Tag Archives: rocks

Ancient Altered States (PDF)

Ancient Altered States

“Here’s a real nice sheep getting killed,” says archeologist Dave Whitley, pointing at a rock. Whitley is not hallucinating. Step up to the rock and a carving can be seen: a horned sheep and a man with a bow and arrow, a petroglyph made by a Shoshone some 1,500 years ago.
The Shoshone was the one hallucinating. He was a shaman, Whitley says, who came here to this canyon in the Mojave Desert in California on a vision quest. The bighorn sheep was his spirit guide. “Killing the sheep” is a metaphor for entering the supernatural through a hallucinogenic trance.
You can see why Whitley has taken some grief in his day. For 30 years the prevailing theory about petroglyphs like this one has been that they were all about hunting. The assumption was that Native Americans believed that making art of their prey would magically cause the creatures to materialize in abundance. On the surface, the hunting-magic explanation seemed to make sense. Of some 100,000 petroglyphs in the canyons of the Coso Mountain range, 51 percent are bighorn sheep and 13 percent are male humans. For a long time no one bothered to question it.
Trouble is, the Shoshones didn’t eat much sheep. “We looked at 10,000 bones, and precisely 1 was a bighorn,” says Whitley, tossing back a wool serape. If not for the serape, you would be hard-pressed to divine the man’s vocation. Ruddy-cheeked and plaid-clad, he could as easily be out here hunting chukar or mending downed fences. “If they were going to make rock art out of what they were eating,” he adds, “there’d be bunnies all over the rock.” Though Whitley spends most of his time running a cultural resource management consultancy in his hometown of Fillmore, California, his background is in research and academics, at UCLA (where he still teaches) and at the Rock Art Research Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
What sets Whitley and a handful of his colleagues apart is a willingness to stray from the ordinary precepts of archeology into the hinterlands of anthropology and psychology.Whitley turned to ethnographies of the Shoshone and Paiute tribes that inhabited the Coso Range–a string of small mountains lying east of the Sierra Nevada–from as early as A.D. 1200 to the end of the last century. Ethnographies are detailed descriptions of people in traditional cultures, gleaned from interviews and the observations of field anthropologists.
From ethnographic materials, Whitley learned that the places shamans made rock art were held to be portals to the supernatural; cracks and caves in the rock were interpreted literally as openings to the beyond. The art itself–carved with chunks of quartz–is said to depict visions that came to the shamans in their trances. The bighorn sheep is referred to as the spirit guide specific to rainmaking. One ethnographic source cited shamans who traveled from as far away as Utah to these canyons in their quest for rain.
With an average annual rainfall of about four inches, the Mojave Desert seems an unlikely setting for rainmaking activities. This is a landscape of dust and desolation, a sere, scrubby chenille of sage and saltbush. Joshua trees point spiky mascara-wand limbs this way and that, invariably at nothing. Sheep Canyon, where we are hiking, is a dry riverbed.
“It does seem odd,” allows Whitley, “until you realize that Native American shamanic rituals subscribe to the principle of symbolic inversion.” Where the natural world is dry, its supernatural counterpart is the opposite.
Why didn’t archeologists bother to check the ethnographies before? “Partly,” says Whitley, “there’s this perception that prehistory has to be interpreted on its own terms.If we go to the ethnography, then we’re assuming that the past was like the near present, and then what’s the point of doing archeology? There’s deeply embedded presupposition that archeologists maintain, and that is that because things change over time, time causes things to change.” Which isn’t always true. Shamanic rituals have persisted unchanged for centuries.
The other part of the story is that few archeologists had any real interest in pinning down the origins and meaning of rock art. Whitley was the first American archeologist to do a dissertation interpreting rock carvings (the technical term is petroglyphs; rock paintings are pictographs). There has been a tendency among archeologists to regard the study of ritual and belief as less scientific and less relevant than the study of technology and subsistence. “It’s that bumper sticker: “he who dies with the most toys wins,'” Whitley says. “Which is, to me, a very shallow, materialistic view of human culture.”
To illustrate his point, Whitley gives the example of Australian Aborigines. “You can take a line from the center of Australia out to the coast, and you can plot on that line a series of different aboriginal cultures. And if you look at the complexity of their kinship system and the complexity of their technology and tools, what you see is a perfect inverse relationship.” Coastal groups have a complex technology and tend to use a lot of tools. In the middle of Australia, it’s more like it is in the Cosos. “Those guys are running around near to buck naked, surviving only on their wits, yet they have this kinship system that is mind-bogglingly complex. And it structures every aspect of their social life. Now what is more important, this complex cognitive mental construct or the kind of tools these folks made?”
Whitley stops talking and directs his gaze at my hiking boot. “You’re standing on a sheep.”
The art of the Coso Mountains is not all sheep and stick-legged men with feathers and horns. High above Whitley’s head is a circle filled in with grid lines, like a flattened fly’s eye. Across the canyon, a sine wave snakes across a boulder. Beside it is an arc of nested curves, like a fragment of a mammoth fingerprint. Abstract patterns are everywhere among the boulders–grids, hatch marks, zigzags, curves, spirals. They’re trippy, doodley, devoid of any recognizable meaning. For years, archeological theories about these markings amounted to guesswork. Maps? Menstrual calendars? Solstice observatories? Forget about it. Let’s go dig up a hogan.
There is another place you can reliably see these images, and that is inside your head. In the 1960s, neuropsychologists began cataloging the visual imagery of altered states of consciousness. Subjects given LSD or mescaline would lie on mattresses, describing their visions into researchers’ tape recorders. The first stage of the hallucinogenic experience–whether brought on by drugs, sensory deprivation, fasting, or rhythmic movement–is characterized by recurring geometric patterns, known variously as “phosphenes” or “entroptics.” The seven most common categories strike a familiar chord: grids, parallel lines, dots, zigzags, nested curves, meanders, and spirals.
Whitley wasn’t the first to notice parallels between this abstract imagery and that of rock art. In the 1950s, a German neuropsychologist named Max Knoll noted similarities between electrically stimulated (and, later, LSD-induced) patterns that appeared in his subjects’ visual fields and common abstract patterns in southern African rock art. In a 1970 article in Scientific American, psychologist Gerald Oster highlighted “phosphenelike figures” in prehistoric cave drawings.
One of the first archeologists to come on board was David Lewis-Williams, professor of cognitive archeology and director of the Rock Art Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand. Lewis-Williams found examples of the seven common entoptic patterns throughout the ancient rock art of the San bushmen. He also found evidence in the ethnographies that San shamans went into trances, both to heal and to make rain, and that they recorded their trance visions on the rock to preserve them. (Coso Shoshones believed that if they forgot their visions, they would die–powerful incentive to jot them down.) Lewis-Williams’s “neuropsychological model” for interpreting rock art incorporated not only abstract images but also the representational images that occur in the later stages of trance.
The Shoshone and Paiute shamans didn’t, as is often assumed, take peyote or jimsonweed. Their route to trance was a combination of exceptionally strong native tobacco, lack of sleep, sensory deprivation (the canyons here are mute as tombs), and fasting.
Somewhat surprisingly, given his interests, Whitley himself has never tried hallucinogenic drugs. “What I do do is, I interview archeological field crews a lot.” He did experience entoptics once, when someone ran a heavy dolly over his foot. “Pow! Entoptics. Just like the cartoonists draw around someone’s head when the safe lands on his toe. Those guys are keyed in to it.”
Cartoonists aren’t the only artists keyed in to entoptics and altered states. Whitley says Wassily Kandinsky, revered tribal elder of abstract art, wrote a paper in a psychological journal in 1881 about the entoptics that preface a migraine. Whitley also says Kandinsky studied shamanism and the role of the subconscious in art, and that this influenced his transition from figurative to abstract art. “His paintings are full of entoptic forms.”
Entoptic means “within the eye.” It’s believed that these geometric patterns derive from the optic system itself. In some instances, says Whitley, “you’re basically seeing what’s in your eyeball.” Retinal blood vessels and “floaters”–the faint squiggly lines that meander across the vision field–may be the anatomic inspiration for dots and meandering line entoptics. Concentric circles, spirals, and grids are probably generated by neurons firing in the visual cortex and the retina.
