i resonate to rituals and tokens.
When i knew i’d be attempting the mud ninja next year and watching my tribe participate in it this year, i went online and was gobsmacked by the craziness and daunting challenges my friends would face. i was more than a little frightened by what i would face next year as well.
i knew i wanted to memorialize that challenge in some way, but i didn’t know how. The morning of the run, i thought… mud. Just like i often pick up twigs or stones to energetically connect to an important place, i wanted my people to have some of that mud that was going to challenge them.
While i did not know what i would make as a token, i knew it would need mud, so i brought a ziploc bag and spoon and without explanation… i asked bd to collect some of that nasty stuff for me. Her look was quizzical and her reply was thus…
“What are you going to do with… Nah… i don’t even want to know what you are going to do with this.”
She did it for me – though not without some serious verbal banter about how disgusting it was. That’s understandable as she was all up in that smelly stuff and probably found me just a bit insane for wanting to take ANY of it home with me.
i took my own token… more than a token… i took an anchor. As i short-cutted across an open field to follow the group as they wound around the roped off route, i walked by a piece of wood. i was a good ten yards beyond when it tugged at me and i turned back… losing precious time… to find it among the grass. It was smooth from rain and sun on the open field and smaller than my fist but dry and lightweight. i knew then it would be my anchor. i slipped it into my bag and brought it home. It is not mine to keep so i knew i would have to return to that particular land to return it to its place. It will become a tangible reminder to me of that goal.
The mud sat on my desk in that ziploc bag for two days. i did not know what i would make. i considered mixing the mud with paint and making art. i considered writing with the mud… and then… it occurred to me… mud ninja… of course. My people all faced this big THING called the MUD NINJA. Huge … it is advertised as being designed to “break you” this crazy water-logged event.
And they all faced that shit.
They all faced it to the best of their abilities and they all honored their bodies and skipped only what they had to skip. i watched it all and was inspired by each of them individually and all of them together. i watched my people help strangers and i watched them accept help from strangers in turn.
They were mud warriors and my inspiration.
i took to my kitchen and as i worked, it all came together. i realized that we all face straw men in our lives… these fake “men” that challenge us. They are really not at all what they seem. The mud ninja is just such a straw man. Yes, he/it gives us this awesome entity to fight. He is a thing to challenge… an opponent to visualize in order to overcome. But none of my people battled a mud ninja. They fought their own shit. They battled old scripts running in their brains about limitations. They faced the fear of physical harm and had to process the echoes of injuries past. These mud-encrusted soldiers battled their own stubborn desires to do shit they knew they should not do and they had to honor their health and well-being and fight hubris… they had to graciously go around an obstacle if going through it or over it would cause them real harm.
i knew then that they all needed to remember that this MUD NINJA was really just a mud ninja… nothing but a little man… nothing but a placeholder for all of our own shit. Having no straw on hand, i pulled instead from my paper shredder and pulsed some of that in my food processor. Anyone visiting my house learns not to be surprised by the things that happen here. The tokens just came to be… funky mud, a bit of paper powder, some white glue. i dropped in some essential oil of lemon (partly to mask the smell as i worked and partly because lemons have a special place in my magic). i finished smoothing the slurry and then began the molding of the wee ninjas.
The wee ninjas spent the day yesterday in my impromptu kiln (read: my oven at 170 degrees) and as they dried in turn and i glazed them, i found them almost comical. They are indeed nothing but straw men, and wee little gingerbread-looking little ninjas at that.
i will give them to each of the mud warriors when next i cross paths with them… in hopes that it will remind each of them that they came – they saw – they conquered… on that hot day. They carried all of that bullshit with them onto that farm and left most of it behind in its cool mud.
Mud ninja, my ass.
My warriors … my mud clan… indestructible, indeed