Friday, November 26, 2010

HOWLS TO HOWL-A-LUJAHS (hallelujahs)!

Greetings SOUL BLOGGERS, PILGRIMS! As the HEROINE in our own magnificent JOURNEYS, each and every one of us experiences TRANSFORMATION. Once a PILGRIM leaves the home of the FAMILIAR, she will DISCOVER new relevancies in this vast and glorious world—guaranteed! I suspect that is what we all secretly hunger for 24/7! For me, HALLELUJAH, I have gone from HOWLing to HOWL-A-LUJAHing and back again!

(At first JOURNEYING is scary and unpredictable. A PILGRIM does not KNOW who she will meet, whether it will be a quadraped, hexaped, octaped, or a regular old biped!)

(At the second Beer Brew Girls beer tasting event, Beer Brew Girl Kim Wolfe howls along with Hallelujah because she and her Chiboogamoo won a special collection of crafted beers from the BBGs! To see additional pics from this celebratory event go to the Beer Brew Girls website.)

(Dana Kemp, who possesses one of my "Howl to See" paintings, loves to howl. Well, in fact, she really needs to howl on a regular basis! See her fantastic photography, especially her old boyfriend series on her website.)

Going deep, going to the gut, growling and howling—hooting and hawing to get to the JOY, the HALLELUJAHS! Let the groans out, be they pain, desire, hunger, yearning, or unlearning—I believe with all my HEART that we need to LISTEN to the rumbles of our SOULS, our CORE BEINGS! Let our BELLIES and VOICES make the UNSEEN palpable. HOoooooWwwwwLLLLLLL…HOooowLaaaaaaLUJahhhhhhh!

I have been a CONSCIOUS HOWLER for three years now (see an earlier blog for the awakening of my howl). And whenever I need to, I get other PILGRIMS to howl with me. It is no longer surprising to me, how WILLING and READY other SOULS are ready to HOWL. Almost everyone I ask to accompany me in a HOWL, smiles, struggles at first to find where the HOWL comes from, and then the HOWL trots out from the previously silenced SOUL! Laughter ensues!

(A wall of HOWLs! I painted about 30 HOWLS! Simply HOWL to SEE and to BE! Oh and I paint dinosaurs too because my Chiboogamoo is a brilliant paleontologist, and I love paleobeasties!)

There is much delightful history to the HOWL in the last 60 years! Here are a few that influenced me. Just think of Allen Ginsberg’s “HOWL” written in 1955! (See the exuberant beat poet reading 10 minutes of this poem.)

And the year I graduated from high school in 1976, the bicentennial of the US, theAcademy-Award winning movie “Network” came out with its famous “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” speech and nationwide rant. (See character Howard Beale, a TV news anchor, lead everyone in this belly howl.) This “howling” even then struck me as therapeutic and a path towards healthfulness.

Yes, and only last year Maurice Sendak’s children’s story, “Where the Wild Things Are,” debuted on the big screen. Max, the main character, journeys to the realm of pure emotion. Listen to a few of the HOWLS as he travels deep into his HEART.

Our JOURNEYS bring new relevancies. My HOWLING PILGRIMAGE has brought me to HOWL-a-lujahs! JOY. After establishing a HISTORY of HOWLS, I felt something else, existing simultaneously along side the yearning and unsettling ways of BEING. I felt a treasure chest of abundance at BEING alive. I felt THANKFUL to the GREAT SPIRIT. And I felt united with myself, and this SELF extended out to other SOULS--YOU! Hallelujah erupted from as deep a place as the belly HOWL—I heard myself proclaiming HOWL-a-lujah! Hallelujah! Thank you…I am full of THANKS to YOU, FELLOW PILGRIMS.

(At the Beer Brew Girls second beer tasting event, I met an incredible FELLOW HOWLER, I'm not kidding. Mary Jane Mahan, author of "Love at the Pub," took to my HOWL paintings immediately because she too lives in AUTHENTICITY. Check her out at her website. We traded. I got a copy of her book and she got my HOWL.)

I NOW call myself HALLELUJAH TRUTH. This name holds the HOWL and my given name RUTH. It contains the PRAISE I give to the UNIVERSAL SOUL and keeps me focused on my journey towards the TRUTH. I am the HEROINE in my LIFE’S STORY: From Howls to Howl-a-lujahs!

