Lessons From the Sacred Inipi(18)

By Ghost Dancer

Ghost Dancer

Talladega Prison, March 31, 2020 – Today our ceremony was all about prayers and singing for everyone’s family members, friends, and all life that is suffering, sick or those who have passed from this Covid-19. It poured down rain on us and got us soaked for hours, so we didn’t do the sweat lodge. We did a pipe ceremony and did our prayers in the lodge and talked about all that is going on. I shared some insights and told what Spirit has shown me in my dreams. 

No one has ever experienced what has gone on in the past few weeks or what is to come in the next few weeks or months. People are scared, worried about everything. Our prayers are to help all life. And to help folks find their true strength in their love and faith.

No matter what your beliefs are you must have faith and live in love.

We can’t change what is happening and we have no control over any other. But we can change how we live and all that we do, how we see things, and feel about things. We all know that with this new virus C-19 everyone’s life styles have been affected. Many folks have lost their income, jobs, educational access, traveling ability, social life styles and so much more.

Now the majority of the world can’t handle being cooped up, restricted in their movements, limited in their purchase of items, shopping etc. This has caused people to become stressed, depressed and scared.

Many of the elderly alive today never got to travel very much and couldn’t go out to buy things so getting to visit and have company was a luxury. Back in the day people had homes, farms, chores, responsibilities at home that kept them busy enough. Going to town was a holiday, just as going to church was the highlight of the week. Even I can remember those days. I can remember when kids couldn’t go to school because they had to work at home getting the crops in.  Now everyone is panicking because they have no idea of how to live simply.

Yes people have gotten so used to everything being readily available they have no memory of the way life used to be just a generation or two away. Not so long ago, entertainment was what you created yourself. Kids had imaginary races with their cars in the dirt, you used a stick and pretended it was a horse or a motorcycle. Girls were no different than boys, everyone played outside and used their imaginations. Everyone had chores and played with toys you made yourself.  Once again folks have become so accustomed to easy life, they have forgotten life is as easy as you make it. To have food, you didn’t go buy it. You grew it, raised it, caught it, hunted it or you traded for things you needed.

So once again, how we see things, how we feel about things, will be important in adapting to living simple lives and finding happiness in it. I remember making my first sling shot. I was so proud of myself. I cut the branch, whittled it the shape I wanted with my pocket knife. Cut me a strip of an old rubber tire and tied it to the branch. When I made my first bow and arrow by myself, I was a true hunter then. I used to take string and toss it in the water for a fishing line. Used a stick to help sometimes. I remember spading my first garden. Ask an elder what spading is if you don’t know. You won’t need a gym after doing that! LOL We didn’t buy things. What we needed or wanted, we made. How it looked depended on how well you knew what you were doing.

How many clothes were made for you or did you make for yourself ? Yeah even us boys had to learn to sew our clothes. Otherwise we might get our rear ends tore up for tearing our clothes up! LOL, yeah had to learn that real good. I was rough on everything. My mind would be too busy to pay attention to other things beside whatever I was doing. Talk about blinders on a mule! I was totally tunnel vision.  I still am many times. LOL

Now, I can remember my step-grandmother, Alma Jacobs. We called her Maw or Maw Maw Jaybird. She was my grandmother in my eyes and heart. Maw was totally blind, yet worked in the huge garden we had. Seemed to me she was very old when I first met her. Never saw a doctor in her whole life. Never had electricity or light in her home or indoor plumbing. She would tell me all the stories she had about her childhood. Even though she was totally blind, she worked and helped her family. She chopped wood kindling with her hatchet, and could cook, make clothes, sew and so much more.

Maw knew every animal on her property. We had livestock pigs, mule, cow; and all the birds, chickens, pheasants, pea fowl; and hunting dogs. We drew well spring water by hand, later built a winding pulley rope, and bathed in a foot tub. Yep even in the winter, you just heated some water on the wood stove.  Years later my dad and I put in plumbing for her just so she had running water in the house. We also put electric wiring so there were some lights in the house. But she didn’t want no indoor toilet though! Said it would just be wrong to have that. Yeah, I grew up different than my siblings, but that was my choice, and I’m so thankful for the experience also.

Have you have seen a child lost in its own little world, happy and content, not a care in the world? This is the power of being unrestricted, not programmed. What has happened to the world is that everyone has got caught up in a rat’s race of never using what they have right with them always and depending on someone else to do everything for them or entertain them. So while all this madness is going on in the world, it is a good time to learn to be you, be safe and be creative.

Now it is time to relax. Love you, Ghost

Note: The day after this letter was written, the prison went on full lockdown in an attempt to prevent Covid-19 from sweeping through the population. Prisoners were confined to their cells 24-7 for week after week for many months thereafter. Eventually, when restrictions lightened up, all religious and social activities, indoor and outdoor, were shut down permanently. There were no more Sweat lodge ceremonies allowed until December 2021. By then the lodge poles had so deteriorated and dried out as to be dangerous. Ghost had been granted a compassionate release in October 2021 and the remaining brothers were never able to have another sweat ceremony. Then the second wave of Covid swept through the prison and on January 31, 2022 the entire facility went back on total lockdown once again.

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

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