May 11th, 2001

Chalkboard

(no subject)

Beau's Birthday, Secret Societies, The Order of the Eastern Star, and the dance of the Maypole.



Today is my little guy's birthday. Beau is eleven years old today! I can't believe it. God, it seems like it was just yesterday that he was this tiny little smiling baby. All those nights I spent rocking him in his room, breast feeding him in the moonlight. I tried to hang on to him, but it didn't work, he just kept growing anyway.

I'm going to get up early and pick him a bouquet of roses and put it in a vase by his bed. I bought him his favorite candy, those big long red licorice whips. Scott was so cute and he made me laugh because when we came home from dinner he started whipping me with them. I don't know, it just made me laugh, it seemed so SMy in a really silly way, candy whipping. I wonder if Fadey and Cryo ever tried this, Hee Hee. (Hey, that reminds me that I have finally, finally, figured out who is who by their journal names. I was so confused about it for a while. Poor little ADHD brain.) Anyway I'm also giving Beau a little silver clarinet charm on a chain, he'll like that. Then at around one o'clock I'm taking a big vanilla and lemon buttercream cake with skateboard decorations, ice cream, Capri Suns and ninety bomb bags as favors, to his school. Then I'll pick him up from school and bring his friend Shayan and take them to see The Mummy returns again. Then I'll do some kind of dinner thing with Scott, Esther, Eduardo and Andrea.

Beau saw his father tonight. I called him and reminded him that Beau's birthday is tomorrow and suggested that he take him shopping to Toys R Us, if he hadn't already planned something. I felt sooo sorry for Beau because when he came home I asked him how things went with his father and he said, "Dad wrecked my present from Grammy and Tata. He told me it was just a tee shirt before I even got to open it." Then when I asked him what his father gave him for his birthday, he held up his hand and made the sign for nothing. God, it makes me sick to my heart for him. He said that Robby said he didn't have any money, and that he'd do something for him in a week. How could he do this to his little boy? Is he lazy, stupid, or just selfish? Doesn't he know how much that must hurt, to not get anything, not even a card from your father for your birthday? Even Robby's Father and Stepmother, who have so many kids and grandkids, don't even live here, and haven't seen Beau in three years, sent a gift. I was always so hurt when he would rush out at the last minute and grab something for me for my birthday or any occasion really. It always hurt because it was so clear that he never put any thought into it, and he was never willing to make any kind of sacrifice by saving money or planning for it. I mean how is it possible that he can't save the tiniest bit of money for his son's birthday at least. This is a man who has his contractor's license, and is a skilled finish carpenter, he makes thirty dollars an hour. Big sigh.



I took these pictures a few days ago, and was waiting for a free moment to put them up. These are photos of a Maypole near my home, that someone puts up every single year, here on this lawn of what was an Eastern Star home of some kind. Every year for as far back as I can remember I've seen this Maypole. It's huge. I've always wondered who puts it up, and who participates in the Maydance around it. I have never seen the actual ritual Maydance being performed, it just seems like one day it looks like this, and then suddenly all of the ribbons are wound around the pole. I am so curious about it. Part of me thinks it's a lovely old pagan tradition, and isn't that a sweet thing to do? Then another part of me worries about it and imagines virgin daughters of Master Mason's dancing about the pole in some strange predawn ritual. It seems odd to me that in all of the years of driving by this I've never seen the dance, known or even met anyone who participates in it. I went to preschool across the street and grammar school just two blocks away. If they needed young girls they never asked us.



The odd thing about this is that the last I heard, this enormous, extremely valuable property on Sunset, in the best part of Brentwood, (we're talking millions and millions of dollars) was used as a retirement home for elderly members of The Order of The Eastern Star. Did that mean they only allowed elderly women to reside here, or were men allowed to retire here as well? Or was it some sort of retirement home charity that was supported by The Eastern Star Women. You know you can't join the Eastern Star unless you are married to a Mason. They have their own rituals and secrets and levels of ascendancy just like the men do. It was always just one big mystery to me and I have always been a bit afraid of the property. I guess I'm just being paranoid and superstitious because I've never once visited or even called to ask about it. If I can remember to do it, I'll try to call and see if I can find anything out, and then I'll let you know. of course if there's anyone out there who'd like to set me straight on any of this, I'd be really happy to know. Do any of you know any members or have you ever heard any stories?

A few years ago there was a lot of upset around the sale of this property to a private, all-girls high-school. (Yeah, that gets my paranoia going.) The upset was because of the increased traffic the school would supposedly bring to the already congested area, but somehow it was all worked out. If you look closely you can see a couple of interesting things. One is the angel statue in front of it that you can barely see. These are the sculptures that are embroiled in controversy here in Los Angeles because they are kind of ugly and a lot of people hate them. I think it was a really wonderful art-supportive idea, but it's been a big bomb as far as critics are concerned. Anyway this one was covered with lots of cracked bits of mirror and it's one of my favorite. If I get a chance I'll try to take a better picture for you. The other thing I wanted you to see is the star on the roof, now my understanding of these things, and I admit it's super limited, is that when a lodge, or a building belonging to one of these orders is sold, all of the traditional emblems and symbols are removed, kind of like the way a church is stripped before sale. So my question is, why when this property was sold to a nonaffiliated private school, have they kept some of the traditions, namely the star on the roof, and the celebration of Beltane, or the Maypole Dance. It's just so intriguing to me.



I did a little bit of research on Maypoles and came up with these bits of text;

Fauna/Fatua was a Roman goddess identified with Gaea; Hecate/Trivia/Triformis (goddess of witchcraft, mother of Scylla); Cybele/Ops; Maia (hence May) mother of Hermes, wife of Zeus; Semele, mother of Dionysus, wife of Zeus; Bona Dea (healing serpent); Magna Mater; Mater Matuta; Pales (cattle rearing, sometimes male!) and others. Known as the kind goddess from earliest times because of her benevolence over all of creation, Fauna�s festivities on the first of May were celebrated with wine, music and mysterious ceremonies by women and girls. Her offspring were the Fatui, deities of the fields, sometimes good, sometimes evil, later known as Fays, with the power of witchcraft and prophecy. Morgan le Fay (fata morgana) is associated with ancient legend. Flora was a Roman goddess also associated with spring, flowers, youth and May Day.



The Beltane ritual is a ceremonial folk dance performed around a tall pole garlanded with greenery or flowers and often hung with ribbons that are woven into complex patterns by the dancers. Such dances are survivals of ancient dances around a living tree as part of spring rites to ensure fertility. Typically performed on May 1, they also occur at midsummer in Scandinavia and at other festivals elsewhere. They are widely distributed through Europe--e.g., "Sellenger's Round" in England, the baile del cord�n of Spain--and also are found in India. Similar ribbon dances were performed in pre-Columbian Latin America and were later integrated into ritual dances of Hispanic origin. Maypoles may also appear in other ritual dances, as in the Basque ezpata dantza, or sword dance.