Monday, March 24, 2008

Tibet | The Bloody Olympic Torch

©2008 Turtle Heart


I have had the privilege of meeting privately with His Holiness Dali Lama of Tibet. It was in the strangest of all possible worlds, Washington, New Jersey. I was presented with this opportunity by a very swell guy named Lopsang Tsering. In my very first visit to Manhattan I was driven from Brooklyn into Manhattan’s Greenwich Village area. I had been invited to stay by myself at the small apartment of a friend next door to the famous Village Cigars shop. The lady who usually rented the apartment was away fro three days and offered me this chance to be on my own and see a bit of New York City. The very first place I discovered myself entering was “The Tibet Shop” on Christopher Street. The man I met there at the time was called Juan Li. Juan Lii is a very charming and interesting fellow of Chinese and Cuban ancestry. That first meeting I stayed in the quiet little shop looking at treasures from Tibet and talking about the mystery life with Juan Li. If you google his name you will find many links to his work. Juan was sitting in for the shop’s owner, like me for the apartment owner. Later I was to meet the character Lopsang. We all became quite close and shared many adventures, teachings and meals together. I have taken both these men on travels to meet with and share in some of my experiences with the old Indians. I consider both of these outstanding men to be supporters of the World Journey of the Four Directions Unity Bundle.

Lopsang’s family was in the group that fled Tibet in 1959 into India. Through his introduction (a telephone call) to the Embassy of Tibet in NYC I was able to schedule a full private appointment with His Holiness.

What I most vividly recall about that meeting was that Dali Lama gave me his full and undivided attention.I don’t think I ever experienced this sensation prior to that moment. It can be quite startling. I have realized since then that most people listen most of the time with their attention very divided and distracted from any number of things. That single moment showed me the chaos in which we noisily live more vividly than anything before or since.

I presented the sacred man with a song It was very soft this song. It was so soft that we had to put our foreheads together so he could hear me. I made my little song and he held the sacred pipe for a few minutes in silence. He blessed and gave to me the bells in the photo accompanying this story. He rang them six times.He tied three white silk scarves around my life…one around my neck, the other around the sacred pipe, and the third around the Cherokee Corn Staff that I was also carrying. I was escorted back into the sunlight.

At the time I was helping Juan Li and Kazz Tagami take 108 sacred bundles around the world in a ceremony called The Sword of Heaven. There is at least one book that has been written on this important ceremony under that title. Mr. Tagami is finishing up even now his own account of the Putting of the God.

Today the Olympic Torch will be carried through the blood of Tibetan people on its way, surrounded by armed guards, to the People’s Republic of China. The man I called a sacred man, the Chinese have recently called “a terrorist”.

It is a dream of mine, my work, and the dream of others as well, that I can carry the ceremonies of the Sacred Pipe of the Four Directions Unity Bundle into China. One day. On that sacred pipe on that day I will dress sacred pipe in the white prayer silk of the Holy Man of Tibet.

I wish sacred pipe could be at the torch ceremony. Perhaps one day the tribal nations of the people of the Sacred Pipe will take an interest in sending the sacred pipe to the leadership and principle world events. That is the official job of the Four Directions Unity Bundle though these days we are waiting on the bench for the call to arrive. However, sacred pipe is in motion even when waiting. The sacred Morning Fire of Pantelleria receives our tobacco and the old drum gives us songs each day.

Each day now I have been thinking about the sweet and good people from Tibet that are friends of mine. Each day I think about the heart and the eyes of Dali Lama as more of his people are killed, beaten, put into prison and blamed for all of China’s problems.

I wonder at the contrast of the Dali Lama, in simple monk’s robes, and the President of China, in a cheap white man’s style suit with a little white man tie. His face is pale and he does not look right into the camera.

In Asissi, in Italy, there is a great presence of many massive and important Catholic churches exploiting and administering to the love of humanity for Saint Francesco. It is a powerful place and one of the most important centers of traditional Catholic faith in the world. In a very prominent place there is a large bronze. It is beautifully made, vibrant and powerful. It shows a line of the world’s religious leaders (though no American or other Indigenous Indian) all standing together in full ceremonial dress. Standing next to the Pope is Dali Lama. The Pope was Pope John Paul, not this stiff beady-eyed man who is there now.

So far only Nancy Pelosi has made her way to be seen standing next to the monk from Tibet.

It sure would be nice to see a line of World Leaders standing (without their armies) next to Dali Lama. I would go there and stand with him if I could, with Sacred Pipe. He would remember me.

I am the one who wept and made the whole earth wet.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wabune-nei-Boozhoo 2008 | Equinox

©2008 Turtle Heart

(this is it)

Hold the water
Stand with the fire
Dream about the earth
As the wind blows your life around
We are carried
By our songs about each other
Held together by the bones of the ancient truth
When the good life
Came down from the light in the sky
We are the ones
You and I
Who have found our way
Broken and healed
Seperated but bound together
In the center of all things

Equinox is 20 March, 6:48:29 CET, at 36North50 degrees by 11East57 degrees.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ritual Address to Society | Thunder Drumming

©2008 Turtle Heart

The Ceremonial Program for 2008

In original instructions of Sacred Pipe…..yes, those: the teachings are given inside the ceremony. Otherwise the rule was silence. The Keeper of the Bundle opens the Bundle and what happens from the beginning to the finish of that moment is the “ceremony”.

