Story 5 – Blue Jay and the Moon
Sometimes as we seek light in our lives we must be aware that if we approach it with a wrong or inappropriate attitude there could be consequences we did not consider. Again, the stories remind us of this in metaphorical terms such as in the following Coast Salish story.
Blue Jay and the Moon
A long time ago, in a time before this time, Moon came out every night at the exact same time and the exact same place. Every night it would appear at the designated time and place and after a while the people took it for granted that this would always be. They began to order their life based on Moons consistent appearance.
The people would stay up late talking and visiting. They would do their work by the light of the moon. They traveled to other villages and parts of their world. They felt the world would always be predictable based on Moons reliable presence.
One night, however, Moon did not appear at the time the people expected. It did not appear at the place it always had. The people at first were surprised. They asked themselves if this was the time or what they thought might have caused Moon to be late. After a time passed they became concerned; maybe something happened to Moon; maybe Moon was lost. Then they became frightened believing something terrible had happened and they would never see Moon again. The people began to cry and became inconsolable. Moon was gone and would never return they wailed.
Blue Jay heard the people crying and knew he had to do something to help them. He said that he would fly into the Sky World and find Moon and set things right. The people were grateful for Blue Jays offer and cheered him on.
As he was preparing to leave an old man came to him and said, “Blue Jay, if you are going to see Moon you must take this stick.” He held out a stick to Blue Jay, but Blue Jay said, “I am in a big hurry to find Moon. I don’t have any time to talk to you, old man.” And Blue Jay flew away without talking to the elder.
Blue Jay flew far away to the mountains. At the base of the mountains was a huge cedar tree. Blue Jay flew into the great tree and began to hop and fly upwards from branch to branch. Higher and higher he went. When he came to the top of this tree, behind it was an even bigger cedar tree. He flew into it and began to hop and fly from branch to branch, higher and higher.
As he neared the top of the tree he heard a voice call to him. “Blue Jay! What are you doing here?” It was Owl who sat looking at Blue Jay with his big eyes.
“Owl, my old friend! I am flying to the Sky World to find Moon. He has not appeared this night and everyone is frightened. I will find him and set things right.”, Blue Jay answered.
Owl said, “That is good of you, Blue Jay, but if you are going to see Moon you must know something about him.”
Blue Jay said, “Owl, I am in a big hurry. I don’ have time to talk to you about such things!” And Blue Jay flew away without talking to Owl.
When blue Jay came to the top of this tree, there was an even bigger tree behind it. He jumped into it and hopped and flew all the way to its top. When he got to the top he this tree, he reached the Sky World.
Blue Jay flew a long ways in the Sky World looking for Moons house. Finally he found it and could see a door that opened and closed, opened and closed. Inside the house through the swinging door, he could see Moon. Moon was sitting at a bench and was carving something.
Blue Jay flew to the door. It was opening and closing and Blue Jay tried to jump into the house while the door was open, but it swung shut and smashed his head.
“OOOWWWW!” screamed Blue Jay as the door smashed his head.
Moon heard Blue Jay’s screams and came to the door carrying a stick. Moon put the stick in the door jamb. Holding the door open, Moon carried Blue Jay into the house.
Blue Jay cried, “You fool! Your stupid door crushed my head! What’s wrong with you!?”
Moon said, “Blue Jay, I’m sorry that happened to you. You should have announced yourself. The Changer talked to me and told me I should not come out at the same time and place every night. The people began to take me for granted and life became too predictable. He said I should come out at different times and places so they might pay better attention to things around them. Be careful how you talk, Blue Jay. You are speaking very rudely.”
“Well my head hurts and it’s all your fault!” yelled Blue Jay. “In fact I’m only here because you did not appear tonight and the people are frightened. I’ve come to find out what is wrong and set things right.”
“Blue Jay” said Moon, “you are still talking very rudely to me. You may not speak to me in this way.”
But Blue Jay went on, yelling and complaining to Moon. “It’s your fault the people are scared and I came to look for you! If you had shown up like you always did, none of this would have happened. It’s all your fault! My head has a big knot on it now and I blame you!” Blue Jay’s voice started to crack and he began squawking out his words.
Moon stopped him. “Quiet, Blue Jay! You have gone too far! You should not talk to this way and I have warned you. From now on you will always have that bump on your head as a reminder of your big mouth. And your voice will always sound like this, like you are always squawking and complaining. This shall be your punishment!
And moon now comes out at different times and places so the people will pay better attention and Blue Jay has a knot on his head and speaks in a scolding voice.
- Blue Jay goes to seek light for the people. How was his quest different than the other stories?
- The people’s lives became predictable because of Moon’s behavior. What does the story suggest happens when predictability sets in?
- Blue Jay was offered help and advice by two characters in the story and he ignored them. Who has offered you advice in your transformation, but you were too busy or distracted to listen? Do you remember their advice and does it mean something different to you now?
- Blue Jay went out to do a good thing and find out what happened to the Moon. Why did things turn so bad and why was he punished at the end of the story?
- He ignored advice and did not rely on others. He let his emotions get the best of him in the face of adversity.
- That we take things for granted and that everything will stay the same and not change. But things always change.
- Blue jay was a little overconfident, and perhaps arrogant. This was his journey and quest and he did not need anyone’s help. In the Hero’s Journey we need the experienced advice and guidance of an Elder. Blue Jay neglected this.
- Again, he let his emotions get the best of him and did not show respect to moon. We must show respect for the change we seek and perhaps defer to it’s power.