The Elder was invited to speak to a group of people on improving communication. Holding his Eagle Feather, he began by saying, ‘many of you have talked about the desire to have deep meaningful communication with your partners, friends, children, parents and other important people in your life. I would like to talk to you about a Talking Circle and what takes place during that sacred ceremony. First I would like to say that I call the person who runs the circle, a ‘facilitator’. Did you know that word, ‘facilitator’ means to ‘gently guide’ and also means the ‘act of making something easier’ or ‘assisting’. When I facilitate a Talking Circle or a group, I think of what I am doing as a sacred responsibility, that I am assisting and gently guiding the process, which means that I am not directing it. I sincerely detach myself from the outcome and let the Creator sacred intervention occur in the natural state it is meant to.
The ceremony of a Talking Circle is a beautiful natural process. However, because of the sacredness of the Talking Circle, protocols or as some know them as guidelines, are established. The protocols that are established include confidentiality and a sacred agreement to listen to what a person shares without judgment.
A person is provided with a sacred item such as an Eagle Feather, Talking Stick, a small Grandmother/ Grandfather Rock; or any sacred item that the facilitator deems appropriate. For the purpose of this talk, I will refer to the sacred item as an Eagle Feather, because that is what I normally use in my Talking Circles. The receiver of the Eagle Feather speaks from their heart, openly expressing their emotions. Often, tears are shed because the Talking Circle created a sacred where tears are considered natural purification and are viewed as medicine from the soul. In this regard, tears are honored and empathy is expressed by silently and attentively listening to what the person is sharing. The speaker is provided with as much time as it takes to share his or her story; however, a person is careful not to ‘hijack’ the circle so that others have time to share as well.
Once another people is passed the Eagle Feather, they might comment and validate the former speaker experiences by saying something like, ‘when they spoke, I was reminded of a time when…’ and then, they continue with their own story. At times a person might not feel compelled to share as the Eagle Feather is passed to them; and will request time to think, the Eagle Feather is then passed forward and later, when they are ready; it is returned to the person so that they too can share from their heart.
The circle is held in a place where there are no outside distractions, and often there is sacred medicine burning in the center of the circle. The medicines help to ground the energy emitted by the participants, so that the feelings expressed; are carried by the smoke upward, as a prayer of healing. The speakers are provided the utmost respect for their ability to share and because of that, the participants do not break the energy of the ceremony by getting up, they sit and give their full and undivided attention to the speaker. After each person is provided an opportunity to speak, the facilitator of the circle may impart a teaching however, it is important to realize that not one person in the circle is considered having more status than the other person, and as such; the participants in the circle are considered as equals.
My dearest relatives, if we could imagine honouring the same protocols as we do in a Talking Circle, when a person asks to share their feelings with us; wouldn’t our role as listeners take on a whole new meaning in our relationships? If we could imagine that a person communicating with us was holding an Eagle Feather in their hand and that our protocols include the willingness to listen without judgment, how different would our conversations be with one another? When a person seeks us out to share their emotions with us and we regard the communication as a sacred responsibility; communication becomes a ceremony. As we honour a person, providing them space to share without interruption and in turn speak openly from our hearts; we can begin to view our communication as one does when they engage in a sacred ceremony. When we open ourselves to sacred protocols of communication, we create a sacred space; allowing the process to be gently guided, which means not directing it because we simply see ourselves as equal to those who are sharing with us. It also means sincerely detaching from the outcome and allowing the Creators sacred intervention to occur in the natural state, which it is the way it is meant to be. This does not mean we are not emotionally attached to the speaker; rather we are in tune with them; we enter into a ceremony with them, the Ceremony of Communication.
As you allow the same sacred energy seen in a Talking Circle to facilitate a deep and meaningful conversation with your partners, friends, children, parents and other important people in your life; your communication becomes a sacred ceremony. For it is true, my dear relatives, when two souls engage in the Art of Conversation; where emotions are freely expressed and heard without judgment; a sacred ceremony takes shape and it is blessed by the energy of pure love.
All my Relations,
Kihci Têpakohp Iskotêw Iskwêw