Monday, December 31, 2007

Bloging Into The Void

Though our news is good, perhaps even profound, we continue to Blog into the Void. While jabbering blogs on every conceivable subject elicit millions of comments and international attention, the news of the world journey of the four directions unity bundle talks only to itself. Even our friends do not visit or write comments…even our families ignore us. Usually if you do something, like sell cookies, there is at least an auntie or a neighbor who will check you out just for the cause of good manners.

I have been dealing with the relative invisibility of this work for decades. I remain unbowed. When I think of the long road ahead, I know we are doing our part to make something useful, something that can be carried into the future.

The seeming contradiction of invisibility versus progress is not intimidating, it changes nothing. When I travel around and visit the old Indians I always learn about where what is real is revealed. The old Indians have never heard of you, or of even the most famous people you have heard of, including Indians. They don’t know who Britany Spears is, or even George Bush. Everyone seems to have heard of and misses hearing from Muhammad Ali.

No, the old Indians don’t talk about you or them. Their subjects are closer to home, closer to the bone. Indian people have become experts at surviving. Many tribes lost everything. They lost their language, clothing, culture, habits, religion and property. Yet many Indian people remain, some even thrive. To have been stripped of everything and yet remain present in the world…it is something we no longer find intimidating on any level.

I learned a long time ago to seek clarity for myself. As I make my way quietly around the world I make these notes to myself. My main hope in each posting is to say clearly what I mean and nothing else. I believe if there is any light here, it will reveal itself in the darkness soon enough. Light does not need publicity, it is its own reward.

Many people have a fascination with their own darkness. Perhaps the internet presents to great a temptation for people to resist pretending. The mask of pretending is easy to make on this world wide wizard box. Who are the people who write these words? How much of it is true?

I have always believed that the truth should be known even though the heavens may fall. I wonder what the distance is between your words and the truth. The old Indians believed that one should be responsible and behave impeccably with language. Even if the story is a joke. Learning to tell the truth with elegance and simplicity from a protected and clear space inside your life is much more entertaining than a lie.

Over these many threads I have named myself, known myself, expressed myself. As an Indian man, an American Indian man, I feel that obligation to say what I can and leave it here for those who will come later. Walking softly, quietly, invisibly when you need to. Perhaps the trail of our words should be equal to the density of our footprints.

I was reading the other day that the US Government has passed a law granting money to preserve American Indian languages. The program requires a very complicated and dedicated infrastructure be built or provided to set up a complicated and many-conditioned program before the government will release any money at all. It seems like a gigantic catch 22 that very few tribes will be able to manage.

I also read the Barack Obama, a man running for US President, is “part American Indian”. Turns out he is also related by blood to Vice-President and un-prosecuted criminal Dick Cheney, who is white. This situation makes me think of the blood lines of Europe at the turn of the last century…all those kings and queens and princes were related to each other. America has who knows how many people with American Indian blood. To most Americans their distant ancestors seem to mean nothing to them at all. Obama might be one of those who would “reach out” if he had ancestors. Hard to say. -He has made some hopeful statements to Indian people in his campaign, as has Hilary Clinton. George Bush 1 and 2 were disasters for American Indians. Bill Clinton tried to help the tribes but was so hated and opposed by the republican majority that almost nothing changed in his eight years.

Lately I have been dreaming of obsidian.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Strangers on a Lake

copyright ©2007 Turtle Heart

17 december 2007

Ogi-Mauh

To run ahead and go where the others have yet to follow. To be responsible for all the people near to your life. A person able to move directly and without hesitation into the unknown. An energy of exploration made possible by the obligation to take care of those who will follow.

You cannot run ahead and leave everyone behind. Running ahead really means “bring back something useful”.

108 Sacred Fires want to be lighted upon the mother earth, in a circle with its home point being Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a place with a great Manitou. It is a Small Turtle floating and dreaming on an emerald sea. In the beginning of time Sky Woman made the Mother Earth from a tiny mound of earth brought up from the bottom of the sea.

By placing a long sacred morning tobacco fire here we are appealing directly to the mystery life in what is a visible language and intentions.

For the next days, until the Winter Solstice at 7:08 am here, on the 22nd, we will make the ceremony of the morning fire. We will make dream songs and walk on four legs into the sweat lodge. We will be touched by Eagle Feathers and be in a position to breathe in silence with the Sacred Pipe.

Just now, our time, we have made the tobacco fire. Over the next days we will put the tobacco into the fire and send out songs to the eight directions. By the moment when the Solstice arrives, we will be feeling very well.

The Solstice is not even mentioned on most calendars you see these days. Sometimes the weather guy on tv brings it up. Most newspapers still have a small and old traditional almanac page which probably lists it. Does anyone read the newspaper anymore?

Today I found an old piece of obsidian. It was different than any other I had seen. It took me some moments to figure out why. It had melt marks on one side. From the time it was a liquid, the marks are preserved from the moment it became a solid again. Little waves. Most obsidian you see is from a mining operation with mechanical operations and the stone looks like a big hunk of broken glass. This one is tough and gnarly and has little waves. The old indians thought the stones you find winking and nodding at you just laying around on top of the earth are special and important. The stones which come up from commercial mining are like disaster victims or children of abusive parents. This stone resting on the open belly of the earth does have a completely different sense and it is more fluffy.

When Sky Woman made the earth for the Ojibway people, we began an eight direction ceremonial migration to fill her. With the arrival of the white man these migrations were interrupted. By taking the Four Directions Unity Bundle out and into and around the world I have taken it upon myself to resume, in a manner, that ancient ceremony.
I believe that if we can make 108 Sacred Fires around the world, that it will change the world. The whole world.

The two travelers. Two people traveled to the morning fire on Pantelleria from far away (Milano) in this week. One of them was told no, he could not come, and he came anyway. He never arrived at the fire (since the answer was no). He stayed on the island in a hotel for three days.

The plane he departed on brought a woman to whom the answer was yes, and who had made an appointment to stay with the fire for a few days many weeks ago. She arrived on the airplane he left on. They do not know each other. They have never met. He is from the east side of some lake in a village near to Milan and she is from the west side of the same lake.

What is the difference between yes and no? The old Indians said to me, “There is no difference.”

The gift from the Sea
Some months ago, we shared in a day of cleaning the ports around our little island. A lot of trash was pulled away from our sweet sea, the Mediterranean. There was also a lot of whitened driftwood in all shapes and sizes. That was brought to the house for the sweat lodge and possibly some art projects. In a few moments, my time, we will light the fire we make from this wood. It is the first time I have ever made a sweat lodge with wood that has come from the sea.

..a child of Nana'b'zhoo

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tanit and Apollo




©2007, Turtle Heart, text and images


The meaning of is: In this mystery life, the meaning of is, is that it is my privilege to speak freely. I told all of the elders with whom I spoke and dreamed and smoked that I would exercise this privilege in a circle around the world. They said the meaning of is is that it is ok.

16 November
A tiny spot on my left thumb itches beyond all measure of the space, or tiny spot that it is. Among other things, Pantelleria is itchy.

Everybody has heard of Apollo. Not the perfume or sports-car apollo, but The Apollo. He was seduced by with and around a mysterious sacred woman that we all know as Tanit. Tanit was the Daughter of the Wind.

When she told me her name, I knew my life from now on was going to be on her belly. I changed virtually everything in my life, everyone in my life, my country, my past, all in that moment, without hesitation.

When Apollo met Tanit, she gave him a cup of Passito, in the sunlight. In that moment the golden light of Passito captured Apollo and the mountains of Olympus were never the same.

Yes, she whispered her name to me as I brought Passito to my lips.
The Enchantment of Ulysses is the name of this painting on this post.
In my astrological chart, my natal figure, which has been cast many times, I have no water. On Pantelleria, there is no water though we are surrounded by the sea. Rain Water is our life (aside from the tons of water in plastic bottles). Every building, small and large, is designed to collect Rain Water. I feel that connection with water in a new way here. The Ojibway people are people of the water. Our great Nations developed all along the headwaters of the Mississippi River and the five Great Lakes. Tanit would have understood this. She was a sacred woman of the water down here.


For centuries, since 35,000 BC, human beings have been living in this sacred garden with only Rain Water. And Passito. And Obsidian. And Geckos. And Capers.

At the moment, Pantelleria is the recipients of a Chinese initiative to offer digital services to Pantelleria and Sicily in general. A state of the art high speed internet services, the backbone, is being laid out all over the island. It is scheduled to include numerous hotspots for wireless access. It is an exciting development which we plan to use to bring more attention to the work we are doing here. In the three years I have been here, I have been limited to a dial up modem account which is painfully slow.

I believed three years ago that Pantelleria is a perfect place for the world to pass and stop for a moment. That was the message I got right away. "Wait here," she said, "ask the world to come here". Even the Chinese like it. We have several Chinese families on Pantelleria. The Chinese telecom industry competes with other telecom services in Europe. Italy has a good relationship with China.In an agressive competition, this has been the outcome.

Yes, while traveling around the world I stopped on Pantelleria. I felt like Yaniboozhoo, the original man, who found himself on the back of a mystery life turtle many centuries ago. Behind him, at that time long ago, the world was crashing in on itself. If the story of Sparta is true, if the story of Buddha is true, I have no trouble at all in believing what the earth tells me from the back of this little turtle.

This is a good place to come and put sacred tobacco into the morning fire. It is a good place for dreaming. Any serious student of dreaming would find out something on Pantelleria.

