Swimming With Tahlequah

Tahlequah

Most folks by now have heard the story of Tahlequah, the young orca whale whose calf only lived a very short time after birth before she died. She was last spotted was spotted two days ago which marks her grief ritual of 17 days long of carrying her dead calf.

You’d need a stone heart not to be moved by this and her story and grief speaks deeply to me. It speaks to the woman who keens, the woman who honors the need for death rituals, our human need for ritual and ceremony. It also speaks to me as a Human Ecologist, the activist who know it is us humans who have created this chain of environmental events which has accumulated to cause the starving condition of this pod and their poor birth rate.

It’s been interesting to see the reaction of people to this story from animal communicators, to those who believe she is sending a message to humanity and to those criticizing these anthropomorphic interpretations. We are empathic creatures, extending our empathy to other creatures in trying to understand is a good thing, however, not recognizing the signals and blindingly overriding them is not so good a thing. This article invites you into a deep magic, to swim with Tahlequah, you’re also invited to share your art and join us in our Facegroup group to share the art and tomorrow I’ll post on practical ways to help.

A Dark Moon Invitation

Tonight is a dark moon and if you have clear skies you might see some meteors from the Perseid meteor shower. The dark moon is also an ancient tradition of setting intentions. Not some new age wish or a fancy car or big new house but a time to consider your work in the world. A time to consider the steps you next need to take which are aligned to your soul’s purpose, your true work in this world – work that creates a creative action against this crippling grip of patriarchy. The mess we are in today is a natural progression of a death culture which has no regard for the endless supplies of resources it needs to feed the ugly, hungry monster of capitalism.

So this dark moon I invite you to sit by your altar, sit out under the meteor shower and allow yourself to feel. Swim in the waters with Tahlequah, feel the weight of her pain, her grief. Feel the collective pain of the pod and allow yourself to swim through the cool water currents. Swim with her, help her keep her calf afloat – we know she must be exhausted as well as starving – body and soul crushed by her grief. Her’s is a beautiful grief ritual, it allows her to feel her pain and connect to our own pain – to that part of yourself that feels the destruction of habitat, the degradation of river systems, seas and oceans and the stories of so many animals, insects, wingeds and wild ones who are suffering.

Keen for her, let go of the grief that you are used to carrying yet shoved it somewhere as your never ready to deal with it. Cry, sing, chant, tone for her – use your voice as much as your body. Play wild music, dance your feelings, sweat your prayers to her.

Be gentle with yourself, hold your heart for this is heartbreaking work. use your own language of a simple gesture of ritual or ceremony it can be as simple as breathing with Tahlequah, it can be as simple as imagine holding her calf with her. The deep trough of grief she expresses show the deep love she has for this small one who has moved on to the otherworld.

Be gentle with yourself. You might want to lie down with some soothing music, move your body as if you are swimming through the deep, dark waters. Send her strength, understanding, and love, whisper to her.

Be gentle with yourself once you’ve finished your ritual. This is real stuff – record your impressions of being with her – write, drawn, paint. Collage your feelings, make this matter!

Tahlequah by Leah Pinken Kolidas – click image to view her page on facebook

All feelings and interpretations of this mother whale’s grief are relevant yet they are lost if we don’t take action in helping the plight of the entire pod. They are starving due to the lack of salmon and yet they face other stresses such as pollution such as the level of PCB’s found in the salmon, the noise and the sheer volume of marine traffic in the Pudget Sound. Tomorrow’s post will outline those who are working to help this pod of Orca’s and have been doing so. We can help support those doing this work otherwise we simply turn our head away from Tahlequah.

Feel free to share your evenings ritual, your art here in the comments or join us in the Sisterhood of the Antlers facebook group.

 

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Sisterhood of the Antlers


Did you mark the moment yesterday when we stepped into the threshold? The moment which took us from the outward time of the year into the dark of the year, from summer to autumn.

This is an invitation to come journey the wheel of the year with us with the Sisterhood of the Antlers. At each holyday there will be an offering o a guided journey, a suggestion of a gesture of ritual as well as some art projects. The aim of this journey is to keep us grounded with the wisdom of our foremothers so we can weave the insights gained from them into our lives inspiring us to social and environmental activism through ways of creative and radical resistance against the dominating power structures.

Our journey starts with the gathering of the Sisterhood in their ritual of marking this great threshold of the year and we’ll continue our journey with them and the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland throughout the wheel.

This is a free journey with lots of opportunity to share your insights, thoughts and art.

My Clan Mother

It felt an empowering action that while I was en route to the Women’s march back in January I stopped off at the Post Office and mailed my mDNA sample. And as I walked the hour and a half to the rally I couldn’t help but think of all the generations of women on whose shoulders I now stand, of the countless generations and millions of women of my lineage – their stories, their experiences and what of their voices is knitted into my very bones.


Two months later and the results are here – all the way from the Oxford Ancestors lab in the UK. I am descended from Xenia who lived 25,000 years ago on the southern margins of the Great Plains, which stretches from the low lying British Isles in the west to Kazakhstan in the east. The plains were bare of trees save for a few patches of birch and willow scrub. This was a bleak and windy place with vicious blasts from the expanded polar ice caps sending winter temperatures down to -20oc (-4of) for days or even weeks at a time.

Mammoth bones & hides were the only materials for shelter

Xenia’s lineage is an interesting one and DNA records that as the ice ages got more severe they split up with some generations heading west and others east throughout Asia and eventually over the land bridge into the America’s. Her people would have followed the great reindeer herds as well as the woolly mammoth and horse herds. I have often had dreams of the great icy tundra and of following reindeer which in part might be due to a diet of documentaries from the FIlm Board of Canada when I was young or you could call it an artistic streak that listens to my ancestors stories which are knitted into my very bones! 

Tundra

This insight will continue to resonate and inspire for knowing our matriarchal lineage certainly evokes empowering ancestral memories and inspirations which vibrate those luminous thread from us to them that connect us through space and time. We can still move between these worlds and ask them for their wisdom and insight and then weave that into our lives.

Working on mini drums for a new series of clan mother dolls – the drums set against a map o the Loch and Ben Lomond.

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Click above to join the women only space the ‘Sisterhood of the Antlers’ and join the conversion – you’ll also be in the draw to win a set of antler prayer beads.

Links: 

An interesting family history which stretches back to Xenia

The Origins and Expansions of Ancient Boat-Oriented Way of life. The Post-Glacial Development and Expansion of Boat-peoples

Oxford Ancestors Lab