30 11 2006

I am Shoukri. I am Nubian and my people come from a long time ago, from a time when the great river was young and when the kings were just beginning to think. I am a captain- I sail the Nile on a felucca and my brother Jimmy also sails a felucca. Feluccas are the traditional boats of the Nile- with large sails and flat decks to transport people and things.Feluccas have been like this since the beginning. We carry people on my felucca – westerners who come, lily white, on board to sail from Aswan to Luxor and experience the great Nile and its temples. We sail the boat downriver . We also cook for the westerners, our traditional food with lashings of chillie and garlic. We even find them beer and brandy, though the brandy is more like lighter fluid than brandy.

Read more on my blog.


The Gundo

30 11 2006

I thought I’d say a little bit about the city where I live. I live in El Segundo, California. El Segundo has a population of about 16,000 people who live there, about 100,000 who visit during the day, and we are surrounded by the 13 million other residents of the greater L.A. area.

The town is bounded by the Pacific Ocean, LAX, a conglomeration of various aerospace corporations, and the Chevron Oil Refinery (the second one built in California, hence the name of the town). Also, we are home to the county’s sewage treatment plant, a steam plant, and an electrical plant. And we have a military installation.

But lest you think we live in a horrible, Blade-runner type of place, we do have 27 parks, 18 churches, and 39 restaurants and pubs (fortunately, more eating places than drinking). Other names for the town: The Urban Island, Mayberry-by-the-Sea, The Beach Town without a Beach Culture, and most recently, The Gundo.

We also have an operating silent movie theatre with a three-story high Werlitzer organ. And, most importantly, we are the hometown and current residence of the Barbie doll.

Oh, yeah, and a new Borders bookstore just opened last week! (I’m so excited).

So, there’s just a little snapshot of my town. Let’s hear about yours!


Lori Gloyd (c) 2006

Sea of Stones – 2

30 11 2006

As the night-fire grows dim, banked just enough to insure that the breath of morning will bring rebirth, I ponder over what has touched me this day.  Some might call it a ritual – others a form of prayer, but for me it is a more ancient call.  In the Alani traditions of my ancestors the day begins with such banking of the fire rather than the rising of the sun, and I must pay attention to staff and pouch and scroll before beginning the night’s spirit journey.  More of that later …


for now I simply reflect on what life has offered me – chatter amongst the villagers, scribblings from students, a tiny pebble in my sandal, deep thoughts from fellow travelers, a special arrangement of branches and flowers, a passage from a famous book, the view of Lake Bohinj at sunset    what of these will affect my values, standards and creative hopes?  A Christian mystic noted, “because my house is in order my soul is at rest.”  The same can be found in diverse cultures and language – so it must be true, or at least worthy of believing.  My eyes droop as I ask the three questions of the Turqusii;  where do I find that which is useful, who do I believe and in what do I trust?


During my slumber I also receive messages from realms beyond my practical perception, but surely as valuable a source of answers as any other – yet no better either.  Information comes in and sometimes wisdom comes out – and what else is a Gusari for – or thee?  I awake with a start – churning spirit and mind – thoughts to be set down – words not recorded until now, as they whisper from a time before writing, before history then …


First I tend to the fire so that new friends may find a welcome start to their day – then I write:





It is said in challenge or jest

that a man’s soul is like a lake,

and that a pebble dropped in

will cause ripples on endless shores,

and the waters n’er be the same.


As truth of this I know a place

where the pure waters sit tranquil

from gift of windless glacial snow

and depth unknown except in faith,

that a stone’s fall will be revealed.


You need but observe its decent

to grasp the depth of life itself –

your time allowed and gifts endowed

with a choice of what ripples swell

to touch heart and soul in trust.


