Sunday, December 31, 2006

I won't go quietly

"You can bet your ass
I won't go quietly

makin' a noise in this world
you can bet your ass I won't go quietly"

Robbie Roberston in
Contact From The Underworld of RedBoy.

James Brown: RIP.
I used to party a little with James Brown back in Columbus Ohio just before and after the Vietnam war. All the best R and B and Soul singers would come to Columbus and usually there was a party afterwards. I always went with several beautiful girls, so it was easy to get an invite to the afterwards parties.

I also spent a lot of my childhood, and a few adult years, in Augusta Georgia. James Brown is the best thing to ever happen to Augusta. It is also a city know for the masters golf tournament, but no one I know in the real world cares much about that. I had an affair with a married woman who lived at the augusta country club, so that part was fun. I used to sneak across the greens in the middle of the night to see her. James Brown was very influential in my teenage years, he was very popular and always put on a very dynamic and powerful concert. It was in fact nothing short of amazing. Augusta Georgia is a very racist city, then and now. Though there are many black families in this region, their economic and social opportunities remain in a sorry state. I was proud to be in a generation that tried to break through these racial divides and being with James Brown was a great experience.

I am glad in these days that I no longer live in the USA. The racism and intolerance is still a gigantic problem in nearly every community. The fundamentalist agenda of george Bush (both of them) is a disgrace to humanity, a disservice to honor and trust. The new fundamentalist christian attiudes of the usa are archaic and out of place in this world. It is with great disgust that I listen to what I call the "talking toilets" of fundamentalist christian thinking. It seems as if we are trying to bring back the middle ages and in general the intellectual and social atmosphere of the USA has become reactionary, negative and hateful.

Sometimes looking at amerika I think the terrorists have won. One stated goal of so-called terrorism is to make everyone afraid, to disrupt so-called normal society and that is certainly the case in the USA in these days. George Bush is a coward (maybe it is not his fault) and the entire network of loony, paranoid fools who elected him have done nothing so much as destroy the goodwill and trust which amerika might otherwise have in these days. here in Italy amerika is a joke, an embarassment....and this is true not only for its politics but for its low-quality products, its racist attitudes and its cold, unfriendly people, its horrible violent and empty films. Only American Music survives in the goodwill of the international community.

One needs only to visit a typical american indian reservation to see how little progress and how negative these policies are in this country called America. Or drive through New orleans sometime.

James Brown showed all of us how to triumph over the darkness of hatred, fear and racism. He showed us all how to make money and have a good life from following our own dreams and refusing at all costs to be beaten down by your enemies. He went to prison, he faced insanne racist business and political leaders and through it all had an indomitable soul and was a great performer. His music was greater than music; it was a revelation of resistance to the ugly soul of white amerika. He was black and I am proud.....

Turtle Heart
American Indian
Pantelleria Sicilia
31 December 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dreaming (Remembering)

(Each one could hold a sacred object through the night)

I have gone across the sky
To wake up dreaming
Inside corn woman’s eye

I feel
I breathe
My whole body vibrates

Covers me
Surrounds me
Remembers me

I was there long ago
A seed in her sacred belly
A fire
In her sacred heart
In her sacred earth
My breath lay inside her

The old ones dreamed answers....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Winter Solstice 2006

December 22, 2006
1:22:32 2006 CET (am)
36 N 50 (Pantelleria)

Where is the sacred earth? What time is it inside your soul?
What is the difference between sand and stone
and wind?

I see the mark of the wind in the sea when i look out
my front door. I take off my clothing and my shoes
and stand by the sacred fire and listen to the wind in my hair
and listen to the earth talk to the bottom of my feet...........

the sun goes south then it goes north
then it repeats this again and again.
Ancient people went to great lengths to understand this moment.
Every ancestor of Every Person.

Hold me tight. Hold me all night.
I do not remember everything
I am not sure why I came here

and the pain awakens our sacred souls
and we remember things we never really knew.

Winter Solstice 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Teaching Down the Moon (Stories of Sacred Woman)

(Vicinity of the Full Moon)
Six women come for diner and a discussion on the possibility of setting up a Moon Lodge for the purification and ritual education of and for the women. tribal Culture has produced a powerful, clean and effective ceremonial method of bringing power to the dream, power to the awakening and power to the sacred women. In the night they were holding Eagle Feathers and finding out what PHASE of the MOON they were born was awesome.....

(Earlier that day)
The wine of Ernest Hemigway, when he was in Italy was this wine. We sipped the wine and discovered new friends with deeper layers and more than one sde. Life shows you surprises and this week we had many surprises. One night diner with cients and the next diner with friends. Invitations to work in Milano and reservations from Sicilians to come to this space and make some meditations and studies with this sacred. The table is sacred space but the topic is also sacred space, so this goes very well with the wine.

Earlier still that day.... I sit in the sweet sunlight and carve new handles for several of the rattles. The rattles are like keys to something. They are old indian things and have a method to them that is not understood or suspected by modern people. Even so far away I feel the spirits and souls of the old indians....and in so doing work more slowly and remember to be myself. I have felt them very strongly in these recent days.

Music in the winter. We all have started trading music. Everyone wants a few american indian music collections, so I am constantly burning cd's on the new mac book pro. It is very curious, to me, that American music is very popular in Italy and here as well. About 95% of our music is American. Jazz and Blues more than rock, but some old solid rock and roll shows up at the oddest moments.

Tonight for the evening meal we eat fresh mushrooms which Silvia gathered from the forests on Mount Gebeli today after her work.Fresh mushrooms and fresh fish.

Island news is not so dramatic as world least not in these days. Today the sacred space was and is alive and well. The fire pit for the new sweat lodge has almost been finished; finished digging it out of the volcanic stone and dirt of this place. It took a long time, but also we were not in a hurry and make this work slowly and is the creation of a new sacred space inside a catholic culture on an ancient island that has known many cultures. The old arabic ppeoples called Pantelleria the Black Pearl of the Orient.

I left behind the world and the people that I know to find this place, to make this sacred work and learn new things. The sacred needs to be tangible for the people so we have it right here on the earth.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Sweat Lodge: Old Indian ceremonies in a new Place

"Isn't it love that keeps us dreaming
Isn't it love what we were sent here for?
Wasn't that love we were feeling
deep in our souls, deeper than we know?"
(Bonnie Raitt, Longing In Their Hearts (Album)

Pantelleria. Many of my friends here do not have computers. Pantelleria is not a high tech place. Many of them seem to feel that the time I spend at the computer is idle time; that "he is doing nothing" "he needs to get a real job", and so forth. There is not a great curiosity about these boxes. I am using a new Mac Book Pro made by Apple Computer. I really like their computers and tend to use Mac Computers exclusively. The new one even runs Windows by Microsoft; I even have the Windows running on the damn thing, which is a strange experience. Love keeps me going. Love in eight directions.

Meeting. A few weeks ago I met an Italian lady of exceptional spirit and clarity, here at my sculpture studio. She was so intelligent and strong in her spirit, in her observations. I was very impressed with her. She told me her name. I thanked her for coming by. She was a graceful woman in her middle years, accompanied by a very pointed italian many with a camera. While we talked, he took many photos. She was very observant of the art. I wished I had asked her to stay for coffee. Only later did I learn that I had just met with the esteemed Margherita Boniver. What I most enjoyed about her was her sense of consciousness; her powers of observation were very strong. I have met politicians in the past and most of them are slugs, leeches on the public trust and far from being what I would call observant. This woman was a person of consciousness and intelligence. It was really nice.

