Eye No Nothing

I was in an Arizona paradise last fall in a freshly erected tipi. My spiritual brother Junior was with me in there that morning as I formed the half moon altar on hands and knees. Junior was running that night’s meeting for Mr and Mrs Lorax and I felt the special privilege and honor to have this time with our special elder. Just me, Junior, the poles , the canvas, and the earth. I purposed myself to the meditation of forming the earth where old man peyote would sit and hear our prayers through the night.

Junior delighted the atmosphere with the humor and kindness that makes time with him so sweet. I was really feeling blessed from the two of us sharing these moments in the heart of power of Arizona earth that you can feel through your shoes.

At some point in this pleasance three young women entered, visitors to the grounds hosting our gathering. They politely asked if it would be ok if they sat for a few minutes to observe what we were doing. Right away that selfish part of me thought, Dang now I have to share this precious moment with my brother. Oh well… great while it lasted.

These women were not here for the ceremony but since it was their first time, as European visitors, into a tipi, they had questions. Yes, it’s a 30 ft. tipi, we raised it this morning, it comes down after ceremony. Basic questions and answers. Then one of them asked about the altar I was making, what it signifies, what the purpose of the lines I was etching in were. Well this is worthwhile, I thought to myself, prepping my hearing to pay attention to what my elder would share with these women. These mental notes will be something I can remember when I grow up and am asked some things about this fireplace.

I really don’t know. I just go along with it. And if I think I know something about it I might tell you wrong. We just go along with the medicine in here, that’s what all this is for. We take care of things and try to do our best, but really we’re just all in here to pray and learn and so I try not to know too much. Maybe someday you’ll be in here yourself and you might pick something up about the way this all works. Maybe then you can tell me so I could know!

He said it just like that and I couldn’t keep from chuckling out loud, though as little as I could. Mostly I was laughing at my own expectations of what “facts” Junior was going to dish out. These nice ladies had just been gifted a teaching so strong that it hides itself in humility and can only be appreciated with time and attention. This is a beautiful view from, and of, the peyote road. The one symbolized by the line I finished describing with feather quill, and internal laughter, etched into the sand of the moon.

At the same time I’ve heard it said by my elders that it’s good to be humble but also someday, you’re going to have to know something. We won’t always be around, they said, and as I write this, many no longer are. But they always visit when the fire and the medicine and the earth and the water come together with our prayers. Always. And we need to know enough, now that they’re gone on, to continue the ways that give their spiritual reunions with us a home.

Sterling silver with Carico Lake turquoise nugget, set in 22 carat gold.

I was thinking about this on the morning of today when I received a response to my invitation of opinions for this space from a trusted friend, a reader of this blog. Written by a person who holds my respect for the way in which they relate to peyote with good heart and strong mind, it reminded me… It reminded me of the difference between innocence and ignorance, closed eyes and open. There comes a time when the medicine speaks its wisdom through the words of others. Just like it does through Junior, who knows very well not to say too much, because his knowledge and experience come direct from his deep relationship and love. He knows enough to know the medicine gives its own teachings without the need for superficial authority. This is the spirit in which my friend offered this letter:

A thought on some personally held beliefs.

I do agree the peyote is both powerful and conscious. I believe it has powers to protect itself and people who hold it sacred and have witnessed miraculous events. The peyote lacks an audible voice, hands, feet, a human analytical brain, and the ability to represent itself in court. It enlists humans to serve in those roles and is willing to communicate to humans who are willing to listen and be of service. I also believe that is part of why you and I have the interests that we share.

I also believe that when people put themselves and their desires first in a way that threatens peyote’s future accessibility to them, that it is capable of giving lessons on the importance of respect that it too has some basic needs as a living being.

Weston LaBarre’s book The Ghost Dance is highly recommended as pertinent reading. It is a densely written book that I found slow going (a fast read will miss a lot) but well worth the effort.

There was a joke I heard in church many years ago when I still went to church with my parents as a youth. A man falls over a small cliff and manages to grab onto some tree roots. He prays to God for help. The fire department shows up with a laddertruck and is told he is waiting for God to help him Someone else drops a rope to him and is similarly told he is waiting for God’s help. A helicopter rescue is attempted and receives the same response.Time passes and he finds himself growing tired and frustrated so he prays again, this time asking “Why are you forsaking me God?” A voice booms out from the heavens, “I sent you the fire department, a rope, AND a helicopter. What else do you want from me?”

Our involvement and willingness to be an active part of solutions is often required in addition to prayer. Reliance on prayer alone and belief in supernatural solutions is a characteristic of crisis cults. To badly paraphrase something Alexander Shulgin said about synthesis, we are a part of nature and oftentimes our personal participation and hard work is required to see the answer to our prayers.

Holding out for miracles can lead people to miss reality. That is the typical cause for the fatal demise of crisis cults. Faith is important, prayer is important, so is having open eyes and a willingness to work for what we value.

There is a reason why people started planting crops instead of relying on foraging. Yet, some people get insulted when the value of cultivation is pointed out. I imagine they would also be insulted if asked Cui bono?

I know, I’m not good with Latin either. Cui bono, “who benefits?” basically.

Moldavite Peyotes

I ask myself this often. Who benefits from my apathy and who may benefit from my attentive devotion? Who benefits from my speaking up about speaking with the medicine? And who benefits from my silence? The more you’re around the medicine the more you know you don’t know. But we don’t need to know everything to properly share what insights we’re given from our listening to the medicine itself. And if you listen long and deep enough, like Junior says, you might pick something up and then you could tell me so that I could know too.

Thank you friend, for sharing your words with us all. These pages are a better place for having heard your thoughts.

Holy medicine of life. Keep us in your circle in this world and beyond. Bless our elders and those passed on to be with you before us. Give us the satisfaction of each other’s voices being heard. Help us through our brothers and sisters, that we can recognize whatever lessons you might ask us to know.

Click below to see next post

Do It yourself Inner Peace

One response to “Eye No Nothing”

  1. I really liked and learned from these writings ! Especially the part about criis cults and how action and hard work need to be done not just prayer and faith alone and how farming is Necessary over foraging .i have heard it said by more than one great peyote chiefs that have passed on say that peyote has no eyes or human shortcomings or complicated brain and loves every race and animal that happens upon it unconditionally like god ! Provides water and flower nectar for different desert creatures as well as human beings ! And no it can’t represent itself in court ! Lol!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: