White Owl Island
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Visit to the Great Owl
At the jetty, I see a large boat, that looks for all the world like a dried milkweed pod. I know it is waiting for me. In it are four women, tall and sturdily built, wearing robes of white. The beckon me aboard and show me to a seat in the bow. I watch their strong arms as they row us through the choppy water. They are muscular, synchronized, and silent. We move swiftly through the water for a bit and then suddenly, one of the women begins to sing. The others take up her song, in turn, and sing in a round.
All that holds us, rise!
All that rocks us, rise!
All that hides the world beneath,
Rise, rise, rise!
Greet your daughters, Mother
Fold us in your wings
Let us see the truth beyond
Mother, hear us sing!
All that holds us, rise!
All that rocks us, rise!
All that hides the world beneath,
Rise, rise, rise!
Welcome now a stranger
Coming to your shores
She who travels inward
Seeking other doors.
All that holds us, rise!
All that rocks us, rise!
All that hides the world beneath,
Rise, rise, rise!
As this song travels across the water, an island begins to form before my eyes. Is it merely coming out of the mist, or are these women singing it into existence? I cannot know, but we are drawn inexorably toward it, even though the ferry women have laid down their oars.
We are drawn in to a protected cove, and out boat gently grounds itself on the shore. The women, now humming softly, jump lightly from the boat and form a line. I join them and follow them through some trees at the edge of the rocky beach. In the clearing I see a large old house, with fabulous turrets at each corner. There are fairy lights twined about the porch and the sign hanging next to the door says “Owl Island Inn: Est. Before the Earth Was Born.” This made me pause, but before long, I was lagging behind, so I ran to catch up with the women. I huffed and puffed my way up the hill, occasionally sighting people and strange creatures in the woods and along the roadside, who would wave or stare at me. In a meadow that skirted the shore, waves gently lapping at its edge, I saw a small house with a red tile roof, and beyond it, a lovely lighthouse, made in the old style, a round stone structure that supported a small, square open sided room at the top, from whence the light would shine. I wished to stop and climb the lighthouse, but still we pressed on. Deep into the woods we went, until we reached a large stone, part of a bluff or cliff of sorts, that had been inscribed and painted with all sorts of magical symbols. One symbol that kept repeating over and over was that of a great owl, drawn in ways both primitive and representative.
The women stopped and slipped out of their cloaks to reveal gorgeous shimmering gowns of white with jeweled belts bearing the image of the Owl. Each of them wore a shimmering circlet upon her head, and jeweled cuffs on her upper arms. I realized with humility that these were the priestesses of the Great Owl that I had read about. I bowed my head.
One of the priestesses, the eldest, walked to the right of the stone, and I saw a small spring which fed a lake lying beyond the stone bluff. From her gown, she drew a small crystal amphora and filled it. She returned and poured it over the stone, saying: “I cover thee with the veil of An. Thou art anointed with my vow to thee. Henceforth shall I keep my way in thy Light, for I am that which you are, the Way of Creation through the labyrinth of Ptah.”
The other priestesse had made ready, as well. One held a golden bowl of honey, and the eldest priestess washed her hands in the bowl.
“Oh, sacred elixir, queen of sweetness, comfort me.” She rubbed the stone with honey, saying: “I return to the hive of my fortune. To the guardian of the sweetness of the wisdom of Past, Present and Future.”
The youngest priestess took my hand and then presssed a blue star sapphire to my forehead. She said, “Behold, she who guards the labyrinth of Ashara, she comes in the night, she sleeps in the day. She holds the star before her, she gives birth to the sun.”
Suddenly, the rocks began to move, sliding aside to reveal a path.
“Enter the labyrinth, Sister, and take this to guide you.” She hands me a white feather.
The rock slides closed behind me, but I find I have light, shining from the feather, and I begin my journey to the White Owl. I have questions, so many questions, but as I follow that path of the labyrinth, they begin to burn away in my mind, each one burning to ashes, a clean, white burning, until there is only one question left in my mind. I hold this question with all of my being as I walk the labyrinth.
In time, minutes or eons, I enter a cavern at the center of the labyrinth. I see a massive white owl, perched upon the branch of a large dead tree. She turns her head and looks at me sharply, eyes luminous and enormous. She snaps her beak at me.
“Hello, Mother. I was brought here to you…for wisdom. Thank you for receiving me today.”
“You were not brought,” she says, in a low, thrumming voice. “You came.”
“Yes, I did.”
"I am a mirror to those who come through the winding way. I vow to be the sealer as well as the revealer. What is your question?”
I ask her what is in my heart.
She speaks: In each life, daughter, the paths are many, and they intersect on many planes. At each signpost, one must make a choice. However, one must know the language of the signposts to choose correctly.”
“Yes, daughter. The world has one language, the brain another, the heart yet another. Humans are taught one, at best, two of these languages. Just as most cannot decipher my language, often they cannot decipher their heart’s language, and set off on the wrong path.”
“Can one go back and find the way?”
“No, daughter.” At this I wept, bitterly. She flew from her post and landed before me, her eyes impossibly bright.
“You cannot go back—but the paths are many, the intersections on many planes—who is to say? Ahead may lie your greatest choice, and you are on the path to knowing the language of the heart. If you were not, you would not be here, with me. Nature, love, solitude, wonder—these are all words you know, but now you feel them, feel them as they cut deep into your heart. You are learning.” She brushed my forehead with her great wing as she flew back to her perch.
