Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Day in Aguas Calientes

The four of us sat on the roof of Gringo Bill's
smoking sacred Pipes from various traditions
and getting high on blessed navajo tobacco
and Amazon Mapachos purchased in the Witches Market in Cusco

After a few hours, we wandered on down to find lattes
and an internet cafe
and some chocolate cookies
to bring us back to ordinary consciousness.

It didn't work
The mountains surrounding Macchu Picchu are too alive,
Green and vibrant and intensely loving.

Reconvening on the rooftop
we sat, staring at the gigantic, looming Presences
who stared back,
waiting for us humans to come into proper alignment.

Eventually, I guess we pulled it off
Because the Energies calmed down a bit
and we kind of slipped on down the stairs
to get some pizza.

That night, we all had some amazing dreams.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rosie's Song

My sister Rosie
half Blackfoot Indian
sees ghosts,
her dead husband
her grandmother.

we smoked the Lakota Pipe I gave her for Christmas
she carries it in her car
in the blue bag it came in
along with a bit to tobacco

I explained that ghosts need help--
she can pray for them with her Pipe
the tobacco spirit helps ghosts move on.

she promised she would do this
at home tonight, before sleeping.

I want to listen to Rosie for hours,
take notes
make a digital recording.
she has Crazy Wisdom

She lives on 800 dollars a month
her car sometimes runs
her computer is broken
but not her spirit.

She picks up homeless people, helps them find shelter,
doctors, and church food banks,

she helps our heroin-addicted bother
find day jobs.

she feeds his cat
and fixes the roof when it leaks.

She has a form of muscular dystrophy
that causes severe pain and cramping
she has surgery about once a year
to get her feet to straighten out.

She takes eight medications, some of which make her feel crazy
but its better than the pain.

I think I may write her story one of these days
They say people who have Charcot-Marie die young
so I better get started.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Indian Way

I have had amazing teachers from all over the world, but my favorite teachers are the everyday people who teach just by being who they are. I think of Ronnie, our Navaho guide for out vision quests in Canyon de Chelly. Ronnie died last year. But I cherish the memory of finding her and her partner Eleanor in my driveway one night after work a couple of years ago. I live 3 miles up a dirt road about 25 miles from Santa Fe. They did not have my address. They were five hours away from Chinle, their home. I asked how on earth they had found me! Ronnie replied, with a smile, "The Indian way. Can we have some lemonade?"

Over lemonade I learned about "the Indian way". " First, we went to the gas station down by Pecos," Ronnie told me. I replied that I don't do business there. "Yeah, they told me" Ronnie said. "so then I went to the post office, only it was closed". "Then what?" I asked. "Well", she answered, "we looked at a phone book at the store and found out you live on La Cueva Road."

By now, I was starting to wonder why she didn't just call me on her cell phone. "That's three miles of dirt road with twenty houses on it". I said. "Yup" Ronnie said. "So we remembered you had a green Isuzu." I replied sarcastically, "Oh sure, you drove into every driveway till you found my green Isuzu".

"Yup" said Ronnie. "That's how we found you. The Indian way". She and Eleanor both found this story...and my disbelief....hilarious. As they drove away to a family reunion in Oklahoma, I stood in the driveway (next to the green Isuzu) feeling stunned and grateful....that they had bothered to visit me, that they had taken the time to find me "the Indian way". That night I dreamed for hours of beautiful multicolored Navaho sand paintings...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Riding out the Great Turning

Watching ecocide in the Gulf
and the woodcutters thinning the forest above my house
I wonder if we'll make it

Then I realize we won't.
The glaciers really are melting
And we are past Peak Oil.

My neighbors are cutting down the trees
because they need to sell the wood this winter.

I ride my bike up the mountain every morning
bring tobacco offerings for the tree spirits
Apologize a thousand times to Mother Earth
Say "good morning" to the guys with the chain saws.

In the old ways of the Maori,
If a tree was taken to make a canoe,
15 seedlings were planted in the same place
and a young man would camp there for three months,
making prayers for the new trees
until they were well rooted.

Advice for the Journey

Although the Way is not clear
You are not alone.

You will hear a sound
One long note, a mysterious bird calling in the night
The same note, over and over

Follow it.

Take only what you need
Leave everything else behind.

