Monday, December 31, 2007

Bloging Into The Void

Though our news is good, perhaps even profound, we continue to Blog into the Void. While jabbering blogs on every conceivable subject elicit millions of comments and international attention, the news of the world journey of the four directions unity bundle talks only to itself. Even our friends do not visit or write comments…even our families ignore us. Usually if you do something, like sell cookies, there is at least an auntie or a neighbor who will check you out just for the cause of good manners.

I have been dealing with the relative invisibility of this work for decades. I remain unbowed. When I think of the long road ahead, I know we are doing our part to make something useful, something that can be carried into the future.

The seeming contradiction of invisibility versus progress is not intimidating, it changes nothing. When I travel around and visit the old Indians I always learn about where what is real is revealed. The old Indians have never heard of you, or of even the most famous people you have heard of, including Indians. They don’t know who Britany Spears is, or even George Bush. Everyone seems to have heard of and misses hearing from Muhammad Ali.

No, the old Indians don’t talk about you or them. Their subjects are closer to home, closer to the bone. Indian people have become experts at surviving. Many tribes lost everything. They lost their language, clothing, culture, habits, religion and property. Yet many Indian people remain, some even thrive. To have been stripped of everything and yet remain present in the world…it is something we no longer find intimidating on any level.

I learned a long time ago to seek clarity for myself. As I make my way quietly around the world I make these notes to myself. My main hope in each posting is to say clearly what I mean and nothing else. I believe if there is any light here, it will reveal itself in the darkness soon enough. Light does not need publicity, it is its own reward.

Many people have a fascination with their own darkness. Perhaps the internet presents to great a temptation for people to resist pretending. The mask of pretending is easy to make on this world wide wizard box. Who are the people who write these words? How much of it is true?

I have always believed that the truth should be known even though the heavens may fall. I wonder what the distance is between your words and the truth. The old Indians believed that one should be responsible and behave impeccably with language. Even if the story is a joke. Learning to tell the truth with elegance and simplicity from a protected and clear space inside your life is much more entertaining than a lie.

Over these many threads I have named myself, known myself, expressed myself. As an Indian man, an American Indian man, I feel that obligation to say what I can and leave it here for those who will come later. Walking softly, quietly, invisibly when you need to. Perhaps the trail of our words should be equal to the density of our footprints.

I was reading the other day that the US Government has passed a law granting money to preserve American Indian languages. The program requires a very complicated and dedicated infrastructure be built or provided to set up a complicated and many-conditioned program before the government will release any money at all. It seems like a gigantic catch 22 that very few tribes will be able to manage.

I also read the Barack Obama, a man running for US President, is “part American Indian”. Turns out he is also related by blood to Vice-President and un-prosecuted criminal Dick Cheney, who is white. This situation makes me think of the blood lines of Europe at the turn of the last century…all those kings and queens and princes were related to each other. America has who knows how many people with American Indian blood. To most Americans their distant ancestors seem to mean nothing to them at all. Obama might be one of those who would “reach out” if he had ancestors. Hard to say. -He has made some hopeful statements to Indian people in his campaign, as has Hilary Clinton. George Bush 1 and 2 were disasters for American Indians. Bill Clinton tried to help the tribes but was so hated and opposed by the republican majority that almost nothing changed in his eight years.

Lately I have been dreaming of obsidian.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Strangers on a Lake

copyright ©2007 Turtle Heart

17 december 2007


To run ahead and go where the others have yet to follow. To be responsible for all the people near to your life. A person able to move directly and without hesitation into the unknown. An energy of exploration made possible by the obligation to take care of those who will follow.

You cannot run ahead and leave everyone behind. Running ahead really means “bring back something useful”.

108 Sacred Fires want to be lighted upon the mother earth, in a circle with its home point being Pantelleria Island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a place with a great Manitou. It is a Small Turtle floating and dreaming on an emerald sea. In the beginning of time Sky Woman made the Mother Earth from a tiny mound of earth brought up from the bottom of the sea.

By placing a long sacred morning tobacco fire here we are appealing directly to the mystery life in what is a visible language and intentions.

For the next days, until the Winter Solstice at 7:08 am here, on the 22nd, we will make the ceremony of the morning fire. We will make dream songs and walk on four legs into the sweat lodge. We will be touched by Eagle Feathers and be in a position to breathe in silence with the Sacred Pipe.

Just now, our time, we have made the tobacco fire. Over the next days we will put the tobacco into the fire and send out songs to the eight directions. By the moment when the Solstice arrives, we will be feeling very well.

The Solstice is not even mentioned on most calendars you see these days. Sometimes the weather guy on tv brings it up. Most newspapers still have a small and old traditional almanac page which probably lists it. Does anyone read the newspaper anymore?

Today I found an old piece of obsidian. It was different than any other I had seen. It took me some moments to figure out why. It had melt marks on one side. From the time it was a liquid, the marks are preserved from the moment it became a solid again. Little waves. Most obsidian you see is from a mining operation with mechanical operations and the stone looks like a big hunk of broken glass. This one is tough and gnarly and has little waves. The old indians thought the stones you find winking and nodding at you just laying around on top of the earth are special and important. The stones which come up from commercial mining are like disaster victims or children of abusive parents. This stone resting on the open belly of the earth does have a completely different sense and it is more fluffy.

When Sky Woman made the earth for the Ojibway people, we began an eight direction ceremonial migration to fill her. With the arrival of the white man these migrations were interrupted. By taking the Four Directions Unity Bundle out and into and around the world I have taken it upon myself to resume, in a manner, that ancient ceremony.
I believe that if we can make 108 Sacred Fires around the world, that it will change the world. The whole world.

The two travelers. Two people traveled to the morning fire on Pantelleria from far away (Milano) in this week. One of them was told no, he could not come, and he came anyway. He never arrived at the fire (since the answer was no). He stayed on the island in a hotel for three days.

The plane he departed on brought a woman to whom the answer was yes, and who had made an appointment to stay with the fire for a few days many weeks ago. She arrived on the airplane he left on. They do not know each other. They have never met. He is from the east side of some lake in a village near to Milan and she is from the west side of the same lake.

What is the difference between yes and no? The old Indians said to me, “There is no difference.”

The gift from the Sea
Some months ago, we shared in a day of cleaning the ports around our little island. A lot of trash was pulled away from our sweet sea, the Mediterranean. There was also a lot of whitened driftwood in all shapes and sizes. That was brought to the house for the sweat lodge and possibly some art projects. In a few moments, my time, we will light the fire we make from this wood. It is the first time I have ever made a sweat lodge with wood that has come from the sea.

..a child of Nana'b'zhoo

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