Friday, March 26, 2010

Sweathouse is here, it is finished

Before I get to that I would like to thank a man named Wayne, he is a friend of mine who lives up in dine' country. The story was passed by him, in the sweat house, to an Anglo man named Da ga' shi' chee, My mustache is red. The one you know as blog with no name...

Now, on to the sweat house I have been building. It's finished! I don't know how to do a post with pictures yet, but the one who does gets home in four days.
I think that it came out really well. And the next time there will be pictures so you can see for yourselves...

This is the point of this post:
This is an open invitation to all who read this, If ever you are in need of a good sweat, it would be an honer to share my sweat house with you and suffer along with you for whatever you need prayer for. Also, if there is something that you need prayer for, and cannot be here to participate, all you have to do is email me a this address,, and I will suffer in your stead. When I say suffer, don't worry! I'm just saying, "earnest prayer in an uncomfortable situation", not martyrdom.
Anyway that's all I have for now, next time you'll see... maybe next Thurs. or Fri.

I am what I am

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Beggar's Son Part VII

San'hode' di' begaeye returned home. The younger sister recognized him and said, "Did I not tell you that other person was not our husband, and you answered me and said there was no one like him?" And the father-in-law came out and said, "Did I not tell you that person (coyote) ate allot more than my son-in-law?"
Then the father of the two women commanded that the children begotten by the Coyote should be killed. But the young man said "No." He took them to a place called Tqo che eko, and they became little animals somewhat like a coyote, but with black faces, short tails, webbed feet, and they climbed trees. They lived along the water and were called Tapan mai, along the water edge coyote.
By this time the young man's son, San'hode'di's first born, was a youth. The beggar's son called to the youth and said, "Come here my son, and stand before me. You will now go to the mountain called Taho chee, and you will live there. You will be over all the game, because of you all the People of the Earth will have game forever."
He began his chanting, and the son began his journey. He went first to Rainbow Springs, and circled it four times. Traveling the way the sun goes. Then the antelope of the plains came and in circled the youth. Then he ran in front of the herd to the mountain that San'hode'di' had told him about and disappeared out of sight into the mountain.
The beggar's son set out for his mothers house. His two wives wanted to go along but he said that they were to remain at their fathers house in the village. After he left they said to each other, "We have nothing to do here, let's follow at a distance."
At his mother's house, he, by his chant, gathered up all the beautiful goods and wrapped them up into a small bundle which he put into his bag.
So the four set out, and they visited all of the places that the beggar woman and her son had received ill treatment. All of the places where the men and boys treated them badly, the beggar's son took their wives. This was done to get even with them for what they had done to his mother and himself.
When they arrived at the mouth of Tse gee (Sage Canyon) They found that the two young wives' moccasins were wore out. At that place there was a small rock, he stood them up on it side by side, and traced their footprints, and set his flute on their feet. He began chanting and sent them back to their father's house on his flute. Then his flute returned to him.
He built a house high up on the canyon wall. And the two lived there, the man and his mother. The house is called Kin'nee nil gaeye, the house with white bands. (Side bar: I have seen this house with my own eyes. I had gone to a prayer meeting like I have already told you about, and didn't notice it until the next day.)
At first the young man called her "Mother", but as he was a Holy Being he remained young, and his mother grew old, he then called her "Grandmother". And she called him "My Son" then "My Grandson".
I think that this is a good place to end the story. San'hode'di' had many adventures after that as it is truly a continuing story... He did much more "visiting" on the wives of the people of that region. That is why some say that you should always be kind to the poor and not treat them badly... You never know, San'hode'di' might be around....

Thanks for the patience, I am what I am

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Geggar's Son, Part VI

I think maybe one, or two more episodes besides this one should wrap it up for San'hode'di'. It's been a long strange trip indeed! It gets even stranger so let's go....