(My PILGRIMAGE began in 2009 when I began to ease into JOURNEY by joyfully catnapping.)

Joseph Campbell wrote about MY journey (and YOURS too) in his book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” Campbell describes the stages the hero (in my case—the heroine) must go through on her PILGRIMAGE. After answering “a call to adventure” and leaving home (a familiar place), the heroine goes through a series of “initiations” before returning home with NEW knowledge that must be integrated into the former existing life. HENCE, Hallelujah Truth!

That’s the HOWL for NOW my dear SOUL BLOGGERS. Write Hallelujah and tell me about your JOURNEY! I want to learn about your “call to adventure,” the howls that accompanied you, and your new relevancies! Thank you for your precious HOWLING selves!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


HALLELUJAH BEER DRINKING PILGRIMS! Have you ever “discovered” something that it seems everybody else already knew? Well, on my JOURNEY, I have met the BEER BREW GIRLS, women brewing beer, and I BELIEVED them to be novel, something NEW and DIFFERENT! Yet I have LEARNED that women have been making beer since Pharohs ruled ancient Egypt!

 Yes! And…if an inquisitive PILGRIM were to Google “history of women brewing beer” she would find that wherever beer has been brewed and consumed, women have been integral in those activities—until the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION! Enough websites already provide this kind of historical information as well as how the contemporary woman is back to brewing and is genuinely involved in consuming beer, so if you are curious, check them out. Here are a few I found from a cursory glance.

“Brewess, The Blog for Women Who Brew Beer,” has a great article and references to scholarly work on this subject and lots, lots more.

An article in Zester Daily is about women beer brewers who compete with each other’s masterbrews nationally and internationally.

An easy to read but very informative piece on women’s re-emergence as beer drinkers, makers, and managers is “Women and Beer: Fact versus Fiction.”

Hallelujah loves that “Fact versus Fiction” reports that the outworn advertising images of “babes and booze” targeted at men are being replaced with a different kind of woman—one who orders her own beer and knows about the subtleties of how it is crafted! Who is this woman?

What would a woman look like who is FREE to be whatever she is? FREE from stereotypes? She could be short, skinny, tall, or overweight. She might have a girlfriend. She might not dress to dazzle but TO BE HERSELF. She is any race or age. And she might not have “good” hair—whatever that is. She would have universal appeal to everyone because she is AUTHENTIC! What a welcome breath of FRESH FEMININE AIR!

(Notice the "Beer Brew Girl" t-shirt on the Brewmaster on the left, and a smaller image is worn on a necklace by the co-conspirator Beer Brew Girl on the right.)

Last April, when I went to the Beer Brew Girls’ first beer tasting in Decatur, Georgia, I was blown away by their devotion to fine tasting beer, their combined sense of seriousness and good fun. Most of all, I fell deeply in love with the names of their beers! Immediately, I knew I wanted to work with the Beer Brew Girls and their creative team!

Fast forward about 7 months, and HALLELUJAH TRUTH is beginning to give BIRTH to images of the WOMAN EACH OF US IS or not! And I am not alone in my endeavors. The Beer Brew Girls clamor together frequently to drink, to chat, and to brainstorm memorable fun, yet descriptive names for the delicious quality beers that this women-owned and -operated Georgia microbrewery is making.

On November 20, this coming Saturday, the Beer Brew Girls are hosting their second beer tasting in Decatur. They will have 13 home crafted beers to taste. Some of the working names are “Body Snatcher”(an award winning beer), “Bongo Porter,” and “Skirt.” Yes, I love these image inspiring labels! And others that have arisen from good cheer around a table sharing libations.

What does the future hold for the Beer Brew Girls? Is it possible that they could open a public microbrewery in Decatur? Can the “GIRLS” join the “BOYS”? Within blocks of where Chiboogamoo and I live, we have many stellar pubs with beer on draught. All are BOY-operated, at least I think they are. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Take for instance “Thinking Man’s Tavern.” My Chiboogamoo and I like that we can walk to this pub in 5 minutes, and especially that it has a “Starving Artist” beer, which is cheap and quenches the thirst. However, I must take issue with the name of this neighborhood place! Why would anyone open a business across the street from a historical women’s college (Agnes Scott), and call it “Thinking Man”? Chiboogamoo tries to comfort me—“Pretend it is called ‘Thinking Hominid Tavern,’” he tells me. Thank you Sweetie!

