Fort Tipii


Fort Tipii

Tepee-Hut
Tepee-Hut

I couldn’t build a proper tree house.  Too high up and anyway I’m afraid of heights, so instead I built this little fort of sorts as a place to gather my thoughts after a hectic day.  Made my best efforts with whatever materials the forest floor offered up as building materials.  There were enough twigs and branches to construct more ground level tree houses or make my current enclosure larger but I chose to save some for kindling for warmth against the chill night air and the rest I kept stacked as a type of cord-wood in a womb like nook Mother Nature had carved into a tree that had been struck by lightening. Eventually I decided to construct another Tipii twig abode to store my few belongings I had gradually began to sneak away from The Family Residence.

These Tree/Tepee/Tipii/Twig aka T3 structures became my holy sanctuaries and safe havens I return to again and again to re-connect with Mother Earth and nature. Too small to stand upright clicking my heels together three times was not an option so I was forced to remain seated. With some degree of discomfort I could lay down in a fetal position while I imagined myself re-entering an alternate womb to be reborn into better circumstances. Mine were a tepee shelters without the buffalo skin covering all exposed bones and framework.

Tipii Stick Hut
Tipii-Hut

Sometimes I’d hug my knees and rhythmically rock back and forth while repeating what I thought were calming mantras, occasionally wishing that the earth would open up and swallow me whole transporting me some place free from pain, misery and cruelty. Like a shaman I chanted using my homemade rituals attempting to silence the drumbeat of voices incessantly chattering inside my head versus the declarations of the Family.  They created a dissonance tear in the time frame continuum of my thoughts.

You see our house, The Family Home if you could call it that is a ramshackle structure; a hodgepodge mixture of stone, wood and stucco additions and afterthoughts as different parts of the building were constructed at different times upon the whims the directors and caretakers.

I was forced to share this mishmash cottage with twelve other inmates, bordered on this expanse of woods providing me a refuge from leaky roofs, busted walls, peeling wallpaper, lukewarm baths, moldy musty scented showers, not to mention all the yelling, screaming, arguments, fights, thefts of food and personal belongings and constant disagreements of a house too small to accommodate the number of people residing within its creaky ramparts.  The Family nicknamed it the Hotel California. You know the place where you check in but never check out. The nails across chalkboard voices of The Family were constant knife thrusts to my brain making daily life a constant battle that did not end even has the diurnal gave up residence to the nocturnal for they all snored, wheezed and gasped through the night abyss.  The utter desolation of the place crept into your bones and took root nourished by hopelessness.

The Family’s house sits on an oddly place piece of land, our house gives way to forest which in turn after several miles gives way to craggy, rocky shores of a steep cliff, where if one sits perfectly still you can hear the violent waves crashing against rough jagged rock formations that looked as though they were designed by the devil himself. It is said that in olden times there used to be many shipwrecks where sailors were either impaled on the razor sharp Stalagmites. Sometimes you can even hear the shrieks, moans, cries and groans of the unfortunate wretches mixed in with the howling winds. The few who weren’t dashed to pieces by the razor sharp jagged rock formations tried to climb up to safety but were thwarted by the steep incline.

Forest Hiding Place
Forest Hiding Place

So I periodically retreated to my exoskeleton asylums as a sentry medium between earth and sky. I can never turn my mind off completely but within my secret hiding place the voices were kept to a low roar and bid to change direction and pace.

The last straw that broke the camels back came when my moronic addled brained cell-mate Pearl kept throwing her nasty, dirty towels, underwear and flip-flops over to my side of the room. When I returned from the canteen or our common dining area there were moldy wet towels plastered to the floor like throw rugs that accosted the dividing line between our two living areas.  Pearl was known as the filthiest female in our wing tossing food and drink to and fro fully expecting that a squad of personal maids and sweepers were following in her wake. One night after I returned from my many woodland sojourns I decided that I had, had enough and soaked all her grimy towels in gasoline and lighter fluid obtained from an unlocked supply closet near the motor pool.  Pearl had a tendency to drink like sailor on shore leave and sleep just as soundly so she never had an inkling as I piled the towels around her bed, built a kindling fort for good measure and added effect, led a fuse from a doorway to an open window, climbed out and lit said fuse.

The Kindling delivered me from The Family’s vocalizations. I tried to warn them before. I tried to silence the voices through escape, but it was not working so I had to try another plan. The crackles and pops of my campfire seem to be in sync with the screams and cries for rescue from the patients locked inside their rooms but eventually those voices will die out also, and then sleep.  Blessed sleep.