The next morning the young man drew a woman with a chant. And she gave him her leg wrapping, and the young man said that she would see old age.
He made a beda like an antelope, and laced it up with the woman's leg wrapping. Early the next morning he got up and counted all the doorways in the village. Then he went to where there was a herd of antelope, he could do this for he had the beda over him. The young man killed as many antelopes as there were doorways. When he returned home he told the people that they should send one man from each doorway and go out and carry home an antelope.
When the people returned they said, "Our Son-in-Law is Great!" "He must have a Long House!" The next morning he killed two antelopes for each doorway, and told the people that they should send two from each doorway. Then the people gave him two Long Houses.
On the third morning. Three antelopes, three Long Houses. On the fourth morning, four antelopes. When the people returned they said, "Our Son-In-Law is very great! We will always have meat!" The young man was given ten Long Houses in all.
On the fifth day, San'hode'di', the beggar's son, set out for the home of the Mountain People called Tqo chee o whee tso. He started to hunt as before but when he neared the herd, Coyote hit him with his hide, and upon him he blew four times. Coyote took his beda and placed it on his own head. The young man was left in the form of a skinny coyote.
Now the coyote could not kill a single antelope, even with the beda. So he took the discharge from his eyes and laid it in a row. He stepped over it four times and it turned into fat. He then took this to the two young wives. The younger sister then told the elder , " that man that had come to them was not their husband."
The beggar's son, in the coyote skin, turned east and that night he lay under a cedar tree and ate its berries. Then the young man traveled south, that night he lay under a bush called Kin jilth ie', and ate its berries. The third night he had traveled west and lay under an iron bush, to this day the berries are called Maida, because he ate them. The fourth day he went to the north, and that night he lay under a wild rose bush and ate its berries. After the fourth day he went out and fell down... almost dead.
Now a person called Dotso went to Tqo che o whee tso and told the people there that the young man was laying down out in the open almost dead.
Then the Holy Young Man, the same one that called him brother in his mother's house, went to him.
When he found the skinny coyote he said, "What are you doing here, Tqo che o whee tso tsel kee?" The poor coyote finally managed to get to his feet, he tried to speak but all he could manage to do was howl like a coyote.
Then the "brother" made a ring out of young cedar big enough to push the coyote through. When he did the skin ripped open and the young man's head was exposed. Then he made a ring out of the kin jilth and when he pushed him through again, the skin tore down so that half the young man's body could be seen. The Holy Being made a ring out of iron bush and this time the skin dropped to the young man's knees. Then a ring of wild rose freed him.
This all took place so that the people would have medicine for a wrong that they would do. The beggar's son was instructed on this. It was necessary for the beggar's son to under go this black magic transformation so that he could make known the medicine. A certain kind of plant that attracts moths and butterflies, but when they land on it they fall over dead.
While the young man was being told as to what should take place in the ceremony by the Holy Being, they saw the coyote going by with the beda. The young man was told to go hit him with his own hide, and blow upon him four times. This he did and the creature returned to his own form. The headdress however, looked and smelled awful. The skin had spoiled it. The young man, even so, killed one antelope on his way home.
On his way home he met a little creature coming out of the ground. This person said, "I saw that you had a hard time of it." The young man answered, "I had a hard time of it grandfather."
This person said, "You were given power from the Sun and White Bead Woman, and also Tqo che o whee tso hastin, the Mountain Man. But there are one or two things they did not tell you. That's why you have had trouble. Come home with me. Then he raised up a greesewood bush and blew four times on the opening and they went into his home.
This person told the young man that he had heard that Earth People's tobacco was very sweet and he longed to taste it. So this person rolled four smokes from the young man's tobacco. Each time he smoked one he killed little animals and brought them back to life. He said, "I see, my grandson, your tobacco is very good!" Then he told the young man of the ceremony that had not been made known to him. He taught him all the chants that are to be sung.
This person then wanted a gift, so the young man put the antelope hide on him and blew four times, it became his coat. He is known as "Ha zeylth gaeye", the ground squirrel, he was well pleased.
The beggar's son then went to a place called Tse jinjeda lia. At this place he under went another prayer ceremony. It is called the Prayer of the Turquoise Boy, Des chee del ja. It was Turquoise Boy himself that offered it to the young man for his protection.
Then the young man was made so that nothing in heaven or on earth could harm him.
He was ready to return to his home....

