Grand Valley State University
Autumn 2012: Wednesdays, 6-8:50pm
Dr. Kathleen Jenks
Wednesday, 31 August 2011, 7:20am
Updated 26 August 2012
First, a warm welcome to my each of my "Life Journey" students. I am looking forward to our sharings of insights, ideas, questions, scholarship, laughter, creativity, and leaps in consciousness. This webpage is where I will post relevant links connected to the course in general as well as to the books you will be reading and discussing.
Links Relevant To:
YOUR FAIRY TALE
&/OR MYTHIC LIFE JOURNEYPAPER
by Remedios Varo, 1959
Fairy Tales & Folk Lore:
A wide range of Western lore.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brenda-peterson/wolves-endangered-species_b_942409.html
[Added 9/2/11]: If "Little Red Riding Hood" is one of your favorites, you'll find important insights in this HuffPost essay, updating the "brave" hunter versus "wicked" wolf theme. It's by Brenda Peterson, the author of one of the 4 books on your Recommended Books list for this course: I Want to Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth, which was named one of the "Top Ten Best Non-Fiction Books of 2010" by the Christian Science Monitor. She writes (at the book's link above): "I am the first liberal in generations among my Southern, conservative Christian family...." Additionally, there's a link to a video-taped interview from March 2011 (scroll down to it). Here's her website, which provides more information: http://www.literati.net/Peterson/Rumpelstiltskin, Spinner of Gold - Part I:
FYI: Brenda and I are scholar-advisors for the Black Earth Institute, so we're often in touch. I e-mailed her today to say I was putting a link to her HuffPost article on my GVSU page:...I'll add a link to this Red Rider/Wolf piece to the unlisted webpage I've created for my 43 students. May their generation finally be the one to turn this mess around.She responded:...So far in this terrible hunt, they've gunned down 3 wild wolves in Idaho. One male and one female with her pup. It takes a real man to gun down a pup! I'm hoping, like you, that by tracking the mythology that is driving hunts, we can defuse them. And show them for what they really are. And your wolf website was one of the most inspiring I've ever visited....For more on the lore and science of wolves and how they hold the environmental balance (i.e., "trophic cascades") of the regions in which they live, see the page to which Brenda was referring: Myth*ing Links' page on The Wolf.
You may wonder what all this has to do with a course called "Life Journey." The answer is that we experience our journeys on a planet called earth, among other animals, plants, and the elements. If other species are slaughtered to the point of extinction, and if the land, air, and water are so contaminated that we fall ill with cancers and other bodily malfunctions, our journeys will be severely impacted. They might even be so diminished that we no longer see any point in continuing to live. Everything is connected, all of it -- whether in wonder, or in misery.
May it be in wonder -- and may your generation be the one to make it so.
Russian Fairy Tales & Folklore:
The Stone Flower: [Re-telling of a Russian folktale set in the Urals]
Creation Myths: Part I: (General scholarship, Australia, Africa, & Multi-cultural)
Creation Myths: Part II: (India, Japan, Near East, Greece, Rome, Norse, Teutonic)
Origins of Sacred Theatre: A Re-telling of Vak / Churning of the Ocean:
The ancient Hindu myth of the goddess Vak, guardian of the "grail" of amrita (life elixir). She appears from the ocean depths. Her name is cognate with words in many Indo-European languages -- e.g., voice, vocal, vocation, vox, voce. In India, related words refer to the humming of bees and the musical sounds made as water flows through tumbling rocks and pebbles.Green Men:
Ancient Near Eastern male fertility and vegetation deities. -- e.g., Egypt's Osiris, Greece's Pan, and many others. Some, like Osiris and Christ (who technically fits the dying/rising archetype associated with many Green Men), die seasonly and then rise again. In medieval times, Green Men were carved into great cathedrals as well as small churches, often where sacred speech would be uttered -- e.g., the pulpit and choir stalls. (Image is of Hawthorn Man from Sutton Benger, UK, c. 1300.}Who is the Green Man?: by my late friend and colleague, Dr. Dan Noel
Centaurs, Cheiron, Sagittarius:
Charon, Greek Ferryman of the Dead:
Kore / Persephone:
Medusa & Pegasus:
Note: with my permission, this Prometheus essay is also online at Mythic Passages, the Magazine of Imagination, which includes links to my previously published books from the 1970's.Mars in Astrology, Mythology, and Science:
Baba Yaga page:
Earth Goddesses & Gods:
Air, Wind, & Sky Goddesses & Gods:
Fire & Solar Goddesses & Gods:
Water & Lunar Goddesses & Gods:
Lilith Remembered:a poem by Kathy Robles
Nature Spirits of the World:
The Norns of Norn Mountain (Nuremberg):
LIFE STAGES FROM PUBERTY TO DYING & DEATH
Fingers of Infinity, Coming Full Circle
9/26/12]: Fascinating facial time-lapse photographs
focused on the life journey of one specific person --
Queen Elizabeth II. But think about what would this look and feel like if it were done for each of us.
Puberty: (focus is on mostly on Native American traditions since whites tend not to celebrate puberty in a sacred way)
Marriage: (covers many historical periods and traditions)
Death & Dying: (covers many historical periods and traditions)
[Added 9/17/11]: One of my professors at the University of California, Santa Barbara, often said, "The truth is, there are many truths." This beautiful, profound article from NPR on "Dignity Therapy," in which a person nearing death is encouraged to write the story of her/his life (which quite often differs in specifics from the life s/he actually lived), proves the accuracy of that professor's insight.
Links Connected to Native Americans & Silko's Ceremony
Leslie Marmon Silko
http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~njp/Silko.html: Purdue U. website with good Silko links [added 2012 -- scroll down for last year's many links to her work].
YouTube Videos added for 2012:
This incredible short film shares an Indigenous Native American Prophecy that links all of life and the future of our planet...
This film (c. 10 minutes) looks at nature, trees, and all of life from a Native American Perspective.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9PH1rd9QTc:
In this 5 min. video, Silko discusses living in the unfriendly city of Tucson, where nature provides rattlesnakes, birds, etc, as her closest friends.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfCFpPOfbEM:
in this 6 1/2 min. video, shot in a Minneapolis Library, Silko speaks about how crucial writing was to her as a child. Education provided on the reservation focused on baseball and the arts. When she was finally old enough to go to a boarding school, she knew nothing of adding and subtracting and many other studies familiar to the rest of her class. She was very discouraged until the teacher gave the class a list of words and asked them to create a story from them. The rest of the class had no idea what to do but Silko responded with great delight. After that, creating stories was her lifeline. Her talk is a wonderful paean to creativity. (Note: the video might be hard on your eyes because she's wearing a bright fuchsia outfit against crimson onstage curtains.)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09thbdmN5tw:
This amazing 4 1/2min. video focuses on a ritual Hopi-run to polluted Mexico City, where the Hopi offer water to a great statue of the Rain God. Immediately afterwards, an eagle, ancient symbol of rain (known as Rain Eagle), appeared overhead. Later, all along the ritual Hopi route, there was an unusual amount of rain and snow for many months.
[Brief comment from 8/31/11 expanded 9/3/11 after reading this interview in its entirety]: This is a fascinating, not-to-be-missed interview done by Thomas Irmer (correspondent for Alt-X Berlin/Leipzig) during Leslie Marmon Silko's first trip to Germany. They discuss her Pueblo roots and stories, college education, her first novel, Ceremony, and her second novel, Almanac of the Dead ("about the collapse of the Christian-capitalist society in the near future..."); widespread German interest in Native Americans; worldwide indigenous peoples; how ancient urban centers like those of the Mayans and Incas worked with nature and were carefully aligned with the stars and natural springs; how today's cities have nothing to do with nature, only with banks, insurance companies, and the stock market; the CIA's dirty role in drug dealing (a major focus of her second novel); and much more.http://www.wdog.com/rider/writings/silko.htmNote: the year of the interview isn't given but the content remains amazingly timely. The flow of this interview might also serve you as a model for the Final Project interview you'll be doing for this course.
