09 April 2010

Dear Drummers,

Welcome one and all to the drum this Friday, 7-9:30 PM at First Universalist Church, 34th and Dupont, in ecstatic, mystical Uptown Minneapolis. Oh, what a Friday awaits you, you explorers of the soul-scape, you brave travelers on the unpaved road to Spirit. (Unpaved, but not un- traveled! Look there, food left for us by those who have come before! And look there! That bird is pointing the way, and so is that tree! Wa-hoo, I say. And I say again: Wa-hoo.

The magnolia tree outside my window has been speaking to me of boldness. Along with the siberian squill, the magnolia is the first blossom to boldly burst forth in spring in our landscape, confidently announcing its fragrance to the neighborhood. When I spoke to her about boldness she instructed me in the difference between boldness and brashness. Brashness comes from rebellion, from wanting to show authority that you are not obeying them. Adolescent brashness may mature into boldness, or it may devolve into the toxic addiction to confrontation like we see in television pundits.

Boldness, as the magnolia taught me, comes not as a confrontation to others, but as a natural expression of one’s joyful connection to Spirit. All too often we mistake brashness, rudeness, certainty and sarcasm for power when these are, in truth, expressions of fear and powerlessness.

Boldness is required of us at various times throughout our lives. We are called to boldness against toxic patterns, ideas, people and institutions, and boldness in the face of change. In our time and culture, we need boldness just to stay balanced and healthy in mind, spirit and body. If you are like me, you recognize the call to boldness and very often back away. Voices float in our heads, policing our call to boldness, whispering “be humble” “listen to the experts” or “don’t be a show off” or my favorite, “just who do you think you are anyway?”

This Friday, we will ask the spirit of magnolia to help us become bold, and if you want, you can be washed with magnolia blossoms. You don’t have to, but you can if you want to. First, we’ll drum up a whompin’ whoopin’ whirlin’ wahoo of Wyrd. I will forget to say it, but please, please, if you feel like dancing, leap up, leap up, and let the weavin’ wagglin’ woogglin spirit take you into the blue, blue breeze!

Here is what is weirdly cool about the shamanic path: after I spoke with the magnolia I did some research to discover that, in herbal healing, magnolia blossoms are used for self-esteem, loyalty, love and attraction. When I asked her about that she said (with some irritation) yes, it’s all true, but “loyalty” in this sense is connected with what the Celts called “sovereignty.” I’ll have more to say about that on Friday. In Chinese medicine, magnolia leaves are used on the physical level sinus and chest congestion and abdominal problems.

Be well, travelers, I hope to see you on Friday.


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