Monday, July 28, 2008
I am by traditional birth into the family of the Ahnishinabeg. This happened through the bloodline of my father. Through my mother I have bloodlines that are Welsh and Catawba.
I am highly and determinedly independent. First and formost I believe I work for the ancient future, for this Mother Earth who gave all tribal people their original instructions. My work is with and for the human spirit, of and for all people.
By accepting responsibility for understanding who my ancestors were, I placed myself under the direction of my tribal relations. Not all of them loved me for making this choice. However, wherever I have lived or walked I have received love, support and guidance.
I have received teachings from more than forty tribal elders over a period of 30 years. When I was a young man I was given Sacred Pipe. As I traveled with Sacred Pipe I was given the education which I now treasure and hope to share with others. My teachers and I agreed that I might in my own way share what we learned together.
My ceremonial work does not come from a political, governmental or ethnic agenda or authority. This bundle of sacred ideas and objects, which are the instruments of my work, was created by the male ancestors of their male children according to the rights of freedom and their own responsibility to do what they hope is right.
Following the historic and spiritual tradition of my own cultural relations, the Ahnishinabe of the Northern Woodlands, I have started a long vision quest to carry Sacred Ppipe around the circle of Mother Earth. Many of our most ancient sacred teachers made this choice and returned after great time and experience, to enrich the lives of all Ahnishinabe people. I am a child of that ancient family.
I am not a part of any other alliance with any tribal organization or tribal government. My work is spiritual, traditional and the birth rights bestowed upon me by my tribal elders. There are no tribal authorities other than the living tribal elders that can say or should say who may be a child of the Ahnishinabe. I accept no money or services from any tribe or any government.
It has been my view that the combined stress and problems of nearly all tribal religions, culture, language and ritual has created confusion, pain and rage. There is also a lot of confusion and bad information coming in and going out from modern society. Sometimes I feel like tribal people are either drowning in an ocean of bad information, hunted by the sharks of intellectual good intentions….or starving in the windless desert of societal indifference.
I believe that Sacred Pipe and many of the original instructions are floating in a sea of mud, in cloudy water and gray skies. From the long life I have made with my teachers we came to believe that a strong ceremony made by one man could bring new information and open new and needed possibilities to everybody. Everybody.
As Keeper and Protector of Sacred Pipe Four Directions Unity Bundle I have a responsibility to use the ceremonial instructions it contains to respond to the world and journey within myself for all my relations. I have that right absolutely and without question.
I am a volunteer who accepted this responsibility 25 years ago from my tribal relations face to face, breath to breath, eyes wide open. We believe this is a ceremony created and supported by the original instructions and by the rights of personal vision, which is the right of all people who hold tribal sacred objects and who place themselves before the living faces of their tribal elders.
Because I had taken it on myself to travel all over the United States on long journeys to seek out tribal elders and tribal teachers, I seemed like a good candidate for this work. My education took me to many tribal communities. I also have a well-founded education in modern society. Under the guidance of my teachers I studied many of the world’s religions, as well as world history, medicine, art and much of the world’s fine literature. I created this educational journey myself and went out and found the teachers who gave it to me.
The world journey of Sacred Pipe inside the Four Directions Unity Bundle is an extension of those ideas, those rights, and those hopes of those tribal elders and teachers whom I believed spoke only the truth to me. Truth which I accepted as my life's work.
My work takes place many times in solitude as I move around this Mother Earth. When I meet and work with other people it is always in small groups over several days. In this way the work has time to produce the rich details which come from taking real time, a few days, to sit and understand what this world ceremony is about, and what it can accomplish.
I receive no personal payments for my work. Sometimes the people I work with help with the expenses of travel and support for things like our computer system. Sometimes they give me nothing at all.
We have never needed or required the permission of anyone except ourselves. I am satisfied that I have lived before and under the direction of my Native American Elders, who are the final and only proper authority for Sacred Pipe and the Ceremonies of Four Directions Unity Bundle.
Ahnishinabe || River Otter Clan
Wabeno Jessakid Nan-ni-Boozho
Summer 2008 || Pantelleria Sicily
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
©2008 Turtle Heart
Part of the work of a Sacred Bundle and its Keeper is the pursuit and understanding of the truth. Of course, the first issue has to be where and what is the truth? The answer to that is that it is within you. That is the place where the truth begins.
To help us know and understand what is true the mystery life gave us the original sacred teachings of the tribal ceremonial life. Different tribal cultures received their ceremonial life from their relationship to the earth around them. People in the forest received forest ceremonies. People in the desert received desert ceremonies. Different tribal communities used the power of their truth to receive what is sacred to them. They say it is sacred to them because with it and through it they can understand what and where is the truth. To some tribes it is the sacred kiva that is the instrument, to another it is sacred pipe or a sun dance.
The purpose these objects serve is that their ceremonial language, when properly understood, will teach you what is true, an in particular, what is in balance. It does this by giving you the personal power and clarity to understand what is true. The truth must be understood from within. It is not a truth based upon rules and regulations. There is no formula. When the ceremonies work correctly they give birth to your knowledge of yourself.
Some people believe the way to understand all ceremonies is to freeze one ceremony in time and then copy it word for word and gesture for gesture. Ceremonies are copy protected. You cannot learn anything by copying down someone’s recipe and “authority” for doing a ceremony.
The teachers hope that those who seek to be inside the ceremonies will receive the gift of a vision. This dream of the life, as we call it, is the one you have the power to realize. In the oldest of the tribal languages (tewa), going to a ceremony is translated as “seeking life”.
If you know your vision, your song, your name, your dream, your silence, your body from within the sacred space of ceremony then you will know what is true in the world.
Ceremonial life of the tribal ancestors is a sacred resource for this work of first finding the truth within yourself and then helping your relations and the creation. There is a fine line of balance between the guidance of the teachings and the responsibility of the person who may be seeking life. It is an art of great softness, an art of life itself.
We call the ceremonies and their keepers sacred because when they do their work right, they are keepers of a doorway into clarity and truth and the liberation of the unique vision that is a seed in every human being.
And that’s just the first step. After you actually wake up and remember, the ceremonial life will lead you out into the waiting world where your clarity and faith in what is true from within will merge with the seven generations as they flow through time. Where, now, we find ourselves in a very different world. A world where truth is not a ceremony but a word, an idea that can be manipulated, reinterpreted and tricked, murdered. Now we find ourselves in the troubled, and dangerous world. Here, for example. As you stand here now, the truth is entirely in your hands.
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