I am what I am

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Beggar's Son, Part V

The head of that little village had two daughters that were very beautiful, their names were, To chine'e, and, O chine'. They were well guarded and their father kept watch on them. One day the elder daughter went to the spring to fill her water jars.
There the young man was waiting, for he knew that she would be there early in the morning. She knew that he was standing there while she filled up the jars. But she did not look up at him. The young man asked her for a drink of water. So she dipped her dipper in the spring and gave it to him. He said," No, I want a drink from your jar." She threw the dipper away and got some from the jar and he took it and drank some and threw the rest on her.
She just brushed off the water from her clothes, still not looking up at him, she began to fill the rest of her jars. Then the young man blew on the jar with the blue gum and it tipped over. She just filled it back up and he blew on it again and it tipped over. This he did four times, and finally she looked up with a smile and asked," How did you do that?" And the young man gave her a piece of the blue gum and said," This is how I do it." So she put the piece of blue gum in her mouth and blew on the jar and it tipped over. She did this a second time and then she let the young man become her husband.
After returning home with the water, her father told her to "make water." When he saw that she had benn "visited" by a man, he went to the spring and there he measured the track with a stick. When he returned home he called all the men out and measured all their feet. Every man's foot was too small. So the father went to all the neighboring villages and measured all the men's feet there also. They were also too small. The father wound up traveling far and away searching, but could not find anyone with that size foot. So he returned home wondering whose track he measured.
Now the Little Breeze told the young man that her father would never guess where to go. So the young man used the chant, that he had learned, that drew people, and the father remembered the poor woman's son. The little breeze told the young man that her father was coming, and the young man chanted until the arrival of the father.
The father came in and sat down. The young man lay on his back and the father measured his foot, an exact match. The father said, "Son-in-law, do you know that you are an expectant father?"
When the father went on his way, he could see as he neared his home , that there were people about the house preparing for the birth of the baby. A baby boy was born.
The people made ready to carry the baby and gifts to the young man.They carried a basket full of meal. And they chanted many chants as they walked. As they neared the young man's house, they played and laughed.
They brought the baby inside and laid him in the young man's lap. Then they washed the baby. While they were washing the baby, this is the chant that they sang:
I am the Sun's Son, into my hands he is given
I am the Son's Son, into my hands he comes
He has for his moccasins the turquoise moccasins, into my hand he comes
He has for his leggings the turquoise leggings, into my hand he comes
He has for his garment the turquoise garment, into my hand he comes
He has for his earrings the turquoise earrings, into my hand he comes
A perfect turquoise is placed on his forehead, it comes to my hand
He has for his feather the turquoise feather, it comes to my hand
He is The Turquoise Boy, and he comes to my hand
Nothing can harm him as he comes to my hand
Like the Most High Power Whose Ways Are Beautiful, he comes to my hand
For all is beautiful before, behind, above and below, and it comes to my hand

The people made their gifts to the young man, then they brought his wife to him. He then gave them all gifts of venison and they carried home a quantity of meat.
When the people returned home it was found out that they had brought the younger sister to be the young man's wife also......... He had a baby, and two wives.
The next day, the young man went to the home of his father-in-law. And he was given a Long House, his mother remained in the house that the young man had spoken into existence along with all the beautiful goods...

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Well it's a lazy day, not much going on so I'll continue the story... Besides I said that it was a long one, and the more I can tell in one day the farther along I'll be when the work week starts again and it's early to bed and even earlier to rise....

We left when the Holy person and the youth were at the house of the Mountain People. He had been washed and was ready to be dressed...
Then the Sun came. The Man Of The Mountain wanted to dress the youth. But the Sun said," No, he is my son and I will dress him myself." Then White Bead Woman came and said," If he is the Son of the Sun, than he is my child also, and I will dress him myself."
The four Holy Beings had different minds, they were changeable.
There are four sections to the chant that was being sung by White Bead Woman while she dressed the youth.
White Bead Woman's chant
She dressed me with her White Bead Moccasins
She dressed me with her White Bead Leggings
She dressed me with her White Bead Garment
She dressed me with her White Bead Bracelets
She dressed me with her White Bead Earrings
She dressed me with the perfect White Bead called Ha'da tehe which she had on her forehead
She dressed me with the perfect crystals of pollen, the Beautiful Goods Pollen, which are her words, and with which I can call for beautiful goods and pollen and they will come to me at my word
She dressed me with the turquoise feather, on top of which sits the Blue Bird with his beautiful song
I am dressed like The Most High Power Whose Ways Are Beautiful
All is beautiful before me
All is beautiful behind me
All is beautiful around me
All is beautiful everywhere

