Walking the New Underground Railroad

Some exciting news from the folks from Pulling For Wildflowers; the camps have budded off into a group of overlapping traveling bands, each walking their own hoop. Planning and networking to commence at next year’s root camp! In their own words:

To my Indian Brothers and Sisters, to those who dance the Dance of all Nations, to members of the Dragon Clan, to Coyote’s Camp, to my Two-Spirited Walks Between Relations, to the Longhouses of the Fairies and Witches, and to all who strive to Walk in Beauty……

I humbly greet YOU with the HONOR you deserve and with LOVE and Gratitude in my heart for all you do.

After communicating with Forrest, who now owns Nonnie Camp in Arco, Kimi Jo, Clyde, and Finisia herself and based on the consensus that there should be no lapse in the annual occurrence of Root Festival, I have decided to coordinate the 2009 Root Festival. There will be much happening in and around SE Idaho. Kimi will be keeping camp near the Camas Prairie, while Forest and I will hold the camp in Arco. The festival of 2009 will look and be very different in that Finisia will not be participating. This was her decision and fully supported by those who will be holding the camps. She requested and received good, honest, loving, and heartfelt council from many of you. Asking for this and knowing she needed it was a BIG step for her. She opened her heart and mind to this council, and realized that her nonparticipation at Root Festival will hopefully begin to heal the wounds she caused and carry this Vision and these Teachings into the future, even unto seven generations. Aho

I will be in Arco for the month of June, except for the first week. The flyer announcement states that the Festival will occur from June 13-28. I am putting out a call for those of you who learned and immediately began teaching the Walks in Beauty way to consider in your hearts to come and share your understandings and skills in the nonhierarchical way to do this work and come together for and with a single purpose.




The only way we can do this is to give-back what has been given to us for the sake of our Mother. This year will be more focused and ceremonial than in the past, and therefore less of a Nonni camp. All of this will create safety and trust. This is the year we will kick it up to the next level. If this resonates with you PLEASE consider coming to support the direction that Spirit is taking this thing. (YES WE CAN!)

I LOVE you so
You help me see.
See YOU in Awe (all)
See You in Me
For I’m in You
And You’re in Me.
Yes, I’m in You
And You’re in Me.

Your Brother-Sister,

Email or call
(707) 869-1612

EPISODE 21: The Original Language

I’ve just blogged on this, but I felt the need to expand further on what it means to attain fluency in our birthright, The Original Language, and also talk about the consequences of such fluency. Dream, Story, Myth, Riddles, Land, Ecology, Animism and Language all come together to mean the exact same thing in the Original Language. I spend an hour suggesting how we can wrap our minds, muddled by modern myths, around this ever present reality.

Returning to the Original Language

The Language of Dream, whose vocabulary and grammar comes from the Land as a gift to us Humans, the youngest of all the family members in the living world, teaches us how to speak it, by speaking it to us. Every night we dip into that world of speech, which we mistake solely for another place, but who actually embodies both a place and a language. A language-place. A Mythspace. A Dreamtime. We cannot dwell in the Dreaming without speaking its language by our very presence. We do this effortlessly and fluently, yet when we awake our fluency disappears as our waking selves take hold of our sense of reason.

I’ll admit, mostly when we Dream, we sit in the lap of an Elder of the Original Language, and learn how to speak by listening. We don’t do much speaking then.

For my part, I don’t have much interest in “lucid dreaming” the kind that the waking self conspires to interrupt one’s dreams with. When it happens naturally, great…but do we understand our Dream language-world so well that we can interrupt the story halfway through and start mucking up the scenery?

We consume movie after movie, television shows, books, comics, thinking we feed our conscious sensibilities, never realizing fully that to do so actually constitutes a conversation with our dreaming self, far more fluent in the language of story-dream-myth-riddle.

Information to our Waking minds, Transformation to our Dream-selves.  Yes, that puts my experience of it well; the Original Language speaks a tongue of Transformation, while modern languages speak a tongue of Information. Modern languages and thoughts grind…Original Language and thoughts weave spells, poetry, story, music.

We have many tools before us, to work on our fluency in the Original Language. Storyjamming, Riddling, Dream Interviews, the Thanksgiving Address, the Sensory Tune-up (to create a fluent, rich depth of rewilding sensory diction upon whose new vocabulary your Dream language can flourish).

Of course, we can also study indigenous and signed languages to gain fresh insight into how others have done it.

But really, the Original Language came before all language, and from its depths all language emerged. Everyone’s; from the smallest ant who screams terror with a cloud of pungent pheromone-speak, to the tallest Mountain whose wrinkles and weather mutter constantly, to the humble Human’s chattering mouth and gesturing hands.

We don’t need to learn all these specific languages (though their speakers will certainly appreciate it if we do), as long as we learn the Original Language, we can converse with anyone.

Culture Means the Game We Play Together

Our language, our etiquette, our songs and ceremonies, all constitute the game we play together. As many players do, like children trying to fit in at a new school, we probably haven’t questioned the rules of the game, but rather perservered to make them second-nature as quickly as possible so that we can fit in and master the game. As so often in the modern world, we agreed to unexamined things, without even realizing that someone had offered us the contract to sign.

Sometimes, if the game doesn’t truly satisfy, one of the players questions the quality of play, the general mood that the game creates. Maybe someone even successfully changes part of a rule a little bit, creating a “house rule” to (however imperfectly) address the problem. This road of “changing the game from within” often remains fraught with heartache and wasted effort.

Even more rarely, one of the players does something that creates real and powerful transformation, by simply choosing to play a different game.

How do we judge the play of our game, the life our culture creates? I believe we use exactly that measure: does our culture affirm life, and to what extent? Some would propose judging new rules based on whether they seem “Right” or “Wrong”. Unfortunately this usually means we’ve judged the rules of our game, by the rules of our game. An impossible situation (and does this perhaps explain the notions of “sustainable growth” and “voting for the lesser of two evils”?).

