As you may already know, in September, Greg and I moved from Los Angeles, California to the high desert in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s been a bit of a wild, Mr. Toad adventure which has presented many challenges and interesting (to say the least) characters (Crazed Tesuque lady) along the way.
A few weeks ago, along the dirt road that leads to our new temporary dwelling, we met a crone that walks with a tall staff. After passing her on the road and waving, Greg and I turned to each other and gasped, “Female Gandalf!”
“In Joseph Campbell’s classic work The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the first encounter of the hero on his journey is with a protective figure who provides him with amulets or magic devices against the dangers he will face. The crone is one of the most common of these protective figures”
Then as we returned home, just before making the turn down that same dirt road, I spotted about ten bee hives to the side of a house with a little sign that said “Earth Nurse”. I gasped and pointed it out to Greg. We started wondering who the “Earth Nurse” was. ???
On another day, heading back from town along that same dusty and bumpy dirt road, we spotted the “Female Gandalf” once again. We choose to stop and say hello, assuming that she might be the “Earth Nurse”, after all she certainly embodied an Earth Nurse by her outward appearance and great staff. Her answer to the question was, “Well, the Earth nurses me.”
Indeed she is the “Earth Nurse” and in my opinion the community crone, a facilitator of balance in our little neighborhood here along the Santa Fe River. As we dialogued I learned that she is hosts many gatherings at her home and planning is to create a “closing” event for the Counter Culture exhibit currently at the New Mexico History Museum. Since the Counter Culture tribe is alive and well, particularly here in Santa Fe…meaning Holy Faith. Perhaps you have heard me mention that Santa Fe is the city of the retired hippie?
Despite the constant challenges, Santa Fe continues to enchant and surprise daily. In many ways she herself is the crone, an ancient city with a very bloody HIStory which may be being healed a bit by the creative presence found here.
Here is a link to the Counter Culture show here in Santa Fe just in case any of you are local or come for a visit in the next few weeks.
Chamisa photo along the Santa Fe River and text ©Roxana Villa
I couldn’t find attributions for the two pieces of art used in this post, if you happen to know who the artists are please leave it in the comments or send me a note. The second image says Wheel of Life, oil on canvas 1998 (?) with an attribution that is hard to read ©maiana.de perhaps?