My face was damp with tears. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a bead I had made. It was carved of bone, something I found in the forest. On it I had inscribed spirals, feeling the intuitiven rightness of it as I had done it, yet not knowing why. It was a perfect offering for the Great Owl. “Thank you,” I whispered as I lay it in a hollow of the tree.
I wandered back through the labyrinth, becoming calmer and surer with each step. When I exited, the priestesses formed a line and walked back toward the boat. Silently, I followed, and rode deep in thought as we approached Duwamish. The sun crested the horizon as we touched ground. I slipped my hand into my pocket, and felt the white feather, slightly warm and faintly pulsing.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Time to leave Owl Island
Well hereI was , at the end of my journey to Owl Island. I had asked Enchanteur if I might travel to this rocky outcrop of an isle situated off the coast of Ireland, I had heard of it from Gail I think (I may be wrong , there are so many travellers I have met along the way, sometimes they all blur into one, except Faucon... I do know the difference girls.
I was only thinking today that I never have been much of a dreamer, as in dreams when one is sleeping, but since I have been on this journey I am constantly aware when I wake in the mornings from a deep sleep, a good sleep that I am remembering dreams that are quite real, dreams nothing to do with my travels with my fellow companions but dreams of my life and that of my children, something I have not experienced before.... What I must say is that these dreams are always pleasant, what is so strange is that they are so real and clear, their faces are so close I feel I could put out my hand and touch them.....
But I digress..I have wandered far to look at relics of past inhabitation , but there is little here to put a date to or to explain who it was built the high doorways from stone, I imagine that if one wanted to bring the right tools to Owl Island a DIG as they call it would lead to a story waiting to be told of those long long ago who perhaps disappeared without trace in times of lost civilisations....
So this sorted out I headed back toward the jetty to await th arrival of the row boat with Angelina (Night Priestess) to call and pick me up.... A wind was begining to blow up and I hoped that this would not see me here for another day and night.
After a trek of 5 or so hours I felt I had seen all I wanted to of the island and its baren appearance was starting to unsettle me... It had a strange loneness to it and I liked crowds, the quietness was not my scene.
On arriving at the jetty the sun was setting and I guessed it was near to tea time, so foraging for my last apple in my purple nap-sack ( It should be knapsack Lois) I sat on the end of the jetty to watch for Angelina rowing across the bay... After an hour as the sun was setting I could see her in the distance.
Behind her the sun was setting,the sky bright orange, yellow with a guilded look of a sunset one only sees now and again if living in the city.
I waved with my hankie in case she had not seen me as I thought as her head was down as she rowed in a heavy swell whipped up by a blustery breeze.
Puffing and quite out of breath, she threw the rope to me to slip over the (I can't think of the name of the round wooden things on the pier where the ships tie their ropes to) Someone might enlighten me please......
"How are you Lois ?"she said,
"Glad to see you Angelina , your the best thing I've seen all dayI replied.... "Nice compliment" she said... Climbing down into the boat I was never so glad to be back on the water and on my way back to I believed the next trip - which was going to be one to the the Archipelago.
I thought of asking Angelina where it was, but did not want to know at that stage that it was another island only accessed by way of boat.. I would wait and hear good or bad tidings of this.
I leaned foward as we left the jetty ,closing my eyes and not looking back to Owl Island.
"You might have to take your turn rowing on this trip" said The Priestess of the Night " This is hard going in choppy seas".
"Ok by me" I said as I closed my eyes ,hoping for quick nap before the hard slog set in.
I awoke with a bump, opened my eyes to see we were back to land. "I tried to wake you,no luck you were dead to the world" said Angelina... I apologised again and again... "No More " she said" Once is enough"... She took my hand and helped me climb the jetty ...
Her hands were warm to the touch , quite strong and the skin somewhat rough... I had held these hands before , I was sure of that ... It could have been someone I knew . One a friend living on a small farm in the country or one a gardener who never wears gloves and who loves to plunge her hands in the soil and get that close to the earth feeling..... As I said I knew I had felt and held these hands at another time in another place not too long ago.......
Thus ends my journey to Owl Island, not as fullfilling as I had hoped it to be ,not finding the history of its inhabitants did not worry me as I felt that their end may have been one of tragedy and I hoped their souls now rested in peace on this wild outcrop of an island that is part of Earth.
Lois (Muse of the Sea)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Visit to White Owl Island
I approached Owl Island with some trepidation. After all, I had grown up with folkloric beliefs about owls being bad luck. Travellers and gypsies, like Native Americans, believe the owl to be a messenger of death. Both nations say that the owl `calls your name' when you die.
But this journey, for me, is all about confronting fears and superstitions, and understanding the foundations of folklore and belief. It is about delving deep into the tales and traditions I grew up with, and learning the universal truths behind them. As I watched Maeve's stong arms work the tiller, I thought of the way owls were venerated by other cultures, and the ceremony that lay ahead of me when I reached the island.
With all the wisdom attributed to the Owl, I could well believe that would extend to foreknowledge of death, but perhaps my culture had seized on only that and the superstitions about owls had obscured the rest of the story.
We embrace life, not death. No Dukkerer will ever tell anyone they are going to die, even if it is written all over the cards.``That's the one prediction even an idiot can make," my gypsy mentor used to say with a laugh. ``The secret of dukkering is to tell people they are going to live."
