A Different Sort of Gift/Phantasy Friday

The best gifts are unexpected. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. One is my personal proof people can put aside what separates them, if just for a day. And if we can do it for a day . . . Well. We have no excuses.

Asked to listen to some Native American Coyote Stories to see if the oral tradition could transfer to written form to sell at Powwows, I attended a Gathering in Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana. That’s what it was called. Simply a “Gathering”. Intrigued by the challenge–most Coyote Stories are general audience, others carry more of an R or X rating– I agreed to give it a try.

Imagine my surprise to find Native Americans, Wiccans, Gypsy and Metaphysical people reading Tarot cards, palms, tea leaves and runes. Members of the New Orleans Goth/Vampire culture in full costume (only they didn’t consider it costume!), Voodoo practitioners, Druids, Agnostics, Christians and atheists. Oh, and bikers!

Each belief took its turn at worship, and you haven’t lived until you’ve watched a Green witch and a Native American Shaman (neither of whom believe in wasting anything) anxiously chase a Voodoo priest around as he blessed his followers with blood from a headless chicken,  waiting for him to finish so it could be plucked and cooked as part of the feast. 

Personally, I couldn’t imagine a more volatile mix. Was I wrong. I’ve never enjoyed myself more. Different beliefs shared through food, crafts, story, song and dance.  An open circle Sacred Fire laid and fired by a witch, blessed by her, a Native American Shaman and a Druid Priest. When it burned down after dark the Native American Talking Stick decorated with beads, fur and feathers made the circle.  Once in hand you had to tell a story or a joke. My story got a lot of laughter, but I’m not sure if it was because it was funny–or the stutter that plagued me during the telling. Or the fact the Talking Stick was snuck into my hand by someone who’d asked me to hold his drink several times. One day I’ll learn to look before I stick out my hand when someone says “Here, hold this.”

But the best part came six weeks later. Seems everyone got together and built me a Medicine Stick.

It began with a ‘strangled stick’  cut to Third Eye height; a length of tree branch entwined by a vine as a sapling. As the tree grew the vine tightened until the tree grew around it. The end product looks as if the branch grew in a natural spiral. The lesson with its presentation was to be careful in my treatment of all persons, that as the vine strangled the limb, so can the slightest word or action ‘strangle’ or change an individual. Harvested and prepared by a witch, it was blessed by a Druid priest, the Druids’ gift a blessing of energy, a gentle replenishment to be gained when touched.

Decorated with items of religious importance from the others, the Druids carved runes strung from latigo strips, while the Voodoo practitioners added an alligator’s paw, gator teeth, a bell and please, please, please be a chicken bone and not that of a black cat! Wiccans–colored cords and bells. The Native Americans offered deer antler, elk, deer and buffalo hair, and feathers. They even shaped fox fur to cover the head of the stick.  The Metaphysical and Vampire people had a large amethyst crystal–amethyst said to enhance awareness and intuition–set in the head. The bikers added a ‘Lucky Bead’ from a glass blower demonstrating his craft that day. Each contributed a blessing of strength, health, good wishes and faith and the warmth of it went all the way through me.

The glow from my beautiful gift lasted until I realized one thing. My own people, the Christians, had contributed nothing. And that still saddens and bothers me no end.

Advertisements

6 Responses

  1. What a wonderful story, Runere. That must been one hell-or heaven- of a meeting. Rita

  2. It was certainly different! And remains very vivid in my memory for many reasons! lol Most of them accompanied by wide eyes. Coyote stories were great! Might do why dogs always sniff each others’ butts one day. giggles

  3. I confess, I sneaked a peek at this last night before it was posted as I look forward to your posts every week. I have an opinion why the Christians didn’t contribute and I’m sure you know what that opinion is but I’ll share it anyway. Intolerance of others. There I said it. I don’t believe Jesus preached intolerance- in fact, he thought everyone had something to offer and said, “judge not”- the sad thing is that his words have been twisted by the very people who profess to follow his WORD. ‘Nuff said.

    • I have my own theory on organized religion, too. And when someone starts cramming it down my throat, I calmly remind them Jesus himself left the temple at 12 yrs of age–because they had nothing left to teach him. None of us are Jesus, but that particular passage always spoke to me.

  4. Runere, great post.. loved the information… Next time. I’d love to come see the witch doctors and stuff.. sounds awesome..

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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: