onsdag 2 augusti 2017

How to turn the Talking Stick into a useful tool.

Illustration by Viveca Lammers
Medicine Pipe Illustration by Viveca Lammers
A Talking Stick is almost a so called Medicine Item with the difference that it is for communication with people instead of spirits.

A Medicine Item should be wrapped i red and then packed in something else and put aside. It is personal and should not be handled by other people. It can even be a secret tool that other people should not even know about. According to Swiftdeer it is protected by the red color.
Apart from that story the red color has another effect: it wakes you up. It gives the brain a signal that something has to be attended to or noticed, so you get a little bit more energy and focus. Magical ceremonies always have ingredients that can shift your consciousness in various ways.

As the Talking Stick is not used in this way you can wrap it in any color, if you wish to take it with you when you travel. But take a material that you really like and that gives a good impression. Maybe with some embroidery. And notice the symbolism of the different colors! The red is still OK because it is a symbol for the heart.
But a Talking Stick session can begin with a situation where two people disagree about something so they are already upset and excited so they don´t need to get more awake from having a red blanket in front of them. They are already overstimulated and have to calm down. That is the situation, which is described in the old Legend about the Talking Stick.

When we are home, and especially if the family has many children, there can always pop up a situation where one person agrees to something that he/she doesn´t like to agree with. Or two persons having different opinions about something. Often one person wins and the other one gets silent but remains irritated for a while.
We believe that we forget all these irritations, but even if we do not remember what happened our subconscious mind remembers the feeling of irritation and it also remembers who the other person was (who caused the irritation). If that happens many times it will build up something deep inside, like the small water drops slowly filling a big glas.
An unfinished talk is the same as an unfinished action, which is called karma. It is an action that is still going on because it is waiting to get a chance to be finished. Such little pieces of karma can be called emotional hang-ups and they can create trouble in other situations.

-- I looked at a film with someone who suggested that the Talking Stick should always be hanging on the wall in a way that also a small child could reach it. That was a good idea, wasn´t it?

-- Yes, but we don´t have such problems, because we listen to our children, so we don´t need any Talking Stick.

-- Yeah...OK... but in case that there would be a little conflict? It can always happen, you know....

-- Well, yes, in that case we could use it.

That was a little example from reality.
It sounds good, but what would happen if A and B ended up in a conflict and then B suddenly takes up a Talking Stick and says that now A has to use it. Probably A will refuse. If you are in a conflict with someone (even if it is just about a piece of bread) the last thing you want to do is to obey this person! So the Talking Stick method will not work if you suddenly and unexpectedly present your stick to someone who is already irritated. That person will rather get a feeling that your stick is a weapon that you now want to use to win the fight.

A Talking Stick is not a magical object that works in it´s own way and solves all our problems by itself! It is like any other tool: you cannot use it well if you have not learned how to use it and also trained on it. It is good to have it in a conflict situation, but only if all the participants are used to it. So we should not start using it for the first time when a conflict is already active, because then the stick will just be associated with negative conflicts, the negative side of perceiving the world in different ways.

It would be better to train on it by having a little Talking Circle once a week. Without conflicts! Just for the purpose of learning and getting used to it. In such a circle everyone can tell the others about what has happened during the week, what was fun and what was not and why it was not etc.. with focus on the emotional effects of this and that. Then... in time... the stick will become a tool that can be used also in conflicts.
There is a reason why certain ceremonies are repeated every day in so many cultures.

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