Hrmph. I hear you, but I'm not sure if that holds across the board. OK, it works for running ... what about just lifting a big friggin' rock? Well, I guess you could learn that from Bear, maybe?
Thing is, lots of people can run fast or lift heavy rocks who obviously have very poor relationships with Fox or Hummingbird or Bear … what I have now is that those spirits can feed into it, so the strength of your relationship with Fox can help you run faster when you need to, but I’m just not sure that really does it.
Fair enough. I do think that having a ‘skill’ that relies on a silent, unacknowledged partnership with certain neighbors in the community of life, pisses them off, and eventually causes ghosts to eat your ass and bring on a big, hard fall. Much like what has happened to civilization. We can explain crash in terms of stats, but also, the nature powers fuckin’ want to pound us for what we’ve done. and then forgive us instantly of course. fickle chaos pixie bastards. [i didn’t just say that - zip the lip].
I kept coming back to your writings about the wise compass, trying to think of some way to base it off of that, so I'm practically salivating here to find out what you've come up with.
okay, how about this?
the compass can have an infinite number of directions, obviously, so ultimately it rests up to the needs of the game, but it all starts with the pulsing readiness of pre-false-dawn, the shaman’s hour, then sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight. So, at least four directions, East (sunrise), South (noon), West (sunset), North (midnight), expandablle to eight if you want a longer continuum, NE (pre-false dawn), SE (late morning), SW (lazy afternoon), NW (dark evening).
This describes the cycle of a human life, and the concentric growth rings of a tree…a non linear path through vastly different energies, not just “levels of skill”, but different qualities of richness of understanding and relationship. The Southerly teen feels the focus and lust for mastery (and the aims of their sexuality), the willingness to suffer and sweat through intense experiences. This differs from the fresh openess of the Easterly child, flexible and adaptable. But a teen can run where a child has yet to really develop that capacity. You know? The Westerly Adult, concentrating on family and service, acquires an ability to do insightful and amazing things, because of the purpose beyond self they embody. The Northerly elder begins to disappear in ego, acquiring that power of the monk or the samurai, of desireless intent, of all things coming together while they silently allow it. The Tao Te Ching describes this pretty well, especially as it dovetails back into the East, combining an Elder’s wisdom with the vitality of the child (‘beginner’s mind’). Thus the connection between old folks and children.
It would probably work best to draw a diagram, but you could just trace each skill as a life cycle through the compass directions, additionally empowered and supported by spirit relationships with natural relatives.
I suppose it works like this anyway, huh? though hummingbird teaches me to run, i myself started with the naive (and so limitlessly possible) exploration of the eastern child, and now find myself in the swagger and diligence of the southern teen. I have yet to reach an ability to ‘serve’ with my running, I just don’t have that kind of power yet. And then as an elder, I may disappear, lose myself and my body in my running, just pure intent moving across the land.
And, like I said, you can add the “gates” of the other directions, NE, SE, SW, NW, to broaden the continuum. Each of those does describe another peculiar transitional quality of the cycle, unique to itself, usually a special time of trial, in my experience. NE the dreamer’s realm, SE the discovery of self, SW the release into rest and day-dream, NW the crusty adult dealing with a body on the edge of (or beginning to) falling apart, mining their lineage for wisdom.
I can’t believe I wrote this all down. I think I broke a personal taboo here. It just seemed to fit with the game. Maybe this whole role-playing game really can change the way we think about our world, if this cyclical time experience could condense deep into players’ bones.
Duh? I dunno. I guess I didn’t see it this way before. I have my stupid moments too.
In any case, I hope this inspires you as much as it did me.