Work has finally been completed on our new sweat lodge. There is no long wood for this work on Pantelleria, so we finally settled and made the new sweat lodge from pvc. Now I am digging out the steep hillside to make the fire pit area. We hope to have our first sweat lodge around the full moon. This is the first ever sweat lodge for me not made from saplings of wood. I am learning to appreciate that if what you want is not available you can see if it is possible to just continue your work with what you have. I wonder what my old indians would think? Whatever the review might be, we are at last very happy to have this working tool here. The sweat lodge is a place to gather strength; a place of renewal and a meditation on the deeper mystery of life. It is a strong meditation with the hot stones, with the earth itself. Silvia and I are very happy to have this sacred meditation now possible here on Pantelleria.

Dreaming. All night, night after night.
Always searching for the Dreamer inside the dream.
I put a little fire on my belly. I put a little dream beside my spirit. I dream
and think about the fire
look for it in my dream
and slowly, slowly, slowly
the golden eagle appears
and carries me to the ground
where there is tobacco
and a fire
beside the sacred sea........


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

From Pantelleria to Chaco Canyon and Back Again

The ride to the United States was far from easy. After the long peace and tranquility of Pantelleria; the chaos, paranoia, security and arrogance of the United Staes fell on my soul lile a hurricane. Frozen and Fearful, the United States government and the travel venues seem frozen in time; frozen hearts, frozen spirits. American society seems to be letting the weakest elements, the most fearful elements within it, set the agenda for what will happen. I cannot afford to be so wreckless and try to build my experience on the positive flow of energies more kind and thoughful.

For two days we arrived in Chaco Canyon. Aligned. The big secret leaks out slowly about all the solar and lunar alignments of this sacred space of an ancient people. Somehow activists within the Navajo Nation have gotten them to stop calling these people "the Anasazi"...which the Navajos claim means "ancient enemy" and so they don't want people to taunt their sensitivities by using this word so the Parks Department has officially stopped using the word. Maybe the original discoverer/namer got this word from a local navajo at the time (about 1910). I think the Navajo love to posture and pose. Their gigantic long ancient creation story seems to be generally stolen from the Hopi and Ojibway tribes. They are new-comers to the heart of the desert southwest. They only arrived there about 800 years ago from ceremonial migrations.

Ceremonial Migrations: this is not a common phrase in modern language. In ancient days, for multiple generations, initiated clans and societies organized intense and long the end of these ceremonies the people divided their clans and moved in 8 directions, never to see each other again. These ceremonial migrations went on all over the Indian North America for centuries before the modern people, and modern scientists, arrived to screw things up. Instead of taking initiation and coming under the direction of our elders they just more or less killed almost everyone and stole the land on which these lives had been living in a sacred way for centuries. Let's call it a missed opportunity for all of humanity and rember that the fundamental authority for this behavior in the new world was the catolic church.

We camped out and made many songs through the night. The next day we made meditations at several of the ancient sites in Chaco and then drove back to Taos. We were there to secure and arrange for the sipping of my personal goods from Taos to Pantelleria. In Taos, like Gallup, Middle East businessmen are buying up all the indian art galleries. They have unlimited amounts of money and can stock a store with 300,000 dollars of copied american indian art in one day. They seem determined to make some sort of take-over or dominance of the american indian jewelry market. I wonder why? It seems odd. They have canged the American Indian art market forever. In their stores there are american indian made items and items exactly equal made in china, copies. Fakes is what the indian artists who owns these designs may say. These are not ethical business practices in any sense, yet this business group continues to prosper and now has a strong hold on both Santa Fe and Taos Indian Art markets. A good time to leave.

It took many days to arrange tis shipping program (and I am not even finished yet). At last we made our way back to Pantelleria. I slept for four days. It was the night of halloween and at CiCCi's Bar there was a french woman dressed as a witch.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Equinox: Ritual Touching of the Earth

5 men and 15 women moved in circles and put Tobacco around the little tobacco fire and went into the sweat lodge; the womb of the mother earth. Eqinox has opened a door. Passing through this door we made the old singing, and this opened the door between our bodies and the earth. The stones were very hot. Yes, the stones were very hot. We embraced many times and many things were said in Italian, as we did this ceremony in Parabiago Italy, a village near Milan.

