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Spiritual Gatherings

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Now Playing: 'To All My Relations'
By: Cody Sunbear Blackbird
From CD: Raven Speaks
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Links on this page:

Some Universal Teachings  about the Gatherings

Three Stages of Living

The Vision and Black Elk's Final Prayer

Things you need to know for attending Gatherings

History of the Gatherings

Slide shows and reports:

14th SUT 2013

13th SUT 2012

12th SUT 2010

Yorta Yorta 2010

Yorta Yorta 2009

Yorta Yorta 2008

11th SUT 2007

Red Blanket Bunya 2007

10th SUT 2007

Black Bear's visit 2007

9th SUT 2006

Red Blanket Bruny Island 2006

Black Bear's visit 2006

8th SUT Menindee 2005


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Keep watching as there are lots more to come. In the meantime have a look at some articles or understand the Earth People Philosophy and the meaning of Mitakuye Oyasin.
Or even check in, join and make some posts or comments on my new Sitting Owl's Spiritual Forum at: http://sittingowl.com.au/forum/


 

Spiritual Unity of the Tribes'

14th †Gathering

At The Grampians April 2013

Sitting Owl's Experience

Sorry, but I didn't take any photos and unless someone donates some that they took, this will have to be a "You had to be there!" gathering; shared here in writing as Sitting Owl experienced it.

After unpacking and greetings, it was well past dark when we (most of those there) dug the Sacred Fire pit, but at least we had good moon light and the odd torch to check on details.

What can say about the gathering? From opening ceremony to closing ceremony; just magical for everyone, including all of us pushing through†obstacles†and past comfort zones; and with a double Sun-bow (rings around the sun) to signal the after effects on the Monday.

One of the best aspects, for many I suspect, was the introductions and sharing of everyone, one by one, at a couple of fire circles. where we got to hear everyone's story, which could only strengthen our uniting bonds with each other. Yes, it did push many of us past our comfort zone, which helps us grow and has to be good for us, yes?

In my opinion, it was the efforts and hard work of everyone putting in everything they could that made it the greatness that it was, but it simply would have lacked greatly if any one who attended, had not.

We were blessed with visiting†Elder†(from USA) Ben Rhodd and other blessed and blessing Elders like Kiri Dewes and tribal land owner (caretaker) of the land Johny(?) Lovett, who blessed us with his enthusiasm.

The Sweat Lodge was a memorable experience with all the improvisations and scary wind gusts that were playing with bursts of ash and small embers; pushing this little fire keeper past his comfort zone at times.

The Committee agreed that the attendance and spirit at this gathering has re-energise their commitment to SUT.

I hope to see some photos I can upload; anyone out there!? And I hope to see some of YOU at the next one or before, as often or as long as you like.

 


 

13th Spiritual Unity of the Tribes
Gathering at Menindee 2012

After the Closing Ceremony
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12th Spiritual Unity of the Tribes
Gathering at Daylesford 2010

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Yorta Yorta Gathering
at Yeilima 2010

After the Closing Ceremony
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Sorry I have no photos of this gathering, but if anyone who attended wants to share some here we would all be most grateful.

Thank you to all the organisers of this 3rd gathering for Auntie Rochelle. It may have been her last at Yielima, but it was her best. I appreciated the structured circles at the Sacred Fire and particularly the Men's and Women's circles.

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____________________________________


 

Yorta Yorta Gathering
at Yeilima 2009

After the Closing Ceremony
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Artwork by: 
Auntie Rochelle Patten; 
coloured by: Sitting Owl



Artwork by: 
Auntie Rochelle Patten; 
coloured by: Sitting Owl

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Well, the Gathering is now over and in my opinion it was a great success. I think everyone had at least one of their subconscious buttons pushed, giving them something to be aware of and grow from. 

Feedback Email from Sarah Jayne (the Horse whisperer):

Dear Sitting Owl.
I learnt a lot about myself during the gathering and am grateful to have attended.
So the learning goes on for me and my family every day.
Communication with the horses came more swiftly and clearly than before, since the gathering. A coincidence, perhaps.
Stay well.
Kind regards Sarah Jayne and children.

