Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Singing for the Frog Goddess

Myth hath it that if we sing for the Frog Goddess her waters will break and the Duwmaish will flow again.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

While everyone else is a the Hermitage I am exploring the upper reaches of the Duwamish to find the Frog Goddess and sing her my song.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A weird night at the Duwamish Motel

I scared a ghost.
It hovered over me, the pearlescent, misty form of a woman, then it screamed – it looked at me and screamed in horror, flicking back like smoke in a puff of wind.
Then it vanished.
Shaking, I slithered out bed and fell to the floor. My first thought was to run, but the ghost had completely vanished, and my legs wouldn’t work anyway. My second thought was that I should have listened to the locals that told me not to come near the Duwamish Motel. Strange happenings there, they said, and the owner, Mr Brede, was supposed to have murdered his wife. He was seen burying something in a nearby field. But it was both Mr Brede and his wife who greeted me at the reception desk, so I dismissed that as scurrilous gossip.
My third thought was to get back into bed and pull the covers over my head. I went with that one.
And she came back.
This time she pressed down on me, not like a weight, but with some force I couldn’t see.
``What are you DOING here?” she demanded. ``Who the hell are you? This is MY bed.”
``Not anymore,” I shouted back at her. ``I hired the room two hours ago – and nobody told me someone died here.”
``I am not dead!” the ghost snapped. ``I’m astral traveling.”
I sat up straight in bed. ``Where’s your silver cord?” I said. Everyone knows that a silver cord connects you to your corporeal body while you’re astral traveling, so you don’t get lost.
She looked blank. ``What silver cord?”
``You didn’t know about the silver cord? No wonder- ” I said. ``Was this your first time?”
``Yes – I got the instructions out of a book, How to Have an Out Of Body Experience In 30 Days or Your Money Back. It looked cool – I had to try it.”
``Did you read all of it?”
``No, I just skipped to the meditation bit.” She hung her ghostly head. ``Thirty days seemed such a long time to wait.”
Suddenly she flickered, growing dim, as if some of the ectoplasm, or whatever you call it, had drained away.
``Oh no,” she said. ``I couldn’t have.”
``Died?” I suggested. ``That’s possible. Maybe you really are a ghost.”
``But I only checked into the motel yesterday. The book said I needed a place where I could be completely alone. And I just went for a short trip.”
``Without your silver cord,” I reminded her.
There was a sharp rap on the door. ``You having trouble in there?”
``Must be Mrs Brede,” I said to my astral visitor. ``I’d better let her in.”
I opened the door. ``I heard you yelling,” Mrs Brede said. ``Is everything OK?”
Suddenly there was something very familiar about her. I looked at her, and I looked at my `ghost’.
``Oops,” I said.
``What are you doing in my body!” The astral traveler screamed. The woman backed away and raced off into the night, with the astral traveler in hot pursuit.
I guess Mrs Brede just couldn’t resist the opportunity to hop into an uninhabited body after her untimely death. As I raced out to my car I passed Mr Brede, swinging limply from a tree branch with a rope around his neck.
I jumped in my car and didn’t look back.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Warning from Duwamish Bay

Before I leave for my Ride tonight I wanted to share this bit of real life Lore to remind you that Heather's interview with the Gorgon isn't JUST an interview and that the Gorgon's story isn't JUST a story.

There is a tribal Elder from The Makahs (http://www.makah.com/home.htm) who attended a meeting back in June to discuss earthquakes and tsunamis with FEMA (federal emergency and management agency) officials.

The Tribal Elder's name is Helma Ward.

Her story is a warning for us all living here in the Pacific Northwest: " The stories say this has happened before and will happen again" Helma is quoted as saying.

She’s talking about catastrophic earthquakes.

Because her warning come in the form of ‘ storytelling ‘ no one was listening. A very dire warning and a detailed account of a truly devasting event were disounted as ' fairy tales '.

Now scientists are paying attention because science is finding evidence her story actually did happen:

One winter the Makahs were starving and held at bay (they were fishermen) by harsh weather.