Other pubs that we might pass on a 15-minute stroll to downtown Decatur depending on our route, are The Marlay House, Taco Mac, and Mac McGees. Pubs of special note are the following:

Twain’s Billiards and Tap established in 1996 is named after the well-beloved American author Samuel Clemens (a BOY). This pub has its own microbrewery and brewmaster, a BOY, Jordan Fleetwood, who has cleverly named his beers using snippets from Twain’s writing. For example, a popular golden ale is called “Heaven for Climate,” referring to the kind of environment Twain said he preferred,  “heaven for climate but hell for society”!

The Brick Store Pub, an incredibly loved and crowded Decatur pub with a devoted following was established by three BOYS (Dave Blanchard, Mike Gallagher and Tom Moore) in 1997. They offer 17 draught beers and 75 different kinds of bottled beer. And these BOYS have created a haven for good conversation—no TVs and no loud music!

(At the Brick Store Pub this past September, my Chiboogamoo--fueled by ale--engages another Pilgrim in talk of all things humorous and geological!)

Since devotees often have trouble getting a seat at the Brick Store Pub, in 2009, its owners opened another pub around the corner in an old gas station--Leon’s Full Service. And Leon’s serves one or two beers brewed here in Decatur, beers with distinctive names like “Wild Heaven Ode to Mercy.”

Finally, a new pub just opened on November 11, and it is within spitting distance from The Brick Store Pub. Called “The Square Pub,” it is co-owned by two BOYS, Jason Wiles and Bob Rhein. These guys have created a comfortable environment and are serving 19 American craft brews. My Chiboogamoo and I tasted a  fragrant and tasty pumpkin ale and espresso amber beer brewed right here in Decatur. We are going back and taking friends this Friday.

BEER DRINKING PILGRIMS? Is there room for the BEER BREW GIRLS in this heavily dominated business run by BOYS? Is there a place for HALLELUJAH’S art work? Does GENDER make a difference where beer is concerned? I honestly don’t know, but I’m intrigued by the question!

That’s it for coffee or beer with Hallelujah! Take care of your precious self! And let me know what you think about GIRLS BREWING BEER and my preliminary drawings that will be undergoing transformation as the graphic designer adds color and background! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010


HALLELUJAH PILGRIMS! Hallelujah to this PRECIOUS EARTH and to our JOURNEYS whilst we are here! How are you feeding YOUR CREATIVITY? I am CURIOUS because my deepest LOVE (other than my Chiboogamoo) is the IMAGE that EMERGES from the SOULS of each and every PILGRIM. I keep an urgent question close to my HEART—how would everyone’s PHYSICAL experience in a SPECIFIC PLACE manifest itself in a PARTICULAR VISUAL PICTURE? What if each PILGRIM made ART, and we all could SEE his or her SPIRIT embodied?


On my PILGRIMAGE with my Chiboogamoo, I have had the good fortune of seeing ART which EMBODIES the SPIRITS of PILGRIMS inhabiting Winton and its neighboring towns in central Queensland, Australia, about a 500-kilometer drive from the charming coastal city of Townsville.  Please take a moment to breathe in these beautiful concrete expressions of SOULs living in the outback of northeast Australia with its vast treeless grasslands in which an occasional acacia or eucalyptus stand jut out from its open vistas. The red earth also gathers itself at moments and erupts into towering hills and plateaus. Kangaroos bounce across this vastness, weaving in and out of herds of sheep and cattle. The gulahs and brolgas fill the sky with flapping wings and chatter!

Cities, like Winton also suddenly arise out of these seemingly infinite grasslands. And how WONDERFUL are the SURPRISES that the city of Winton holds for the TRAVELER! Although this city is small—its modest number of blocks can be traveled by foot from edge to edge in about 30 minutes--its inhabitants’ LOVE for what is ARTFUL is large and clearly established!

On Elderslie Street, across from where my Chiboogamoo and I stayed in the North Gregory Hotel, is the Waltzing Matilda Centre. In addition to providing documentation to the history of this iconic song, it also houses the “Outback Regional Gallery,” which promotes local artists. It is at this gallery that I got to imbibe some LOCAL visual SOUL. Look at these images! At these “SOULs”! (All the artwork you see here belongs to local Queensland artists.)

