Tuesday, December 27, 2011


This morning Standing Deer (Pba-Quen-Nee-e) woke up from another of his Medicine dreams.  It seems that he is now the dreamer.  I (Marti) used to dream the Medicine for him, always waiting for him to recognize both the Medicine and me.
Dreaming the World by Marti White Deer Song
In his dream last night, Pba-Quen-nee-e told me to begin healing work on a group of people, saying that he would catch up with me there.  When he appeared, I was working with the people and covered in perspiration from the intensity of the work.  He found me so hot that he held me to cool me off and then we worked together.  After the healing work, many people asked us to go home with them but we wanted just to regenerate in our secret house that is hidden in plain sight from everyone.

I remember dreams from my early years in Taos that were very vivid and powerful.  These dreams were originally normal night dreams but before long they began to move into my waking life (is there such a thing?).  These were not just beautiful dreams of healing and power but just as often heavy with grief, loss, betrayal and terror because the door of our true Medicine history swung open revealing both past history as well as future potential.  The entities who were dedicated to holding us in a misdirected and defeated state were shaken out of their complacency and they were fighting back.  I named them the “Black Smoke Beings,” because I saw them in a brief flash and they were like thick, dense smoke, opaque but not solid, and they were shocked at being seen.  But the greatest danger came from within in the form of delusional conditioning from the past.  Much soul cleansing was on its way.  Too often beings either in the flesh or in spirit respond to another person’s effort to attain beauty, spiritual power, and knowledge as if they were  in among a bunch of crabs thrown into a boiling pot all grabbing at each other with their pincers in a frantic attempt to escape while assuring that none of them will make it over the top.

Taos is heavily laden with powerful medicine, some light, and some dark.  When I first arrived at this place, I was enchanted and confident that this was my Medicine home and the location of a powerful potion for healing the outside world of a schizophrenic detachment from its own life source.  I was naive, to say the least.  Then one morning I looked out the north facing window of my rented adobe casita toward the sacred mountain.  At its base broiled an unsettling grey and smoky mist that I immediately recognized as stagnant rage and perhaps even witchcraft.  Something was very wrong.  Joe J. Suazo, (Medicine Mountain) had subtly warned me of this by talking around it.  He knew much more than he would say.  It’s as if he believed that it was best if one picked up the message intuitively.  Now against my will I recognized the dark nature of this phenomena swirling at the mountain’s base with no good intention for anyone who attempted to penetrate it.  This didn’t fit into my vision.  But it was a first indication of what was in store.  There is a longer story here but I’ll save it for a time when I can do it justice.

Even in the worst of times I understood that Pba-Quen-Nee-e and I were supposed to put something together that had been torn into mangled pieces and long ago shoved out of sight.  There were times when those I came to call the Black Smoke Beings prevailed and I doubted that the unsettling revelations and strange visitations would ever end.  Although these were challenging times, I was already in so deep that I had to keep the faith or succumb.  Carl Jung is credited with saying, “the only way out is through.” I was learning all about that. Sometime during this trying period, Pba-Quen-Nee-e told me about his first encounter with his personal Medicine source. 

At the time, he was drinking heavily.  He was also on pain medication for a back injury.  The combination should have killed him but in reality, he could no longer get drunk.  On this particular day, he was in his studio painting and things weren’t going very well so he decided to consult his spirit guide Jack Daniels.  He opened a new bottle but before he could take a drink, he heard a strange jingling sound.  He was afraid his mind was slipping but he hadn’t yet reached inebriation.  He looked around for the source of the sound but could find nothing.  Then the jingling came closer.  Soon it was all around him.  From the corner of the studio a figure began approaching him.  He thought he’d found an unusually potent drink.  It grew larger as it approached and stars were dripping from its body.  It came closer and closer dancing back and forth among the stars until it was dancing face to face with Pba-Quen-Nee-e.  Its breath smelled of lavender.  This being’s name was Star Dancer, and he told Pba-Quen-Nee-e that he knew him and his dad’s medicine and asked if he, PQ wanted to stay where he was in his life or go forward.  Star Dancer then told Pba-Quen-Nee-e that he’d always held this Medicine for him and although he was going away, he would return if Pba-Quen-nee was ready to receive this power.  After such an unnerving and inspiring experience, Pba-Quen-Nee-e took the just opened bottle of Jack Daniels to the kitchen and poured it down the drain.  However, this was not actually the end to his relationship with the false spirit guide, Jack Daniels.  It was many years before he had the perspective to accept the import of Star Dancer’s message in his life.  This morning he wrote down last night’s dream and while we were discussing it, the story of Star Dancer came up again.  Pba-Quen-Nee-e said although it was many years before he understood or accepted the message just as it had taken him many years to recognize the importance of our connection with each other, it was always playing in the background, gradually working through his mind and soul.