This chant was repeated, then sung two more times with a change. "I am dressed" instead of "She dressed me".
After all of this the Sun and White Bead Woman went back to their home. Then the Man of the Mountain gave the youth blue gum, powdered flower petals and pinon gum, and then gathered four herbs for his medicine.
From the East, a plant called Tlo cho ae tso, which had black flowers was gathered. From the South, a plant called Cholchin ilt ai, it had white flowers. From the West, a plant called Aze bi' ni i, medicine of the mind. It is a very poisonous herb that is said to cause insanity, akin to loco weed. From the North, a plant called Aze tlo' hi, it had yellow flowers. The flowers from the North had their mouths open and laughed when touched. It was called The Laughing Medicine and it was the medicine used by the Gambler among others.
Then the youth learned the chants that the Gambler used. After that the Man of the Mountain gathered up pieces of all the beautiful goods that were inside Tlo che whee tso, a small mountain below San Fransisco peak, and wrapped them into a bundle and gave them to the youth. All the trash that he saw upon entering the first room had become piles of beautiful goods and food. Then the Man of the Mountain told the youth to do this:
Climb to the top of a mountain called Dzil net chee, Red Side Mountain. Shoot an arrow into a deer bush, into four different bushes eaten by deer. This he did, and then he was told to draw the arrows out and place them pointing back in the direction in which they came. This was the price he had to pay for learning the chants, and for the medicine.
From Red Side Mountain, the Rainbow took him back to the doorway of his mother. When he entered, his mother ran past him and looked around outside but saw nobody else.
She grabbed him and asked," Where is my son, what have you done with him. Didn't I say that you would take him from me?" Then the young man said, " Mother, it is I." She did not understand,and asked him again, shaking him. She did this four times, each time becoming more and more excited. Then the young man said," Mother, don't you hear, I am your son!"
Then she fixed her eyes on him and looked for a long time, he had changed, he was different.
His hair fell around his ankles. She asked again four times and four times the answer was yes.
The young man chanted the chants that he had learned and he chewed the Blue Gum. He then blew in the four directions and they found themselves in a home like the Man of the Mountain.
It was then that the young man heard the maidens coming for their wood. When they opened the door the young man blew at them with the Blue Gum and they fell back. He also heard them whispering about the beautiful goods that they saw inside his dwelling.
Then the young man led them to the forest and cut wood until they each had their lode. they carried the wood home and were ashamed of themselves. And also glad that he had helped them...

I am what I am


The story is getting good, eh?
The woman told her son thus: " When I was sitting in the shelter when all of a sudden everything inside and out turned all white. When I looked up there was a man standing there, and he was asking about you. I told him that you go out early and stay out all day, because the girls would come by and tease us because we are poor. He asked about our food and about our bedding. I had baked four little seed cakes and I showed them to him and said that we eat seed cakes and whatever rabbits you killed. I showed him the woven grass mats we use for beds and covers. Then the man took a cake and took a bite out of it and said," This is my food also." Then when I turned my head for only a moment, he was gone. So I rushed outside and found only one footprint in the sand. Look, the seed cake that he bit into is here."
The youth did not believe her story and said," It is foolish to think that any people that are as poor as we are would be visited by a Holy Being. It is you who have bitten the cake and left the track outside!"
The next morning the youth went out as usual, and upon returning in the evening his mother told him," At noon time, I saw the the Holy Person again, and he is a handsome man. This time he ate almost half of the cake. When I turned away for a moment, he was gone. When I went outside, there were two tracks."
The youth then told his mother again that it was her that ate the cake and left the tracks.
On the third day the same story. This time he had eaten almost all of the cake and left three tracks outside.
On the fourth day when the youth returned in the evening, his mother told him that she had again seen the Holy Man. And that he had eaten all the cake, and this is what he told me my son. He wants you to wash your hair in the morning, bathe your whole body, and dry yourself with cornmeal and pollen. Then you are to get some water in a jar, and sit beside it in the shelter. You are to sit there and keep looking into the water. After he left there were four prints outside in the sand.
The next morning the young man did all that his mother told him to do. She sat beside him in the shelter looking into the jar filled with water. After a time he became restless, and his mother said," Son, the Sun is at noon."
And at that moment everything inside and out turned all white. In the midst of the glow stood a young man. The Holy Being told the woman that he was taking his younger brother, her son, but that he would return.
The poor woman said," NO! You can't take him, he's all I have in this world, I'll starve to death without him!"
The mother was asked four times to let her son go. And finally the youth said," Let me go mother, did you not hear him say that I would return?" So the mother gave her consent.
They then went outside, and a white rainbow flashed about the youth's feet. He was told to raise his right foot. And on the first step, they were on top of the mountain called Sis jin de' lea. On the second step, they were at a place called Natsi'lid be'tqo, Rainbow Springs. On the third step, they were at a place called Bitoa'ho chee, Red Mountain. On the fourth step, they were on top of Tqo jin whee tsa.
There they stepped into a house. The first room they entered was full of trash. When they entered the second room someone called out," Um-m-m, I smell earthly people, the fool hearted youth must be bringing somebody home." The two got to the fourth room and saw a man, woman, and a girl. They are called, Tqo jin whee tsa Hastin, Tqo jin whee tsa Esdzan, and Tqo jin whee tsa Chike'. They were the people of the mountain, the man, his wife, and their daughter.
They washed him four times, each time drying him with corn pollen. The maiden gave him four baskets, White bead, Turquoise, White shell, and Black jet. He was then trimmed and form to look like the maiden herself. She put her head beside his and he was formed like her. All except his feet, he had big feet...

I am what I am...


The woman and her son thought that life was going pretty good. Until one day they were discovered. They had to leave their home and they traveled past Ship rock to the other side of the Carrizos. There the youth built his mother another house, as he had become a bood builder by this time. Today you can see a ruin high up on the rock, it is called Kine'gauge.
Soon the seeds and berries from the plants became scarce. and the woman told her son that they must go south if the Carrizos to a place called Beck shi'bi tqo, Cow springs, where people lived at a place called Kiet seel.
When the woman and her son climbed to the top of the mountain Dzil li'jin, the Black Mtn., they all of a sudden came upon a man gathering wood and wrapping it into a bundle.
They had startled the man where he almost lost his breath. The man was the head of the little village of Kiet seel.
He tied a bundle for the woman and her son and put some loose pieces on top, and they all headed for Kiet seel. When they arrived, the man took the loose pieces and laid them down near his house, and took the three bundles inside.
When he came back out he had a quantity of food that he gave to the two. He told them to burn the wood then he went back inside after telling them to camp next to his house.
So the two built a fire and ate their fill and went to sleep.
They were no sooner asleep, when some boys came, even some grown men and women. They bothered them all night by throwing sticks and stones, mud and water, even ashes.
The next day the two prepared to leave, but they returned the wood that they had burned for the mother had said, "The man who gave us the food must be a kind man." So they brought back more wood, but this time the food was barely enough to feed them.
They camped a little further away and all that night they received cruel treatment at the hands of the people.
The next day they brought more wood, but they only received one scrap each. So the two had gone to bed hungry. Soon the boys came and played every cruel trick that they could think of, pulling their hair, burning them with sticks etc. On the next day when they brought more wood they were given nothing for their work.
So the woman and her son left that place and went south to Ya'Kin, where again they came upon a man gathering wood. And the same thing happened to them for four nights...
So they left that place and went to a place called O'zeye.
When they neared that place they once again found a man gathering wood. He seemed pleased to see them. Same thing as before, he tied up a bundle for each and they headed for the mans house. Upon arrival they were taken inside the house and given lots of food and even some to carry away. They were told to camp outside next to his house.
When they were trying to sleep, the same cruel treatment was given to them. They just cried and hugged each other all night. On the fourth night they camped even farther away and the boys did not find them until almost dawn. So they only had to endure for a little while.
So at sunrise they headed out to a place called Tala hogan and made a shelter out of the bark of trees. But this time it was the girls who were teasing the woman and her son about a husband. For the youth had grown tall and handsome.
They would come by saying things like, "I choose him to be my husband" and "NO, I saw him first, he is to be MY husband". And this went on and on.
To avoid this harassment, the young man would start out early to hunt for rabbits or what ever else he could find.
One day when he returned, his mother told him this....

