© by Sammy Castonguay.

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PAST: The following is a short excerpt of my life path, focused on location and training. 

My Portuguese ancestors immigrated to the US from the Azores island of Sao Miguel to the Big Island of Hawaii (Hilo) to work as indentured servants on pineapple plantations, beginning with my Great Great Grandfather Philomino Ignacio (Philip Enos). Undoubtedly, this statement omits many of my ancestors with different stories, but I identify most with these ancestors as these are the stories that were shared with me. 

The granite of the San Bernardino mountains loomed over my birthplace and early life on the Pacific Plate side of the San Andreas fault (Cherry Valley, CA). After human tragedy struck my family, mommy moved me over the mountains to the creosote shrub-lands of the high desert on the North American Plate (Hesparia, CA), while the rest of the family scattered--to Indiana, Santa Barbara or Las Vegas. Eventually, my horse and cowboy infatuated mother set our destination for the "Island rising from the Plains": the Black Hills of South Dakota.

 

Living near the 'Home of the Homestake Gold Mine', the Sturgis Rally, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse, I became much more aware of the relationship between the 'nature' of my surroundings and human history. After the 6th grade, mom had finally met a cowboy and we moved to the small town of Faith, SD near his ranch on Deep Creek, to which we eventually resided on. From Faith, I had a typical American High School experience, complete with sports competition, parties, Prom, and even crowned Homecoming Kind (the Black Horse of the race I was called). Thanks to the influence of distant family, my diverse background and hours of horseback riding, I had begun my career as a thinker: I wondered, I examined, I thought of ideas rather than people or things.

 

Through high school I attended, quite rigorously and on my own accord, the United Methodist Church, which encouraged a level of theology while I used cannabis to explore my mind more. My elder sisters, whom I had not lived with since California but had remained a primary influence in my life, moved across the country from Indiana to Eugene, OR to attend graduate school at UO. It took me one visit to realize that was my post-Faith destination. At 17, mommy drove me and my possessions to join my sisters. 

Living in such a city brought me new access to books, people with ideas, and diverse experiences. Because of my ranching background, I easily found work as a Maintenance Supervisor at an elderly facility in South Eugene and just worked (and learned!) for a couple years. One of the sister had become pregnant, but the twins suffered an imbalacnce of nutrient uptake and both died in the womb. This tragedy launched us into a spiritual exploration. Enter Wicca. That summer, I tried my hand and spirit at becoming a Wiccan, but similar to Christianity it didnt fit perfectly. I learned, incorporated what I liked and left what I didn't; becoming a spiritual eclectic. At that time I began developing the crafts that are on display here. As one sister moved away and the other finished her graduate work, I enrolled in the local community college to work on a degree in Natural Resources. My first class was Geology 201 and those concepts drew me into the science. For the next 7 years, I would finish a Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degree in Geosciences, with many great learning experiences along the way. 

About the time I transferred my studies from the community college to the University, I met my lover. I love to elaborate on this story (which can be found elsewhere on this site), but as a summary: the girl allowed me to remember reality, that I could live in the now and not only in my mind. She showed me care, passionate love, and was infatuated with my ideas. To this day, I don't think we "fell in love", but instead "grew in love" as a freshly germinated seed; love was there immediately and with every moment grew into a robust plant. Now, ten years after tying our knot, that love is a magnificent family tree with three brilliant children. 

Though I pursued Geology as my career, my earlier career as a thinker still dominated. Geosciences remained a base from which I thought of the world in the technical sense, but I spread my studies over personal pursuits: the fungal queendom, permaculture, various spiritual traditions, and many other topics. At this writing (October 2018), I am in need to a Thesis level project for my non-geology pursuits... which is taking shape here as I refine my craft.