Equinox and Solstice ceremonies take place with the little fire ceremony. One group also made the all night singing ceremony. This is a special ceremony for The Dreamer, for the Dreaming. It is a good ceremony to do for 9 days. Possibly on Pantelleria we can have one day the 9 day ceremony. The ceremony moves; yet we have had more than one dozen strong ceremonies here in this place, in the home of Carlo and Paola and their 4 children.

This is the ceremony we did, the songs we made and sent to the mystery life on these days. The World Journey of the sacred Pipe.

Equinox Fall (Mud-Jhe-Kwas)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sweat Lodge Stories: in the village of the shoes.

17 September
Parabiago. In Parabiago perhaps the most beautiful shoes for the most beautiful feet in all the world are made privately and by the good group of people all came together for a ceremony in these two days. The ceremony starts at a small tobacco fire, a morning fire. This is the First Place. The starting point. Beyond this little fire you find the sweat lodge fire heating the stones. After the sweat lodge there is the Night Singing for the dream, for the dreaming, a ceremony for the dreamers. The sweat lodge was very strong, the rocks very hot. We have done about 10, maybe more, sweat lodge ceremonies here in Parabiago. On each ceremony, the group and the circumstances have been different. There is a core group of us who work to keep the lodge going. In these days I am here to do 10 days of ceremonies. The last one will be the equinox moment and throughout that day.

We made the little morning fire, the little fire in the front of the house. That fire has been here 3 years now and has received a lot of meditations, a lot of spiritually charged silence. Using tribal rattles we have made many songs here as well.

This week we will take down this lodge and build a new one. I love this work…I love that we have this fire and this sweat lodge here in the north of Italy. A little space for the lessons of the old Indians. It is the old, old Indians…we call them the Grandfathers, the Grandmothers. We call out to them using their names and they tell us to make this seat lodge, to make the little tobacco fire. It is a moment where we may hear the earth; where somehow the mind may become still and the heart receive some clarity. It is a strong and simple teaching and over and over I see its value, its beauty and its purity… I love this work and these moments.

I touch the hearts of the people who are here with an old Eagle Feather. The old feather of the old Indians. Yes, we call it a sacred space…..american words can seem so empty and sometimes I have trouble with that word…but yes, it is a sacred moment inside a sacred space. I have no doubts. Yes, sometimes life seems crazy and hard. We want to believe in something sacred, something that will help us. The truth is, it is you (me), we have to take some action. We have to pay attention. Something sacred to an old Indian means something close to the earth…something simple, elegant and simple….a moment of peace and clarity. A good moment can fill your body with good energy….the good energy of life. When you feel very well, everything moves more smoothly, more sweetly; even more profitably. Is profitably a correct word? The line between all these different languages is not so clear anymore. Living in Italy I often speak broken English.

I may possibly like broken English better than “proper English”. Inside the sweat lodge I sometimes try to make the songs with some Italian words and ideas. I live here in Italy now and spaking the language is not so easy for me. I try to find help in the singing. Inside the sweat lodge……I sing in 8 languages.

While millions, possibly billions, of people will go along to their churches this week…..we old Indians can only make about 8-12 people at one moment in a sweat lodge. It is a smaller operation. Group by group….on any given week maybe only hundreds or maybe even only dozens of people are inside these sweat lodges. Pounding the water drum, looking with my eyes have closed at the glowing red stones….the stones are very hot tonight. Yes I feel something, I feel a song coming up from deep inside me. That is my work these days; to find that song and ride the song around the earth. I feel the people in the little circle; we are all together around a little hole in the earth filled with hot sones. I sing to them about their feet in a language they have never heard before.

Later, the singing in the night went very well. Nightway Singing. The night is sacred but has been stolen in general by the schedule of industrial society. To the old indians the night ceremonies were very important for the people. This understanding has been almost entirely lost. It is some satisfaction (and hope) for me that I can have this dialogue with these people.

The ceremonial days finish with the dream ceremony. The night-singing while the people all sleep close together and dream through the night. The next day we all talked about what happened.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pizza Oven: Cooking Fire in the House

Pizza Oven restored and made to work for us this night!

While America bleeds and George Bush stumbles and mumbles......I am here, where tonight we fired up the huge stone pizza oven we have .....inside the kitchen of our house. Earlier in the year we did a big cleaning and restoration of this old pizza, or really just an old baking oven. We were waiting for the right moment and tonight came quickly and suddenly to be the night. Clouds hang over the island. The air is cool and the oven fire in the old house is very magical and sweet. I remembered to get in the auto and run out and get beer at the last minute, minutes before they closed. Meanwhile Filippo had gone into town to buy the big long opizza shovel, but they only had the one for bread. He brought that one home with him. It was ok for taking the pizza out. To put the pizza in we used a wide and floured cutting board (which we made last year from an old wood cabinet)….Silvia floured the board and made a lovely slide gesture and there it was...

So we have had pizza cooked on the stones, in the old system by an antique oven inside our home. We put on hand-made tomato sauce, organic flour for the “pizza pasta”…..capers fresh from the caper capital of the world….onions, the sweet onions of Pantelleria, anchovies from Sicilia and a very little fesh motzerella cheese….and stop (garlic on some, but not all)…we eat the fresh pizza and drink bear and while my friends speak in Italian I day dream of the perfect iron pot which would let me bake cornbread and southern biscuits in that oven.

The moon peaks in and out of the heavy clouds, there is a little rain. Today I saw so many flowers…in this season the island is a riot, an explosion of purples, red, whites and yellows. Now after the sun has set and the pizza has renewed us, it is time to smoke and talk……

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Spirits of Water and Wind

the big water bowl.............

The water tends to reflect the emotional terrain of the house in any given moment. The daily meditation to put water into the big stone bowl is part of the revelation which has been unfolding in the world journey....after two years keeping water in the bowl I accept that this is a strong addition to the sacred space where the fire is living.

On the night of the full moon rising over the rim of the old volcano, the rum cubano slightly chilled is one of the fortunes of my rebellion in style, here on Pantelleria. You can find information about Pantelleria elsewhere on the pages here.

Since I made and finished this stone bowl in the photos here I knew that each ceremony of the sacred fire is accompanied by the small ceremony of keeping water in the water bowl. Pantelleria has no fresh water, anywhere. Never did have it. Rain water. Every house and out-building is a water collector. Even today many people depend entirely on the rain water filling their cisterns in order to have water. Here in the modern times there is de-salting the sea water....and collective storage in tanks of rain water. In our house in the raining months of late winter and spring, the water goes into our cistern, so we need only buy water half the year.

So all this information made the water bowl a strong meditation. This spring, for the second year, five bird families raised their children to get water from this bowl. The honey bees have a disciplined program to use this water. Each day Silvia and I give attention to the water bowl. Sometimes we have to put new water in many times each day, and others only one time. Sometimes it is the wind which makes this choice for us, and sometimes it is the sun.

So, like the Sun and the Wind, the Fire and the Water work together in the total space of the sacred where it is, as well as around the space where it is.....

A good sacred space helps people who pass through it, and interact with it, even if nothing is said. Life in this area is more or less like life is for us on a day to day basis....the space of the sacred and the space of the life in this sicilian village......on this island of Pantelleria.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dreaming: A neglected tool in human development and growth!!

Art of the Dream
AICAP Digital Tribal Arts Quarterly

For this complete article go to the aicap ebook library at See the links area elsewhere on this Blog.

The old Indians believed in dreaming. For centuries before the coming of the modern people dreaming held a very active and important place in tribal life. It as used to guide ceremonial migrations, finding food, names, and a whole range of services and experiences.

For whatever strange reason the modern people did not have this knowledge at all. Dreaming right now is the key to an opening into life we do not yet know at all….a new life a new society is longing in the hearts of so many people in this world.