In the second stage of altered states imagery, the mind steps in and tries to make sense of the doodlings set before it. This is something minds do: they decode visual input, matching it against the memory banks of stored experience. If a match is made, the image is recognized. How the brain interprets an entoptic depends on the state of the brain’s owner. “The same ambiguous round shape,” wrote psychologist M.J. Horowitz in Hallucinations: Behavior, Experience, and Theory in 1975, “…can be ‘illusioned’ into an orange (if the subject is hungry), a breast (if he is in a state of heightened sexual drive), a cup of water (if he is thirsty), or an anarchist’s bomb (if he is hostile or fearful).” Or a bighorn sheep body if he’s a shaman on a rainmaking vision quest.
By way of demonstration, Whitley leads me to a carving of a bighorn that is more horn than sheep. Three parallel arcs span the length of the sheep, rainbowlike, from its head to its tail. Whitley identifies the entoptic: “Nested or catenary curves.” The size of the horns, and the fact that there are three, not two, suggests the curves appeared first, and the shaman then interpreted them as horns.
A few hundred yards down the canyon, Whitley points out a fantastical creature, like something form one of those split-page children’s books in which the giraffe’s head is on the monkey’s body, with kangaroo legs. The figure sports bird-talon feet, an upright humanoid body, and big, downward-curling horns.
This is an example of Stage 3 of Lewis-Williams’s neuropsychological model: the full-blown vision. The shamans didn’t think of it as a vision. To them it was a parallel reality; they had entered the realm of the supernatural. The literature on altered states of consciousness describes the sensory changes involved. According to Lewis-Williams, “This shift to iconic imagery is also accompanied by an increase in vividness. Subjects stop using similes to describe their experiences and assert that the images are indeed what they appear to be.”
The man with the horns is the shaman himself, in his own vision, entering the supernatural and “shape shifting” into his spirit guide. The original assumption about the horns was that they were a hunting disguise. Which makes sense until you think about it. “It’d be way too heavy,” observes Whitley. “Besides, the Native Americans have systematically denied this.”
The talons in place of the shamans feet could be part of a common metaphor for entering the supernatural: flight. (Many petroglyphs of therianthropes–being part animal and part human–also have wings in place of arms.) This probably ties in with the feeling of floating up and out of one’s body, as often happens during the third stage of a mind-bending altered state.
“Here’s a guy with six fingers on one hand,” says Whitley. “Clearly not a normal individual.” Again, it fits with the literature on altered states of consciousness. Imagined extra digits are a common hallucination.
The humanoid figures that aren’t busy turning into sheep are busy shooting them with bows and arrows. In the mythology of the Native American cultures of the Far west, death is the most prevalent metaphor for entering the supernatural. (At this point, according to Whitley, the shaman has become his spirit guide and the two are considered interchangeable.) Whitley cites the example of Coyote, the shaman character of myth, who begins many of his adventures by dying or being killed, whereupon all manner of supernatural events ensue. On a physiological level, the metaphor makes sense. Consider what can happen to a person who enters a trance: his eyes roll back into his head, he may go limp and lose consciousness, he may bleed from the nose. Whitley has shown me examples here today of bighorn sheep with lines coming from their noses.
Beside the horned shaman is a shaman with what appear to be truncated golf clubs or perhaps musical quarter notes protruding from his head. Whitley insists they’re California quail topknot feathers. They do look a lot like the bobbing doohickey you see on these birds’ heads, but to link this to the flight metaphor strikes me as a bit of a reach.
As it turns out, it might have nothing to do with flight metaphors. Rain shamans, Whitley explains, wore a distinctive headdress festooned with quail head feathers. Know your ethnographies.
Not all petroglyphs fit the neuropsychological model of rock art. The Hopi carved clan symbols on rocks during pilgrimages. Northern Plains tribes decorated the landscape with symbolic renderings of their war exploits. The carving on the standing stone in front of us fits no established categories. Whitley has no idea who made it, or why. It says, “E=mc2.”
Given that this canyon sits within the million acres of supersecret labs and missile ranges known as China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, it was most likely military personnel. Even if the carving were a sheep, Whitley wouldn’t have been fooled into believing it was carved by early Native Americans. He can eyeball a petroglyph and tell, by the degree to which the carved areas have darkened, approximately how old it is. Our little theory of relativity inscription is, relatively speaking, brand-new. The etching still appears white. After about 500 years, a “brown crud,” as Whitley puts it, begins to become visible. The crud, known in academic circles as rock varnish, derives from microbes on the rock surface. Over time, different trace elements leach out from the varnish at different rates. By calculating what’s leached out and how much, chronometricians can get an idea of how long the varnish has been there, and from that, the carving’s age. This can be compared with the results of radiocarbon-dating of organic materials such as lichen and pollen that are trapped on the carving as the varnish accumulates on top of them. Neither method is especially precise, but the combination suffices to pin the date to within a few hundred years.
While the oldest Coso petroglyphs may have been made as long as 16,500 years ago, the overwhelming majority fall in the neighborhood of less than 1,500 years old. Whitley has a theory to explain the sudden flurry of shamanism in the region. An examination of the archeological record around this time shows a dramatic increase in abandonment of villages in the region. The likely reason: The area was being sucked dry by a major drought some 800 years ago. Hence the unprecedented upsurge in rainmaking endeavors.
In a bizarre display of symbolic meteorologic inversion, rain clouds have appeared overhead. Against the gathering gray, a dozen Canada geese fly in perfect V formation, as though under orders from the base commander.
The rock art of the Coso Range is by no means the oldest in the world. The famed Lascaux and Chauvet cave paintings of France date, respectively, from 15,000 and 30,000 years ago. As anthropologists had yet to materialize 30,000 years ago, no ethnographies exist for these peoples. Partly because of this, European rock art archeologists were slow to warm to the shamanistic, neuropsychological model. The skepticism may also have had to do with European separation of archeology and anthropology; they’re not, as they typically are in the States, part of the same academic department.
In 1992, Whitley brought French archeologist Jean Clottes, the world-renowned scholar of Paleolithic cave paintings, out to the Mojave and did his pitch. Clottes wasn’t easily swayed. Though the rock art of France and Spain most certainly includes the classic entoptic patterns, Clottes saw too many other images that didn’t fit.
“Over the next two or three years,” says Whitley, “I brought him back to the Cosos again, and he started reading the ethnographic texts.” Eventually Clottes crossed the divide. Whitley knew he had him when Clottes called him up in 1995 after the discovery of the famed Chauvet cave. “He said to me, ‘There’s a therianthrope here!'”
It’s easy to buy the entoptics portion of the theory; the similarities between the rock art and the hallucination descriptions in the neuropsychology papers are too striking to dismiss. Less clear are the Stage 3 visions. What’s odd is the uniformity of the Coso shamans’ hallucinations. The vast majority of the estimated 100,000 images found in the Coso Range fall into one of six categories: bighorn sheep (51 percent), humans (13 percent), other animals (5 percent), weapons (2.4 percent), medicine bags (1.3 percent), and geometric (entoptic) designs (26 percent). Yet the hallucinations of nonshamanic drug-induced trance are limitlessly diverse. Whitley’s answer to this is that the shamans may have been practicing some form of “lucid dreaming.” With the help of special glasses that flash lights when the eyes begin the characteristic movements of REM sleep, lucid dreamers achieve a borderline level of consciousness that allows them to watch their dreams like movies and, it’s said, even influence the plots and direct their outcomes. The ethnographies say nothing of this practice. However, as Whitley points out,that doesn’t mean it didn’t occur. “This may,” he says, “be an example of rock art supplementing the body of ethnographic knowledge.”
Back at the mouth of the canyon, a vision appears out of the mist: four wild horses running abreast, manes rippling like white water. As abruptly as they appeared, they wheel and vanish again into the fog. A comment about the four horses of the Apocalypse prompts a raised eyebrow from Whitley. “Some horses got left behind when the military evicted the homesteaders here.” Some things are less symbolic than they appear. And some aren’t.

