Reflections:   January 2014.    1st Qtr 2014

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New Year Salutations Relations,

I am humbled and honoured to announce this year marks the 20th anniversary of Ancestral Voice in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Profound gratitude to the many thousands of people who have participated in the ceremonies, intensives, Lifeways programs and pilgrimages that have been offered throughout the past two decades- it would not be possible without you.

Though August of 1994 is the actual month of the Center's inception, we are celebrating throughout the year. Stay tuned for special ceremonies and festivities.

Preferring not to indulge or reveal my personal history, at the insistence of several individuals, in honour and recognition of this auspicious year, the quarterly reflections will be devoted to sharing certain formative and inspirational aspects of my life, which fostered and contributed to the existence of the center. The first narrative is below for your enjoyment.

Based upon the track record of our longevity and consistency, there is increased interest and popularity in the Center and its personalized Lifeways Programs. Consequently, only a few students are being accepted into the various Moon Cycle commitments this year so if inspired and drawn to learn and walk the Path with sincerity and devotion, this is your moment in the year of the Horse!

In Gratitude & Celebration,
Chief Tsunka Wakan Sapa (Black Horse)

As Requested...

They arrived at six years of age- Big Medicine Dreams as the traditional elders refer to them.

Though I am not at liberty to disclose the details in written form, the very first Dream at that sensitive and receptive time was powerful and profound beyond measure. It allowed me to experience and realize that the Dreamtime in our nocturnal forays is equally if not more real than the Dream of our diurnal, waking life. After that introduction and initial epiphany, for nearly a year thereafter, I began to cultivate relationships and forged alliances with the Spirits and Ancestors of those realms. I also became a sleepwalker - dancing between the worlds - capable of negotiating and moving through the physical world while seeing and navigating other Dream worlds simultaneously. This was merely a prelude and preparation for what was in store.

As a consequence of an invitation for employment, my parents packed up the family and relocated us from the West to the East coast. It was there, in Upstate New York that the aforementioned Dreams and sleepwalking commenced. At the age of seven, my father and I joined "Indian Guides". Far less about Indigenous people, it was an organization that afforded an opportunity for fathers and sons to bond through sharing various adventures together. A sledding excursion was planned. It was my first winter and my very first exposure to snow. Excited by the activity and energy, I desired to travel down the steep hill alone, just as the other boys. Reluctantly, my father finally acquiesced at my insistence. Not in possession of our own equipment, we borrowed an old style "Rapid Flyer" with the wooden platform and two metal runners underneath. Not having tested it in advance, my father did not realize the joints were rusty. I lay down on my belly onto the sled and pushed off.

Careening down the hill, the sled was heading directly for a large conifer. Unable to steer, fearful to roll off and unskilled at stopping by driving my boots into the snow, I shielded my head with my arms right before I struck the tree at high speed. Upon impact, I was immediately jettisoned from my body into absolute darkness; yet I was fully awake and aware. A black, viscous substance surrounded and suspended me. There was a palpable sensation of movement; slowly traveling upon an unknown trajectory, toward an uncertain destination. I heard the muffled sound of my name desperately being called. It was my father’s voice. Suddenly, a tentacle of energy wrapped around my waist from behind and literally yanked me back into my lifeless body. Slowly opening my eyes, a circle of panic-stricken, blurry faces appeared and hovered overhead. I drifted in and out of awareness...being hoisted up the hill, swaying in a makeshift gurney, carefully being slid into the back of a station father making demands of a nurse behind a counter at the hospital, pointing at me while blood dripped from my face, pooling onto my lap..finally fully waking to the tug of a cold steel needle and thread through my right cheek, lacerated by the bark of the pine tree.

Bedridden for months afterward, I was unable to walk (my semicircular canals were disrupted). Nor was I capable of forming and articulating words properly. My father, a neuroscientist, observing the bright red blood that flowed from every orifice of my head - eyes, nose, ears and mouth- at the time of the incident, feared the worst; namely, that I had sustained neurological damage. Multiple tests were conducted to ascertain if this was true. More disconcerting for me was the sheer madness I was enduring (and unable to communicate or escape) for I was now seeing and hearing all manner of apparitions and Spirits during the day, in ordinary space and time. It was a form of insanity. Their overwhelming numbers coupled with the cacophony of their voices was utterly terrifying and impaired my ability to function in all areas of my life, at that time. Eventually regaining the ability to walk and speak, back in school, I found it exceedingly difficult to concentrate. I was constantly disoriented, unable to return to classrooms, confused by the presence and echoes of ghosts and Spirits in the halls. My physical performance and aptitude diminished significantly and I became isolated and withdrawn from others. As a result of my scholastic, athletic and social decline, my parents considered keeping me back in school to repeat a grade. During their consultation with me regarding their decision, I pleaded with them to allow me to continue, assuring them I would improve. They relented, granting me a chance. Comprehending the gravity and urgency of my situation, aware of what was required; I requested the assistance of the Spirits and Ancestors with whom I had initially established alliances the year before. They availed me in sifting through the noise, chaos and confusion - warding and sending off the Spirits who were tormenting me while introducing me to those in the throng who would (along with them) be of further guidance and service. Regaining balance and clarity, I began to excel in my life again with an even greater appreciation and connection to the Dreamtime and its formidable denizens - Big Medicine and relationships, which continue to this very day.

On my global excursions, meeting with traditional Medicine people from various Indigenous cultures, they frequently relate stories of the calling to their Path of selfless service - often a harrowing initiatory crisis, usually involving a near fatal illness, injury or tragedy which intimately acquaints and familiarizes them with death and fosters a deeper, lifelong association with their helping Spirits. This is my case and story as well - a literal and figurative impact that inexorably transformed my life and catapulted me onto the Medicine Path.

Last updated Jan 23, 2014