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Old 03-30-2012, 01:04 AM
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Default Grandmother Spider - An Earth/Na'vi Story!

I found this story in a knitting book, yes the book is about knitting, no I’m not, but its filled with stories, and in particular this one was about Weaving ... don’t ask me, ask the author!

Anyways, as I was reading it I saw some parallels that I associated with symbolism in Avatar. To me it speaks of what Na’vi Stories and Songs, might be about in Pandora context, of course.

The Na’vi culture is considered to be 18,000 years old (according to Pandorapedia), and is passed on through Stories and Songs. Pandorapedia notes that “Storytelling is a part of the Na’vi weaving culture as well, and may have a role in recording history as well as myth. Xenoanthropologists have difficulty separating Na’vi myth from history, since all Na’vi stories are considered fact by the Na’vi, although many clearly have ... mythic elements.”

“Although their society is essentially Neolithic, they have developed a vibrant, complex culture based on a profound spiritual connection to their world and its natural order, to one another, and to the deity they call Eywa. They are superb artisans who celebrate the interconnectedness of nature through storytelling, song, dance and crafts.”

To clarify, in the following story, as it is related on Earth, Weaving is considered to be given a woman’s art, but on Pandora “Social roles are not necessarily determined by gender. Females are known to be active hunters and clan leaders, while males often choose to focus on child rearing or crafts, such as Na’vi weaving. The arts are of vital importance in Na’vi culture, with all individuals encouraged, even socially required, to be active in music, singing, ceramics, weaving, and dance.”

The following descriptions of the importance and significance of Weaving, is where at lot of the similarities to Grandmother Spider stories, parallel, and hence why I see the Grandmother Spider story, as a Na’vi story.

“While other Na'vi clans on Pandora organize themselves around carving or pottery, the Omaticaya are renowned for their brilliant textiles. Thus the loom plays a key role in the daily life of the clan. The largest of the Omaticaya looms is more massive than a Terran pipe organ. This mas'kit nivi sa'nok, or “mother loom” is given a place of honor in the common area of Hometree."

"The Na'vi word for loom, ulivi mari'tsey mak'dinio, translates roughly into “branches of the tree look to each other for strength,” or “many branches together are strong.” Depending on the type of textile produced, the loom can also be referred to as Eywa s'ilivi mas'kit nivi, (or just mas'kit nivi) which translates into “Eywa's wisdom is revealed to all of us.” This evocation of Eywa is a clear indication of the loom's importance in Na'vi culture. It is also a compelling description of Eywa, who, in this context, is depicted as a kind of cosmic weaver who brings the disparate elements of Pandora together into a harmonious whole.”

“The majority of Hometree songs pertain to weaving, since it is one of the principal communal activities of their daily lives. Weaving occurs in two ways: it may be done on an individual basis, on small looms, with a few men and women sitting in small clusters, or it may be done on one of the giant looms strung between floor and ceiling of the Hometree commons that are worked by six or seven Na’vi at a time. Most of the weaving songs are sung by the men and women working on their individual looms.”

“While weaving, the rhythm of the loom dictates the rhythm of the singing. Experienced weavers create the steadiest rhythms and can sing the most complex songs while weaving:”

Lyrics from a complex Na'vi weaving song,

Tompay kato, tsawkey kato,
Trr s txon
S() ayzst kato,
S’ekong te’lan,
Te’lan le-Na’vi
Oeru teya si,
Oeru teya si.

Katot tftxu oel
Nean nrim,
Ayzst kato,
’heyu srey,
’heyu srey,
Srey le-Na’vi
Oeru teya si,
Oeru teya si.


The rhythm of rain and sun
Of night and day,
The rhythm of the years,
And the beat of the hearts,
Hearts of the People
Fills me,
Fills me.

I weave the rhythm
In yellow and blue
The rhythm of the years,
The spiral of the lives,
The spiral of the lives,
Lives of the People
Fills me,
Fills me.