Some Thoughts on Stones and Sacred Sites (PDF)

Some Thoughts on Stones and Sacred Sites.
David Peat

It is remarkable that North America is scattered with sacred sites, sacred rocks and rock paintings. The question arises as to what these sites mean and how rock markings are to be interpreted. Why put them there and why?

Even more disturbing is the fact that similar stones, mounds and sites, and even similar markings are found throughout Europe and even as far away as India and China, as well as in other parts of the world

What are the meanings of these great sites? Why did early civilizations spend so much energy to build them? Why are they laid out with such accuracy? Why was it necessary to build them to such a scale and why are there so many of them — (ie why duplicate an accurate observatory?).

Scientists and archeologists have offered a number of explanations. One is that many stone circles are astronomical observatories00and it is certainly true that they show accurate astronomical alignments.

But why were they built? It is too far fetched to suppose that such vast and complex undertakings by a society with a sophisticated knowledge of surveying and astronomical arithmetic should have built them simply to discover when to plant crops! Were they perhaps built to acknowledge the great powers and movements of the heavens? Were they an expression of “as above, so below”, ie a representation on earth of the dynamics of the heavens? Or were they built so that people could move through them and celebrate and participate in the actual movement and power of the cosmos? Or were they points of focus for certain “energies”, psychic amplifiers as it were? Who knows? One promising track would be to discover the meaning of these sites from elders in, e.g., North America and Australia who are still part of a living oral tradition.

The notes below are some reflections on ancient mounds, stones, etc. They are approached only from a Western scientific perspective:

1. Megalithic Yard
In the 1950s Dr. Alexander Thom, a professor of engineering at Oxford University, made highly accurate surveys of over 600 megalithic sites in Britain and France. His significant discovery was that all these sites were built on the basis of a common unit of measurement–the megalithic yard–of 2.72 feet (to an accuracy of 0.003). He discovered that many sites were constructed with a veery high degree of surveying skill and that the same unit of length was used throughout Europe to a high degree of accuracy. It raises the question of how and why sites that are vast distances apart in space (and time) should all be constructed according to the same measure. Admittedly a human stride is under 3 feet and a natural unit–but not to such accuracy.

There is now independent statistical evidence that Thom is correct and that a single standard of measurement extended over Europe in megalithic times.

(Question: Is this unit of measure found in North American sites? Note: It was known in Iberia and may then have been carried as the more modern “vera” to South America in post Columbian times. The evidence would therefore have to be from pre-Columbian sites.)

The question is why and how? Were highly accurate length standards transported across Europe and handed down from generation to generation in the form of physical standards–like the French Meter that is kept in Paris? Or was the “yard” derived from some natural, and unknown, process? This is a mystery but it does suggest that the builders of these sites were highly skilled engineers capable of great precision.

Question: How was this information and surveying skill passed on? Were there special sites where teaching took place? Did people come from afar to learn how to carry out their building? And remember that some of these sites may not have been built in one generation–Stonehenge was modified at a number of periods stretching over 1000 years. How was this information encoded and transmitted? Is there any evidence that the sites in North America are connected to those of Europe? (Of course astronomical observatories will always have similar shapes that are determined by the earth’s relationship to sun and moon.)

See: “The place of astronomy in the ancient world”, Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1972. Oxford U.P. 1973.

Alexander Thom, “Megalithic Sites in Britain”, OUP 1967. “Megalithic Lunar Observatories”, OUP 1971.

2. Ley Lines

In the 1920s Alfred Watkins, a psychic and amateur archeologist, had the vision that ancient sites in Britain were all connected by straight lines. Watkins called these “ley lines” and showed, for example, that the Glastonbury-Avebury ley line extended to St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and to Bury St. Edmunds. Often monasteries and churches were built on more ancient sites so Watkins began to look for leys that connected standing stones, churches, burial mounds, megalithic sites, ancient crossroads and sites with ancient names. Many of these were found–but some people objected that with so many ancient sites and stones in Britain it was simply a matter of chance that some of them would fall on straight lines.

Today Watkins is not taken seriously by archeologists. Some people have even associated these patterns of supposed lines with the patterns in Peru, with flying saucers, etc. It certainly attracts a lunatic fringe. Yet some of the major coincidences on ley lines are indeed persuasive. But why straight lines? And why were these lines extended for hundreds of miles?

3. Why do some things look alike?

To see a similar shape or structure in two distant cultures is often staggering. Why should this be, one asks? It must mean that these two cultures were in direct contact in megalithic times, one supposes. But this does not necessarily need to be the case. There are a number of other reasons why symbols and objects may look identical.

Nature’s Design

Note how similar shapes occur throughout nature–in animate and inanimate forms. There are a number of books showing remarkable photographs where identical forms occur at different scales. Sometimes this is because a particular form is the result of simple cumulative growth. The famous Fibonnaci spiral is found in a ram’s horn, the seeds of a sunflower, etc. It is simply the result of any form of growth in which next year’s growth is added to what went befor. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…. Find any number by adding the previous two together–a universal law of growth.

Fibonnaci spirals–and other forms that are related to the same mathematical sequence such as arrangements of certain tiles–are inevitable when growth or accumulation occurs in a particular way–it must always be so, it is a simple fact of the natural world and this accounts for the fact that similar shapes are seen at vastly differing scales throughout nature.