Yet each man’s pride defeats it all,

for a frozen lake ripples not –

and such calm pristine clarity

also reflects one’s human face

that naught is seen of God at all.




it seems then, my friends, that I must allow your eyes to see for me, your hearts to leap for joy in my stead, your spirit to gather my tears.  Aye, I may not choose to believe a single thought you offer – but I must believe in YOU …


of this I know,

and of this

am The Duuran

Billabong Dreamer

29 11 2006

“The setting of “Waltzing Matilda” is enough to fuel a deep yearning within Australians to escape from the concrete cities of the urban fringes. To travel the outback, with my swag all on my shoulder, to witness the stark beauty and isolation of this most ancient of lands, to lie beneath the Southern Cross, to smell the unique perfume of the eucalypt, is a dream, a quest that sends thousands of wanderers towards the red centre each year, in search of just such a place. To lie while the billy boils, to dream by a billabong, under the shade of a Coolabah tree is akin to finding the eternal Garden of Eden.” from Waltz with Matilda by Heather Blakey

My Grand Tour begins alongside one such Billabong. I bring just a swag, a billy and my companion animal


No utensil is so generally used in the bush as the billy-can; none is more widely distributed, none better known in Australia. It is cheap, light, useful and a burden to no man. It goes with every traveller, it figures in comedy, art, writing and tragedy, and has been the repository of the last words of many a perished swagman. Often it is found with the grim message scratched on the bottom beside the dead owner.

Billies are of all sizes – from one to six quartz. Some hard up swagmen improvise by making a billy out of a fruit tin, with a bit of fencing wire for a handle.

So while the billy sits on the fire boiling, and you wait for that bush tea, share a story or two with your friends.

Departure from Bristol

29 11 2006

Traveller set off from her home town of Bristol, a teeming port city, where she had had difficulty find a seat on the stage coach. The roads were appalling that winter and the carriage managed to lose a wheel before they had even arrived in Bath. Reluctantly, she put up for the night in a bug-infested, rat-ridden hostelry from which she was only too glad to escape on the morrow. The journey to Dover seemed interminable. As she was leaving the hostelry, called ‘the Enchanted Well’ a strange figure had brushed against her, a figure who resembled no living mortal of her era but rather looked as if she had been assembled from various mythological figures. She had wild flowing locks and a cape with mystical images embroidered on it and she carried a twisted staff in one hand. This character had thrust a small bag into her hand saying ”take this, you may find you have need of some of the items therein” and had disappeared. Traveller had thrust it into her pocket but in the coach curiosity got the better of her so she took it out and began to examine its contents, tipping them out on the seat next to her. And what a strange mix of items they were. First of al there was a stiff piece of card, like an invitation.


Le Enchanteur

has pleasure in inviting you to join her and a number of other travellers

on the trip of a lifetime to realms hitherto uncharted

– a GRAND TOUR of the land of Lemuria –

If you wish to accept this offer you should present yourself at the House of Shells

on Friday 1 December 2006 at 9am

Further information will be supplied to you at the rendez-vous


There was a candlestick, a packet of seeds, a picture of a winged unicorn glued on to the back of an old playing card, an old pair of metal-framed spectacles, a tiny anchor and a pair of wings . She picked up each item in turn. The candlestick was very small and she couldn’t think what purpose it might serve for it was far too small to provide a light. The seed packet bore the legend ‘dream seeds’ but the picture looked like an opium poppy – and then she saw the connection – of course, opium induced dreams … (how had she heard it described recently? Riding the dragon, that was it. She hoped she wouldn’t doing any dragon-riding in the near future. But perhaps the seeds were for planting one’s dreams and nurturing them as they grew.



The spectacles didn’t appear to out of the ordinary, just very old. The anchor must have fallen off somebody’s charm bracelet and she couldn’t imagine what she could do with a pair of wings. However did they become small enough to fit in the pouch? She pushed her hand right to the bottom of the bag to ensure that she had found everything when her hand touched something old and papery. She carefully drew it out and unfolded it. It appeared to be a map of some sort but did not look like any maps she had seen before. She decided she would have another look at the map when the light was better. She carefully packed everything back into the bag and stowed it away. Leaning back against the seat considering the objects she eventually dozed off, thus managing to while away the next couple of hours of the journey through a particularly boring flat landscape.