So it was with mixed feelings that I climbed out of the boat and onto the shore.The initiation was beautiful - I can still smell the honey and I still see the eyes of the Priestess - wide, wise eyes that shone like silver in the moonlight.
I followed the path that led to the owl, feeling at peace. She was bigger than any owl I have ever seen, snowy white, with eyes that seemed to reflect everything around them. I saw myself reflected in her eyes, and realised I was right. With her great wisdom, she knew everything about me - but there was nothing to fear.`
`What do I need to know as I continue this journey?” I asked.
The great silver eyes never blinked. I saw myself as in a mirror, rising stronger from the storms and fires of life, stumbling and falling but never staying down, always somehow finding the strength to start again.
``What you have always known,” the Great Owl said. ``That the only force stronger than you is love. It gives you your strength. The harder life becomes, the greater love grows. It is a rose that blooms in the desert, a fire that burns without fuel, the only thing you need to sustain you on your journey.”
I thanked the Great Owl with all humility, and I felt my strength returning. When love is the center of my life, the decisions are easy.
I reached into my pocket and found a rose quartz crystal, which I had picked upon my travels.
I laid this down and walked quietly back through the labyrinth, following the priestesses.
But it was another wise woman I remembered as I took my leave of the island. Mother Theresa’s words echoed in my mind - ``there are no great deeds. Only small deeds done with great love.”
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
On Owl Island Part 3
My knowledge of Owls is increasing by the minute.... I had a dream(Or was it a dream) as I slept in the down and feathers of the owls under the pine trees last night.
I awoke in my dream to find perched on a low branch, close to where my head lay a very very large bird whose eyes had yellow rims and black as black centres.
She looked at me as if to ask why was I here. I spoke in a quiet voice as not to seem intrusive "I have come by way of a row boat skippered by a priestess from across the bay ,over "Yes I know her well ,would she be the night Priestess name of Angelina" said the large owl. Her voice was low & ...deep. She fluttered her eyes and I took it to mean I was accepted ....She then proceeded to tell me her life story....
How she lived with her babies in the top of high thick foliage trees and favourite foods were possums, gliders, rats and small birds if she catch them... How her partner (Father of her babies) lived in his own tree, not too far away. He brings home the occassional morsel for the babies ... but we don't live together the nest is too small...(I was beginning to get ideas from this sort of living arrangement of the owl) No comment please..
I heard of the history of the species, quite rare and only found on rare coastal islands and of how they made their nest in a cavity lined with wood pulp and how the children are born, only two at a time from May to Sept.
How they never call one another at night when hunting,they are silent and as their sight is the best of any bird in the WORLD they are able to swoop so quickly on the unsuspecting prey..... As I looked at her and those large talons I did not need any imagination.
She was called The Powerful Owl (Ninox Strenua) and underneath she was a beautiful soft white, her wings were tipped with brown specks ....
It was then I woke up, and sitting on a low branch beside me was a powerful owl with I thought a smile on her face, either that or a look of "What's for lunch"
Then she was gone, up up and away to the top of the large pine tree... I looked up but could not see her or the nest.
It was time to explore the island I had already been here for over 24 hours and Angelina said she would be back for me tomorrow night , all being well whatever that meant, perhaps if the sea was calm or rough.
Which way to go was the question..... North, South, East or West .. I threw a stick into the air and whatever way it pointed on landing was my chosen path.... I forget completely that I had a small compass in my purple back pack, silly me.
So off I went in a northerly direction .. I was feeling peckish so finished off my last piece of stale bread and a morsel of cheese... holding out on the apple hoping I might find something edible on this barren outcrop.
I crossed hillocks and rock patches sandy areas and a few sparse small trees before I could see in the distance a rocky outcrop of buildings, some standing upright , others fallen over....I advanced carefully not knowing what might lurk behind the once upon a time inhabitated building.... But there was nothing I could hear but the whistling wind from the sea.
It was then I saw a rusty bucket with a metal rope attached hanging above a circular concoction... It was a well, and as I rushed toward it I didn't for one moment think that if there was water below that it might not be drinkable.
I wound the chain by the handle down into the dark bottomless hole ,listening until I could hear the splash of water ... I was just about at the end of the metal chain when I heard the flop as it hit the right level where the water lay.
Then the long task of winding it up to the top, much heavier this time, hoping that it was the water in it that made the difference... It seemed an eternity coming but as it reached the top I could see when I looked into the bucket/pail that the water was as clear as clear and reflected my face in it...
I smiled and the water smiled back at me,I cupped my hand in,raised it to my mouth and drank quickly,I was thirsty.
It had been over 12 hours since I had last tasted liquid.
I had never tasted water this sweet, it was cold and a slight, very slight flavour of pine, perhaps I thought from the trees on the island that were only this genus.I filled my water bottle to the top, wet my hankerchief,washed my face, rinsed my mouth, splashed it under my arms ,l et it trickle between my toes, run it through my tangled curly hair..... I felt so good.. Food did not enter my thoughts at this time. Water is the staff of life so I had heard ....
I would not wander to much further as I had to remember the journey back to the jetty was a good 6 hours, so I decided to explore the ruins as I now knew them to be and see perhaps if there were any clues, perhaps remnants, writings etc etc of who it was had once long ago settled or perhaps was marooned on Owl Island......To Be Continued........................
