Friday, September 12, 2008
Copyright ©2008. Photo by __©2008. The Old Man in Charge of Dreams at a ceremony to honor a fallen artist. font
Preamble |- Money for Sacred People (more stories)
An older American Indian friend of mine once told me a story about a ceremony he and a friend of his did for someone. They had been approached by this person who was very unhappy. It was a woman, a white woman. She asked this man for a ceremony to help her with her life. The old Indian man really could feel her and agreed. Later, with his helper, he showed at the luxurious home of a woman who was obviously very rich.
The old Indian worked his heart out and made a strong and beautiful ceremony for this woman. When it was finished she sure felt better. She was filled with satisfaction and relief at last, or so it seemed. I know this man, so I know how beautiful and strong his work is. In a different society, people like this would be treasured and nurtured.
She asked the old Indian what the cost for the ceremony was. He had not thought about it really, he said. He was not expecting anything in particular ahead of time. He told her to make a donation which reflected her appreciation. She gave the Indian man an envelope. Later, going away from her home, he was excited at last. Being a very poor man, as far as cash goes, he was curious to know what she gave them. Even before he opened that envelope, he said, He was thinking a new used pickup to replace the dying old truck he had been nursing along for some years now….Opening the envelope he found a single folded twenty dollar bill. That twenty bucks did not even cover the cost of the gas to drive to her house and come back.
To many American Indians show up in the modern world with no money. When was the last time you loved someone who had no money?
I have traveled the world with the sacred dreams of my tribal ancestors. In a few months I will be 60 years old. I have no home, no money, no retirement. Somehow, when I am hungry someone feeds me. Somehow, when someone wants a ceremony I get to where they are and do my best to help them, to honor my tribal teachers.
Because human beings are crazy, they think American Indians do sacred things for free. It reminds me of the song Hotel California….it costs nothing to get in but is very expensive to get out.
The people who shout out in print all over the world that American Indians work for free are liars and thieves who understand nothing. American Indian people need to take far more responsibility than they have in educating these monkey-hearted people about what is real in this world. First, they have to believe it themselves.
I once calculated that with two million us dollars I could use these ceremonies to change the whole world in about two years. That’s how good these ceremonies are and that’s about what it will cost. I believe someone will give me that money in an envelope one day. I will go back to the grave of my old tribal teacher who healed the rich white woman for twenty dollars, and weep. I will fly there, first class, in his memory.
When I was a younger man, living in New York City, I used to make pretty good money selling my sculptures and paintings. I made enough money to travel and visit with my teachers for several months each year. I always showed up with food and would hide carefully folded 100 dollar bills around in the food packaging….so they would find it when they opened the food.I loved doing this. I would never visit my old tribal teachers without gifts, practical gifts that work in the real world.
Burning feet || A Container for what is True
Restless eternity, my heart was dreaming
Of a day when the indian wars would end at last.
Sometimes something is to broken to be fixed
It took a long time to accept that. It was painful.
Do something useful with the pieces? Yes, I believed a long time ago that this was possible. That good idea became my work. Inside the broken time and soul of the tribal sacred some fires have hot coals. Some of the wounded people are nearby, their eyes still bright and open. Help me gather up the broken pieces I said. We called this way of life “the correction way” ceremony. That’s the one we are taking around the world right now. If we can make this correction way ceremony in a circle of sacred fires around the world, then the world will change. Change broken pieces into something useful, something we never even imagined before we found it. Have you ever felt this way before? How did it make you feel?
Go and grow corn from these seeds he said. You are the sacred stranger they said. The traveler, the lonely Nan-ne Boozhoo, the Little Otter Boy carrying his sacred stones on his belly. I cry all night sometimes. I heard what they said. They always told me the truth. These old Indians always told me the truth. I have never seen that anywhere else. It changed my life. It turns thunder into rain and broken pieces into keys to a new dimension, another place.
Restless. My feet were burning. Pressed down close to the earth by time. Feeling it go by, rushing by. Waiting world. Waiting child. Waiting With the Wind. Building sacred stones on which to stand and sing and remember everything.
(Tomorrow we go up to the Italian Mainland and three weeks of ceremonies for the dreamers, corrections for the ancient future. Good people. They have really strong hearts and love being all together doing something. It is a treasure to have some support and work with these brave and sweet people. Sometimes something quite remarkable happens. During tis time I will limit my posts. We are trying to make opportunities for video and other visual records of some portions of the ceremonies. In future postings we hope to have announcements of the availability of new resources.)
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
©2008. Photo and text by Turtle Heart.
I woke up this morning. My old legs were really hurting. It is something that comes and goes. When it comes I remember how much of every human life is spent in pain and suffering. When we are suffering we remember such things. When we are happy who has time to think of compassion?
I eat the fine “white” grapes of the island. As most of the grapes of Italian wine do not come to ripen until late September or even October, I enjoy a small breakfast feast of the last of the grapes of August here on Pantelleria.
I carried my old legs to the pool shown in the photo above. It is the perfect temperature for an aching Otter Boy. Hot. Very hot. Volcanic. Right next to the sea. There seems no one around so I take off my clothes and go in the water naked. It feels really good.
These ancient waters are all free on Pantelleria. If this pool was in AmeriKa it would cost a lot of money to spend time with it. I would probably have to wear clothes. I love Pantelleria.
Peace. Gentle and sweet people. Mediterranean Food, fresh every day. The Sun. The ancient stones and my computer which struggles with a dial-up modem connection. Am I the last guy on earth to get dsl? They have it now in most places on the island but not my little house on the side of an ancient volcano.
Meanwhile the four generations of my little bird families come to my big stone bowl of water every morning to dance and play in the water. I am going away from the island for about three weeks. The water will all go away. I have tried to find someone to stop by and keep the water going for the birds. Our people are lazy and I can’t find anyone to do it, even if I pay them.
The island has done more to bring healing and peace to my body then any other place or time I have known. I did not realize until I got here and was introduced to this sacred peace how beat up I was from the endless Indian Wars that go in in the United States. Yes, I am a bruised and aging old Indian finding his way in a new land, healing from the endless bullshit which marks American life.
My heart is the sacred water. It is there I have found my peace, make my magic, and contemplate the service of one ancient Pipe Carrier out into the arms of the waiting world. I move inside a separate time and space than the harried relations of this modern society, of the cities and the reservations. I have become a friend to sacred silence and have passed well beyond the need for argument or even small talk.
I am the water that feeds
My dreaming river, ocean, sea, even the rain
Soaks me from the inside out. I am never dry.
Flying above the clouds I travel to the land of the dreamers
Waiting for the songs, the hot stones and the drum
Which will test them and deliver them
Closer to their dreams.
I was the one who went and found himself.
I took up my life with my own two hands
And turned it around
Like a stone in the shadows
To face the light
And rest in the sacred water…
©2008 Turtle Heart.
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