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Oct 13th
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Teepee Tidbits

occupy teepeeFRESH DIRT > A look at an Occupy Santa Cruz landmark

The winter sun has bleached the colony of tents that house Occupy Santa Cruz protestors. Whether nostalgically lauded as a ’60s era throwback to communal living born of common cause or dismissed as the shantytown of squatters, one aspect of the tent town is undeniable—it is anchored by the stately teepee hoisted in its center, 20 feet tall and slicing the sky.  Accounts of its conception differ—some occupiers claim it was the work of local Ohlone tribesman Blind Bear while others credit an intrepid woman who had a plethora of bamboo stalks gathering dust in her garage.

Its differing origin stories mirror the malleable nature of its purpose. Frank, a soft-spoken self-described drifter who sports a “Clean and Sober for Two Years” dog tag and calls the gathering a “detox center” since drugs, (aside from medicinal marijuana) and alcohol are banned on its premises, says that medical care is often administered inside the sheltered canvas circle. The teepee is a decidedly shared space, and as such is often favored by those who don’t have tents of their own. “It’s a haven for the homeless—well,” Frank, a former salesman, interrupts himself, “I don’t like the term homeless. There’s a stigma attached to it in our society. It implies sub-human. I prefer accommodation-challenged.” Much has been made of the convoluted social politics of Occupy Santa Cruz—one circulating concern is that people who normally struggle to sleep peacefully on the streets have flocked to the campgrounds, utilized donated supplies and even looted tents without participating.

Tensions exist between those who are there to occupy and those who are simply along for the ride, and are compounded by the blurry line that sometimes divides them. The teepee’s neutral location between the camps makes it an ideal spot for “discussion and spiritual healing,” according to San Diego native Kent. “Police aren’t authorized to be inside and neither is anyone with violent intentions.” His artist neighbor, Wayne—who painted in acrylics one of the teepee’s more compelling images (a pulsing sun)—agrees. He was the first to decorate the tepee and provided the materials for others to follow suit. “Some images reference the natives--the rightful owners of this land,” Wayne says. “Some are abstract. All are unique. We want as many as possible to be included.”

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Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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