Walking northeast several blocks from the Waltzing Matilda Centre, we were DELIGHTED to visit “Arno’s Wall.”  Hallelujah! Grotjahn Arno’s  SPIRIT has been creating this wall for over 30 years, patiently collecting tools, hubcaps, statues, and whatever he thought would add pizzazz to this 2-meter-high and 70-meter-long wall made from rock quarried from his opal mine in the nearby town of Opalton. Thank you Arno!

Leaving Arno’s Wall behind, and walking past the caravan park, Matilda Country Tourist Park, and refueling road trains filled with mooing cattle, my Chiboogamoo and I successfully found the “Musical Fence”—a Winton touristic destination that had filled us with immeasurable curiosity! Imagine PILGRIMS my anticipation! The winter sun is setting in central Queensland. We have left the architectural structures  of the city behind, and we “discover” a sign introducing us to this musical wonder constructed by Graeme Leak in 2003. How was this SPIRIT, this PERCUSSIONIST able to “tune” a fence?  With PLEASURE, my husband and I picked up wooden sticks and PLAYED as the sky darkened and red streaks burst out on the grasslands. The wind blew and the fence reverberated! HALLELUJAH! (Listen to me "play" the fence!)

We thought Leak’s musical fence was the zenith of our Winton cultural experience. But! We hadn’t seen BUSH POETs perform at the caravan park! Spoken Word ARTISTS, Slam competitors, speakers of the people--whatever you want to call these story tellers of the outback, their performances are mesmerizing!  When we stopped at the caravan park on our way back to the hotel, it was dark, but the heart of the caravan park was glowing. Not a seat was left at these buskers’ “free” performance. People were hanging onto fences and sitting on garbage cans, leaning in to hear two forty-ish women wearing cowboy hats. The only money these POETs get is whatever is collected in their hats at night’s end. That and selling their CDs. How I wish we had purchased one! For now, these poets’ names remain unknown to me and my Chibogamoo! My apologies FELLOW CREATIVE SPIRITs!

Dinner at the Gregory brought us into close contact with the hotel’s current proprietor, a Philippine woman long married to an Australian. Running an old hotel in the outback is no easy thing, but this proprietor was a real CREATIVE. Luckily for Chiboogamoo and me, she sat us down in front of an old player piano, which in order to make run, we had to pedal like a bike! Next to the piano is a cabinet with more than twenty original paper rolls with songs from the early 20th century!  Listen to my Chiboogamoo play!


Hallelujah SOUL BLOGS with you to SEE you! Please write me and SHARE your precious self with me! Hallelujah!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


 As a PILGRIM and ARTIST, I seek to alter/altar myself. I travel my journey looking for THE magical interactions with CREATION that will transform me and honor my soulfulness.

Everyone understands that the word “alter” means “change.” And we might all agree on the positive outcome that this proverb expresses “A rolling stone gathers no moss” –that we stay youthfully unencumbered if we allow ourselves to keep moving to new physical and metaphorical locations. Using another figurative comparison…isn’t it desirable to be like maturing snakes shedding old dry outgrown skins of our former selves and with that skin—stale  un-useful thoughts and behaviors?

But what does it mean to make “altar” a verb? In the 80’s, when I was getting instruction about Buddhism from the man who served as my Master, Dr. James Yu, at Buddha Heart Village in a small town in Alabama, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that when Buddhists bow to Buddha, they are essentially bowing to the concept of an ENLIGHTENED SELF. The SELF is HOLY. Because of this HOLINESS of the SELF and all of living creation, each living spirit can be “altared”—transformed by enlightenment, thus being lifted away from the physical birth-death life cycle. Each of us is responsible for “altering” and “altaring” ourselves along our journeys from the PHYSICAL to the SPIRITUAL.

Our PHYSICAL LIFE is a process of changing and becoming, and this SPIRITUAL JOURNEY is mysterious, magical, and ultimately the only PATH for me, and I do it through my ART. My ART PILGRIMAGE holds the potential of CHANGING, EXPANDING, and MOVING ME towards BECOMING “a” Buddha—or in the very least along the pathway of being more of an ENLIGHTENED BEING. 

That’s it for today’s SOUL BLOGGING. HALLELUJAH for all of us PILGRIMS on our JOURNEYS. HALLELUJAH wishes you all a MEANINGFUL TRIP through this life. Write me and tell me about your “alter/altar” experiences. What is your AVENUE? Do you alter/altar through ART? Another way? Blessings to you all.