Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sophie's Ginnie's Choice

Don't you love it when someone else's post inspires you to write your own! So thank Linda/Shoreacres at The Task at Hand for this one. In a convoluted sort of way, one thing led to another as I started thinking about what we collect around ourselves when we decorate our homes.

And now that I am packing up what I want to keep of years and years of collecting, getting rid of everything else and getting down to the bare bones of what's soulful to me, I have had to make some choices. No choice was perhaps greater than picking which of these 3 bronzes I would take with me to the Netherlands.

It started in the mid-90s after Mom and Dad died and I had a bit of an inheritance to invest. As a rule, I tend to be more of a saver than a spender, but I decided to make a one-time splurge on 3 Mark Hopkins bronzes that absolutely whispered to my Soul. I can't even tell you how I found them. They probably found me.

The first one I bought was this wolf, called Northwoods. At that time in my life, when I was still in the throes of coming out as a gay woman after a 21-year marriage, the Wolf had become my Animal Guide. She was teaching me about change and adaptation and transformation. She was teaching me to trust my intuition and to embrace the lessons of my life. She really was my guide and I howled with her.

At the same time I was reading...very slowly and deliberately...Clarissa Pinkola Estés' Women Who Run with the Wolves. It was a time of joining the lone wolf that was separated from the pack, howling at the moon, longing for Home.

Then I found Shaman's Vision. I had been teaching a class on "Homosexuality and the Bible" for several years in my church and community. I had previously done the same with "Women in the Church" back in Wisconsin and found the same principles at work, marveling how I had been prepared to exegete and interpret ancient texts. Are women allowed/forbidden by our Holy Scriptures to preach? Are men and women allowed/forbidden by our Holy Scriptures to live in loving, monogamous same-sex partnerships?

In the process of studying this issue from the different world religions, I became fascinated by the Native American approach to homosexuality. For them, a gay man or woman is in "two spirits" and therefore is the most logical person to be the shaman/healer of their tribe, better able to understand both sides of a situation. So when I found this bronze, it had my Soul written all over it!

To be honest, I don't remember if I purchased Gathering Wisdom before or after Shaman's Vision. All I know is that as I continued to read and re-read Clarissa Pinkola Estés' book, I became La Loba, the Wolf Woman, gathering up my dry bones in the desert:

We all begin as a bundle of bones lost somewhere in a desert, a dismantled skeleton that lies under the sand.

It is our work to recover the parts.

So now I ask you: if Ginnie can take only one of these bronzes with her to the Netherlands, which should she take! What is Ginnie's Choice?

It wasn't that hard, actually, when I started to analyze it. The wolf will always be my Animal Guide but, by now, I no longer wander alone. Years ago I joined a new pack and found Home. The same with the shaman. There was a time in my life when I filled that role for many who were struggling, but it's no longer front and focus for me.

However, as regards my Life's Journey, I suspect I will always need to visit the Desert to find the dried-up bones that need life breathed into them. Never-ending. Ad nauseum. From now until eternity. Ad infinitum. It's a process that will never stop for me, I know. It's my Destiny.

So all 30.5 lbs of this Loba Wolf Woman will find their way into one of my TruckPacks headed to my new home in Holland. And that, I realize, is another post altogether...coming up sooner than you think!


As an interesting aside, a gentleman my age came to look at the house a couple months ago and immediately knew it was not the right one for him and his wife. BUT he was really fixated on my 3 bronzes. When I asked him how serious he was about them, since I was planning to sell 2 of them, he immediately bought them on the spot. A man buying a house ended up buying two of my bronzes! He said it was something he had never done in his life...but he bought the wolf for his wife, who is a teacher and runs a daycare center; and he bought the shaman for himself, in honor of his nephew who is a medical doctor in Peru, near where I served the Campa Pajonal indians back in 1969. How's that for breathing life into old bones!

(The Northwoods and Shaman's Vision images were taken off the Internet.)


  1. Wow, Boots, this was soooo wonderful.

    I could kind of guess which you chose by the SIZE of the Gathering Wisdom beauty. :) She really is something, and I loved reading about all three. I've heard you talk about them of course, but the details here are beautiful. I love the image of you gathering bones, how striking and deep.

    Lovely, Lady Jane.

  2. Lieve schat, I think you picked wise and it will look good in the apartment, we already know where it will stand.
    It is always fascinating to hear you talk about the bronzes.
    I am glad the other two found a true home, like the third bronze will find a true home here in the Netherlands.
    Like I said before today, this kind of reminds me of .....Dancing with the wolves, a great movie.

  3. the gathering wisdom is absolutely beautiful. i think it spoke to my soul.

    goodluck on your move. next month i believe i have a brief stopover in amsterdam and that's probably the most i'll see of the city.