Golden Oak Grove and White Ladies
Leaving, leaving -
in the morning -
Special isle of wonders.
Rents and cracks repaired by white
fine and soft.
Many lands and many eyes
to see at last
a golden grove of
My pen was still and
now is freed,
to write and dream.
But tonight I lie
on a forget-me-not bed
and listen to the
beat of ladies in white -
Carvings of the Great White Owl
since Oman Mishogan carved the sign of the
Great White Owl, Ruler and Majesty and left it on the Island . This week the priestess, walking in the garden found the carving in the Garden of the Moonflower and brought it, with ceremony to the prow of the Island. Tonight their will be a sacred dance and a raising. Tonight the in the Circle of the Queen there will be dancing. All guests are asked to wear white. The Secretary
On Owl Island
I felt quite exhausted, I hadn't even taken a turn at rowing with Angelina,what on earth would make me tired.
Perhaps magic does this,what I have seen,experienced,learnt,passed on to others etc etc would make anyone feel faint.....
I rested under a large pine tree in among the needles which were thick on the ground.
I dozed for a few hours and awoke to the loud chirping and singing of the birds above my head.
Time to get up and going they sang ,I knew what their message was loud and clear.
The hill was steep, rocky in parts, sparse in vegetation blown by the wind in such an exposed place ... Tusset plants and prickly cacti and assorted leaning bushes did not make for a beautiful vista.
I slowly made my way up to the top of the hill,sipping on my bottle of water as I stepped it out ,counting stopped at 600,too much breath to be wasted...Why bother I thought ,as long as I get there in one piece.
I reached the summit (I called it) having never done any real mountain climbing before,this was by way my Pie'ce de resistance.(Hope this is ok)
As I looked across the wide expanse of vegetation I noticed a large clump of pine trees standing alone on the next small hill below ...Among the green of the pines there appeared to be white flecks ,from high up they looked like pieces of fine material...I shook my head ,took out my reading glasses and looked again.
No material in sight but I caught just at that moment a flock of white birds going out toward the sea.... Quite large heads ,rather plump in size ,big eyes ,and then they were gone.. I could not put a name to them ,strange birds I had not seen before down on the sea shore where I live.... I waited awhile and then trudged down the very steep mountain (I call it) ,carefully so as not to lose my footing..... On reaching the bottom I walked across the bare ground to the clump of pine trees I had seen from the top of the hill..... There were feathers everywhere ,all over the ground making a blanket as if a ready made bed for travellers who may be in need of a rest I thought.
Looking up I could see nests atop the tall pines and on listening I could hear the noise of chirping baby birds,loud squealing ,squalking, none in tune..... The cry of babies calling for their mother for food
(We women do all the work I said to myself) .... The noise was deafening ..How could anyone sleep through this,well it was day time after all and one shouldn't be sleeping (Except if one is older) They would quieten down at night after being fed I hoped....
Talking of food I was feeling peckish myself, so I rumaged in my purple nap-sack for a serviette I had wrapped some cheese and bread in and an apple from Duwamish Bay,delicious apples they are too.
So I sat among the feathers and tried to ignore the noise above as I ate my lunch...
That was the last thing I remember as I opened my eyes and realised I had dozed off again ,it was getting dark and the noise above my head had settled down to a mere chirp chirp of satisfaction as the little ones ate their dinner from the mouth of their Mothers....
I will continue my story tomorrow as urgent jobs such as feeding Jessie Dog await me ...
Lois.(Muse of the Sea)
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
White Owl Island
White Owl island
It turned out that Madame Livia had been in communication with the Enchantress while I was in her bookshop and, by some special arrangement between the Enchantress and the Magiratha, had managed to organise a trip for me to White Owl Island to meet the Magiratha. She had told me to be at the harbour at 4 o'clock and to look for a boat with a white owl painted on it. So here I was, punctual to the minute, looking around for the boat.
The little boat was easy to spot and I walked eagerly to the edge of the quay and announced my presence to the young fisherman in the boat. He told me his name was Alec and that he would take me out to the island. His mop of brown curly hair lifted slightly in the breeze and a huge smile lit his sun-burned face when he talked. I handed him 5 owlets - special coins with a picture of an owl on them - the price of my trip.
He pushed the boat away from the quay and we were off. I installed myself in the bow of the boat and wrapped my swansdown cape around me to keep me warm and dry. Although it had been warm enough on shore, now out at sea there was a distinct chill. The water was a deep blue with little crests of white. Tall cliffs loomed on our left and sea birds called to us as we passed.
We were in open water now and headed towards a small dot on the horizon. Alec increased the speed of the boat and we soon reached the cliffs of White Owl Island. He took the boat into a small cove with a small rocky quay at which he anchored and helped me to climb out of the boat. He told me to make my way up the cliff path and I would be met. He told me that he would be waiting for me when I returned.
I slowly walked up the path, not really knowing what to expect. I soon became aware of a whisper of wings in the air and looked up to see first one and then two and then three snowy owls hanging in the air above me. They greeted me with soft tuwit tuwhoos and their big yellow eyes gleamed like lamps in the now setting sun. As I neared the top of the path I could see the outline of a woman silhouetted against the sky.
She waited until I had reached the top and then took my hands in hers. "Welcome to White Owl island. I am here to take you to meet the Magiratha (or Owl as she is also known). Please come with me." By now the sun had gone down completely and the sky was lit with the most fabulous sunset.
