HOW THIS PEACE INVOCATION SITE CAME TO BE:

Subject:
        Invocations
  Date:
        Fri, 2 Apr 1999 19:41:51 EST
  From:
        Judith1152@aol.com
    To:
        jenks7@webcom.com
 

Dear Dr. Jenks,

I found your delightful site, Mythinglinks, through AOL NETFIND.  I am trying
to compose a Peace Invocation for the Kosovo situation, and I am looking for
the Pagan Goddess and God of that area.  Can you suggest the appropriate
names?  Or can you direct me to where I can find them?  Thank you very much.

Judith Brownlee
 
 
 

    Subject:
           Re: Invocations
      Date:
           Sat, 03 Apr 1999 11:48:07 -0800
      From:
           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
        To:
           Judith1152@aol.com
       CC:
           jenks7@earthlink.net
 
 

Good Friday, 8pm, 4/5/99

Dear Judith --

Since your request touches on a matter close to my heart, I just spent a
few hours searching the web for Serb and Kosovar myth and/or folklore
and came up with nothing specific.  If you have access to Sir George
Frazer's Golden Bough (unabridged version -- in 13 volumes, I think),
you might find "pagan" rituals specific to these regions, but I don't
have these volumes myself & so can't check out such rituals (I borrowed
all of them from a university library when I was doing my dissertation,
but I've long since returned them & they're very costly to buy on one's
own).

I should point out that both warring groups are VERY patriarchal.
Orthodox Serbs and Moslems are alike in dominating their women.  Thus,
even if I COULD find myths specific to each group, I don't think they'd
be what you're looking for.

So, I'd suggest focusing on the LAND.  The LAND, so drenched in sorrow
and blood, is where the real power lies. Awaken the spirits of the land,
not for avenging, but for protecting the tormented humans on both sides
who currently occupy that land.  Awaken the spirits of the land and ask
them to help shift the toxic stories that have been fueling this whole
tragedy for some 600 years now.

The Balkans are part of what Marija Gimbutas called "Old Europe" -- and
if you have any of her books, you can get a better sense of the ancient
(nameless) deities of that land.  They are deities of streams, wells,
storms, forests, trees, flowers, mountains, green fields, grains, fire,
fertility, and, above all, birds and snakes.

The American artist, Sandra Stanton, has extraordinary images of three
such goddesses on her website (two of them include ancient art from the
region).  Go to her page starting with the "P's" and scroll down to
Samovila, Tabiti & Vila of the Forest.  Here's the URL:
http://www.goddessmyths.com/Pele-Yemaya.html
 
 

 TABITI
                                                  "Tabiti was the Scythian Goddess who ruled the realm of
                                                     animals and fire. The early Eastern Europeans swore
                                                     their allegiance to her as part of the earth that witnesses
                                                     everything. She was part of Eastern European culture
                                                     before the Scythian nomads arrived, at first represented
                                                     by a Goddess bearing a child and later, adopted by the
                                                     Scythians, as half serpent with a raven on one side and a
                                                     canine on the other. Background figure is a Paleolithic
                                                     Goddess from Dolní Vestonice, Czech Republic, c.
                                                     20,000 BCE; on the right is a Neolithic Goddess
                                                     "Ladybird", late Vinca, c. 3500 BCE, near Belgrade,
                                                     Yugoslavia; on the left is a Goddess with a siren, canines
                                                     and lions, 5th century BCE, Kherson mound, Ukraine;
                                                     gold headdress after one found at Chertomlyk, 4th
                                                     century BCE; bottom layer after a diadem from
                                                     Kelermes, 6th century BCE; earring from Olbia, 5th
                                                     century BCE; torque from Chertomlyk, 4th century BCE."
                                                                                                           - Sandra Stanton

If I were writing an Invocation, I'd invoke all those ancient ones, the
ones with names (like the above), and the ones too ancient for their
names to have survived.  I'd ask them to help the current inhabitants
find a deeper, more ancient way in which every life form is seen as a
part of the whole, a vast web of precious life.  Violence erupts only
when we forget that interconnectedness.  (Have you seen the Norwegian
film, in Sami [w/English subtitles: Blockbuster often carries it],
called The Pathfinder? -- it shows this interconnectedness in a very
graphic way.  It's a film about medieval circumpolar peoples, not Balkan
peoples, yet I believe that in ancient times, peoples who understood the
LAND shared a sense of this interconnectedness, no matter where they
lived.)

Late on Wednesday (pre-dawn Thursday), the first night of Passover,
at 4am I took burning sage out into the little street in front of my apartment
and sent the holy smoke towards the Balkans, sending peace and sanity and
compassion.  I think that to use such "simple" things as sage, fire, prayer,
water (sprinkled upwards to the skies and downwards to the earth) creates
great power.  It invokes "Angels of Life," not the biblical "Angels of Death"
(who were sent to slay Egypt's firstborn while at the same time "passing over"
the blood-marked doorposts of the enslaved Hebrew refugees).

...continuing, Holy Saturday morning....

As I see it, in addition to finding safe haven for the Kosovars, the
hearts of all those ethnically mixed peoples need healing.  There are
such dangerously toxic stories lodged in those hearts!, and now a huge
weight of new traumas that in a few decades might swing the pendulum the
other way and result in new horrors against the current victors.  If
there were an outbreak of some hideous, deadly new bacteria or virus in
the region, the international community would immediately quarantine the
area and send in "hazmat" teams of medical experts dressed in
puncture-proof spaceage suits with tons of sophisticated, experimental
medical supplies.  Well, there's now an outbreak of hideous, deadly new
stories and "myths" in the region.  People discount stories and myths
---- yet two world wars started because of them, and the seeds for a
third are sprouting before our eyes.  So send in "hazmat" teams of
storytellers, depth psychologists, folklorists, mythologists,
street-theatre people, etc, etc --- i.e., who can LISTEN to the stories,
but then find wise means of shifting them, layering in new insights,
"re-magicking" reality for both sides.  It's a quixotic hope, I know,
but I put it out there anyway.

Meanwhile, I haven't had a chance to annotate any of these following
links, but I'm sending you 15 of them.  I gathered them earlier this
week, before I received your request for help.  If you have time, I
think you'll find it worthwhile to read the histories offered by each.
What I found most haunting is that the "fuel" for the current crisis
lies in 1389, 602 years ago, on a battlefield known as the "Field of
Black Birds" in Kosovo [Note: my emphasis on this story isn't
meant to "demonize" the Serbs.  A further e-mail correspondence
between "Anon." and me, following that between Judith and me,
makes this clear.  See below....]  That's where many Serbs were slain
by Turkish Moslems.  It wasn't clearcut, however.  Some Serbs fought
alongside the Moslems *against* other Serbs.  And some local Moslems
fought alongside the Serbs *against* other Moslems.  But the "myth"
doesn't recognize those shades of grey.  In the "myth," cruel Moslem
Turks defeated the flower of Serbian malehood on the Field of BlackBirds.
Old Serbian folksongs celebrate the event to this day & there's even a
Serbian film about it. (No one link tells the full story -- you have to piece it
together.)

Milosovec took power exactly 600 years later (1989) and rallied his
people around that toxic, still-simmering, 600 year old story!  One of
the links below mentions that the actual birds aren't really what most
westerners would think of as "blackbirds" -- they have an orangey breast
and resemble robins more than spooky (to some people) blackbirds.

So, if I were creating a Peace Invocation, I'd invoke the BIRD GODDESS,
especially in her manifestation as those springtime "robins."  I'd ask
her to create a miracle that would swirl away the old, bloodied,
poisonous story and bring forth a NEW story, one of healing, one that
recognizes the interconnectedness of the peoples with the land.

I'd also invoke the Virgin Mary (Orthodox Christians like the Serbs have
great devotion to her) who was appearing a few years ago in Medjegorje
(spelling?), Yugoslavia, warning of dire consequences.  (I haven't kept
up with this story but I believe she stopped appearing a few years ago.
You might want to do a websearch to get specifics -- I'd do it myself
but am out of time today.)  And if I were writing the invocation, I'd
also do a websearch on Fatima, the daughter of the prophet Mohammed -- I
don't know much about her so I'd want to get a sense of who she was and
what she stood for.  If tradition shows her as caring and compassionate,
then I'd invoke her help too, woman to woman. If tradition shows her as
stern and warlike, like a Moslem Athena, I'd leave her out of my
invocation.

