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

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