Glow worms started to light up along our path and the moon slowly rose in the sky, a bright orange harvest moon. I hadn't realised until now that there would be a full moon this night. I could still hear the whisper of wings and knew that the owls were keeping us company. We were walking along a path of springy turf, which I guessed would be home to a multitude of rabbits by day. The sky was beginning to light up as the stars came out. It was going to be an exceptionally clear night. The woman's warm hand squeezed my own as she urged me on. My heartbeat quickened.
At length we came to an elevation with a single stone in the middle and a rowan tree. Four priestesses were waiting. After a short ceremony during which the stone wass annointed with honey and a star sapphire touched to my forehead I was led to the entrance of the labyrinth. I passed between the stones that form the entrance. I bore in my mind that a labyrinth is not a maze. It's more of a spiral. A journey with no false passages. No blind alleys. Walking in a maze we could be lost. Walking a spiral path requires only the knowledge that it is a path and not a maze. The road may curve. Directions may change. Sometimes we'll be walking the opposite direction for a while. After only a few minutes I emerged in the centre.
The White Owl was standing before me. I bowed before her holding my hands, palms upwards, towards her. The question I wished to ask her is hovering at the back of my mind. She said softly "I am a mirror to those who come through the winding way. I vow to be the sealer as well as the revealer. What is your question?"
"How can I make the most of this journey?" The owl gave me this blessing: "travel with your eyes and ears open. Listen to the wind. Be aware. Speak not only with your mouth but your heart. You will see much and you should spread the word of what you have experienced. Go in peace with the wind oh daughter".
I thanked her with all my heart and left her a handful of seed pearls in reconaissance. Unnoticed, the priestesses had followed me through the labyrinth and now led me out, along the turf path and back to the small stone jetty where Alec was waiting for me. As he took me back to Duwamish the sun was just rising, streaking the sky with crimson, pink and gold.
"I will go where the wild goose goes, on wings of joy, winging ever south to my heart's desire."
Visiting Owl Island
Why I travel at night I do not know,perhaps it seems more magical.I love the moon,the stars,the cooler breeze of the sea, the stillness after the hustle and bustle of the busy day.
I travel to the shoreline of the bay ,the jetty looked eerie in the moonlight ..
I wondered if the Priestess was up at this hour of the night,especially after a busy day rowing this one and that across the bay to Owl Island.
I alighted from my raven taxi after paying the fare (which was reasonable , same price day and night, no extra charge).
I saw her form and shadow in the clear water ,she faced the water, sitting on a cane chair in the shape of a large heart, her long emerald green fine cotton skirt and a dark midnight blue fluffy warm looking coat, long touching the ground....
Of course she needed to be warm if she was venturing out at sea in the night air....
She heard me,turned around and smiled."Hello there night-owl" she said.."You must be one like me, one who loves the evening time of quiet contemplation".
I answered "How did you know "I asked..
"There is always one of you about, and that is my role , to be here when needed"
It sounded something my Mother Jessie would say I thought.
I asked of her a favour, if she could row me across to Owl Island if it was not too late.
"Know the way with my eyes closed" she said...."By the way my name is Angelina "Not called after an angel" she added hastily...."I think my ancestors liked our names to sound romantic and mysterious" ....
I wondered why I was called Lois by mine, but at this late stage in life it did not keep me awake at night wondering.
"Do you have your boarding pass?" asked Angelina .. I handed it to her, she popped it into her purple coat pocket, beckoned me to climb on to the jetty steps leading into the boat, and to rug up against the chill of the night.
This done,we set off.
Angelina I noticed had very strong arms, muscles only seen on labourers I thought, but when observing her strokes in rowing the boat and how smoothly it glided across the water I knew where her strength was gained.
We chatted on the 15 minute journey , this and that, travelling, myths ,gorgons, ravens, donkeys. She was not happy talking about Baba Yaga so I let it slide as I got the message that she had a run in with her at some time, and it did not go well.
We pulled into shore to a small wooden landing, Angelina threw a rope , perfectly tying us to the landing as it slipped down a huge round pole which was used to pull the boat closer as to alight.
"What do I owe you Angelina?" I asked...
" No charge, this one is on me" A favour I might call up one day, you never know" she said..
With that , she changed her place in the boat ,turned it out to sea and was gone .. I watched for a while until she disappeared into the light fog settling over the water. Just in time I thought.
I set off with my small purple rucksack with its many odds and ends I had carried since arriving in Umbria, it was like a part of me... an extra appendage. I could not do without, it had seen me through many ups and downs and had kept me safe form dangerous situations..... So here I was on Owl Island. What would I find on this tiny piece of land in the middle of sea that surrounded it, much like Australia I thought ,totally surrounded by sea , the whole continent sat in a large ocean......
What would I find as I walked up the hill toward a large outcrop of trees I could see when the moon came from behind the clouds and lit up my path.
Lois (Muse of the Sea)
Monday, September 19, 2005
The wisdom of silence
I tread a secret pathway
and knowing nothing of this place
Flowers bloom on either side
mishapen blossom have no scent
Long branches bar my steps
I trip and fall
run swiftly knowing no end to this
Strange birds whistle and call
cry wild cry free
these are birds of color not of song
The voice of the rivers waters
oaths? or instructions? all flow
from the high centre
ocean reflects this tropic moon
Night shadow falls, I stand
at the base
of the great white gum
Look upward, upward, as at last
I hear her voice
watch her wings spread
wide above and ask, "O Great White Mother
bird of the forest
what word have you for me?"
"No word, my child, no word from me.
Listen to the wind, the stars, the wave
Your way is yours
The Wyse White Owl
From the moment I read Traveller's excerpts about The Wyse Wymen of the White Owl and the accompanying prayer, I have felt so at home with this story. Le Enchanteur's invitation to visit the Wyse White Owl encouraged me to come to the isle.
Sitting in the boat with the priestesses, and listening to the hum of their Creation Chant, I felt at one with the rythms of their song, despite the fact that I couldn't understand what they were saying. On arriving at the isle, the boat is moored and the priestesses invite me to follow them.
I am filled with excited anticipation as I follow the priestesses to the home of the White Owl. I watch in silence while certain rituals are performed around the Stone. As I approach the realm of The White Owl, I feel a sadness welling up inside.
The owl says "I am a mirror to those who come through the winding way. I vow to be the sealer as well as the revealer. What is your question?"
How would I manage if I was on my own?
The beautiful White Owl looks at me with those wonderfully knowing eyes and tells me that I have all the wisdom within me, and that I will know what to do when the time comes. She reminded me that I have always shown a resourcefulness and have known where to get support when I have needed it.
From my pocket, I take a beautiful gemstone and place at the base of the tree where the White Owl rests. I am filled with consolation and peace as I follow the priestesses through the labyrinth to the boat that will take me back to Duwamish.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Great White Owl
I took something I had brought from the Hermitage with me, out of my cloak. It had been from the past, long ago, and had been cracked. I knew the Great White Owl wanted me to put it down at the base of the tree among the leaves there, so I did. Then I stood back and closed my eyes for a moment. After opening them again I turned around to look into the darkness, not fearing it.
When I turned back, knowing I could, there was something else there. The Great White Owl had magically reformed my cracked vessel, that I had intended to leave behind. Instead, it had been restored and could be taken back to the Hermitage. But by its side, lit by the full moon, was a colourful object. I heard a flutter of wings and saw a flash of white, then nothing.
I collected my precious items quickly into the folds of my cloak and hurried away, in wordless thanks at what had occurred just after dusk, in the realms of the Great White Owl.
I could make my way back, now.
copyright words and images Monika Roleff 2005.
Meditation on the Island
Wandering the island, I lost all sense of time. Looking at my wrist I noticed my watch was no longer there. As I walked the magical paths my mind went back to an ancestor and an image of an ancient woman I had long buried, but perhaps long buried is not the word. If there was one thing I had learned so far, it was that nothing was ever buried for good, rather it was always lingering at the edge of reality, waiting to be rediscovered.
There was a landscape I crossed that was full of particularly whimsical flowers, reminding me of small things. Wisdom Tales, meaning of time and place, things from childhood. Stories, whole universes, things handed down to me. My great grandfather appeared to me amongst these flowers and then others came too, similarly possessing a love of nature, and inclusive life. Reminding me.
Until nightfall I wandered and meditated on these memories, and then curled up in a bed of white forget-me-nots until morning crept over the bountiful landscape. On waking I saw the ferrywomen, who had come back, wearing bright gowns, to take me across to an isle within the island, where I would find the Great White Owl....
copyright word and image Monika Roleff 2005.
Episode 6. Visit to White Owl Island.
I was somewhat excited, and relieved, to have arrived that evening at Dumwash Bay. It had been a long and arduous journey. My "mentor" Sophie had assured me that the period of tough initiation was over, that a more festive period was ahead. She had provided the only diversion and relaxation I had experienced so far, at the Bath House. I was anticipating an R&R at Dumwash Bay to match the experiences I had had already on this incredible journey. However I decided to delay joining the boisterous Gypsy Camp roustering nearby. To join them at this point in their revelries, in spite of the welcoming vibes that had drifted my way, seemed akin to arriving sober at a University Engineering Ball when it had obviously been underway for some time. So I slept beneath a sycamore tree. A sound dream-free sleep.
Next morning I awoke early, and as I surmised, the Gypsy Camp was silent. A few cards and discarded pieced of clothing scattered around testified to their riotous evening. The ashes of their bonfire were cold. I was correct...a night of carousing had dampened and silenced them. Obviously they were evening people. I, on the other hand, since I had entered this parallel world, had become a morning person. As I said, it was a time of strange happenings.
Idling its motor at a pier I hadn't noticed the previous evening, was the prototype of a catamaran. Painted white with the morning dew still clinging. Sophia was at the helm, waiting, as if she knew I would be there.
" Come on now" she said. and intimated that I should join her. " We are going to White Owl Island."
Not commenting on the inappropriate motor, just glad not to be paddling again, I hopped in. Again she had provided a much needed meal...this time smoked salmon in scrambled eggs on Potato rosti. This was a guide after my own heart! The craft cut a suprising speed through the swell and across the lake to a small island. No habitation was visible. Cutting the motor, we drifted in . All was silence as we approached.
"He sleeps during the day", she said. "It's the only time you can observe him. " Noone really knows where he goes each night". I thought of the two owls who occasionally spent their day on a limb of my magnolia grandifolia...heads tucked in and perfectly blended with the tree trunk. And then, rarely, the powerful owls who swooped after dark from the trees nearby craning to see if the fluffy maltese I was walking was dinner fodder. Sometimes, in the early hours of the morning, I could hear their mating calls. But White Owls: that would be a novelty.