Since tomorrow's Easter, I'd pull out all the stops and simply ask for a
miracle.  Why not?!  Go for broke!! What do we have to lose?  Why
*couldn't* the Virgin Mary who appeared in Medjegorgde (sp?), Fatima,
Lourdes, Cairo, etc, etc appear in Kosovo or Belgrade tomorrow?!! She's
always warning about gloomy disasters & asking for more prayers -- and
of course no one listens to such tiresome requests except the pious with
their rosaries.  But if only she could change her strategy, ask for
improved STORIES (instead of boring, rote prayers), & appear right in
the midst of the disaster, with media cameras rolling!  THAT would get
people's attention!  As humans evolve in changing circumstances, so too,
I think, our "Holy Ones" should take note and develop new tactics for
helping humanity.  The old ways are so bankrupt and "stuck."

Well, Judith, enough.  I hope you'll send me your Peace Invocation when
it's written -- and tell me how it'll be used.  Meanwhile, here are the
links I found when I searched for "Field of Blackbirds" earlier this
week.

With warmest blessings,

Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-03/28/255l-032899-idx.html
http://suc.org/politics/papers/history/vujacic.html
http://osho.org/news/amrito/kosovo.htm
http://www.albania.co.uk/main/history.html
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/990405/5kob1.htm
http://www.megastories.com/kosovo/map/kosovof.htm
http://www.msnbc.com/news/253129.asp
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/balkans/overview/kosovo.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/special_report/1998/kosovo/newsid_110000/110492.stm
http://www.salonmagazine.com/news/1999/03/31newsa.html
http://suc.suc.org/~kosta/tar/pisma/l-name_koosovo.html
http://www.megastories.com/kosovo/index.htm
http://www.megastories.com/kosovo/serbs/serbs.htm
http://www.megastories.com/kosovo/serbs/field.htm
http://holocaust.miningco.com/library/misc/blkosovo.htm
 
 

Subject:
        Re: Invocations
  Date:
        Sat, 3 Apr 1999 16:23:14 EST
  From:
        Judith1152@aol.com
    To:
        jenks7@earthlink.net
 

Dear Dr. Jenks,

What a treasure you have given me!  I wasn't even sure if it was appropriate
for me to contact you, and told myself not to expect much, perhaps not even a
reply.  I, too, had no luck with my searches.  I didn't even have a very good
idea of the differences between all the scattered little countries over
there.  Thank you so much for giving me what amounts to your memory and
training!  I certainly will send you the invocation when it is done and give
you some background.

May the Goddess Bless You,

Judith Brownlee
 
 

    Subject:
           Re: Invocations
      Date:
           Sat, 03 Apr 1999 17:16:08 -0800
      From:
           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
        To:
           Judith1152@aol.com
       CC:
           jenks7@earthlink.net
 
 

Thanks -- & I'll look forward to it.  <smile>

Blessings,

Kathleen
 
 

    Subject:
           Re: Invocations
      Date:
           Sun, 04 Apr 1999 12:31:05 -0700
      From:
           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
        To:
           Judith1152@aol.com
       CC:
           jenks7@earthlink.net
 
 

Dear Judith --

Just came across these two links in my files:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/8933/bov.html

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/8933/index.html

The second site is for a Serb pagan living in Yugoslavia (and using a
pagan Celtic name!) -- on the home page is a lovely graphic depicting
the Bird Goddess! -- exactly the "mythic vibration" I directed you to.
(I think the double headed bird on the Yugoslavian flag must be HER! --
the flag's black colors against the red and yellow look so warlike, that
I never connected that bird w/a goddess, but now that I see a more
tamed-down, artistic version, I can see the connection.)  Now we have a
name for the bird goddess, the Goddess Slava, who holds all the other
deities under her wings.  On the first site (which I found by following
a link on the second), the Book of Veles offers more data on her,
including a lovely verbal descriptian.  (FYI: Serbs are Slavs, thus the
Russian context for some of the data.)

Blessings on this day,

Kathleen
 
 
 

Subject:
        Re: Invocation
  Date:
        Sat, 10 Apr 1999 19:20:26 EDT
  From:
        Judith1152@aol.com
    To:
        jenks7@earthlink.net
 

Dear Kathy,

Well, it's done.  Took a while to find information on Fatimah, although I did
find a lovely website on Muslim women which gave the story of her life, it
was a comment by my sister-in-law last night at dinner that finally clicked
everything into place, and I went to bed and dreamed about it.

The story of all this begins with the fact that I am a professional psychic
and have been for about 7 years.  It has been hard for me to overcome my
childhood training in the 40s and 50s that said being psychic was nonsense.
I had always considered myself "scientific and rational".  So I have been
working hard this year under the supervision of a wonderful teacher to stop
doubting my work, and I found that I got better results when I could do that.
On the morning of 3/30/99 I had a sudden vision that what was happening in
Kosovo was going to lead to World War III.  Now that didn't mean atomic
holocaust, but blood in the mud and hatred rampant.  I was tempted to brush
it away and attribute it to all the news coverage, but I realized that I was
getting the same signals from this that I got in my psychic work, and with
all the training I had been doing not to ignore those signals, I just
couldn't ignore the vision of WWIII I had received.  But it was upsetting and
I was having trouble handling it. I am also a retired Wiccan coven leader, so
I turned to a colleague, and old friend who is a wonderful Wiccan priest.  I
called him and told him about my vision. He said that the Goddess usually
send such visions when She wants one to do something.  What can I do, I
cried.  You can pray and meditate, he said, and ask others to pray and
meditate.  So I passed that message along to a Pagan ListServ I belong to,
but there seemed to be more to do.  I decided to write a Peace Invocation,
something that I had done in 1991 when Desert Storm had begun.  I talked this
over with the woman who runs www.psychic-choice.com, the website where I work
reading tarot cards online.  She envisioned a virtual shrine on a webpage at
our site, containing, among other things, my invocations.  Go ahead and do
it, she said.  That's when I began researching the Internet and found you.
You gave me wonderful inspiration in your very poetic reply to my first
e-mail.  You may recognize your own words in one line because I couldn't
resist using just a dab of your poetry.  I hope you won't mind.  So here it
is.  Feel free to return critical comments if you wish.  I hope you think it
was worth the time and trouble.

Judith Brownlee

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------
                  INVOCATION FOR PEACE IN KOSOVO

          Oh, Great Goddess of the Land
          That lies yet once again in conflict,
          Soaked in blood and sorrow for 600 years,
          Hear our prayer for peace.

          Lady Slava, sacred Bird Goddess,
          Who holds all the Gods Between Her wings,
          Symbol of Old Europe flying overhead,
          Let the hurts of the centuries begin to heal,
          Let the stories mothers tell their children
          Be of hope and growth, not hate and killing.

          Blessed Virgin of Medjugorje,
          Bring holy healing in Your hands
          For wounds of spirit and lost hope,
          As well as body, limbs, and mind;
          Put your loving arms around the
          Victims of the power-hungry warlords.

          Great Fatimah, Daughter of the Prophet,
          You who understand the sanctity of family,
          Let Your strong Hand protect the innocent.
          Grant them compassion, hope, and mercy;
          Return them to their homes and families
          So joy and love can replace terror and blood.

          In this time of Spring's renewal
          And Divine Resurrection,
          We pray for peace and justice
          For all the Balkan peoples.
          Blessed Be!

                               Judith Brownlee
                                  Easter, 1999
 
 

    Subject:
           Re: Invocation
      Date:
           Sat, 10 Apr 1999 22:14:57 -0700
      From:
           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
        To:
           Judith1152@aol.com
       CC:
           jenks7@earthlink.net
 
 

Judith -- it's stunning.  Strong, sensitive, powerful, full of heart &
mystery.  Where I take a chapter to say "good morning," you've entered
the depths and brought back the precious juice in only a few lines.  I
love it.  (What was it your sister-in-law said to catalyze all of it?!)

I checked the site where you do readings, but could find no "cyber
shrine" yet.  I looked at several pages there and although they're very
well done, I didn't get the sense that the designer truly knows about
online "sacred space."

So I took the liberty of trying my hand at it, because this is something
I *do* know -- hope you won't mind!  I hid the results, "unlisted" for
now, in my own site.  Here's the URL:
http://www.mythinglinks.org/kosovoserb~invocation.html

If you like it, I believe it could be downloaded and reloaded to the
Denver site --- or it's also ok to link directly to it on my own site.

If you don't want it for the Denver site, would you mind if I keep it,
your words & all, and link it to mine?  I find it beautiful & very
powerful. I don't know about WWWIII -- but regardless, I believe the
Goddess wants us to pour forth our voices to stop it.  Patriarchy's
proven itself so poisonously bankrupt.  Other ways, others stories, MUST
be released into the collective unconscious.  This is one way.

In either event, I still need permission from Widow's Web and Linda De
Laine for the background and Linda's "Virgin" painting before we go
"live," but I don't think either will mind.  (Linda's a friend -- runs
the Russian page for the Mining Co., so I'm about 99% sure she'll be ok
with this.  I don't know Mary of Widow's Web, but I think she'll be
pleased too.)

Let me know what you think, ok?

Love,

Kathleen
P.S.  Do you still have the URL for the Moslem website on Fatimah?
 
 
 

Subject:
        Re: Invocation
  Date:
        Sun, 11 Apr 1999 02:30:59 EDT
  From:
        Judith1152@aol.com
    To:
        jenks7@earthlink.net
 

Dear Kathy,

In a message dated 4/10/99 10:15:20 PM MST, jenks7@earthlink.net writes:

> Judith -- it's stunning.  Strong, sensitive, powerful, full of heart &
>  mystery.  Where I take a chapter to say "good morning," you've entered
>  the depths and brought back the precious juice in only a few lines.  I
>  love it.  (What was it your sister-in-law said to catalyze all of it?!)

Thank you so much, it means a lot coming from you.  I had told them about
what I was trying to do over dinner.  The rest of the invocation existed in
rough draft, but although I had the information about Fatimah, I couldn't get
my head around how to put her down.  Then as she left my sister-in-law said,
"Well you know there are places all over the East where they sell images of a
hand to wear or hang up and they are called "The Hand of Fatimah" and they
are used for protection."  That zinged right into my brain and gave me the
image I needed.

>  I checked the site where you do readings, but could find no "cyber
>  shrine" yet.  I looked at several pages there and although they're very
>  well done, I didn't get the sense that the designer truly knows about
>  online "sacred space."
>
>  So I took the liberty of trying my hand at it, because this is something
>  I *do* know -- hope you won't mind!  I hid the results, "unlisted" for
>  now, in my own site.  Here's the URL:
>  http://www.mythinglinks.org/kosovoserb~invocation.html
 

It's gorgeous!
 

>  If you like it, I believe it could be downloaded and reloaded to the
>  Denver site --- or it's also ok to link directly to it on my own site.

I have forwarded your letter to our webmistress, asking her to visit the URL,
and then let me know tomorrow what she would like to do.  I'll keep you
informed.

>  If you don't want it for the Denver site, would you mind if I keep it,
>  your words & all, and link it to mine?  I find it beautiful & very
>  powerful. I don't know about WWWIII -- but regardless, I believe the
>  Goddess wants us to pour forth our voices to stop it.  Patriarchy's
>  proven itself so poisonously bankrupt.  Other ways, others stories, MUST
>  be released into the collective unconscious.  This is one way.
>
>  In either event, I still need permission from Widow's Web and Linda De
>  Laine for the background and Linda's "Virgin" painting before we go
>  "live," but I don't think either will mind.  (Linda's a friend -- runs
>  the Russian page for the Mining Co., so I'm about 99% sure she'll be ok
>  with this.  I don't know Mary of Widow's Web, but I think she'll be
>  pleased too.)
>
>  Let me know what you think, ok?
>
>  Love,
>
>  Kathleen
>  P.S. Do you still have the URL for the Moslem website on Fatimah?

 <A HREF="http://www.jannah.org/sisters/">Muslim Women's Homepage    </A>
This is the website.  At the very bottom you'll find a listing of Famous
Muslim Women and one of them is Fatimah.  Plus the whole site's great!
Muslim feminists--who'd have thought it?  :-)

By the way, I realized after I sent the Invocation to you that I hadn't put a
copyright notation on it.  Would you mind adding one?  Or would it be out of
place?  This is what I usually use:

c 1999 Judith Brownlee
This Invocation may be reproduced and distributed exactly as is, without
further permission from the author, provided it is offered free of charge.
Changes in the text, however, must be approved in advance by the author.
Thank you!

But I'm willing to hear input about it.

Blessed Be,
Judith
 
 

    Subject:
           Re: Invocation
      Date:
           Sun, 11 Apr 1999 01:10:57 -0700
      From:
           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
        To:
           Judith1152@aol.com
       CC:
           jenks7@earthlink.net
 
 

Dear Judith --

I'd already added a copyright notice in one of several updates, probably
after you saw the site, but I really like your own notice, so have now
added that as well.  Most people are honest, but there are also some odd
folks out there.  I feel copyright notices are important.  The Goddess
likes to be given credit -- so should her devotees!
....

I've since e-mailed Linda & Widow's Web for permission to use their art,
but I'm going to go ahead & make the link "live" on my site, as I don't
think Linda and Mary will object. Now that *you've* given the go-ahead,
that's the main thing.  Somehow, it feels important to me that your
Invocation go online today, 11 April, Orthodox Easter.

Thanks for the feminist Moslem URL -- it'll eventually go on my site
too.  But not today!

Warmly,

Kathleen

VILA OF THE FOREST

                                                     Slavic Goddess, a guardian of the forest animals and
                                                     plants, Vila was a shape-shifter and might be a swan,
                                                     horse, snake, falcon or whirlwind. Born on a day of misty
                                                     rain, she was a winged Goddess whose dress shimmered
                                                     in the dappled light of the deep forest where she lived. She
                                                     had a profound knowledge of herbal healing and protected
                                                     the purity of streams. If anyone brought harm to her
                                                     creatures, she would cause great harm to them in turn;
                                                     perhaps they would be caught in an avalanche or even
                                                     danced to death.

                                                                                                    -Sandra Stanton

NOTE:  In creating this page, I shared the process with a friend, whose background is deeply tied to Eastern Europe.  Although she wishes to remain anonymous, she has very kindly given me permission to include her responses along with my own....


Subject:
        Re: KosovoSerb page
  Date:
        Sun, 11 Apr 1999 12:28:54 -0400
  From:
       Anon.
    To:
        <jenks7@earthlink.net>
 

Dear Kathleen:

I LOVE the invocation and have been doing lots of meditations and
visualizations for peace all around the world and especially in Yugoslavia.
I will certainly use the invocation daily.  I looked over everything and
like very much what you've said, but do have one request.  I have been
following the situation very closely for months and  feel that ALL the
patriarchal parties are responsible for the current situation - it has not
been a one-way street and western involvement has further fueled the
crisis.  [....FYI: have you ever looked at the Kosovo conflict forum on the
NY Times site?  I followed it for months before all this - there was so much
hostility between the Serbs and Albanians on the site that  I was thankful they
were using words and not guns.  Haven't checked it in 2 weeks, but last time
there were a lot of other people who had not been regular participants on it
before voicing their opinions.  It's made for some fascinating reading.]

Is it possible, therefore, to be a bit less biased against the field of
blackbirds story (ie: not calling it toxic?) -- all the patriarchal stories
are equally toxic and it seems like the Serbs have been demonized enough by the
western media and that doesn't need to be added to.  The media are fueling
the crisis by whipping up emotions against Serbs to justify bombing them.
There have been problems in Kosovo for centuries and one side does one
thing and the other side does something worse and on and on and on.  The western
patriarchy is as responsible as Serbian patriarchy and Albanian patriarchy.
I am trying for balance.   All 3 are causing this disaster and, as always,
it is the women and children, the Goddess's creatures and Mother Earth who
suffer most from all this.) ....

 I have been asking for the same miracle as you have mentioned - ie. the
Goddess, in the form of Mary, appearing to all of them and stopping this
catastrophe.  That was my hope for the Easter miracle too.
....

Will let others know of the site - let's get that PEACE ENERGY
circulating!!!!