Well from here the story gets pretty wild, so more later... I am what I am

Saturday, March 20, 2010


This is kind of a long story, so I'll have to break it up into several sections.
Now when the Great Gambler was sent up to the sky, the Sun wanted the people to know what medicine the Gambler used and took up to the sky with him.
So he made a plan:
There is a place called Gaeye net be'e at the foot of Mt. Taylor. There it was that a poor woman lived who worked hard for a living. The Sun "visited" her in secret and she brought forth a baby boy.
After he was about ten or twelve, every morning he would run a race around Tso dzil. Thus he became a great runner.
The two left Gaeye net be'e and went to live at Tse be' y i, the Place Where the Poles Hold Up the Rock, Pueblo Bonito.
Now at this time it was the peoples custom to offer turquoise stones in the split cliff rocks. And it wasn't long before the woman discovered this place and picked up all the stones and went and exchanged them for food. After the second time the people began to question as to where she got her stones.
It was finally assumed that the stones must be the offering stones. So they went to the place and they found her tracks. After reporting back to what they had seen, the head of the people decided that the woman and her son should be killed.
The two heard of the plan to kill them and they quickly left that part of the country. From there they went to a place opposite Farmington. People were living under a big cliff at that time.
They lived off of what they could find, and some people gave them food. Others drove them off and were cruel. And it wasn't long before the same thing happened.
The woman discovered the place where they were making their stone offerings. Once again she gathered them up to exchange for food. And once again she was caught.
Once again it was the plan that they should die, and someone told them of this plan. So the woman called to her son and they left that place.
They followed the ledge of the rock so that their tracks would not be seen. They stopped at a place opposite Fruitland and built themselves a little home there. There the seeds were plentiful and every once in a while they killed a rabbit or a rat.
But even there they were discovered. So they left that place and went to the Hog Back Mt's. And built themselves a little house there. Today this place is called Kinda Ligene, Little Ruin On The Side Of The Rock.
There they made grass mats for the floor and grass mats to cover themselves. They made robes of rabbit fur that were small at first, about the size of a saddle blanket, but later they were larger. By this time the boy had grown into a youth....
I am what I am

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When Sweathouse was a man

There is an old story that goes something like this:
There was a time when the only "People" on the surface of the earth were the "Animal People". Sweat house gathered all the "People" together and told them that there are different "People" coming, Mankind. He told them that the time had come to chose which form that they wanted to live in. So the elk came forward and Sweat house asked what he wanted to be. In which the elk replied "I want to be an elk". So sweat house said," Let me see you be an elk". So the elk gracefully ran off into the forest, not to be seen again. Then Sweat house called to the eagle and asked him what he wanted to be. The eagle said that he wanted to be an eagle. So Sweat house said," Let me see you be an eagle". So the eagle spread his wings and soared off into the sky to disappear. Then blue jay came forward and said that he wanted to be an eagle too! So Sweat house said," Let me see you be an eagle". So blue jay took off and tried to soar like an eagle but it wasn't long before he lost his balance and had to start flapping his wings to keep on flying. Sweat house told blue jay," You should be a blue jay because that's what you are. Then coyote stepped up and said that he wanted to be an elk. So Sweat house told coyote, "Let me see you be an elk". So coyote did his best to prance like an elk but it also wasn't long before he lost his balance and went back to his own gait. Sweat house told him that he is cunning and wise, and knows many things, so he should have known that he is coyote and always will be". So coyote ran off and Sweat house said to Himself, " I will lay down and wait for these "People" who are coming. To him that comes to me I will help." And so sweat house got down on his hands and knees and turned himself into a sweat house, where he waits...
I am what I am

Friday, March 12, 2010

How many more?

There was this one time I can remember, Wilson, you remember him? Tall skinny man, with a wonderful sense of humor.. any way we were at a sweat in my back yard. I had just finished building it when he was at the church across the street and saw me putting the finishing touches on it. I was hanging a blanket that my mother in law had given me over the door. It wasn't but a couple of minutes that he was there... He was laughing because he saw that I was really tired, so when he said that when you build a traditional sweat house, you have to use it the same day... well you can imagine how I felt. So it just so happened that he had a load of wood in his truck, as he usually did. He was going to take it home but since there was a chance to break in a new sweat, he couldn't pass it up.
Not having to chop the wood was a blessing, giving us a chance to just sit and talk and smoke and after a while he got up and said a blessing for the sweat house and blessed it with corn pollen and we lit the fire one more time.
Great care must be taken in the placement of the wood for burning and the order in which they are placed. And even the way the rocks are placed into the fire.
Fire going, rocks getting hot, sun going down, every thing was perfect...

