Monday, April 30, 2007

Sweat Lodge 28 and 29 April: Dream Talk

A sweat lodge near to Milan Italy. This is our third year now with a sweat lodge and morning fire camp in the village of Parabiago. We have also had a house blessing, several equinox and a large wedding ceremony in this house. We are hosted by Carlo Raimondi and Paola. She is an official in the environmental department of the italian government, the environmental boss for this district (Lenata). Carlo works in the funeral industry and both go to school in the evenings for holistic healing certificates, as well as parenting four children. They have their hands full. They also have time to host these ceremonies and other activities, such as rebirthing and astrology studies here at their home.

6pm we have the opening ceremony, a small sacred fire where we put tobacco into the flames and sing with old indian rattles. Everyone is touched with an eagle feather and we ask the powers of the mystery life to come and find us to help us, as we open the door to the sacred dreaming.

7 pm. We gather the stones together for the sweat lodge fire. After they are arranged a sacred woman comes and puts tobacco at the four-corners of this stone circle and sings a song. Next we put around the stones the fire wood and all together make one song and light the fire at the eastern point of the circle. Overhead the moon is just rising so we can see it as we start the fire, rising above the rooftops of the other houses.

I tell the people each time we meditate together around the fire, or inside the sweat lodge, to look for one old indian iside your mind. One old indian that will look right at you, right inside of you. If you could see him what would you say? If he could help you, what would you ask him? He does not come with money or fancy material things. Maybe he or she is almost naked. Moccasins on his old feet, a cloth around his body. What are the designs painted on that cloth?

A woman arrived later in the evening, as we were preparing to go inside the sweat lodge. I asked and she agreed to stay outside the sweat lodge and bring in the red hot standing stones, as well as working the water and the door. It is very important to have at least one person outside the sweat lodge, everything goes so much more smoothly. It is not always possible in our work here, as usually everyone is anxious to be inside, so this friend was a good deal for all of us.

6am the next morning. . First Light plus. After a very hot sweat lodge, and that after a meal together, the little morning fire is still burning strong. I just put tobacco into this fire and was listening to the sounds of the people sleeping through the all night dream singing. It is very sweet to sing all night for the people. Tonight I was able to sing almost six hours, a break every hour for about 10 minutes. With first light I am a little sleepy. Everyone is still tucked in. I rang my very old tobetian bells for the dreaming. Probably they are all deep into one dream now. I will let everyone awaken when they want. Usually by 8 everyone is awake and ready for the closing movements of the dream ceremony. Usually I am ready for sleep then. At the moment I am going to lay down a few minutes.

The dream singing is a specialized form of communication. I am going to give you an old teaching. In order to hear this old teaching you must go to sleep. It is an old and sacred form of communication. As far as I know I am the only person on this earth who makes this ceremony. In ancient generations past this was a common ceremony for all the people.

1pm. The closing ceremony. About 9 am everyone was finally awakened and we gathered around the big table and had biscotti, coffee and other snacks typical of the italian breakfast. Everyone had a good feeling and we all told stories about our dreams and the sleeping. When I was singing through the night there was no snoring. When I would stop the singing there was snoring. When I rang the old bells from Tibet the snoring would stop for a few minutes. They all laughed when I told them this.

The closing ceremony was very hopeful. We put tobacco into the fire. I brought out the sacred pipe long enough to offer it to the 6 directions. It was a very emotional moment for me, a little to my surprise. I think because we are so far from home, this sacred pipe and I. The world knows so little of something so important to Indian people. It is important the sacred objects come before the people. In most cultures those few things deemed truly sacred are put away and or protected by glass and alarms and security guards. In the hearts of the old indians, we just put it right there for all the people. Afterwards everyone was brushed down with an eagle feather. How to explain this? Perhaps there is no need. Being brushed down with an eagle feather is something everyone should try. If it happened to you, you would understand it immediately.

Finally we all held hands and then stretched out in a wide circle and leaned far back, holding each other’s outstretched hands. This is an interesting sensation as well, and one of my favorite things to do. I think the largest circle I have ever done it with is about 100 people.

Throughout the night a group of birds sang sweet little songs all night, possibly inspired by the very bright waxing moon high in the night sky. This is not something I recall ever having heard before. There were at least 3 species of small songbirds doing this. All night. It was beautiful and unusual.