Love,

Cassandra Verity

Genetic Memory


Genetic Memory

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.166-7), Hamlet to Horatio

2 Corinthians 12:3-4

New International Version (NIV)

And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

Lately I’ve been having some very odd spiritual experiences. They are akin to the TV program Quantum Leap where the guy leaps into another person’s body or even more personal like the protagonist in the Octavia Butler novel, Kindred. Mine is not quite that spectacular but it began last year with my mother’s spirit speaking through me to create a memoir for her. Even though my Mom has been deceased since 1998 it was like she and I were one flesh. The stimulus was a rather unpleasant family disagreement but that one trigger melded our spirits and I began to feel the emotions she had over 50 years ago concerning my Brother Stephen’s developmental disability. All the hurt, pain, sadness, anguish and depression she felt when she was unjustly accused of causing her beloved son’s autism surfaced within my spirit.

I just began to write and write over the course of the last 7 or 8 months. Then after finding out some interesting family history concerning my maternal grandmother again I began to experience her emotions. Then a few days ago when I was posted in the Civil War Photography exhibit at my museum, once more an ancestor’s thoughts and emotions came to me. My Great, Great Grandfather William Henry Halstead fought in the Civil War. There was a steady stream of visitors but everyone was quiet, calm, serious, deeply affected by what they were seeing. During the course of the day as I walked through the photographs taking everything in it was like I began to see through the eyes of my Great, Great Grandfather. I could hear the sounds of battle, the screams of pain from injured soldiers, feel his adrenaline as he surged forth with his 29th CT. Colored Regiment brothers. All I can say it was like I was in his head. I had to make an effort to turn off so I could finish my day without freaking out. Even now I feel he is still with me even though I never met him. Maybe this is genetic memory. All the memories of our ancestors stay with us though we are separated by time but not necessarily by eternity. As a writer it gives a different aspect and flavor to my writing but it is a very strange sensation and I don’t know what to make of this new development.

William H. Halstead name as inscribed on the Colored Soldiers Monument in Washington, DC
William H. Halstead name as inscribed on the Colored Soldiers Monument in Washington, DC

It happened last year as I was making a Family Photo collage for the Employee Art Show. It was as though family members long deceased most whom I never got the chance to meet were telling me where to place all the photos within the collage. Very strange.

Family Photo Collage
Ancestor Branches

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m some type of an Empath like on Star Trek.

Empaths have the ability to scan another’s psyche for thoughts and feelings or for past, present, and future life occurrences. Many empaths are unaware of how this actually works, and have long accepted that they were sensitive to others.

 

I posed my questions to the FB Black Ancestry page and received several intuitive responses.

“I’ve been chosen as a Portal by my family members who have passed on.

Some inanimate objects do have an impressed energy and will release to an open mind/spirit. Some good, some negative. In your case, the familiar of family to present themselves to you to share an understanding of who they were to help others in their journeys here.”

While in the Egyptian Wing of the museum I also felt a spiritual connection to this woman perhaps Queen Tiye whose face graces a canopic jar. Queen Tiye ~ Canopic Jar

William Henry Halstead Headstone ~ Sleepy Hollow
William Henry Halstead Headstone ~ Sleepy Hollow

The Battle scene I heard while in the Civil War Photography exhibit as described by one of my Great, Great Grandfathers fellow soldiers.   http://conn29th.org/stories.htm

Maybe my Great, great grandfather is trying to connect with me. Sometimes I wonder why he speaks to me. Also I never had experiences of this magnitude when I was younger. I did have visions between the ages of 4 and 5 but I never told my parents for fear they would think I was nuts. These visions began again after I turned 50. I’m 54 now. An odd age for the portal to reopen. Now I know why he waited nearly 150 years not just for me to make an appearance on this earth but he waited for “The One”.  The Anointed One who would be able to tell the stories of the ancestors and who could make Spiritual Consolation so their souls could be at rest. 

In December of 1863 my Great Great Grandfather, William Henry Halstead, who lived in Tarrytown, New York, traveled to New Haven, Connecticut to join the 29th Connecticut Colored Infantry. On his Volunteer Enlistment papers it notes his occupation as a farmer. He enlisted for three years and was discharged on the 24th day of October 1865. He married and had five children. William Henry Halstead passed away in 1888 and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, New York. His wife moved to New York City with her five children. Her children grew up in Harlem and belonged to various organizations such as Odd Fellows, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Daughters of New York.

Sp4 Palmer, 569th PSC & 101st Airborne Division.

Deborah Ann Palmer U.S. Army 1977-1981
Deborah Ann Palmer
U.S. Army 1977-1981

I’m glad my spirit is open and that some family members have decided to reconnect through the veil of life and death to communicate with me. I would say that they don’t want to be forgotten by current and future generations. I am Chosen to tell their stories.

Luna Redeems Her Sisters


Handsome men leave behind a trail of broken hearts. Bitter words and bitter lies designed to strip our souls of strength. For them it’s a game of Hearts. Hearts to break, souls to trample into the ground.

A Pathway littered with the debris of broken angels. Spirits melting into glass puddles lying stagnant upon the porous earth. Our Mother Earth taking mercy receives the scattered ashes mixed with Luna’s tears back into her Womb so that we can be reborn as the Phoenix Arisen.

Deborah - A Judge over Israel
Deborah – A Judge over Israel