Other shapes have to do with nature’s solutions to design problems–trees, river deltas, lungs, blood vessels all have a branching character. the shape of an egg is repeated throughout nature and in the domes of great buildings because it is the most elegant solution to maintaining strength in certain structures. Grains pack in a certain way before slipping, which means that the angles formed by a pyramid of sand will always be the same. There are a variety of other instances in which such things as gravity, stress, wind, waves, etc., all impose design problems that nature, and humans, solve in the best way. For such reasons it is often the case that natural and human-made forms may resemble one another.

Human Representations

A further example would be a megalithic observatory–used to determine such things as the equinoxes, movements of the moon, etc. Observations will be made in similar ways–using stones or mounds as markers and as backsites and inevitably they will fall into a certain pattern. Anna Sofaer has also shown how the spiral naturally emerges from such a procedure. (This is not to say that there are not other meanings to the spiral.) In this way certain geometric arrangements, triangles, angles and shapes, appear to be universal and similar mathematics is found in widely different sites–they are all a response to the movement of the heavens.


Carl Jung offered yet another explanation–he held that certain symbols such as the circle, square, serpent that swallows its tail, etc.–together with figures such as the hero, virgin, all powerful father, destroying mother, etc., were universal, appearing at all times and in all cultures. He suggested that these were symbolic manifestations of archetypes that reside within the collective unconscious of the human race. for this reason similar dreams, stories and symbols are to be expected to surface across the world.

Recently I discovered a remarkable example of this. In my book Synchronicity I describe the physicist Wolfgang Pauli’s great dream of the World Clock, a vision that is also recorded in a medieval manuscript. A film maker told me that he had heard a report of an identical dream that had occurred to an Inuit Shaman. Such synchronicities would not be considered at all unusual to Carl Jung.

Another case is that of alchemy which was much pursued in the Middle Ages and may have its origins in Sufi knowledge of the spirit. But there is a related spiritual alchemy in ancient China which speaks in terms of the circulation of energies through the spiritual body (as in Kundalini). Likewise one student of alchemy has suggested a deep connection between the alchemical process and the Peace Pipe of the Plains. To Jung there need not be direct physical connection of peoples to establish these parallels–they are all manifestations of the same archetypes.

To Jung the serpent and turtle mounds, rock images, etc., of North America would be manifestations of the collective unconscious and would also occur as far away as India and China. Yet to talk of archetypes and the collective unconscious is to beg the question. For in what sense are these images shared–are they inherited genetically within the brain, like an appendix in the body?
Are they somehow related to the actual architecture of the human brain?
Are they deep inherited memories from our common evolutionary past?
Or are these images communicated psychically?
Or could it be that mind is disembodied and distributed throughout nature–being focussed and unfolded in each individual?
Or do these images come from gods and spirits that enter the human mind?
Or could there be a common wisdom and knowledge within the human race that expresses itself in slightly different ways in different cultures?
Jung is not at all clear about this, his writings are often evasive with the same term being used in a number of different ways throughout the same article.

Are, for example, the Aztec and Egyptian pyramids evidence of direct contact and exchange of knowledge? Or could it be that they are manifestations of the same ancient knowledge and wisdom that is held within the human race? I don’t think that Jung’s archetypes take us far or deep enough–the question may be even more far reaching.

Certainly it is curious as to why standing stones are found throughout the world. Why serpent mounds can be found in different parts of the globe and why certain patterns found on rocks in North America are also found in India, Scotland, Australia, etc. The meaning of these marks is a deep question.

3. Energies

There is some speculation that mounds and rocks have to do with some sort of energy in nature. Below are few speculations:

Cosmic Energy

The whole universe is alive with flows and fluxes of energies. Our galaxy is threaded with vast magnetic fields that act to accelerate and channel cosmic rays. Gravitational vibrations may well be emitted from black holes and even from the centre of the galaxy. In addition electromagnetic radiation of all frequencies comes from the stars. Indeed every cubic centimeter of empty space is packed with vibrating energy which could also be thought of as enfolded information about the whole universe.

Solar Energy

Fluxes of energy also occur at the level of our solar system–magnetic fields extend from the sun and from individual planets. Cosmic rays from far out in the galaxy spiral in towards the sun and earth. A solar wind of charged elementary particles streams out from the sun and, meeting the magnetic field of the earth, creates a great shock wave as well as a long trail that stretches out far behind the earth.

The sun itself is not a static furnace for its output of energy is constantly fluctuating. To begin with the sun actually “rings” like a great bell-vibrating and changing shape. Solar flares push out streams of elementary particles that race towards earth. Periodic sun spot activity also changes the nature and amount of radiation that reaches the earth.

Earth Energies

Our earth is therefore racing through an ever-changing bath of energy and radiation. Not only does this radiation change from day to day–with the rotation of the earth–and year to year–with the earth’s movement around the sun. It also responds to cycles within the sun, to the change in gravitational force as the moon moves around the earth, to disturbances induced by the movements of planets and to the solar system’s movement through the galaxy. So cycles upon cycles upon cycles affect the earth–and keep in mind that many of these cycles are not regular but are effected by other cycles and movements.

As to the earth itself–it has an outer magnetosphere that interacts with the sun’s magnetic fields and solar wind. There are belts of charged particles, like the Van Allen belt, that circle high above the earth from pole to pole and produce the Northern Lights. There are various belts that reflect radio waves–but whose strength and height fluctuate from hour to hour, day to day, and season to season. There are the various cosmic rays that reach the earth’s surface, and whose intensity also fluctuates with a variety of cycles.

Here on the surface of the earth we are subject to an ever-changing dance of electromagnetic fields and charged particles. There is even the Schumann resonance–a standing wave of electromagnetic energy that circles the surface of the earth at about 3-4 cycles/second. (Indeed some have speculated that these ELFs–extremely low frequency waves–have a biological significance,i.e., they may resonate with brain rhythms.)

Add to all this the fact that the earth itself is vibrating with shock waves produced by seismic stresses and one realises that we live in a great bath of fluctuating energy and that the nature of these fluctuations are very much connected with arrangements of the heavens–sun, moon, planets and stars (i.e., our position with respect to the rest of the galaxy).

What’s This Got to Do with Us?

Given that we live in a flux of energies, some of them cyclic, others ever changing, can this in any way affect our lives? this could happen in several ways. Energy fluxes could:

1. Affect the world’s weather, temperatures, winds etc. Which in turn affects life on earth.

2. Certain patterns of energies could affect plant and animal life, such as growth, movements, migrations, etc. These, in turn, are observed by humans.

3. These energies could affect humans directly by
a) Cellular effects, or effects on the immune system; i.e., not sensed consciously, but through changes in the body.
b) Interaction with some special organ, or location, in the body; i.e., certain animals have, I believe, concentration of minerals which respond to the earth’s magnetic field and thereby allow the bird or animals to orient.
d) Subtle effects are focussed or amplified by various natural phenomena such as rocks and rivers to the point where they can be “sensed” by humans.
e) Effects can be sensed only by very special individuals who become dowsers, priests or shamans.

