Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Standing Stone Revelations : Change
Change. I have been called by many names in my strange and beautiful Indian life....Winterstone, Strong Dog, Little Otter, Turtle Heart, Skipper, Hymhenteqhous Mizhekay Odayin, Broken Thunder.....Change is also one of my names. This work changes things. When I show up in your life it is because things really need and want to change. When the Sacred comes to your house it changes everything. This is called Broken Thunder. Silently without knowing it, or by praying for it, the answer will arrive. Change has a New Face because you have never been there yet, so how can you know?
The Sacred Pipe is a key which unlocks 8 DoorWays, or Sacred Arcs. Sometimes just the shadow of its idea has some great power, and it is usually a surprise.
One of the changes here is the sweat lodge which is open now on this island in the sea. There are other ceremonies here as well. Ceremonies give me a lot of information about the nature and charecter of people. It can be downright encyclopedic.
Our first sweat lodge on Pantelleria was very profound and beautiful. This is such a unique place. It took us a lot of thinking to build this seat lodge.You have to see this place to understand enough of what I am talking about. There is no long straight wood here. Of course in Ojibway Land we have the long straight wood, but here there is nothing. The wind will beat down anything that is tall, no matter what it is. The winds here are profound and sacred and come from four very different worlds (such as 1 from africa, the shara, another from the northern european mountains, etc). We made 28 stones. For averyone but Silvia and I, this was their very first experience with the sweat lodge. As an added bonus her 21 year old son, Fillipo, has agreed to do the stones....to be the one who brings in the stones and stays outside while the circle of people go inside and sweat together.
The stones are from the volcanos of Pantelleria and I had only to gather them from arms reach around me. The were very hot. Two of the women inside the sweat lodge needed the door to be open many times. Usually we only open the door 4 times. In the first door as I began the singing, I understand in the clearest way possible that this was not an experience of listening to an old sing but was an experience of communicating together. I knew in these moments that our silence in breathing with the hot steam while the wtaer drum brought out my song would be a form of "council". Council together in Sicilian culture has a much more speficic and strong meaning than the same word in English. Council together. It was great to see this idea so clearly. Council together but at a unique level, in a unique modality, in an ancient manner.
In the old indian culture the song was often a way to present a teaching, an important idea. It was more a formal communication than just "a song"....many specific mystery life things are said in these old ways of singing and they are things made of the moment, of the people who are present. The old songs are not old songs but a way of understanding and reflecting what you understand of the hearts and souls of these people at this moment. It is reflected back to them in the method of a song. Sacred Jazz. Improvised reflections on emotion and perception. Yet very precise and mysterious information can be presented in this way.
The nearly perfect dome shape works perfectly. We covered the sweat lodge in an old sail and blankets. The cover was perfect and the heat was able to move in a circle all around us. It is a particular generator the ojibway sweat lodge. 8 arcs and 4 circles with a prayer hole to receive the heated stones. It is made of PVC. It is the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, a place where we have an ongoing sacred fire....one of the circle of sacred fires in the world journey of the sacred pipe. We worked for some time to try and make the sweat lodge with natural materials. After two years of this we thought it would be better to keep moving rather than waiting for long saplings to appear. Shipping long saplings was not an option. It was profoundly educational. A meditation in style and form, in absolutes (rules) and compromise (freedom to keep moving) and we choose to keep moving.
One man came for the sweat lodge from the North near Milano (3 days of travel in Italy). He has to to take two long ferry boat rides, as he wanted to bring his auto. When it came time to leave he had to say another 5 days because the winds made the boats impossible to travel on the waters. So he had to wait another five days for the pleasure of the wind. We also had to buy the firewood in Sicily. It cost about $500 to get enough wood for 3 sweat lodges. Pantelleria has no firewood. It also took 3 months to get the wood. All these labors actually contributed to a real feeling of accomplishment once we got the sweat lodge filled with people.
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