The particular object.
In my culture if someone gives you something in particular…a medicine object say, then you have an obligation to take your thinking to a special place. You cannot just believe something ordinary happened, like someone gave you a cookie or a glass of water. When something particular and special happens you must decide how you will take it in…what you will do withy that energy. My first awareness of this energy came from an old Papago song I heard many years ago…the song was about this very idea….

In the dreaming ceremony the people are given a direct gift of something in particular. It is this particular gift that is of great value. It has an energy larger than the words used to impart it.

I am working on a new painting: the new painting: a man being touched by an eagle feather.

What you are given goes into the soul to become part of the body of what we call free will or "choice".

Trusting yourself. Emerging from the mist. This energy is for you, for your strength and faith in yourself.

Love. Love gives the courage to walk into the darkness and emerge again into the light. It was in the darkness of fear and longing that the spirit first learned to dream, to soar,…. to go beyond where we are now. Love is what is behind every ceremony. It is not a love that surrenders but a love that soars, a love that is strong and limitless…a love that gives you your life for yourself……within yourself so you can understand what is true, in your own mind and body.

Knowing nothing at all about your dreams is a tragedy… something.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lacie: A computer hardware company that could care less

Lacie Computer Hardware (Disk drives, monitors)

Customer Support: 0 (possibly the sorriest customer support ever)

Reliability of Products: 0. If they work; ok....if they don't, throw in the trash.

As a traveller, and the manger of a humitarian project on a budget, I need reliable and portable hardware. A little over a year ago I searched for hours and hours to find a small bus-powered harddrive for my Apple Powerbook laptop. I needed something that was tough and strong and reliable. After my long search I choose Lacie 40 gb Databank Firewire hard disk drive. It was nearly twice the cost of every other drive I reviewed, coming in at almost $400 for a 40 gb drive.

The hype on their web site was to promote the reliability and service of their company in offering this drive.

Well, a very short time after the warranty expired the drive failed. The case failed, not the drive. So I contacted Lacie to get a repair. I was told they do not do out of warranty repairs on any of their products. Further I was lectured at length about the situation with hard disk failures.

I have been a computer professional for nearly 30 years. I think most of the time I know what I am doing. It was a huge surprise to encounter the arrognce and indifference of this computer company. That they would hype such an expensive drive and offer no repairs at all is to me an absolute end to any interest in any product that they make.

Since then I have done a lot of research on the internet and found dozens and dozens of stories from people and surveys that rank Lacie Technical and customer support as terrible, awful, even non-existent.

So I offer you my experience. I would never buy anything ever from this company. Their hype ads are all over the internet. Remember you were warned here. Buyer beware. Lacie could care less.

Turtle Heart

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Ceremonial Morning Fire on Pantelleria

20 August

inside a good feather
the heart may float
freedom coming from emptiness
fullness is a river
drowning the fire
roaring through its sacred silence
inside a good feather there is a moment
of emptiness
a moment without blame
a moment where nothing is missing

(Sacred Fire of Pantelleria)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Havana Club
I was suddenly surprised to realize that I can know the products of Cuba here in Italy. First up was some unusual named Rum Cubano at my DR's house. He suddenly appeared with this brown, elegant bottle and looking at the label realized it was cuban rum. I had a Cuban cigar a few years ago but am not really a cigar man. And probably I carried it around and smelled it and touched it for a few months out of the humidor before I ever fired it up. But this Cuban rum was like a carmelized kiss and yet a little saucy with a warm jolt. I was cautious but willing to flavor across my palette some of the essence of Cuba. Now a few days later I sit doing my computer work on a hot hot day and sipping Cuban rum in a large wine glass. As always a lot of new things keep coming to pass. Presently the information may be about the house and it being sold; of course we would have to find another place. The emotion of letting this place goes go turns out to be very strong for Silvia and I. I am also getting a strong look into Sicilian behavior, which is never casual about such things. It is complex and dangerous and filled with love and is circular and appears to arise as spontaneous natural behavior yet is it particular…..and possibly outside of English to explain.