What is the experimental evidence? Very, very controversial. I have visited laboratories and talked to sincere and careful scientists who have demonstrated repeatable human responses to electrical currents, low frequency radiation and electromagnetic fields. I have also talked to other scientists who have been unable to detect any effect at all. Certainly the anecdotal information is strong–as in reports of dowsing. Yet dowsers are also able to use maps and locate water and minerals without ever visiting the site–so their skills may have nothing whatsoever to do with energy fields. Other dowsers speak of spirals, spirals in DNA and in the fields of stones–what does all this mean?

Energy or Information?

It is important to make the distinction between a simple response to energy–such as the movement of a compass needle–and a response to the “information” within this flux; i.e., a television set extracts the important information within a very weak signal. What counts is not the energy itself but its detailed subtle form. My guess would be that people are responding not to brute energies or radiation, but to very subtle forms and levels of information–information about the earth and cosmic orientations.

A Field of Information

In my recent book I have tried to tie in some ideas on electromagnetic processes in cells to the idea of global fields of information. I include the print-out of this.

Stones and Sites

A further possibility is that in some way this flux of information becomes localized, amplified and focussed within limited geographical regions. In these regions holy people, and possibly ordinary people, can sense some great force, spirit or intelligence–indeed they would ultimately be responding to the overall intelligence of the whole universe.

In addition to standing stones, mounds, long barrows, etc., there are also the Fairy Glens, Holy Wells and sacred woods that are found all over Britain. All suggest that a certain “force” or “spirit” may be associated with particular places on earth.

But how is this possible? Can an explanation be given at the purely “scientific” level? Take a rock that contains quartz. A quartz crystal is piezoelectric which means that when placed under pressure it will generate a considerable electrical potential–tens of thousands of volts. Suppose a deposit of quartz lies in the path of periodic seismic shock waves–the result would be a fluctuating electrical field in the area. Indeed a variety of speculations have been made about underground rivers, rocks and standing stones–i.e., that they amplify weak effects and generate fields that are detectable.

One theory is that carefully chosen stones are placed at a sacred site and amplify subtle effects to the point where they are detectable by ordinary, sensitive people. In this way the various sacred sites grew up–they were “beacons” and amplifiers of natural forces. But such arrangements also have astronomical significance, so presumably there would be some connection between earth and cosmic energies. All that is pure speculation–some sensitives report feeling electrical impulses. Others claim to have measured magnetic and electrical fields–but it is hard to rely upon anecdotes like this.

My own opinion is that there may well be some sort of response to the fact that we live in an ever changing electromagnetic flux. Life evolved under such conditions and may make use of them. There may well be subtle ways in which we can communicate with the earth and listen to the cosmos. Indeed we may even be able to make use of these complex fields to communicate with each other. Moreover, since the fields on earth are the results of complex processes involving the planet, its interaction with the solar wind and sun, its perturbation by the planets and galactic effects, it is not unreasonable to suppose that this vast sea of energy-information contains within it patterns of the sun, moon, planets and cosmos.

But it is a major jump from such speculations to suggest that this is why the great stones and earthworks were constructed. There may be many other reasons. One should also listen to elders and oral historians who may have their own accounts of the meaning of the stones.

Remembering Who We Are: Recovering Indigenous Mind (PDF)

Traditional Greeting

It’s good to be here. My name is Apela Colorado; I will open this talk in a traditional Native way with a chant — a prayer. Foster Ampong, a Ka ko’o, or helper, is going to do that for us.

(Hawaiian chant, “E ho ‘i Mai,” a request to enter and to merge with the sacred wisdom.)

Can you feel that good, strong feeling in the room? It seems like Foster’s been doing this all his life, right? In reality, Foster just came back to his culture in January. I’m acknowledging this because the most powerful thing I can share with you is the belief in ourselves as native people and the proof that anything is possible when we’re in our indigenous minds. We can remember our power. We have an hour and a half to spend together and when I’m done with my presentation, I will ask Choctaw Elder, Pokni, Mary Jones, who has worked with me, taught me,and helped me for so many years, to listen, to reflect, and to close off our session prayerfully. We’ll also have a question-and-answer time at the conclusion.

I was excited to hear about Coumba Lamba; in fact, I’ve waited for more than 20 years for this day to happen. In the 1970s, I was doing my doctoral research on native alcoholism. I believed, and was trying to prove, that the answer to healing Native American addiction, which is the leading cause of death, was the return of true culture and spirituality. At the time it was a very radical claim to make. But I faced a difficult personal reality, one that ultimately brought me to this gathering. I wanted to find out why almost everybody in my family that I loved was either actively alcoholic or had died of addiction, and I didn’t want it to happen to me or to my children. So I started researching everything I could get my hands on. I read every study I could find, not easy in the pre-internet age, and besides I was living in a remote Native community without library or bookstore. After reading more than 250 scientific studies of Native alcoholism, I found out there were 247 differing opinions on what caused Native addiction. It seemed more like personal opinions than rigorous research. My sense of this was heightened by the fact that all of the research was conducted by non-Natives. None of the millions of dollars for the studies ever went to Native people, and certainly, none of it went to treatment for our suffering. The context of cultural control and domination evident in the research process drove home the point that addiction among American Indians had to do with being an invaded, oppressed people. Before contact we didn’t have addiction, after contact we did have addiction. Not hard to figure out, but none of the studies addressed it.

When I began my doctoral dissertation research, experts were telling us, “It’s your biology. You

lack the proper genes to metabolize alcohol – you are weaker, that’s why you become addicted.”

The subtext being that drinking alcohol is normal (at the time the Harvard University had

received a multi-million dollar grant, the largest ever to look at the genetic causes of alcoholism.

The donor was Seagram’s whiskey company.) I wanted to find evidence to support the view that

Native addictions resulted from invasion and expropriation – loss of culture, spirituality and life.

I succeeded, but what happened to me in the search, and how it happened, opened up the mystery

of the ”Great Knowledge.”1


I grew up in Wisconsin, and the one cultural person left in my family was my grandfather, who

chose me from his grandchildren and taught me Native values and ways. I wasn’t aware that was

what he was doing. I just knew that I loved him and wanted to be with him. Out of all of his

grandchildren, somehow, I was the only one that was born with a cultural leaning, with that kind

of calling and role in life. He saw it.

My grandfather died when I was just a young teenager, but before he died he relapsed and went

back to drinking. So, I actually lost him much earlier in a terrible way. The one person, in our

huge extended family, I could connect with emotionally was taken from me by alcohol. And then

I was alone. But because of that, I became totally committed to doing something about addiction.

But my grandfather was cultural and knew he should pass on what he knew of the Great

Knowledge. Just before he died, he made my grandma drive him three hours through a

dangerous snowstorm – to come talk with me. I was about twelve years old and really angry with

him for drinking. I did not want to be with him and he knew it. He sat in the easy chair, looked

hard at me (this made me madder) and leaned forward on his cane, and began to speak. What he

said scared the wits out of me. He described my life, naming things he could not possibly know,

and then laid out my future. He wanted my attention and he got it! Then he said, “Remember the

Pipe, Remember the Pipe, Remember the Pipe,” the Pipe being a central way to American Indian

Great Knowledge.

