Tonight's the Village Halloween Parade, a marvelous night of craft and transformation. Leading the festivities: Donna Henes, Urban Shaman. Click here for an interview, which is well worth reading, not least of all for wonderful anecdotes such as this:
Please share your strangest "only in New York" story.
About 12 years ago while I was walking in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, a beautiful cockatiel flew right to me. I picked it up, but then I didn’t know what to do, so I just carried it around with me. Everyone who saw me stopped to offer a blessing in the vocabulary of their own spiritual tradition. “Oh, honey, God’s talkin’ to you!” “The ancestors send us birds as messengers from Heaven!” “The elders say, that when a bird flies to you, it brings good luck!” On and on it went with Caribbean, Chinese, Guatemalan, African American, Russian, Puerto Rican, and Korean folks offering blessings and bird advice. Because of their unanimous enthusiasm, I ended up bringing the bird home where she lived on my head for 9 years and laid 33 eggs!
Can you tell us about the Eggs on End event you used to hold at the WTC?
I am now in the 33rd annual cycle of holding public celebrations for the official beginning of each season. 18 of the Spring Equinox Celebrations called, “Eggs on Eng: Standing on Ceremony” were held in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Since the destruction of the Towers, the event has been held at Battery Park, The South Street Seaport, and the Museum of the American Indian.
The event itself is astonishingly simple. The site, The Twin Towers, was a landmark megalith like an urban Stonehenge, which I decorated with day-glo orange ribbons, thus transforming a secular public place into a sacred space. I handed out scientific and mythological information sheets along with jelly eggs to the crowds. I lit flares to denote the number of days, weeks, months in a year. An orange laundry basket containing 360 eggs is passed among those in attendance. We all hold them up in the air together, pledging to walk on the earth as if we were walking on eggs. Promising anew, in honor of the season, to protect our fragile yet resilient planet home. We count down the minutes to the equinox. And when the time is right, we stand our eggs in unison in salute to spring. No matter how many people attend, the real event is always each single person‘s private experience of what gravity and balance and equilibrium might mean. . . .