Pow Wow

Woman dancers

This summer in August Peter and me took a little mini holiday and went up to Manitoulin Island to attend the annual Pow Wow on Wikwemikong Unceded Territory.

We had a wonderful time and also met a few dancers, that we know from Pow Wows in our area. It is always surprising to see, how many folks follow “the Pow Wow trail” from one event to the other and dance every weekend.

Writing this I suspect you guys want to see some pictures!??!

Eagle Staff

Eagle Staff

OK!

Deer Clan dancer

Deer Clan dancer

 

full Siberian style facial vail

full Siberian style facial covering on Woodland regalia

Woodland Culture  regalia

Woodland regalia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolf Clan dancer

Wolf Clan dancer

Of course I also wanted to see the vendors that were set up just outside the dance grounds, I was secretly hoping to maybe find and “adopt a special treasure as a memento of out trip,

What however surprised me is, that up here in spite of all the galleries advertising Native art and handiwork what we found was rather dismal, cheaply made – but not by any First nations people from this continent. Colourful Chinese Chicken feathers and plastic beads everywhere.

Dream catchers from China – or the Dollar store – or both….. 😦

Other things made of Moose or Deer hide but crudely glued together with a glue gun and adorned with plastic beads and said Chicken feathers…….

Tacky velvet pictures of the stereotypical Indian on a Horse brandishing a spear towards the sunset…..

Where IS all the good stuff??????

What will the small kids growing up now on the res think of as their art and artistic expression, when all they see at their cultural events is this?

OK, there was a Caucasian guy selling the big Navajo jewellery with Turquoise cabochon – VERY expensive….

And I can not count how often I was asked or commented or complemented on the Wolf pin and earrings I wore – which of course Peter had made. I passed out all our Bearpaw Jewellery business cards.

So, in the end, what did I buy?

My heart cramps up in sorrowful pain as I am writing this down…..

There was a fur trader from Alberta. He had strung up in his tent – among many other pelts, 2 Wolves. A black male – Huuuuge! And an almost white female – beautiful…….

Standing in front of her, my heart pounded loudly and I was transfixed…….

I asked about her.

The story is not pretty:

……Alberta Wolf cull…..

…..South of Slave Lake….

…..She was shot in the face.

I need not say more- I hope……

There as a gentleman from England, who has a cottage somewhere here and was looking for a wall decoration, eyeing her and an Arctic Fox pelt…….

Peter wordlessly gave the trader $ 600,00 and then we smudged her.

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What will I do with her?

How will I somehow craft her ruined face back together?

Today, a month later, I still do not know…….

But I visit her, talk to her … and now I am crying into the keyboard……

…..for her…..

…..for all the cups she should have had…..

…..for all the Wolves…..

Bad Boy

 

2 years ago Windwalker’s daughter proudly paraded by our house showing off her 3 tiny cubs, black fur balls stumbling behind their first outing to the blueberry patches in the back of our property. Now – 2 years later, these 3 tiny fur balls are all strapping sub-adult Bears and their mother has decided, it is time for them to get going on their own and chased them away. So, where is a young homeless Bear to go?

Hungry

Looking for an easy meal……

I am trying to be a nice Bear

 

…. That hummingbird feeder over at Mi-Shell’s sure smells sweet……

…. and there are a few bird feeders with Sunflower seeds!

…. and – let’s steal the Raccoon food!

The culprit

You never know, maybe Peter forgot to lock the sliding door of the upper deck and I could get into the living room – and the kitchen! :)…….

push up

Smear dirty sandy paw prints all over the glass and poooooooop onto the deck, so they sure know, I have arrived…..”

Bear smear on sliding door upstairs 2

What? You are yelling at me?

Why?”

I am soooooooooooo hungry and there is NOTHING to eat anywhere yet!”

Why are you yelling at me

PLEEEEEASE!!!

 

Can I have just a teensy weensy little bit of Coon food?

Then I will go away!

I promise!”

dressing down

……

………

………….

Well, I did NOT promise not to come back a few days later…….

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….. and rip down the line with the hummingbird feeder and scratch a few decorative grooves onto the wall of the workshop and then curl up and go to sleep in the corner of the upper deck.

When Mi-Shell late at night came out to drum in the moonlight, she first thought I was a black blanket someone forgot and sat down on the chair next to me!

I gave her quite a scare!”

 

I swear I would have sung with her – for her friend Leslee, who is very sick and for the little Coon babies in the hollow Maple next to the house…….”

 

Smart Bear

Fox Medicine Pouch

 

MedicinePouch

in honour of E’eren Dilgiczeck, the Fox

and his white Brother, the Arctic Fox

Fox Medicine Pouch cropped

This Fox head I found on the Georgian Bay Pow Wow.

It wanted to come home with me.

It is most likely from a ranched Animal, that never really had a life outside a cage or enclosure. By creating this Medicine Pouch I wish to give honour and meaning to its life and also give respect to all Foxes and Fox Spirits everywhere.

PrayersWings

The Arctic Fox – Tiriganiarlu  = 

Winter Teacher (Inuktitut) comes down from the Pleiades to teach the people how to be wise and resourceful and how to survive the winter.

In Siberia Ee’ren Dilgiczeck , the Fox, is seen as the Guard at the Eastern Door – warning, iffff a disease spirit (Albi) or another “nasty” is approaching. If Dilgi barks, it is not a good day to be out and about and people make sure, they are close to home.

For the Anishenabe First Nations Wa-guish, the Fox,is known for his swiftness, cleverness camouflage and to always have a smile  and a sparkle in his eyes.

Materials used:

Fox pelt

bone beads

Deer leather = Wawashkeshkeshee the Deer is a Spirit of East, Morning, Future and also for none-violence and female energy

Hand carved bone Thunderbird:

Thunderbird pictographs and petroglyphs exist not only in and among the Native Americans, Also from Siberia to Tibet Thunderbirds were carved into the face of the rock at vision quest sites. they point to visionary journey and Dinosaur eggs were often considered as being Thunderbird eggs. In Tibet we still today see the reverence towards the mighty Khyang Bird and in India he later became Garuda.

Feathers:

I wanted to maintain the white purity of this pouch and so added only white feathers or mostly white feathers. Each kind carries a multitude of auspicious meanings in Native American and also Celtic and Central Siberian tribal cultures. You have:

White Swan feathers:

Seagull Feather

Hawk Feathers

Heron Feather

Petroglyph designs on the inside flap:

Fox from Tamgali, Siberia

Fox from Lakota Ledger art

Read more about Fox Medicine in this post:

https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/fox-medicine/

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Woodpecker Medicine Shield

Today on Full Moon I finished a Medicine shield in sweet memory of “Pecke”, our Woodpecker, that died last year.
These are his wings and other feathers – so his Spirit can soar again…..

Woodpecker is the little Brother of Binesi Wok, the Thunderbird and so brings the wisdom of the 4 Winds

Woodpecker also is the drummer of the forest and creating so is creating his/ her own beat. Woodpeckers communicate with each other through their drumming on hollow logs and through sharp screeches.

Woodpecker medicine is about communication, tenacity, patience and straightforward actions. 

DSCN3834

Cassey writes to Lynn and John:

Hello Lynn and John and – Gudrun, is it?

Cassandra here! 🙂

I got a hold of Mi-Shell’s laptop! 🙂 I have never written a letter and am glad there is a spell check.

I am named after a character in the stories from local author Kelley Armstrong, Cassandra the 300 year old vampire.

I know, I know! It was just because I bit Mi-Shell, when I was little. I did not know, where the wiener sausage ended and her finger started and now I am stuck with that name.

Luckily everyone now calls me Cassey 🙂 > toothy smile! <

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I wanted to say thank you, for giving Peter that Spruce Grouse! It was DELICIOUS!!!!

Of course Mi-Shell had plucked it for me.

She is weird. She makes all kinds of things out of feathers, old bones, Snake vertebra and sometimes even picks old Wolf pooooop apart to get the small bones that are in there. She then cleans them, drills them and sows them onto Medicine Pouches. She has clients in England and France that pay extra for that….. Shamans and shamanic practitioners are a weird bunch.

The sad thing is, once she found a Wolf poooop that was only all fur, very fine fur, Raccoon baby fur. It was the baby of my sister Hope, who can never quite keep track of all her kids. Last year she lost 4 out of 5!

I did better, I only had 3 and 2 grew up. Mako is still with me, but I have not seen Musu since last fall, maybe she took of to find her own territory. Probably Skitter got her pregnant! That rascal!

He got me pregnant too!

THAT is, why I am always sooooooo hungry these days. We all came out of hibernation last month and there just was not anything to eat anywhere, while the snow was still sooo deep.

The Wolves are doing all right though: There are all kinds of Deer carcasses thawing out of the snow and so they are all fat! So is that blooooooody Fisher, who ate all of Hope’s kids and my poor Maki!

He also is the reason we three, Skitter, Mako and me have hibernated together. Skitter is useless as a husband and father, but he is laaaaaarge and strong and the Fisher is not messing with him…..

During the day yesterday the snow had melted enough, so that we could manage to get to the house.

Mi-Shell and Peter always put out some cheap dog food for us.

Honestly: It tastes like a mixture of cardboard and Beaver shittttt!

But with nothing else around anywhere – we have to make due.

I wish, they would buy the nice dog food. The one Mi-shell’s shamanism students sometimes buy for us – as Medicine Gifts for the Spirits of the Land! 🙂

But that stuff is expensive and Peter has to watch the money and spend it on car insurance and long sheets of Sterling Silver, that they need to make jewellery out of.

Anyway….

I could smell right away, that there was something VERY GOOOOOOOD waiting for us on the upper deck (-so the Bear does not steal it first!)

Luckily Skitter is sloooow and lazy and by the time he smelled it I was waaaay ahead of him and ran up the narrow plank to the deck and grabbed the grouse and growled as good as I could. Skitter was hard on my heels and so I had to risk it all and jump down into the snow below with my prize. Skitter would not do that, as I said, toooo lazy. He rather scratches on the sliding door until Mi-Shell hears him and then he gets a large cookie – or 2.

Mako, my son from last year, he is low on our rank list and gets what Skitter and I leave behind, He sometimes squeals like a baby to appeal on my mother instinct, but that one tells me, that it is time for me to chase him away, because in a few weeks there will be little ones…..

Anyway: I ate the whooooole Grouse and it was DELICIOUS!!

Thank you soooooo much!

If ever again you come across something like that, think of me and Skitter and Hope and – well, Mi-Shell as well.

Yours truly! Cassandra Longtooth

Resident Raccoon at Echo Creek

 

 

Peter feeds Skitter

 

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DSC_7104

Cassey and Skitter

Iffffff you want to find out who Lynn and John are and what delicious yams they make, check out this link:

http://www.yummiesinajar.com/

If you want to find out, what Mi-Shell will make from these feathers, here is an idea:

Grouse tail smudging fan

Grouse tail smudging fan

 

 

 

 

NO! You may NOT!

Pashupatinath Temple complex Pashupatinath Temple entrance

Noon day heat,

people milling,

going to and fro,

bringing pujas,

burning pujas,

Sadhus

Tourists taking pictures of them.

Asking us to take pictures for them – and with us, for good luck!

Sacred cows,

Sacred Cows

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Sacred Goats too!

A black Billy Goat

cowering down in the shade of the temple.

A brass bell around its neck

Every minute or so a worshipper steps up to ring that bell. For good luck and for Blessings to be bestowed.

Loud!!!!!!

Loud noise next to delicate ears created to hear the steps of the Wolf in soft grass….

I step up and in “Animal speak” = picture language ask the Billy Goat if I may ring its Bell.

He decisively turns its head away from me towards the wall.

No you may NOT”!

Seconds later a devotee steps up, grabs the bell and rings it loudly.

You are the ONLY ONE that EVER asked!” he pictured!

On time less in its life, that he is having to hear the noise ringing through his body.

Just 1 time less……

….. I do understand that- completely!

But he is alive! Not like all the thousands of Goats, Bullocks and Chickens sacrificed during the ongoing Dashain festival.

He will live out his days like this, here….. with the bell…..

A little further on the child of a ??western Tourist?? throws away an Apple, just 1 bite missing…

I go over and pick it up.

A Gift from a Tree Sister – not honoured.

A gift for the Billy Goat.

He looks up at me, as I lay the treat before him.

Surprise in Animal eyes.

He delicately nibbles his prize.

a little present

I have to run –

 -after the group……

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Temple of Woman Elders:

Temple of female Elders

Shiva lingam

Shiva Lingam

Bhola and Sadhu

Bhola and a Sadhu

Midnight Snowshoe Hike

Full Moon night
Clear and crisp, -28 centigrade, no wind.
We are out snow shoeing on the frozen marsh in ~~40 cm = foot and 1/2 of fresh snow.
Early this morning my husband had walked a 9 circuit labyrinth into the fresh powder, but while we were going about our day “someone” came up from the Beaver dam and walked right up to the edge of our labyrinth……
Who was that?

We want to find out. 
Ah! 
Fresh Wolf tracks! 
4 of them. 
For the most part the Wolves walk in each other’s paw prints, just here and there they fan out to check for Rabbits and Mice in the frozen tussocks.
We measure the step sequences and conclude that it must be at least 1 adult male, probably one female and 2 sub adults from this year’s litter.
As I look up towards the Beaver dam, there is movement among the long moon shadows of the Pine Trees. 
A lone Wolf steps out and briskly crosses the frozen pond.
We howl, but get no answer.
On our way back to the house we see the fresh tracks crossing ours just below our living room window……

Travel to Chitwan National Park

From Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park it is a distance of 185 km.

