Shaman Story Chapter X – Passing

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – The Immensity of Now.


Shaman Story Chapter X – Passing

 
Uncle John walks with me to the edge of his field where his beans grow broadleaf in the shadow of trees. I know most trees. Sometimes a new one grows overnight and Uncle John and Buppa take me through the seedling through its roots into the soil to feel the cool earth.

“There’s someone wants to meet you, Gio. You like that? It’s okay if we say hello?”

“I like that.”

A tall, tall man walks out of the woods edging Uncle John’s field. He moves quietly, his footsteps like whispers, and steps carefully, as if his rich brown sandals sense what’s beneath them, making sure nothing is harmed, nothing is crushed. He wears garden-green silk stockings and his violet trousers flare with each step, and it seems he walks with the earth, not on it.

Uncle John and I sweat from our walk in the warm sun but the heat doesn’t bother the tall, tall man. His shirt ripples like vanillaed cream in the slight breeze, and the black lines on his violet jacket frill like feathers while the jacket ruffles. His broad, banded white and yellow hat hides his face but his elegant beard, trimmed so precisely to his chin, has gold and white highlights in it, depending on how it catches the sun. His bowtie is gold and lavender, rimmed with black.

“Say hello, Gio.”

I offer my hand.

The man bends slowly, gracefully. A cloud of earth smells, growing smells, Buppa’s garden, Mrs. Minerva’s hives, John and Mary’s fields, Chan’s medicines, Beautiful Painted Arrow’s flatbreads, chamomile, rosa ragosa, rose of sharon, and clematis surround me. Insects buzz around him, under his hat. Some crawl up his silk stockings, pants, and jacket. A spider builds a web between his chin and bow tie.

We shake. His hand is soft and reminds me of lavender leaves. I look down. My hand is wrapped in a flower petal.

His other hand lifts off his hat. His face is a sunflower, his eyes bright yellow stella d’oros, his beard corn hairs flowing with pollen.

The wind tickles my ears. “Hhhelloh Geeeooh.”

A new friend! “Hello!”

He stands up, pulls away, moves over the earth, carried by the wind, back to the trees. He leans against one, a mid-size oak. His legs merge into a single stalk, his shit and jacket become petals and blooms, flowers burst from his hands, his hat scatters pollen to the sun.

The mid-size oak is embraced by a climbing clematis.

Something about the oak.


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Shaman Story Chapter X – The Immensity of Now

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Borrowing.


Shaman Story Chapter X – The Immensity of Now

 
Buppa and I stand on the porch. He holds me, his strong, tanned arms making a seat for me to sit on. A man comes to us. He and Buppa talk quickly, quietly. Buppa shakes his head, no.

The man reaches out, pulls his hand back before touching Buppa. Holds his hands out, palms up. His voice strains.

Buppa tells him to go away, come back later. He shakes his head as the man goes down the steps, out the gate, to his car, drives away.

He takes me inside. “What did he want, Buppa?”

“To cause pain.”

“Will you do what he wants, Buppa?”

“I will do what he asked, not what he wants.”

“You going to hurt someone?”

“Someone will be hurt, yes.”

“You told me not to hurt people, Buppa.”


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Why this Were here, now?

[This post oriignally appeared on Timothy Bateson’s blog, mid Oct 2019]

Let’s say someone wants to write about werewolves but nothing they’re coming up with fits “werewolf.” Probably they’re putting the hearse before the horse. Their interest is on the were, not the were’s purpose in the story.

Let the “were” serve the story’s purpose. Don’t make it the story’s purpose.

 
Werecreatures are nothing new. Cave drawings frequently depict humanimals. Study any culture’s mythology and one wonders who wasn’t a werecreature. The concept of versipellics as evil is relatively new compared to human recorded history (about 800 years v 35,000 years).

A significant aspect of versipellic history is that skin-changing was a spiritual exercise, not a magical exercise. This spiritual aspect remains today in the concept of shapeshifting as evil. The Malleus Maleficarum provided details about all such “magickal” practices but the reason to hunt down practitioners was political; practitioners threatened the power and authority of Mother Church. What do you do when you’re a religious authority and you want to get rid of the opposition? You label it evil, demonic, satanic. You’ll find much the same propagandic reasoning in today’s political speeches. The US was The Great Satan to Ruhollah (Ayatollah) Khomeini. Reagan called Soviet Russia “The Evil Empire,” and Trump’s rhetoric…well, let’s not go there.

Culture makes a difference. Judeo-Christian teaching is that versipellics are evil; God and the Angels never change shape. Satan and the Fallen Angels do (they don’t want you to know who they are). Read religious dogma from other cultures and versipellism is good or evil depending on why it’s being done. It’s the individual’s reason for shapeshifting, not the fact that they can shapeshift, that determines the morality of the transmutation.

Modern scifi/fantasy may have versipellism caused by any number of reasons. Hank McCoy (Marvel’s Beast, genetic) owes much of existence to versipellism, as does Bruce Banner (The Hulk, radiation). Superheroes as a group owe a nod to versipellism; they have two identities, two personalities, one wears the skin of everyday clothing, the other the skin of their superhero costume, and like any good werewolf, the needs of each identity are at odds with the other. Only recently have superheroes walked among non-supers openly (The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark procliaming from the podium “I am IronMan,” Amazon’s “The Boys”).


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Shaman Story Chapter X – Borrowing

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Hide-and-Seek.


Shaman Story Chapter X – Borrowing

 
Sometimes Grandpa’s friends ask “May I share how I do it?” to help me learn how they do something Grandpa does, something he is teaching me. They let me piggyback down their path. Sometimes we have to travel far and they become a ladder and I climb up their rungs and the ladder flies and you learn how to be a ladder and fly.

I piggyback and climb their rungs so I can borrow from them to learn how to do it, to understand my way, my path would be different from theirs and different is okay, it is the outcome that matters.


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Shaman Story Chapter X – Hide-and-Seek

“Where am I, Gio? Come find me!”

He starts with things easy, asks me questions to make me explore. “Am I in the garden?”

“I don’t know, Buppa.”

“Can you feel me in the garden?”

The garden is tough. He puts so much of his energy into his roses, his vegetables, his Brothers the Bees.

“You’ve been in the garden, Buppa. I can tell you’ve been there.”

I feel a kiss in the air around my head. “Oh, come on, Gio. You and I worked in the garden yesterday. Am I there now?”

The air tickles my feet. I laugh, realizing. “No! But your some place we walk to.”

“Oh, you’re so smart, Gio. Where am I now that is someplace we walk? Feel where I am. I left a trail. You can follow.”

“Like Hansel and Gretel, Buppa!”

“Yes, like Hansel and Gretel but I won’t put you in my oven when you find me.”

I start crying.

“What is it, Gio? What’s wrong?”

“What if I can’t find you, Buppa? What if I get lost?”


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