I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I had never seen an Indian pipe in my life. Until

1978, it was illegal in North America for Indians to practice our spiritual ways. It was made

illegal through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Administrative Codes and Practices. You could get

penalized, be imprisoned, or have food rations withheld for practicing indigenous ceremonies.

The ceremonies went underground and missionaries made certain that we grew to fear our own

ways. They justified this to stop the “reckless giving away of things.” A Blackfoot woman once

said, “the worse thing the white man ever did was to kill the buffalo and put us on welfare. They

only give us enough to live and we can’t share with each other.”

As I matured, I felt such loneliness. I kept looking for my reality, for the unconditional love that

underpins Native culture and that I felt with my grandfather. I recalled that he had wanted me to

go to university. So I did. Even though I was not conscious of it, I kept pursuing advanced

education trying to find him and to realize that love in my life. At age 27, I was accepted into and

entered a doctoral program at an Eastern Ivy League school. The wealth and privilege of the

place was beyond any experience I had had. I wondered why I had been accepted and learned

that the personal statement to my application is what did the trick.

1 Private conversations with Credo Mutwa, Great Sanusi of the Zulu, he refers to the ancient

indigenous wisdom as the Great Knowledge.

I had been afraid to apply, thinking I was not smart enough or good enough. The fear was so

great that I procrastinated until the night before the deadline when I picked up a pen (I didn’t

even type it) and wrote about my grandfather and I, and how he wanted me to go to university.

This was a completely unexpected thing and paradoxical. I was sitting in a busy airport, using

my lap as my desk, but was in a liminal state—a light, energetic, feeling came over me. I felt

alive again, and I had a hunch that I would be accepted. I was.

Getting in the door was one thing. Surviving was another. I didn’t know much about being

American Indian. There were no other Indians and few people of color. My identity and values

were challenged in every way. I did not fit and became more and more angry. This was a Jewish

university filled with brilliantly educated people, who were also intellectually competitive. In

class discussions, I never said a thing. I kept waiting for my chance, but was in a culture that

operated by different ways. People argued, asserted, cut each other off, and never, ever, left a

space open for someone like me to speak.

So, I started to fight. When the professor lectured, up went my hand, the only way to get the


28 December 1988 Personal Correspondence on Rocks, Physics, etc.

Dec. 28, ’88

Dear Pam and Woody

Happy New Year. This year will be a year of Take Off for you (so my fortune cookie says). I wish great success for your Science. That makes you very busy, But I have a favor to ask for you. If it is possible for you (or one of you) to come down to Lethbridge and give a talk on Native Science, say in March, could you kindly do that for me? I have a course called Integrated Studies 2009 “Current Issues in Wars and Peace”. It is given Tuesday/Thursday 1:40-3:00. The Theme of the course is “Paradoxes Of Progress” and I intend to touch on Colonialism/Imperialism. [I shall send you the course outline.] I would like to have a lecture, story or discussion led by you. If possible, let me know.


Sam K.

To Pam: Please look at the picture book enclosed. Also there is a one story about “Stone Book”, which might be of interest to you. The style of painting may be called “Super-realist” — “Super” meaning “superposition” of two “manifolds” (spacetime-s) —. I am tempted to try painting like that. It might be possible to do talking and thinking in the same manner. I tried one time a poem in two voices (“Dodos did not make it”). Writing in the Super-realistic stylism may be a fun. Of course, it is a taboo in English (called “mixed metaphors” etc.) and readers would be confused. Worse, Psychiatrists would say you are schizophrenic. Zeno’s Paradox is a mixing of “Being” and “Becoming”, which is illogical in European Languages. [*1]

But in Eastern Philosophy (Yoga), it was well known technique to go into “schizophrenic” state (controlled in some sense by a company of a master/assistance, and considered to be dangerous) to remove the “dictate” of rationalization and to get in touch with the repressed part of mind.

The advantage (and trouble) of Quantum Language is also coming from “Mixed Metaphors” — say in “Particle/Object” metaphor and “Wave/Field” metaphor —. People have troubles in talking individual and Social matters in the same breath. Environment and Human Will are in two disconnected worlds in our usual way of thinking. Even most Biologists do not see the same dichotomy in Evolution Theory. Blackfoot language does mix “Being” and “Becoming” in one word, but I do not know if People are taking any advantage. I get an impression that people who come to university are thinking in English.

I am reading about an article in a book about D. Bohm’s Implicate Order. It has to do with Double Field (Manifold, Universe) that undergoing what Physics calls “Deformation under Stress”. It is a General Relativistic idea that the Universe is made of the “Stress” of Space-Time, but this article tries a Space-Time including “Becoming” manifold.

The Double Space-Time is just like “Rock” is formed under great Cosmic Forces. The “Rock” stores that dynamics liek Trees store their life stories as Tree Rings. What we sense and recognize as “Existence”, “Mass”, “Spin-Rotation”, etc., are manifestations of the “Stress”, which comes from “Becoming” part and relates to Implicate Order. (The word “Stress” in ordinary usage connotes something undesirable, but that has little to do with what Physics calls by the same word. You might understand the “Stress” as something like the explosive “Anxiety” that young lovers experience. You note that for them that is the “Meaning of Life”. They are wrong only in seein it as individualistic/narcissistic sense. But they are not too far off the mark.)

Chinese, Japanese knew of “Vein” which is used as a metaphor for “Reason”. They talked of “splitting Rock by the Reason” etc. What Relativity tries to do is to find “Vein” in Space-Time, or the “Stress Dynamics” that generate the Space and Time, as well as Matters within.

[see also Paul Davies. The Cosmic Blueprint Simon & Shuster 1988.]

When Newtonian Physics made Space-Time to be nothing, it ironically turned out that Space-Time had to be harder than Steel — because it transmit Light wave, and, since the harder the Medum is the faster the wave propagates, Space-Time that transmits Light Wave had to be very hard —. Now, since Relativity, Space-Time became somewhat Soft and Movable (Feminized). It also connotes that Physics changed from that of objects in Motion to Fields in Interaction.

The ways of thinking Social phenomena that give rise to policies, ideologies, prejudices at this time are by and large still Newtonian. People tend to think and talk in the metaphor of “Objects in Motion”, though some changes in the ways of thinking do show up sometimes. That is why it is interesting to hear you explaining how Native Science works in Human-Social phenomena/situations.

At any rate, I am doing what so called “Finsler Geometry” now, and trying to see what it tells me about Rock and Dream. What is interesting about Finsler Geometry is that it has “double Space-time” (or “Double Manifold” : one is static “Being Part”, like the Geometry that Einstein et al have explored, and another dynamic Becoming Part which is not about “objects”.) I think it is closer to what Faraday was dreaming some 150 years ago. I might come to share the Dream, though it may take a few years for me to get to the stage. And by some luck, it might be what you told me about “Rock”.

19 December 1988 Personal Correspondence on Rocks, Migrations, and Power (PDF)

Dec. 19, ’88.

Dear Pam

There is a picture of “Rock Face” that you might look at. It has remarkable resemblance to the one that you gave me a photo of. It is in a book (page 260) Space Ship In Prehistory, by Peter Kolosiw [Citadel Press 1982. ISBN 0-8065-0731-1.] The book belongs to E. Milton, and I did not have a chance to make a copy. But you might find the book in Calgary. There is a mention of “Birdman” which is very much like “Raven” of Haida/North West Coast Totem. (see also the “Eyes” (copy8)). The book is talking about the possibility that people came to the Earth from other planet. That may or may not be the point that you are interested. But the resemblance in two Rock Faces might be of your interest.

The Rock Face was found in Easter Island. And it is said to be the face of God “Make-Make”. That sent me to look for more clues in Easter Island. Sure enough, there were others. Teh enclosed are som of pictures. Aku-Aku by Thor Heyerdale [Allen&Unwin 1960] has photo of Rock Drawings (copy 1) and sketch of Birdman (copy 2). Round Eyes are there too. Photos from Easter Island by Alfred Metreaux [Oxford U press 1959 (3)] and Modernization of Easter Island by J. Doiuglas Porteous [U. of Victoria Press 1981 (4)] are probably the same Rock Drawings as (1). Other artifacts are also similar to Haida/North West Coast ones.

In addition, there is a Stone Text in A. Metreaux’s book (copy 5). Another book: The Mystery Of Easter Island by Jean-Michel Schwartz [Avon Books 1973] talks of Written Text (6). A more detailed analysis of written Texts is given in a book The Eighth Land by Thomas S. Barthel [U. of Hawaii press 1978].

A story mentioned in Schwartz’s book tells of :Sparks of Spirit blown up went into Rocks”. The “Rock” is therefore revered as “Knowledge”. People there represent the “knowledge” by Red Rocks in a shape of Hat and put them on the gigantic Stone Statues. It also refers to “Sacred Turtle”. [I note that Hida Stories do not mention “Turtle”. It could be that in adaptation to a cold climate the name might be changed to something people there can see. I do not know the Language to check if there had been changes. On the other hand, I do not imagine Oneida see too many Turtles around in New York State. Yet “Turtle” survived. Why?]

Barthel’s book mentions “The Dream Voyage of Hau Maka” (7). A word “Hiva” frequently appearing in all these stories remidn me of “Kiva” of Hopi. “Hiva” is something like what you call “Cove” — incidentally, do you mean “Cove” is also called “Gii Laii”? —.

At any rate, it appears that people in ancient times traveled a great distance, or at least some minority did. It could have been “Space Travelers” or “Voyagers”. In Japan, there is no written story in that effect, but there are “folk beliefs” which suggest small group of “strange people” came. They can be Koreans, Polynesians, Chinese, Mongols, Eskimos, Ancient Europeans, or Space People. Unlike the large scale immigration of people that Anthropologists trace, they are characteristically of small group or an individual, like “survivors/refugees” of calamities

[My family is often suspected of such an origin. My ancestors were “strange” to villagers. They were poor uneducated peasants, but they apparently had innate ability to read and write, did art, craft works, mathematical part of land survey, etc., but not quite competent at “domestic economy”, nor were strong physically, of course, in Japan, people are all “mixed up”, whatever were their origins. So we cannot trace nothing much. Only the “strange” characters somehow emerge in family line.]

Such “Mixing” from “strange people” has a significant implication. It runs counter to the present Paradigm of Native American Movements in that “Race/Tribe” is not simple pure “red-or-white” object (not to be judged “black and whit”). A “Peopel” or a “Culture” is made up of different origins in Diversity (Genetic Pool). At this phase of history, I think it is important to stress the uniqueness of Native People/Culture, so that “Equality” and “Liberty” are restored. In a sense that is more to do with “Human Right”.

But, I mentioned the “Power” issue — not “Right” issues — that Native People Culture has to go into. and beyond that, there is an issue of “Fraternity”. You know very well that there are deprived and repressed people within what is referred as “The Whites”. Even in native society, some persons are “more equal than others”. “Welfare” that you are concerned has to do with the “Fraternity” part — i.e. how to live in a community —. The “community” is a collective living organism of many different kinds of people. How to “live” in that sense is difficult indeed. Certainly, economic inequality, political repression/discrimination, and hostile prejudice have to be removed. But that is not enough.

A “Community” shares a common understanding in a balance of diversity. The common understanding is the “Culture”. A “Culture” is not artifacts that museums display. A “Culture” is not what it “looks like”, such as color of skin, blood type, sexual relation/lineage, way of dress/foods/routines, norm of acceptable behavior, etc. It has more to do with “mental”, “inner” world of people. One way to get glimpse of it is through Language of the Community. But to “speak” a Language means to think/feel/experience. And there, comes a sense of “Universe” which is intimate and sensual. Perhaps we are trying to become “intimate” with a Culture. But as we know well, it is not easy to go beyond romanticizing.


Sam K.

06 December 1988 Personal Correspondence on Lust and Eros (PDF)

Dec. 6, ’88

Dear Pam

This is a note about “Lust”. It came from a title of a book about Van Gogh, the insane Dutch painter who chased the Swirling Universe, which was more like Goedel’s universe than that of Einstein. I did not know this, but another author Milan Kundera argues that the word “Passion” in Christian Culture carries a certain tinge of “Guilt”, and “Lust” is a much better word. Kundera, also argue that”Love” has little to do with “Making Love”, and “Making Love” is just a minor part of “Sleeping With” a woman or man. The latter is far deeper. I guess one can go to “Living With” from there. But Kundera drew a line there and his story “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” is about “how not live with” , or rather how incapable we are to live with. We can possibly Flirt but “Living With” is difficult. As it was in the story “Sleeping With” was already too difficult to do.

From there, I tried very hard to imagine if two or more people could have the same Dream. Jung talked of “Collective Unconscious” which is somewhat like sharing a “Collective Dream”. But we rationalistic intellectual individualists do not wish to have awareness of it. Suppose we find out that we share a common Dream, we do not know what to do with it any way. But that may be the reason why we have so much trouble. So we deny Dream.

According my dictionary “Onei” of Oneida means “Dream”. Some missionary saw Oneidas as Dream People and hence the name came? I was looking for a connection/relation of Rock and Dream. So far, nothing turned up. I am in “between Rock and Hard Place”.

Tonight, I heard Guitar Concierto “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Rodrigo. The Adagio part is very famous and you may know of it. I suppose the sad music is about the pain of having “Lust”, though different sense from that of Van Gogh. Human beings are vulnerable, ephemeral, and weak. It’s all because humans are sensual. They need someone to sleep and dream with. And at the same time, they are afraid of doing that. Because that makes people vulnerable to hurts. It is a lot easier to go on a power trip. To score woman, to achieve orgasm is easier than to live with. To dream with is almost impossible. Music convey some of that pain — the expressions in music form are permitted because we can pretend not knowing what is is and hence can deny it. Stories are harder to deny. And therefore handicapped. We have to contrive disguises, half hoping that people would see it obvious and half hoping that people cannot pin it down so that one can escape. We write about sex, but not “eros”. We are only “Flirting”.

When we cannot do any better than flirting — some authors are complaining that even the “Art of Flirting” is dying in the modern ages, between two persons, we can hardly do any better between two peoples. We flirt with “Revolutionary Ideals” etc. Stories about Europeans and Native Americans are full of such “Romances”. They do “move us” alright, but we may be mistaken in feeling that we “Loved”. Our reason of “be moved” may be “Moaning” about what we failed, missed, or lost. They are telling us what we did not do. That pains us. Yet, what could we do?

I wrote 3 letters to Department of Education about Science Education, but discarded two fo long “articles” and decided to send a short note. I am very sad that there is no chance that they would read anything beyond short “memos”.  I have know “pleasure” of reading books, without any care about people escape from Reality when I am hurt, that seems the only thing I can. There is a Dream World which is like a Forest without damned humans.

My name came from an ancient Chinese poem about a love affair. My father somehow picked two letters out of the poem and I and my brother got one each. But the poem ends with a scene where the emperor utters “What am I going to do with you, my darling?” They are killed as the empire was conquered. That is the end of the poem. My father must have known the inevitable end of love affair. (At least I knew, when I took a letter from the same poem to name my daughter.)

But then, what is “Lust” or “Eros”? In conscious intellect, we are thinking of Orgasm, Rapture, but the Pain, Hurt is just as important part of the affair. If one has not tasted tears, it is the same as not having experience of orgasm/rapture. To preferone side may be natural, but it seems inevitable that the other side comes with it. Whether to know/accept that or not makes the distinction between the modern intellectuals and ancient people. Sensitivity, Empathy, Compassion, Understanding, and if I may add a Christian word “Grace”, all come from there. The Success centered mentality of modern scientists (or rather Technicians) is made by cutting off the vulnerability, in Fear or in Arrogance. Native Braves did not negate one’s vulnerability. That has nothing to do with “Winning” battles. but rather they are brave precisely because they were not afraid of knowing/accepting pains and hurts. The “Sun Dance” meant that. I think Deloria is already Europeanized and could not see the meaning of Sun Dance beyond the surface of physical pain. the “Brave” of taking Inner Pain is far greater.

Listening to the sad music, I was thinking like that. The funny thing is, the World, the Universe looks different from that view point. I heard of every instrument for each and did not miss a single note that they are making in a transparency. Goedel’s Cosmology was there. I was glad that I studied Geometry which helped me to appreciate the transparency, though that means absolute “Nothingness”.


Sam K.

Reflections on the Rock (PDF)

III. Reflections onthe Rock By Dr. S. Kounosu

Now what about Rocks and Dreams? Rocks have Spirit and in Sweat Lodge the heated Rocks give Energy —. “Organ Flow” in Reich’s theory —.

Why a Rock? Rock was a Spaceship which carried the Spirit. Rock meant a long, long “Endurance”. It had to “survive” the testing journey. It was frozen at times, and burned at other times. Rock saw and heard everything. Rock was a deep thinker. Rock felt cold, heat and pains but was not permitted to say anything. It was the carrier of a secret message. Rock’s spirit had to be silent for thousands of years, that is, until you come and read it off. Dream may be the only way the Rock is permitted to tell something to you.

Or another explanation is that the fallen Star was broken up into many small pieces. Just like the fragments of a Holographic image, you carry a part of the Rock and others carry other parts. You meet and find the pieces. When you put the pieces together, you get the message. Your Dreams are fragments of the message. they tell you to look for other pieces. Ask people around you — though you have to trick them to tell you without ‘rationalizing” what Rock they have in their heads —.

I look for my piece of Rock in my head. Maybe something there that I do not understand. anyway, I do not know what I am giving you. Hopefully you can make sense out of the pieces. Don’t ask me whether you are right or wrong. I am only an assistant of yours. You are the boss, authority — meaning the carrier of the Rock Bundle —. So you stand up and reach for it.

Rock is not silent because of fear. Rock cannot be intimidated. rock is “Assertion” by its presence, and needs not to assert any more than it already is. Rock is silent because it is listening, feeling and thinking, or even having its own Dream. Rock is also “Acceptance”. It witnesses the history of People. It may be sad and standing alone, but withstands anything and survives. Rock talks alone, but withstands anything and survives. rock talks with wind that passes it by and gets wet in rain, that is his romance. It looks at trees growing from a distance and remembers them like old men remember little girls growing up to be women. Bears sleep under it and climb up on it, like children do their grandpas. It remembers all that.

What about Electricity that holds the Rock together? Or the momentum flow that makes up its mass and its Existence? Concreteness of Rock is actually relational. It comes from the dynamics of supporting network. Shall we talk about Existence that generates time? Or super position of Two Way Time that generates Existence? Fire interaction makes up a Rock. That’s OK. But from that where do we go?

Exercise #2 Rocks

Divide into groups, ask for a member of each group to come forward or stand to select a talking rock. Instruct the group to introduce themselves and then to begin to pass the rock around the circle. The person holding the rock speaks. The rock is passed until all have spoken. The question to be addressed is:

“What can a rock teach us?”

After 40 minutes regroup. Ask participants,

“What did you learn from this experience?”

“How do you feel about it?”


All over the globe, indigenous people are coming forward to insist on the right to continue traditional science, (i.e., the Done and Environmental science, Australian aboriginals and Both Ways research). We aim to create a place for our science within a drastically altered environment because we understand that this is crucial to the survival of our children and grandchildren, whom we will no longer abandon to the unfeeling, unnatural, unspiritual processes of western science as it is contemporarily practiced. Native science in western scientific terms may open the door to non-Native scientists and people to embrace the love, passion and life-enhancing power that is the rightful heritage of all humanity. Perhaps this is the lesson of the Indian, the rock and the fire which unites us.

American Indian Science (PDF)

American Indian Science

Pamela Colorado, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

University of Calgary

Faculty of Social Welfare

Paper presented to 46th Congress of the Americanists

Amsterdam, Holland. July 4 – 8, 1988



Until the present time, we have had to stretch Western science so far that knowledge about Indian culture seems unreal. Research has been perceived and presented as monocultural, thus not accepted by the Indian community. All peoples including Native Americans have science or a way of coming to knowledge; each tribe has its specific methods, but for the purposes of introducing the concept of Native science, we will deal in generalization about “Native” metaphysics.

Reflecting on the implications of “sciences”, it is clear that a bicultural research model recognizing both Indian science and Western science needs to emerge. Newly evolved Western research methods such as ethnographic research, content/issue analysis, and the framework of Participatory Research can be drawn upon to complement or meet Indian science and culture.

Traditional Indian science must be articulated in contemporary terms to permit scholarly exchange growth and to empower Indian people in the scientific arena. further, an integration of Western and Indian ways of thinking must occur if we are to develop research strategies and outcomes which are acceptable and respected by both cultures. (“Integration” refers to a blending of research findings, not the domination or extension of ideological control by one culture’s science).

A bi-cultural research model must be both valid and reliable; strengthen traditional Indian science and enhance cross-cultural communication and understanding, and simultaneously promote the growth of both sciences. This paper will present an epistemological foundation of Indian science and will explore the possibility of creating a scientific, intercultural, infrastructure.