Copper Women

A book titled 'Daughters of Copper Women' by Anne Cameron taught of the the creation story from the wonderful elder women of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation on Vancouver Island BC Canada.

From these women we learn the creation stories about First Mother who was made of the earth on which we stand, in whose veins ran blood as salty as the sea, whose hair is as the grass, whose public hair is as the moss, whose bones and teeth are as the shells and whose children became scattered, and spread out to cover the earth.  And we learn that we are all cousins, because we are all grandchildren of First Mother.  This earth is our home, and we have very little time in which to learn how to treat her with respect.

  The Creator made four levels of reality: earth, under-the-earth, ocean and under-the-sea.  and then the Creator, who is neither male nor female, man nor woman, but both, and something more than either, more than both, populated each reality.
  The Creator took the shells of the sea and the minerals of the rocks and from them fashioned a Skeleton.  Then the Creator took the salt water of the ocean and made from it blood, to run in veins.  The creator took handfuls of dirt and on skeleton fashioned a body, which was then encased in skin, made from the skin of the Creator and the same color as copper.  Under her arms and between her legs the Creator placed soft-scented moss.  A brain was added, and a heart organs were placed inside and then eyes to see.  The form was given the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, and then the Creator trapped the wind and placed it in her lungs and she became First Woman, she became Copper Woman.

  Alone she found shelter alone she found food.  She endured.  Endured and survived.  In the time of the first autumn storms, the Creator sent a craft of Supernaturals to teach Copper Woman how to survive on a better level than she had been able to find for herself.  She was no longer alone.  When it was time for the Supernaturals to go in their craft and prepare to return to their own home, Copper Woman began to weep.  So much did she cry, her very head began to drain of all fluid, and as tears fell from her eyes, from her nose fell great amounts of thick mucus.
  The supernatural women told her not to feel shame, not to bury the snot but to save it, even cherish it, and when she had learned to accept even this most gross evidence of her own mortality, then from the acceptance would come the means whereby she would never again be alone, never again be lonely.  They told her that those times when body secretions flow, those times when a woman answers the call of the moon, are holy and sacred times, times for prayer and contemplation.
  Copper women did as she was told.  A few days later she noticed that the sand in the shell was moving  every day she watched and became aware that the small living incomplete thing was growing into something.  Soon his voice became deep and he roared with jealousy when Copper Woman spent too much time admiring something else.
  One night the snot boy left his bed of fur and climbed in bed with Copper Woman.
  With much pain and blood, there came from her a small version of herself, but altered.  Copper woman looked at her daughter and felt the loneliness diminish until it was no larger than a small round pebble on the beach.

  The kingdom of the Heavens was ruled by thunderbird.  Thunderbird ruled with his wife Qolus.  Qolus spent much time watching Copper women and her children.  Especially Mowita, the oldest, the first born.  Qolus wanted to leave the kingdom of the heavens and go to earth.  So she changed her form.  So completely did she change form she became the first man.  He set about building a great house, greater then on earth to impress the Copper women and her daughter.  Thunderbird in time became lonely and began to weep.  The eldest daughter and her husband set about waterproofing the house.  Copper women said she did not have to go into the house, which was getting very crowded; she would be safe with her magic.  It was Time, she said, for her skin to split anyway, time for her to allow her children to go off on their own so that they would not stay tied to her forever.  So she left her bag of meat and bones on the beach and went to visit with her friends the supernaturals.
  For days the house floated.  Raven was sent out and she brought back the promise of life, a sprig of cedar.  The animals ran out side happily, then the daughters of Copper Woman prepared to leave.  Four couples going off in four different directions, and from them came all the people of the world.  From the survivors of the flood came the parents of black people, the parents of the yellow people, the parents of the white people and the parents of the brown-skinned people, and so we are all related, for we all come from the belly of copper Woman.
  When old women was so old even she could not remember how old, she became old woman.
  Always the truth will be sustained and the secrets will endure, for Old Woman is watching, Old Woman is guarding, and with her all things are possible.  And always the disciples will aid the Old Woman and give her strength, the initiates will aid the disciples and the woman will protect their Truth, glory in it and Endure.
  And though all this happened so long ago nobody can say when, still there are women who Know, and whether they are women who come from the lines of the black people, or from the lines of the brown people, or the yellow people or the white people, or whether they are of the line of happiness, still they may Know.  and still, many are born but few are chosen.  And still those who come with green eyes are held in esteem.  Some are born, some come in search, and if they Know they are welcomed, so that within the Women's society neither wealth nor social position counts, for these are imposed on earth by chance and whim, while within the society only that which grows from the core has any meaning.
  When the Time came for the next change and the black robed men moved to destroy the Society of Women, the women Endured.  Not fighting, not disputing, clinging to their knowledge, they Endured, and now it is almost Time again, and much magic is preparing, and soon the sign will be known.

And those who need to find courage, peace, truth and love will learn that these are inside all of us, and can be supported by the truth of women.

I am the sea

I am the mountains

I am the light

I am eternal

This confusion is fog
There is light beyond
I sense it and feel its warmth
I move toward it
but not headlong
I fear to stumble,
to fall with pain.

There are women everywhere with fragments
When we learn to come together we are whole
When we learn to recognize the enemy
we will come to recognize what we need to know
to learn how to come together

I know the many smiling faces of my enemy
I know the pretence that is the weapon used.
I have been the enemy
and learned to know myself well.

The ones who talk only from the throat
see only with two eyes
hear only with ears
but pretend to do more
are the enemy

I walked amidst shards
and fear laceration
I must dare to bleed
I must dare to cut myself
To amputate
the festering pain.

I will learn to mix medicine bags for those with faith
I will learn to chant the power chant
I will learn to mix
medicine bags for those with faith
I will learn to chant the power chant
and play the healing drum.
I will not fear moss voices
water songs
                                Small furry things with sharp teeth
              or my own hesitancy.

I am falling
I am falling

Past star
Past time
       through space
                    and my own fragments

oh sisters the pain

I am scattered
I am scattered

gather fragments
weave and mend
   scattered fragments
weave and mend

In golden light
I recognize the enemy faces
fear of our bodies
fear of our visions
fear of our healing
fear of our love
fear of sister kind
fear of brother kind
fear of fear

Love is healing
healing is love

There are women everywhere with fragments
gather fragments
weave and mend
When we learn to come together we are whole
When we learn to recognize the enemy
we will know what we need to know
to learn how to come together
to learn how to weave and mend.

Old Woman is watching
watching over you
In the darkness of the storm
she is watching
watching over you

weave and mend
weave and mend
Old woman is watching
watching over you
with her bones become a loom
she is weaving
watching over us
weave and mend
golden circle
weave and mend
sacred sisters
weave and mend

I have been searching
lost
alone
I have been searching
for so many years

I have been searching
Old Woman

and I find her
in
mySelf

Daughters of Copper Woman
ISBN 1-55017-245-X
Harbour Publishing.com