We are hoping to start up some podcasting and other services which having high speed internet will make possible. Even as I write the ADSL modem sits blinking a single red light. When that light stops blinking, we will be online at the installation of what they say is the ultimate state of the art in high speed access (1,500 plus kb)…that is 1.5 megabytes or better downloads.

Pantelleria is the new home base and mother fire for the World Journey of the Four Directions Unity Bundle. You can find out some more about Tanit by following this link.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

400 years ago . . . how time flys

Native American Awareness Month (November 2007)

400 years

All those shadows of time

I have made a free screen saver that works on Windows or Apple Computers. It is a series of painting showing ancient petroglyphs or rock art images from all over North America. There are some other photographs and images, but the theme is mostly images of the ancient mystery, ceremonial life. It is FREE, a gift for the digital new world. Follow this link to reach the download page.

400 years

My birthday was 400 years ago. I was born along an ancient river. The water looked like diamonds as the light from the sky kissed my belly, floating in the river. I was a little otter at that time. Sometimes I could hear the old drums. Some of the other sounds I could hear was the sound of so many feet, feet moving to sound, feet moving through time, feet covered with the dust of the earth. I think they were dancing on the earth, following the flowing river as it carried me along through blue skys and winds filled with songs that seemed to come from far away. Yes, songs from the birds, from the wind in the trees, from all around the old drums. The old drums sounded like my heart sometimes. I would sleep with that feeling.

400 years

Dreaming. In my Dreams I was a man, running with long hair, running and singing, my heart full of the life inside this mystery of my dream. I was everywhere (around myself). I remembered the taste of my woman, the taste of her sacred water, the taste of her belly and all the light inside her mind. Yes, running, running up the mountain of my joy, my sacred earth, with the yes of the Old Ones watching me, guiding me, teaching me with their sacred silence, filling me up. On and on I ran as a man, blood pouring from the wounds of the iron axe, pulsing blood freed from my soul by the iron bullets which exploded like thunder inside my body as I ran, feeling the beauty way as I watched their screaming faces becomes the masks of time, the masks they say which were carried across the great water 400 years ago. Most of us died.

400 years ago

I looked at myself in the fire. I was burning, my whole body smoking. The sweet smell of old leaves from the flowers of the earth filled me up. Like stars falling to the earth, my flames fell all around my body, the smoke reaching not to the sky but down, down the long path, the shining path, a trail, a safe opening. It was like hiding in the wings of the Eagle. His feathers were nearby. The Old Men held my body and the fires burning inside my soul made me smoke and the smoke of my soul touched these Old Ones, this smoke made them sing, they sang about the smoke. They said they remembered everything. Someone told me my name. They called me Sacred Pipe and their words were so soft that I wept and the world around me became all wet and great clouds floated up into the sky only to become water and come falling down again.

400 years ago

I was awake again. Stillness. Silence. To the left of me there was a young boy singing. To the right of me there was a young woman with a beautiful flower from which was coming music

Awareness. Native American Awareness Month. Awareness.

What were you doing 400 years ago?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shadows Pretending to be Light

“…secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny”

The quote above could be from any of our heroes of the past…writers, scientists, the occasional politician, artists.

At Taos Pueblo, and other tribal communities with Casino operations, there is a lot of secrecy. The money comes in one door and no one ever sees it leave. The people have nothing, being one of the poorest tribes in an otherwise affluent New Mexico economy.

In the United States Government there is a tiny, ugly little man who moves around in secret. He has made a government which ignores the Constitution and basic human rights in favor of doing the war on terrorism. He is the guy the terrorists are after, not you and me. So he hides in his secrets and all the men and women of power in the government seem powerless to stop him, or even question him. His name is dick cheney, the so-called vice president of the united states.

In your heart there is a voice which speaks the truth to you. You know it is the truth because it always asks you to do the right thing. It asks you to do what is in balance and what will bring all of us closer to awakening inside the dream we call the joy of life. You have this voice for sure. Every living organism has this voice, it is the voice of life’s longing for itself, and it always speaks the truth. It has no secrets.

In your shadow there is a voice that never says anything unless it is asking for something. More money, more sex, more clothes, more attention. It is a dark and lonely voice that has never guided you where you needed to be when you needed to be there. This voice is the hollow echo of selfishness. Selfishness is the fear of the open heart. It is a secret you keep from yourself so no one can take it away from you, even though you have lost it outside yourself already. It is a kind of illusion.

As the leaders of the country spiral downward into their secrets, the soul of the world is left dry.

Birds do not sing as much as they used to. They used to sing songs about the people and this made many great stories which lasted many generations. they say, these days, they have heard nothing new. The old songs don’t match the visuals, they say. The view has been changed.

Many of us are leaving the country now.

I believe in another familiar quotation : "Let the truth be known, though the heavens may fall..."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Pilots, Guides, Teachers and the Rule of Silence




Copyright© 2007 Turtle Heart, Entire Contents

There is so much more on the earth that we have yet to discover. Science has yet to credibly decipher and understand even the most simple of the rock art in North America. How did those ancient artists paint such vivid colors in caves where there was no light. The paintings also show no carbon stains as might be expected if one were using candles, torches. Some Indians have argued that people were disciplined members of special societies and that seeing in the dark was no great challenge for them. Sometimes I believe this explanation…or if not believe, at least can imagine it.

As any good strategist knows, moving and living invisibly is a particular requirement of people with secrets. Poor people, working people, the ordinary people of the world leave great heaps of rubbish and marks of their passing. The members of secret societies leave no mark or trail, unless one knows precisely what to look for.

Advanced trickster would leave advanced tricks for us to discover. The guided hand theory, this one.

I have always believed in the ascended masters. I have also always believed that the American Indian lands and knowledge system contains the Chiefs of the Great Brotherhood, for those of you who may know precisely what I mean by that, that is my belief.

I have had a fantastic appetite in my life for this knowledge. Studying rock art images, ancient power objects from all around the earth, looking at the science, math and sociology, anthropology of this world around me. I drove my parents and all my teachers and friends crazy with this pursuit. I have a talent for understanding the math and science that lives inside a good ceremony. Many otherwise intelligent observers dismiss activities like tribal ritual as pagan nonsense. The world is a mirror, and a butt-head when he looks in the mirror of life will only see other butt-heads. Not many people suspect the sacred math and science that is behind a pipe ceremony, a sweat lodge ceremony, a yuwipi ceremony.

Why keep secrets?
I remember many years ago I used to take one of my elders to the village sometimes so we could eat a fine meal together. All my friends like to eat, it is one of the things I look for in a friendship. Well one day we are all dressed up. he was a beautiful man, a gorgeous, spiritually illuminated, kind and charismatic man. We soon found ourselves being followed by a crowd of people, maybe 25 or so. Tourists obviously. People who loved Indians and had travelled a long way to see one. And here was a fantastic one. While when I was younger I cut quite a stylish figure with my long hair and my big buffalo body…there was no question that the Grandfather was the focus of all attention. We had to more or less flee from them to have some peace that day. That day also ended my habit of taking this old Indian to town. It was a little scary. His dignity, in my eyes, was beyond having to endure such vulgarity. Many of our shiniest and most sacred Indian people are tucked away and hidden. The dogs and sheep of the dead world would tear them to pieces. Sometimes you keep a secret so you can stay alive.

The Kiva Indians have rarely given up the information on their religion. Even though Spanish and English priests and government officials have tortured them, they have said little. As a result, of all the tribes on the earth, the old Kiva Indians may have kept “in secret” their ancient ceremonies and instructions almost in their pure states. This is a fantastic accomplishment. The average person looking at the ceremonies in paintings and old photos would never suspect the cycles of time, understanding and teaching that have evolved in those ancient holes in the earth called Kiva.

I have been a guest in the Kiva of the Big earring Clan and also the Butterfly Clan, both occasions many years ago now. I found out, on each occasion, far more about myself than I found out about those Kivas.

The Tipi Indians, on the other hand, always lived out in the open. They talk big, move big, and do most things in a big, loud way. They draw (and seem to enjoy) a lot of attention to themselves, even now. In many places in the USA and the world, when people think about Indians it is almost always the tipi Indians they are thinking of, as if these were the only Indians on earth. This comes from their loud spirits, which I have nothing against. There are more than 500 other tribes of more quiet Indians. Because they have made so much noise, the tipi Indians have almost nothing left of their original rituals and teachings. What little that remains has become so well known that modern people all over the place copy and imitate it and make such a mess of the whole question of Indian ritual that all Indians and all people generally are worse of for it. Nothing good is coming from all this silly modern people pretending to be shamans. It is some sort of odd epidemic compounded from people alienated from their own culture and stealing from another, probably without “meaning” to. The result is predictable, perhaps even inevitable.

It is really just more noise, and in this great noise the silence of the sacred is not lost, but protected, because it is sacred silence.

That which is most sacred exists in a world enshrined with silence. Those who guide it live silent and quiet lives. While no one is going to tell you who they are or where they are. If you know how, you can polish your spirit into an agent of sacred silence, you might find your way one day. The Sky Gate is open, it always has been. Where does the sacred silence hide? The only clue I will give you is that it always hides in plain sight. Always.

“We should ascend out of perversity, even as we ascend a mountain that we do not know, with the aid of guides who do know. None who sets forth on an unknown voyage stipulates that the pilot must agree with him as to
the course, since manifestly that would be absurd; the pilot is presumed to know; the piloted does not know. None who climbs a mountain bargains that the guide shall keep to this or that direction; it is the business of the guide to lead. And yet, men hire guides for the Spiritual Journey, of which they know less than they know of land and sea, and stipulate that the guide shall lead them thus and so, according to their own imaginings; and instead of obeying him, they desert and denounce him should he lead them otherwise. I find this of the essence of perversity.
-- FROM THE BOOK OF THE SAYINGS OF TSIANG SAMDUP (Talbut Mundy)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mudjeekwas (Equinox)

Equinox. Mudjeekwas.