Pba-Quen-Nee-e came from a family of Medicine people.  But more importantly, he came from a culture that acknowledged that path and the gift.  Possibilities for which we have no name or concept tend to lie dormant; a mere potential.  But all cultures at one time or another have some type of Medicine, and the secret to unlocking this potential seems to require being cast outside the box of the culturally agreed upon reality.  It was necessary for me to arrive at a place where survival and sanity required it.  Sometimes the power of a concept or teaching can only be learned in reverse order.  Illumination moves from the center of the heart and radiates outward in all directions.  Dark and light are brothers.  I don’t believe any true enlightenment or power of re-creation is possible without first trekking through the darkest areas of life.  Much like a photo negative, when dark and light are reversed the picture is revealed.

We recently experienced another Christmas Eve at the Pueblo.  Mom and Dad (Joe J. and Frances Suazo) are no longer with us in the flesh but on feast days, they are still in control.  Pba-Quen-nee-e invited practically everyone we knew and then we met two new couples, one the day before and the other at the bonfire itself.  They fit perfectly and it seemed like we’d known them forever.  This is how PQ’s charismatic Medicine works.  It was a wonderful, chaotic, joyous festival.  We didn’t make it to the Deer Dance the next day because PQ needed to recoup some energy.  He managed to overcome his lung problems at the celebration and that contributed to the magic.  The nature of the Christmas Eve ceremony expresses the Essence of Taos perfectly.  There is the charcoal blackness of the bonfires rising up against the beauty of the sunset;  then lighted faralitas (the traditional small lamps made from brown lunch bags with candles inside, also called luminarias in Albuquerque and south) glow along the adobe walls of the San Geronimo church as we stand in the biting cold.  The ancient three storied Pueblo stands back in the darkness as if protecting its privacy from the great crowd of visitors in its plaza.  Everyone is relieved when the fires catch.  We all move toward the nearest bonfire.  Before long one side is hot and the other side cold.  I change back to front when I smell my coat getting hot.  Then the old church bells begin ringing and two torches held high above help us locate the procession coming out of the Church in this milling sea of humanity.  The shocking report of hunting rifles shakes the air.  Slowly they move through the crowd and stop near the north-side kivas before turning back through the crowd, gathering worshipers as they go.  This crowd is made up of Pueblo tribal members, Spanish and Anglo people from town, and many visitors on holiday.  After the procession, people wander through the crowd to see whom they know.  It’s a great place to find people you haven’t seen for a while.

We began a conversation with one couple we met at our chosen bonfire and took them back to the house with us.  Somewhere in the midst of a conversation with, Jana, the woman, she commented that we reminded her of Mabel and Tony Lujan.  We learned that she was fascinated with the Mabel and Tony story and went often to the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.  Of course, she had no way of knowing that PQ is personally connected to that story.  One of PQ’s ex-wives, with boyfriend, and best friend also showed up, and his sister in law and nephew who had been out of contact since mom and dad passed.  Several family members were working like frantic elves in the kitchen.  All attempts at organization succumbed to the joyful chaos of food, wine and the muddy coming and going of guests.  I had to let go of any fantasy about keeping things orderly.  Later I realized this is the way PQ’s Medicine works.  First, one has to be accordant with the place one inhabits.  Taos has uniquely untamable, high contrast energy.  One of the first things I observed as a newcomer was its position between the highest mountain in New Mexico and a spectacular gorge.  This may be an important oversight by many seekers of local Medicine power.  Place, time, and season are all key ingredients in the potion.  More and more I realize that Medicine is all around us but we have to learn to recognize it and avoid fighting against it, as we so often do while attempting to protect our version of reality.  It’s a well-known fact that people often fall in love with a place for its difference from the place they came from and then proceed to make it into a clone of exactly where they came from.  Taos is not exempt from this pattern except that no one gets away with it here.  Taos has a nasty sting that will strike you just when you think you are in control.

I’m writing this between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  There is a lot of attention being focused on the coming of 2012 because of the Mayan prophesies concerning the end of their calendar.  I don’t believe we can accurately predict its true meaning from our perspective in a different culture and time.  But we can become more sensitive to the processes of our world both outside and inside as well as how the external and internal worlds interact and mirror each other.  The real initiation into Medicine knowledge doesn’t come from filling the brain with knowledge so much as becoming ever more aware of what the world is like in essence and without our tedious overlay patterns.  I’m still working on it and I see a long road in front of me.  There is a curve just ahead and I can hardly wait to see what I can’t see from here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

SIPAPU THE PLACE OF EMERGENCE: Time and Place in the Sacred

While driving back to Taos from a recent trip to California across miles of desert the awesome spaciousness unfettered my mind to explore beyond its accustomed borders. We had just been in a location with strong medicine for my husband.  He holds fond and powerful memories of the Laguna Beach area. 
Experience is often powerfully tied to place.  He so wanted to introduce me to Laguna Beach and connect me with this significant place of power in his life and to the people that were his tribe there. Of course he was also attempting to connect that part of his life to his present.  These connections are so important  because where  we are gives us the coordinates to go to the next place and going back is sometimes the best way to find our way forward.

