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HEYOKA INFO

HEYOKA INFO

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"Sacred clown" redirects here. For the jesters in Hopi mythology, see Pueblo Clo wns.

The word Heyók?a refers to the Lakota concept of a contrarian, jester, satirist or sacred clown. Heyók?a are thought of as being backwards-forwards, upside-down, or contrary in na ture. This spirit is often manifest by doing things backwards or unconventionall y riding a horse backwards, wearing clothes inside-out, or speaking in a backwards language. For example, if food were scarce, a Heyók?a would sit around and compla in about how full he was; during a baking hot heat wave a Heyók?a would shiver wit h cold and put on gloves and cover himself with a thick blanket. Similarly, when it is 40 degrees below freezing he will wander around naked for hours complaini ng that it is too hot. A unique example is the famous Heyók?a sacred clown called "the Straighten-Outer": He was always running around with a hammer trying to flatten round and curvy thi ngs (soup bowls, eggs, wagon wheels, etc.), thus making them straight. John Fire Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions, p250 During the Sun Dance, a Heyók?a sacred clown may appear to tempt the dancers with water and food and to dance backwards around the circle in a show of respect. If a dancer looks into the mirrored eyes of the Heyók?a, his or her dance is finishe d.[citation needed] Contents [hide] 1 Social role 2 Thunder dreamer 3 Heyoka in popular culture 4 See also 5 References 6 Bibliography 7 External links[edit] Social role The Heyók?a symbolize and portray many aspects of the sacred, the Wak?á?. Their sati re presents important questions by fooling around. They ask difficult questions, and say things others are too afraid to say. By reading between the lines, the audience is able to think about things not usually thought about, or to look at things in a different way. Principally, the Heyók?a functions both as a mirror and a teacher, using extreme b ehaviors to mirror others, thereby forcing them to examine their own doubts, fea rs, hatreds, and weaknesses. Heyók?as also have the power to heal emotional pain; such power comes from the experience of shame they sing of shameful events in thei r lives, beg for food, and live as clowns. They provoke laughter in distressing situations of despair and provoke fear and chaos when people feel complacent and overly secure, to keep them from taking themselves too seriously or believing t hey are more powerful than they are. In addition, sacred clowns serve an important role in shaping tribal codes. Heyók? a's don t seem to care about taboos, rules, regulations, social norms, or boundari es. Paradoxically, however, it is by violating these norms and taboos that they help to define the accepted boundaries, rules, and societal guidelines for ethic al and moral behavior. This is because they are the only ones who can ask "Why?" about sensitive topics and employ satire to question the specialists and carrie rs of sacred knowledge or those in positions of power and authority. In doing so , they demonstrate concretely the theories of balance and imbalance. Their role is to penetrate deception, turn over rocks, and create a deeper awareness.[citat ion needed] For people who are as poor as us, who have lost everything, who had to endure so much death and sadness, laughter is a precious gift. When we were dying like fl ies from white man's disease, when we were driven into reservations, when the go vernment rations did not arrive and we were starving, watching the pranks and ca pers of Heyók?a were a blessing. John Fire Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions, p250 Wichá a Wak?á? means Holy man, not "Medicine man" or "shaman" (a term of Siberian orig in). This is an important distinction. A Lakota medicine man is called p?e úta wichá a.

