Using the Rule of Silence

Above, Red Shirt Master Drum Maker of Taos Pueblo (New Mexico). Below, one of his drums and some of the associates of this drum inside the mystery life. Copyright 2007 Turtle Heart.

To the old Indians, the people who are in fact, the people of the sacred pipe; spoken language had and has its problems. When people discuss their ideas the result is religion, politics, lies, exaggerations, oppositions, hidden meanings and on and on....language is a problem when it comes to speaking and understanding the truth.

As Kurt Vonnegot has argued, the big gigantic brain seems to be the problem. In the ceremonial moment with the Sacred Fire, with the Sweat Lodge, with the Sacred Pipe, every effort is made to bypass the dominance and self-absorption of the big brain. Silence is used inside the ceremony and this behavior immediately awakens other senses. Breathing is used, and this sends strong energies throughout the body.

In my work we use the Rattle, or Shaker (zhiishiigwan-an in ojibwe). We use the energy of the drum. My big old drum was made for me by Red Shirt, a great old drum-maker from Taos Pueblo. He was a gifted and popular and very highly paid machinist yet halfway through his fancy professional life he gave it all back and became a drum-maker for the people of the world.

Stand still upon the earth. Let the big brain rest, become like a baby for a moment and know nothing at all but believe in everything. Feel the drum. look into the ancient fire and see the eyes of an old indian and imagine that deep inside your most treasured dream you have awakened. When does the earth begin to speak to the bottom of your feet? What is it saying? Is it possible to listen without thinking?

A moment with the sacred fire, the rattles, breathing, emptied for a heart-beat, something may change.

This is much more than just a moment of learning. We do it every day. On the side of an old volcano. We call this practice using the rule of silence to speak the truth.

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