Howling in the Night, an Eerie Wonder

170px-HowlsnowWouldn’t you like to leap, and spin around and over your friends, and end up out of breath in a mush pile, a laughing heap of beings? That’s what wolf pups do. The wolf is one of the animals that call to me, one of my Tla Twein.  (see my earlier post on the Tla Twein) 

I notice that many people love wolves. For some of my piano students, the stickers of wolves that I receive in the mail from conservation organizations are the first choice to put on a finished song.

Two conflicting ideas about wolves are prevalent: One is of the “lone wolf”, solitary, strong, but alone; the other about the close warm ties between the members of a wolf pack, working together to gather their food and raise their babies. Different members of the pack help out by babysitting the cubs while the mother is out hunting.

But when we think of what draws us to the wolves, perhaps these two images are not so conflicting. Perhaps we yearn for the camaraderie, the playful closeness of the pack, and yet feel like the lone wolf who is seeking a pack. On the other hand, sometimes we need the solitary aloneness (but not lonely) of the “lone wolf”.  Sometimes we need to move away from the pull toward compliance of the pack. We need to find our own path.

The lone wolf doesn’t stay completely alone. Sometimes in the night the lone wolf howls. If others can hear them, they respond, and the song echoes back and forth across the miles. This howling in the night is an eerie wonder – wolves singing together reaching with their songs across long distances to lone wolves and other packs (and all the other species that can hear them). Strange dissonances send thrills up our spine, bring new ideas of harmony, new possibilities.

Solitary singing is good, but when we sing in a group there is something so powerful and breathtaking that happens that I, at least, can hardly contain the joy. And when a human composer brings in the forbidden dissonances we hear in the wolf songs, I tremble with some combination of fear and delight. It’s clear, when we watch videos of wolves howling, that this power of harmony and dissonance happens for the wolves, too.

I confess, when the husky down the street howls in her yard as my dogs and I go past, I cannot restrain myself from howling back. Sometimes if she isn’t howling, I’ll give a little howl and she joins me. What a thrill! I wish I dared throw my head back and howl with all my might. My little dogs don’t howl with the husky, only with the fire sirens. But when they howl, they sit up so straight, so earnest, so involved in the howl, that I know it’s a spiritual ritual, a solemn invocation of….?

What is it that I need to learn from the wolf as my Tla Twei? Perhaps it’s the cooperative bonding of the pack for the serious business of the hunt – in my case to take on the serious problems of the world – and the restful dance of playtime ending in the physical closeness of the mush pile.

And in the night, the ritual of singing in strange harmonies, reaching joyfully to my fellow humans on the other side of the valley or the world.

 

In my book, The Earth Woman Tree Woman Quartet, the Tla Twein are trying to bring humans back into the sacred Dance of Life, the Tsin Twei.  You can purchase print and ebook versions at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and order print versions from your local independent bookstore.

Want to explore your own Tla Twein? If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you can attend a three hour workshop on April 28th in Oakland where we will move and sing, write and create art work in search of the reason our particular Tla Twein call us. The fee is “pay what you can”. Contact me at connie@deephum.com for more information.  Put Tla Twein Workshop in the subject line.

Who is your Tla Twei?

Well, I didn't quite imagine myself like this!

Well, I didn’t quite imagine myself like this!

Tla Twei?  What’s that?

In my book, Journey to Ninas Twei, Book One of the Earth Woman Tree Woman Quartet, a mystical world exists – Ninas Twei – where the grandsouls of all the species on earth meet to dance the Dance of Life.  Here they are able to understand each other’s needs and form the compromises that make life on earth work.

Well, almost all of earth’s species.

Homo Sapiens have lost the ability to form this grandsoul and cannot join the dance.

But some humans do know about the Dance.  Among them is a small group of people from the country of Uhs (the name of the country has been changed to protect the “innocent”). Many years ago an indigenous group living on the northwest coast of what is now Uhs found they could travel to Ninas Twei and observe the dance if they transformed into a mystical, but corporal, form – a kind of avatar – called a Tla Twei.  As the years passed they included other sympathetic Uhseans and now the small group is a very bonded, diverse community.

In our daily lives we frequently identify with characters who could be our Tla Twei.

Sometimes we choose a “totem animal.”  When we read folk tales or see super hero movies we choose characters that are our favorites, and children have no problem pretending to be these characters.  When I was a little girl I played Robin Hood with my friends in the nearby woods.  There are gods and goddesses from various traditions that speak to us.  (I’m very attached to Kuan Yin, myself.)  And real heroes from the past, like Harriet Tubman whose courage continues to inspire me.

Why do we find ourselves pulled toward these characters?

In Journey to Ninas Twei when the characters transform to their Tla Twei they don’t become the real thing.  Luhanada MoonMother, for instance, has become the physical form of a cougar, but the characteristics of courage and wisdom that the cougar represents to the local indigenous people are what she has taken on.  She is drawn to the cougar because she wants more of these qualities.

I think every time we choose a Tla Twei, an animal totem, a folk hero, etc., we are really drawn to a characteristic that we want more of.  Practicing being our Tla Twei is a way of growing the qualities we want in our life.

This is much like the spiritual practice of Charya Nritya a mental process of seeing oneself as having the appearance, ornaments, inner qualities, and awareness of the deity one is envisioning” practiced by the Newar Buddhist priests of Nepal and brought to this country by Prajwal Vajracharya.  You can find more about Charya Nritya at  http://www.dancemandal.com/dance-mandal-offerings/

Want to find out more about your own Tla Twei?  Watch this site for a free book on Finding and Becoming Your Own Tla Twei coming soon.  You can download Journey to Ninas Twei as an ebook from Smashwords and Kindle.