Friday, April 27, 2007

American Indian Rock Art Screen Saver

Here is something free. It is a Screen Saver. It is very good. Over 80 paintings, mostly of petroglyphs (ancient rock art) from the southwestern United States. I worked on this for over one year.

The photo above is of one of the paintings. This is a free screen saver. You download it, double click it and there you have it. It is a giving away. Something beautiful about something very ancient. The art is by Ojibway Artist Turtle Heart.

Download the Apple (Mac) version 16 megabytes. Os X or OS 9.

Download the Windows, all versions. 16 megabytes. QUICKTIME 5 or greater is required to be installed on your system.

Monday, April 23, 2007

In the House of Dreamers

©2007 Photography and text by Turtle Heart
Waiting for the Rain to Fall, he said, “In the House Of Dreamers”

“It takes how ever long it takes. Maybe that will save your life. Right now.It has probably saved your life. Going slowly, even while you are waiting. It is not easy but that is not the point. Even when it feels easy everyone is waiting for the rain to fall.”

“Don’t be hasty” he would always say. Some things take time. It is always surprising to be alive and well and inside the rain. It takes time and even inside of the time it takes, things that seemed slow suddenly there arrives a change. An answer in the peace of waiting. The power of being still and quiet. The earth waits for the rain. Flowers and lizards. Wait for the rain.

The word for Rain, the word for the Snake on the ground, the name for the Waiting World and the name for “Open Heart” is the same one word. In an ancient language. It is a word we put inside the sacred pipe. It is the exact same word. It is the one word which means all these things. We don’t just stuff our lives, like dried leaves. Inside the pipe. It is sacred so we breathe at each touch and sing so the mystery life will remember us. And we breathe the sacred words which come to us the dreams. As best we can. We study and think about our dreams in the house of the dreamers. Mide-wi-an. The shape-shifters. Like corn we grow slowly in the night to become the future of where this sacred pipe can be. Changing where you have been into where you are going is real shape-shifting.

Dreaming is a tool, a polishing of the soul that is very useful and interesting.

Not every step is clear nor should it be. Waiting ends, when it ends, inside one single breath. You may remember that waiting is a special kind of listening. Have you never heard the rain? Listen to the waiting is like listening to the rain and is in fact a choice you can make.

44 breaths inside 44 bells ringing in an empty sky in the house where the dreamers sleep. Kung Fu Dreaming. Drumming is there and sometimes corn. Before that moment we crawl around on four legs and go inside an old circle, a sweat lodge, and sing and sing and breathe and we become the rain, the waiting world, the open heart, the animal so close to the earth. The word inside the sacred pipe for this moment. Is. Rain. His name when you translated it to english was “waiting for the rain to fall.”

What is right? What is wrong? Exactly? Shadow and light follow every life. Just at edge of these two lives, in shadow and in light, there is where you find the dreaming. Exactly. Which direction is it moving? It moves right along with the rain. The rain and the light, so why not the shadows?

In one week, up in Milano we will have the dream ceremony, the water drum, the morning fire and the sweat lodge. We will dream together again and remember where we have been. Waiting. You will see. When you go back home something will have changed. The great wind will carry you.

He said we were all born dreaming together. This is what we mean when we say “waiting for the rain”.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Waiting World

“I have wished to tell this story (of the Sacred Pipe) through no other desire than to help my people in understanding the greatness and truth of our own teachings, our own tradition, and also to help in bringing peace upon this earth, not only among men, but within men and between the whole of creation.”
Black Elk, Oglala 1955

In 1986, Kurt Vonnegut appeared before a Senate subcommittee to argue for repeal of the McCarran - Warren Act, which allowed the State Department to bar foreign visitors whose views were unacceptable to the government."All citizens are entitled to hear absolutely any idea anyone from anywhere may care to express,'' he said. ""And where did I get the notion there was such an incredible entitlement? I got it from the junior civics course that was given in the seventh grade at Public School 35 in Indianapolis.''
…(SF Examiner writer Ed Beitiks)

In these last days I have started work at last on a book-length work I have titled “Roots of the Sacred Tree” © 2007. I have thought about this book all my life.
I will compile as much of what I know of the sacred of my life with the teachers I call the old indians. I want it to be a detailed, very frank, and defining document for just what I have found out and just what I think it is important for people to know about the sacred pipe, the sacred fire, the objects and principles of power inside the mystery life. I hope to finish the first draft by the end of the year, before the winter solstice.