Anon.
 
 
 

Subject:
           Re: KosovoSerb page
      Date:
           Sun, 11 Apr 1999 16:42:07 -0700
      From:
           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
        To:
          Anon.

Dear Anon. -- grateful for the feedback, excellent points....  I thought
I *had* held the balance, pointing out the to & fro of all the toxic stories,
etc, but if you found an over-emphasis there, then I need to clarify it --
& probably add *our* e-mails to the page too, if you're willing!  Started
writing a long reply but need to finish it maybe tomorrow -- only got about
4 hrs of sleep and I have company coming soon....  Sooo, more later!

Warm blessings on orthodox easter,

Kathleen
 
 
 

Subject:
        Re: [Fwd: Re: KosovoSerb page]
  Date:
        Mon, 12 Apr 1999 01:40:41 -0400
  From:
        Anon.
    To:
        <jenks7@earthlink.net>
 

Hi Kathleen:
Had a chance to really sit with the page and go through all the links on the
history of the crisis.  They give a really good overview of the situation -
your research, as always, is impeccable and there is a balanced view here.
I think what bothered me was the statement that the story of the field of
blackbirds is the fuel for the current crisis.  True, it has been the
rallying point for Serb nationalism but it is just one of the factors
fueling the catastrophe - there are so many.  All the patriarchies have
their nationalist stories.  Patriarchy tries to make one side right and the
other wrong, when it is patriarchy itself that is wrong.

This all makes me remember John Lennon's song, Imagine.  Imagine there are
no borders, no religion etc.  A world where this madness does not exist!  I
am as grief-stricken for the refugees as I am for all the people having to
endure the bombing.  If only the Goddess would appear and stop all this.
Judith's peace invocation is absolutely beautiful - I will use it often and
pass it around.  This has all been a wonderful addition to your already
phenomenal website! ....
 
 

Subject:
        Kosovo/Serb, 4/11-13/99
  Date:
        Tue, 13 Apr 1999 05:12:37 -0700
  From:
        Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
    To:
    Anon.

Dear Anon. --

Again, thanks for this feedback on my first e-mail to Judith -- I really
appreciate it.  By emphasizing the 600 year old Serbian defeat on the
Field of Blackbirds, it was definitely NOT my intention to further
"demonize" the Serbs & I didn't realize that it was coming across that
way -- that's the problem with writing e-mails swiftly, at white-hot
intensity, & assuming that they're coming across clearly to others.  If
I sent a mixed signal to you, I probably sent it to others as well.  So
let me slow down here....

Ten years ago when the ethnic Albanians held power, it was THEY who
abused the Serb minority and the powder keg was lit in late June 1989
when an old Serbian man complained to Milosevic, who was visiting the
Field of Blackbirds, about being beaten by the Kosovars. Milosevic fired
up the crowd by proclaiming that such a thing should never be allowed to
happen again.

That was June 28, 1989, the 600th anniversary of the Serbian defeat on
the Field of Blackbirds on June 28, 1389.

On June 28, 1914, the 525th anniversary of that same defeat, Franz
Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serb in Sarajevo.  That set off World
War I.

In all three complex instances, an economist might explain such events
by looking at whatever economic factors prevailed in 1389, 1914 and
again in 1989.  A politician might look at similarities in political
problems. But I'm a mythologist, by training and temperament -- and so I
look at "story."

The "stories" of June 28, 1989, and June 28, 1914, clearly point to June
28, 1389 as the origination point for these conflicts. These dates can't
be a coincidence.  A powerful, and from my perspective, "toxic" story
fueled these events.  As the UNESCO charter states,

Since Wars Begin
In the Minds of Men,
It is in the Minds of Men
That we Have to Erect
The Ramparts of Peace

 -- what quickens the seeds of war in those minds are savage *stories.*
By stopping such toxic stories, we might have a good chance of stopping
the carnage.  (I think of *Beowulf* -- endless conflicts are fueled and
renewed at great "peacemaking" feasts between victors and vanquished
when vanquished old men secretly tell their young men stories of great
swords belonging to their forebears, but stolen from those forebears by
the ruthless victors.  "See that guy wearing that sword there," they
say, "see that ass who parades around with it as if it's his prized
trophy?  Well, that sword belonged to your great-uncle, and let me tell
you how he was betrayed by that asshole when that guy was a young punk."
This pumps up the young men and soon they're butchering the victors to
get back the "sacred" weapons of their forebears.)

By focusing on this Serb story, this doesn't mean that I'm demonizing
them -- I might as well demonize the Turks, whose invasion of Europe led
to that Field of Blackbirds defeat in 1389.  But before we can demonize
the Turks, we'd have to look at *their* stories and economies and
politics, and see who or what was driving *them*, and then demonize
*those* villains.  But then we'd have to look still further back to see
who was driving the Turks' villains, and then the villains of the
villains.  We'd wind up in an "infinite regress."

Thus, demonizing is a bankrupt strategy. It solves nothing.  It just
keeps the whole thing going, pointlessly, round and round and round.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me return to "story."

You speak so well of the toxicity of *all* patriarchal stories, and object to my
singling out the Serbian defeat on the Field of Blackbirds because that
seems to demonize the Serbs, who are, after all, only one among many of
the patriarchal forces mixed up in this tragedy.  Yet the toxicity of
continually nurturing that Field of Blackbirds narrative seems to me to
be less about patriarchy than ethnicity.  It's true that patriarachy
fosters such ethnic divisiveness, but rather than pushing all evils back
onto patriarchy, I think it's more useful (at least for me) to
differentiate between toxic ethnic stories, toxic hero stories, toxic
economic stories, toxic child-rearing stories, and so forth.  Some of
these stories really do seem to be more "toxic" (in the sense of being
more likely to contain the self-perpetuating seeds of war) than others.
As a mythologist, I feel it's crucial to identify such stories.  Maybe
this isn't helpful.  But it's what I do, and always with the hope that
such stories will then enter the collective *consciousness,* instead of
remaining *un*conscious and thereby all the more dangerous.

At some point, yes, these toxic issues are all interconnected, but I
find it too overwhelming to think in such terms.  When I go that route,
I just want to sink into a deep depression, which just feeds more of the
negativity.  So, instead, I scurry around like a busy little squirrel
saying "Look at this, look at that! We have some nuts going rancid here,
so take time to look at them, time to gather some fresh ones that won't
be so hard to digest. The liver can't digest rancid nuts, you know, so
we need to protect our livers.  Quickly now, quickly, quickly, toss out
those old wormy, germy things!"

Some can soar overhead and see the bigger picture and make others more
aware of possible meta-strategies for changing things.  I seem better
suited to handling ground-level details like foregrounding new
stories/nuts/myths/narratives and backgrounding old ones.  I look more
at mini-strategies, layer by layer.  It's a difference in how we focus
our lenses, but it doesn't change the reality of what we're viewing.

I think of my approach as a "Scheherezade Mission" -- i.e., a murderous,
brutal sultan, the epitome of patriarchal power, is held at bay, not by
guns and bombs, but by the human ability to weave such wonderful stories
that his whole being slowly shifts into alignment with an energy that
nurtures life instead of destroying it.  (Of course, I have to admit
that on an individual level [i.e., not looking at patriarchy as a whole]
maybe sometimes it's better to get La Femme Nikita to just assassinate
the sonovabitch!)

We have a Peace Corps which does amazing work. But what about a
Storytelling/listening Corps?  We've seen from 2 world wars that a
story, handed down through the generations, can literally become the
womb of war.  As a species, surely we're creative enough to spin tales
that can birth peace instead!  Peace is so often made to seem dull
and lame -- but that's part of the problem.  Peace, the real thing, is
highly robust, energetic, exciting; true peace knows how to nurture
intensely creative (and satisfying) work as well as play.  Why don't
more playwrights and screenwriters tap into these deeper dimensions
instead of making peace seem so sappy and naive?

The Serbs have nurtured a 600 year old toxic story...and look what
happens.  Why weren't Serbian & ethnic Albanian mythologists, educators,
artists, street theatre people, depth psychologists, and the like
working to shift the parameters of that story into something less
"charged"?  (I'm sure many were, in fact, but such work, the most
important of all!, is given such a low priority in all our societies.)
The ethnic Albanians must also have old, toxic tales and, when they had
the chance, they abused the Serbs.

Right now a flood of new poisonous tales are sweeping through that
region.  Eventually things will be settled along political and economic
lines and the world will turn its attention elsewhere.  But a million
traumas will remain behind to fester into a new dangerous toxicity that
may come of age in another 20 or 30 years when it's likely to be the
ethnic Albanians, not the Serbs, who are committing atrocities.  Each
side demonizes the other.  And so it goes.  As you say so eloquently,
all sides share the blame here.

What concerns me, deep down, is that whatever compromise is finally
worked out, no one will tend to the *stories* -- and so we/they will be
incubating future horrors all over again, and be just as shocked and
disgusted THEN as we are now, and never understand our own complicity in
ignoring the sheer bloody power and weight of what seems so flimsy:
story, myth, a handful of rotten nuts.

James Hillman and others speak about how myths and archetypes choose
*us,* not we them -- thus, we're LIVED by myths.  They sweep us along at
a frantic pace if we can't be aware enough to stop and say, "Whoa! --
what 'story' is trying to live me?!"  When the myths are disjunct (i.e.,
toxic), they inspire us to new horrors.  People claim we live in a
mythless society; they mourn the absence of myths and envy indigenous
cultures where myths are still kept alive.  The problem with myth, of
course, is that it "lives" one so thoroughly that one can't see it!  We
DO have a myth in the West: apocalypse.  We seem hellbent on actualizing
it.

I honestly don't think it's too late yet.  As a species, we're so
amazingly creative and full of hope and laughter.  They say we only use
10% of our brains -- think what mirculous stories are lying untapped in
the other 90%!!  Time to get to work, time to inspire a few million
Scheherezades (both male and female) who *know* how to go into those
"thin places," as the Celts call them, and bring forth the magic.

And time to pray and pray and pray and clean up our own acts.

I think a lot these days about a powerful little essay Simone Weil wrote
during WWII.  It's called "The Illiad, or the Poem of Force."  She
defines "force" as that quantity-x that has the power to turn a human
being into a "thing."  She places that "force" at the center of western
civilization.  Instead of writing about Nazis and Allies, she used the
Trojan War as her focus.  One day the Greeks would possess "force" and
foolishly think it was theirs for ever.  So they'd abuse the other side.
But "force" can't be possessed -- it swings from side to side, so the
next day the Trojans would have it, and think *they'd* have it forever,
and so they'd demonize the other side and turn them into "things."  A
"thing" with a soul.

In a chilling and haunting passage, Weil distinguishes between
force "in its grossest and most summary form," which is to say, when it
actually kills, and force which, in stopping short of killing, becomes
even more pervasive and "violent" [which is what's happening to peoples
on both sides of the Serb/Kosovo conflict]:

          "... How much more varied in its processes, how much more
          surprising in its effects is the other force, the force that
          does *not* kill, i.e., that does not kill just yet.  It will
          surely kill, it will possibly kill, or perhaps it merely
          hangs, poised and ready, over the head of the creature it
          *can* kill, at any moment, which is to say at every moment.
          In whatever aspect, its effect is the same: it turns a man
          into a stone.  From its first property (the ability to turn
          a human being into a thing by the simple method of killing
          him) flows another, quite prodigious too in its own way,
          the ability to turn a human being into a thing while he is
          still alive.  He is alive; he has a soul; and yet -- he is a
          thing.  An extraordinary entity this -- a thing that has a
          soul. And as for the soul, what an extraordinary house it
          finds itself in!  Who can say what it costs it, moment by
          moment, to accommodate itself to this residence, how much
          writhing and bending, folding and pleating are required of
          it?  It was not made to live inside a thing; if it does so,
          under pressure of necessity, there is not a single element
          of its nature to which violence is not done."

In the tension between those with power and the "things" engendered by
this "x", this "force", this disjunction, there is created a zone in
which rage festers and finally erupts either in self-injury or in
increasingly impersonal, non-discriminating bursts of violence directed
toward turning the once-powerful into victims.  Weil shows that just as
the roles of victor and victim alternated daily during the Trojan War,
so too the victors in any age, believing they possess *force* forever
and thereby overstepping its limits, are eventually reduced to "things"
through the inexorable workings of force-driven fate.  The fuel for
force is, thus, self-perpetuating.  The only way to stop it, Weil
concludes, is if people "learn not to admire force, not to hate the
enemy, nor to scorn the unfortunate."

That's the key ---  "...learn not to admire force, not to hate the
enemy, nor to scorn the unfortunate."

To bring that about, the stories must be changed.  How?  I can't say, at
least not in specific terms.  I think the answers lie in the unused 90%
-- those areas of immense creativity and compassion.  It'll require a
great capacity to listen, and then a willingness on both sides to create
new stories that will nurture life, not hate.

Can it be done?  Yes -- we're such a subtle, mercurial, magical species.
Techniques, both ancient and modern, exist to summon forth the best
within us.

*Will* it be done?  Realistically, probably not.  Unfortunately, the
apocalyptic vision is way too strong in the West.  It's been building,
after all, for 2000 years.  The "collective" seems to yearn for such a
drama, such an ultimate "good vs evil" disaster in which all personal
responsibility will be negated as larger forces duke it out.  Our media
continually shows us such conflicts. It's perhaps a self-fulfilling
prophecy.  We "expect" it.  Some even perversely speak of the "rapture"
which is to precede it.

So, realistically, things look dismal.  I'm not a realist, however, and
fortunately many others aren't either. So I still have much hope.  Maybe
the Virgin Mary will still put in an appearance.  (If she doesn't,
because she has a better "gig" on some other planet, or whatever, she'll
be on my shit-list for all eternity.) Maybe something else will happen,
but we'll squeak by.

Who's to say if the West's bombing is directed by patriarchal forces, or
by *Kali,* protective, fierce Kali, who's sick of seeing innocents on
all sides suffering.  I'm a pacifist and I see no logic in using war to
create a path towards peace.  Yet Kali does use such a strategy as her
"skillful means."  NATO's no Kali, but under all the left-brain, and/or
sentimental rationales, what if Kali secretly pulls the strings?  What
if...?

I'm not wise enough to see the larger picture.  I'm just a busy
squirrel, doing quality-control on our supply of nuts.  But if the
Virgin Mary is otherwise occupied, maybe Kali is pinch-hitting and has
some larger plan of her own which, hopefully, doesn't involve an
apocalypse.  Yes, I know this is called the Kali-Age in the East, the
darkest and saddest of all the ages.  But even *that* concept is born of
an overly dramatic patriarchal POV.  Maybe Kali, or Durga, has a quite
different strategy in mind.  Maybe she too wants some new stories, some
kinder ones.

I think of my favorite saying:

"Divine Wisdom is opening ways where, to human sense, there are no
ways."

Well, enough -- many blessings -- it's after 5am my time, I've been up
all night, and I have a heavy day ahead -- yet it's seemed important to me
to respond to your concerns.   I hope I've been clear.

Much love,

Kathleen

Subject:
        Re: Kosovo/Serb, 4/11-13/99
  Date:
        Tue, 13 Apr 1999 15:45:02 -0400
  From:
       Anon.
 

Hi Kathleen:
Thank you for your very thoughtful response.  I am over-sensitive to the
whole issue right now and desperately trying to find balance.  I know it
wasn't your intention to demonize the Serbs, but to a Serbian student
looking at your website from their war-torn perspective, they might get
"turned off"  when reading that one sentence and chalk it up to more biased
Western propaganda, when they really need to get to the real point which is
the PEACE invocation.  Although there is no intention of bias, by singling
out this story only (which the western press has had  a wonderful time
doing), it places the blame on Serbs.  Westerners might also see it as a
justification for bombing "the bad guys".  As I said before, I don't side
with anyone in this, all the war-makers share equal guilt in this
catastrophe.