The Thunderbird (who was of monstrous size and caused lightning when it opened and closed it's eyes ) decided to help them and rose up out of the Olympic Glacial Field and attacked the whale in a battle that tore apart the land, caused the volcanoes to erupt and when it was done the Thunderbird delivered the whale into the river in a large wave.

This isn't just a story about a mythical battle, its a very detailed description of an earthquake (the Thunderbird) and the resulting tsunami (the large waves...remember what happened in India? When the tide went out and all the fish and sea life that was left behind and the kids ran after them? ).

According to Helma's Grandfather there really WAS a whale in the river and no one knew how it got there. According to other accounts other tribes found numerous sea life and whales on dry land after this 'battle'.

( From The Makah Reservation )

Scientist have only recently discovered that in 1700 a huge earthquake whose impact was felt in Japan hit our Pacific Northwest. One of the areas that would have been horribly impacted by this quake was the area where Helma’ s tribe lived.

Helma’ s Tribe has this story and in their tradition of storytelling have known about this event all along... which is why Helma doesn't allow her Grandchildren to catch their school bus in this place where ' the ground was made bad "

Legends aren't just stories...remember that tonight when you ride out.

Anita Marie

Thursday, August 04, 2005

From the Duwamish Inn Brochure

For hundreds of years the Duwamish River has supported the people who have lived on her shores. Idyllic, with an abundance of fish, game, fowl and trees the region was once a vast trading network.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The Duwamish Inn, here at Duwamish Bay, boasts that it maintains traditional gatherings and customs that have strengthened a sense of community and belonging. Just one of our quirky rituals is to provide regular celebratory potlatches or gift-giving ceremonies for our guests. However, we have taken the liberty of providing a fresh approach to these time honoured events.

The potlatch was a gift-giving feast. It was sort of like Christmas, or a birthday party, but, instead of taking gifts to the party, guests who came to a potlatch received gifts from the host. Tribal chiefs of people, such as the Duwamish, gave potlatches to celebrate important events such as naming a child, a son's coming of age, or a successful hunt. Also, a marriage or completion of a new long house might be another reason. Potlatches were usually given in a large house built only for potlatches. Entire tribes were invited. They danced, sang and listened to speeches, held athletic contests to see who could run the fastest, climb the highest or jump the farthest. Tribes wrestled with each other and raced in canoes. They tested their strength to see who could keep going the longest and sometimes held contests to see who could eat the most. Big potlatches lasted three to five days. The big day was the last when gifts were given out.

Potlatches were important because a chief could show his wealth by the gifts he gave. To make his guests think he was of high social rank, he gave away the best of everything he owned. Gifts included canoes, blankets, furs, skins and food. A chief became especially important in the eyes of his guests if he gave strings of rare shells called "dentallium." These narrow shells were hard to find and were found only in the deep, cold waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Dentallium were valuable because of their scarcity. Sometimes they were used as money to buy things from other tribes.

Families in the villages on the Duwamish River worked closely with each other to help with the potlatch. They often gave their most valuable articles to the chief to make him appear wealthy to his guests. They did this in order to bring honor to their tribe. Even though a chief gave away everything they owned, they knew they would be repaid because there was a trick to the gift-giving! No guest at a potlatch could refuse the gifts offered him. An important guest had to give a potlatch in return to show how wealthy he was! To save "face," his potlatch had to be bigger and better that the one he attended. It was the goal of each chief to "out-do" the other.

Here at Duwamish Inn we have a contemporary version of the traditional potlatch. We cannot offer you a canoe, blankets or furs and we certainly don't encourage people to out-do one another but we regularly provide evenings where people bring along fine food in baskets to share with other guests.

We bar-b-que the Salmon in a traditional way and everyone brings something really delicious to share. Apart from bringing food guests bring ‘treasures’ to swap. During the evening people dance, sing, provide readings and share stories. We have a large basket that sits on the central table and participants are asked to select a song, story or dance to present to the group. A lot of the material comes from Livia Cotard’s bookshop on the Marina, a bookshop that attracts visitors from far and wide, but visitors can add stories of their own.

What will you swap? What stories will you have to offer?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Darlings: Wish you were here. Having a wonderful time despite the troll infestation problem. Bit of a bad hair day, what with the snakes and all, but the mojitos are divine!
Love and Kisses, Karen