Chapter 13: A Bag Lady's a Sister, After All
When Arthur asks Cairo and Margaretta for help with a sister, they rescue
Coyote, a homeless woman who has been raped and battered. With Verlea’s
help, they try to heal her, but she is past help or hope, and even the
nurses cannot save her life. The meddlesome Miss Frances interferes and
orders the women to get Coyote out of the Towers. Instead, they move her
up to the infirmary.
We see again how Margaretta is an “earth mother.” This is a common role
for large women and, especially, for large witches.
Verlea’s “black folks cures,” like the colored baths, come from the works
of Luisah Teisch. Verlea also tries mainstream spiritual healing modalities,
including examining Coyote’s aura.
Although Coyote is sometimes seen as a trickster deity, this is not the
case here. This Coyote’s appearance and behavior are based on several homeless
women I have seen and met. She is intended to be unsympathetic, truly a
wild animal. We see her most clearly in the filthy layers of clothing Margaretta,
Cairo, and Arthur peel off her. I think the brief scene where Arthur sees
the extent of Coyote’s injuries is one of the most touching scenes in the
After Coyote’s death, the circle meets to memorialize her and discuss
the plight of the homeless in an affluent society. There really was a law
passed in Orange County about that time that homeless people could not
carry more than two shopping bags. Homelessness is a problem that has yet
to be solved.
Have you ever met and actually had a conversation with a homeless person?
What was this person like? What was your conversation about? How do you
feel about homeless people?
Modern neopaganism is largely about and for white people whose ancestors
lived in northern and western Europe. What roles did people of other ancestries
and lands play in early pagan culture? What roles do they play today? Do
these people call themselves neopagans?
What do you think of Arthur?
Copyright © 2011 by Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Permission
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