Archive for August, 2013


Monday, August 19th, 2013

While traveling in the Southwestern United States a few years ago, I pulled into an Indian Arts and Crafts Fair on the side of the road in Sedona, Arizona. Several different tribes of people were represented by potters, jewelers, sculptors and painters. The people of the high mesas have always traded goods at gatherings like this and they tend
to be social gatherings with drumming, music and food. Concepts about the cosmos and healing herbs are also shared if one knows where to look and how to ask.

It was on this occasion, that paintings and prints in one booth of a New Mexico artist captured my attention and I began speaking with the artist. Throughout my travels I have been exposed to many ceremonies, celebrations and festivals in many countries. A painting of dancers around a fire, in regalia with which I was unfamiliar interested me. The colors of the garments and styles of the headdresses set against a background of deep ochre brown space particularly drew me in to the painting, as a hypnotic feeling of involvement overcame me. It was of a powerful magical dance.

This is the Peyote Ritual. Peyote ‘buttons’ grow low around the heart of the Mescal Agave plant and are harvested to facilitate altered states of consciousness in rituals and ceremonies. Books by Carlos Castaneda sharing experiences using this mind altering plant, have been popular reading since the 1960’s, so I had a vague familiarity with the concept. But to listen to a tribal member share his perception and be able to see the as images depicted in the painting, brought a vital reality to me.

The story this Indian man told me was about the Chiricahua Clan of the Mescalero Apache tribe in New Mexico. The term ‘coming out’ dances refers to the traditional seasonal Equinox and Solstice celebrations and the procreation myths surrounding the beginning of the World and of the People. These dances can go on for several days and nights and are a test of endurance both mental and physical. Only specific members of this clan who pass through initiation rites with peyote are selected to be dancers. They are called Spirit Dancers and travel to another dimension to gain knowledge by communicating with Beings there; then return to share with the Apache People.

The dancers’ torsos are often covered in pigments, either terra vert (green) or ochre (yellow) clays with white or green stripes. The loin cloths or garments are typically yellow, and red sashes are worn on arms, at waists and sometimes as headbands over black or dark hoods. Black hoods covering the faces with holes cut for eyes are typical. The masks are extended by scarves covering the neck and throat. This gives a Kachina Spirit quality to the dancers, perhaps so that they blend in more as they travel through
the inner dimensions. This color scheme is specific to this ritual.

The headdresses and lightening sticks are made of wood and traditionally painted white with black symbols for the Elements in them. As I understand, the headdress acts like a lightening rod or antenna to connect with the Inner World Beings on that particular dimensional plane. The peyote opens a pathway of communication and travel. Just as ayahuasca* is used to open a particular pathway to a specific world of reality, so have many other substances known to man for thousands of years. Most of these have healing and educational properties which can be used productively to enhance humankind’s existence on earth. The Spirit Dancers of the Chiricahua play a major role in maintaining balance in the Apache universe.

This seems a very sophisticated use of physics—subtle energy frequencies are available to humans if we know how to tap into them… like Tesla and Scalar energy concepts.

*see Spirit Mind Connection and Ways to Get There article listed in the Shamanic Category archives.

This is an excerpt from The Prism Diary Spring 2009