©2007 Turtle Heart, entire contents.

In these days I have had to gather up my body and go for some consulting with Italian doctors. I have a gathering collection of problems, some of them quite serious. On Pantelleria we have the equivalent of no medical care for anything except the most simple injuries. It is very sobering to have these problems. Sickness or injury comes to almost all of us sooner or later. My problems have really slowed down the work this year. On the positive side I have been able to focus time on myself and understanding more clearly where I want to go with my work with the sacred pipe.

For sure I want very much to stand in a few other countries with this sacred pipe. the thought of my life ending now is something i am not ready for. I want to make more progress with this work. Now I understand my time is limited. That is the most important new information I suppose…my time is limited.

My body feeds my senses. Sometimes it tells me that bringing somehow the people of the world to Pantelleria is a great program. It is a great place to present the space and ideas of the sacred fire to the people of the world. sacred Fire is not the easiest thing to travel with, especially these days. The idea of having a sacred space here open for all the people is very appealing to me. Nature is a force of exceptional clarity on the island of Pantelleria.

I am not here as a story teller. I am here as a hammer. I hammer souls to see if anyone will ring like a sacred bell. I am looking for iron and gold inside your hearts. My hammer is really an Eagle Feather, though to many it may fall as hard as iron on the anvil. Sometimes I do hear the ringing of an illuminated soul. When I do, I continue moving in that direction. I heard that resonance of the sacred light when I first came to Pantelleria. I understood then that the power of nature was very strong there. It is possible to change your life forever in just a moment. many people realize this when a sudden tragedy occurs. It is also possible to make these changes without tragedy. Mystery Life without tears. That is the work we are doing on Pantelleria.

The old indians called these equinox moments a “gateway” (Animikiig).
It is a moment of passage. For energy that is very specific to this Mother Earth. Energy that had a strong hold on human beings for tens of thousands of years. Energy which comes flowing through the senses and the organ system. Energy that is available to the consciousness…when you consciously seek it and accept it. These ceremonies are that vehicle of consciousness and this is the blog.

We are making, have made and continue to make a sacred tribal space on this little island. The gateway is open for you to pass this way. We are open for people to come one or two at a time and call forth these changes in their life. People from all around the world can rest here and call out with the sacred pipe, with the eagle feathers, with the drum and sweat lodge into the mystery life and take a bold step to awaken inside the dream of their life…inside the dream of your life. A safe house for warriors and dreamers to open their souls to the blessings of what is most ancient and true. I know this sounds a bit dramatic. But combine it with the ancient houses and stones, the fantastic vegetables and wines made from the soil of the ancient volcanoes, of the ancient home of Ulysses …the mysteries of the Daughter of the Wind, as the Arabs called her, is this home, this Pantelleria…now the home of another mystery, the Ojibway man and his four directions unity bundle.

Sometimes I meet people who are trying to change their lives. These sacred tools of fire and drum and space are very helpful in marking the transition, in giving back to you a clear picture of where you have been and where you are going. this is a time of great renewal for those who know the way. People who have the courage to accept themselves and grow and change are treasures of their families, of our society. these tools and meditations are for them.

Today we make the ceremonies of the opening gateway, a vision of the illuminated path. What did you do today?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Notes from DreamTime


(Picture: Gigantic Pipe seen in a dream by an Italian woman on Pantelleria, Italy)


©2007 Turtle Heart, entire cotents.

“My friend, you must live. Yes, live and endure everything. That is contained in the promise you made when you became awake and choose this life, this red road. You must endure all and prevail with silence and without tracks. How far you have to go! Any fool can die. Any fool can quit. But you must endure right up to the very last moment. Everything you know, everything that you will become and what you will leave behind, to help all the others find the way, depend upon this. It is here, in your hands and there in your heart.”
…from the councils of the Tobacco Indian

I settled own, stretched out in the water
sacred water, rain water
heated by the sun and the old volcano
stripped bare, open to the touch of the wind
i floated and not quite dreaming
my belly was open and the sky went inside
yes
endure everything
like the sacred water endures the sky
yes
even stars have seeds
trails of light that wait for the universe to expand
and catch up to them
yes
i floated like light in the darkness
… a star in the void

…Turtle Heart

Monday, August 27, 2007

Waiting...............(part 2)




©Copyright, entire contents, Turtle Heart 2007

"I have always believed I could trust my own senses, my mind and heart, my body and my spirit to help me understand when I am present with the truth. I believe that the teachings and rituals of the Sacred Pipe and the other ceremonies have helped make this possible for me in the strongest way. I believe that is the real purpose of these teachings.

Indian religion is not a faith religion. Indian religion is about a way of behaving and thinking and taking responsibility for your life.

The Sacred Teaching is a Warrior Teaching. This is why we call it Sacred. The great teachings give you power to stand where it is true and safe and bright.... But it ain’t easy." ...Tobacco Indian

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A life with the Sacred Pipe, all life long




©2007 Turtle Heart.

Reflections (only)

I grew up with the sacred pipe in my life every day, since I was a very young man. Through many talks, some of us came up with the idea to take the morning light, or first light of day pipe ceremony aound the worrld. Sometime we got really excited about the possibility. This was almost 30 years ago now. My father was an Ojibway Indian man. I was never sure about his enrollment status. He hated being an Indian. He was one of the ones they sent to indian school in Illinois. It ws an ugly thing to do to an entire generation of American Indian people. I came to know other relatives of my father’s family when I was younger and this is what brought Sacred Pipe into my life.

The idea of taking the Sacred around the world appealed to me as an Indian boy then, and now as an Indian man I feel the same way. Back then the first thing we needed to do was take the first sacred pipe we had (now we have 14) and take it to as many elders as we could for their blessings and support. I took on this work and travelled all over the United States at my own expense. I sought out elders who would listen to the idea and support us with their blessing. In 12 years of work and travel I gained the support of 38 tribal elders, men and women. I believe in these people. We did not make any PR statements or make any great public notice of this work. That does not seem to be so important. We have this blog and website up now. Rather than being publicity, we hope the internet resources are a collecting point for the documentation of this traveling sacred ceremony.

We have kept good records and by now we have a fantastic archive of photographs, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, poems, writings and journals and recorded conversations. As we travelled around inside of tribal countries of North America the Sacred Pipe slowly became the Four Directions Unity Bundle. Medicine people of many different tribes, cultures and beliefs contributed to these bundles. We also gained the blessings and support of some respected people in other religious faiths. We had the personal blessing of His Holiness the Dali Lama, as well as Budhist, Jewish and Christian leaders at various times. We have gained some interest from and support from psychologists and medical doctors and some university programs that look at social change and movement. Our compiled records from the web site, one of the earliest web sites on the internet, have been archived in the Smithsonian Collections of the Museum of American History Computer History Permanent Exhibit (what a mouthful huh?)

At the moment I am on my fourth month of assembling a long narrative with all the stories and ideas of the Four Directions Unity Bundle with all the multimedia attachments. I think this work will take about one year. After this time everything will have to be edited and the parts all gathered towards delivery to a publisher.

Very probably AICAP will produce and release a DVD multimedia disk of this publishing project sometime next year, possibly in the Winter.

It is hard to imagine that now it is 30 years later. I can almost feel the wind and feel the earth from those early days when we sat together and dreamed and had so many creative insights into life itself. Sacred Pipe has carried me all along, every step of this journey. A lot of stuff has come up and been passed around. My job is to nourish the beauty and positive. That is what is inside these ideas and these objects of the Four Directions Unity Bundle. It is not a smbol of what is Sacred. It is the Sacred. And that also is what is inside this “bundle”.

“Be like a baby when you look at the Sacred. Know nothing at all and believe in Everything….” Such a moment is possible. For everybody.

To embrace the Sacred is an act of choice. As an act of choice it really benefits from consciousness. The talking heads, for example, who represent the highly paid professional media, are unconscious. A father burying his dead children from the bullets of war is fully conscious of many things in that one moment. There is usually a gigantic disconnect that happens between the bullet which kills and the media which reports. Our powers of observation are being shaped in a rather shallow way while Rome burns, so to speak.

When I sit inside the meditations of the bundles, my spirit expands and feels and soars. I get all sorts of inspired ideas for poetry, prose, paintings and even stone carvings. It is like passing from one place into an entirely different place.

Many generations of tribal teachers have aspired in their suffering, and at the hands of a racist genocidal culture, yet prevailed in their essential truth and dignity.

Drums, sweat lodges, sacred pipes, eagle feathers and mysterious original instructions have never been silenced, have never ceased to be there to help the people. I have never heard a person speak to the mystery life while holding the Sacred ever blame anyone of anything. The Sacred things are from the voice of the earth and on the earth is where at least most of us still live.

I have always felt that a good Indian is really someone who works for the Mother earth. It is my own private meditation. In all my work with my teachers and my elders, it was learning to listen to the Creation, the Earth
that made it all such a fantastic revelation and adventure. It was in fact that ability to speak as one with the Creation that captivated me and changed my life when I made that journey back into the roots of my family so many years ago and saw a bunch of Indians standing there.