Spiral Song

Pamtseol ngop ayrenut
M ronsem tfnu
Tengfya ngop sftxuyul
M hifkey.
---------------------
Chorus:
Awnga rol fte kivame
Kame fte rivol
Rerol tengkr ker
l fya’o avol
Ne kxamtseng.
---------------------
Aywayl ym kifkey
’heyut avomrr
Sn tireafya’o avol
Na waytelem hng.
Chorus repeated

Music creates patterns
In the silence of the mind
As weavers do
In the physical world.
---------------------
Chorus:
We sing to See
We See to sing
We sing our way
Down the eight paths
To the center.
---------------------
The songs bind the thirteen spirals
Of the solid world
To the eight spirit paths
Like the threads of a Songcord.
Chorus repeated



Introduction

No one know exactly where Grandmother Spider, came from.
She apparently emerged on the North American continent with the mysterious Anasazi people,
Who may have brought her with them across the Bering Strait or from South America.
She spread through the Native American societies, where she helped create the people with language,
By singing and thinking them into life with words.
(reminiscent of Avatar's reference to the First Songs)

One way Grandmother Spider's power is conveyed,
Is through the tradition of her visual representation.
She is never drawn literally.
Instead, she is conveyed through words and symbols.
These symbols include pictographs, symbolic spiders, and the equal-armed cross,
That can sometimes be a symbol of emergence from one world to the next.

Once the First People are created,
She keeps her eye on them from some dark and quiet crevice or other.
And then, when they're in a jam, or confused, or dejected,
She leads them from those places,
That are cold and empty and dark,
Tto those places which are warm and light and quite wondrously full.
She finesses this transition with her magical and practical too, the web,
And her deep knowledge of reverence for the power and possibilities of matter.
In the Navajo tradition,
These magical qualities are also ascribed to the spiritual and practical art of weaving,
Which in turn creates the world and the patterns of the world.
(reminicent of the Spiral Song)

Just look at any spiderweb.
It's efficiency and its seductiveness lie in its near invisibility.
That just barely delineated wafer of patterning
That shows itself only when the sun blunders through
Its gossamer orbs and ladders is optimally functional.
Not only does the invisibility keep the spider safe while also luring prey,
But also the unassuming spider silk is itself brilliantly engineered.
Researchers have discovered that webs spun by individual spiders
are calibrated with ultraviolet light spectrums, which attract specific insects.
Weaving is like that.
Very unassuming. Lots of light insides.
Tailors itself to the individual weaver, and sustains her.

It also speaks to the importance of fiber arts to the survival of our species,
And how humans used yarn and weaving to overcome trial,
Since somewhere near the beginning of history,
And in climates that were not temperate,
Those humans who could spin and weave and keep themselves warm,
Were often those humans who survived.

Grandmother Spiders tools include her web,
And her specialties are creation and emergence -
In other words, she precides
Over the art of finessng that delicate yet uttertly essential threashold
Between one thing and the utterly impossible seeming thing
That will somehow, nonetheless, absolutely for sure,
And no doubt about it, happen next!

~'~



continued in next post .....

***
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It was impossible not to have, It's impossible not to be, It's impossible not to still ...!



What this world really needs is more artists and environmentalists!



"Its only 'here' that we lose perspective, out at the Cosmic Consciousness Level things get a lot clearer. For example, there is an actual star pattern that is traced in the shape of a Willow Tree, across the breadth of the Milky Way! And no wonder Indigenous peoples refer to the 'here after' as the Happy Hunting Grounds! Has it ever occured to anyone why the bioluminescence dots, on the Na'vi!"

Last edited by Mika; 03-30-2012 at 02:00 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-30-2012, 01:05 AM
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Tsamsiyu
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Default The Grandmother Spider Story

This tradition teaches that weaving became the provenance of women
Through an emergency collaboration of sorts,
between Grandmother Spider and First Woman.
In it, the Navajo people put on sets of wings and flew upward
To find a hole in the sky of three successive worlds,
One after the other, as they outgrew the resources each world had to offer
And mastered the lessons which were required of them to be able to pass into the next.
Their journey is one of differentiation and discovery.
Each successive world has more food, and more light,
And more diversity than the last;
Each world also presents a slightly more difficult access than the previous one.
As they leave the first world, they simply fly up and find the hole.
Between the second and third, they must follow the wind
As it makes a spiral through this awesome aperture.
The sky between the third and fourth worlds
Becomes so solid and strong that it can not be penetrated.
But just when the First People begin to lose hope,
A human being wearing a blue mask peers around,
(Blue People!!!)
The Northernmost, Southernmost, Easternmost, and Westernmost
Edges of the sky.
Then, each of these humans picks up the edge of the sky he or she holds.
This creates just enough space between this prohibitive sky,
And the next world
For the First People to split up and for some of them
To quickly and gratefully slip through the gap at each corner.

