At a Crossroads (Weekend Anthropology)

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

We open each ceremony with homage to Elegua.

We offer a libation of water,

and say a simple prayer to him:

“Omi Tutu, Ana Tutu,

Tutu Ile,

Tutu Laroye”

Elegua opens the doors to all endeavors.

He is the guardian of the Crossroads

and the messenger to God.

Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn’t burn up any fossil fuel, doesn’t pollute.

Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.

~ Margaret Mead

As Buhdy said recently, we do seem to be at a crossroads.

Perhaps, and I repeat, JUST perhaps we are on the verge of a new evolutionary infusion and explosion of Love Energy.

Goddess knows we could use one. Because for all of the Change for which Obama is nominally a symbol of, amidst all of the inevitability of this era of Change which Obama really has not very much to do with at all except as symbol, there is one thing missing, one thing I am distinctly NOT feeling.


The conditions for true planetary change are all lined up, all we need is a shoe to drop, or perhaps a kick in the head, all the conditions are right. All of the new vast young generation that is larger than the Baby Boom needs,  so that it can turn away from the paradigms and horrors of the Bush Years and fulfill the promise of this new era are in place. All they need is to embrace and emphasize, in their own unique way, The Unifying Principle. That’s all we need.

All we need….is Love.

How bout some weekend anthropology? I’ve been scouting around on the web off and on this afternoon and I came across this phrase, “anticipatory anthropology”, applied to Margaret Mead and a few others. Perfect, I’ll have to research that some more!  Heh.

Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess.

~ Margaret Mead

When I was in college in the mid/late 70’s, I got pretty lucky with an assortment of professors who just happened to be there at that time. Some stayed, many left, others arrived after me, specifically Marvin Harris. Oh well. Anyway, what a tremendous influence on my thinking from that point forward.

My undergrad Advisor, a great guy, kept telling me I needed more Theory. Lol. I had then, and still do now, a definite tendency to wander off.  I took lots of (Ethnic) Art History and outside my Major courses, It was great. Too bad they didn’t have interdisciplinary style degrees back then.

I didn’t keep up with the field much at all after graduating with my B.A. in Cultural Anthro. I wasn’t exactly big on academics to begin with.  I waited tables and tended bar and eventually found some Real Jobs… and followed my own yellow brick road. … and here I am. Still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Armchair Anthropologist. Anticipatory Anthropology. Dharmaniac. Ha!

If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.

~ Margaret Mead


I decided to go looking for stories today. I love metaphor, and stories. And fables. Quite often when I feel at a loss to express my thoughts, I revert to quoting tunes or movies or stories. And sometimes, I just feel like hearing them. This Essay is a bit random and thrown together (you’re shocked?) so, I hope you like it.

Maybe I’ll get inspired (not likely) and do this every Saturday, or something like it. We’ll see.

Today, I’m on a theme of Coyote.

Here’s a Coyote tale from Shoshone.


   The Shoshone people saw the Wolf as a creator God and they respected him greatly. Long ago, Wolf, and many other animals, walked and talked like man.

   Coyote could talk, too, but the Shoshone people kept far away from him because he was a Trickster, somebody who is always up to no good and out to double-cross you.

   Coyote resented Wolf because he was respected by the Shoshone. Being a devious Trickster, Coyote decided it was time to teach Wolf a lesson. He would make the Shoshone people dislike Wolf, and he had the perfect plan.

   Or so he thought.

   One day, Wolf and Coyote were discussing the people of the land. Wolf claimed that if somebody were to die, he could bring them back to life by shooting an arrow under them. Coyote had heard this boast before and decided to put his plan into action.

   Wearing his most innocent smile he told Wolf that if he brought everyone back to life, there would soon be no room left on Earth. Once people die, said Coyote, they should remain dead.

   If Wolf takes my advice, thought Coyote, then the Shoshone people would hate Wolf, once and for all.

   Wolf was getting tired of Coyote constantly questioning his wisdom and knew he was up to no good, but he didn’t say anything. He just nodded wisely and decided it was time to teach Coyote a lesson.

   A few days after their conversation, Coyote came running to Wolf. Coyote’s fur was ruffled and his eyes were wide with panic.

   Wolf already knew what was wrong: Coyote’s son had been bitten by Rattlesnake and no animal can survive the snake’s powerful venom.

   Coyote pleaded with Wolf to bring his son back to life by shooting an arrow under him, as he claimed he could do.

   Wolf reminded Coyote of his own remark that people should remain dead. He was no longer going to bring people back to life, as Coyote had suggested.

   The Shoshone people say that was the day Death came to the land and that, as a punishment for his mischievous ways, Coyote’s son was the first to die.

   No one else was ever raised from the dead by Wolf again, and the people came to know sadness when someone dies. Despite Coyote’s efforts, however, the Shoshone didn’t hate Wolf. Instead, they admired his strength, wisdom and power, and they still do today.


We have nowhere else to go… this is all we have.

~ Margaret Mead



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  1. Photobucket

  2. buhdy, for the nudge… 🙂

    • Edger on July 12, 2009 at 04:49

    You may have seen this… if not, I think you’ll enjoy it. 😉

    Hat tip to Alexa at Never In Our Names:

    You already know the news.

    If I could make you laugh, or ease your mind, I would – and I’d feel better, too.

    I’m not giving up. I hope you won’t, either.

    The power of peace lies within each of us.

    –Willy Whitefeather

    Hope, by Willy Whitefeather

  3. Maybe…not sure.  I wish I’d studied anthropology more deeply in college.  What I remember best, though, are two books: Victor Turner’s The Ritual Process and Mary Douglas’s Purity and Danger.  Both are highly readable, and extremely thought-provoking.

  4. offer interdisciplinary degrees.

    I am having that same feeling of not knowing what to get a degree in and I am half way towards a degree already and a quarter of a way to another. I figure I will just get one, find some work until I get enough money for another – then repeat the process.  

    I studied the myth of the trickster and the coyote in my mythology class last year, very fun stuff to think about.  

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