More below.......
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
To: Anon.
Cc: jenks7@earthlink.net <jenks7@earthlink.net>
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 8:15 AM
Subject: Kosovo/Serb, 4/11-13/99
 

>Subject:
>           Re: KosovoSerb page
>      Date:
>           Sun, 11 Apr 1999 16:22:04 -0700
>      From:
>           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
>        To:
>         Anon.
>
>Dear Anon. --
>
>Thanks for this feedback on my first e-mail to Judith -- I really
>appreciate it.  By emphasizing the 600 year old Serbian defeat on the
>Field of Blackbirds, it was definitely NOT my intention to further
>"demonize" the Serbs & I didn't realize that it was coming across that
>way -- that's the problem with writing e-mails swiftly, at white-hot
>intensity, & assuming that they're coming across clearly to others.  If
>I sent a mixed signal to you, I probably sent it to others as well.  So
>let me slow down here....
>
>Ten years ago when the ethnic Albanians held power, it was THEY who
>abused the Serb minority and the powder keg was lit in late June 1989
>when an old Serbian man complained to Milosevic, who was visiting the
>Field of Blackbirds, about being beaten by the Kosovars. Milosevic fired
>up the crowd by proclaiming that such a thing should never be allowed to
>happen again.
>
>That was June 28, 1989, the 600th anniversary of the Serbian defeat on
>the Field of Blackbirds on June 28, 1389.
 

Yes, I know this.
 

>
>On June 28, 1914, the 525th anniversary of that same defeat, Franz
>Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serb in Sarajevo.  That set off World
>War I.
 

Among other contributing factors was the harsh treatment of Serbs by the
Austro-Hungarian empire.
 
 

>
>In all three complex instances, an economist might explain such events
>by looking at whatever economic factors prevailed in 1389, 1914 and
>again in 1989.  A politician might look at similarities in political
>problems. But I'm a mythologist, by training and temperament -- and so I
>look at "story."
>
>The "stories" of June 28, 1989, and June 28, 1914, clearly point to June
>28, 1389 as the origination point for these conflicts. These dates can't
>be a coincidence.  A powerful, and from my perspective, "toxic" story
>fueled these events.  As the UNESCO charter states,
 

I agree that all these stories are toxic, but they wouldn't play such a big
role if other circumstances weren't coming into play.  There are so many
stories and anniversaries  here about the colonies breaking away from
England and battles, etc etc, but we have yet to declare war against England
again on any of those days.  Power hungry politicians use stories to
manipulate a situation.  Most sensible people wouldn't even listen to them
or take them that way if there weren't other things going on.
 
 

>
>Since Wars Begin
>In the Minds of Men,
>It is in the Minds of Men
>That we Have to Erect
>The Ramparts of Peace
 

I totally agree!!!
 
 

>
> -- what quickens the seeds of war in those minds are savage *stories.*
>By stopping such toxic stories, we might have a good chance of stopping
>the carnage.  (I think of *Beowulf* -- endless conflicts are fueled and
>renewed at great "peacemaking" feasts between victors and vanquished
>when vanquished old men secretly tell their young men stories of great
>swords belonging to their forebears, but stolen from those forebears by
>the ruthless victors.  "See that guy wearing that sword there," they
>say, "see that ass who parades around with it as if it's his prized
>trophy?  Well, that sword belonged to your great-uncle, and let me tell
>you how he was betrayed by that asshole when that guy was a young punk."
>This pumps up the young men and soon they're butchering the victors to
>get back the "sacred" weapons of their forebears.)
>
>By focusing on this Serb story, this doesn't mean that I'm demonizing
>them --
 
 

I know you are not.  But to someone sensitive to this issue (whose country
is being bombed right now) it might seem like you are assigning blame to the
story of one side in the conflict.
 
 

> I might as well demonize the Turks, whose invasion of Europe led
>to that Field of Blackbirds defeat in 1389.  But before we can demonize
>the Turks, we'd have to look at *their* stories and economies and
>politics, and see who or what was driving *them*, and then demonize
>*those* villains.  But then we'd have to look still further back to see
>who was driving the Turks' villains, and then the villains of the
>villains.  We'd wind up in an "infinite regress."
>
>Thus, demonizing is a bankrupt strategy. It solves nothing.  It just
>keeps the whole thing going, pointlessly, round and round and round.
 
 

I totally agree.  When one side is demonized, it gives the other side a
motive to wipe them out.  Patriarchal strategy at its best.
 

>
>But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me return to "story."
>
>You speak so well of the toxicity of *all* patriarchal stories, and object to my
>singling out the Serbian defeat on the Field of Blackbirds because that
>seems to demonize the Serbs, who are, after all, only one among many of
>the patriarchal forces mixed up in this tragedy.  Yet the toxicity of
>continually nurturing that Field of Blackbirds narrative seems to me to
>be less about patriarchy than ethnicity.  It's true that patriarachy
>fosters such ethnic divisiveness, but rather than pushing all evils back
>onto patriarchy, I think it's more useful (at least for me) to
>differentiate between toxic ethnic stories, toxic hero stories, toxic
>economic stories, toxic child-rearing stories, and so forth.  Some of
>these stories really do seem to be more "toxic" (in the sense of being
>more likely to contain the self-perpetuating seeds of war) than others.
>As a mythologist, I feel it's crucial to identify such stories.  Maybe
>this isn't helpful.  But it's what I do, and always with the hope that
>such stories will then enter the collective *consciousness,* instead of
>remaining *un*conscious and thereby all the more dangerous.
 
 

Yes, I understand this.  But on an international website, someone else might
not.
 

>
>At some point, yes, these toxic issues are all interconnected, but I
>find it too overwhelming to think in such terms.  When I go that route,
>I just want to sink into a deep depression, which just feeds more of the
>negativity.  So, instead, I scurry around like a busy little squirrel
>saying "Look at this, look at that! We have some nuts going rancid here,
>so take time to look at them, time to gather some fresh ones that won't
>be so hard to digest. The liver can't digest rancid nuts, you know, so
>we need to protect our livers.  Quickly now, quickly, quickly, toss out
>those old wormy, germy things!"
>
>Some can soar overhead and see the bigger picture and make others more
>aware of possible meta-strategies for changing things.  I seem better
>suited to handling ground-level details like foregrounding new
>stories/nuts/myths/narratives and backgrounding old ones.  I look more
>at mini-strategies, layer by layer.  It's a difference in how we focus
>our lenses, but it doesn't change the reality of what we're viewing.
 
 

Yes, this is wonderful.  It's exactly what's needed.  [We need to bring
such myths] more and more into consciousness and hope some day
they will replace all the "military warrior" myths.
 
 

>
>I think of my approach as a "Scheherezade Mission" -- i.e., a murderous,
>brutal sultan, the epitome of patriarchal power, is held at bay, not by
>guns and bombs, but by the human ability to weave such wonderful stories
>that his whole being slowly shifts into alignment with an energy that
>nurtures life instead of destroying it.  (Of course, I have to admit
>that on an individual level [i.e., not looking at patriarchy as a whole]
>maybe sometimes it's better to get La Femme Nikita to just assassinate
>the sonovabitch!)
 

I know what you mean!!!
 
 

>
>We have a Peace Corps which does amazing work. But what about a
>Storytelling/listening Corps?  We've seen from 2 world wars that a
>story, handed down through the generations, can literally become the
>womb of war.  As a species, surely we're creative enough to spin tales
>that can birth peace instead!  Peace is so often made to seem dull
>and lame -- but that's part of the problem.  Peace, the real thing, is
>highly robust, energetic, exciting; true peace knows how to nurture
>intensely creative (and satisfying) work as well as play.  Why don't
>more playwrights and screenwriters tap into these deeper dimensions
>instead of making peace seem so sappy and naive?
 

Yes.  I love Z Budapest's quote on this and try to work toward that goal:

"Mythology is the mother of religions and grandmother of history.  Mythology is humanmade by the artists, storytellers, entertainers of the times; in short, culture-makers are the soldiers of history, more effective than guns and bombers.  Revolutions are really won in the cultural battlefields."  [Zsuzanna Budapest: The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries]


>
>The Serbs have nurtured a 600 year old toxic story...and look what
>happens.  Why weren't Serbian & ethnic Albanian mythologists, educators,
>artists, street theatre people, depth psychologists, and the like
>working to shift the parameters of that story into something less
>"charged"?  (I'm sure many were, in fact, but such work, the most
>important of all!, is given such a low priority in all our societies.)
 

yes.
 

>The ethnic Albanians must also have old, toxic tales and, when they had
>the chance, they abused the Serbs.
 

