Friday, September 30, 2016


Our golden wagon life rooted in the woods of Langley six summers ago. Today Pete hitched up Vardo for Two and began the inch-by-inch process of gently, very gently uprooted the sweet Gypsy style wagon. Like rubbing a precious genie's lamp for wishes and good fortune, that's what we did. The night photo about shows that the come along and Pete's cranking and prodding has our home half-way to there.

The wooden steps in the lower right hand corner will give you an idea of how far the vardo was moved. We'll sleep in the new space over night. In the next day or so I will be loading detailed maneuverings of Pete and his practical magic as we continue to journey a safety pin life.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Applied Astrology: Pluto Transits across the Angles

" First, this disclaimer: I use EQUAL houses, so when I say “angles of your chart”, that is exactly what I mean. I am referring to Pluto transits over the angles of your chart, where the angles are the same degree as your ascendant.
Pluto transits over the angles of your chart are invariably drastic and life-changing. For example, when Pluto crossed my midheaven,  my life took such a turn, I had to live underground for close to 10 year. Me! A person so social and outspoken. I was a person listed in the phone book by the time I was 17 years old, and all the sudden I ceased to exist in public (10th house) life and lie dormant for nearly a decade..." Elsa Elsa
Building a (new) home 
Vardo For Two on the ledge in Tahuya, WA. Our first stop, 2009

Eight years ago (2008) we began building a tiny home on wheels the one we would eventually call Vardo For Two. The process and the unfolding journey became a venture into both a new way of life, and the beginning of my blogging life. Intimately affecting this rebuilding was the study and application of astrology as a way to navigate and prepare, and if not prepare, at least learn to accept more readily life as it REALLY is.

Elsa Panizzon has and continues to be one of the foremost teachers in my astrological studies. From her daily blog, forum, workshops, and newsletters I have grown; she is my foundation from her teaching I makawalu (unfold) and create anew. I discovered ElsaElsa the same year we began building our tiny home on wheels.

I am a believer in the quality and value of place, and home. The chart for Vardo For Two is a living and breathing one, for a living and breathing life-giving Home with a capital 'H.'

NOW ...

I believe it's time to pull back in from my wanderings (writing of many words, stories, blogs) to assess the worthiness and strength of the foundations of my beliefs, motivations. Why now in particular? It has to do with Pluto transiting (moving over) the angles of my astrological chart.

I've posted the chart for Vardo For Two as a place to illustrate Pluto's movement. The chart shows that Pluto (indicated with a capital P in black) in the light blue circle within the chart, was closing in on my Midheaven (indicated with the capital letters MC). Keep in mind these positions indicated in black print are for 2008. Pluto crossed the angle of the Midheaven during this time.

The Midheaven is the place in a chart that is your public life. In the chart above Vardo For Two's MC is in the sign of Capricorn, and in the 9th House. The 9th House writes Elizabeth Rose Campbell "asks you to explore the truth that is so big it is written on our inner parts. It asks you to integrate those truths, to act upon your knowledge until it deepens and becomes wisdom. Yet wisdom has no shelf life. You must live it, internalizing this wisdom so deeply it encodes your very character. And then ask for more." Pluto transits over the angles are "invariably drastic and life-changing" as Elsa puts it.

The design, building and recreating a life in, and from, a tiny home less than 80 square feet in size has been a profoundly life-changing experience. We are six years into the living from it stage and the thing that strikes me most is something Elizabeth Rose Campbell writes about the activity that takes place in the 9th House. "Explore the truth that is so big it is written on our inner parts...integrate ... act upon knowledge ... until it becomes wisdom." And then she goes on to remind me that wisdom must be lived to become known. In 2008 we were beginning to explore the truth, more would be revealed; that is where we are now. More has been revealed and how well are those safety pins holding? Do they need to be moved? Replaced? Reinforced?

The people in the home

In 2008 when Pluto was approaching the MC and still in Vardo For Two's Ninth House in Capricorn, the small and mighty planet was half-way through the Fourth House for Pete my husband, and half-way through the Twelfth House for me. Our newly built lifestyle, and home on wheels was our foundation or Papaku from which we would unfurl or makawalu.

Again quoting from Elizabeth Rose Campbell, "The Fourth House; Home. The fourth-house ... encourages self-care from the root level up and describes your answers to the questions: Where is my home? Who is my family? Like the sign of Cancer and the Moon (which is Pete's Sun sign and ruling planet ... the Moon) which rule the fourth house, this life arena encourages profound sensitivity...The goal of the fourth-house arena is to create a well-made nest for any of these purposes: raising a family; self-care; nurturance from the root level up."