  4. These bronze sculptures obviously meant so much to you in your journey through life. And I am so happy for you, that the two you have decided not to take with you are going to a new home where they will be appreciated. And the one that will stay with you will be welcomed by your new partner and given a place of importance.
    However, I don't think I could live with these bronzes. They make me feel uncomfortable. They are not of my culture. They are certainly wonderfully detailed works of art, and have so much depth and meaning and character, but I don't think I could wake up every morning and enjoy it's presence in my house. Funny how we are all so different.

  5. What a great story and I too am glad the other bronzes found a home, just as you have found another. :)

  6. Lovely story telling a lot about caring you Ginnie!

    I really support you in you pick - a great choice :-)

  7. Ruth: First of all, you got me at Lady Jane. Oh my! Talk about all those memories! Thank you for knowing how these possessions reach my soul. I remember when I bought them thinking it didn't matter how much they cost. They were priceless to me. They were totally worth whatever they cost. Little did I know then that I would now choose between them. But there seems to be a symbolism in the act of doing so, which I ponder in my heart.

    Astrid: Yes, Mijn Liefste, we already know where it will go and I can picture it in my mind's eye. Thank you for your support and acceptance of that which is important to me. You know me so well. And yes, she will help us dance with the wolves, for sure!

    PC: You would be amazed at the detail, Maria, I know. To think you might be in Amsterdam around the same time I will be is serendipitous, even if we end up not seeing each other. Let's make sure we at least know the specific dates, once we know them. I still have to wait on the refi closing date before I can book my ticket.

    Sham: It really intrigues me how we all go through life in our own souls in ways that are not the same for each other. Thank God! Mark Hopkins makes usually only 500 of these bronzes in his limited editions. If everyone loved them, they'd be totally unavailable to the rest of us, costing way too much! I understand, of course, because there is lots of art I can appreciate but which I would not want in my space. I guess this is what makes the world go 'round?! Thanks for sharing so honestly.

    ET: I was able to meet up with the man and his wife and spend several minutes sharing my Journey. They know why the bronzes were important to me and I now know why they are important to them. So you are right...I couldn't have asked for a better home for them!

    Renny: Thank you for your support! It means the world to me. And if we don't see you in Oslo next August, we WILL see you and Diane, Tor and Anna, one day soon, I know! :)

  8. Oh my.... how did I miss the whole moving to Holland thing?????? How wonderful-- you will love it! Go to the Woman's Book store in Amsterdam (if it's still there) for the awesome book readings! Would love to join you :)

  9. All 3 are stunning and I can see why they spoke to your Soul. I, too, have felt a connection to Native American philosophy...more than my own ancestry...but no matter what connection or even disconnect, we all need to continue gathering wisdom throughout our journey.

  10. Ginnie,

    Thank you so much for the mention, and for such a wonderful post.

    I'm glad the Woman is going with you - she certainly would be my choice, and the thought of seeing her in her new place makes me smile.

    It's a fact that all of life is a process of shedding accretions. There are possessions I think of fondly, wishing I had them again, but there came a time when I'd moved on, and the part of my life they represented no longer was living and vibrant.

    I think of my time in Africa particularly. I once had bags of trade beads, piles of cloth, artifacts of every kind. Eventually I gave them away and now have a half-dozen of this, an example of that. But those tokens are enough - they're the favorites, after all, and capable of evoking all the rich memories I could wish for.

    The truth is when you look at the Wolf Woman, you'll see the other bronzes as well. The choice is part of your history now - and remembering our choices sometimes is the best part of looking back.

  11. Oh Ginnie, these are all great! I can see you in each and every one of them, but I must say, the last one - and the one you have decided to keep - is the one that caught my attention the most. I'm also so happy that you are moving to your new home in Holland soon. It will give us a chance to meet and catch up. I've got so much to tell you (all good) Take care, my friend!

  12. T1: I won't be living in AMS, Kim, but in nearby Gorinchem. I'm sure we'll get to AMS from time to time. However, we are eager to travel to all the other cities, too! :) I can hardly wait.

    Mad: You are so right...and wise! I think it's the connection to Mother Earth that connects me to our Native Americans. I hate it that we haven't learned from them!

    SA: I really like how you have said this, Linda. As I dwindle down to the bare minimum, my Hart & Soul are still very much in tact. I have no sorrow or pining away for what I have let go. That tells me everything I need to know. It helps, of course, that once I went through a fire and lost everything! At least now I get to pick and choose. :)

    CS: I can hardly wait to see you again. Please stay in touch and let me know when you will be back in AMS. You know I will do my best to meet up with you again...and maybe Astrid can meet you as well!

  13. Sooo behind in my blog reading, but I guessed which one you would choose as well. It's just YOU. And I had no idea you had taught those classes - fascinating. I learn something new about you with each blog post! And once you're settled again I'm sure we'll be hearing all about your new adventures.

  14. Christina: I love it when we learn things about each other, yes! :) And for certain there will be many new adventures in my new life. I can hardly wait!