Spirit Talkers, 5



Walking the Good Red Road



Pandora's Box

pp. 146-51


Personal Power Objects

pp. 151-6



pp. 156-64


... Medicines

pp. 164-76



pp. 176-82



pp. 182-4


Rain for Gold

pp. 184-8


Tornado for Fear

pp. 188-91



pp. 191-4

5.1 (p. 147) hope-sustaining prayer

"Individual acquisition of medicine powers is the most widespread form of of the utilization of such powers ... . Regardless of form, each power is sustained by prayers from its owner. ...

Recall that the early Greeks saw hope as a power given to humans by the gods, the only power that was saved by Pandora's quick slamming of a box-lid ... . From the Greek point of view, hope was the singular supernatural power left in our hands."

5.1 (p. 147) persistence is needed when requaesting assistance from divinities

"Also, it is the nature of helping spirits is that they appear to be clueless when called forth.

For this reason, when a spirit comes into a ceremony, you must be very clear and persistent about what you desire."

5.1 (p. 148) typical conduction of a Chippewa healing caerimony, held in a shaking-tent [quoted from Ritzenthaler 1953b, pp. 203-4]

"Then the spirit asked, "Why didyou call me here?"

... answered (prompted by ...) and said she wanted him, the spirit, to find out what was wrong ... and tell if he had any medicine he could tell her about. ...

The spirit said, "All right, I'll try. I've helped a lot of Indians and I'll see what I can do for this one." ... The spirit then said, "If you believe in me, I will tell you the truth, but if you don't, I will tell you lies.

Come closer and I will look at you." ...

{This would referr to examining the aura.}

... told ... to ask the spirit to work on ..., so ... spoke to the spirit and said, "I would like to have you doctor and ... (blow on ...) and tell me if there is any medicine that you know will help ... ."

The spirit said, "Drum for me and I'll see what I can do."

So ... started drumming and the women shook the stick rattles ... and the wigwam ["shaking tent"] began to shake hard and every once in a while the sound of blowing was heard. (... The sickness is supposed to be blown away from the person like this.) ...

Every so often a spirit would talk in an unintelligible growl, and ... understood what the spirit was saying in that special spirit language."

Ritzenthaler 1953b = Robert B. Ritzenthaler : "Chippewa Preoccupation with Health". BULLETIN OF THE PUBLIC MUS OF THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE 19.4:175-258.

5.2 (pp. 151-2) amulets

p. 151

"Among the Inuit -- and typical elsewhere -- "there are amulets ..." ... obtained from spirit helpers in dreams or visions ... .

p. 152

When purchased, the new owner would first have to be accepted by the spirit of the amulet in order for the power to be transferred. ...

Once carved, there was always a ceremony held to activate the power of an object."

5.2 (pp. 152-3 amulets from deities

p. 152

"Sometimes power objects came from mythical beings. For the Southern Miwok in the Mariposa region of central California, the luckiest object was a feather from O-lel`-le.

[quoted from Merriam 1910, p. 211] "This is a bird ..., but ...

p. 153

He lives in cold springs, down deep under the water. ..."

Some shamans had personal power objects that were visible only to another shaman."

Merriam 1910 = C. Hart Merriam : The Dawn of the World. Arthur C. Clark Co, Cleveland.

5.2 (pp. 154-5) necessity for feeding of amulets

p. 154

"power objects ... need be "feed" {read "fed"} in order to keep their power intact. ...

A power object not fed simply "dies," it loses its power. For example, among the Tanaina in Alaska ... . ...

p. 155

At the opposite end of {at catacorner thence, on} North America, in Florida, the Seminole also feed their sacred objects. It was done everywhere in North America.

Dead {in effective "suspended animation"} objects could be revitalized through feeding. For example, a Wintu doctor {doctrix} ... used a feather bundle ... that had been found hidden away in the mountains by a former "great old-time doctor."

In some cases a sacred object not fed will simply disappear rather than die. ... Well cared-for objects like their owners and cannot be lost. "Even if dropped accidentally,

they will return to the possession of their owners.""

{They will be returned by the divinities/spirits animating them.}

5.2 (p. 155) danger of contamination of amulets by mortal doubters

"In the same way that you do not want doubters attending a ceremony, you definitely donot want doubters handling your medicine objects."

5.3 (p. 157) how miraculous power for hunting is acquired, among the Bella Bella [quoted from William Beynon in Garfield 1951, p. 47]

"the foremost shaman on Nass River ... agreed to train me. He told me to first go to the Bella Bella chief and ask him to give me dancing power. ...

The Bella Bella chief ... sent me to Kitga>ata to get power from a shaman there and then to Kitkatla to see two other men who would give me dance powers.

