Friday, May 24, 2013

Tribute to Crecy's People and Sallie Alpha, Ceremonial Circle

Rituals and traditions Purification Ceremony

Join us for a day of construction, altar making, and painting in the environment Saturday May 25th, our day will begin at 10am - continue through evening. Storyteller Diana Bruton-  San Joaquin Valley Genealogical Society Researcher of Bruton, Burks Family will join us on Friday.

Blessing of the land was conducted by facilitator's: Josephine Talamantez, Stan Padilla on our opening day. Together  they left these poles for me to place in the four directions, to surround my installation with positive vibrations; Earth, Air, Water, Wind.

With much due and respect I will be attending  the 8th annual Louie & Anne Oliver Memorial Day Come Back, MeWuk Indian gathering this weekend to begin my spiritual experience.

We will not in our limited knowledge hold an actual sweat here but a gathering, a talking about our loved ones, and to bring their memories to this living tradition. The Independence tribe will be sharing its culture, history and heritage through a number of cultural events, including dances, interpretive displays and good old fashioned fellowship

Altar for Michelle Walker
Ondrea Walker, preparing elements for her mother's and her grandma's altar.

This Altar is the  focus point of my ceremonial circle holding the sunflowers, and altar elements carried outside, up the hill where I am working.

Fire Keeper Pit- Preparation,  I dug up pottery Anita had thrown into a pit over the years. It was a hole left from where she had her retainer wall built. I dug up old broken pottery she had thrown out because it was cracked or broken, some folks didn't come back to pick up, or that she just didn't want.  I  packed the red clay dirt down and packed it around the sides, and began the re-layering of  broken ceramics to turn the pit into our "Fire Keeper" sacred place. We will used the candles from MAP Gallery Myths, Stories and Living Tradition in the pit so that the wax will cover the broken pottery.

One night Happy, Caryl and I were sitting around the "Ceremonial Circle", and watched the sun light play on the surface of this tree it was decided it would be another place to build an altar. Talver Germany Miller - Grandma's Tree, painted the vertical mural to honor Michelle, as the sunflower was  one of her favorite colors.
Alpha Bruton, Diana Bruton, Ondrea Walker 

Andrea Jennifer  "YaYa" Porras-
Altar installation Trainer

Turtle Shell Sculpture, Anita conducted sessions each day so each participate could leave their mark in the community project. She fired all the slabs on Tuesday night, and we began painting then on Wednesday night in the studio.

Building the Environment:

Orientation – The door must face a scared fire. Here in Auburn we are facing Northwest, I am placing the entry point in a natural path from the studio, up the hill, into the circle. The circle is made of natural elements that are already on the land. I arranged wood stumps for sitting, using the trees to hang banners, used logs as pedestals for the Phantom Gallery Chicago, exhibiting Anita's found artworks. I designed four symbols on Sunday during Caryl's symbol workshop.

Anita Posey Lowe, working with Azul on making a slab for the sculpture, turtles shells that will make the dome. Twelve slabs were made by each participant that attended the retreat. We had seniors as old as 80 something, to as young as 2 months, here little Mia with her parents Alisa and Oliver.

The circle is set up like a coliseum with an amphitheater, an area for guest to sit made from logs already cut. To the north I have a place for the staging, and to the East I have our altar to the land, and to grandmother's tree.

We are using the four directions, and creating a narrative for storytelling, poetry, positive affirmations, and remembering, so each "Spirit Keeper" will take part in the storytelling.
Construction – As I was working on Thursday night, a wild turkey visited me, and sat perched on a limb above the ceremonial circle, and watched as I hung our banners.  This morning a couple of deers were investigating the circle, we watched them from the dinning room table. This morning I will begin building the frame of our altar, so we can add fabric, and a mural around it. Also, we have to install the turtle shells made from the slab clay workshop. 

Support –  Because, we are not actually performing a purification ceremony, this will be a circle to tell our stories of the ones we dedicate the circle to. Now, the animal skins have been replaced with blankets, plastic sheeting, old carpet, heavy gauge canvas sheets and tarps to retain the heat and the steam. We are dyeing canvas with the natural dye Caryl made from bark, and other vegetation on the property. Talver donated raw canvas and  burlap, and we added the fabric from MAP gallery to add to the "temple."

YaYa and I drove to the Buena Vista Rancheria on Sunday afternoon. She was performing at the  8th annual Louie & Anne Oliver Memorial Day Come Back, MeWuk Native American. Buena Vista Me-Wuk Indians have been living on aboriginal tribal land of what later became Amador County since at least 1817. I can't put into words just yet of the experience. It was like one big family reunion, lots of food, fun, and tribal dancing. There was also an Inipi, (Ceremonial Purification Circle), that I was able to visit, but not have had the spiritual experience yet. I would like to spend time fasting, and cleansing before attending a ceremony.

Training - Most cultures that hold ceremonial sweats require that someone go through intensive training for many years to be allowed to lead a purification ceremony. One of the requirements is that the leader be able to pray and communicate fluently in the indigenous language of that culture, and that they understand how to conduct the ceremony safely. This leadership role is granted by the Elders of the community, not self-designation.

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