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October 25/New Moon
the ouroboros, endorsements, loss and sorrow
Today is the new moon. The 2022 Midterm Election falls two weeks from today, on the Full Moon. The light reflected back to us from the face of the moon will grow and grow between now and then, until that day, at 5:02 am, when it hits the full mark and begins to wane. It will appear full to all of us here on earth for a few days before and a few days after that pinpoint in time.
Today we end the lunation at the very place we begin the next. This is the point where the snake eats its own tail, the Ouroboros. It signifies infinity or wholeness. A stolen and altered quote from Jung says: “The ouroborous is said to slay themselves and bring themselves to life, fertilize themselves and give birth to themselves.” That is what we are to do again and again. Let go of the old and begin with the new.
So yes, I will begin this post where everything begins and ends at once, and slip in a link to this week’s podcast below. This episode is a simple 10 breath movement meditation for the new moon. For those of you following along with the series, this is the true ending.
I have been traveling all over to deliver the National Center for Education Statistic’s HS&B longitudinal survey to the young people of the Northern Midwest. The center was in the news yesterday after releasing a report from a different study than mine on how much slide there has been in math and reading performance.
The release of that news coincided with wellspring of grief that had enveloped me on my return. It kinda hit me out of nowhere, the sadness for the ways the young people have suffered during the years of the pandemic, the pandemic that both continues and is over. The kids have lost a lot. Not the least of which are math and reading scores. Also idealism and expectations. Much can and will be learned from loss. But that doesn’t lessen the occupation of feeling it, which is the only way to process anything. Sorrow wants to move, like all other emotions and I already see some young people are getting on their feet with a beauty and dignity that is inspiring. But for so many of them it will take longer because our Nation is stratified and some are starving. We all have different styles and strengths, and not all things are measured in the same way anyway.
I am reminded of the story of the tortoise and the hare. Taking time, the tortoise builds strong foundations. Foundations that can’t be toppled by the arrogance of the hare. The kids are not alright, and yet with time maybe they could be better than before. Let’s drag our feet against the solar time of Manifest Destiny, and take some time in the right here and now with attention and compassion - that’s the only formula I know for healing. Our greatest resource is our young people.
As I crossed South Dakota this past week heading west and I stopped at Dignity who looks back east as she stands on the high banks of the Missouri River. In Chamberlin, I learned of the linguistic difference between the Dakota, the people who's sacred home, Bdote, is near my home, and the Lakota, the people from where Dignity’s home, and the third group, the Nakota, with lands in the south. All three peoples use familiar words, but these alveolar sounds (d,n, and l) have different stop articulations on the breath. How yogic is that? There is a rich, orderliness to language sometimes showing much by how your tongue allows the vibration of air to slide out of your mouth.
I was born here in Southern Minnesota where the Dakota people were driven away from their sacred lands by the settlers and the US and Minnesota government who had taken the lands from them. The government had begun starving the Dakota by not fulfilling their treaty agreements, much like our government has been starving our public schools. According to Dee Brown, in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Little Crow and other elders of the Dakota didn’t want war, but the young people were angry and the elders knew it was rightfully so. The elders were loyal to their youth and the war culminated with 38 warriors hanged on December 26, 1862 in Mankato and later 2 of the chiefs.
I was born in Mankato and only began learning about the mass execution in the past 10 years. I can only imagine that my elders were silenced by embarrassment and mortification to have let that treatment of a Nation of people come to pass. I can’t imagine they participated, but perhaps they had? Standing in the throngs of people who yelled and threw things as Dakotan women and children passed by. Fear and anger have a way of turning us ugly, that is why we have to be vigilant in caring for our emotions. And secrets have a way of festering and growing and living on beneath the surface. Until we get to where we are now.
I have long felt a great loss at having grown up without relationships with the indigenous peoples who's land my people have come to live on. Although I live with tokens of the original people everywhere. Their language sounds in so many place names here in Minnesota and their iconography in so many signs. And tokenism isn't what I want. I have steeped myself in evidence of their thriving. Literature, art, music, museums, festivals, friendships. And have worked hard to learn about Minnesota’s wrong doing and understand how it could have happened. I know I am not the only one. 1
Maybe you have too.
This is all to say, I am doing the best to undo my generational Karma, although I don’t really know what my ancestors thought and did, they were swept along in the privileged side of Manifest Destiny. We have a history of nasty karma here in the US. And Halloween is as good as any time to revisit it. Actually in my preteen teaching at Common Ground we made it a habit to read the story of Angulimala at Halloween. It is a Buddhist story of a mass murderer. A man who went around during the Buddha’s time and collected a necklace of fingers to count every person he had killed. He was going for 1000. And had set his sites on the Buddha, who would produce the thousandth finger. But try as he would, even though the Buddha was walking at a normal pace, Angulimala could not catch up to him (Does this remind you of the Tortoise and the hare? It has similarities in both speed and arrogance). When he couldn’t catch him and couldn’t understand why, Angulimala decided to learn from the Buddha. Despite the fact that Angulimala had done so many horrible things, the Buddha allowed him to become his servant. Angulimala had to endure many humiliating and painful accidents due to his years of misdeeds. That was his Karma. He served dutifully for many many years before his karma would be worked away. Ironically, his work turned out to be with women in childbirth.
To hear me read the whole story, go here.
His story is to show that with humility and service, karma can be worn away.
Biden and the cabinet of people he has put into place, are doing their best to work away our karma. And I know, it will require time and continued service. They have managed to do a lot with the slim majority they have and the intense obstructionism and hypocrisy of MAGA Republicans.
So this is my plug, at the ending of the last moon cycle and leading into this next one, please vote for democrats. I would never have made a partisan plea in the past. I would have not wanted to participate in the lumping of a group into one mass stereotype. But the Republican leadership in power has gone along with January 6 and election denialism for money and power. It is wrong and I have to speak out. They have shown again and again that they hold nothing but arrogance for the rule of law and what’s best for all people. So much so that they have gone and broken their own party. I am with Sarah Longwell from the Republican Accountability Project and the many other republicans that have said this, the Republican Party is over.
So here’s my plea, to all of you wishin the range of my voice, and to the young people especially, we need your anger and energy to get you to the poles. We haven’t left the young people much to work with and I’m sorry. Please participate while you still can, voting is one of the last tools we have. Participate as if your life depended on it. Participate as if this is your last chance.
As I see it, this is the only way to live from now on.
Much love, Tina.
Below are a couple of my endorsements:
Please vote for Kieth Ellison for Attorney General. In all the malevolent campaign smearing that zaps our energy and our interest, do not forget his amazing work during the trial of Derek Chauvin: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/21/us/keith-ellison-chauvin-trial.html.
And for sure our Governor has. Here is his apology from Indian Country Today January 7, 2020. Thank you, Governor Walz. Also I love our indigenous Lt. Governor Flanagan. They both were amazing through the pandemic and our summer of unrest after the murder of George Floyd.