"Like the sign of Pisces, which encourages letting go, and the planet Neptune, which expresses soul, the twelfth house describes the homeland of intuition--the flow...It originates in the heart, not the head. It is connected to both your source and your destination... One of the biggest challenges of the twelfth house, ruled by Pisces and the planet Neptune, is understanding the difference between giving up and surrendering. Giving up is the abandonment of one's center and the capacity to respond. With that abandonment comes a loss of instinct. To surrender to a circumstance, even a difficult one, is a different dance entirely. You must retain self-love and self-respect through the surrender...Giving yourself up to the wrong habit or atmosphere is usually the result of a haphazard or nonexistent relationship with inner guidance...It becomes vitally important to have a method of picking up your guidance from the twelfth-house flow in a fully functional state so that you can implement it."

 Pluto's slow and steady forward movement

"Wherever Pluto is in your chart," writes Campbell, "it unveils your potential. It teaches you to claim your power and choose to change, even if you can't control every facet of the outcome. Your Pluto potential has been composting, building for centuries through your genes and ancestry. Now that compost is ripe and ready to fertilize your life, as an old self dies and a new one is born through Pluto."

In our case Pluto will cross my ASC, my ascendent during the next week and will move into Pete's Fifth House. The New Moon coming up Monday, February 8, 2016 marks the beginning of the Year of the Fire Monkey according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. There are many key moments to be awake to. Applying astrology to my life with Pluto as a focus, there are questions and answers to be asked and considered as this new lunar year begins.

I use Vardo For Two as a foundation to launch new beginnings, but, also appreciate that some old attitudes and practices need to be surrendered to make a truly fresh start. When Pluto finishes moving through Capricorn in 2023, it will move into my First House (fresh). That's still seven years away. But, Pluto's movement over my Ascendent, and my natal Capricorn Moon (emotions) is a current event.

Pluto's transit through my twelfth house has been difficult. Writing about it today is helping me to wrestle with the hard truths and the hidden (also a twelfth house character) struggles. Do I recognize the difference between 'giving up' and 'surrender' as a process, with Pluto half-way through the twelfth house? What about giving myself up to the wrong habit?

Enough for now, maybe more tomorrow.

Where is Pluto transiting in your life? Can you relate to this ramble?

Intuitive Astrology Follow Your Best Instincts to Become Who You Always Intended to Be by Elizabeth Rose Campbell is the source for the quotes used in this blog post. It's one of my most used books, and part of the small cache of books that have made the crisscross journey of life before and after building Vardo For Two.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Late afternoon, Purple Hibiscus

Summer draws to a close by some measures, Bracken ferns fade into brown. Vardo windows are shaded like loaves of silver-wrapped packages to keep the inside cool. The potted Purple Hibiscus are a late summer honey pot for a happy bee. I revel in the blessing of Nature.

Summer Seven living in Vardo For Two a cozy safety pin of a nest where I learn the advantages of living small through observing the Beings who are small. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

He Inoa Na Jots

Hey old friend
nou e ko'u hoaloha
For you my friend ... 

We built Vardo For Two in the industrial town of White Center, Seattle. The life we'd known before was in need a major restoration. We needed magic. From the woods came a Forest Magician with life to share with us. Life unexpectedly wild, and upending. 

She lived and died wild, and wondrous. Adaptive and then in the last, most ready to run and fly wild.

To read the whole Name Song for Jots, written in 'Olelelo Hawaii (the Hawaiian language) by our son Christopher Kawika Brown 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grounding dreams, celebrating community, welcoming the New Lunar Year

Gung Hee Fat Choy, Happy New Lunar New Year of the Green Goat/Sheep/Ram.
"When the world was new the Jade Emperor created a calendar. Twelve animals were chosen for each of the twelve years...Ram was chosen for his courage." - from The Rooster's Antler's a tale of the Chinese Zodiac
Our computer is once again occupied by a bug that creates chaos with software; I cannot load photos using Blogger (it works this post). But, there are ways around that and in my primitive way I pin together methods on the border and offer you a way to see how Pete and I continue to ground our dreams, celebrate community and welcome the Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram.