All down hill…

going down

So you would think, that traveling in a brand new van, about 3and 1/2 hours would do it…??

Well, We are in Nepal here and with Nepali roads and Nepali traffic…..

Kathmandu is in a valley, at an altitude of 1337 meters. So first one has to get through the bumper to bumper traffic of the city, then up to the rim of the valley… and then down…

Bumper to bumper with motor bikes weaving in between,

stop and go from pothole to pothole on a very narrow road .

Switchbacks

Switchbacks almost all the way…..

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HUUUUUUGE Tata trucks coming up, bringing everything Kathmandu needs straight from India…..

Buses, maaaany buses, big and small often with people on the roof.

on the road

Vans overflowing with people and their luggage on the roof, the occasional Goat and Chickens and Ducks in cages and baskets….

It is the Dashain festival and EVERYONE is going home….

Our patient driver explains, that the traffic today is lighter then on other days – on this road…..

That did not help one of the rickety buses that – 2 hours ahead of us somehow did not get around one narrow switchback and capsized down the steep embankment. 18 dead. In-consolable survivors and loved ones crowd the narrow margin at the abyss….

We snake by the tragedy and press on… Down. It is getting warmer.

It is getting hot!

Steamy!

We are going towards the jungle.

modes of transportation

The vegetation is changing.

Bananas!

Djungle Owlet

Flowers!!!

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The rivers and its beautiful bridges!

hanging bridge across the Seti River

Lunch that does not look all too healthy go my shamanic 6th sense….

I abstain – and stay healthy! 🙂

We take pictures of butterflies in and among garbage.

Then on and on, narrow winding pothole avenue to Bharatpur.

There it gets reallllly bad! The last 18 km to Chitwan the road is one ripped open crater.

The ever present motor scooters honk and zoom by, we pass rickety cars and other strange vehicles.

There are also lots of people on the road, there are all dressed in their beat outfits – for the festival.

_DSC4569 (1072 x 712) Fiesta

7 ½ hours, after leaving Kathmandu and with the last rays of the sun we arrive and check into Tigerland Safari Resort

We want to use even the last minutes of fading light to maybe see a bird.

We are lucky and meet Krishna, one of the resort’s bird specialists. He sees the Owl pin I am wearing and tells us to follow him: Down a muddy path past some simple dwellings to a field. A large Tree about 10 meters away. “See there, on that branch!

Yes, that dark silhouette!

Yes, it is an Owl! A Jungle Owlet. This is her roost!”

Jungle Owlet 4

I am squealing for joy and excitement! Through our light sensitive binoculars we can clearly see her!

I am sooooo happy!

My first Chitwan Bird is a little Owl, looking a lot like Lira!

How auspicious!!!

Home across the Mountains

The next journey assignment Bhola gave us, is to re-connect with our ancestors.

Hold our little Ammonite in our hand….

Ammonite opened
…Lay down on our mats and listen to his ancestor calling chant…… and …. go…..

I went back into the Rhino cave.
The massive Rhino had turned to stone – or put more clearly: grey pottery. I walked between its legs into an Ammonite cave( a cave made up out of a Huuuuuuuuge blackish grey Ammonite.
Then all of a sudden the
Ammonite covered itself with rolling green meadows and scattered Aspen trees. A fertile valley, in its midst a little hill and a large encampment. A kurgan was being dug out/ into the hill and stabilized with tree trunks. A beautiful Horse was sacrificed and subsequently lowered into the open pit, ropes and saplings were used for that. I felt shock and ahw at being an uninvolved bystander of the proceedings.
All of a sudden Ee’ren Omsür was there!
( info: He is an Ancestral Clan protector for our whole Clan and also other related Uryanchai Clans. He is a Snow Leopard Spirit and a “hard” teacher, sometimes a trickster….)
Read more about him here:……..

https://shamanicdrumm.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/215/
So there he was, all nice!   …
Leading me away….

I walked on his left side and the landscape moved by quickly: Grass lands with Trees, rocky cliffs, sandy gravel, my right hand buried into the lush fur of his neck.
We walked and walked endlessly cliffs, up higher and higher, snow, ice, sleet and icy winds roaring by without touching me. Ice fields beneath foggy clouds, blinding sunlight and then glistening mountain peaks, then down again , endless, to gravelly rocky fields stretching to some forlorn forever mountains. Up and across these and down to sandy valleys with yellow grass, then more mountains, foggy lakes and icy heights… forever north east….
Home!
We were going HOME!
Yes, the rolling grass plains, a little soggy from countless rivulets cutting through it, tussocks, mosses, fine herbs.
– I KNOW this, I was here before… often!
Suddenly a shape appears, walks next to Ee’ren Omsür, on his right side.
Mausi!
My sister!
Shyly looking down….
Then more movement: Behind us my Ada (father) is walking, his high bend wood staff with his shaman bells, furs and Magpie feathers in his right fist.

