Monday, June 25, 2012
I went to the park where our Tai Chi community has been gathering for many years to practice and learn. A place where my friend Sue, who recently left us here on earth, spent many hours learning with me. It seemed like a good place to spend some time with her spirit. As I warmed up and then practiced forms I learned from her; Longevity Tree, Yang Application, Yang energy, Tiger and Longevity Mirror, I felt unusually connected with the forms' energy as I moved through them with Sue on this warm, breezy California afternoon. I closed out the session and looked down. In front of my feet was a perfectly intact crow feather. I picked it up and went back to my car. An American Indian with long black hair who keeps a old brindled dog as company walked by as I dialed Sue's son Todd’s phone to check in and tell him about the crow feather. Todd, who knows about animal medicine, was pleased. He told me that he felt the Crow was a very powerful messenger. Back at home I pulled out our Medicine Cards book and read up on the Crow. Here’s what it has to say: Crow knows the unknowable mysteries of creation and is the keeper of all sacred law. Since Crow is the keeper of sacred law, Crow can bend the laws of the physical universe and "shape shift." This ability is rare and unique. Few adepts exist in today's world, and fewer still have mastered Crow's art of shape shifting. This art includes doubling, or being in two places at one time consciously; taking on another physical form…. Crow medicine people are masters of illusion. All sacred texts are under the protection of Crow. Creator's Book of Laws or Book of Seals is bound in Crow feathers. Crow feathers tell of spirit made flesh. The law which states that "all things are born of women," is signified by Crow. Crow sees that the physical world and even the spiritual world, as humanity interprets them, are an illusion. There are billions of worlds. There are infinitude of creatures. Great Spirit is with all. If an individual obeys Crow's perfect laws as given by the Creator, then at death, he or she dies a Good Medicine death - going on to the next incarnation with a clear memory of his or her past. Crow is an omen of change. Crow lives in the void and has no sense of time. The Ancient Chiefs tell us that Crow sees simultaneously the three fates - past, present, and future. Crow merges light and darkness, seeing both inner and outer reality. If Crow medicine appears … you must pause and reflect on how you see the laws of the Great Spirit in relation to the laws of humanity. Crow medicine signifies a firsthand knowledge of a higher order of right and wrong than that indicated by the laws created in human culture. With Crow medicine, you speak in a powerful voice when addressing issues that for you seem out of harmony, out of balance, out of whack, or unjust, you must put aside your fear of being a voice in the wilderness and "caw" the shots as you see them. As you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth…. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life's mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape-shifted world of peace. Sue and I shared many commonalities. Early in my treatment for Brain Cancer my son Bobby encouraged me to return to practicing Tai Chi, and that was how I met her. Sue generously made it possible for me to take classes and within a year I was studying with her to become a teacher. The knowledge she shared has been instrumental in my healing. In addition to the benefits of Chi Kung and Tai Chi in general, new learning means new neuropathways, which, for a person who has had a craniotomy, is enormously beneficial. We also shared in supporting our respective creative endeavors. My poems helped her through the tectonic changes in the last 5 years of her life. The beauty she was able to create, her tiles and such, inspired me. In a word, it was loveable. Sue was a perfectionist, and I often felt puzzled by the tiles she rejected. Things really had to be right for her to sell a tile. Integrity was as important as the original artistic vision for her. The Smarter Cookies on the food table are my creation. Sue loved them and was incredibly supportive of my efforts to build a successful business around them. The picture of the cookie figure are a combination of Jay’s photography and Linda’s design wizardry. I have very much enjoyed being in the company and support of these artists. Sue, being the generous soul she was, would want you to enjoy something she loved, so if you haven’t already, please enjoy a cookie. Sharing them, and these words is my small tribute to Sue’s generous, creative and loving nature. I want to thank all who have followed their true natures by helping Jay and Sue in their times of need. Sue was there for all of us; she inspired us to our highest good. Postscript: How I lost the crow feather, which apparently wasn't 'mine' to have. I read this at Sue's life celebration yesterday, Sunday June 24th, 2012. During the celebration, I wore a felt hat with the crow feather tucked into the band. We celebrated Sue, and then the time of remembering for that day was over. We left, and somewhere walking to the car or on the ride home, I lost the feather. Todd called me the next day and we both decided that animal medicine isn't for us humans to own or keep. So, this account and tribute are all that is left. Sue's spirit was with us on Sunday, embodied in the feather and in so many other ways. I look forward to meeting up with her again. Perhaps she will touch me in the form a warm breeze, and maybe, again, if she sees fit she will leave another talisman to ponder. I gratefully acknowledge Jamie Sams and David Carson, the co-authors of Medicine Cards, for their wonderful work. A substantial chunk of this blog is an abridged version of their writing on Crow, a medicine card.