Eventually she arrived at Dover, from where she would be setting out on 1 December. Her passage was already booked and she was eagerly anticipating the adventure, although, it must be said, not the crossing of the channel. Although she could swim like a fish she never felt comfortable on board a ship and prayed for calm seas that day.


Traveller packs

29 11 2006

The time has come. I must commit to packing my bag and setting off on my travels again. Ever keen to procrastinate I put off even making a packing list until the end, with the inevitable results – I forget to pack the most important things because I forget to look at the list. How can I be so stupid? I do it time and time again, yet never seem to learn from my mistakes. I make lists of things I am supposed to do and don’t look at the list. I write down appointments and forget to look in my diary. If I find nothing else on this new trip, maybe I will find something to assist my appalling memory.

But first, the list:

my trusty digital camera with which to record the sights and sounds, (if only I knew how to use the recording thingummy whatsit on the camera so that I could record the occasional mini-video), that I am sure to encounter on my travels

my journal in which to record my experiences

a large ziplock bag in which to collect ephemera and found objects (if my clutter fairy attempts to accompany me on this trip I will be needing a Gladstone bag not a ziplock bag)

an everlasting pen, pencil and eraser

watercolour paints would be nice but might be too heavy

paper to paint or sketch on

my winged boots (courtesy of Hermès – get it? the messenger god with the winged shoes?)

my special lightweight all purpose travelling cloak

After a visit to Ahmed, the oriental carpet seller, I am now in possession of a fine oriental/ist carpet. Ahmed has very obligingly made it into a sort of carpet bag for me which can be taken apart to turn into a sleeping mat and – as Enchanteur whispered in my ear – is also a magic carpet and may be used to transport me to another place in the event of necessity or speed being a requisite.

Sea of Stones – 1

29 11 2006

If you have planned a leisurely tour of museums and bargain shops, then stay far away from the shadow of Mount Trigor where every knight bent on Crusade glory stumbled, and Hemingway said ‘Farewell to Arms’, and a dozen cultures braided their myths – and people forgot what they are …


We walk together then on a journey from mind’s dilutions to divinunity through a quagmire of doubt and confusion called ‘the soul’!  Yet each of us must also stride alone, as what you choose to take from your pouch, and what to add is not a choice ‘by you’, but ‘of you’.  Oh, I may be able to point out a slippery rock or two, and you may be able to steady my shaky leap across a chasm of folly; but our greatest shared gift is to hold one end of a silver thread so that we can find our way back from the caverns of lost. 

Transylvania is but a dash to the north, and the indolent beaches of azure slumber an easy stroll south – so keep your balance, or at least whistle in the glomming that I might find you.

Sorry – I am speaking to you as if I were a Gusari of medieval times, when a tour guide had to be a warrior and shaman and midwife of dreams.  That legacy is in my blood, as is that of princes buried in kurgans nearby, and of storytellers who still carry the embers of creation; but I am but a seeker just as thee.  The only difference is that I remember more – at least that is what the elders believe – those who would call be Duuran.  Forget this!  Lesson one is that believing has NO VALUE!  I do not wish that you believe in anything I might share.  Just accept that there is much that I KNOW – and that these can serve as kernels of information upon which you might also re-member.  If you can accept that believing is but a transitory step between a mystery and knowledge then your soul might find some peace.  I could tell you that every problem of this world comes from people accepting believing as knowing, but that is just an opinion.


Instead, I will ask a question.  All cultures have a shared mythos in which some basic entity proclaimed, “Let there be Light,” or some equivalent command to attention.  As Trigor I choose to call this ‘cause of being’ “SOURCE”; and within the limits of reason ‘Source’ embraces all that is. 

 The question is,


“Where was/is Source when this command was given?”