[Added 9/2/11]: This 1999 essay by a college student, Shawn Rider, was an unexpected surprise. I was delighted to find him approaching Silko's novel via the "Hermeneutic Circle," which uses Hans Georg Gadamer's concept of Horizontverschmelzung ("fusing of horizons") that I shared with you during our first class. When I framed this course in terms of "verschmelz-ing" your personal "horizons" with the texts, I had no idea I would stumble upon a Ceremony essay that focuses on that very same framework. Rider does a great job and I highly recommend his essay. Here's an excerpt:http://cla.calpoly.edu/~smarx/courses/346/silko/ceremon.html...The initial concern for the Hermeneutic Circle is [Gadamer's] fusion of horizons. The reader brings his cultural-social-historical background to the text, and this constitutes her horizon. The text also brings its same background, which may or may not be the author's horizon, to the reader, and the Hermeneutic Circle works to combine these disparate horizons together. This coming together may constitute, among other potential mergings, a merging of ideas, people, cultures or theologies.
This is possible because the text itself provides a journey for the reader. The Hermeneutic Circle is the description of that journey. A reader comes to the text with certain prejudices. It is important to note that "prejudice" in this theory does not have a negative connotation; it simply denotes all the things that a reader knows, or thinks she knows, before actually reading a piece. At the outset, a reader's perception of a novel is entirely based on prejudices, and a successful reader will allow those prejudices to slip away as they are overturned by the text....
The information that the reader gathers from the text is usually alienating. Again, it is necessary to reaffirm that alienation does not bear its usual negative connotation in the realm of the Hermeneutic Circle. Here, it simply means that what was once familiar to a reader becomes unfamiliar to her in some way. It is this alienation, the struggle to make these things familiar again, that leads to the reconfiguring of prejudice. The reader inhabits the world of the text, which may be like her actual world in varying degrees, and it is this interaction with a foreign world that allows her to integrate foreign ideas into her world after the journey is done and she returns home. But, again, home is altered, possibly in some serious ways, and the reader is changed. Hopefully she has succeeded at fusing some horizons....
This is "Notes on Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko" by Steven Marx for his course: English 346--Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo--November 23 1999; updated November 24 2002. He offers useful links to Silko's biography, essays, and the geography in which her novel is set. Unfortunately, all but three of the links from 2002 are broken. Here are those still working: B-3 (photo plus comments about Mt. Taylor); C-2 ("A Laguna Woman" -- scroll down to my link below); and D-1 (a gripping, disturbing essay by Silko about an encounter with Border Police and the general plight of illegals).http://www.truth-out.org/beyond-ptsd-soldiers-have-injured-souls/1315066215
The major portion of this website looks at themes and event-sequences, providing page numbers where you can find the material. Since Silko makes extensive use of flashbacks, you might find these notes helpful in crafting your paper on the novel. However, as I pointed out in class, don't get obsessed with trying to fit things into a clear timeline as you read. Accept the journey's flow. Time-leaping/jumbling is how Silko portrays Tayo's nightmarish, yet sometimes dreamlike mental landscape.
[Added 9/3/11]: For a look at new & intriguing strategies (including ceremonies) for healing the mental landscapes of PTSD, don't miss this recent 2011 link: The report provides great stories -- e.g., a soldier who sees a Vietnamese boy at a Buddhist temple. It also discusses innovative modes of healing what are now viewed as "moral" soul-traumas and as much in need of healing as physical injuries. It reminds me very much of what Silko did in Ceremony. (It might also provide an additional context for some of your papers.)On "Yellow Woman"
This is from Leslie Marmon Silko: a collection of critical essays by Louise K. Barnett. Of special interest is the focus on the mysterious woman who, late in the novel, appears under an apricot tree and takes Tayo as her lover. She is an incarnate Holy One, "Yellow Woman," Ts'eh Montano.http://www.utm.edu/staff/lalexand/ceremony.htm
[Added 9/2/11]: This unattractive and too-busy page nevertheless provides excellent data and links (some of which I've added below). Here's an approach to the novel that resonates eerily with the medieval German epic, Parzival, which we'll explore later this semester [2012: I am no longer assigning Parzival for this course but will still probably mention some of its themes]. Despite having been written many worlds and ages apart, both emerge from the powerful depths of the wounded land/wounded leader archetype. Here's the passage:https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~rnelson/woman.html...Alan R. Velie, author of Four American Indian Literary Masters, says that Ceremony is not only an Indian narrative that "celebrates tradition," "Ceremony also belongs to another tradition and form older than the novel -- the grail romance"(Velie 107). Velie compares the novel to twentieth century novels that feature the legend of the Holy Grail in their fiction. He says that the similarity lies in the fact that there is a very serious connection between the health of the main character Tayo, and the health of his land. He argues that Tayo is the wounded king, Betonie the healer, and the Laguna reservation is the wasteland.