So Silvia carries the meetings and I sit with the volcano and sip Havana Club while I think and wonder where my Dr friend got his rum cubano. It is hot. It is impossible to say where the sea begins and the sky ends….yes. I smoke and drink. Some days I smoke 2 packs of camels. Drinking in Italy, on Pantelleria is a transformational, social act. In a Sicilian culture there are Sicilian subtleties which Silvia sees as if they have a blinking light and which go straight over my head. I drink some very exceptional Sicilian wines. One of my favorites is a very dry zeibebo. Its color is like a shimmering pearl. This and Passito. Passito is a force all its own. The Passito grapes, the Zeibebo grapes, are coming in now and are being taken up and laid in the sun. People show up from around the world, in small numbers, to help their friends bring in these grapes.

When we think of closing the fire here and moving to another house, I realized in the emotional force of that idea; the fire here has moved slowly, lightly. It has accomplished some work for the people and some work for the island. Maybe we are doing acupuncture on her with these movings around. It is not certain I guess that we will move on. If we do not it means we will fight the landlord, or we will come up with $200,000 in cash in the next few weeks. I am sure something will continue to happen. The tiny fire made ceremonies in four seasons. It made ceremonies with the rising of the sun and the rising of the moon; their setting moments as well. And equinox and solstice. I rember with some vividness the ceremony of the spring equinox last year when i was very sick. The ceremonies made tobacco ties and songs, and knew the breath of the sacred pipe. Language is an issue in talking about these is easy to start poetry, to start singing, to say it is a good day to be deleted.

This dialogue is just an idea and a thought. No one was named guilty of anything. If something stinks it is ok to comment on the odor. We keep a small american indian fire here on the island. All the way over here on the back of a turtle. We are trying to move this sacred fire ceremony around the earth.

Pretending to be.......

The fantasy that you can be a shaman appears to be nearly of epidemic proportions inside western cultures. It seems based on the following theme:

Let us kill all the indians, then we can use their drums and songs and feathers and then we will be the indians.

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

The fantasy that you can be a shaman unfortunately appears to be nearly of epidemic proportions inside western cultures.

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. By knowing nothing they allow the man of Pantelleria to pretend.

In American Indian culture the same rules holds true. To see some modern man or woman pretending to be a shaman is like buying a bowl of rice and reselling it as tiny white crystals. In other words, this behavior of modern people pretending to be shamans is (1)impossible, (2)a sham, (3) delusional but accepted behavior by an unknowing public. Good intentions, when they are in fact destructive and delusional, are not good intention....they are a mistake at best and mental illness at the other end of what is possible.

(for example......)
Movies: After I saw “Apocalypse Now”; a movie about the adventures of one Special Forces Army Captain; for over a year I met so 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 suggestability 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.

It is almost impossible for a modern western male to attain this state of awareness and service. I would make reference to and study a book called :Soma by R Gordon Wassen, which is arguably the most definitive examination of how, what, where shamans really exist....other than in the fantasies of modern men. The power of a shaman is held in balance by the obligation of service, helping other people is essential. Power holds itself in balance this least sacred power does.

we all live together on a tiny blue island in what we casually refer to as the universe. Upon this sacred earth the diversity and abundance of knowledge and experience appears to be limitless.

Automationism, 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 impossible.

Shamanism requires life and death awareness few western minds can grasp. The knowledge of suffering and pain (the underworld) overwhelms and destroys most good candiadtes for this work inside tribal culture. Not so with modern people who read a few (very questionable) books, beat on a drum they bought in a “shamans supply store” and they are ready to be “the chosen” to take away suffering and pain.

What may be at the heart of this problem is the modern person’s 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 shamans. If someone was very sick, we might call on 44 shamans to look into this suffering. This “please let be be Jesus” illusion seems to be at the heart of all this pretending to be shamans. This desire is essentially an underworld condition of Christianity and not shamanism at all.

