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Feb 11th
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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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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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