Thursday, October 02, 2008

DreamTime in the Flat of the Po

Julius Caesar, when he returned to Rome gave rich farmland to his soldiers. They complained it was to far from Rome but accepted the gift of land. The descendants of this land worked in floods and drought to build the agricultural center of the Italian table. Mussolini spent a fortune draining and establishing an intricate canal system to tame this region. Today it is a farming paradise in the middle of Italy. It was to this place that I gathered with 12 other Italian people for 4 days of ceremony at the time of the Fall Equinox.

Ferarra is a historic old Italian village. Its castle is one of the few which still has a water-filled moat. Of course, being the drainage field for the Po River, water is everywhere. The water is clear and clean in most places. A few miles from the village our host operates a small inn. It is here where we made our ceremonial work.

We started with a small morning tobacco fire. Gathering here we all introduced ourselves to the mystery life and so started our ceremonial work together.

We had everything we could have wanted in one place. Food, private rooms, a big meditation and group work space. We laso had a small group of Polish immigrant workers in a “workers” house next to the main house we used for the ceremonial work. They were just to the right of the ceremonies. I can’t imagine what they thought of what we were doing. They behaved very well and sometimes I would see one of the younger workers peeking through a crack in the door at us.

The morning fire is such a great teaching. We always begin with this small fire and end there as well. The fire burned five days using wood from pear trees, like knots the size of a football. By far the most unusual wood I have burned so far. The water of the PO was in drainage canals all around us, together with an impressive collection of trees.

As our work went into the inside space, we put out all that everyone had brought with them. There were drums, rattles, all sorts of medicine bags, a few feathers and even a few dignified little pipes. Here is a little slide show of the scene around Farrara in these days.

The nicest feature was created by the group when I asked them to bring out whatever little stones they brought with them. Turns out every person present had brought some stones, shown in the photo above. We could have made a ceremony of a few days based on the circle we made with those stones. As it was the stones of the people became the center around which we worked for three days. The first night there was the dream singing while the people slept, the next day we all went inside the sweat lodge we made with local willow trees. We concluded with an equinox ceremony inside the restaurant and heart of the property of our host. We drank blue corn and later everyone went to their homes.

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