Friday, January 19, 2007

Where are the Elders? The Teachers of the Sacred?


Among the many questions I hear from modern people; they ask me when will the elders come to make teachings in the world and help the people? As I have discussed in other articles, it is the permission and direction of the tribal elders which determine who and when and where sacred teachings, sacred ceremonies will take place.

I find it surprising at some levels that people would expect the elders to come and see them. I was asked years ago to make a pipe for a man who made sweat lodges for a small tribe in Washington state. The lady who asked me was a sweet indian lady, I liked her very much. She told me this man was leading sweat lodges for her people and they all wanted to reward him and thought having a pipe made for him was a good idea. I agreed to do this but told her I would have to meet the man first. She told me a date when there would be a ceremony and invited me to come. On the day I showed up the scene was unreal. It looked like a giant party with kids and food and dogs everywhere. Directed to the man I found a tiny white man was the sweat lodge leader. I sat down to talk with him and discovered that he was a psychologist who worked for the tribes in that area in some sort of public health program. When I asked him where he got the rights to do the sweat lodges he was very evasive, but I pressed my questions and learned that he figured out how to do the sweat lodges from reading several books. When pressed for some information on when and where and if some tribal elders had given him permisson and instruction to do this work, his answer, after much hemming and hawing, was very strange. He said to me if the elders wanted to give him permisson to do these sweat lodges they can come to his office or to his house and talk to him.

I told him, and I tell you also, that the elders do not come to you. It is your responsibility to go and seek and find and hope for the assistance of tribal elders. The arrogance of this round little white man astonished me. Only a lost modern person could have this kind of arrogance. I refused on the spot to even consider a pipe for this man. Later I had a long conversation with the indians who had asked this favor of me, explaining why I could not make this work for them. I said to them, and I say to you, seeking out the will and direction of qualified elders is the law of the sacred and there are no substitutes or books or self-enlightenment practices that can replace this law.

While there may be at any moment some tribal elders travelling about in the world, it is not typical that this is so. The nature of sacred ceremony is that it is related to the earth and most tribal elders stay very close to the particular earth that is their home. As part of my education I travelled for many years seeking out tribal elders in their homes and on their lands. This great adventure has shaped my entire life and my understanding of what sacred teachings are.

Maybe it would surprise many people to know that many elders are waiting and waiting for the seekers to arrive, to show them a good face and an honest heart....yet day after day they sit in lonlieness and watch empty horizons....passing on with their deep knowledge silent inside their bodies. These days it is not a surprise to find that even their families and neighbors cannot find them, will not listen to them...while on the other hand we have so many self-appointed modern people standing up and saying they are the new teachers of the sacred.

Step by step it seems through time I am becoming one of the elders moving around this mother earth and I see with my eyes and feel with my soul what is going on and who is doing what. Now in these days I live on Pantelleria and I am thinking to myself that I am waiting for the seekers to find me and I watch the horizon each day to see who might be coming.

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