If you're curious LINK HERE to see our friends and community telling stories, making rattles, and dancing the Blessing Dance to feed the hungry ghosts and make space for joy, Grace and respect for place.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Vardo first ... then the community Part 2

When market season ended, and harvest season began Pete and I began to dream again
... of community and a place to gather

Dreamers have a pre-disposition to see magic in the most unexpected places, or see the multiple universes potent in the everyday. Here we are day dreaming of a winter home for The Safety Pin Café. A space and place where Sensitives can gather to tell stories, sip hot teas and laugh at the unpredictably weird words that come from between the borders and out the cracks.
Our South Whidbey Tilth community has given us the nod, and is receptive to our vision to enclose the existing Pavilion (the space pictured above) as a fragrance-free and chemical-free space for us to continue to share the medicine of story! Using the years of experience we have gleaned from a life that we thought at first might do us in, we will grow the fairy tale and share what we have learned because we built a Vardo for Two. To read the process of collaborating to involve our local Tilth ...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Vardo first ... then the community

I juggle writing content between the three blogs The Safety Pin Café, Makua o'o and Vardo for Two like I walk between the three separate tiny houses that make up home; wake up in Vardo for Two, walk to the Quonset and have a cup of hot tea, walk to the Hale for a hot shower or wash the dishes. Not unlike walking from one end of a house, or through a hallway except that our hallway is the forest floor and our ceiling the canopies of pine and fir up a hundred feet tucked beneath Earth's sky, the stars, Hina and the Sun. Today, the Sun is just beginning his brighten through the trees. The Quonset's heater is working overtime to keep the kitchen-writing room-kitty space warm. What it will really need is for me to start cooking something to get the heat going. But. For now I munch at an apple crisp and cold from being stored in a box outside. It's probably in the high twenties now. Cold for a Hawaiian. The rest of this post will lead you to a piece of writing that expands upon this juggling experiment we began when we first dreamed up Vardo for Two. It is truly an experiment in living and deeply digging into the potential that so often appears as a knot or cluster of knots with no solution but to abandon the mess -- leave it for someone else to sort out, or cut the tangle and if you're lucky there's still enough left over to start again.

Kalei Nu'uhiwa one of my favorite Hawaiian scientists and teachers is fond of saying (well she's fond of saying quite a few things but for now ... ) "I don't know about you all but I love chaos." In this video, and presentation at the 2012 'Aha Wahine (Womens' Gathering) Kalei expounds on the process of creating sacred space. Specifically she describes the rituals and foundations for women's role in creating sacred space. We Hawaiian have a huge capacity for embracing multiplicity: we see the connectivity of seemingly dis-similar events. What Hawaiians, a people bred on making sense of life with what is (through keen observation and documentation) practice is a highly evolved sense of community. Nothing and no one is an orphan, what happens here will and does affect something there. Our creation story, the Kumulipo begins in darkness with the coral naming the seeds and the birthing from the seed polyps. From the sea, to the land. From darkness into light. From Po to Ao. Over time. Every thing is named. Every birth is recorded. From chaos comes order. From the knot of potential everything is possible.

From The Safety Pin Café ...
"Five years ago (2010) my husband Pete Little and I found the South Whidbey Island community. Our former life was being rebuilt; we had to dig deeper for people, place and values to thrive in spite of a medical diagnosis with one basic 'cure': "avoid almost everything!" That's a bit of a stretch but not much of one. The short story is I was diagnosed with MCS Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, or Environmental Illness in 2007, pesticides, chemicals and common products of the everyday 21st century are the primary sources of harsh and often debilitating reactions. My immune system was unable to cope, or restore health. A house or public spaces? For years those were "no-can-dos". In 2008 we learned what materials were less toxic and lessened the body's burden brought on by exposures; we experimented and tested how to build a tiny movable space to live in and regain wellness. Then began the journey to become part of a community.

Above: Pieces of cloth from an earlier time are being reworked,
and become something beautiful in a new life freshly in the making.
Below: The sign says it all. We learn to live with Peace in our loyal 'Scout' the Subarus and discover how much is enough while remembering who and what is really important
We lived from this faithful Subaru and from it, we learned how little was necessary, and how much could be had with what was at hand. The photo below is an early stage Vardo for Two porch when we were parked on a ledge in the woods
 in early summer, 2009.

In the summer of 2010 we found a place in the woods of Langley to park our Vardo for Two. Life began to re-fresh knowing we had a home. That same summer we found the South Whidbey Tilth and Farmers' Market. At first, it was the companionship and laid-back atmosphere that made us feel at home. Then, we discovered Tilth's history as a place unsprayed with pesticides for three decades. Our shoulders relaxed, my immune system calmed for the first time in three years, we began to root, volunteer, share what we have learned about fragrance-free and chemical free practices and become part of the community. Link here to read the full post, and see how the untangling of potential and the belief that everything is connected just keeps happening. Like the man said, "If you build it they will come."