Monday, August 1, 2011


        It is a little known fact that there are ancient, sacred Indian sites located right here in North Bay, Ontario, Canada, not to mention a  number of other places which exist in North America.
         Everybody's always talking about Indian Burial Grounds, perhaps because they like to think of the Indian cultures as being dead. Or perhaps it's because of the respect most North American Indians have for the dead as well as the living. At any rate, there are a lot more sites around than just burial grounds. The native cultures always had respect for what are called, Places of Power.
         And so do I respect such places, why? Because it is a lot easier to have a mystical experience at a Place of Power than not at such a place - the Bat Cave at Bali, for example. Now the Bat Cave at Bali is a place of power, but it is a very busy place of power. And if you're at a very busy place of power, you are going to have a lot of trouble with your concentration.
         Now a busy Place of Power might be a good place for someone to start, if that person has 
a very busy mind. The Bat Cave might be good for such a person. Or there are several Monkey Temples available in India which serve exactly the same purpose. By observing the monkeys in ceaseless action, you can meditate on the monkey-like nature of the human mind, one thought endlessly chasing another, like monkeys in the tree tops, chasing each others' tails.
         But why are we in Grade One of the School For Mystics, and not in Kindergarten any more? Because we have learned that it's not necessary to go searching  two-thirds of the way around the world for a Place of Power, when you might have a better one in your own back yard - or within 500 miles or so, anyway.
        Now the Zen people might well scoff at places of power; they'll likely say, "The real Place of Power is within you." And they would be right and wrong at the same time. This is a discussion for another day, and maybe never..
        I should point out, also, that bat caves and monkey temples are not necessary in North America, and especially in Canada, because we have mosquitoes and black flies. And these will keep the busy mind quite busy indeed!

        At any rate, this particular site has seven circles of stone - let's call it one continuous pathway that climbs in circles. And you can see the places carved into the stone where the peace pipes were placed,
        Twenty years ago, when I first visited this spot, quite by accident, ha! ha!, I was told to take my shoes off.
         "This must be a sacred site, then," I said.
          The woman who was showing me around then said: "We're not sure. It's just that I've played here since I was a little girl, and whenever we played here we always took our shoes off..."

           So I took my shoes off, but rather than walk the full distance around and follow the stone circles, I stepped across them, and when I improperly reached the Place of Power at the centre and the top of the hill, a cat snarled at me.
            This place was still strong enough to animate a guardian at the core, even after a thousand years. I found this very interesting.
            Now very few Indians want to talk about this sort of thing with white men, because they are convinced that white men are too stupid to understand the meaning of the word, "sacred."
White men, it is thought, spend far too much time indoors to ever understand the spirits of living things, which all twine together into One Great Spirit.

            What was in the peace pipes? Well, let us say a mixture of herbs and mushrooms which, once smoked, to say the very least: increased the concentration of the aspirants.
             I asked my friend Joe, who happens to be an Indian who believes in the Socratic method of teaching, but I doubt he calls it that. I asked him what he thought the Indians were doing at this mysterious site one thousand (1,000) years ago. He was non-committal. Instead of answering me with a statement, he just asked me another question.
             "I can't say. It's really up to you, you know," he said, "What do you think?"

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