He instructed me to go also to Gitando, Gilutsau and Gitwilgoats. He gave me the names of the men tol see at each of these places. I was instructed to tell each of them that the Bella Bella chief had agreed to help me.

I went to the villages and each man sang his shaman power songs over me and put further dance powers into me. Then I went home to the Nass [River], and told the shaman what had happened. He ... instructed me to go to Gitsaxlal where there was a shaman who specialized in making symbols of supernatural power for other shamans. ...

I went back to the Nass. ... The Nisqa shaman ... instructed me to call all the shamans who had sung their songs over me. They came {praesumably, in their spirit-guise} and gave me more powers. I had visions in which many aides ["spirits"] came to me.

I was now a medicine man and ... I gave my peformance ["public ritual required for announcing one's powers"] and showed my symbol of supernatural powers.

I was then as famous as the other shamans, and was able to get prime skins at any time of the year."

Garfield 1951 = Viola E. Garfield : "The Tsimshian and Their Neighbors". In :- Viola E. Garfield & Paul S. Wingert : The Tsimshian Indians and Their Arts. Univ of WA Pr, Seattle. [reprinted 1966] pp. 5-70.

5.3 (pp. 158-9) spiritual rites for enhancing power for hunting

p. 158

"hunters had the understanding that [quoted from Speck 1935a, p. 23] "the animals know beforehand when they are to be slain, ... overcome by ... magic."

The hunter must first ask permission to take the life of an animal before slaying it. ...

{This permission is asked from the animal's spirit-guardian.}

In addition, since animals could understand human speech, one had to be careful about how he talked about his

p. 159

prey. For example, the name of the animal being hunted should not be mentioned in conversation lest it hears {read : "hear" (subjunctive mood)}its name.

Hunting parties were often lead {read "led"} by a shaman.

Shamans were also called upon to divine the location of game ... .

{Such "divining" could be via "remote viewing" while awake or while dreaming.}

Many shamans had powers for disabling game in some manner, such as causing their legs to cramp, putting an animal to sleep, causing an animal not to move, making buffaloes run in circles, or causing whales to strand on a beach.

[Turner 1993, p. 17] The Inupiat of northern Alaska understand that it is their singing and dancing that brings animals to them."

Speck 1935a = Frank G. Speck : "Penobscot Tales and Religious Beliefs". J OF AMER FOLK-LORE 48.1:1-107.

Turner 1993 = Edith Turner : "Structural Dichotomies and Spiritual Identities among the Inupiat of Alaska". In :- Pamela R. Frese (editrix) : Celebrations of Identity. Bergin & Garvey, Westport (CT). pp. 15-34.

5.3 (p. 159) instances of hunter-shamans who slay game-animals by praeternatural means

"A Jesuit priest once reported, "I once saw a Kootenai Indian (known ... from his extraordinary power) command a mountain lion to fall dead, and the animal, then leaping among the rocks of the mountain-side, fell instantly lifeless. ..."

A Kansa shaman "had deer killed for him by lightning ... .

He was finally killed by lightning himself."

{He may have prayed to die thus, so as to entre into the world of levin-deities.}

There was also a Quinault medicine man whose "power was so great that porpoises and other animals died before he could hurl his harpoon.""

5.3 (p. 160) a shamaness is told (by a praeternatural entity, during a shaking-tent caerimony) of the location of game-animals [quoted from Catherine in Schoolcraft 1848, pp. 172-3]

"I told them to build the Jee suk aun (Shaking Tent), or prophet's lodge, strong, and ... I directed that it should consist of ten posts or saplings, each of a different wood, which I named. When it was finished, ... I went in ... and ... began beating my drum, and reciting my songs or incantations. The lodge commenced shaking violently, by supernatural means. ... This being regarded by me, and by all without, as a proof of the presence of the spirits I consulted, I ... lay still, waiting for the questions ... . The first question ... was in relation to the game, ... where it was to be found. The response was given by the the orbicular spirit, who had appeared to me."

Schoolcraft 1848 = Henry Rowe Schoolcraft : The Indian in His Wigwam; or, Characteristics of the Red Race of America. Dewitt & Davenport, NY.

5.3 (p. 164) instances of horticulturalist-shamans who cause growth of crops by praeternatural means

"The Tlingit medicine man Nuwat used his power for berry production. ... He was known to have caused salmon berries to grow in three different valleys.

The Paviotso medicine man Weneyuga ... was known for his ability to have potatoes appear in an area of ground he would pray over.

Red Fish, a Yankton (Sioux) medicine man would stick a plum branch in the ground and cause plums to appear on it.

{Wherever a similar fruit-growth performance is displayed in Bharata/India, it is acknowledged to be an illusion (aitheric plane, not material plane).}

There was also an Ojibway shaman who simply had fresh berries brought to his lodge in the dead of winter by his helping spirits."

{Those "helping spirits" may have been praeternaturally transporting the berries from the Southern Hemisphaire.}

5.5 (p. 177) Wovoka's songs to induce weather of aqueous praecipitation [quoted from Ogimauwinini, in Skinner 1919, pp. 314-5]

"Paiute medicine man ... Wovoka, the founder of the "Ghost Dance religion" in the 1880's ... had five different weather control songs --

"the first brought on a mist or cloud,

the second a snow-fall,

the third a shower, and

the fourth a hard rain or storm, while

the fifth cleared the weather."

Skinner 1919 = Alanson Skinner : "The Sun-Dance of the Plains-Ojibway". ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS OF THE AMER MUS OF NATURAL HISTORY 16.4:311-15.

5.5 (pp. 177-9) other medicine-powers for controlling weather

p. 177

"Indian shamans also have powers to control snow, fog, wind, and other aspects of weather as well. ...

p. 178

Also known were medicine powers to control the temperature, making it cooler or warmer. ... For example, the Quinault used Atamantan to stop rain ... ."

p. 179

"Wyagaw, an Ojibwa shaman on the shores of Lake Superior[,] had a medicine power for controlling the weather as well as for changing shape. ... But ... Wyagaw ... called a thick fog and turned himself and his men into saw-billed ducks."

5.6 (p. 182) ritual substances employed for rain-making

"Throughout North America there were many different rain-making objects used, all in different ways.

On the west coast a Yokuts weather shaman named Sinel used plumb bob shaped stones and

... the Klikitat shaman who founded the Feather Cult, used eagle feathers.

Southern Paiute weather shamans received their power through dreaming and were known to have used a diamond-looking crystal found where lightning strikes the ground ... .

Small Ankle, a Hidatsa medicine man, used two human skulls.

The Yavapai shamans of the Southwest used a medicine necklace consisting of stone ... beads, to make wind, rain, or hail.

The Iroquois shamans use specific masks ... to control the weather.

The Delaware shamans used a weasel skin.

The Mikasuki Seminole have a jug-like object called the "Twins' Plaything" used for rain making as well as diverting the course of hurricanes. ... The neighboring Cow Creek Seminole use a special pot to stop the rain.

A Cherokee shaman used an egg-shaped garnet that "sparkled with such surprising lustre ... .""

5.7 (pp. 185-6) instance of rain-making by a Klamath River Indian [quoted from Graves 1929, pp. 68-76]

p. 185

"the Indians had one man on whom they always depended in time of need to make rain for them, but ... their rainmaker had never made rain for the white people. ... He ... the rainmaker ... told the miners he was going up to Medicine Rock, and for them to stay back, as he didn't want any white man around when he was making rain medicine, as Indian medicine never worked if white men interfered in any way. He told them that there was a small cave in Medicine Rock; that he would be in that cave for three days; that at the end of three days it would begin to rain,

p. 186

and then he would come out, collect his money and return to the cave and regulate the rain and see that the miners had just enough rain for a winter's run."

Graves 1929 = Charles S. Graves : Lore and Legends of the Klamath River Indians. Press of the Times, Yreka (CA).

5.8 (pp. 188 & 191) Rolling Thunder's ability to control the weather

p. 188

"Rolling Thunder, of Cherokee and Shoshoni descent, ... acquired medicine powers and ... became famous through Doug Boyd's Rolling Thunder, published in 1974. Boyd witnessed several demonstrations of Rolling Thunder's ability to control the weather ... . ...

p. 191

[quoted from Boyd 1974, pp. 152-6] This was his tornado, he told them, and it was about to rip the whole prison wide open. ...

Rolling Thunder ... had his eyes on the prison gate. Pretty soon the gate came flying off, you could hear it rip loose. It went flying through the air, spinning around and around. The prison officials ... just let him go."

Boyd 1974 = Doug Boyd : Rolling Thunder. Random House, NY, 1974.

5.9 (pp. 191-4) sacred fire

p. 191

"Black Elk in August of 1978 ... came to Ashland, Oregon, where I was teaching, to teach jointly ... . ...

p. 192

Ashland is surrounded on three sides by ... mountains ... . ...

p. 193

"... This is sacred fire. No harm [had] ever come from sacred fire." ...

p. 194

Those classes eventually led to ... establishing the first Sun Dance, in Ashland, that was for all the other races as well as Indian dancers."


William S. Lyon : Spirit Talkers : North American Indian Medicine Powers. Prayer Efficacy Publ, Kansas City (MO), 2012.