It's been going back and forth for centuries all over the Balkans.
 

>Right now a flood of new poisonous tales are sweeping through that
>region.  Eventually things will be settled along political and economic
>lines and the world will turn its attention elsewhere.  But a million
>traumas will remain behind to fester into a new dangerous toxicity that
>may come of age in another 20 or 30 years when it's likely to be the
>ethnic Albanians, not the Serbs, who are committing atrocities.  Each
>side demonizes the other.  And so it goes.  As you say so eloquently,
>all sides share the blame here.
 

yes.
 

>
>What concerns me, deep down, is that whatever compromise is finally
>worked out, no one will tend to the *stories* -- and so we/they will be
>incubating future horrors all over again, and be just as shocked and
>disgusted THEN as we are now, and never understand our own complicity in
>ignoring the sheer bloody power and weight of what seems so flimsy:
>story, myth, a handful of rotten nuts.
 

Absolutely true.
 

>
>James Hillman and others speak about how myths and archetypes choose
>*us,* not we them -- thus, we're LIVED by myths.  They sweep us along at
>a frantic pace if we can't be aware enough to stop and say, "Whoa! --
>what 'story' is trying to live me?!"  When the myths are disjunct (i.e.,
>toxic), they inspire us to new horrors.  People claim we live in a
>mythless society; they mourn the absence of myths and envy indigenous
>cultures where myths are still kept alive.  The problem with myth, of
>course, is that it "lives" one so thoroughly that one can't see it!  We
>DO have a myth in the West: apocalypse.  We seem hellbent on actualizing
>it.
>
>I honestly don't think it's too late yet.  As a species, we're so
>amazingly creative and full of hope and laughter.  They say we only use
>10% of our brains -- think what miraculous stories are lying untapped in
>the other 90%!!  Time to get to work, time to inspire a few million
>Scheherezades (both male and female) who *know* how to go into those
>"thin places," as the Celts call them, and bring forth the magic.
>
>And time to pray and pray and pray and clean up our own acts.
 

Yes, yes, yes.
 

>
>I think a lot these days about a powerful little essay Simone Weil wrote
>during WWII.  It's called "The Illiad, or the Poem of Force."  She
>defines "force" as that quantity-x that has the power to turn a human
>being into a "thing."  She places that "force" at the center of western
>civilization.  Instead of writing about Nazis and Allies, she used the
>Trojan War as her focus.  One day the Greeks would possess "force" and
>foolishly think it was theirs for ever.  So they'd abuse the other side.
>But "force" can't be possessed -- it swings from side to side, so the
>next day the Trojans would have it, and think *they'd* have it forever,
>and so they'd demonize the other side and turn them into "things."  A
>"thing" with a soul.
>
>In a chilling and haunting passage, Weil distinguishes between
>force "in its grossest and most summary form," which is to say, when it
>actually kills, and force which, in stopping short of killing, becomes
>even more pervasive and "violent" [which is what's happening  to peoples
>on both sides of the Serb/Kosovo conflict]:
>
>          "... How much more varied in its processes, how much more
>          surprising in its effects is the other force, the force that
>          does *not* kill, i.e., that does not kill just yet.  It will
>          surely kill, it will possibly kill, or perhaps it merely
>          hangs, poised and ready, over the head of the creature it
>          *can* kill, at any moment, which is to say at every moment.
>          In whatever aspect, its effect is the same: it turns a man
>          into a stone.  From its first property (the ability to turn
>          a human being into a thing by the simple method of killing
>          him) flows another, quite prodigious too in its own way,
>          the ability to turn a human being into a thing while he is
>          still alive.  He is alive; he has a soul; and yet -- he is a
>          thing.  An extraordinary entity this -- a thing that has a
>          soul.  And as for the soul, what an extraordinary house it
>          finds itself in!  Who can say what it costs it, moment by
>          moment, to accommodate itself to this residence, how much
>          writhing and bending, folding and pleating are required of
>          it?  It was not made to live inside a thing; if it does so,
>          under pressure of necessity, there is not a single element
>          of its nature to which violence is not done."
>
>In the tension between those with power and the "things" engendered by
>this "x", this "force", this disjunction, there is created a zone in
>which rage festers and finally erupts either in self-injury or in
>increasingly impersonal, non-discriminating bursts of violence directed
>toward turning the once-powerful into victims.  Weil shows that just as
>the roles of victor and victim alternated daily during the Trojan War,
>so too the victors in any age, believing they possess *force* forever
>and thereby overstepping its limits, are eventually reduced to "things"
>through the inexorable workings of force-driven fate.  The fuel for
>force is, thus, self-perpetuating.  The only way to stop it, Weil
>concludes, is if people "learn not to admire force, not to hate the
>enemy, nor to scorn the unfortunate."
 

YES, YES, YES!!!

>
>That's the key ---  "...learn not to admire force, not to hate the
>enemy, nor to scorn the unfortunate."
 

Total agreement here too.
 

>
>To bring that about, the stories must be changed.  How?  I can't say, at
>least not in specific terms.  I think the answers lie in the unused 90%
>-- those areas of immense creativity and compassion.  It'll require a
>great capacity to listen, and then a willingness on both sides to create
>new stories that will nurture life, not hate.
>
>Can it be done?  Yes -- we're such a subtle, mercurial, magical species.
>Techniques, both ancient and modern, exist to summon forth the best
>within us.
 

Yes, it's what I hope for always.
 

>
>*Will* it be done?  Realistically, probably not.  Unfortunately, the
>apocalyptic vision is way too strong in the West.
 

Yes - perhaps the Book of Revelations would make a more universal example.
 

>
>It's been building,
>after all, for 2000 years.  The "collective" seems to yearn for such a
>drama, such an ultimate "good vs evil" disaster in which all personal
>responsibility will be negated as larger forces duke it out.  Our media
>continually shows us such conflicts. It's perhaps a self-fulfilling
>prophecy.  We "expect" it.  Some even perversely speak of the "rapture"
>which is to precede it.
 

Yes, and Mars and Pluto retrograding right now (war and power) & are making
this even more in the forefront.
 

>
>So, realistically, things look dismal.  I'm not a realist, however, and
>fortunately many others aren't either. So I still have much hope.  Maybe
>the Virgin Mary will still put in an appearance.  (If she doesn't,
>because she has a better "gig" on some other planet, or whatever, she'll
>be on my shit-list for all eternity.) Maybe something else will happen,
>but we'll squeak by.
>
>Who's to say if the West's bombing is directed by patriarchal forces, or
>by *Kali,* protective, fierce Kali, who's sick of seeing innocents on
>all sides suffering.  I'm a pacifist and I see no logic in using war to
>create a path towards peace.
 

Nor do I.
 

> Yet Kali does use such a strategy as her
>"skillful means."  NATO's no Kali, but under all the left-brain, and/or
>sentimental rationales, what if Kali secretly pulls the strings?  What
>if...?
 

Yes, a friend of mine who is very spiritually oriented keeps saying maybe
this is what is supposed to happen.  But that view sends chills up my spine!
I prefer to think, as you do, that this whole mentality can be reversed bit
by bit, with new myths (or ancient Goddess myths) seeping into
consciousness.
 

>
>I'm not wise enough to see the larger picture.  I'm just a busy
>squirrel, doing quality-control on our supply of nuts.
 

that's a great way to put it!!!
 
 

>But if the
>Virgin Mary is otherwise occupied, maybe Kali is pinch-hitting and has
>some larger plan of her own which, hopefully, doesn't involve an
>apocalypse.  Yes, I know this is called the Kali-Age in the East, the
>darkest and saddest of all the ages.  But even *that* concept is born of
>an overly dramatic patriarchal POV.  Maybe Kali, or Durga, has a quite
>different strategy in mind.  Maybe she too wants some new stories, some
>kinder ones.
>
>I think of my favorite saying:
>
>"Divine Wisdom is opening ways where, to human sense, there are no
>ways."
>
>Well, enough -- many blessings -- it's after 5am my time and I have a
>heavy day ahead -- yet it's seemed important to me to respond to your
>concerns.  I hope I've been clear.
 

You have been and I really appreciate it.  Thank you.  Your response would
make a wonderful essay! We are of the same mind on all this.   I'm just
concerned with others' perceptions.

