Talking Stick Circle LO13969

Ray Evans Harrell (mcore@IDT.NET)
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 01:03:50 -0700

Replying to LO13958 --

To the list:

Does your stick talk? Or if it is you talking, then why a stick? Where
did the idea come from and how old is it? We've used the stick as well as
other things sacred, passed or sung in council meeting for as long as we
have memory. It is interesting to run into the ideas from our spiritual
ways in the marketplace with no acknowledgment of authority.

The talking stick in Europe codified hundreds of years ago into a scepter
or staff. The staff that Jesus carries in all of the paintings is a
pharaohs staff that acknowledges his authority to speak for and to his
people. These things are like words, they all have meanings specific to
the agreement of the people according to the task. The act of agreeing is
considered a sacred act and must be done truthfully. When a traveler (like
the woman on the Lewis & Clark expedition) carried such an object,
everyone paid respect to that symbol. To do so would be to break the most
basic agreement between all native peoples for thousands of years. The
agreement of relationship.

The stick to us is a prayer to the Creator for guidance and as long as the
person holds it they must speak their heart truthfully. I can't imagine
that happening in the market place. The rules are different. It would
seem naive to wish it. In a community, however, that is a different
proposition. "Community" as an ideal, demands that management be
responsible for the well being of even the least in the community. Where
would we go with that? Not to remember that rule of respect for the path
of each individual and their importance to the community makes one
ineligible to deserve the use of the (prayer) stick. One must remember
the sacredness of these objects if they are to receive the power from
using them. Otherwise you may receive the opposite.

As for the therapists, a good number of them spent time with native people
from Canada in the sixties. There were all of those books by Fritz Perls,
Berry Stevens and the like. They were not bad, but just as in the
performance of artistic styles, if you take something from the 'French" to
put in your symphony then you had better understand it or it will seem
like simple derivation, a mere quote. We are not respected on this list
when we do not understand what we quote either.

We believe these symbols have power and a life of their own once they are
sung into being. The power of the stick is the power to hold the group's
attention until you are through. If anyone leaves, the stick is broken.
If everyone doesnt hear, the stick is broken. The power of the stick is
also the commitment (ala Flores?) to respect the speaker no matter how
difficult that may be. You pledge yourself to that person's humanity and
your understanding of it. We say at the end of every speech Stau which
means be strong enough to speak the truth. When Custer smoked the pipe
and pledged eternal peace, the man at the door, emptied the pipe on
Custers boot and said that he knew that he would kill him(Custer),
because everyone knew Custer for the liar that he was and what his
intentions were as a cavalry officer.

We do not discourage the use of sacredness, only that they be used in the
proper fashion and with respect to their place of origin. After all, the
merchants have their gods as well as the rest of the society. But why not
call it "passing the scepter" or the "shepherd's crook?" I get the same
queasy feeling when I hear the Beethoven "Ode to Joy" or the "Hallelujah
Chorus" from Handel's Messiah used to sell automobiles. I think that was
what the sculptor Serrano was saying with that Crucifix that "offended"
the anti-National Endowment of the Arts folks a few years back.

Just some thoughts as I passed this post.

Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Chamber Opera of New York

Richard C. Holloway wrote:
> Patrick Halloran wrote:
> > re - The " Talking Stick Circle" method...
> >
> > Richard I've not come across this expression before, could you enlighten
> > me (and any others) to its use, and origins..
> >
> > also, I am currently participating in a research project, examining
> > aspects of an organisation (LO ?) , particularly looking at software
> > development processes and would appreciate guidance into whether this
> > method of "discussion" would prove valuable?
> >
> Patrick,
> and therein lies the story--actually I found the method while doing
> internet research, at the following website:
> It was written by Mr. Georg Psr, a contributor to this listing in the
> past. It was through following his threads that I found this listing.


Ray Evans Harrell <mcore@IDT.NET>

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