Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I wish you a Bear-y Christmas

I wasn't going to tell this story, but I feel I should share this good medicine.

Last night as I lay down to sleep, I thought about my Grandmother and how I never really let her go or said goodbye.

I had a long talk with my memories of her, thanked her for many things and then told her it was ok to go, that I would be fine.

All of a sudden, I felt Bear (the Great Bear Spirit) wrap her arms around me gently and kindly. I could see her arms and claws as if they were mine.

She turned me to my memories of Christmas with my Grandmother and all the good times that were had, and all the memories of the Christmas holidays. The family, the presents, the cooking, the great feelings of joy I had as a child at this time of the year. I saw the background of it all as a snowy mountain area with a gigantic Christmas tree of swirling lights.

All these lights were a joyful memory and I felt myself as this tree of joy with all of this life flowing within it.

As I came back to my bedroom, I could still feel Grandmother Bear's arms around me, as I still do now.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why "Red Eagle"?

I have been asked a few times, "what's with the Red Eagle name?"

I wasn't sure but my latest turn in the road of self discovery has provided me with the answer.

Back when I was told the name, I was also lead to this story:


A man in buckskins sat upon the top of a little hillock. The setting sun shone bright upon a strong bow in his hand. His face was turned toward the round camp ground at the foot of the hill. He had walked a long journey hither. He was waiting for the chieftain's men to spy him.
Soon four strong men ran forth from the center wigwam toward the hillock, where sat the man with the long bow.

"He is the avenger come to shoot the red eagle," cried the runners to each other as they bent forward swinging their elbows together.

They reached the side of the stranger, but he did not heed them. Proud and silent he gazed upon the cone-shaped wigwams beneath him. Spreading a handsomely decorated buffalo robe before the man, two of the warriors lifted him by each shoulder and placed him gently on it.
Then the four men took, each, a corner of the blanket and carried the stranger, with long proud steps, toward the chieftain's teepee.

Ready to greet the stranger, the tall chieftain stood at the entrance way.
"How, you are the avenger with the magic arrow!" said he, extending to him a smooth soft hand.

"How, great chieftain!" replied the man, holding long the chieftain's hand.

Entering the teepee, the chieftain motioned the young man to the right side of the doorway, while he sat down opposite him with a center fire burning between them. Wordless, like a bashful Indian maid, the avenger ate in silence the food set before him on the ground in front of his crossed shins.
When he had finished his meal he handed the empty bowl to the chieftain's wife, saying,
"Mother-in-law, here is your dish!"
"Han, my son!" answered the woman, taking the bowl.

With the magic arrow in his quiver the stranger felt not in the least too presuming in addressing the woman as his mother-in-law.

Complaining of fatigue, he covered his face with his blanket and soon within the chieftain's teepee he lay fast asleep.

"The young man is not handsome after all!" whispered the woman in her husband's ear.
"Ah, but after he has killed the red eagle he will seem handsome enough!" answered the chieftain.

That night the star men in their burial procession in the sky reached the low northern horizon, before the center fires within the teepees had flickered out.
The ringing laughter, which had floated up through the smoke lapels, was now hushed, and only the distant howling of wolves broke the quiet of the village.

But the lull between midnight and dawn was short indeed. Very early the oval-shaped door-flaps were thrust aside and many brown faces peered out of the wigwams toward the top of the highest bluff.

Now the sun rose up out of the east. The red painted avenger stood ready within the camp ground for the flying of the red eagle. He appeared, that terrible bird! He hovered over the round village as if he could pounce down upon it and devour the whole tribe.

When the first arrow shot up into the sky the anxious watchers thrust a hand quickly over their half-uttered "hinnu!" The second and the third arrows flew upward but missed by a wide space the red eagle soaring with lazy indifference over the little man with the long bow.
All his arrows he spent in vain.
"Ah! my blanket brushed my elbow and shifted the course of my arrow!" said the stranger as the people gathered around him.

During this happening, a woman on horseback halted her pony at the chieftain's teepee. It was no other than a young woman who cut loose a tree-bound captive!

While she told the story the chieftain listened with downcast face.
"I passed him on my way. He is near!" she ended.

Indignant at the bold impostor, the wrathful eyes of the chieftain snapped fire like red cinders in the night time. His lips were closed. At length to the woman he said:
"How, you have done me a good deed."
Then with quick decision he gave command to a fleet horseman to meet the avenger.
"Clothe him in these my best buckskins," said he, pointing to a bundle within the wigwam.

In the meanwhile strong men seized Iktomi, the bowsman, and dragged him by his long hair to the hilltop.
There upon a mock-pillared grave they bound him hand and feet. Grown-ups and children sneered and hooted at Iktomi's disgrace. For a half-day he lay there, the laughing-stock of the people.
Upon the arrival of the real avenger, Iktomi was released and chased away beyond the outer limits of the camp ground.

On the following morning at daybreak, peeped the people out of half-open door-flaps.
There again in the midst of the large camp ground was a man in beaded buckskins. In his hand was a strong bow and red-tipped arrow. Again the big red eagle appeared on the edge of the bluff. He plumed his feathers and flapped his huge wings.

The young man crouched low to the ground. He placed the arrow on the bow, drawing a poisoned flint for the eagle.
The bird rose into the air. He moved his outspread wings one, two, three times and lo! the eagle tumbled from the great height and fell heavily to the earth. An arrow stuck in his breast!
He was dead!

So quick was the hand of the avenger, so sure his sight, that no one had seen the arrow fly from his long bent bow.

