What happens when you howl like a wolf in Central Park with an Ojibwe
Indian Shaman, attempting to invoke the Great Spirit? Do
the wary wolves come to reunite you, or do the police come to lock you
up? Find out if howling in Central Park brings the Beast of
Terror or Sentinels of Vigilance?
25, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 590
Howling For The Beast Of Terror In Central Park
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, NEW YORK, NY--The other morning I
stood in Central Park and howled mournfully, my cries aimed at driving
the Beast of Terror from within.
(right) guiding my howls
On the ancient rock upon which I
stood was my good friend, an Ojibwe Indian Shaman named Clinton,
guiding my howls so they might evoke the guardianship of the wolves,
might draw them closer to protect me from myself. The Ojibwes
are part of the Anishinabe Tribe whose name means "original people" or
Clinton had worked for many
years at Manhattan's Smithsonian Institute Indian Museum near the
World Trade Center. He was there when the Terrorists
attacked on September 11, 2001, and suffered the pain of watching
thousands die, a number of whom he knew. For weeks, the stench
of burning bodies filled his nostrils.
After Nine Eleven the Smithsonian cut back
on staff and offered him another position in Washington D.C. which he
turned down. His children live in New York City, and he
didn't want to be away from them.
With us was my
friend, Bryan, a fireman from the Los Angeles Fire Department.
He was visiting New York City with his wife and I wanted to show him
some of the more fascinating aspects of the city. Howling in
Central Park at 8:15 a.m. on a Wednesday morning as millions of people
scurried to work was indeed something he hadn't counted on when he
came to the Big Apple, but, I was sure, would forever scribe itself in
his New York visit memory.
"Want to howl with us in
Central Park," I asked Bryan when I picked him up Wednesday morning to
join a group of friends at a mid-week meeting we held.
"Only if it's safe. I hear
Central Park is dangerous."
"Not any more. It's safe.
Bryan is far from being a cautious
man. As part of the EMT team for LAFD, he's seen more
carnage than most generals in all the wars ever fought.
Los Angeles is one of the havens of trauma centers, for it sadly
enjoys the largest number of gunshot wounds in the world.
Physicians come from all four corners of the globe to study trauma
management in Los Angeles, for the hospitals have the most experience
in handling a wide variety of human attacks on other humans, a sad
legacy for the "City Of Angeles."
my friend Bryan (left), a great candidate for howling
another part of note about Bryan. In his life, he's set somewhat
of a record. He's been thrown through the windshields of
more than ten vehicles, and still walks and talks. Some of
the accidents were on the job, some during his time off. In
every case he was not the driver, and in a few he almost lost his
He's like the guy I knew about
who was a golfer and was hit thirteen times by lightening, and still
went to golf courses.
It's important, I think, to
have a few "lucky friends," for people who survive such tragedies have
the universe on their side in one sense of the word--because they
survive--but, on the other, are walking disaster centers.
In either case, Bryan was a great
candidate for howling.
We made our way into Central Park,
just below the famous Tavern On The Green, on the west side of upper
Manhattan. Clinton studied the area and picked out a rock,
one of a number of huge chunks of granite that hump out of the surface
of the soil like the back of a great whale. I felt like
Ahab as we mounted the rock, three howlers in a city of more than
"Try not to pay attention to
the people or noises," Clinton said, waving his big hand at the
towering buildings to the west of us. Central Park West flows
parallel with the park that runs form 59th to 110th Streets, cutting a
primal verdant swath out of the belly of a city sometimes called a
"rivers of concrete."
I had never howled
before. At least, not officially with a Shaman.
Clinton told us the story
of the wolf, and, if for some reason I don't get it all accurate in
this writing, I will confirm all information with Clinton for
veracity, so bear with me if you're an Indian or Shaman or just know
more than I about the subject.
man and wolf were
As I recall, Clinton told me that once man and wolf were friends, and
then one day original man (Way-na-boo-zhoo) turned on the wolf and
scared him away because of man's violence toward himself and others.