As a young man an elder once told me this, “look over your shoulder at what is behind you. If you see someone there you must turn around an see what they have to say to you. If you do not see anyone, you are free to make your own way.” Well, I turned around and looked and saw these old Indians. Think fast now. Who is that behind you?.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Feeding the Spirit



©2007 Turtle Heart
..........................................
We are down here
waiting with the wind
we were over there burning in the dryness
and emptiness of those who guide us
nowhere
except in line
now we are waiting with the wind
here on the other side of the world
I put down my dreams
I feed my earth and sing an old song sometimes
down here
waiting with the wind
on the other side of the world

Spirit bowl is a daily practice when practiced in its pure form, but can be done at anytime. Anyone can do it, rich or poor, in the city or the country.

Each time you eat you prepare a small plate of food. This small plate of food is taken to a place near to your home and left there. It is food for the spirits, for the hungry, for the mystery life. It does not matter if it is eaten by birds, or dogs, or cats, or whatever might be out there and passing by.

Many of my old friends would put their favorite foods or the favorite foods of someone who has passed away into this plate. I knew one elder who really loved strawberry jam, especially homemade jam. Whenever I visited these friends I would bring home made strawberry jam so we could put it on the spirit plate.

The energy of this practice is a great meditation on so many levels. It prospers the ideas of abundance, of sharing, of respecting what you have been given. It is a small giving back ceremony.

In modern society people do not like so much to put food out near their homes. It attracts problems they say. In the indian world it is not so important who or what may eat your spirit food. It is the offering that is the operative function in this practice. There is a bond created between your life and the mystery life of the earth when you honor such old ceremonies. It creates a thinking, a feeling that otherwise would not exist in your life.

Theoretical science has made good arguments that, as Huxley said, “consciousness is a function of the brain”. The spirit plate creates a physical link between you and this small need of the earth. Feeding the spirits invites the spirits to respond. Biology clearly teaches us that nearly every form of life has response capability.

I knew an old indian man who always put their favorite treats near a big ant hill. He never had ants in his house, though nearly everyone else did. He did not have to use chemicals or any other behavior except his respect and acknowledgment. You can always go some distance from your home to do this ceremony as well. Some people have a special place they love to visit and make the spirit plate when they go to this place.

In America for some reason it is very easy to find pretty good wild bird seed in many kinds of supermarkets and even hardware stores. All my life in america, wherever I have lived I have made spirit bowls for the birds. In return my home has always been filled with singing, migrations and multi generation bird families. These days I live on a small island in the Mediterranean Sea and it is almost impossible to find wild bird seeds. I have made a stone water bowl and now I am on my fourth generation of birds who have raised their babies on my water. Having a big crowd of happy birds around your home is very entertaining and interesting. I do also the regular spirit plate for the earth, but have a special fondness for birds. Here on Pantelleria where we have absolutely no fresh water (except what we catch in cisterns from the rain), the water bowl has become a very popular spirit bowl.

In the Pacific Northwest I had a big round ceramic spirit bowl. One day it just disappeared. We later learned that one of our neighbors had seen a big bear come and grab that spirit bowl and walk off with it. More than two years later I was walking in the big hills near the house and found that spirit bowl and brought it home.

Most families use spirit plates to feed the spirit of those loved one who have passed on. Some people who want to grow and change their lives make a spirit plate to offer to the spirits of change and renewal. When you are trying to make progress every small positive movement towards what you want is in fact progress. Even small things are important. Small things have great value that is often overlooked. Sometimes we want what is dramatic and profound. That which is small progress is the food of the sacred tree. The rain carries the sacred tree but also the mist in the morning covers her flowers and shines like the stars in full light of day.

When you want to grow, to be in balance or harmony, to make changes it is important to understand simple things, easy things They are so often over looked. When you go to sleep at night, you can tell your brain to visit the spirit plate while you are dreaming. It is your brain and sometimes it will help you out like this.

PS...don't use plastic plates. find a nice strong ceramic.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Sheiks of Zuni : Middle East Family Seeking To Control Lucrative Tribal Art Markets?




©2007. Turtle Heart, Ojibwe Artist for the AICAP Group

Middle Eastern family Business associates (possibly one family in control) are moving to dominate and control American Indian Art sales in the lucrative Southwest.

When I first starting visiting around in Indian country, as we call it,1975 or so, I was surprised to see so many art galleries selling American Indian Art. A lot of this art was really fantastic. In those days the Indians were still making art for themselves, for other Indians. Believe me there is a big difference in the art Indian people make for themselves and the art they come more and more to make only for the sales at market. This is the quality of stuff you would see everywhere. fantastic things of great beauty.

I first came to the plaza in Santa Fe, for example, at 2 in the morning. I had been driving all night. The plaza was utterly quiet and deserted. Every shop was crammed full of masterpieces of bead-works, fetish necklaces, cradle boards for babies, beaded clothing. It was an astonishing show of every kind of art in the big windows with only the night and the street lights.

Now it is very different. Who knows where this stuff comes from now. Designer galleries. Imports from every country, The old Indian galleries are now long gone. Large blocks of some of the best old and historic art galleries have been bought up by a family group of Palestinians (as far as I have gathered so far) . They sell stuff at really high prices and then come way down when you talk to them. They are fast and impatient and rude…. and they have so much money that they can fill a huge store in a single day ($200,000.00 inventories in a single day). They tend to buy art by the truckload. They have now made huge moves to control the shops in the plazas of Taos, Gallup, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.

Yes, the artists could sell elsewhere. When they can, they do. The business around the area do not always have money and also there are many artists, so that way is not always open. It can take a long time to find a customer that will give you a fair price, especially these days. This family always has cash. Cash right now, but they decide the price.

Their influence on tribal Indian art markets is becoming gigantic and I am sad to say negative, greedy and indifferent. Yes, if you know nothing, they may seem like charming people. Their culture produces outstanding sales people. They understand this kind of market very well. Try asking some pointed questions or watch, if you can them buy some things from a group of waiting artists. It is not very pretty. Indian artists controlled by a rich middle-eastern family. No one pays much attention to this except the neighbor galleries around them, which have a hard time competing. The typical tourist is really so poorly informed, that it makes almost no difference. They do not notice season by season the many magical and original art and artists that disappear beneath the dust of this industrial strength trade assualt on American Indian Art.

They pay the artist, who are living in very remote areas, cash on the spot; usually it is pennies to the dollar. I wonder if people can understand how bad this really is for everybody except these middle eastern families? It is a brutal transformation of the scene I first saw in the 1970s. These galleries feel like the land after clear cut logging but with boutiques instead of acres of dead trees.

I guess they have seen a good opportunity to make money. They began their family operations many years ago with a shop in Zuni Pueblo. The Zuni make pretty much the finest American Indian jewelry… period. Their multi generational arts are one of the most valuable and important sources of significant indigenous art in the world. Their village is remote. If you have cash and a lot of it is is possible to go there and buy a lot of things really cheap. It is a crazy situation. The modern world has been moving in on this little Pueblo steadily over the decades, but at least the greedy old white people who built up the gallery business for this art paid much better prices and tended to reward those artists who were exceptional in pretty fair ways. Those days are pretty much gone. It is like art under warfare. Dancing under the gun. The Middle Eastern people have invaded a tiny population of tribes(who have only themselves to protect them) with a lucrative, millions and millions (maybe) of dollars.

The American Indian art market is more and more substantially controlled by these people.

Maybe someone with the resources should investigate this situation. Usually American Indian issues don’t mean a whole hell of a lot to modern journalism or society in general for that matter. There are fewer and fewer galleries which offer what they call American Indian Art on the up and up. Buyer beware. I know I would like to know a lot more about who these people are....or maybe more importantly I wonder what it is we can do to keep the money and the opportunities these fine artists need and deserve back into a respectful and balanced system. This kind of approach is already creating failed artists and family businesses, and a new generation of master workers who get paid almost nothing for making some of the finest, most lovely things on this earth. The Zuni and the other Pueblos in particular have built their art traditions over many generations and it is this creative work that is in danger now.

I first became aware of this situation in the early 1980's. At first it has moved very slowly. However, in the last five years it seems to have become an all out push. In a tour of the southwest gallery towns last year I specifically asked independent gallery owners what the story was. Every one I talked to said they had been approached by agents of this family with offers of cash to buy them out. All together we may be talking about 400 or more galleries with inventories in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

When I talk to my friends about it, it now seems like common knowledge among Indian artists and their friends. Certainly savvy collectors have noticed this. I don't have anything against anybody. Maybe it is bad timing to have to say they are Arabic culture people. Rather than who it is my biggest concern is what it is doing to the artists, what effect it is having on the art. This region is one of the most important art distribution areas for all American Indian artists and collectors. I suspect the money is going away from the community, probably away from the country. I do not believe they have stepped up as protectors of tribal art. I think they are business people who know where there is money and a situation where they can make a move. I wonder how easy it is to move Indian art money over to the Palestinians, for example? Curiously in several of the plazas where they have moved in, they own the galleries at the four corners.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Am A Wa-beeno : Part Two


©2007. Turtle Heart

Shamanism requires life and death awareness. The knowledge of suffering and pain (the underworld) overwhelms and destroys most good candiadtes for this work inside tribal culture. You must enter into and survive the dangerous journey into the underground. How many people do you know who have done that? There are no lawyers or 911 to come to your aid inside this underworld. It seems these days many modern people read a few books, beat on a drum they bought in a “shamans supply store”, take some “workshops” and they are ready to be “the chosen” to take away suffering and pain. Usually it is not suffering and pain they seek to relieve but something they call “personal power”. Many of them seem especially interested in this concept. Modern literature, when it talks about these practices romanticizes them with such seductive phrases.

One of the problems is that many people hunger to feel “chosen”...the one special “star” apart from the others. In a good shamanic Indian society everyone works together and there is no “chosen one”. In my culture we had a great society of people with many important skills in healing, philosophy, hunting, dreaming, seeking personal visions…... If someone was very sick, we might call on 44 shamans to look into this suffering. This “please let me be the Jesus” illusion seems to be one cause of this pretending to be shamans. This particular desire, you might say, is essentially an “underworld condition of Christianity” and not shamanism at all.

There is this from the Oxford Dictionary on my Mac laptop:
shaman |ˈ sh ämən; ˈ sh ā-| |ˌʃɑmən| |ˌʃeɪmən| |ˌʃamən| |ˌʃeɪm-|
noun ( pl. -mans |ˌʃɑmənz| |ˌʃeɪmənz|)
a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, esp. among some peoples of northern Asia and North America. Typically such people enter a trance state during a ritual, and practice divination and healing.
DERIVATIVES
shamanic | sh əˈmanik| |ʃəˌmønɪk| |ʃeɪˌmønɪk| |ʃəˌmanɪk| adjective
shamanism |-ˌnizəm| |ˌʃɑməˈnɪzəm| |ˌʃeɪməˈnɪzəm| noun
shamanist |-nist| |ˌʃɑmənəst| |ˌʃeɪmənəst| noun & adjective
shamanistic |ˌ sh äməˈnistik; ˌ sh ā-| |ˈʃɑməˌnɪstɪk| |ˈʃeɪməˌnɪstɪk| |-ˌnɪstɪk| adjective
shamanize |-ˌnīz| verb
ORIGIN late 17th cent.: from German Schamane and Russian shaman, from Tungus šaman.

Objects like dictionaries give credibility to language. but they are only meant to help us understand our words. Dictionaries are not law books. Some people may feel that if a word gets into the language then that word is validated and means what the dictionary says it means..

Take this “god and evil spirits”, a common reference used in literature discussing shamanism. This is a translation, or worse, his own spin, of what some researcher thought some shaman was telling him long ago. Many interpretations of so called shamanic events use this kind of language. Good and evil are Christian terms, Christian concepts. Good and evil are not distinct concepts in old tribal languages and certainly this christian duality thinking is not present inside of tribal and ritual behavior until very recently. The old original. ritual languages did not embrace Christian concepts of good and evil or heaven or hell. Yet Christian commentators on these people used Christian labels and language to write about these things.

Many modern people do what they want to do. No one shows the slightest interest in the hopes and wishes of the tribal people from whom they are just more or less stealing wholesale from. Plenty of people believe they have the freedom to do what they want without asking anybody anything at all. There is a lot of confusion over what is what, and it is a serious matter. Good people have the obligation to practice careful thinking and responsible language. Like the hissing of a leaky air pipe, there is a lot of unrelated noise being used as language to describe Indians and the Mystery Life of Indians.

My old mother used to say, “just because your lips are moving, does not mean you are saying anything.”

Good people, over time, will buy into accepting a word. I hear American Indians using this word more and more. I don’t buy it. I even use this word sometimes. I am embarrassed. There are no excuses. Sometimes it just takes to long and who cares?

Ask the shaman if they have gone to the Underworld and died there? If they cannot give an absolutely clear answer to this question, then they are liars, at best. Indian or or non-Indian. Many old Indians are unhappy with the modern language words used to describe their sacred life. Ceremonial language never uses fancy modern marketing words. It uses only the language of clarity and they may not sound like your language at all.

In tribal culture, and in shamanic cultures, the principle rules of initiation and permission to use these sacred teachings comes from one source; the tribal elders. You must have their direction, permission, blessing and support. Period. If someone claims to be a shaman and cannot clearly and precisely offer convincing evidence of this involvement with tribal elders, they may believe what they are telling you, but they are most likely mistaken.. Throw stones at them. There have never in any tribal culture been any exceptions to this rule of the elders. The rule of the elders is the whole basis, or foundation, upon which this sort of teaching rests. One way or the other Grandfather and sometimes Grandmother must be in the picture of the life of anyone who claims to practice in this line of knowledge.

There are no “intellectual” Shamans. You cannot study hard and learn how to be one. It exists within a cultural context, not an intellectual one.

It is possible to proceed, in your relations with other people, on the basis of trusting your own senses. It is not always very respectful to blurt out intensely personal questions. I sometimes meet people who ask blunt questions about race, about who my elders are and I want to slap them…and I have slapped a few faces. Out of respect for yourself, you can discover ways to understand who is around you, who is teaching you. It is possible to not only behave with respect, it is possible to have enough respect for these sacred things to seek out good information from people you have clear feelings about. You test what you have experienced by trusting in your senses. It is in fact this education of the senses, this power to understand where in the real world you really are and what is true and what is not. Our tribal elders believed in this power. When I hear the elders talk about these many modern people who say they are shamans, they say they don’t believe them. Whom do I believe? Those talking heads or my elders?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Am A Wa-beeno : Part One


©Copyright 2007, Turtle Heart

“Let us kill all the Indians, then we can use their drums and songs and feathers and then we will be The Indians. Or, wait, we can all be Shamans, so we don’t even need the Indians anymore.” (…anonymous)

At the beginning let me say that this word shaman is nothing. It is a manufactured word that comes from the dead world. Maybe we can call it a marketing word. It describes nothing. The common confusion over what is what in the world uses this word to describe something very few people know anything about at all. It is not a specific word, it is a general word. It means way to many things to far to many people to mean anything at all.

The old Indians had very few formal rules. Even so, a person was expected to speak clearly and use words in a very specific and accurate way. It is called being impeccable. The Sacred Life is an impeccable life. This word shaman is sloppy. It is a pretend word. Bad language clouds the air and leads to tension, and the need for corrections. When people behave well from the beginning, then there is no need for corrections.

Correction ceremonies. These days when we have the opportunity to bring the ceremonies to the people, we have to make corrections first. Most people do not understand that a ceremonial person is an intense specialist. It is important to try and do things clearly and do them right. Many of my ceremonies in the modern world become a series of corrections. Ceremonies that introduce the right way to talk about these ceremonies and these old Indians. Most people will not think about where the ceremonies they may find their way into are really all about…the back story as we say. For most of us, the initial ceremonies we do with people are “corrections”. These are ceremonies trying to get everybody on the first page. ceremonies that introduce the language and the breathing. Most of the time we do not get past doing correction ceremonies with people. Most people don’t know this. This includes many famous writers who have written about the fantastic ceremonies.

Those ceremonial leaders who follow the laws of the old clans know what they are doing. It will take, as it is now, 3 or 4 more generations of correction ceremonies because of all the bad information that is out there. Quite often I have believed the principle audience for this book is in the future. When this word was introduced, casually and almost by accident by one Michael Harner into popular culture, it added the need for even more correction ceremonies. This word is not and has never been an American Indian Word. Probably he had no bad intention, this man. Sadly, it appears he gave it no thought whatsoever. This situation is a good example of the dangers that exist on this path or Indian people and everybody else. Really strong bullshit can in fact be toxic.

Grandfather will say to you what he means and he means only what he says. There is no innuendo or hidden meaning. When it is clearly stated, the words mean only what they say. They do not mean anything extra or less. Perception is everything and clarity and being impeccable with your words is the key to perception.

Pretending to be something is not a new dimension in western culture.

For example, here on Pantelleria, the island at one time was incredibly rich in obsidian. Even today much of the island is composed of an ore blend of obsidian and basaltic stone...not so flashy as the pure obsidian. Answer...pretend. The only local man who is an artist here imports obsidian from Mexico and sells it as Obsidian of Pantelleria....because it is on Pantelleria I guess, he feels he is not saying anything incorrect and is quick to remind you that this good Mexican obsidian is very much like the obsidian found in the past on Pantelleria...etc. The dumb ass people who buy this obsidian from Mexico from Pantelleria have, like all of us the power to be informed about the nature and composition of this earth. I actually stayed awake through the geology classes at Eastmoor High School. By knowing nothing they allow the man of Pantelleria to pretend. It feels like being uninformed is a key ingredient in this whole process.

(for example......)
Movies: After I saw “Apocalypse Now” (1979); a movie about the adventures of one Special Forces Army Captain (Martin Sheen); for over a year I met way to many many men who told me they were “captains in the special forces”...(for example).

Recent studies in “false confessions” to crimes has revealed some intensely interesting ideas about the suggestibility of people. There is a whole personality configuration that lends itself to acting out perceived vs real information.

The cultures which actually contain Shamanism produced the urge by some within the culture to “help” the people. The strong and focused ability to try and help other people is the purpose of this line of work.... to help other people. That is, in the culture of Shamans, they try to help people. In general this word applies to a narrow group of indo-european people only. It is their word.

By the way, in my opinion the best source of understanding what this word actually means (something far more beautiful than the bullshit rodeo it now lives in) is a book called “Soma; Divine Mushroom of Immortality” by one R Gordon Wasson.
Here is an amazon link to that book. While discussing shamanism is not at all what the book is about, the author takes you deep into the histories of the Siberian peoples to whom this concept belongs.

Automationism (see Yeats, 1969);the industrial schedule of commerce which really rules the rhythm of modern western people’s lives.....this is a formidable force under which Shamanic consciousness is an almost impossible opposite.Modern people, even in small villages, have long ago left behind the rhythms of nature and now rely on the business clock for almost all human activity. Shamanic consciousness is impossible inside this matrix.