I think the best and most correct way to know these things about the sacred pipe is to work face to face, eye to eye, breath to breath. From my travels and my studies I have done that for myself. I have gone around the circle 8 times, the circle of the old indians of the 8 sacred gateways.

What I have learned is compelling. What I hope to bring together in the book is an atlas, a tao. A manual of some hope for consciousness and comprehension for what is at stake. For the Future.

Far into the future the people will need this information. As much information as possible. Good solid clear information. Good solid and clear ceremonies. The ancient future is going to take us to surprising places.

I have always believed that the ceremonies of the sacred pipe change things. Perhaps a record and some good reasons of this moment of change can find itself inside one book.

Kurt Vonnegut was a light inside the dark rooms where life sometimes brings us. When I went to his web site the day he died there was only a bird cage drawing, with the door open and the little bird flown away. I remember. Speaking to you. I was a little bird at that time. Now the spirit has gone inside my body. I was the one who there. I was. Picking up my life. I was there with them. When they dreamed. When they danced. When they were Silent. When they smoked the standing stone. When I put the sacred stone down on the earth. I was singing. I remembered who I was that day. I remembered where I was going.

Monday, April 09, 2007


“You can love me or leave me
because I am never going to stop


Yes. Never stop moving. Forward. Even if it only one breath every day. Just lean your big head forward and inhale slowly. Something is inside your body. Something has been put in there. It is your life. Move It. Forward.

Never stopping. Sometimes even waiting is a kind of motion. In a world of shadow and light.

When I promised the old indians I would move forward. I was alive. At that sweet moment. I was a baby that believed everything. I believed what my senses told me. I listened. To the life inside of me. Life Song. The music is the motion. Sitting quite still on the earth the old indian was singing. The sun was rising just as the smoke came from his lips and married itself to the wind; to the daughter of the wind. Dancing Life. Moving inside his toes, he does not lift his feet but his body is a wave, beside the sea. A Wave. Apart. Joining in by standing still.

While we were away from the island for a few days, the postman gave our mail to a friend of ours. We did not ask him to do this or tell him we were away from the island. When we came home he stopped by to be sure we contacted our friend to get our mail. Though the island is small, the postman is moving forward. He is like our uncle always bringing us treats. He is a man of Pantelleria. It is clear his spirit is in motion.

A woman we know seeks the truth. She works as a doctor and has a lot of teaching for every ear. She is filled with information and takes up all the space in the room when she talks. She asked for the mystery life to tell her some truth about herself. Working together we showed her a place in the mystery life where she could see her reflection in the true eyes of compassion. She abandoned her patients and sits only with anger and will never look this way again. She did not like the woman the mystery life showed to her. She is a woman asleep inside her own dream. Standing still. Frozen with Knowledge.

Sometimes to know the truth is to stand naked in a storm and know that you are the wind and rain which freezes your own body.

Sometimes to know the truth, you need only feel love and feel everybody and walk away singing. Satisfied. In motion.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Riding Around in Reverse

02 April 2007

Dream Life
(journal 28 March to 01 April)
On the basis of changing my dream pattern: this move into another culture, another country has been very important.

My dream pattern has changed so dramatically. The old Indians made to me the teaching about how important the dream life can be.

Much of the ceremonial exercises and rituals of my work in the World Journey is about the dream pattern.

It seems that if you can change and altar the dream pattern, then the life itself can change. It seems that this is possible.

You can change yourself within. You do not have to stop being you. Changing the dream pattern very softly changes the kind of thoughts you have during the normal days; in your conversations with others. Even small changes in these areas can change many things...the work, the social experience, even the fundamental energy of life itself. It is a small thing with enormously large consequences.

Small changes lead to new meetings lead to new opportunities.

Last night I had a long, long dream. At the end of this dream I was on an island a lot like Pantelleria. In the dream life "these places" are the "same places" but they look and feel like different places.

In this different Pantelleria my dreaming showed me a dark side to the island. In the darkness a very frightening monster came towards me and I was very frightened for a moment. Taking a very long breath I sat right down on the earth in front of the monster and began singing directly to it. It was a song I have never made before. It was a little broken, but it was also very focused and all my being was focused only on this song. The next thing I knew Silvia was waking me up. She said I was singing a beautiful song at the top of my voice. Other people in the house had to get up and go to the work the next morning, so she woke me. In waking me I was able to remember clearly the dream.