In awe and amazement the village was dumb. And when the avenger, plucking a red eagle feather, placed it in his black hair, a loud shout of the people went up to the sky.
Then hither and thither ran singing men and women making a great feast for the avenger.

Thus he won the beautiful Indian princess who never tired of telling to her children the story of the big red eagle.


I've read this story many times and known it was about being true to yourself and not pretending to be someone else to gain fame, recognition, or respect. It wasn't until recently I realized how much it applied to me in the realm of my journey and paths I have walked.

I have tried to embody or basically mimic what I have seen others do and shortcut the journey instead of sitting with my drum and rattle and pray and gain my medicine that way.

I accept the name of Red Eagle with humility and shame for the guilt I have in pretending for reasons other than helping others. It wasn't even helping myself, it was so others would think I was something I'm not.

What I have had to realize is that I am enough just being me and if I would get off my butt and do what I am supposed to do, more than the skills I've copied from others will be gifted to me for the good of All.I know when that happens, I won't care who knows or who doesn't know for that won't be an issue. I just have to stop worrying about how I feel I'm behind in some race I think I am in when there is no finish line and only the journey today. 

I know there is more but I promised I would write this up today, so here it is.

I give great thanks to my spiritual brothers and sisters that have stood beside me in love all these years.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What's in a name?


I've used that name for nearly twenty years. It was as much a part of me as my own breath. Under that name I've made social kings of paupers, and paupers out of kings. I have hidden myself in the shadows and basked in the light of glory.


The pen name my book is published under.

When I was at a funeral service, well more properly, a celebration of life, I sat there and a new name was whispered in my ear...


The time that hangs between the cresting moon and crowning sun. The equal and opposite to high noon.

Hanging forever in the twilight between dusk and dawn, darkness and light.

The comparison for what I'm going through and the character Papa Midnite from the 2005 movie Constantine is rather close. Riding that thin line between darkness and light, balanced on a knife's edge with arms stretched deeply into the worlds of both darkness and light, immersed in the duality of pain and pleasure, heaven and hell, healing and destroying.

I have struggled on both sides of that line all my life telling myself that there is no grey area and that it's all either good or bad, light or dark. However, even though I knew better from legend, lore, and experience, it was still something that I refused to understand.

I am nature. Nature is neither good nor evil, it is nature. Nature is the ultimate resident of the twilight state. Nature creates and destroys as nature needs to survive.

You see the wolf kill the rabbit, and the wolf is evil and the rabbit is good. However, if you see the rabbit and it's multitudes destroy a farmer's garden so the farmer and his family have no food, the rabbits are evil. Then the farmer kills and eats the rabbit, now the farmer is evil. No, it is nature and perspective.

Don't judge me if you have a lack of perspective.

I stand at the crossroads, a point in balance and equality, striving to maintain balance.

Tattooed on my chest is the crossroads, within my heart is the medicine wheel, yet another crossroads.

So as I now embark on this new adventure within, expect and accept changes. It's time for me to peel back the layers of the onion (or the parfait) and see what lies at the heart.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Talking with the tree - the tree speaks

Last night I went in my mind to one of the memorable spots in the Seattle area from my 2011 trip. I don't have a great picture of the area but the above illustrates the space and the clear mountain stream I drank from.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Round peg, square hole

I’ll still do a vacation writeup, but this is the post-vacation post.

So I snapped in anger (more like frustration) for the first time in ages last night. It’s been quite a few years since that happened. I regret it happening and it was only words, but words can still hurt. 

I was focusing so hard on trying to regain control of my life and my own personal power that I ended up getting mad at anything that was taking my power of personal choice away. What I should have been focusing on was finding that power and control within myself and then selectively doing things for others in a compassionate manner, but in my own time.  Instead, I saw anything that would be an external force grabbing at me and tearing me into pieces. I guess that’s a part of control as well. Learning when to say no.

I feel I do so much for so many between giving rides, conversation, making sure everyone around me is comfortable, and as a result, it stresses me out. I can see this concern for others comes from my Grandmother, but she did what she did out of love. I still do what I do for the most part out of a sense of duty.

I know there were other factors surrounding this blowup. The feeling of needing to conform to the expected social norms of Tulsa weighed heavily on me. Yes, I know, by the standards of most people reading this, I’m quite the social conformist. What you may not realize is that me wearing certain jewelry, or my hat with its cowrie shells and wolf teeth can cause me a bit of stress to even put on and leave the house wearing here in Tulsa. I know that’s a far cry from rainbow colored  beards or all black clothing, but for someone who would rather conform and be invisible in society to be taking on the mantle that has been placed before me, it’s quite a tough thing.  Even now, for comfort I’ve already taken off my rings and bracelet and am about to take off my necklace. It’s like these things scratch at me as to remind me of another life, another way of living while I’m trying to control my work environment and come up with solutions to issues. I should count myself fortunate for these reminders instead of casting them aside.

My stomach tightens as I overhear other conversations and have to redirect those solutions to achieve the desired result.  Then there’s laughter over reminding someone what their schedule usually is so they call their girlfriend and discover they are supposed to take them to college at lunch when they had made other plans. 

Damn, hard work keeping people out of trouble.

A little chuckle and all is right with the world again.

I don’t know what the answer is here, and perhaps it’s just the vacation hangover. Every time I come back, I try to hold on to that person I was on vacation and it seems every time, I fail. Is it location or the need to get back to work? Or is it the lifestyle I have chosen and the environment where change would be noticed and fear of having to explain that change?

Like the number of licks to get to the middle of a tootsie roll pop, perhaps the world will never know.