|PAT ELLIS TAYLOR - her experiences with Rolling Thunder|
|Ms Taylor at one time or another was a spiritual seeker very much involved with the 'Rainbow Family' and with promoting spiritual teachers such as Sun Bear , and in this particular instance, Rolling Thunder in his tour through Texas. Below I will quote a part of her chapter from a book she wrote, and thus round out my little 'Indian Corner'.|
|While working for the Menninger Foundation in 1971, Doug Boyd met Rolling Thunder, a spiritual leader of the Cherokee and Shoshone tribes. About the shaman, Boyd wrote, "Each day it was becoming clearer to me that Rolling Thunder was a teacher who could offer me insights that I could never achieve in the laboratory or discover in the library."
One day during lunch, Rolling Thunder explained the Indian's view of chaos through ecological imbalance.
"When you have pollution in one place, it spreads all over. It spreads just as arthritis or cancer spreads in the body. The earth is sick now because the earth is being mistreated, and some of the problems that may occur, some of the natural disasters that might happen in the near future are only the natural readjustments that have to take place to throw off sickness. A lot of things are on this land that don't belong here. They're foreign objects like viruses or germs. Now, we may not recognize the fact when it happens, but a lot of the things that are going to happen in the future will really be the earth's attempt to throw off some of these sicknesses. This is really going to be like fever or like vomiting, what you might call a physiological adjustment.
"It's very important for people to realize this. The earth is a living organism, the body of a higher individual who has a will and wants to be well, who is at times less healthy or more healthy, physically and mentally. People should treat their own bodies with respect. It's the same thing with the earth. Too many people don't know that when they harm the earth they harm themselves, nor do the realize that when they harm themselves they harm the earth...
"It's not very easy for you people to understand these things because understanding is not knowing the kind of facts that your books and teachers talk about. I can tell you that understanding begins with love and respect. It begins with respect for the Great Spirit, and the Great Spirit is the life that is in all things -- all the creatures and the plants and even the rocks and the minerals. All things -- and I mean all things -- have their own will and their own way, their own purpose; this is what is to be respected.
"Such respect is not a feeling or an attitude only. It's a way of life. Such respect means that we never stop realizing and never neglect to carry out our obligation to ourselves and our environment."
Rolling Thunder offers a philospohical or religious basis for contemporary ecological thought. His view is fundamental to understanding Native American belief systems. Certainly, there are sound scientific reasons supporting the various ecology movements, and for scientific minds that may be enough. However, integrating both views may ultimately prove more reliable and productive than choosing one or the other.
|While trying to achieve a tour of Rolling Thunder as a promoter, Pat received a call.." a promoter named Cathy Lee called, to see if I cold share in the promotion. She said, well, if I couldn't help in the promotion, would I like to do an interview with Rolling Thunder? I wrestled with several considerations before I said yes yes I would be very happy to do an interview.|
|The Daily Texan woman and I were nervous and silent, but he sat down, lit up his pipe and began to talk, giving us over forty minutes on the tape recorder. I thought, my interview with him sure wouldn't be like this one. I would ask Cathy Lee if we could have a walk by Town Lake instead. I really began to imagine us having a very good talk together. I figured I could show him Barton Stprings, the heart of Austin, and maybe even walk him to the low-water bridge to see BAlcones Fault, superpower of the fault in the earth [edited]. That is what Cathy Lee arranged. [It didn't go quite as planned, so they returned to their lodging and Pat Followed]|
|The rest of the people had disappeared. The four of us sat down. two strange pairs: rolling thunder wearing his hat and arranging his medicine puoch beside him, I taking off my own hawk-feathered hat as a gesture of respect for the house and laying my own pouch full of pens, pads and a taper recorder on the floor; his young man with long black hair seated near the door, my young friend Brad with his long blond ponytail and wire-rimmed glasses sitting on the couch beside hiim.|
|I said I hear you've been traveling around a lot.
He nodded.. Two months, then one month..
Where've you been traveling? I asked.
He said now wait a minute , you interrupted me. I wasn't finished with what I was about to say. You see, I talk slow, the people in New York - my gosh, I can't keep up with them. So you need to slow down a little bit, get into a natural rhythm. People these days are wound up and tight and don't know how to slow down. Finally , apparently aware that as an interviewer I did'nt seem to be doing anything, he said well, you better get your tape recorder out. Then get your notebook and write down what I've just told you.
|This was a good message, a strong message, so I tried to look like they were all new words to me. He said he was a Cherokee and his people orginally came from Atlantis. Part went to another continent and part came to this western world, and they were a very wise race and had mysterious ways of building the pyramids.
Plus some slave labor, I said without thinking, dipping a piece of Anglo pseudo-history.
No, he said. Dont' you try to tell me Indian history, he said. His eyes were flashing like he would have liked to have taken me apart on the spot. It's just that....
|Well, Rolling Thunder wasn't named that for nothing. He let me know for a good several minutes that he was displeased with my presence and my approach. He said I had no respect, and that was the trouble with white people. White people had the Inquisition, why didn't we talk about that? She asked about Cherookees and Aztecs, and he said [edited]
They went down, he finally said, because they abused thir own power. Look, when I want to feel better, I can just look out this window, look at the trees, the grass, that settles my mind. He looked out the window some more. I did too, following his example
|lyrics to the song you are listening to
When we lift the covers from our feelings..
We expose our insecure thoughts
Trust is rare as devotion
Forgive us our cynical thoughts...
When we need too much attention
It gets hard to overrule
So often fragile power
Turns to scorn and ridicule
Sometimes our big splashes
Are just ripples in the pool...
Right to the heart of the matter
Right to the beautiful part
Emotions are painfully shattered
Right where discovery starts
In the secred well of emotion
Buried deep in our hearts
Feelings run high...
|Later in the chapter Pat talks about a very important concept in his philosophy, something which is very similar if not identical to Stalking Wolf's philosophy. Below, the illustration is about Tom Brown, Jr and his friend Rick being taught by Stalking Wolf in the 60's. Stalking Wolf was not precisely a Cherokee, but he said a lot of the same things Rolling Thunder did.|