As time goes on, we understand that the measure “does it affirm Life?” biases us towards affirming other-than-human life first, because without clean air, clean water, and rich wildlands, we cannot live. Our Land comes first.

So how do we create a new game to play together? How do we pick the rules?

Well, exactly.

Fortunately, we have many games still in play, whose players quite enjoy themselves, and that have affirmed and nurtured life and land for millenia. So we have a place to start.

And now we can sniff around the world, asking these questions; if we play the game of language together, what rules will create play that affirms Life? The game of Marriage (or lack thereof)? The game of Ownership? The game of Family? Growing food?

At any time we can choose to play another game. I won’t claim that you will never have interference from others who despise the game you’ve chosen to play (and see it as overlapping into the space of their game, perhaps like a soccer game and a baseball game who have reserved the same field unwittingly).

I won’t even claim that leaving the old game will feel easy, in fact it will probably feel like you failed at it, rather than having left it as a sober and conscious adult choosing Life over Death.

But the game will never change until the players choose another. It will never change until we stop pretending that the rules of our games have innate justification. It will never change until we redream what it means to play games together, and to live lives worth living.

The Grinding Sound of Human Language-Thought

I have a metaphor for you. For me, this goes back to my childhood, when I had a computer with a tape-cassette drive. I would put normal audio-cassettes into the drive (which looked just like a tape player), and type commands into the computer. The computer would then silently roll the tape and either record data to the tape, or transfer data from it into the computer’s memory.

One time I decided to play one of the data-bearing audio-cassettes on an audio tape player. As soon as I pressed play, an amusing but simultaneously distressingly unpleasant grinding, banging, bleeping sound came out of the speakers, as if an electronic kitchen full of pots and pans had just rolled down a hill. Years later, while using modems, I realized they made the same sound when connecting to the internet.

This to me, puts the contrast well; Original Language, the language of immersive body experiences, of dream reason (sometimes called metaphor), sounds to the rest of the community of life like an audio cassette (with music on it) in an audio player. The music it plays determines their reaction; predatory, aggressive music will have certain effects, soothing melodic music otherwise. But putting in the data-cassette will always produce the cacophony of assaultive machine sounds, however sublimely ordered and sensibly coded, causing other-than-humans to flatten their ears against their skulls unpleasantly.

Certainly a coyote howling will speak to a deer that a radically different mind prowls somewhere out there; humans need not feel guilty for speaking like humans to each other, however much it offends other animals. We only need think about this issue in two cases:

One, when we want to speak to other-than-humans.

Two, when human language, as we experience it, has wandered down roads so toxic, polluted, and domesticated, that we no longer know what it means to speak a truly human language.

I believe both of these cases have come to front and center now. Both of them require us to stand up and pay attention. Our continued participation in the living world demands it of us.

We must return to the Original Language, bring our waking selves to a fluency in it, so that we can rebirth our ability to speak sanely, as adults who live in a community of life. So that we can join the Rewilding Renaissance, a rebirthing of belonging and meaning.

Perhaps “meaning” really signifies “belonging”. Perhaps the modern narcissistic quest for “meaning” really indicates a quest for “belonging”. Well, we didn’t come from anywhere else, regardless of what civilized myths tell us. If we want to have a relationship of belonging to our Land (before we not only cease to belong, but cease to fit into whatever habitat remains), we must choose it.

As children of the Original Dreaming Land, we always belonged. As abused children of civilization, we have tested the bonds of family to the limit.

They haven’t broken.


Begin at the Beginning

I think I may have acquired some new regular readers of late; I’ve also resumed working on an initial book that I hope will encapsulate the fundamental purpose and methods of the College of Mythic Cartography (I hope to expand on them later in other books).

These two things taken together suggest to me that posting some first draft excerpts would help new readers understand more fully the ideas and aims of the  College.

I can’t promise to begin exactly at the beginning; but I’ll certainly start somewhere near the Center and work outwards.

The Difference

I’d like to provide yet another example of the profound woundedness and intellectual dishonesty of the modern world. To do this I will do Richard Dawkins the disservice of having him wear the dunce cap for today. One of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Top 20 public intellectuals, no less!

Richard Dawkin’s book, “the Selfish Gene”, made the (supposedly) provocative proposition that genes use us as vehicles for their perpetuation. They live their lives through us, and the chemical code of their nature lives beyond us, underscoring the essentially mechanical processes of life.

A traditional faithkeeper of the Tzutujil Maya tells the story that the Gods speak Poetry, which creates all life. That you embody the eloquence of a God’s language, along with all other beings. Saying the complex poetry of your name creates you; if the gods didn’t speak, and speak beautifully, you wouldn’t live.

Two storytellers telling essentially the same story; for one, it proves his point that the world has no meaning. For the other it fills the world with abundant, singing depths.

This has caused me to remember that the “adults” of the modern culture (its top intellectuals, no less!) resemble nothing as much as a coexisting community of abused children. For the abused, no amount of discussion or reason suffices to fill the gaping maws of their rapacious intellects (the pacman-like chomping of which purposes to excuse rather than resolve the ongoing weight of their petrified hearts).

Every year I renew my resolve to save my breath for those wanting to dream a new language together. Every year this sinks down to a deeper level, and changes in emotional texture; unfortunately this year (or perhaps quite healthfully so – I don’t really need to label it one way or the other I suppose) it feels and sounds like a healthy dollop of scorn for those who think the world belongs to them, rather than seeing that they belong to the world.

Some things I no longer offer up for debate; who belongs to whom stands as one of them. Humans don’t decide what has meaning; rather, the Land decides what Humans mean.