Cohen, Knopfler, and Dylan: What It Is

Nature's Way of Returning to Balance

What if the Ballyhoo girl actually got to say something on her own instead of just being reflected in peoples' imaginations?

When the North American colonists met the Indians they were supposed to learn from each other and mix antiquated social traditions with awareness of the natural world....but instead of learning the colonists destroyed the Indians' longstanding culture...thereby creating a new path in history.

This path, the development of industry at the expense of the natural world, was imbalanced......one byproduct of this upset has been RockNRoll, which is nature's way of trying to restore the natural balance in the world.

If the colonists had learned from the Indians about how to live in understanding of nature, by now we probably all would have affordable and efficient wind and solar energy. Local craftsmen would handcraft needed items as each person's work became a work of art. Mass production and giant corporations might never have happened. Each person would directly appreciate their own life's work in the scheme of things.

Where did the Ballyhoo girl come from? This photo was taken from inside an imaginary carousel where mirrors at odd angles rotate with the various carousel creatures to create Fun At The Fair. This carousel existed in the mind's eye of the fairgoer. For photos click on Fun At The Fair.

Come on in...and see a pair of raptured walking sticks in Oklahoma! Can there be a return to nature with a joyful historic storyline? If you can find your own roots in natural energy and have some enthusiasm for stories with happy endings, you can learn something from Leonard Cohen. A butterfly lit on my shoulder.

A restoration of truth is complete only with a sense of humor and an open heart.

June 27, 2001

The Last Laugh

I got the idea for this site and discussion list after I was listening to a song called "The Last Laugh" on Mark Knopfler's album. This song had made me feel sad.

There is so much more to come, if we can just figure out how to put it all together. A lot of people have just plain left and aren't even watching anymore.

Sometimes it's just so frustrating to keep waiting, sometimes it feels like watching cement set. If this was a test of patience, when enough time has rubbed enthusiasm into the ground, is there a sense of bitterness all that is left? After a lifetime, who could blame anyone?

Musicians have offered insights and perspectives into the human condition. Emotions have been delved into, both happy and sad. As the albums came out, people have had a chance to listen and use any material for sparking their own personal evolution. I believe that rock and roll has been nature's way of correcting some of the imbalance that has occurred between humanity and the natural world.

I'm trying to clear out some old concepts so that new ideas can come forward.

One of the things I like best about Mark Knopfler's lyrics are that they remain so open to individual interpretation.

For instance, I listen to "What It Is" and the line "on Charlotte street I take a walking stick from my hotel" and I wonder what other people imagine that he is talking about.

I have never had the opportunity to be much of a world traveler....just a few Holiday Inns in the USA are about the extent of my travels. But I wonder just how often does a walking stick.....or several walking sticks......actually show up in hotels around the world.

I looked on the internet and got this information. Walking Stick insects are among the largest insects in the world reaching over 12" in length. Most stick insects are tropical and nocturnal. During the day, many of them lie dormant surrounded by the sticks and leaves they resemble. The Phasimid order currently contains over 2,500 walking stick species worldwide. That was from http://www.insects.org where they also have a wonderful picture of an Ecuadorian walking stick at http://www.bugbios.com/entophiles/phasmida/phas_en003.html

The website went on to say "Stick insects are masters of disguise. Blending in perfectly, these plant eating insects look and move like the foliage they inhabit. This Ecuadorian species displays a conspicuous red and black coloration."

In Oklahoma my friends tell me the walking sticks are brown and it is possible they would show up in a hotel. I think it is nice that MK took his back outside again as it was probably having a hard time blending into a hotel room.

This photo shows a raptured pair of Oklahoma walking sticks.

When I listen to Leonard Cohen I feel like I am touching the level of energy that arises from all growing things, from the earth, the very source of life between living beings and the molecules that comprise their bodies.

Leonard, your songs were the ones that really did some healing, hopefully for many people everywhere, for the way human beings relate to each other.

I see your words and intentions as becoming the life force itself for the growth oriented path available to the human race. Hopefully this path will lead to an awakening of humanity as people realize the sensitivity and beauty of relating to one another on the level touched in your music, and also understand the consciousness in all of nature itself.

Buddhists recognize this energy in the Earth Store Boddhisattva also known as Ksitigarbha.

On http://www.bdcu.org.au/BDDR/bddr13no4/earthstore3.html I found this photo of a ceremony for the Earth Store Boddhisattva held on August 31, 2003 in Australia.

The fifth buddha is Amoghasiddi. He represents enlightenment through the material realm. That could mean that one's path could be the achievement of an enlightened state through fame, wealth, and success. It could also mean that one would live a life constantly thwarted by materialistic stuff and still achieve an enlightened state.