We followed a path which wound around the island, sometimes through stands of dense foliage and at other times open woodland. As we climbed, the sun rose higher and the ocean sparkled when we were able to catch a glimpse. We paused for breath under a rocky overhang.
" Look up!" Sophia whispered. There, carved into the face of the cliff , was a very large representation of an Owl. White, because of the white granite into which it was carved which underpinned the summit of the island. It was majestic, beautiful and indeed, old. The myriad of paintings and messages posted in a nearby sheltered glade showed this to be a place of pilgrimage. I then understood that those who make the journey to Dumwash Bay would be wise to pay their respects to the White Owl. In fact, expected to do so. Remembering some similar Shinto traditions, I clapped my hands to alert his spirit to my presence, bowed, and clapped my departure. In silence, reflecting on what this morning had brought to me, we retraced our steps to the boat.
The Great White Owl
Looked out to sea.
He seemed so wise,
Would he whisper to me?
Words of wisdom?
Words of love?
A conduit of messages
From those above?
To bring a tear.
Of disaster or fear.
I wanted, implored him
To speak to me,
The sectrets of life
But implaccably silent
Never shifted his gaze.
His message of stillness,
And silence, each day.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
White Owl Island Dreaming
Still singing low, the ferrywomen left me at the sandy shores of White Owl Island. I was a bit disoriented, but this improved as the wind slowed and the land was still. I breathed in and out and looked around. Ahead of me was thick scrub. I loosened my cloak and slipped across the sand with light steps.
On closer inspection, I saw that the way was barred by Old Man Banksia and She Oak trees. I gazed at their hardy display in wonder, and remembered. A wild smell of honey came from beyond the scrub. Smiling, I remembered my very distant ancestors. I felt the strange urge to bow and touch the earth, and did so. At once the trees parted to allow me passage.
It soon became evident the wild honey came from a profusion of melaleuca bushes, their bright white flowers sticky with fragrant nectar. From there most things were light, bright, sweet, wild. I explored the land on foot, then, watching for signs on the way to The Great White Owl's Nest.
copyright word and image Monika Roleff 2005.
Friday, September 16, 2005
The White Queen's Arrival
Return from White Owl Island
Now I am not sure what I will do with my free time here in Duwamish. I might wander down to the Gypsy encampment by the bridge or I might return to the bath-house where the Ferry Women and Priestesses bathe. My room in the Inn is very comfortable and from my window I can see the light house on White Owl Island and mentally plot the path I walked to meet White Owl.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Visit the Wyse White Owl
There are barges lined up at the Duwamish Bay jetty ready to take the initated to Wyse Owl Island for an interview with the Owl herself.
When you approach you recognise the barge, with four priestesses ready to row you across the lake to the island. Pause
As you row across to the Island the priestesses chant a creation song.
Upon arrival, they lead you, in procession, pass the Owl Island Inn, up the hill, past the light house keepers house with the red roof, and on towards the nest of the Owl. Islanders stop to watch as you pass. Pause
Once you reach the Stone,outside the Owl's dwelling a priestess dips some water from the lake into a small crystal amphora (vase) and poures it over the stone, saying: “I cover thee with the veil of An. Thou art anointed with my vow to thee. Henceforth shall I keep my way in thy Light, for I am that which you are, the Way of Creation through the labyrinth of Path.”
Then the priestess oracle reaches into a small golden bowl of honey held by the other priestesses accompanying her, and places the silken amber upon her hands. She ‘washes her hands’ with the honey, which came from the most sacred of hives, and then from her hands, she coats the Stone ( token portion of it) with the honey, saying: “I return to the hive of my fortune. I guardian of the sweetness of the wisdom of Past, Present and Future.” Pause
Another priestess holds a blue star sapphire to your forehead and says, “Behold, she who guardians the labyrinth of Ashara, she comes in the night, she sleeps in the day. She holds the star before her, she gives birth to the sun.” Pause
You enter the realm of the White Owl, via a labyrinthine path, respectfully, holding a question in your mind. Pause
The Owl says "I am a mirror to those who come through the winding way. I vow to be the sealer as well as the revealer. What is your question? Pause
You ask your question, seek the wisdom you need to sustain you through this creative journey.
The Owl speaks. Pause
You humbly thank her and quietly leave a gift. The priestesses, in formation, lead you back throught the labyrinth, down to the village, past the inn and back to the barge and row you back to Duwamish where the sun is just rising over the jetty.
Recall and share your experience here.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Wyse wymen of the White Owl
The priestess oracles of Lemuria and Atlantis, as well as some other early sacred sites, were known as ‘Magiratha’, or ‘Wyse Wymen of the White Owl’. Other than the White Owl, their sacred symbols were the Rowan and Oak trees, the honeybee, the blue star sapphire, and the labyrinth (often in the form of a labyrinth-cave). The labyrinth was their symbol as it represented the spiral path one must take in order to receive true wisdom.