Part Two next week...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Keeping Tobacco Sacred



Tobacco, before it became the most enslaved and abused plant in the world, was a sacred gift, a medicine, a prayer of the American Indian people.

Today, many tribal religious and spiritual/cultural leaders and teachers continue to honor the sacred traditions and values of tobacco. Though as a young man I had studied the stories and been to many ceremonies of the Sacred Pipe and Tobacco, it was first from an Elder of Taos Pueblo that I felt emotionally and spiritually the real power of tobacco. I first met him when I was just starting out traveling with the Sacred Pipe. This was around 1976 or so.

Strawberry Jim and the Sacred Tobacco
He was very welcoming of the sacred pipe into his home. On my very first visit to his house I stayed for nearly a month. It was right in the middle of winter and soon after I arrived there was a gigantic snow fall, several feet. This stranded me in the house. After a few days I started digging through the supplies in my old Chevy. I came up with a jar of homemade strawberry preserves. At the time I just called him “Grandfather” and it was an interesting surprise to see how much he relished these strawberry preserves. I think that jar of strawberries made me a lifelong friend on the spot. In the days that followed we had a warm and lasting friendship. Every day we had together a small and private ceremony with the sacred pipe. He really relished the meditation, as did I. We would sit in his small but outstanding kitchen, in his old, old adobe home and smoke together. It was only later that I learned everyone locally called him Strawberry Jim. He used to grow really good strawberries and bring them into town on his horse-drawn cart back many years ago.

He loved to share the smoke of the Sacred Pipe and his reverence and sweetness taught me the full emotional and spiritual meaning of sacred smoking. Even after all these years and so many ceremonies, Strawberry Jim smoked with great power, dignity and beauty.

When he smoked, the smoke itself would travel from his lips in a tiny, tight column, thin as a pencil and straight. It would come out of his mouth and climb straight up into the room like a snake, like a column of pure white light. It was very beautiful and something I only saw when Strawberry Jim smoked and prayed with the sacred pipe.

Jim spoke almost no english. He did speak Spanish very well, as well as his own Tewa language. I never found this to be a problem. Though I do not speak Spanish or his language we always managed to understand each other perfectly well. For many years, until his death, I came to visit him every year. This became a very important and much anticipated journey for me. When he was very ill and shortly before he died I gathered in his small bedroom with all the members of his family. There in the dark room, lighted by the old pueblo fireplace, I made his farewell song and pressed for the last time the long stem of the sacred pipe to his ancient lips.

Strwaberry Jim was gracious. he was beautiful, calm and very well spoken. He was held in high esteem by every person who ever came in contact with him. Having his friendship was one of the great honors of my life. His gentleness and smiling face remains an endless teaching for me about what a real indian immersed in his sacred path really is all about.

It was interesting to have this experience there at Taos Pueblo. Traditionally it a handful of tribes in the north that follow the Sacred Pipe. The Sioux tribes, the Ahnishinabe, Cree and Algonquian and so forth. So much has been lost. Many tribes in the southeast had complex sacred smoking ceremonies that have all now been lost.

Tobacco as we know it today was the religious property of the Creek Indians, at the southern end of the Mississippi River. My people are at the north mouth of the same river. In a short version of the coming of sacred tobacco: a couple had gone into the forest to make love. They had a great time in a big meadow filled with a deep leafy plant they had never seen before. When they returned to the village after their day of making love, it turns out they had been gone many years and everyone thought they had died and disappeared into the deep old forest. They lead the elders to the meadow and this plant began its long ceremonial and sacred use among these fantastic old Creek Indian people. That tobacco plant is now called “Virginia Gold Leaf” and it is the finest tobacco in the world, in the history of the world. It was stolen from these tribal elders. They never gave their permission for its commercial enslavement and remains their legal property to this day. They have never been paid.

Smokin all alone the strange assortment of additives and the genetically altered tobacco of the modern tobacco industry is certainly dangerous and well should it be. Tobacco is one of the most powerful plants in the history of the world.

The old indians understood that the secret to its power was in smoking together. Smoking the sacred pipe it becomes a symbol and a ceremony for passing life through the body and the soul at the same time. We like to say, “in a visible manner” as we believe the smoke has a special power to be seen and understood by God, by the Mystery Life, by the Spirits of the Mother Earth.

Smoking together is everything. People do this with a marijuana joint. Getting stoned together with a joint is much more closely connected to the old sacred ceremonies than sucking on a Marlboro in a bar in the middle of the night.

Indian teachers know that there is a mysterious power that happens when a group of people with open hearts and well informed spirits gather together and make a ceremony of sharing the smoke. It is a power that works to bring something magical and sacred from the people when they do this together. This sacred experience of tobacco does not work when you smoke alone.

Try smoking your cigarette with your friends, pass it around. You will see the energy of what you are doing will change instantly. Where you were before isolated inside a compulsive habit, now something else entirely is happening. Try it.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Alignment (Shadows of Sacred Stones)


©Copyright 2007, Turtle Heart


Why was the summer solstice so important to ancient people? Why did they labor at such great length to understand the precise moment of celestial events? Their labors of precision and complexity go well beyond simple agricultural needs. Why is this information, that was so important then, nearly unimportant now?

The very act of having to work so hard to have something makes it precious. Something that is precious has strong thoughts and many moments of time in the minds of those to whom it is so important. The ancient people knew something about the earth that we have forgotten. Though not so many people know about this place, Chaco Canyon in western New Mexico has some of the most advanced celestial alignments of any culture on earth. The basis of all their calculations is a sophisticated calculation device made of 3 large slabs of stone leaning against a bigger rock. It is absolute perfection of science laughing in the face of every machine ever made.

(Chaco Canyon)

We know that nearly every pre-christian society had detailed information about the heavenly objects and alignments with stars and moments in time. Sophisticated movements of planets and stars. What was it about the Christian movement that made getting this knowledge out of people’s minds so important to them? All the early Christian nations were supported by aggressive armies and policies of intolerance for other religions. People forget that it was not only the old “pagan” religions that were suppressed and outlawed, but the symbols and knowledge they had acquired were erased as often as they could be found. What purpose does hiding something have in your mind? Do you destroy something because you don’t need it anymore? History tends to just treat these matters as “progress”, which only shows one of the great weaknesses of a society compelled to write its own history. The real facts can be discovered but you have to be prepared to go deep and think long. Who has time for that?

Today nearly one half of the world’s 6 billion people live in urban space. Alignment in urban space is all about business time, rather than natural time. Business time really means nothing so much as the time for making money and spending money. Most dates in the modern world have little to do with the natural world. There is a sort of nodding recognition of the orbit of the earth around the sun (year), day and night and the month is loosely, very loosely a half-assed awareness of the moon.

The internet has now become a new factor in business time as it is not limited by schedules at all and goes all day and all night. However, now billions of people are regulated by the hours and schedules of the working man’s week. Guess the solstice means nothing to these guys. It is getting harder and harder to find calendars, especially free business calendars that even list the quarters of the moon. This used to be information on just about every calendar you would see. Most newspapers seem to still have the little almanac page which shows quarters, and tides and sometimes other important events. If you ever go to a good newsstand, many still sell the Farmers Almanac. This is a great little book to keep in the toilet and thumb through whenever you can. It shows the rich history of what and when people used to line up with in nature, in the seasons, winds and rains.

We have shifted from a complex gathering of societies that monitored with great passion and interest the natural time to one regulated by the commerce needs of business. Why has business time replaced natural time?

I try to always do a good ceremony on the days of the natural earth, like the solstice of summer. In my work I call the equinox and solstice “gateways”. I see them as doors that open for a moment, a few breaths, and then close. I have always believed that these gateways are activated at those precise moments: and all you have to do is pass through. You do not have to look for the door. You are the door. I have heard some elders talk about the four directions as the four gates. This idea is worth some thought. The idea that particular moments in time may harmonize, or align, with opportunities in consciousness is typical of the thinking of the old indians.

I was made at one time into a keeper of sacred pipes. I have learned that really this means I am the keeper of a moment in time when the people are together. It is the moment of time that is where the work takes place. The moment in time is where the opportunity rests. A good ceremony is about a proper moment in time, not about the personality of a teacher or person. If the teacher is correct, if the students are correct, then the idealized moment is made possible. This advanced alignment is a very ancient and sacred way to think. Alignment might also be termed elevation. As in thinking. The discipline of the circle and the moment shared in a formal way, this energy elevates consciousness. Maybe only a few degrees, but sometimes great progress is possible. No matter how correct and good the ceremony and the ceremonial leader is, that is only half way. The others have the responsibility to know how and be pepared to come the other half of that journey. The subtle and quiet forces which are behind this idea are possibly beyond language to explain very well.

Like most real things in the educational system, this idea has been ignored. This question about alignments has never really been tested. People talk about being “connected” but this is not the same thing.

The old indians may have felt that from within the ceremonial life, the effort made to be in alignment with multiple points of the cycles of nature and time produced results. Usually great devotion from large groups of people to shared ideas is something that happens because it works.

Navigation still relies upon points and moments in nature. If you want to go somewhere in the universe, you have to know about the alignments and orbits of everything around you. We know that matter itself is arranged to be constantly in just the right alignments for harmonious cohesion of the universal quantum to even exist. In nature, even opposing forces can be productive because the alignments are so precise.