Wary of man's wrath, the wolf dashed for cover.
unprotected in the absence of the wolf. He was,
essentially, left to his own devices--to manage his own life and
security without nature's help, for his ally, the wolf, was now
fearful of man's violent nature.
ceremony was essentially an effort to reunify the soul back with the
wolf, to cry out for the lost brother to return and stand guard, to
resurrect an old alliance that had once served both well, for when
together man provided the wolf food and the wolf gave back security.
other reasons for howling Clinton said. Deep inside all of us,
he claims, is great pain and suffering over losses we have suffered,
the loss of love, the loss of money, the loss of opportunity, the loss
of a mother or father, the loss of a child, the loss of one's faith or
the loss of one's innocence. The list he said was endless.
a wolf, from deep within the soul where one stuffs grief and pain,
brings the suffering of the soul to the surface. It issues it
out like currency to the wind, and it tells our estranged wolf
brothers we are sorry we banished him, and asks for him to return to
us, to serve once more as our protector, to guard us as a Sentinel of
Vigilance might guard a flock of children from the Beast of Terror's
you howl, let the cry of pain come from as deep as possible. Let
all your breath out. Exhaust your lungs.
If you listen, you'll hear the birds talking back. You'll feel
nature speaking as you speak to it."
began to explain the ritual. He cited a song we would sing
before starting, a prayer song, calling upon the Great Spirit to help
us reunite ourselves with the wolf, with all the losses in our lives.
Manitou Giwichinct...Kawin Ninah Segis" (God walks with me...I do not
Manitou Neenah Gawendon" (I listen to one God)
told us how to howl.
we would howl to the east, where the sun rises. He said we would
be crying out for the light that rises, to be aware of life itself for
the dawn brings hope, belief, the new day.
for the freedom from the bondage of the self
Then we would howl to the south, and west and finally north.
We would howl at least four mournful howls in each direction, for each
would bring us gifts. From the north, for example,
where the icebergs and glaciers were, we would call upon the earth to
move mountains for us. He pointed to the rock we were
"The glaciers once
slid down over the earth, exposing it, like a whittler carves a stick,
exposing the wood beneath. It sheds off the old skin. When
you howl to the north, you are asking the Great Spirit to remove from
you the baggage you carry, the old emotions, the old pains and
sufferings. You are asking for new skin. You are
asking for freedom from the bondage of the self."
As he explained each point of the compass, and the gifts we would
receive from letting ourselves be one with nature, I was able to
forget the people walking their dogs around us, or the taxis beeping
their horns down Central Park West, or the runners and bicycles
flowing up the paths carved through the forest of trees in the
heartland of New York City. For a moment I was back as child in
Oregon, sitting on the edge of the Columbia River near Cascade Locks
where I grew up, a small dot on the map in geography but a place rich
in Indian culture. I could hear the water flowing and
smell the virginity of the water, the flow of life coursing past as I
leaned back against mossy riverside rocks forgetting that behind me
was civilization, pretending that I was an Indian scout, searching the
great Columbia for signs of those who might try to invade our peaceful
I snapped out
of my thoughts and returned to the work at hand. I glanced
around. People were moving about, some with dogs.
I tried not to think of civilization.
Then we faced the east, lifted our heads, took a deep breath, and
began to howl like wolves.
Howling in New
York was just part of another day
At first I was embarrassed. We are all well over six feet,
big men by any standards. Each of us weigh well over 200,
and Clinton and I nudge the scales at around 270 each. Our
Voices rang through the park, cutting and slicing through the horns
and growls of truck gears, through the cacophony of a city awakening,
shuttling millions here and there.
The dog walkers
stopped and looked. The dogs perked up, their ears keyed to the
sounds from the three of us standing on the granite hump, heads angled
at the tops of the trees, emitting mournful cries of a wolf
disenfranchised from mankind, wary of the pain that human beings
consume and often reissue upon their children, their society, the
It was difficult to
not glance out of the corner of my eye at people staring at the three
of us, wondering what we were doing. But, in New York
City, nothing is startling, so I knew we were okay. One
could run naked through the streets with war paint splattered over the
body, screaming and ranting, and no one would say a word.
New York is a potpourri of madness that makes the bizarre seem somehow
Therefore, howling in
Central Park was part of another day.
As we faced west a man
and his son approached. The young boy, perhaps seven or so,
rushed toward us. He wore a pack on his back with his school
materials. He had big blue eyes and craned to look
up at us.
"What are you howling
Clinton looked down.
"We're doing a Native American Prayer," he said.
I was closest to the boy.
His father was standing back, smiling, proud his son was courageous
enough to approach us.
"We're howling like
wolves," I said. "Would you like to howl with us?"
I looked at his father
and smiled. The boy glanced over at his dad who gave him
the OK and the boy climbed up on the rock with us.
"Now, just stand here and howl
deep. Ask the wolves to come back, to return, to be our friend."
We then returned to our
howling, facing north, calling upon the glaciers to remove the scales
of life, to strip us of the yokes of the past, to resurrect us.
The boy howled with us.