A Magiratha was ‘sworn to the Stone’; that is, she took vows before a large white stone in the centre of a ceremonial pool, which represented the isle of ‘Ava’ in the lake of ‘An’. A labyrinth of dark stone was set into the bottom of the pool, encircling the Stone underwater. There was a mythical legend in which a large honeybee bore a young maiden to the centre of a sacred lake. He told her that he would create a ‘land of honey’ in the waters for her if she would keep watch over the sacred lake and sing it into the ‘New Creation’. She agreed, and he made an island for her of spun honey where she dwelt, and there she sang her song of creation. As she sang, so her isle of honey became a white cube stone, the foundation of the New Creation, and the lake of An became the cosmic sea, filled with star fish of the New Heaven. The Goddess Ashara, who had sent her honeybee to carry the maiden to the lake, threw her necklace of sea pearls into the lake and it coiled into a labyrinth about the Stone. So long as the maiden chanted the holy song, only those who carried the mark of the New Creation upon their foreheads would make their way through the labyrinth of Ashara to the Sacred Stone. The Foundation Stone contained the imprint or template of the New Heaven and Earth. This myth is part of a greater Creation Myth. We only excerpt a small portion of it in order than you may feel the sacredness of the vows the oracles swore upon the Stone.
As a Magiratha entered the lake on a golden barge, rowed by four priestesses and accompanied by another Magiratha or Mage, she began to chant the Creation Song. The words of this song were highly cryptic and meant to be comprehended only by the initiated. Once she reached the Stone, she dipped some water from the lake into a small crystal amphora (vase) and poured it over the stone, saying: “I cover thee with the veil of An. Thou art anointed with my vow to thee. Henceforth shall I keep my way in thy Light, for I am that which you are, the Way of Creation through the labyrinth of Ptah.” Then the priestess oracle would reach into a small golden bowl of honey held by the other Magiratha accompanying her, and place the silken amber upon her hands. She would ‘wash her hands’ with the honey, which came from the most sacred of hives, and then from her hands, she would coat the Stone ( token portion of it) with the honey, saying: “I return to the hive of my fortune. I guardian the sweetness of the wisdom of Past, Present and Future.” Then the other Magiratha held a blue star sapphire to the new priestess-oracle’s forehead and spoke, “Behold, she who guardians the labyrinth of Ashara, she comes in the night, she sleeps in the day. She holds the star before her, she gives birth to the sun.” The Magiratha taking her vows would then bend to gaze upon her reflection in the lake, and speak these words: “I am a mirror to those who come through the winding way. I vow to be the sealer as well as the revealer. I guard that which is for those who taste the sweetness of the fruit of the tree. I therefore set the serpent upon the path and the bee above the throne.” Through this cryptic vow, the Magiratha had sworn to impart the knowledge she was opened to receive in a way that only those who were true adepts of the wisdom therein could understand.
The underlying principle of this act as concealed in the vow is thus: knowledge of the Greater Akashic must be truly valued by the soul and commanded through wisdom and integrity in the mind. To accomplish this, one who receives this knowledge has to be an initiate of the Labyrinthine Path leading to the Stone of Wisdom, and ordained to the Light within the Word. Such truths made plain for the lesser mind do not raise the seeker into his / her spiritualized Mind-Heart, where the wisdom of the knowledge is suffused into every fibre of the being. This is the most profound intention within the communication of the knowledge from the Greater Akashic translated through the priestess oracle, to the adept-initiate.
Wyse Wymen of the White Owl and the Lunar Mysteries
The Women gather around the Moonstone. Their eyes shine with the light of the stars. Their bodies are filled with star light. Their hair pours from the font of the sun in strands of gold, red, brown and black. It is flame licking their shoulders. Their skin gleams like the petals of lotus tongues. Their faces are moonlight caught in pools of the earth, flinging their images back into the sky. The Women are bold yet not concerned with boldness. They are at peace, yet do not seek peace. They are LOVE, but their mouths know not the formation of the words of love. They become one with the Moonstone, baring its single white tooth to the heavens. It marks the distance from nothing to nowhere. As the Women hold the note of Love among them, so the Moonstone glows brighter and seems to take on a living, human form. She Becomes...her limbs outstretch, her face tilts upward, and her eyes are planets in the starry firmament. Out of every soul of the Women, so SHE is given her nature...and that nature is divine.
info from http://www.spiritmythos.org/holy/ROA/wysewm/whtowl.htm
The Great White Owls Prayer
Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world - hear me.
I come before you, one of your children.
I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever
Behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
My ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may know
The things you have taught my people,
"And Let Me Learn With Wisdom
The Things You Wish Me To Know From Nightingale
To Understand That Which Is My Task
And That Which Is The Duty of Others
To Measure A Spirit With No Bigotry
To Do All These Tasks Led By Your Hand
To Complete These Tasks For Thy Purpose
And let me know"
The lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers,
But to be able to fight my greatest enemy,
Make me ever ready to come to you,
With clean hands and straight eyes,
So when life fades as a fading sunset,
My spirit may come to you without shame.
"Let Me Cross Over To The Meadow
To Greet My Ancestors With Tears Of Joy"
Equa Unega Wahuhi, The Great White Owl
Adapted from The Native American Prayer of : Yellow Hawk, Sioux Chief
In Romania, it is said that the souls of repentant sinners fly to heaven as Snowy Owls.
In Scottish Cailleach-oidhche gheal means White Owl or lit. White Old Wife/Crone Of The Night and Cailleach-bhàn means White Owl or lit. White hag (also used for Snowy Owl)
May you always hear the whisper of wings