I've noticed that travelling rearranges my perceptions. I become very sensitive to the things most of the time people don't notice. In fact I usually get sick the first few days that I'm in a new environment.  This time was no exception. I might as well be an alien just landed from another planet.  There is strong medicine in being unfamiliar with a place.  It reminds me of the power of my first espresso.

Long ago I too had significant memories of the California coast.  In fact my very first memories are of the  San Francisco Bay area.  I remember as a three year old my grandmother and I had a morning ritual of visiting the beach, making sand forts, and houses, and being fascinated with the profusion of sea shells sprinkled on the beach like magical jewels free for anyone to enjoy. In my memory I still see these vibrant colored and spotted shells from the intimate height of three feet.

Mission at San Juan Capistrano
But all of that was long ago and after being abruptly torn from those experiences when our family moved to Colorado I let them go.  California represented a break in my identity but I didn’t realize it until going back,  and although I’ve been there several times as an adult the chemistry of beginning a new stage in my life made this experience quite different.

I wonder how much of our civilized human contempt for the dirt that we stand on is due to the lack of a sacred sense of home.   While the vast desert landscape surrounded and swished by us it occurred to me that most modern humans behave as if their home was merely a place to eat, sleep and change clothes.  It's as if we are characters in a play. When the play is over we simply walk away.  Recently famous physicist Stephan Hawking was quoted as saying that it was time for humans to actively search for a suitable planet and plan an exit from this planet before it becomes unlivable.  I thought this comment an outrageous example of the modern human attitude toward  Mother Earth.  The  scientific attitude is so detached from its source that a genius scientist can look at Mother Earth’s resources as a if it was a humanly managed motel from which we can check out and leave our dirty towels and sheets for the maid.

This brings up our concept of truth.  Is truth about literal stand alone facts or is it about how those facts interact in the world as we live it. Of course you probably realize by now that my perspective is that truth must fit within the greater picture.  A so called truth based on isolating scientific facts is in my mind not THE TRUTH of the universe.

The mythic creation stories of Indigenous Peoples around this earth often begins with a Sipapu  or story of how and why they came into this world and so places them within the care and service of Mother Earth rather than as an outsider looking over a real estate prospect.   To be born physically and spiritually as a literal child of  a designated place on Mother Earth  enduces an entirely different attitude toward one’s environment and the other beings we share it with.  In most Native American Tribes there is also a sense of having been alienated by misbehavior or by deception at some time and of having been reborn.  In Hopi kivas there is a  hole or Sipapu to continually remind the people of their status as the reborn who owe their existence to the grace of a higher power. My husband’s Tiwa people feel connected to the waters of their sacred Blue Lake the way the arteries move life blood from the heart reaching into the body’s organs and limbs.  It is a spiritual/physical lifeline and it’s great depth connects it to the other side of the world as well.

In California I was reminded that there is more to belonging than recycling waste or going organic.  The plants in our cities are not Indigenous and neither are we.  We are in a sense decorating our living room, giving it an exotic ambiance an artificial reality (is that not an oxymoran?).  There is a sense of guilt and disconnect that inspires people to seek a way to compensate for living the designer makeover of the real world that results in Mother Earth looking like a woman with too much makeup.
Beyond Laguna Beach 

It seems to me that rather than moving to another planet and ruining it too, it would be much better to be aware of how to be at home here.  It’s about balance.  I also believe that we are co-creators and as such walk a fine line between creation and destruction.  We are still the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and an attitude of humility and reverance would give us a better chance.  Although most of us don’t intentionally become destructive, our systems have a tendency to take control even of their creators.  While driving toward Southern California we also witnessed giant feed lots in the desert with thousands of imprisoned cattle with no life except  to grow fat for slaughter.  There were also thousands of acres of truck farms,  strangely bright green squares in the vast brown landscape. Some of their produce will probably end up in our local organic grocery.  After all,  green is not found this time of year  in our latitude.  In one sense we have mastered our world but we have also messed in our own nest and in certain ways trapped ourselves in our own nets.

Approaching Albuquerque
I wonder however, if our recent concern for the health of our planet may also have the naive overtone of missionary spirit.  After all Mother Earth is the mother and we are the child. If we don’t learn from our mother we will be tripped by our own incompetance. Nevertheless I really believe we will hit a wall before we fatally damage our planet. This wall may even been imbedded in our own DNA.  We have yet to recognize that we carry more than one nature inside our skins. Whether we feel connected or not we have an inherent relationship with our source that can be activated to defeat our own independent arrogance.  I think this topic is too big to put my head around right now but I sense I will be learning more about it. 

Our ancestors may have been na├»ve and primitive in their lack of knowledge of how the physical world works but I suspect in a few generations our scientific approach will seem just as naive concerning  the limits of its perspective.