Another people from another tribe already live in the fourth world.
They teach the First People how to irrigate their own corn in exchange for labor;
They become complacent and trusting,
And cast aside their winged suits,
(which are what their original insect wings have become)
As they gain more trust in life.

And they do live happily ever after until, one day,
Somehow inevitably,
That lord of chaos and unaddressed emotions,
Known as Water Monster,
Comes home and discovers that someone has stolen his children.
In the time-honoured way of water monsters,
He subsequently decided to obliterate the world
With his particular je ne sais quoi,
Which happens to be an enormous, unstoppable flood.
Since the First People no longer have their winged suits,
The only way they can head for the sky this time,
Is to abandon their beautiful fertile land
And climb the tallest mountain ahead of the waters.
In this they are led by the one called First Woman,
Who is a member of a council of thirty two of the wise.
When the tribes each the top of this mountain,
The water continues to rise.
At this point First Woman takes a magical bamboo seed from her pack.
(Seeds of the Sacred Tree?)
Within four days it will make a giant tree.
She call the rest of the council of the wise together
And they discover that each of them possesses one of these magical seeds.
And so the seeds are planted,
And the people chant more sacred magic over them day and night for four days
And on the morning of the fourth day
These thirty two bamboo plants have come together to make a giant, hollow tree
Thirty two joints high
And large enough to shelter the entire tribe,
With a tiny, peaked room at the top.
(Reminiscent of imagery of Home Tree)

The people climb into this room just ahead of the flood.
All creatures are represented.
Each has brought a gift for the new world in her or his pack.
One of these creatures is Grandmother Spider;
Who now travels with her own children.
He pack carries a skein of very strong silk thread for braiding rope,
Or weaving blankets.

As the floods begin to rise up the bamboo tree, joint by joint,
The people discover that this blue sky
Has become more impenetrable than ever.
It is, in fact, as hard and implacable as stone.
Penetration proves impossible.
The birds among them rise up to make a hole,
But they can do no more than crack it,
Because the motion of their wings does not permit stillness.
So in their wake the tribe sends up a Locust,
Who can use his wings and poise in stillness at once.
Locust makes a tiny hole in the sky.
So the next world has been breached,
But is still inaccessible because no one can enter this microscopic aperture,
And, meanwhile, the waters continue to rise.

For the first time, the First People are at a loss.
They can see the tiny hole.
They can see the raging waters below them.
For the moment, they are safe in the tree of their own ingenuity and prayer.
But they have no method of eliding the place of their perch
With the portal of their liberation.

And that is exactly when a small, quiet, sensible, yet commanding voice
Emerges from a dark crevice in the bamboo tree.
“If I were at that opening,” points out Grandmother Spider,
Who has been waiting silently in the shadows for her turn to speak,
“I could spin a strong rope ladder back to the tree and anyone could get across.
Then we could go in size order
And each of us could make it larger as we go.”

As the floodwaters rise joint by joint up the bamboo tower,
Grandmother Spider mounts Dragonfly’s back (Banshee symbolism?)
And together they ride up to the hairline crack of their prospective deliverance.
From there, Grandmother Spider spins a thread down to the bamboo tree,
Where First Woman catches it. (First Woman – Ewya?)
Then, as fast as she can, which is fairly fast,
And perhaps even faster with First Woman’s urging,
Grandmother Spider rides ups and down her original thread twelve times.
Next, she makes another twelve-ply thread just like the first,
And spins rungs across it,
And her weightless web transforms itself into a strong rope ladder
Which grows from the magical tree to the tiny aerial hole of liberation.
(Reminiscent of the connecting threads of Ewya)

The creatures traveled up the ladder from smallest to largest,
Each of them enlarging the diameter of the whole for the next largest of their tribe.
Finally everyone has gone through but First Woman and First Man.
First Man asked First Woman to go through before him.
“No, you go,” she said.
“There are some treasures I want to collect first for our tribe.”
And so it was that First Woman was the last to go up Grandmother Spider’s ladder.
As she did, she cut the silken ladder loose from the tree.
She went up a few rungs, then wrapped those rungs around her like a silken placenta,
And up a few more, and again, and again, until she slid through the hole in the sky.
By the time she reached the Fifth World,
(It has only happened five times since the time of first songs)
She was so wrapped with silk and bundles that the others needed to unwrap her.
As they did, the spiderweb ladder that had wrapped First Woman
Shrivelled to its former, tiny dimensions, and lay upon the ground.
As so all of them were delivered to the Fifth World,
As if they had traveled together through a birth canal.