He was timid at first, but then
let his Voice ring out.
When we finished, his father
thanked us and told the boy, "Now, let's hurry and get you to school."
Off went the boy.
Clinton had to run downtown, so
we ended our ceremony. Bryan and I walked through the park
to his hotel where his wife was waiting. We parted company, for
he was leaving the next day.
On the way home I thought about
I thought about the Beast of
Terror, that part of us within that consumes our pain and suffering,
that often becomes so full of pain and suffering it lashes out at
others, it explodes in violence or disrespect or anger, fear,
frustration causing pain for those around us.
The Beast of
Terror seeks to separate us
thought of the wolves, once man's friends, suddenly being assaulted
and rushing into the woods, like abused children, lowering their
heads, jumping back whenever the scent of a human touched their
nostrils, recalling the anguish humans caused them when they turned
Then I thought of the Beast of
Terror. His job was to disjoin the human from his
humanity, to drive wedges of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
between human beings' Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the
Children's Children's Children.
The Beast wanted to separate us
from our kindness, our tenderness, our ability to face our Fear, to
thwart our Intimidations with life. The Beast wanted
us to stay in the darkness, disenfranchised with nature, with other
human beings so we felt alone, insecure, unsafe, wary, victims of life
Calling upon the wolves
was an attempt to unite, to strengthen, to bolster the human spirit.
It was an effort to drive Terrorism from one's being, and to replace
it with Vigilance--the Vigilance of the Wolf, who, ultimately, was our
Sentinel of Vigilance, our guardians. But, it would only
work if we respected it, for it was wary of our wrath.
I thought about a child whose
parents beat it for no reason other than taking out personal anger
against the child. The child became like the wary wolf,
ducking and hunkering, emotionally scared by the parents abuse.
I wondered how
many parents knew about their children's fears
I knew there was all kinds of abuse, not just physical. There
was the lack of love a parent gave a child, the lack of interest in
the child's deep emotions, a lack of communication with the child's
wolf. I wondered if a parent who didn't tell his or
her child each morning and evening how much he or she loved it, knew
the pain the child felt by not knowing the parent loved. I
wondered how many parents knew their children were afraid of the
dark, the night, the closet monsters--afraid to tell their parents
because they would be laughed at or told to "grow up."
I thought of my own life, and
all my Fears and Intimidations and Complacencies in life. They
were vast indeed. I thought of unification with my own
wolf, seeking its protection and guardianship.
Then I thought about the
event in the park.
Was it just an ritual or
had it really worked? Did we bring the wolves out of hiding?
Or, did we just make fools of ourselves?
My final analysis was
We had indeed brought the
wolves out of the woods. We had indeed unified ourselves with
nature. We had changed our lives.
And I had proof.
The young boy.
Skeptics might toss of
the idea of the young child asking to howl with us as just an
incident, and it would be in keeping with a skeptic to think just a
But as a Sentinel of
Vigilance, I chose to think of the child as a Wolf Pup.
The father let
his Wolf Pup join our tribe on the Rock of Unification
Oddly, the boy's father had stopped a few yards away and let the boy
approach on his own. The father did not encourage the boy
to approach. He let the child do it on his own.
In a way, the father was
the old wolf, still perhaps wary of mankind.
But, he had heard our
howls. He knew we were calling upon the clan of wolves, speaking
the Language of Vigilance, singing the songs of unification.
Watchful, the father released
his son to us.
He let his son, the Wolf Pup,
join our tribe.
let his son become our protector for a moment, to join us on the Rock
of Unification, to symbolize the power of newness.
The child was, obviously, our own
innocence. He represented the purity of the peaceful soul, that
same soul I remembered when I was a child sitting on the banks of the
Columbia River, watching the water flow by.
Fear and Terrorism
The child had no Fear of us, wasn't Intimidated, and was obviously not
Complacent. Quite the opposite. The child had the
Courage to approach, the Conviction to mount the Rock of Unification,
and took the Right Action by howling with us, adding his Voice in the
wilderness to ours.
Vigilance, ultimately is not about me, but about the children.
It is about teaching Children to battle the Beast of Terror, teaching
children to howl at the Beast, to alert it that we are not alone, and
to call the Wolves of Vigilance back to our side, to our camps, to
watch over us so we might not return to the brutality of our ways.
Yes, we had howled
The Wolf Pup had come,
fearlessly, to share in our Voice, to carry away with him our pain,
and to remind us that Terrorism thrives among those who are afraid to
24--Beast Of Protest Attacks Dixie Chicks
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