Recently the Drum was opened, and Four Drums now live with me, Turtle Heart, on the small island of Pantelleria in the Mediterranean Sea. Today the opened bundle asked for the old contract. The program for 2008 will be what we call The Drums of Thunder. The ceremony will involve formal conversations convened before a large Tewa Drum, made by the late Mr. Red Shirt of the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. I have been the Keeper of this drum for 30 years.

Sitting before this drum will be the central exercise of the ceremonies this year. When we are all together we will sit before the drum and while the drum is speaking the lessons will be given. Perhaps you could call them Singing Lessons. Wabeno style.

This will be done several times during the day and several times during the night. Four times a day at least. When we are together with the Waiting World. In April I will be doing this ceremony near to Milano. Later I should be bring Thunder Drumming to Sicily. I convene ceremonies with this program.

If anyone is interested in having and hosting two or three days of Thunder Drumming you can organize a time and place and make me an offer to arrive there and share this ceremony with you.

People who come to Pantelleria for private studies will have the opportunity to participate in more intimate and focused sessions with the Thunder Drumming. Please contact us if you would like to visit us on Pantelleria for private studies.

We will try to make some recordings of these sessions and make them available at the World Journey of the Four Directions Unity Bundle official web space.

On Pantelleria we are waiting with blinking lights on our ADSL modems for ALICE Telecom to flip the switch and turn the light green for “go”. Some estimates are at least one more month before they do. Since coming to Pantelleria we have been limited to a dial up analog modem. Slow. Slow. Once the ADSL is actually working we will have many more possibilities as to what we can share.

Speaking the original instructions only when the drum is speaking, hopefully thereby making it the voice of the drum, is an improvised practice. It is a kind of Sacred Jazz. It is a response to the people gathered around. It is a very clever system of giving out the teachings and practices. The idea of people sitting around while some “teacher” “teaches” them something is the more conventional way people have of doing this kind of work together. Even most Indians do it this way these days. It is not the only way. Creating a large, spontaneous song with the drum, it is possible to travel clearly into the moment and come closer to hearing something that will really help us, right now. The Old Indians have always expressed to me their belief that a good teaching has practical value in the lives of the people.

This kind of exercise is a type of fine-tuning the process of communication. People listen to music differently than they do to speech. Different areas of the brain are used to both create and hear the ideas which are made by the drum. It is a real time conversation turned into a new direction, using an ancient tool.

Drum is not very well understood by modern people. Drum has been with us for millennia. Every culture has drums and a history of drums. The North American Indian drum is not one drum, it is many drums. In the North many singers gather around one great drum for the singing. In the Southwest, many singers gather, each holding a drum. Each ceremonial drum has status as a “person”, not as an object. In the original teachings the drum was a consultant. These days there is more social than ceremonial drumming. The difference is like the difference between gossip on a street corner and the oral examination of a medical doctor. In tribal society it is not usual for just anyone to casually possess a drum. Once a drum enters your life Indian people have a greater expectation towards your behavior. People who are Keepers of drums are expected to live good lives and be honest people. People will quickly turn away from a drum that is not clearly in balance. If you show up among Indian people with a drum, they will look at you with questions on their faces and in their eyes.

The drums of the original teachings were birthed objects. Once created by their makers, they went through a variety of ceremonial birthings. These ceremonies could last a year or more. Real sacred rums have a birth, a name and lead a rich life. They are approached with respect. From the songs and ceremonies made for the skin of the animal, to the songs and ceremonies made for the wood which contains the drum, each step in the life of a drum is particular and rather profound.

Of course, these days you can bypass the original instructions and buy “real american indian” drums. These days Indian people also use every kind of drum…from high school marching band drums to tambourines. “Indian drums” are made in large well organized shops. They buy the skins from hunters, the wood from loggers and advertise in the yellow pages and in shaman magazines. The difference between these drums is like the difference between real grass and the artificial grass that is used to carpet the outdoor sports arena. It is, one could say, the difference between a live person and a dead object. There are quite a large number of little shamans, I call them “floating heads”, who buy skin drums and beat on them, accomplishing nothing day after day. There are these days a great many Native American drum groups that work the social dance circle of pow-wows. Social dance drums are not usually sacred drums, they are musical instruments. There is a much smaller group of Indian people who hold and carry sacred drums. You could live your whole life next door to a sacred drum and never know it, never hear it. American Indian drums are very different than the drums of other cultures, such as African or Arabic drums. This exercise is with the original teachings of the American Indian Drum.

The original teachings of drum take us back to the beginning of time. The teachings take us back to the time before the church, before even governments, when society was moved forward by the ancient Clans of the original people. The drums that we will be using for the Thunder Drumming Ceremonies each come from a birthing. Each comes from the ceremonies and life of a proper person in the service of the Mystery Life. Over 2008 I will ask each of these drums to speak to the people who are present. We will try and make some sort of recording of these Thunder Drummings.

This new program will begin on Pantelleria at the Equinox. On Pantelleria the Equinox is 20 March, 6:48:29 CET, at 36North50 degrees by 11East57 degrees.

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