Then another little Spirit reaches up for his free hand: Fietje, the little son he lost an aeon ago…… our little brother….
Going home!\
There was an encampment of tsartans. …. =(tipi- like hide tents)
Reindeer in the distance!
People coming up to meet us. All my Ancestors!
Mongush!
Moon Face too, along with the other s!
Mongush and Ada embrace in a greeting.
I am sooooo happy to see this, see them all!
I want……
….The whole valley suddenly turns dark, then transforms into a giant Ammonite.
Grey, stark but majestic!
Then, just as fast it transforms back into the green valley with grass and small stunted Birch Trees.
Callback……..
I am shocked!

Ada, Mausi and Fietje went on with the Ancestors, down towards the camp.
Ee’ren Omsür makes clear, I can not go.
I have to turn back.
I am the only one still alive…… the only working shaman in our family line…..
Yes, but my cousin!!
Where is she?? She is not here! Good, she is still in Kyzil!

Blessings to her!

I am on Ee’ren Omsur’s back and he runs!!!!!!
Flies across the tundra valley, into the foggy mountains, down into a desert of molten heat and blowing sand, then up again and into ice and blinding snow, gravel and dust, rain and sleet and – just the rain of Kathmandu.
We are back in the room and he lays down beneath the chair behind me, fades to smoke….
A. One of my Miahanits is there, clearly, licks my hand and I hear Bhola singing beautifully!
I am sooooooo moved!
What just happened!!!!!!

bluecateyesbig

?
How can I just sit up and talk about Ganesha right now? I can not…..
I go outside, have a good cry and then try to get it all together again so as not to miss too much of Bhola’s teaching…..

(I am still VERY moved, re- reading my scraggly notes and typing this now…..)

Nepali Spirit Animals

Finding and welcoming your Animal Spirit guide:
Bhola has created a beautiful tray with all kinds of Animals – Nepali ones and also a few others. They are all blessed with a tika and decorated with flowers. Now we are to meditate which one of them is ours and then, one by one we are to step forth, offer grain from our personal pouch, then wrap our Animal representative in colorful cloth, claim it and take it back to our personal altar.
I am last in line. But I am not worried, I KNOW, I will not get the Owl, P. will claim that and she does. I know, the Rhino is mine! I will just wait patiently…..
…. and listen to Bhola sing….
The room starts to shimmer golden, then grey.
Smoke shifts into Tiger stripes and Granma Ulali Kham appears.
“Get the Tigers! Both of them. They need to mate and reproduce!”
I feel icy cold.

“But! ….

….the Rhino!” ??!!??
“GET THE TIGERS, WILL YOU!!!!!”
There is no arguing with her. I am crestfallen and crushed.
But there is no doubt in my mind and soul. I will do as SHE orders. I will sacrifice my own yearning to do as my Ancestor tells.
As my time comes, I walk over, give my offering, put the rice all over the beloved Rhino, but dutifully take the 2 small Tigers and walk back to my altar. I wrap them into my silk scarf, for their privacy. I am soooooo sad about the Rhino! I miss it with all my heart.

Later, I go and tell Bhola about the Ancestral command and ask him, ifff maybe I can make a generous offer for the Rhino.
I sense somewhat of a language barrier and a NO.
OK……
He says, we will go visit the town and I can get a Rhino there……
Hmmmm….
My heart is aching……

Hours larer Bhola takes us to Tamil, the tourist area of Kathmandu and into the Amrita craft Co Op, where all the prices are fixed and very reasonably low. Everyone shops, as ifff there is no tomorrow. Treasures are cheap and I see 1000 things I like! Peter hunts for souvenirs for friends at home and in no time a basket is full of small treasures. I find a small mouthorgan – for 50 Rupees = -.50 cents and a beautiful Tibetan dress – for 950 Rupees = $ 9.00 no small clay Rhino. But Peter finds one out of felt and looking funny and it ends up in our basket. The others are looking at singing bowls and tinksha bells and everything else, one friend sees my dress and the hunt for a similar one for her is on…..

Amrita Craft Co op
We shop – until it is time to go to “Yak and Yeti for dinner.

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Tamel gift shop

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Thamel at Night