It was dark by the time that the rocks were hot enough to make good steam. They become so beautiful when they are red and glowing with a shimmer that looks as if they are moving around.
Inside the sweat once again, but it was in my back yard, too cool. Wilson sang as usual, it was something that I always looked forward to. After two rounds of sweating, he began to tell me the Dine' Creation story. And after he was through talking, almost an hour had gone by. The only reason I knew it was an hour was that my wife at the time came out and yelled at us to get out of there, we had been in there too long she said and that we could go back in when we cooled off. Wilson said, "Better listen, I didn't get this old by saying no to my wife!" I agreed, mad Navajo women are not wise to make madder.
We did get to the fourth round after we had some water and some fresh air and a couple rounds of a pipe. Wilson smoked what is called mountain smoke, sage and other desert plants. It's good for cleaning the dust out of your lungs, as it makes you cough pretty good if you get too much.
A story that was as wild as anything you could imagine. Part of which I will tell you because it is a really long one... But it wasn't a story of the past, it was a story of the future.
He told me that this world that we live on is the fifth world. That the People had made it through four previous worlds. Each one was not suitable for the People to live.
According to him there are still two more to go. But that from this world on it was an individual journey, rather than as a whole People at once.
By individual he meant each one being with the Holy People. And that eventually everyone would reach the next two.
The sixth world is the "World of the Spirits of Living Things". All living things have a spirit and this is their place, our place for only a while because there is still more to come.
Then he told me about the seventh world. It is called the "Place of Melting Into One". When all things are completed, and everything is restored to perfect balance.

I am what I am

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hozo'go Nasa'do

Hozo'go nasa'do, tasi akenahotle'do nasa'do. Oops, sometimes I forget where I am.
Happily may I walk, thus becoming again may I walk.
This is part of a prayer from a "Night Way" cerimony. The "Night Way" is a nine day sing that is for healing. Consisting of daily "sessions" where a person is sung over, while lying on a sand painting that is later scooped up. A daily sweat. Which in itself is no small matter. And on the fifth nite the all nite sings occur. And continue until the nineth nite. Each "day" being from sundown to sundown.
Taking place in the late fall, and continuing throughout the winter. These "sings" are held no mater the weather conditions, ( can't scare the Yei Bi Chei, or Talking God, cause they bring the weather.)
Back to the daily sweat. It is done just after the first prayer session at dawn. What a way to start your day. Having someone pray over you, and then a trip to the sweathouse. That's what I call living!
Although, in the context of what is being done, the sweat house can and will get pretty rough at times. Afterall, your trying to cure illness, and castaway all that is evil or a better word is ugly. You know, the way humans behave sometimes.
Dine' belive that illness is caused by behavior and attitude. Either our own or somebody elses. The sweat is good for attitude adjustment as well as detoxification.
Lets say a little about Talking God. I can tell you that there are alot of likenesses to the Son of Man. Both are considered to be our interceders. Both talk to the "Father" in our behalf. Both are in the likeness and fullness of the creator. I could go on, like how they both were the spoken word. The Son being with and was... and Talking God speaking himself into existance. You get the point...
I just don't see a conflict between the two, maybe one in the same, along with alot of other names...
On the nineth nite is when Talking God and the Yei Bi Chei show up. Their part of the cerimony is an all nite "chantway" lasting untill just before the dawn. They are there to concolidate the whole nine days of prayer and sweating, and over fourhundred songs that have been sung in the past eight days, and make, through their chanting, all the corrections if any that need to be made in the sand paintings or the words to the songs. Remember, the medicine men must know somewhere around one thousand songs, and be able to pick the right ones for the situation. So one can see that help is needed.
This is the time when it all comes together, when it all "pays off" so to speak. More than just the one being sung over gets the benifit. Everyone present, has the same opportunity for a healing. When "they" are singing and dancing, everyones attention is on "them". Just their presence alone is enough to chase away ugliness, let alone when "they" begin shake the rattle and chant in a language of their own. I was told that if Talking God or a Yei Bi Chei spoke directly to you in human speach, that your mind couldn't take it and you might go crazy.
"They" taught the "Holy People" the songs and the "Holy People" taught them to "The surface of the Earth Poeple", or Dine'.
Anyway, that Groundhog and Talking God must be up to something, or somebody's having a "Night Way" because I hear thunder and it's snowing outside... I am what I am...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"The Sands of Iwojima, Navajo Code Talkers"