Travel fast and light.

Carol June, 2010

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sacred Tobacco

The first time I met a Wild Tobacco plant, I was leading a vision quest in winter near Virgin Springs, Death Valley. Nikki came back from her solo, carrying a bundle of full-grown Wild Tobacco plants she had picked in a rocky high-walled side canyon. They were beautiful plants, large-leafed and 3 feet tall. Nikki is an herbalist and intended to dry them and use them medicinally. I was shocked that anything other than creosote, barrel cactus, and desert holly could grow in that barren landscape.

A year or so later, I was hiking with Nikki and 2 other women in the Chihuahuan desert south of Silver City, New Mexico.
The land was Apache country in the old days...hunting and gathering country. Nikki was sure we'd find Wild Tobacco out there.
As I walked around a large outcropping of red sandstone, a lone Wild Tobacco plant glowed at me in the distance. I felt profoundly connected to that plant, for some mysterious reason. It seemed to have a golden aura around it. There were no other plants of any kind nearby.

I had a hunch, which I quickly dismissed, that Wild Tobacco was some sort of "ally plant" for me. At that time, I had little knowledge of traditional uses of tobacco as a sacred and medicinal plant.

In the summer of 2007 I was invited to support a Sun Dance on the Cheyenne River Lakota Reservation in South Dakota.
The Sun Dance Chief made traditional "Chanupas" (ceremonial pipes) for the support dancers, the bowls carved from beautiful red pipestone. He taught us the proper ways to the fill the pipe with tobacco and other herbs, and pray with it. Feeling awkward with the ceremony, I put the Pipe aside for awhile.

Sometime later, I was visiting a friend who was housesitting in Taos. For some reason, I had decided that morning to take my Pipe and some tobacco with me. As I stepped into the house, I felt assaulted by an extremely heavy energy in the living room.
I asked my friend if she noticed it, and she said she had, and that it was so strong she avoided going into that part of the house. I went out to the car, got my Chanupa, and asked her to pray with me in the living room where the energy was so bad. We both felt like someone had been injured or killed there. Not remembering the protocol, I filled the pipe anyway and we began our prayers. As we smoked the Chanupa, we asked Spirit to remove the energies from the house, and to transmute the negativity. Within 10 minutes the living room in which we sat felt completely different. My friend and I were stunned at how suddenly it had shifted from heavy to light energy. A few days later, she reported that the room continued to feel clear.

It was at that moment that I began to appreciate the tremendous transformational power of the Chanupa, and the sacred tobacco plant.

The Spirit of the plant has been badly misused by modern people. Addiction to tobacco is rampant. Large companies have made fortunes, while people die daily from lung cancer. Yet even with commercial cigarettes, it is possible to forge a
completely different relationship with tobacco, simply by lighting the cigarette and making a prayer for someone or for Mother Earth. In the instant of making a prayer, the energy of addiction and illness begins to shift into a blessing. Tobacco has been sacred for thousands of years. . We need to remember our ancient relationship with this plant, and return it to its proper place - that of ally and healer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sun Dance - Healing Mother Earth

Last week, during the July Full Moon, we supported a Sun Dance on the Cheyenne River Lakota Reservation in South Dakota.
This ancient ceremony is one of the Lakota Seven Sacred Rites, and is dedicated to the healing of Mother Earth. Traditionally a dance performed by men and supported by women and other tribal members, this powerful ceremony lasts for 4 days and nights and the men "tied to the tree" do not eat or drink during that time. Each man prays for the earth and for a friend or relative who is ill. Most non-native people cannot imagine why anyone would want to engage in this difficult and arduous ceremony. Native plains people, however, know that enormous healing power is generated on the Sun Dance grounds, and miracles happen.

One man danced for his daughter who was told by her doctors she would never walk again. Her condition was healed. A grandmother with terminal cancer had a spontaneous remission. An infant with a serious illness is now a smiling, laughing year old baby.

Last week, the Sun Dance Chief was told by Spirit that the Dance had made a huge difference for Mother Earth, and that positive changes would now begin to happen all over the planet. For this news, we were grateful, and we vowed to return next year to support this ceremony and continue the healing of our Mother.

Drawings of the ceremony, as photography was not allowed, can be seen at Dans blog site.....