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Yorta Yorta Gathering
at Yeilima 2008

After the Closing Ceremony
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Artwork by: 
Auntie Rochelle Patten; 
coloured by: Sitting Owl



Artwork by: 
Auntie Rochelle Patten; 
coloured by: Sitting Owl

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11th Spiritual Unity of the Tribes 
Gathering at Kangaroo Island 2007

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10th Spiritual Unity of the Tribes 
Gathering at The Coorong 2007

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Red Blanket Gathering
at Mount Bunya 2007

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'Red tailed Hawk'
carving in pipestone
by Black Bear


'Red tailed Hawk'
carving in pipestone
by Black Bear

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Other pictures of 
Black Bear's visit 2007

 


'Red tailed Hawk'
carving in pipestone
by Black Bear


'Red tailed Hawk'
carving in pipestone
by Black Bear

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9th Spiritual Unity of the Tribes 
Gathering at The Coorong 2006

After the Closing Ceremony
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The Almighty
 Red Blanket Gathering
on Bruny Island 2006

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Some Universal Teachings 
about the Gatherings

The Centre of the World

Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round
about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world.
 And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell 
and understood more than I saw; 
for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, 
and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being . . . 
And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one
of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, 
and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter
all the children of one mother and one father. 
And I saw that it was holy . . .
But anywhere is the center of the world.

-BLACK ELK,
OGLALA SIOUX, 1863-1950


The Gathering is a traditional gathering of tribes to bring the vision of Black Elk into fruition. (see the article 'Circles, Cycles, Spirals and Spheres' on my web site.) 

As the above extract from the account of Black Elk's vision indicates, when we are centred and in balance with our spirit, emotions, body, and mind we are at the centre of the world and we are seeing in a sacred manner. This is when we see the connectedness, oneness, and interdependent (not independent) nature of life. As Eckhart Tolle' says there is only one life and everything we see that appears separate are just the myriad of forms that life can manifest, of which there is no limit. All forms are impermanent and so come and go, but the eternal life that animates all forms is never changing.

So if we are going to live a good life in harmony with 'All Our Relations' (see 'Mitakuye Oyasin') and in a sacred manner we must keep these things in mind; be aware of the eternal Spirit, and follow it's guidance. The material world of work, money and all manner of form are impermanent and are of secondary importance. When we have a good relationship with Spirit, both the personal God, Great Spirit or whatever you call it; and the impersonal Great Mystery aspect of God, then all the other aspects of our life will fall into harmony.

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Three Stages of Living

The first and most important aspect of living with the physical body is for the whole community or tribe to put equal effort into the 'Hunting and Gathering'. This is preparing, getting, building all manner of food, fire wood and shelter; that is, everything that is needed physically. Here we find ourselves tested by Great Spirit to see if we are truly committed to this act of life, if we are dedicated to Spirit or if we think it all too much of a hassle and interference with job, school, money and the impermanent little things of form.

Only when everything is prepared and ready can we begin the second stage of performing the 'Ceremony'. This is usually guided or performed by the Shaman or person who has the strongest connection to Spirit. When this is done properly everyone will feel the awesomeness and sacredness of life as it is lived through every aspect, all the things that have been hunted and gathered will be as if they were glowing with the sacred blessings of Great Spirit, God or whatever. The Shelter and fire at the centre will be the sacred place, the church for all to commune with Spirit.

When the ceremony is fully completed only then does every one join in the grand finale of the 'Song and Dance'. If all the previous stages have been done by all to the best of each one's ability, the song and dance will be in perfect harmony with 'All Our Relations' and the experience for all will be unspeakable and indescribably blissful, but if anything is left out or done half heartedly, the song and dance can turn to disaster; and that can be individually or as a whole group. For example one person sits back and lets everyone else do all the hunting and gathering and is in their own little mind during the ceremony. When the time comes for the song and dance everyone would have a marvellous time except the one who knows not why, but just doesn't enjoy any part of the experience of life; all manner of things seem to go wrong for them.

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The Vision of 
Spiritual Unity of the Tribes (S.U.T.) 

To bring to the people medicine through ceremony to preserve and in some cases re-teach elements of the old ways of living. To enable the vision of Black Elk which was for the reunification of all peoples, all colours, all religions, all classes. To work towards the sacred unity of all.

Black Elk Lakota Holy Man

Black Elk's Final Prayer

This prayer embodies the message of S.U.T.

With tears running, O Great Spirit, Great Spirit my Grandfather with running tears I must say now that the tree has never bloomed. A pitiful old man, you see me here, and I have fallen away and have done nothing. Here at the center of the world, when you took me when I was young and taught me; here, old, I stand, and the tree is withered, Grandfather, my Grandfather. Again, and maybe the last time on this earth, I recall the great vision you sent me. It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds. Hear me, not for myself, but for my people.

I am old. Hear me that they may once more go back into the sacred hoop and find the good red road, the shielding tree.

from Black Elk Speaks by John Niehardt

 

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The History of the Gatherings

The Beginning 

In 1986 Grandmother IronEagle had a vision in which  to help fulfil the vision of Black Elk. That was to see the unification of the four coloured races of the world.  To this end she enlisted the help of Jim Walton, Tlingit elder and Wolf Clan Chief.  Jim went between the many medicine people seeking permission to hold a gathering of Medicine people to help with a problem being experienced in Grandmother's village.

The youth of the village were leaving the old ways, showing less respect for the elders and being drawn to the cities.  This was having a  devastating effect on their spiritual, moral and physical health. Grandmother hoped that the medicine people would  be able to help the youth and the village.  However it came to Jim's attention that this problem was not limited to a few villages but was a world-wide phenomenon.  He asked the medicine people if all people could share these gatherings and that these gatherings be taken all over Turtle Island (North America).

These gatherings started in 1989 on the Pasqua Reservation where the first two were held. The third was held on the Nambe Reservation in New Mexico in 1991.  These gatherings were coordinated by a small group of Elders and Medicine people: Jim Walton, Ernest Mirabal, Harvey Iron Eagle and Ben Rhodd.  At the next gathering (Tanacross, Alaska, 1992) a group of these elders agreed to ask Don O'Connor to take the gatherings to Australia. To enable this Spiritual Unity of the Tribes Incorporated Association was formed.

Spiritual Unity of the Tribes

Easter 1999 saw the first Spiritual Unity of the Tribes Gathering held on Don and Sue's property 'Dja Willam' near Daylesford Victoria. The picture below was taken after the Closing Ceremony.

After that there were the following SUT gatherings: The second at Hatfield, NSW in November 1999; the third at Lake Mungo, Easter 2000. The fourth gathering was held at Menindee Mission, NSW in September 2000. The fifth at Weldborough, Tasmania, January 2001 and the sixth at Wood Wood, Victoria, Easter 2002. The seventh was at Daylesford, Victoria, March 2005; the eighth at Menindee, NSW Nov.2005; the ninth at the Coorong March 2006; and the tenth also at the Coorong March 2007. The eleventh was at Kangaroo Island, S.A. Sept.2007; and the twelfth was again back at Daylesford April 2010. Announced at the closing of this gathering was the thirteenth gathering to be held again at Menindee Mission; as Auntie Beryl Carmichael is keen to bring health, help and healing to her people and her traditional land. There is now a fourteenth gathering planned (see coming events for this and any future gatherings).

Honouring of Elders and Red Blanket Gatherings

Between Wood Wood and the second Daylesford gathering SUT went into legal hibernation. As a result Rick and Josie, who wanted to run an SUT gathering, ran their own in 2004 and called it the 'Honouring of Elders Gathering. Raven attended this gathering and was so impressed by it, and the gift of a blanket there, that she and Todd decided to run a gathering on Bruney Island in Tasmania. In February 2006 the almighty Red Blanket Gathering was born. Again inspired by the awesomeness of that gathering Catherine and Michael decided to have a similar Red Blanket Gathering at Bunya Mountain in Queensland. In Feb. 2007 this gathering saw members from many Aboriginal tribes rebirth their old tradition of gathering when the Bunya nuts are falling. Many overseas visitors from other indigenous nations attended including Jim Medicine Tree, who bought with him the Black Thunder Pipe he carries. This pipe was demonstrated as a successful and powerful tool to ask Spirit to bring rain; every time he took it from his bundle it rained, and as I travelled back to Victoria it rained heavily the whole way until I reached the Murray River area; the water here is much abused and taken for granted so I believe there were more lessons and hardships for the people of this area.

Yorta Yorta Gatherings

In March 2008 Auntie Rochelle Patten called for an SUT gathering at the Yorta Yorta Nation's property Yielima, however SUT pulled out their support and many gathering regulars and SUT members rallied to help Auntie make her first gathering happen and so the Yorta Yorta Gatherings were born. Auntie Rochelle has had two gatherings since in March 2009 and March 2010, however Auntie has indicated that it is unlikely that she will run another gathering at Yielima as she is gearing up for the next stage of her journey of life; travelling and spreading her wisdom and knowledge further a field.

Regular and powerful supporters from the USA

Some of the regulars who have been closely watching all of these gatherings and who deserve a special mention are: Maynard and Jacky Eakan from Alaska (unfortunately Jacky has since left her body and is now working from Spirit) and Grandfather Ernest Mirabal from New Mexico. My love and gratitude to you is immeasurable.

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Things you need to know 
for attending Gatherings

  • The four day ceremony will be centred at the Sacred Fire that will burn from the beginning of ceremony until the end. During this time the fire and everything regarding the gathering is to be respected as sacred. The fire will only be fed by the rostered fire-keeper who will ensure that no rubbish or cigarette butts are accidentally thrown in.

  • There will be a separate camping area away from the Sacred Fire and you are asked to also treat this area as the sacred land it is; not coming and going, but staying for the duration of the gathering if possible. Vehicle traffic must be kept to a minimum, not only to avoid too much disruption to the land, but also to avoid disruption in general

  • Gatherings are drug and alcohol free events.

  • Nudity is inappropriate at gatherings. Talk to Sitting Owl if you want to know why. And some cultures consider topless men as inappropriate.

  • Drumming, music, and personal ceremonies must be discussed with the attending Elders.

  • There are no spectators at a gathering; we are all participants sharing who we are and what we can offer, so join in. Be present in the moment; the past is dust and the future is being written with our awareness of everything and our actions in the now.

  • There will be one communal meal each day, either lunch or an evening meal. You need to bring all your own food for other meals and snacks.

  • Bring all of your own drinking and cooking water.

  • Bring food to donate to the kitchen for the communal meals, and some extra sundries (such as bread, milk coffee, tea, sugar and water) if you would like to donate to the Elders kitchen. 

  • Bring all your own crockery and cutlery, camping and sleeping gear, toilet paper is always handy too.

  • There will hopefully be a compost bin for food scraps only.

  • All rubbish that you bring with you we ask that you take back with you. The land is sacred land and we donít want to see any rubbish or cigarette butts around; if you see any pick it up and dispose of it properly.

  • There will be a roster for fire-keeper to attend the Sacred Fire; donít forget to put your name down and make sure you honour your commitment. 

  • There will be a roster for helping in the kitchen and cleaning up. This is just as much a sacred job as any, so please put your name down and honour the commitment. Sharing everything - jobs (Hunting and gathering), stories (Ceremony), and joy (Song and Dance) - is what community is all about.

  • We ask that you keep noise to minimum to respect Elders, children and whatever is going on in a sacred manner.

  • All Ceremonial areas and the kitchens are smoke free zones. Please take all your butts home (birds use butts to line their nests, and the nicotine kills their babies). 

  • In addition to the auction there may be a raffle with some pretty awesome prizes. Donít forget to bring that something special for the auction.

  • Cameras and other recording devices are not to be used at the Sacred Fire or Inipi except after the fire has been extinguished. In respect people should be asked if it is OK to take their picture. 

  • Please, no pets at the gathering.

  • There will be no proselytising; which was originally trying to turn a Gentile into a Jew, but generally refers to preaching or badgering others. You could add here selling ideas or goods; gatherings are not market places.

  • It would much appreciated if possible for people to bring any extra food, blankets eating utensils, or what ever for Elders and communal meals. Also any shade cloth hessian or any shade material for the arbour.

I look forward to seeing you all at the next gathering and sharing some sacred time together. If you have any questions; about the gathering; what spiritual gatherings are about; or any other concerns feel free to ask.

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