For some reason (business), the forces that have guided the development of modern civilizations have abandoned nature in favor of arbitrary schedules of automationism, that is, industrial society and business. Why have we allowed this to happen? At what point did we all agree that business schedules would be become the rule of society and nature would be ignored as much as possible? How many of you, knowing nothing about trees, think you are (however) smarter than a tree?

Automationism has allowed us to accomplish what appear to be astonishing achievements. But gadgets and fancy machines have not taken us very far. Society remains generally impoverished, selfish, plagued with illness and starvation, and of course relentless violence and judgement, mostly between religious cultures.
Something happened which turned future generations of people away from the very idea of alignment with nature. That something appears to be the church. It is not easy to look back and figure out where and when this great divide took place. We also know that in this world there are countless numbers of people who would do anything, say anything to make money and have personal power. Have these people, the punks of the universe become the bosses because we were just to busy to notice? Social custom and accepted social norms are conditional reflexes that guide society in many ways, but which are automated responses coming from the least developed area of our psyche. It is like letting the craziest person in the room define the agenda.

In the end it comes down to what this may mean to you and what you can do about it. At the present moment in historical time, many people have the power and the opportunity to educate themselves in new ways. There is enough evidence and technology to examine the evidence of the past and see the differences. More than ever I encourage people to search for and seek alternative educational paths. We are overlooking answers contained in some simple subjects that we just refuse to study collectively: like dreaming, solstice and moon movements. Alignment, like old indian dreaming, is something done best by being together with other people. Dreaming is something we do together, but no one remembers this anymore. Alignment with multiple geometries and celestial mechanics is a way for the group to receive something from the natural forces. How do you receive a blessing from the mystery life? Doesn’t it make sense that if you do something very precisely, then something very precise may result. The ancient ceremonies all took place in collective social (ceremonial)situations. They were never the privilege of the isolated chosen few. The ceremonies don’t work at all, so to speak, if you try and do them by yourself. Real knowledge of the universe cannot be held by one mind alone. Real alignment is likewise something that it is impossible to do alone.

You don’t hear about famous prophets, kings, and mythical gods with dramatic names in tribal culture. Some people point to this as an absence of culture and history. The church sure looked at it that way. These people have written no books or formed no governments so they must be empty of their souls!! What people miss in looking at tribal culture is the massive calculation of natural mathematics that went into the complex ceremonial dances, rituals, objects and organization into specialized clans and societies. You don’t hear about these great leaders because indian people were well informed. They could all sing and dance and work and teach themselves what they needed to know. They had no fascination to put one person above another. In indian culture your most famous teacher would be you.

Ancient tribal people lived diverse social experiences. There were many tribes, essentially from several great language and ceremonial groupings and of course a handful of exceptions to that general rule. Some tribes lived in very small, moving bands. Some tribes built structures for homes. Some tribes built no structures for homes but many for rituals. They lived together in small groups usually. There were only rare occasions were huge numbers of indian people were all present together. The largest cyclic gather places were the Mojave Desert and Chaco Canyon. Some tribes had simple needs and so reflected simplicity in ceremonial life. Other tribes became quite large and developed complex layers and sub layers of societies and clans which continued generation after generation. We make an impressive nod towards Buddhism, for example, with its 15th and 16th generation teachers and teachings. Some tribal teachings may go back 1,000 generations or even more. Society is not ready at all to know how very interesting these ancient old indians really were. Everyone would realize what a mistake it was to allow outraged, hysterical armies controlled by the church kill and smash everything in sight. Ooops. Maybe these people had something going on.

If you look at a treaty map of the USA showing the names and locations of the tribes you see more than 500 different names on that map. If you draw the same map showing the distribution of the tribes by the method of their ceremonies, you get about eight different names.

Multi Generational Alignment

I have a stone object in my group of ceremonial objects. It is very beautiful. It was made sometime in the stone age. It was made before there were any kind of metal tools. The stone is impossibly hard and the actual method of sculpture very refined. The best ideas about this object indicate it may have taken up to 100 years to make it. Think of that. We live in an age where complex gadgets are made in seconds. Here is something one group of people wanted and were willing to work together over a period of generations to make it happen. What stories and teachings and secrets did they say to each other as the work was passed from hand to hand, old to young?

We know that many of the ancient stone structures of the old civilizations took more than one lifetime to make. One of the reasons I think we do not understand the nature of stonehenge, the great pyramid and so forth is that we have no experience at all in moving so slowly and calculated and we have no experience thinking much past the end of the day, much less 7 generations ahead.

In their directed consciousness, modern people may have a greater investment in automationism than in nature, which requires direct consciousness. This is particularly true of people who live in modern cities. This amounts to billions of people with an automated mind set and habit of behavior. Quite a formidable force for one human person looking for the truth to find their way. Inside this atmosphere of automationism, each individual in theory has a possibility that we call “free will”. Contemporary western thought has not evolved or changed significantly since it was formed, several thousand years now. However, generation by generation we are further and further away from nature. We are people with gadgets and free will and opportunity, but the same old people we have been all along.

I have learned from the old indians that ancient people do not have this same thought process, do not assimilate and present ideas in the typical western model. The contents of their subconscious are entirely different. One of the important secrets in understanding the study of the sacred pipe has to do with shifting the way in which you think about the details of life. If, when you are there, you think about things the way you do in New York City, when you are on the lands of the mystery life, you will learn and see nothing. This is true even in New York City.

Pantelleria

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Let It Fall Like Rain: Sweat Lodge Stories



Above the sweat lodge at Rosalini in Sicily : Below, some of the group attending the ceremony. A land of yellow light, white stone walls and a rich history.




Above, the Water Drum: Mitig-wa-kik Day-way'gun Below, the Big Crystal





The Big Shiny Rock In Sicily
A quartz crystal in
Iblea and Rosalini Sicilia, June 9 through June 17 (Sweat Lodge Story)


After nine months inside a box inside a bigger box, my many medicine objects arrived from a long slow journey from Taos to Pantelleria. We unloaded the box of boxes and left the next day for 10 days of ceremonies in Sicilia. One of these objects is the big crystal. On the 8th of august, 1988 at 8:08 am this big crystal was taken from the earth near Mount Ida Arkasas (USA). Now it is living on Pantelleria and has made a road trip to Ragusa Sicily.

We gathered in a small house near the center of the old city. The space is owned and made available by a yoga study group and sponsored by the owner of a local bookstore nearby. Libreria Iblea. Iblea is the old name for the city. With the meditation room darkened and candles put around the stone, its energy was really great. Crystals are interesting objects at any size. this one is rather spectacular at around 30 kilos. I do not feel the modern part of the city. I feel its old bones.

We had a most interesting conversation about time. We had the ancient slowness of the stone and the blinding pace of life in this city. We had the altar made from the slow objects and meditations of time and the blinding pace of life in this city.

The waterdrum : Mitig-wa-kik Day-way'gun
The most sacred sound which can be made with a drum comes from the drum that has water inside of it. This old drum was also liberated from the box filled with boxes and has come to Sicilia. It is the center of singing the heart, this drum. The old indians think it is about one of the most important sacred sounds there is. It is considered an important moment in the mystery life when he can hear this water drum. I have been singing with this drum for more than 30 years. I love singing with this one, it is my favorite for the songs I can find with it.


At the House of the Drummer

Later we are taken to an old old house near Modica, out in the country. It was an old Sicilian country house. Our host is a young man who tells me this was the house of his great great grandfather. Part of his work is teaching drumming to children.

Our next step is to find the materials we need to make one good sweat lodge. The feeling of this old place is very strong and relaxed. We need to organize in one week everything we need. The wood for the frame, firewood and covers for the lodge. material for tobacco ties. It is very nice to have a sweet place on the earth to make a ceremony. In the past there has been the problem of finding long straight saplings for the frame. It seems as if almost all of scily is cultivated. There appears to be no good commercial use for long saplings, so they can be hard to find. Last year we made a sweat lodge from crooked but long olive branches. The result was a crazy looking but strong sweat lodge. The elders like to see the best possible shape when you make a sweat lodge. The shape is very particular, being composed of 8 arcs, 5 circles and one hole in the earth, at the center.

In only a few hours we were able to gather what seem to be good sweat lodge poles. Near to a small river where the earth is usually a little wild. Later we met with one family who has a small farm nearby. They have a restuarant on the farm: we stopped by to make an appointment to eat from their garden, from their farm. It was a very charming experience. With typical Sicilian hospitality they pressed us to let them make diner for us right then..We were able to see the vegetable garden all around us as we talked, and it was spectacular.

Later on the evening we will eat pasta and drink some good wine. In America i never drink alcohol. Here in Italy it is not impossible, but is rather unthinkable to not drink the wine. Last evening we had a spectacular fish diner. It was about 16 plates of fish for 25 euro a person, including a good white wine. Good food with a good wine almost seems an obligation. Each dish was very different. It sounds like a lot of food, and it was, served in a family style in common plates where we then served each other.

The drummer has told me that he feels very distant from the religion of Sicily, the mechanized Catholic church. We talked about why we use religious references to talk about American Indian ceremonies. This is an interesting question. I believe these teachings belong to what we call the original instructions. It is possible to use the language of medicine, of science, psychology, music, dance, history, all of this in talking about the mystery life. Because we use spiritual language does not mean the Sacred Pipe is a religion in the way that Catholics or Buddhists have religions. The sacred pipe is not a religion. It is something much older than religion. It is something which can work with every person and so has no limits. The sacred pipe is a moment between the earth and you, between consciousness of the energy of all life and the revelation of your own vision for your life. It is a moment in time which reveals yourself directly to you.