[Added 9/2/11]:This excellent biographical sketch of Silko, "A Laguna Woman" by Robert Nelson at the University of Richmond, Virginia, originally appeared in Leslie Marmon Silko: A Collection of Critical Essays. Eds. Louise Barnett and James Thorson. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1999. 15-22.https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~rnelson/ethnography.html
[Added 9/2/11]: Again from Robert Nelson comes "Rewriting Ethnography: The Embedded Texts in Leslie Silko's Ceremony." Its focus is the eerie "witchery" thread running throughout the novel. Nelson cites Paula Gunn Allen, another Laguna Pueblo author, who is vehemently opposed to Silko's revelations of what, Allen claims, should have remained clan secrets. Although I enjoy many of Allen's writings, I studied with a Mescalero Apache professor who, along with other traditionally raised Native American scholars, questions Allen's scholarship as well as her claims to a Laguna upbringing. Thus, I ignore Allen's attacks against Silko. Even Nelson, although partly agreeing with Allen, points out that the Laguna stories used by Silko were already available in ethnographic studies. Bottomline: the essay provides some great data and I highly recommend it.http://web.archive.org/web/20110611081049/http://history.hanover.edu/hhr/hhr93_2.html
Excellent article by Suzanne M. Austgen on Silko's Ceremony.Pueblo Languages
[Added 9/2/11]: This page is connected to 5 brief language-tapes from Pueblo peoples, some chanted some spoken, (unfortunately, translations are not provided):Map to New Mexico's 19 PueblosThe 19 Pueblos of New Mexico belong to three distinct language groups that are further differentiated to 5 separate languages and many discrete dialects. The New Mexico Pueblo language groups are: Keres, Tanoan and Zuni which encompass the Keresan, Tewa, Tiwa, Towa and Zuni Languages.You can click on the little map but whenever I did this, I still got the same Keres-speaking female-narrator. A better way is probably to click on the specific groups listed on the right. Warning: repeatedly listening to these beautiful languages, especially the Keres woman, could be trance-inducing <smile>.
[Added 9/2/11]:You can click on each "token" for more info. This map is geared to the region, not to specific places in Silko's novel.
Note: if you find broken links
on any of these page,
you can usually find them by copying and pasting a link into the Wayback Machine at:
Creation Myths: Part III: (North & Meso America)
Lore & History of Maize
Water: Sacrality & Lore: (water, wells, springs, pools, lakes)
Sedna: Goddess of the Arctic Seas and our 10th Planet:
Native Americans of the Southwest:
Puberty: (special focus on Native American rituals)
Day of the Dead:
GALLERY OF SELECTED ART
Found on Facebook: Artist Unknown
© Pauline Jones at Images of Elsewhere and DracoBlu
Photo-illustration © by Christopher & Heidi Harting
in Harvard Health: Perilous Parenting
Flower of Life, Sacred Geometry
The Poem of the Soul: The Wrong Path
This page created with Netscape Gold 4.79: colors may appear distorted
Text and Design:
© 2011-2012 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved
Begun Wednesday, 31 August 2011, 7:20am. Undated entries are from
this first day.
More links & images added 2 September 2011.
Saturday, 3 September 2011: proofed & revised yesterday's work and added new PTSD link;
sent everything to my students.
Saturday, 17 September 2011: added new "Dying & Death" section.
Tuesday, 3 July 2012: all of last year's links are fine except for Jon Lomberg's illustration,"DNA Embraces the Planets."
Added new section on mythic/fairy tale themes. Also more Native American links in its own section; expanded Life Stages section.
Sunday, 26 August 2012: added new Silko youTube links & re-organized the sequences on this page.
Wednesday, 1:15am, 17 October 2012: added You Tube video on Native American POV on this planet.