I was watching the movie this weekend and it brought back a very special moment that I can remember...

During a time I was a "Funeral Director". Many times did I have my heart broken. But one time in particular, it was a completely different occasion. I had been called out in the middle of the night, which was quite often the case, to an old man's hogan out in the middle of what seemed like nowhere. When I arrived, The criminal investigators where there and also his family. The police were there only because it was what is called "an unattended death". They determined no foul play. So after several hours I was allowed to do the things I needed to do for transport, which includes waiting until the family is ready. They want to get to know you first, and that just doesn't happen right away. By the time I was ready to leave, the sun was beginning to rise. And I was met by the most beautiful scene you could imagine. After driving around in circles,so I thought, I didn't see where I was until sunrise. He lived in a hogan situated up a box canyon, with cottonwood trees, and peach colored walls on both sides with a spring flowing down one side by the canyon wall. The drive back was like a hallmark moment around every turn, I was amazed.

The family showed up sometime that afternoon. So we spent the next several hours making the short term arrangements. We didn't have to worry about tomorrow, just the next few hours is the way I put it.

After doing the things that I had to do, it was a the next day that I met with the family once more. This time all the things that were involved in the service were discussed, when and where, etc. It was at that time that I discovered that he was a "Code Talker". He also was a very respected medicine man. His life story had been revealed to me over the course of a few days.

From his boarding school days as a child, to his four wheeler that he rode because he was too old to get on his horse.

The day arrived when the family brought in the cloths that Chei would be wearing. It was his dress uniform from WWII. It still fit perfect. How many of us can say that we can wear the same cloths we wore even six months ago?

Chei was going home, and according to his son, he thought that any day was good enough. It was a beautiful service on a beautiful day. The flag had been draped on grandpa's casket, and it was time for the Color Guard to do their thing.

I was moved to tears, as was everyone else, when their handling of the flag was completed. folded and handed to his wife. Twenty one live rounds down range. Then in the stillness of the air, a drum, and a soft voice, that began to grow as the casket was being lowered. That song continued until the grave was covered up. The families up there used to say that I was the "crying man". What is meant by that is I am broken when you are broken, and what troubles you troubles me. My boss used to tell me that I shouldn't let people see me with tears in my eyes, but sometimes you just can't help it.

This man had lived a long life, full of many adventures, and his time as a "Code Talker" was one of them. People were better somehow from having known him. You know the kind. So many times I got to know people after their death through their families and friends. Some would say after it's too late. I say no. That man had an influence on me from the time I picked him up at his home.

The Navajo Code Talkers were part of history, though somewhat unknown of until recently, as they were sworn to secrecy for life in case they were needed again. God only knows what was saved or what would have been lost without them. I for one and grateful for this man's life, and his service. It was an honer and a joy to participate in the final act of love for him and his loved ones.
I am what I am


Saturday, March 6, 2010

"The Whos last reunion tour"

I remember when I lived in California, the rock band, The Who, were planning their last tour and then were going to call it quits. They were a band that had been at the grindstone for a long time. So I figured that this would be a chance to see the guys that did alot of the soundtrack from the movie of my life, thrashing about as a teenager "On the streets of Bakersfield". Anyway, long story short, the things that I had to go through at work, at home, everything. It was somewhere between the quest for the Holy Grail and Harold and Khumar go to Whitecastle. It was going to be for me a once in a lifetime, as they were retiring, so they said... Well in that same spirt, I'm continuing my series on the sweathouse. There's still too much to share and discover, and through that some other rabitts might run across our path. The last leg of the journey was fun for me, I hope that it was for you as well. This leg of the trip is going to get alot deeper... hope your ready. I am what I am