There is a certain amount of life events that seem inevitable.....like a path that unfolds in front of you as you walk. Intention and personal motivation are an impelling source of strength. Those who walk the path of Amoghasiddi do not remove themselves from materialistic or spiritual events on their path but see what evolves as what is inside them. To a person walking the path of Amoghasiddi, others might seem like innocent bystanders to an integral part of life. One might see this as walking the fine line between fate and free will.

What would my choice be if I could have anything? Many lifetimes ago there is a beautiful place where my family and my extended family lived a happy existence, experiencing all the emotions that a true family ought to have. And all within the realm of the natural world. My wish would be to feel those joys again, part of a close family who understands nature.

July 9, 2001

Belief Is What You Make It

The Ghost Dancers danced their belief for survival of their way of life. How surprised they must have been in that moment when they were defeated......would the fruition of their beliefs find them in a future lifetime?

I found the following story

Return to the Massacre at Wounded Knee: Return to Day 8 © 1995 Karen M. Strom

(for the entire version of this story please click on http://www.hanksville.org/daniel/lakota/Wounded_Knee.html )

Ghost Dance (by Karen Strom)

By the 1880's the U.S. government had managed to confine almost all of the Indians on reservations, usually on land so poor that the white man could conceive of no use for it themselves. The rations and supplies that had been guaranteed them by the treaties were of poor quality, if they arrived at all. Graft and corruption were rampant in the Indian Bureau. In an attempt to stem this problem, a move was made to recruit Quakers to take the positions as Indian agents, however not nearly enough Quakers responded to the call for volunteers. This call, however, opened the door to other denominations setting up shop on the reservations. An attempt was made to convert the Indians to Christianity with mixed results.

However, by 1890 conditions were so bad on the reservations, nationwide, with starvation conditions existing in many places, that the situation was ripe for a major movement to rise among the Indians. This movement found its origin in a Paiute Indian named Wovoka, who announced that he was the messiah come to earth to prepare the Indians for their salvation. Representatives from tribes all over the nation came to Nevada to meet with Wovoka and learn to dance the Ghost Dance and to sing Ghost Dance songs.

In early October of 1890, Kicking Bear, a Minneconjou, visited Sitting Bull at Standing Rock. He told him of the visit he and his brother-in-law, Short Bull, had made to Nevada to visit Wovoka. They told him of the great number of other Indians who were there as well. They referred to Wovoka as the Christ and told of the Ghost Dance that they had learned and the way that the Christ had flown over them on their horseback ride back to the railroad tracks, teaching them Ghost Dance songs. And they told him of the phophecy that, next spring, when the grass was high, the earth would be covered with new soil, burying all the white men.The new soil would be covered with sweet grass, running water and trees; the great herds of buffalo and wild horses would return. All Indians who danced the Ghost Dance would be taken up into the air and suspended there while the new earth was being laid down. Then they would be replaced there, with the ghosts of their ancestors, on the new earth. Only Indians would live there then.

This new religion was being taught at all of the Sioux reservations now. Big Foot's band, which consisted mostly of women who had lost their husbands and/or other male relatives in battles with Custer, Miles and Crook, would dance until they collapsed, hoping to guarantee the return of their dead warriors. Sitting Bull greatly doubted that the dead would be be brought back to life. He had no personal objections to people dancing the Ghost Dance; however he had heard that the agents were getting nervous about all of the dancing and were calling in the soldiers on some reservations.

He did not want the soldiers to return to kill more of his people. Kicking Bear assured him that, if the dancers wore their Ghost Dance shirts, painted with magic symbols, the soldiers bullets would not strike them. Sitting Bull consented to Kicking Bear remaining at Standing Rock and teaching the Ghost Dance. This began a chain of events that lead to his death on December 15.

As the number of people involved in the Ghost Dance movement increased, the panic and hysteria of the Indian agents increased with it. Agent McLaughlin had Kicking Bear removed from Standing Rock, but this did not stop the movement there. McLaughlin telegraphed Washington, asking for troops and blaming Sitting Bull as the power behind this "pernicious system of religion." The whites stumbled over each other in their attempts to quell this movement. Panicky messages about Indians dancing in the snow, wild and crazy, were sent to Washington. One voice of sanity, the former agent, Valentine McGillycuddy, recommended allowing the dances to continue.

"The coming of the troops has frightened the Indians. If the Seventh-Day Adventists prepare the ascension robes for the Second Coming of the Savior, the United States Army is not put in motion to prevent them. Why should not the Indians have the same privilege? If the troops remain, trouble is sure to come."

Nonetheless, on December 12, the order was received to arrest Sitting Bull. On December 15, 43 Indian police surrounded Sitting Bull's cabin before dawn. Three miles away they were backed up by a squadron of cavalry. When Lieutenant Bull Head entered the cabin, Sitting Bull was asleep. Upon awakening, he agreed to come with the police and asked that his horse be saddled while he dressed. When they left the cabin, a large group of Ghost Dancers, much larger than the police force, had assembled and challenged the police. One dancer, Catch-the-Bear, pulled out a rifle and shot Lieutenant Bull Head in the side. In an attempt to shoot back at his assailant, Bull Head instead accidentally shot Sitting Bull. Then another policeman, Red Tomahawk, shot Sitting Bull in the head. Many Indian policemen died that day before the cavalry arrived to quell the fighting.

This event then precipitated the events that were to follow at Wounded Knee.

July 12, 2001

Discussion Dialog: Useless Shirts, Smoke, and Dreams

Hello A.............For me, the Ghost Dance situation is profoundly depressing. It seems like the last desperate, irrational attempt to cling to survival by a people who had no hope and no future. Their only remedy was to dance into oblivion wearing their useless shirts woven of smoke and dreams.

(reply).........I see your point about the Ghost Dance situation being depressing, but on the other hand I find inspiration that those people believed so strongly in their way of life and ultimately did what they thought would be the only way to save their lifestyle, which was basically to believe that the "conscious god" is at one with nature and that the conscious god recognized them and their efforts.

If you take the span of time that our society calls "recorded history" I see each society, philosophy and religion/mythology as like a "pillar" of consciousness, emotions, and understanding that is part of our human development. So these bits of history are there for us to use and incorporate. I like the idea that the ghost dancers believed in a conscious god that is one with nature. What I wonder is if they were strong enough to carry that belief thru the afterlife and into further incarnations, or if they gave up caring.

Interestingly enough, the Declaration of Independence says:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God are exactly the laws the Ghost Dancers were fighting for. This had been written years before the demise of the Ghost Dancers took place.

I've always believed that the music would bring us new awakenings, that it is more than just mass marketing and entertainment. It can contain a certain amount of inspiration and exploration, providing hope in a better state of existence and also working through the layers of old thought patterns which have previously tied us into various layers of existence.

ARCHETYPES (Life is What you Make it)

Each person, whether they realize it or not, has within them the concepts for any and all archetypes. By this I mean all the possible roles or personalities a person could take. On a personal level these archetypes can be played out as roles within the familily, within the work place, and within society. On a grander scale these archetypes become the models for characters in a religion, mythology, or philosophy.

An example is Greek Mythology where the gods and goddesses were looked upon as immortales, yet each held the substance of human traits and/or an aspect of nature and interacted in an ongoing drama. The oracle at Delphi was a tripod with one eye surrounded occasionally by fumes.....sounds like a camera on a tripod, and there are fumes in film development. Was the oracle at Delphi equal to our entertainment industry today? A story about the goddess Athena evolved in Fan Fiction of the David Bowie site in 1998. Here are some excerpts from "Just Another Story."

Throughout history societies have basically been built around their own "pillars of knowledge" with certain archetypal figures guiding the way for each one. In past centuries travelers could see various societies, read books, and listen to storytellers spread their tales, but in past times there was not an extensive intermingling between many different and varied groups. Within the last hundred years that has changed, and now today with the internet someone can research archetypes from various societies both past and present all in a moment's time. How is this changing our way of thinking?

The way I am changing my universe is to visualize "the conscious God of Nature" rather than a patriarchal aloof father-figure God, or even a female Goddess figure, but rather to believe in the God of Nature. By believing in the God of Nature the entire realm of natural energy takes on a whole different perspective in the scheme of social interaction and also offers a whole new level of consciousness "blending" with nature....an ultimate blending with the tao after entwining with all the creatures in Tibetan mythology.....or whatever one's personal choice of mythology might be.

The part about believing in a conscious God (of nature) is important. In the past people often believed in an "unconscous god" who was off doing something else and felt that they were too small to warrant god's conscious energy. Believing in a conscious god that is at one with nature puts a whole different spin on things. All these levels reside in each person, but if one sees the "outermost" level of consciousness to be nature, then a person could profoundly experience god in nature and in themselves as an integral part of the world ecosystem.

August 8, 2001

Subject:  leave the story untold...........

In Silvertown Blues, in the lines: "If I'd a bucket of gold, what would I do..."

What story do you think MK is talking about that he would leave untold?