Peace, Love and Bright Blessings,
Anon.
 
 
 

Subject:
           Re: Kosovo/Serb, 4/11-13/99
      Date:
           Tue, 13 Apr 1999 13:17:58 -0700
      From:
           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
        To:
        Anon.
 

Anon. -- this deep & thoughtful "fugue" of responses between us works
so much better than if I just turn my part into an essay and use it as
an addendum!  Could you possibly, maybe, *please, please* reconsider &
let me include our e-mails on it?!  (I'd put an asterisk in my e-mail to
Judith where I first mention the Field of Blackbirds so that people who
might be turned off will know to check further.)  I could let you be "an
anonymous friend," if that feels better....

Much love, K.
 
 

Subject:
        publishing emails
  Date:
        Tue, 13 Apr 1999 23:45:29 -0400
  From:
        Anon.
    To:
        "Kathleen Jenks" <jenks7@earthlink.net>
 

Hi Kathleen:
Think I'm leaning more toward "anonymous friend"....
 
 

Subject:
           Re: publishing emails
      Date:
           Tue, 13 Apr 1999 22:07:11 -0700
      From:
           Kathleen Jenks <jenks7@earthlink.net>
        To:
           Anon.
       CC:
           jenks7@earthlink.net
 

Hi "Anon." --

This is great news! -- anon. will be fine....

Btw, I do understand totally your reluctance to let the words go public
under your actual name.... It's different for me, since what I am, I
write, but most people aren't in that "space...."  And even with me,
after putting up my own scanned, resized, and digitally "blued"
handprint for the small "blue hand" image midway down the opening page,
I began to feel a great uneasiness.  After all, when I scanned in my
actual hand, the image contained a record of my life line, destiny
patterns, fingerprints, etc.  Somehow, it made me feel too vulnerable.
So within a day of putting it on the web, I deleted it.  Judith really
liked it, however, and suggested that I simply put blue dye on my hand,
make my handprint on a piece of paper, and scan *that* into the
computer.  This, akin to your using "Anon.," feels safe to me, so I'll
do it.  We all set our boundaries differently and need to respect each
other's, especially in these realms of myth and story!....

Well,  my thanks again for letting me put your sensitive feedback on the
website.   From one busy little squirrel to another -- much love,

Kathleen


 

18 April 1999, 2am:
I wish to end this page, as it began, with an e-mail from Judith:


Subject:
        Kosovo
  Date:
        Wed, 14 Apr 1999 13:17:14 EDT
  From:
        Judith1152@aol.com
    To:
        jenks7@earthlink.net

Dear Kathleen:

I thought you might find this article from The New York Times interesting:

April 14, 1999, Wednesday
Foreign Desk
CRISIS IN THE BALKANS: IN SERBIA; Belgrade Voice Against Misuse Of  Patriotism

By Steven Erlanger

The most liberal member of the Yugoslav Government has sharply attacked the use of Serbian wartime patriotism for ideological and political ends, throwing down an indirect challenge to President Slobodan Milosevic and his nationalist and leftist allies, including Mr. Milosevic's wife.
In two extraordinary statements during the last two days, the Deputy Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, Vuk Draskovic, has become the only official voice to condemn both the slaying on Sunday of an opposition publisher, Slavko Curuvija, and the proposals for Yugoslavia to form an alliance with Russia and Belarus.
''May Slavko Curuvija be the first and last victim of those in Serbia who want to start the mad spiral of fratricide,'' Mr. Draskovic said Monday night on the Belgrade television station controlled by his Serbian Renewal Movement.
He also called on political parties not to manipulate the patriotism and unity of the Serbs in wartime, saying, ''All parties should temporarily bury their differences and insignias.''
Today, Mr. Draskovic went further in attacking the idea of an alliance with Russia and Belarus.  The alliance is strongly supported by the Yugoslav Left Party of Mr. Milosevic's powerful wife, Mirjana Markovic.
''There are political forces who think we should enter the 21st century on the ruins of a destroyed state,'' Mr. Draskovic said. ''They think we should pick up picks and shovels with the same songs, the same iconography, and 50 years later, start building Communism all over again. This must not happen.''


*******

Also [...about...] the Field of Blackbirds...I refer you to a column by Cokie and Steven V. Roberts for United Feature Syndicate that was published within the last seven days.  I couldn't find a copy online, so I'll give you some of the salient points:

*******

CENTURIES-OLD CURSE CONTINUES TO PLAGUE THE BALKANS

Some years ago when we were living in Athens, we visited a town near Greece's northern border with Macedonia. It was a national holiday, and a proud mother had dressed her small boy in a traditional costume for the occasion. As they waited for a photographer to take his picture, the mother said softly, "My little warrior, you will grow up and kill all the Turks."

This is the curse of the Balkans: mothers whispering into the ears of their
children, nursing grudges, spreading poison, plotting revenge. No matter how long it takes.

This curse helps explain the tragedy playing out in the Balkans today. By all
accounts the Clinton administration thought that the threat of devastating air attacks would finally force Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to capitulate. Obviously, they were terribly wrong, and that same mistake is still being made.
....

But sense has little to do with the Serbian leader's motives--he will do anything to stay in power. And in ordering the genocidal rampage now ravaging Kosovo, he has tapped in his countrymen a lethal mixture of national pride, religious zeal, and historical grievance.
....

The [NATO] planners did not account for the curse of the Balkans.  The Greek mother we heard whispering to her son has her counterpart in Serbia. Serbian defenders were destroyed by Turkish forces in the battle of Kosovo in 1389, 64 years before the Greek capital of Constantinople also fell to the Turks, and neither nation has ever forgotten or forgiven those defeats.

Writing in The Washington Post, Michael Dobbs quotes a dispatch from American writer John Reed at the outset of World War I. Every Serb soldier "knows what he is fighting for,"  Reed wrote, for one simple reason: "When he was a baby, his mother greeted him, 'Hail, little avenger of Kosovo.'"
But the Balkan curse goes beyond simple ethnic rivalry. Dobbs cites the Serbian word 'inat,' for which there is no real English translation. 'That word,' says Dobbs, 'conveys a stubborn determination to go to any lengths to get revenge on an enemy, even if you ruin yourself in the process.'
We saw this stubbornness firsthand after the Turks invaded Cyprus in 1974 and the American Congress adopted sanctions against Ankara. Turkey retaliated by closing down key American listening posts on the Black Seas--posts that were critical to the defense of Turkey.

When Steve asked the Turkish foreign minister why his country would put itself at such risk, the answer was full of murky bluster. But the foreign minister's aide called Steve aside after the interview and said, "Mr. Roberts, you must understand an old proverb: A Turk will burn his blanket to kill a flea."

Today, the Serbs, with their instinct for heroic martyrdom, are burning their blanket of military might to kill the Kosovar Albanians.
....
The leaders and troops on the other side will have the curse of the Balkans ringing in their ears as they go into battle. Their mothers planted it there a long time ago."
This article and your comments in your first e-mail are the genesis of the line in the Invocation about how mothers tells stories to their children....

Love,

Judith
 
 

A final comment:

ABC's Nightline for Wednesday, 14 April 1999 contained a report from an independent journalist in Kosovo.  This journalist had followed the desperate flight of the family of an ethnic Albanian man, his wife, little son, and extended family.  At the end, in interviewing the man and his wife, I was struck by the wife's ancient, classic beauty as she quietly let her husband field all the questions.  Then the interviewer addressed her directly and asked if she could ever forgive the Serbs for what they had done to her family and her village.  The woman's serene beauty vanished and she became a raging Fury. "Never!"  she cried, her face contorted with her passion for revenge.  The next shot showed the woman with her young son.  The journalist commented with simple eloquence upon the obvious fact that this mother would transmit her rage and fury to this boy.

And so it will continue, generation after generation, unless we find a way to defuse and re-focus these stories..........
 
 

Back to Judith's "Peace Invocation"
 

Or else to:

E-mail correspondence copyright © 1999
by Judith Brownlee, Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D., and "Anon.";
additional text & 2 paintings copyright © 1999 by Sandra Stanton.
(The little squirrels come from Russian lacquer box art.)
All rights reserved.


 


Page created pre-dawn11 April 1999.
Latest update: 18 April 1999.