires.  Breathe in what lights you up and move with it, for yourself and the ones that follow in your footsteps.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Monday, October 2, 2017

Value

Greetings all,

Yes I know I'm late, but two days in a row I have collapsed in bed soon after the sun has set.  I've actually been looking at my writing commitment which I made four years ago and wondering if it still applies.  I made it in a time of personal loss and transition.  I needed a way to process my experiences and blogging seemed to help.  Lately it has been more of a chore, but that feeling comes and goes.  I haven't made any hard and fast decisions yet about the future of my writing here so no worries.  However, if you do enjoy my musings please let me know by commenting and sharing.  Writing on the internet is like putting a message in a bottle, I never know on which shore it will end up.

So waking up this morning and checking my newsfeed on Facebook I was shown many "Thoughts and prayers", for the people of Las Vegas.  I had no idea what had happened, but 'thoughts and prayers' is generally code for mostly preventable mass murder by guns here in America.  We act sad for a day or two and then go about our business.  Those of us who think that we should perhaps do something to prevent such tragedies are shouted down by the NRA and their spokespeople and the few crazy gun nuts who think firearms should be everywhere.  So we just wait until the next mass shooting and hope that neither we nor our loved ones are involved.

This has a lot to do with our hierarchy of values in America.  I shall make a list from the least to most valued. (This is a list of societal values NOT mine).

10. Muslims
9.   People of Color
8.   Gay People
7.   Jews
6.   Foreign born citizens
5.   White women (if they are Christian and appropriately dressed)
4.   White men
3.    Police officers
2.    Unborn fetuses
1.    Guns

You may notice a few things about that list.  For one there are no children on it.  We only value children (on the societal level) when they are unborn.  Once they are out of the womb they are expected to just deal with things, which is fine if they are born to wealthy white people.  Society is unwilling to invest in education and development.  We are also not willing to stop killing and imprisoning people of color.  America sees their lives as a commodity for prisons for profit or for target practice.  As for Jews, Gays, and Muslims they make convenient scapegoats for politicians.  Notice there are no veterans on that list.  We don't care about our soldiers once they come back as we give them poor support and that is why their suicide rate is so high.  As far as recent citizens we expect them to keep their heads down and thank God (the right one of course) that they made it in.

So let's all talk about the smoking gun in that list.  Here in America guns are valued more than the unborn fetuses that people will blow up clinics to demonstrate the sanctity of life.  This is why we can't have nice things.  We have things backwards.  First off there shouldn't be a different category for people.  There should be one category for human life.  That should go at the top of our list.  Guns should always be behind that.  I used to be a bit more moderate about guns, but the gun lobby has been so rabid to prevent any sort of sane measures I'm thinking it is time that nobody had them in civilian life (police included).  We have proven again and again that we just can't handle them responsibly.  I know this puts me at odds with people I know, even people I like and respect.  I have been in people's gun rooms (for my foreign readers here in the USA some people collect so many weapons they need a room to store them in) and all I could feel was the energy of violent death emanating from every direction.  They were clearly excited about this, I was not.  I've also been around people who had a rifle out for sports shooting and I was completely at ease around them.  I have been threatened by a drunk fundamentalist that they would get their gun because I don't believe the same way they do.  We may glorify it in our movies, games, and television but we must never forget the terror and death that guns suddenly bring.

Why am I telling you this?  Well I am sick of the hypocrisy of it all.  Number two on the list was unborn fetuses.  We wax poetic on the value of the life that might be, but we are perfectly happy to send that little bundle of joy out into a land that is being turned into a shooting gallery for the deranged.  This faux concern for life is even more laughable when we look at the state of healthcare in America.  Notice that wasn't on the list either.  I have insurance that I can't afford to use, and may lose in the next year.  I don't know how far this message in a bottle will go, but if it gets spread I am sure I and my family will get death threats.  Somebody might shoot me.  If I am shot and not instantly killed I won't be able to afford treatment.  Should I die violently before our parasitic healthcare system drains all my assets let it be known that I want my resources to goto the Water Protectors of Standing Rock.  Why you ask, because protecting our natural environment and resources is something that I value.

Okay I'm done ranting, but I must ask what do you value?  Have you got a list of values and their order of importance?  Do your values contradict themselves?  If they do, have you ever tried to reconcile those conflicts?  Do you value some lives more than others?  If so why?  Feel free to leave comments about what your biggest value is.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Flow


Greetings all,

I hope your week was magical.  Mine was certainly eventful with my normal classes, monthly meditation, a public talk, and the quarterly drumming I've been staying occupied.  Right now I have a kiln cooling, fired on the equinox so hopefully the work will be a turning point for me.

The equinoxes and solstices are the turning spokes on the wheel of the year, marking the edges and midpoints of seasons.   The earth's rhythm and our own are joined.  This past year has been one of many changes for both myself and others.  There are some rough waters ahead, but there are also many opportunities to change course and take part in more fulfilling adventures.  Lately I've been discovering the distinction between being grateful and settling.

Now if you are reading this I am sure you have something to be grateful for.  Accepting things as they come is a wonderful skill to develop.  However going with the flow has been a source of great disillusionment.  What if the flow is wrong?  Think of the energy in a mob.  Herd instinct can sing us into complacency.   Our tendency is to accept our circumstances until they become unbearable.  Going against the flow is not easy, so we'll just try and ride it out.  In my life I have settled for less, because I've been afraid to ask for more.  I mean I'm doing okay, not great but okay.  Who am I to ask for more?  Still there is a longing in me, and it isn't being filled.

This is not to say I am not grateful for what I have, I am.  I also realize that I must strive a bit or I'll never be anywhere but where I am.  So striking a balance between striving and accepting, gratitude for what I have, and the desire for something better, isn't easy.  The good things in life take work.  Whether that is career, relationships, or family, they all require effort.  This applies to the energy work I do  too.  It took me years to get to a place of awareness and skill to do it in a way that looks effortless.  When I don't make it harder than it has to be, it generally is, but it wasn't always.  Knowing when to paddle and when to float is probably one of the most valuable lessons you can learn.  (If you learn it please tell me the secret, I'm still guessing).

When I struggle to maintain balance I am lucky to know certain practices centered around re balancing myself.  One of my favorites is Despacho ceremony.  The pictures above are from this week's Equinox celebration.  Besides the usual drumming I had the opportunity to do Despacho.  It is all about showing our gratitude to Spirit and Mother Earth, and asking for what we need in our lives.  It is about reciprocity, giving our thanks and our best efforts, and receiving blessings.  It is a cycle that moves throughout our lives and the lives of all beings.  I like it because it balances that need to honor what we have going for us with the desire to improve our lives.  Plus they're pretty, and there is generally leftover chocolate.

So why am I telling you this.  Well as we reach turning points in the year and our lives, we should take stock.  We can remember what we have to be grateful for, and simultaneously strive to make our lives better.  What about you?  Are you counting your blessings?  Are you simply going about your day to day on autopilot?  Are you afraid to ask for what you truly want?  I invite you to the great work of balancing gratitude and desire.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle