Wednesday, June 9th; This morning I awoke to the sound of a wren in my yard, who repeatedly said, “Twenty twenty twenty twenty two, twenty two!” I called my bird watching mother to find out what kind it was; she thought some kind of Carolina wren. I went out and saw the bird up close, it let me come right up to it. I never did figure out the message, but later, in NYC I found a Julius Pizza that had a $20=$22 special. In spite of the repeated message of the bird, I declined the offer.
I was rushing around quite a bit, then finally felt ready to make the train for the city. I thought I left plenty of time, but the train came while I was buying the ticket at the computer booth, and they had to hold the train ten seconds for me, as the little ticket emerged from the slot.
At Grand Central I talked to Edith at the Story Corps booth. An interesting project. I hope to be part of it some day, but you need a computer to go online to schedule a time. I heard a great Doo-wop group, perhaps the best I’d heard, singing right in GC in the marble halls where the vibes are so cool. (I keep meaning to suggest to my son he get into a doowop group.) Then I got on the subway. I went to my (friends’) secret cabin in the city and repacked and showed up at the Open center to make lots of arrangements. Everyone was exceedingly nice, and organized! There was a large yellow poster under glass in the hall for my class. What an honor! In the lobby were big piles of the new New York Spirit Magazine, which I like anyway, but I like this issue even more because there is a two page article on Native New Yorkers, and a large map of ancient Manhattan, created by me as an exclusive for this issue. So I took a bunch and brought them upstairs. I had a flier for the upcoming walking tour and Carol made copies of that for me. Sojourner showed up as an assistant, and this made me very happy. I had met her “on the street” at the book fair at the Mercantile Library, and felt she was very spiritual, and invited her to come to the workshop. That was almost two months ago! Now here she was again, looking very spiritual.
As it turned out, almost forty people came, and we tried to make a circle in the small room as best we could. William Meyers and Leslie from New York Spirit, a high quality free magazine, were there to record the parts that could be recorded. This added more challenge to an already challenging program, in that according to my tradition, these types of encounters with spirit cannot be planned in advance. I had to go without notes, or outlines. Because of the large crowd, I knew I could not do as much one-on-one as I had planned. I sang a lot of songs. I offered each person a smidge of tobacco and we all prayed about our greatest fears. I pointed out that looway-woo-dee meant “bad things in my heart” and referred to confusion leading to fear, leading to anger, leading to conflict. I said the way to peace was to resolve the underlying confusion. Later I said in meditation that when you hear the turtle shaker around you, you will drop the human confusion for a while. I did not comment individually on people’s fears, but then passed a basket with ribbons of the six colors (small snippets) and each person chose one color. I said that the tobacco was like a microphone to the Creator, and that holding the ribbon was a constant prayer. We prayed for the power of the animal spirits to overcome our fears. As we meditated I simply went through and stated which animals could help with which fears.
Then I took out the turtle shaker and shook it around each person with the instruction that when they heard the sound of the turtle, they would drop their human persona, or mask, and become one with the animal world, and with their protector. They would drop the human confusion. Of course there was much more that went on, but I felt that each person got a new glimpse into how to live a more courageous life. I talked with a number of people afterwards (including “Medicine Flower”an Algonquin student from my classes at Marist.) One of the most dramatic moments came when a Caucasian-looking woman said her greatest fear was “that she might not fulfill her mission in life.” I said, “Are you Algonquin?” She answered, “Yes, that’s what my parents believe.” I said, “That’s an Algonquin fear! You’re probably Algonquin, if that’s any consolation.” (Of course other people have this fear too, but she was the only one in this classroom who put it that way) Then I gave her one of the few red ribbons and said, “Hold this! The red is from the east, the direction that has to do with the big questions, such as “why am I here on earth? What is my mission?” Everyone seemed to come away with something they could hold onto, other than the ribbon, which I asked them to keep. A lot of people felt that linking with the animal powers helped them feel stronger and less fearful, more peaceful. I collected the tobacco and packed it for burning the next day.