I received the schedule for the Conference on Women and the Divine and, of course, looked swiftly through the listings to find out what panel I was on. I'm not on a panel. My solo presentation will open programming on Saturday morning, the second day of the conference. What an honor, but -- eek! -- how terrifying! So I realized I had to rethink my approach a little. It's quite different to be responsible for holding the entire audience enthralled rather than simply being one of three or four people who have to do so.
Naturally, I woke up at 4.30 this morning with a plan. I stumbled across the room and picked up my yellow pad and scribbled away, shaping a somewhat different approach, trying to balance information and participation. The amazing thing is that I can actually read it this morning! All too often when I scribble in my journal late at night it seems nothing but gibberish in the harsh light of day. Sometimes visions refuse to be caught -- how fortunate this is not one of those times.
I saw yet another turtle on my walk this morning (oh, the humidity!) and finally decided to look up what the turtle traditionally means as a totem animal. I found this:
Turtle: nurturer, protector, mother energy
"Many Natives refer to North America as Turtle Island, because their legends say that when the earth was covered with water, Turtle dove to the bottom of the oceans bringing up earth on its back so that the people could have a safe and dry home. Turtle is at home anywhere because it carries its home on its back. It does not become attached to places, for it is free to search for new opportunities wherever they may be found. When they sense danger, or are in uncomfortable and insecure settings, they withdraw into their shell, and are protected. If you have Turtle medicine, you value both the power of the earth, the waters of the earth, and the magic of the heavens, for Turtle symbolizes both the grounding quality of earth energy, and the magic of the mystical. Using Turtle energy can help you achieve real balance in your life and your spirit so that you don't get "stuck in the mud". Turtle's medicine includes a connection with the center, navigation skills, patience, self-boundaries, associated with the feminine, power to heal female diseases, respecting the boundaries of others, developing new ideas, psychically protecting oneself, self-reliance, tenacity, non-violent defense."
Seems a very appropriate symbol for this journey. It's funny -- there are spiders everywhere here at the colony. They're apparently also a symbol of creativity, so that seems likewise fitting. And of course, there are the springs everywhere! Inspiration around every bend in Eureka Springs.
Diane sent me an email with another turtle reference:
I have something interesting to add about turtles. I learned this from the Muses book I am reading now by Angeles Arrien. Much like Vainamoinen carved the first kantele from a pike, Hermes created the first lyre "by catching a large tortoise, cleaning out the shell, stretching cowhide over the opening...for the vertical frame, he used gracefully curving antelope horns to which he attached a yoke of wood...ancient writers, particularly poets, referred to the lyre as the "tortoise."
Wow -- that's really interesting! And the QOE sent me links about spider-lore that I will have to look at as well. So many things to fuel the imagination!
A good way to get an audience warmed up is by starting out saying "take my wife...please..." Works every time.
Oh, Elena -- you have the best ideas, always!
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