(This is the first in a series of commentaries on shamanism)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Polishing the Soul

Yesterday, while hiking in a very remote part of Pantelleria, Sicily, we met two americans. I am an American Indian living here with my wife, who has been living here 10 years. We said hello to these two men, possibly a father and his older son. Naturally being well-mannered, we gave him our names. When he heard my rather american indian name he immeditaely began asking me about 20 racial, racist question: am i a full blood? is your blood from your mother or father? and other questions I have already emptied my mind of. Hello, I meet you out here in the wilderness and youy choose to not tell me your name or say anything friendly but to calmy grill me on the contents of my blood? He spoke without drama....without animation, like he was asleep.

To tell you the truth, I barely noticed and while I had an impulse to say something corrective or express my disappointment in this behavior, I was patient and kind to him. I am so used to this. Only from Americans do you get this behavior. I am so used to i barely noticed. Silvia, being from this italian culture, brought home the disturbing quality of this exchange by explaining and reminding me what would happene if two italian groups met while travelling in the wilderness of another country. There would of course be handshakes. These white men did not want to be touched. There would be names. These guys said nothing about themselves while wanting to know all about my racial composition....which seems like an intimate and invasive question, it feels invasive. If Italians had met this way, they would be having the diner together for sure. There would be touching and smiles and no invasive race clarification questions. This seems to happen only to indians being talked to by white people in america. I have seen it many times. It is endless. It also does not matter "how much blood" is involved....I have seen it pulled on every kind of indian.

What's the point? Just this....Americans seem so cold, so distant, so frightened. Being here in this culture of peace and respect for one another, I was jarred by being reminded how racist, how arrogant and empty the American culture is becoming. These two guys, after looking in my wife's eyes, I was ashamed for these two dumb and empty men.

I can polish my soul by breathing. By waking up in my dreams. By not being for or against anything. It is ok to speak your mind. I was happy to learn that their behavior did not make me angry. In the past such bullshit talk could really get a rise out of me. Now it was just an exchange of emptiness, a flatulence of the new world order.

Italian culture has taught me a lot about love, about accepting others, about what a good and healthy and joyful citizen can do and say to make life more sweet. The contrast is astonishing.

I remember everything.
I drop my heart inside these stones
and put them in the fire.
I burn, I dream, I become water.........

The place where we met these two ghosts is a very rare and spiritually charged place on the island. It is called "Favare Grande" and it has red stones and pale soil; the only place on the island like it. There are some stone feathures that are stunning. There are some man-made things here no one understands fully. It is an asonishing hike with both nature and history. It was no fun meeting dull bored americans with typical no-manners of american in a sacred space inside a culture which considers hospitality the fruit of a good life....and I'm not sorry I don't always capitalize my words like america...america has lost the big A in my heart......

Turtle Heart

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sacred Space: Ancient Space: The Ancient Future

I have stopped my ordinary life and now it is this work which will carry me to the end of my life. I am an old Indian man making a ceremony around the earth.

Building a sacred circle around this earth takes time.... time, step by step and part by part to build something precious and beautiful. Each person who shares in these ceremonies is becoming part of the building, the structure and energy of what we will have when it is finished.

Creator has given us a new world, yet also one that is dangerously dominated by old policies and systems...Over these many centuries people brought new religious thinking and scientific tools into the world community. Now the Sacred Pipe is moving in this world community.The sacred pipe ceremonies brings humanity to the center of these many philosophies and knowledge systems which have progressed humanity. Sacred Pipe is a teaching at the center of all these worlds, the 8 worlds of human history that has taken us to this is a teaching about living in your body and living on the mother is a teaching about unlocking the dreamer so humanity can go to the next level of consciousness and the next level of peace and knowledge....yes, the sacred pipe is here to unlock the dreamer unlock the memories, the songs and the visions that will carry us to where they need to be; a new experience we do not yet know fully but which is unfolding for us in the sacred silence of the mystery life......
Turtle Heart (Ojibway Wabeeno)

Turtle Heart published in Poetry Anthology

Turtle Heart was recently published with 4 poems in "Traces in Blood, Bone and Stone" an anthology of Ojibway Poetry edited by Kimberly Blaeser. This book is available from

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