“From now on,” the people said,
In honour of First Woman and Grandmother Spider;
“The woman shall do the weaving.”
Also, ever since then, Grandmother Spider,
Has directed the thoughts of men and woman through her kindness,
Good advice, and tiny, powerful solutions, to enormous problems.

~'~

continued in next post ...
__________________
It was impossible not to have, It's impossible not to be, It's impossible not to still ...!



What this world really needs is more artists and environmentalists!



"Its only 'here' that we lose perspective, out at the Cosmic Consciousness Level things get a lot clearer. For example, there is an actual star pattern that is traced in the shape of a Willow Tree, across the breadth of the Milky Way! And no wonder Indigenous peoples refer to the 'here after' as the Happy Hunting Grounds! Has it ever occured to anyone why the bioluminescence dots, on the Na'vi!"

Last edited by Mika; 03-30-2012 at 01:43 AM.
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  #3  
Old 03-30-2012, 01:42 AM
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Tsamsiyu
Mika Finally got her dream job. Full Time Librarian! :")
 
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Default Another Grandmother Spider Story

Changing Woman

Changing Woman,
The Navajo's mysterious divine feminine creator
And daughter of darkness and dawn,
often wears a turquoise gown.
Among other things,
She has the ability to make children from herself only,
and is deeply connected with the earth and the seasons.
She was out walking one day,
When she discovered Grandmother Spider's home,
in a dark hole underground.
Grandmother Spider herself ws inside,
Sitting at her loom:
The loom's cross poles wer made of sky and earth cords.
The warp sticks of sun rays;
the hearlds of rock crystal and sheet lightning.
The batten was a sun halo and the comb was made of white shell.
The lool had four spindles.
One was made out of a stick of zigzag lightning
With a spindle whorl made of cannel coal.
Another was a stick of flash lightning
With a whorl of turquoise;
The third spindle was a stick of sheet lightning
With a whorl of abalone,
And teh forth was a streamer of rain
With a white shell whorl.

Changing Woman stayed with Grandmother Spider
For four days.
During these four days,
Grandmother Spider taught her to weave
And how to take care of and respect weaving tools.
She also taught her the songs and prayers
That must accompany each stage of weaving.
Changing Woman brought these sacred skills back to her people.
From this, it is said,
Navajo weaving began and so much more.
This is how Spider Woman taught the Navajo
How to physically create form, pattern, structure, and symbolism.
Through weaving, the Navajo literally order their world.
"The weaving way holds beauty,"
Say the Navajo holy woman to the student,
"The weaving way holds power."

Somehow or other Grandmother Spider teaches,
When we begin with something small,
But well chosen,
We are actually making the momentous magic
That will lead us from the familiar darkness
Of potential and uncertainty
To a new and newly ordered reality.
The smaller the better, really.
The secret of the universe lies in those awkward places,
Those meek unexamined crevices
Where the mother of the world is in her element.

~'~
__________________
It was impossible not to have, It's impossible not to be, It's impossible not to still ...!



What this world really needs is more artists and environmentalists!



"Its only 'here' that we lose perspective, out at the Cosmic Consciousness Level things get a lot clearer. For example, there is an actual star pattern that is traced in the shape of a Willow Tree, across the breadth of the Milky Way! And no wonder Indigenous peoples refer to the 'here after' as the Happy Hunting Grounds! Has it ever occured to anyone why the bioluminescence dots, on the Na'vi!"
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:49 PM
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Nice. Thank you!

I was not aware that the story of the fifth world was one that plays in the past. For some reason I always thought that this is the fourth world in N.A. mythology, but maybe that differs from nation to nation.
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