Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ritual and Rapport on the Path of Drum

Ritual and Rapport on the Path of Drum

Rapport is the state of being connected, of being noticeably “One with another”, feeling at the same time being one of two and also, of being only one with the other… 

When I prepare to go to my sit spot, my private natural world observatory, I try to dress in the same clothes I always wear for this, so that I will become familiar to other creatures around, who will hopefully learn to treat me as a non-threatening element of the furniture. When I sit in my sit spot, and gradually become calm, I realize first the silence of earth and growing life around me, then perhaps a few birds and other creatures bring moving manifestations given life by the plant and tee and earth/water life in which they move and have their being. As I meditate and observe I am conscious that my frequent visits to this spot have become a ritual for me, something of “rapport” that I use as an entry into contact with what I call spirit. I am thinking now of the spiralling of leaves around the trunk and branches of the trees, of the minute exactly identical small leaves of the cedar that comprise the larger leaves… each a faithful replication of the ones previous. Is this display of the life-seeking leaves not a ritual, a performance in the sun and air? So I and these trees are connected in our forms of ritual, we are “in rapport”, mirroring each other’s way of taking part in the dance of life. 

So this is why I do ritual, to reconnect with Earth Mother, with the universe of life.. I sit in a safe container of my own construction, safe from the busy chaotic world of city life endeavour, which is connected only to its own busyness, and would have no life were it not for the mindless activities, or the excessively thinking activities, of the human brains that swirl in its chaotic dance… And when we do ritual or ceremony together, we create that safe space, a wall of trust around us, for deep sharing, or prayer or celebration. 

Sometimes we do the Warrior Dance, 200 or more of us fasting and sleeping by day and dancing and fasting for four nights under the full moon in the wide Prairie sky, drums beating, singers singing, healers, fires blazing. This is our ritual display. The sight is glorious. And then we see overhead the blazing green and yellow and white of the Northern Lights, Mother Earth displaying her ritual.. as we respond with ours, showing her we recognize her gifts, feeling deep in our bodies the welling emotions of connection to all life around, all weathers, all mountains, all waters,, all forests and plains…

So when I drum or do my Pipe, or call in the Four Directions, or conduct the Lodge, or Smudge myself or others, I am creating a formalized ( a “form”, repeated)  safe space connection to Mother Earth. Feeling all the emotion of that living power flowing through me.. To be in connection, in rapport with the natural world and the spirit world that animates it, I must engage my body/mind and that I do with my ceremonies and rituals.  

It was Earth Mother that birthed me here at this time. She gave me as my tasks to speak my thoughts in the truth of poetry, and to support my connection to life through gifting my drum-making, making the sacred hand drums, which then led me to all my spirit-encounters and my life enhancing friendships, ceremonies and rituals.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Trump Phenomenon..letter to a friend

Dear Friend your word that you felt shame over the election shocked me, and I was surprised at my reaction. Of course I don't ever want you to feel ashamed, particularly over what other people do or don't. So I had to reflect on what I myself was feeling and after some time, came up with what follows...

My Musings on the Trump Phenomenon

Oh I am really feeling the pain these days of those of us who are reacting with fear and dismay to the unexpected win of the US Presidency by the ultimate narcissistic ignorance of Donald Trump. And also the pain of many of his supporters who felt they had no choice but to take a chance on his being able to do and actually doing what he said he would to distribute the resources of the USA more honestly and fairly. The pain of those who are realizing they have lost their democracy, that neither of their two traditional parties has been defending their democratic constitution. They feel themselves staring into the abyss of the unknown. 

Every day there seems to be something in the news of the world stage that I ought to react to with either fear or celebration.. A lot of it is in the unknown future, or a manifestation of the reportage which I might not agree with had I witnessed the events they describe… I give myself hope by learning to become detached from my desire for any particular outcome, to become detached from excessive and destabilizing emotionality when the unexpected occurs.

  I daily follow the path I know to be mine, where it leads I know not, so am learning not to have expectations and just continue to be interested in what actually occurs. This way, I won’t have a problem, until I do. As for being upset at the apparent decisions of the collective to which I belong, country, race etc.etc. or those with whom I must interact, I am my own moral compass, and choose whether to follow the collective, or not. Certainly, I wish us all well, that the miserable become happy, that moments of joy occur to all. And so walk seeking to project compassion and universal love onto all living and non-living… I know some wise old trees who have the same attitude….

In Peace  Donato Nov. 16  2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Concerning cultural appropriation concerns

Letter to a young friend concerned he may be transgressing on another's territories by taking part in their spiritual ceremonies, concerned to try to find his own indigenous heritage, his own lineage therein....

Dear .....

 I would be honoured to hear more of your journey and that of others as they unfold. 

As for me, I am like Squirrel, I was put here onto this land by Mother Earth to find my spiritual practice, my spiritual gift, which I am then compelled to follow. All I have is not my fault, it is my gift from Mother Earth. I owe nothing to any traditions save those which are gifted to me, and which I discovered for myself from the habitat in which I landed, just like Squirrel...In one way Squirrel has an advantage over me, he did not have to search for the Way he is compelled to follow, he was born following it. And I am not accountable to Manitou for the way in which others do or did live their lives, only for the way in which I live mine. Walking lightly, disturbing nothing, I need manage only myself... That is enough for one life. Even writing this, is a kind of disturbance, but I am not yet a hermit, though that I may become in time..... 

Donato  Feb. 5  2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Indigenous or not?

Some idea that indigenous people are different from us. That they have some status and claim to live safely on this land that we do not have. 

Thinking of myself, whose grandparents came from Italy, where their DNA had lived in a small village for 2000 years or more, and from America, after travelling all across Europe with the Celts and the French Huguenots and the Puritans, to what is now called by some the USA. My DNA has done lots of travelling since it last resided in what most today would call indigenous cultures. I prefer to say of my ancestry that I am descended from a long line of poets and drum-makers, for thousands of years. My DNA heritage in this spiritual calling is more important to me than what my DNA has encountered in the various language and cultural groups it has travelled in the past 40 000 years or so back to the Cro-Magnon people of the Eastern Mediterranean. 

So I would be happy to listen to anyone who had spent time and effort to track their own DNA in history, and learn what spiritual practices and songs it has been exposed to…

And I say Mother Earth birthed me here out of my DNA heritage, because this is where she needed another human poet and drum maker.. And I have the word of my Anishnabe friends living North of Superior that they too recognize me in that way…I am not taking anything from them, In fact they freely welcomed me and gifted me with the spiritual values and practices I now follow, as I gifted them with with what I was called to do. 

I say it is better to base your spiritual practices on the ways you choose to follow, or are gifted with, out of knowing your own spiritual gifts, than to blindly adhere to one or two of the probably hundreds of spiritual practices your DNA has encountered over the millenia. And if ancestors are important, then I am already an ancestor of a thousand who will come after me, and so I too am important. as we all are…

Donato Feb. 3  2016