Tuesday, February 27, 2007
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.
Monday, February 19, 2007
7 Generations. a story for the ancient future.
Today I am working on a new painting. While priming the canvas, i had a strong sensation of the responsibility I feel to make a record of these ideas of the sacred pipe for the future generations. Generation by generation we believe it is possible there will be a great need for this information in the future. I do not think capitalism, federalism or the church will continue to give answers to the seven generations. All over the world people search for other answers. Day by day a great dissatisfaction will force a great change in the society of people.
I have believed from the first moment that I sat with the Elder teachers of the sacred pipe in the value of these practices, of these ideas. In my education I have looked into the eight directions of both shadow and light. My memories crowd my silence in these days and inside my soul a great light and dream of these sacred thoughts is the wind that carries my soul forward. Time presses on me and it presses none to gently.
My life in this work with the sacred pipe has brought me to the warm embrace of the daughter of the wind. Inside my paintings and sculpture there is a dance, a marriage dance between the wind (air), the sacred morning fire (fire), the water (water) of the sea and the red earth (earth) of these sacred stones. It seems no accident. Yet there is resistance, questions. Have I made the right choice?
Pantelleria seems the perfect place to invite the children of the world....a sacred space set in motion in the floating world. The mystery life is a weaver, she is not a stone broken on the earth. Many of the worlds most sacred people are now in motion.....moving like sailors out into the floating world.
America is a disaster for American Indian People. Even though, for the most part, the wars with the guns have finished, the war with the racism and politics and religion money of the same old white man has the same smell of death all over it. It was clear to me some time ago that the sacred pipe had to first go away from the America of the United States.
Now there is a small sacred space on this (Italian, Arabic, African, Greek) Island, a sweat lodge, eagle feathers, sacred stones, sacred leaf, mystery life tools....the old, old songs. In my life then I have come this far. I have done this much. I strive to fertilize the sacred silence. I am a mystery life dreamer, awake in the floating world.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Il vento è la mia medicina
che spazza via le pietra dalla mente.
La pioggia è la mia medicina
che lava le mie ossa stanche
abbandonate sul letto.
Il mio cavallo è la mia medicina,
e quando cavalco
il ritmo intenso del suo passo
dentro mi accende.
If you were to look at a map of the region of Pantelleria you would see that in all directions there are great mountain ranges which funnel the wind right to our door. Pantelleria has a unique and powerful geological alignment with 8 winds. She was called, this island, "The Daughter of the Wind", by ancient people. the ancient people who used sailing ships know more about the wind than modern people, who use machines that more or less just ignore the wind.
We have sometimes been known to say that a great wind carries us.
Yes all the while we are carried. It is easy to forget how sacred, how powerful and beautiful the wind really is. Who can carry one life all alone? Sacred Pipe brings the wind inside the body. The wind comes along the red road and comes inside our bodies. In a perfect life one song will be released and this song could heal the world.
Monday, February 05, 2007
The funniest things about life are those things that are funny. Laughter is the most fashionable when it is based upon something funny. I think one of the best things about me is my passion for what is the possibility of joyful laughter?
Somebody told me a long time ago about a man they heard cured himself of a terminal sickness by watching all the Marx Brothers movies and laughing and laughing. And how could you not? I never heard what became of his life after that. I have always believed that story and think about it. As a meditation for the people my spirit hears a longing for laughter. Part of the humanity and flavor of Italy is its sense of humor. It is fleshy and makes a strong impression, like the food, like the dead emporers, who probably were the reason why they found a good sense of humor an important cultural expectation.
The sun and the earth and the sea make me burst out into laughter rather spontaneously. It is a place that makes me happy enough to laugh. This kind of laughter has become a good experience for me. When I hear about, for example, all the corruption and stange business arrangements of the bush and cheny groups, I just chuckle to myself. Yup. Yup. pretty funny how the blind are so blind they have forgotten they are blind. It also makes me laugh and feel encouraged to note how many people seem fed up at last with this group. These three forms of laughter are very different from each other.
I noted with some emotion the passing of Molly Ivans, a Texan and a miracle of observation about how people really are, especially in Texas. Such a wit and great funny words could only come from someone who knows how and why to laugh at and find humor in the condition of our society. Laugh well and your enemies will fear you. You will be protected and some will even dream of you. Finding laughter in a dream is very hard usually. I wonder why? Mybe looking for a dream with the sort of laughter woven in the soul by Molly Ivans would be a dream the old indians would say, gives one shapeshifting energy for real dream travel. Laughter codec. Nothing is more lovely, or more missed. Go to texasobserver.org for more about Moly Ivins.
Today it was so beautiful. This is a lovely land. I walked to the little market nearby and they had marshmallows, the first I have ever seen in Italy. They were made in France and have a japanese logo. I felt they were a gift from the mystery life and ate every one very slowly. Today while I am painting, I will listen to Richard Pryor.
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