Wednesday, September 23, 2009

visit from a pair of swallowtails

Yesterday I noticed an awesome caterpillar on my front fence.  I could not remember what kind of butterfly it turned into, but I knew it was one not to kill.
Today, two of those caterpillars (or that one and a friend) had anchored themsevles to my house to become butterflies.  My friend was with me and together we remembered what they are: they are swallowtails.

I can't even remember last time I SAW a swallowtail. Or a butterfly of any kind. And here are two, growing in my yard. I looked it up and they are in their cocoons all winter and will hatch in the summer. I'll have to figure out how to protect them. The snowdrifts in that area will tear them to pieces.
I was on a website about swallowtail trying to figure out exactly what kind I have growing and it casually mentioned the importance of swallowtails in Mexican folklore and even provided a handy link for me to learn more.  I love it when people are organized.
From that site (emphasis mine):
 Many of the indigenous peoples of the New World hold butterflies in a special place in their culture. However, nowhere is the presence of butterfly motifs more prevalent than amongst the Aztec, Mixtec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Zapotec cultures of highland Mexico. For example, butterflies figured prominently in the life of the Aztecs, who dominated the Central Valley of Mexico between 1300 and 1523. At least two of their many deities were personifications of lepidoptera Xochiquetzal ("precious flower") and Itzpapalotl ("obsidian butterfly). The former closely resembles a Two-tailed Swallowtail while the latter is identified with the large silk moth, Rothschildia orizaba. Both deities were female and had many attributes.
   For example, Xochiquetzal was regarded as a mother goddess, goddess of love, goddess of flowers, as patron of all fine arts, as the symbol of beauty, as the symbol of fire, as the symbol of the spirits of the dead, as the patron of domestic laborers, and as the patron of warriors killed in battle. In fact, this goddess supposedly followed young warriors into battle and at their moment of death, coupled with them, clutching a butterfly between her lips!
   Itzpapalotl was a mother goddess, goddess of obsidian and knives, of human sacrifice and of war, the personification of the Earth, the patron of women who died in child birth, and more. The early Spanish chronicles state than when Quetzlcoatl (perhaps the Aztec's most beloved god-king) abolished human sacrifice as a response to Spanish dictates, butterflies were burnt alive as a sacred effigy.
Of course, I know all about Itzpapalotl (why else would my web site be called Obsidian Butterfly?) But I don't think I knew that Xochiquetzal was a butterfly goddess as well.   A swallowtail butterfly goddess.   Who symbolizes the spirits of the dead.  And in 2 days I saw 2, possibly 3, swallowtail caterpillars.
I am choosing to see this as a message from my beloved dead.  The caterpillars are to the west of my house, the home of the Pool of Souls, and one of my beloved dead crossed over 3 days ago. 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm no longer a bird lady :(

This morning when I got up and went to feed Lance, he was still asleep.  Usually he is awake and yelling long before I get up.  I brought the cage into the bathroom and he didn't want to come out. I got his medicine into him but he really didn't fight much and I had a really bad feeling.  I fed him and he went right back into the cage, no kisses or playing.  We went to eat and when we got home he was in the corner of the cage on the floor.  We stayed close to him all day.  He slept and didn't want to wake up.  He didn't eat or drink and his poops were very few and solid white (not like they should be).  Around 7:30 Willy called upstairs that Lance was dying.  He had fallen off the perch.  I took the cage into the bathroom and took him out.  I held him and we petted him and talked to him and gave him kisses.  He was just lying limp in my hands, breath rasping, feet unable to grasp.  He kept opening his beak and moving his tongue and I'd like to think he was trying to make kissy noises back to us.  He kept his eyes on me.  His final seizure was very gentle and fairly quick and then he was gone. I got him exactly 21 years ago.
Yesterday he was happy.  He was talking to me and to the cats, making crazy kissy noises and complaining that we were eating in front of him--he liked people food.
His kidneys had been going for months; he'd been on medicine every day since May and been super-hydrated at the vet's three times.  I knew it was coming.  And that it would hurt.  I feel like my chest is crushed.
I don't have any birds anymore.   What will I call the bird room?  
(cross posted to my Alzheimer's blog)
added later:
The day Lance died was 12 Eb in the Mayan calendar. Eb is the road, the path. We all follow many roads and paths, and even that day I recognized that my 21-year path as a bird owner, and Lance's life path, were ending. I am hoping that this is the end of death in my life, for a while, the end of lack, loss and limitation, and the beginning of a new path of prosperity and peace.
I just came across this poem online.

All Is Well

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
By Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)
Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Welcome to the 9th gate and a new Tzolkin!

Today is the 9th of 13 gates leading up to the 2012 event. (The 13th gate is 12-21-2012.) Today another new burst of energy will permeate our universe. I wonder what it will be? Has everyone finished integrating gate 8's energies?
Advertising is increasing for the 2012 movie. It's good, I guess, to make more people aware that something is going to happen in 3 years, but at the same time I hate that what the movie is spreading/advocating is a bunch of lies. 19 Mol 1 Imix

Monday, September 07, 2009

Are you a pagan? Take the pagan census and pass on the word!

The Pagan Census - Revisited

Take the survey here:

We are conducting an international survey of contemporary Pagans. If you
are a Pagan we would appreciate your taking the time to complete this survey.

This survey builds on an earlier one completed over twenty years ago,
primarily in the United States, which was conducted by Helen A. Berger and
Andras Arthen (of the EarthSpirit Community) entitled the Pagan Census. At the
time it was hoped that we could do a census of the entire Pagan population.
Although that was not possible the data that was collected was the largest
of it type and served as the basis of a book, Voices from the Pagan Census
by Helen A. Berger (with Evan Leach and Leigh S. Shaffer). The survey data
is now available on line at Murray Research Archive at Harvard University.

A number of scholars have noted that it would be helpful to have a
follow-up of that survey to see if and how the community has changed or remained
the same. The survey that follows uses many, although not all of the same
questions that were in the original survey to provide that comparison. There
are also new questions, for instance about the Internet, something that was
of little interest 20 years ago but is now, and some from other studies,
that again permit a comparison. This has resulted in the survey being
somewhat long--we appreciate your taking the time to complete it.

We realize that the categories found in questionnaires like this one
frequently do not do justice to the complexities of real life. For this reason,
a number of open-ended items have been included that allow for more nuanced
responses. You are also welcome to contact Helen A. Berger directly at
HBerger@wcupa. edu

Please inform other Pagans about this research project and feel free to
pass it along via e-mail or to post a link on appropriate blogs or websites.

Thanks for your help.