One aspect of changing the dream pattern is to have the experience to awaken in a strong dream and make some record, or fix otherwise into your memory the dream experience.

All to often we awaken after the long sleep to remember we were dreaming, but to remember nothing about the dream itself.

Since I have experienced Pantelleria, I have found it to be just about the strongest place I have ever been for dreaming.

It is a tiny island surrounded by a large sea, covered in obsidian and doused with volcanic vapors and many intense flowers. The chemistry of the land and air is potent and unique.

Many of my strongest dreams for the last several years have been about Pantelleria. Many of my strongest dreams about Pantelleria take place when I go away from the island. As I write this I am in Bolgna for some medical tests and each night the dreams about the island have been strong and interesting.

In these dreams now I have had many Indians present, and also the sacred pipe has been in many of these dreams.

The next night: more dreams with old indians. I had a long conversation in the dreaming with the late Slow Turtle, Supreme Medicine Man (Sacheem) of the Wompanoag Indians of Cape Cod. He had built a huge circular deck over the waterfalls of an old creek I used to play in as a child. On the platform many new age people were holding meditations or ceremonies of some sort. This was agitating to me but I was at peace about it after having the long talk with my old friend. Many of my old sculptures were in the stones of the creek, like old offerings and I was moved to tears that even though now there was all this activity, the offerings had not been disturbed or stolen. Our main topic of conversation that I remember was in trying to fix his satellite tv cable connection. We walked down a long, beautiful dirt road and finally ended up at the place where all the technology cables could be seen.

Later I visited my old art gallery which I had sold to some woman. She had two indian boys working for her and one was wearing a strange necklace that fitted around his shoulders. It was made of very poor quality turquoise, but the design was rather interesting and quite unique. I did not like so much the way they had my art displayed but thanked them for their help in selling my art. I remember embracing old slow turtle and telling him that I loved him.

I spoke with other people, people who were clearly not indian people. I was supportive of their efforts to understand our culture and teachings but at the same time I was very sarcastic with them about their pretense of knowledge. It was like thank you so much for making this effort to understand but please shut up and keep your opinions about these things to yourself.

"In the winds of the pines the last songs and prayers of my people will not be seen or heard and their tears will fall like rain in the mist". An old indian. Moving alone now through the spaces of the waiting world, forever a long way from home. Finding dreams and teachers inside the dreams he has become like singing water, flowing across the rivers of time, unbound and and solitary.

The next night...another long ceremony with an asian teacher and many dogs, including one who speaks english. A ceremonial altar with power objects from around the world. Later in the day, a nap with a dream about moving next door to a gigantic spanish american family. The house is a typical migrant worker type of mobile housing, two long rows of them set on either side of a large corn field with plowed rows of dark earth for the front yards.....So interesting. In my dreams I make this world journey with these sacred objects and this ceremonial space.

When awake I am here in Bolgna Italy undergoing long medical tests and making walks in the rain under cloudy skies. In the garden there is one very happy little bird that sings all day, rain or shine. The number 1640 comes up several times. I eat a little chocolate, hand made from a local place which sets my body on fire and reminds me my days of eating chocolate have finished. It sure was tasty.

I have learned from this dreaming that creating and entering a ceremonial space is to change entirely the moment and to alter in a strong and clear way the expressions and habits of everyday behavior. This lesson is so simple. It is the real value of the ceremonies carried inside the sacred pipe.

I learn that people often have trouble with this opportunity to shift their minds and often persist in behaving in a typically normal way. Like resistance to abundance, we also have resistance to our own powers to change reality, if only for a moment. We pray for change yet hang on like monkeys on a vine to our daily habits of behavior. The ceremonial space is quiet and forces nothing. It is a voluntary act of consciousness, which is what gives it its true power...the silent and gentle shift in behavior is about the only rule.

Later that night we went to an Italian BBQ restaurant and had a mountain of BBQ meat. The Italians BBQ dry meat with no sauce at all. I was raised on southern and Texas BBQ which is more or less drowned in sauce. The wine was outstanding, homemade bread, very intense place. It was only a few kilometers from home so to amuse me Silvia drove home in reverse. Later I was thinking about the meat. I really prefer BBQ with lots and lots of sauce.

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