These original instructions speak to an ancient place inside your brain, your consciousness, in unique ways. the sacred object was an instrument for making an ancient voyage of ancient people into a great mystery life of spiritual possibilities. We call it being carried by the great wind.

Later they go to bring in more sweat lodge poles, for the frame. I stay behind and start work on the fire pit for the stones The fire is like a drum, but in the opposite direction perhaps. It is an object belonging to the void. It becomes something that creates sounds in the opposite directions from where we usually perceive them. It is a voice of power, speaking to a place of power inside your life. Yes, it would be easy to talk about the drum and the fire using the same language.

Diner At the Little Farm They serve us a diner composed entirely of food, and wine, from this farm. We started off with a large assortment of antipasto of vegetables, sausage and some cheeses. This was followed with a soup made from linguine pasta and small meatballs, and a green salad. We then had a roasted chicken that was all dark meat, ending with a fresh fruit salad. It was the food pure to this region of Sicily and very well presented. I am often humbled by the presentation of food in Sicily. It is presented fresh, in abundance and varied in harmonious and always surprising ways.

This little business comes from a rather new development everyone around here calls agrotourisim. People come away from the city life and enjoy country food, this is a true Italian destination. I am humbled because this food is so excellent and fresh, so reasonably priced. Italian food is served with grace and style, like a good shared adventure. In America it seems very hard to find such food. I am often struck by how much better these Sicilians eat than do the people I know in America. I know I never ate so well as I have in this country. In America you can have a lot of money and perhaps eat very well. In Sicily you do not need much money at all to eat very well. For people who travel a lot doing ceremonies like this, looking forward to the good food is one of the adventurous aspects that I always enjoy. A traveling ceremonial man like me goes to a lot of feasts
and is introduced to everyone’s favorite food. Here in Italy, in particular, these people enjoy their food and have pride in the freshness and integrity of their food. From here it is easy to see that Italian cuisine may be one of the most influential in history, ever. Eating at this table, I understand why.

The next day a group of us cleaned the yard and prepared the fire pit for the sweat lodge stones. On this occasion we will have only the sweat lodge fire. I have chosen to forgo the tobacco fire so that this group can focus more on one thing at a time. Sometimes I may try to get to much done inside one ceremony. Being more simple seems the right move at this ceremony. These 5 days have gone by very quickly it seems. Later this afternoon we will know what kind of firewood that we have. Friday morning (tomorrow) we will make the sweat lodge frame.

Friday the frame has been made. Wild and crooked and delicate, like the wild and soft wood itself. This wild wood makes a wild frame, but so far so good with the work. These days leading into summer are like a dream. Life here has been quiet and slow. The island is calling us to come home, so Sunday at the close of the ceremony we will drive for six hours to Marsalla to claim a document I need for my official life, and try to take the boat on Monday at midnight back to Pantelleria. Tomorrow (saturday) a small group will arrive for the ceremonial time we will have together for this period in Sicily.

Sweat Lodge day. All that remains is to make the hole on the earth for the hot stones, the one in the center of the sweat lodge. It is from this hole in the belly of the earth that we emerge in this life. In the end it is to this prayer hole that we return. I will have the people make this prayer hole and tell them this story.

The big Crystal is in a small room we will use for the dreaming. It will become the little fire for our dream song which will go all through this night.

All together there are seven of us; 3 men and 4 women. We have made many kinds of light food and as is typical in Italy, we will share first the table of all this food. In America we generally eat nothing until after the sweat lodge has finihed. In Italy the center of almost every activity the people make together involves eating together.

The earth proved very hard for making one prayer hole, it took the entire group about two hours to make this hole for the stones. We have started the fire for the stones. The stones were easy to find as there are large white stones piled into walls all over this region. We need look around only for a few minutes to find every stone we could need. We talk about what people wear or do not wear in the sweat lodge. Many times people make some objection to coming into the sweat lodge with no clothes. I prefer people to be naked inside the sweat lodge. Having your naked butt on the earth is a very important part of the ceremony. I think if people don’t make the ceremony correctly, then nothing will happen. Just because a bunch of people gather together and have the sweat lodge and sacred objects does not mean anything will happen. The power of the ceremony is elusive and subtle. It can be like coming to see the doctor but not listening to the doctor. For me it is a problem when people resist the few simple instructions. In the past I have refused to let people inside the sweat lodge unless they were naked, indian or otherwise. Many indians don’t like to take off their clothes also. In recent years I have become more reflective and let people decide for themselves what to do. It is important to me that there are moments when you can trust the directions of a medicine person. I think also it is important that there be a place on this earth where people can be only in their skins together. In the end I make my best argument and let them decide for themselves.

Here I am in Sicily, using old olive wood and making an old indian ceremony. The poetry of of life is very good at this moment.

After:
The sweat lodge was very powerful, for everyone. Perhaps the best one in Sicilia so far. A strong place, a very good group of people, we all worked hard. Now the people have gone to the place of sleeping all together. From this place I will sing to them. It is well after 3 am right now. Water drum talking in the sacred night is what happens next. The group slept together very sweetly. I stopped singing just about first light. Later we have all gathered where we started, which is to say the table. We have eaten fresh and simple food, only a little wine and had no mobile phone signal.

Sunday night we are in a small seaside tourist village somewhere in Sicily between Agrigento and Marsalle. Two birds are singing to each other, each song is only one note. The song is rather high and seemed electronic at first, a kind of exotic “beep”.

I brought to the room from the cafe a bottle of wine from Corleone, a Grillo, quite dry and good. After another meal of seafood I reflect on the days of ceremonies we have made together here in Sicily.

One thing I have learned in Sicily is that how things appear to be at first are not how they are really. There is always some adjustment to be made upon each reflection. We all seemed equally blown away by the experience we shared and after these ceremonies I feel always a little empty and kind of spend the day in suspended animation. The farewells were emotional. For me they always take to long. In the old days I would just vanish after a ceremony. My position in this life is not typical and almost never easy. Sometimes I am so amazed by what happens when we take the people inside the old indian ceremony. Many beautiful and strong events have followed these ceremonies. What we all seem to gain from this experience has a great power; it is a great feeling and not at all easy to explain. We have talked about me returning for more ceremonies in October. That seems so far away. Tonight we sleep by the sea and listen to the beep birds as a sliver of a moon goes below the sky on a Sicilian night.

In these 10 days in Sicilia we opened up a crack between the worlds and stepped through into old indian time, old indian songs and potent silences- We learned something new and came away also with new feelings. Life inside the ancient old new sacred life was as fresh and beautiful as ever.

Go ahead and let it go
let it go
go ahead and let it go
let it fall like rain
like rain
let it all fall like rain


On this sweat lodge I sang for my life. I sang for the life of the people but I also sang to my roots for me, for my life. I want to keep going, keep building this understanding and this dialogue with the modern world. More than ever before I felt the ending of my own time on this earth and more than ever I believed in my songs power to bring healing and time to my poor old body. I sang for all I was worth. In the old language, if we translate the idea of going to a ceremony, it means “seeking life.”

Monday evening we are back in Trapani waiting for the slow boat back to Pantelleria island. We also managed to get the official documents which allow me to be here in Italy all sorted out. Except for official citizenship I am now a certified citizen of Pantelleria. We have taken a small sleeping room that also has a bath, which is a first for us ever on this old boat. The return trip leaves at midnight and arrives at 6 in the morning. Generally you take a room and go to sleep. Perfect result. Because we are residents of Pantelleria we have all this for 80 euro (car, room, etc), otherwise you pay up to 200 euro for the same privilege. This discount only works for the boat. The airlines offer no such courtesy for the island people. The cheaper boat ticket for residents was an action of the Italian legislature. It is a rather long journey but one that also has its rewards. It is a more normal life with the day to day people of this region and so is more intimate and also more safe. It is also nice to be able to make some travels without having to take off your shoes and walk through a line of machines and uniforms. The trip to Sicily to make these ceremonies for 23 people cost us 1,400 euro (about $1900 us). We received fees or payments from the people of 750 euro.

The sacred pipe was travelling with us. It was presented in the altar setting at the yoga center for the two short ceremonies we did indoors when we first arrived. At the end I touched each person’s heart with the bowl of this sacred object. This was the only behavior of the sacred pipe on this journey.

We broke the car driver side door, misplaced our auto documents and silvia left her panties at the ceremonial house. Italian women have very interesting panties. They take them very seriously.

I really like the character and society of my friends in Sicilia. our time was well spent in the 5th generation country house of the drummer. The rich black earth, the old olive wood, all the old handmade tools made me feel right at home. As a boy much of my time was spent in small country towns. The old farm houses of Sicily are a perfect match for the land and people that have made them. Country people are like indian people, at least some of them. The drummers parents have a modern life in an ancient city with a new house, swimming pool and so forth. It is nice that their son recognizes the character of this old farm and the value in restoring it. Italy in general has so many abandoned farms like this one. Many of these places have great character and rare, sometimes now forgotten, engineering and construction. A lot of the old stone houses of Sicily were made by initiated masons who understood stone buildings in ways that modern people have completely forgotten. “Together, the old indians would say, we go to an old place. I can put you halfway there. Whoever wants to follow must go there to. We are the ones dreaming up our lives. We are the ones who are here at this time.”

Sometimes the most powerful moment can come from a place and moment that is simple. Walking In Beauty. In a ceremonial period of time there is a big adjustment made in time and in awareness. The formal behavior of the ceremony is an instrument of change. It transcends the casual and often trivial emptiness of common social occasions and gives the time people spend together a magical dimension, a magical result.

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