Our future is history that hasn't been written yet, but time is inevitably causing it to be written every day. This song really leaves a lot to the imagination, and I'm curious what others think when they listen to the words of Silvertown Blues. If people don't consciously "write a story" will there be only the activities commonly acknowledged in the ecological system as nature? Or will mankind finally be integrated with nature and there be a storyline that is both compatible with nature and mankind's conscious opening to the wonders of the world and the consciousness of animals.

September 17, 2001

Subject:  farmers' rights

The function in our economic/social system that has been most out of balance for decades has been the place of the farmer, the rancher, and the individual small business owner overwhelmed by the power of corporate giants and a concept of "mass economy".

Dylan first enthralled me way back when he was singing to the farm workers, urging them to stand up for their rights. Later on in his imagery he hinted at things, like in Changing of the Guard........ "fortune comes, I step from the shadows to the market place....merchants and theives hungry for power....last deal gone down........." Well, it seemed at that time like Dylan had some idea in mind of how the economic system could be different.

October 22, 2001

Subject:  excerpt from dylan list

Hi S...........There was a lengthy discussion on the Bdylan chatlist about whether B Dylan considered himself Jesus as the "captain" in the song Changing of the Guards. Toward the end of the discussion one person brought up the comment about the focus being on the woman in the song, and of course I had to put in my 2 cents worth from there. Just thought it was interesting. Nobody replied.

Subject: Re: "Changing Of The Guards" = Jesus

(quote from BDylan chatlist) post from "" >>>>>>No eternal hell is suggested, nor any particular religious belief. In that sense, it's quite vague. The captain/Dylan is only "Jesus" in that he foresees the next world, and warns of the danger (elimination) of not changing. You could argue that the apocalyptic and Bible imagery leads to his explicitly Christian songs, but I don't think you've made a good case for Captain Dylan equalling Jesus. Perhaps the key to the song is the mystery girl -- who doesn't have much parallel in the four gospels.<<<<<<

(reply) >>>>>>The mystery girl would be the archetypal woman in Dylan's mind's eye that he used as inspiration for some of his music. One day he would be wanting nothing other than "to make her feel his love" and the next day, things would have changed, and he'd be walking out the door again. One of those on-again, off-again relationships. My theory is that Dylan was never able to get really close to this woman because of some unresolved control issue that he had imagined his mother had over him....which caused him to always keep his distance. Kind of like (in some review I read decades ago) when Joan Baez told him to brush his teeth.

This on-again, off-again stuff caused the woman in his mind to eventually leave, which then caused Dylan periodic bouts with insanity. To put it into a religious context, this woman started out as the "rose of Babylon" and was supposed to (according to the word) be "transformed" into something else, but because things didn't work out, this never happened. I'm not sure whether she is mentioned in the gospels or just in the old testament.<<<<<<
(end of quote from BDylan chatlist)

October 2003

S........."Have you been able to make any sense out of this?"

A........Only that each individual person has a path that is unique to them. A way to walk this path is to find one's survival energy and use that as the fuel source to look at one's layers of emotions and intellect and overall comprehension of one's existence. Everyone essentially walks this path alone. Anyone who is a friend, lover, companion, indifferent acquantance, enemy.......if someone is walking some steps with you on your path, learn from them.........if someone doesn't want to be there, let them go their own way.

S........."Have you found what you are looking for?"

Yes, in the sense that I am more what I really am than I used to be. I am comfortable appreciating nature.

January 9, 2003

Subject:  hey you all!

from j...........so after being a mark knopfler/dire straits fan half my life, i though id finally join a group, but seems all on yahoo are rather dead!

so HAPPY NEW YEAR! and tell me how this list works!

chers to all, j

January 9, 2003

Subject:  Re: hey you all!

Hi j........I know, I was wondering if we were all dead too, but then your post came thru like a wake up call!!!!

January 9, 2003

Subject:  Re: hey you all!

(from j.)...........be aware that im used to a list that once had 100 posts a day lol(a long time ago)

You're not getting graded. Did you know that high school students don't even get graded on spelling anymore?<g>

wot? thats a shock, no wonder i get complimented on my spelling all the time and its not my native language lol

May 28, 2004

Subject:  changes

(from gail).......I think the Cohen page needs some 2004 comments. I never would have found the Hallelujah connection to Leonard Cohen without Shrek, Donkey, and Princess Fiona. Now everything is sliding in all directions as we dance till the end of love while democracy comes to the USA.

New page: Cohen 2004 comments

suggested reading might include:
Red Gondolas
What It Is
Music Glossary 101

Dear Leonard
Mumu-lulia

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Philosophical conglomeration regarding the Suburban Nightmare

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All pictures and text © Dawnstar 2003 except © to those wonderful artists who have allowed me to borrow their work. This site is newly revised and individual links will be up soon. Many thanks to http://www.thegreasygrass.com

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