[edit] Thunder dreamer It is believed among the Lakota that if you had a dream or vision of birds you w ere destined to be a medicine man,[citation needed] but if you had a vision of t he Wakí?ya? Thunderbird, it was your destiny to become a Heyók?a, or sacred clown.[c itation needed] Like the Thunderbird, the heyoka are both feared and held in rev erence.[citation needed] When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West, it comes with terror li ke a thunder storm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greene r and happier; for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world, it is like a rain. The world, you see, is happier after the terror of the storm... you hav e noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffe ring, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping... as l ightning illuminates the dark, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas hav e. Black Elk, quoted in Neihardt (1959), p160 The Heyoka are healers and have many functions, for example healing through laug hter and awakening people to deeper meaning and concealed truth and to prepare t he people for oncoming disaster with laughter.[citation needed] ==================================================== The Heyoka Living Life Backwards By Todd F. Eklof Why did it all turn out for me like this? George asks, after an afternoon of self -reflection at the beach. I had so much promise. I was personable, I was bright . Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but ... I was perceptive. I always kno w when someone's uncomfortable at a party. It all became very clear to me sitti ng out there today, that every decision I've ever made, in my entire life, has b een wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Eve ry instinct I have, in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat ... It's all been wrong. Just then a waitress arrives to take his order. At first he ask s for the usual, tuna on toast, coleslaw and a cup of coffee. But then, in a mo ment of inspiration, he changes his mind. Wait a minute, he says, I always have tun a on toast. Nothing s ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the compl ete opposite of tuna on toast. Chicken salad, on rye, untoasted ... and a cup o f tea. Although Jerry argues that salmon is actually the opposite of tuna since s almon swims against the current and tuna swims with it, George s new lunch choice marks a bold step toward transforming his life. A few moments later he sees a beautiful woman at a table across the room. His friends encourage him to go talk to her, but he argues that she s w ay out of his league. Well here's your chance to try the opposite, Jerry argues, In stead of tuna salad and being intimidated by women, chicken salad and going righ t up to them. Yes, I will do the opposite. George responds, I used to sit here an d do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposi te, and I will do something! He approaches the woman and says, Excuse me, I couldn 't help but notice that you were looking in my direction. Oh, yes I was, she replies, you just ordered the same lunch as me. George takes a deep breath and continues with the opposite of hi s usual approach, My name is George. I m unemployed and live with my parents. The woman smiles, I m Victoria. Hi. As the story progresses, Victoria s uncle helps George land a job with the New York Yankees. This has been the dream of my life ever since I was a child, he says, and it's all happening because I'm completely ignoring every urge towards common sense and good judgment I've ever had. This is no longer just s ome crazy notion this is my religion! Though George s spiritual epiphany is only a storyline in a comedic sitcom, his experience may be worth taking seriously. Is there wisdom in somet imes doing the opposite of what we ve been doing? If we consider, for example, th

at the number of people killed in warfare has increased almost exponentially dur ing the past five centuries, including more than a hundred million during the 20 th century, and untold thousands already during the first five years of this cen tury, perhaps it s time we begin doing the opposite. In light of the fact that ou r polar ice cap has melted 30 percent during the last three decades, we re experie ncing an increasing number of apocalyptic hurricanes and other natural disasters , and energy consumption has tripled since 1950, even in light of global warming , maybe we should try the opposite. In our age of unprecedented globalization, during which the most powerful nation in history has become increasingly nationa listic and supportive of an elitist economy, further frustrating and antagonizin g much of the rest of the world while trying to fight terrorism, let s try the opp osite. At a time when our bad environmental habits obliterate 130 species a day , let s go with the opposite. In the most affluent country on Earth, in which a m ajority of people have been more concerned with forcing their personal religious views on everyone else, especially concerning freedom of choice and marriage eq uality, leading to an ineffective government that can no longer cope with the de vastating impact of national disasters, and has squandered our children s future o n an unnecessary war, for God s sake, let s do the opposite! Yes, it does seem we s hould begin taking opposition most seriously. In Lakota mythology, one who lives in opposition is called a hey oka. And just as George Costanza describes his experience as religious, one bec omes a heyoka only after a divine encounter. Indeed, the heyoka is associated w ith the great Thunderbird and Trickster ===================================== Introduction The Thunderbird is one of the few cross-cultural elements of Native North Americ an mythology. He is found not just among Plains Indians, but also among Pacific Northwest and Northeastern tribes. He has also become quite a bit of an icon for non-Indians, since he has also had the honor of having automobiles, liquors, an d even a United States Air Force squadron named after him. Totems bearing his re presentation can be found all over the continent. There have been a number of cu rious theories about the origins of the Thunderbird myth - ones which I will sho w are probably wrongheaded. In this paper, moreover, I want to examine how the myths and legends of the Thun derbird tie into the sacred clowning/trickster ritual complex of Plains tribes s uch as the Lakota. I will show how the Thunderbird is intimately connected to th is complex, and attempt to explain why. It is the intimate association between t hese two traditions that may help explain some features of Plains culture and fo lklore. Aspects of the Thunderbird myth only make sense in light of these associ ations. Plains Indians myth and folklore In order to understand Plains Indians folklore, we have to realize that their my ths were not just "just-so" stories to entertain, divert, or make inadequate eff orts at naturalistic explanation. Rather, Indian myth functioned in religious, p edagogical, and initiatory ways, to help socialize young people and illuminate t he various religious and other roles in society. Indian myth was always fluid, a nd grounded in the present, which is what might be expected of societies which l argely lacked static, written traditions. Storytelling was an art which was main tained by the medicine people with great fidelity, because it was used to explai n the development of certain rituals and elements of society. (Hines 1992) Some have looked at the Thunderbird myths through the same lens of understanding applied to European mythology. The Thunderbird is like the Indo-European dragon or ogre or Leviathan, a huge monster who kidnaps virginal maidens, and who must be slain by the brave hero. Or the Thunderbird is simply treated as some kind o f fantastic oddity, like the mythical unicorn or mermaid - an impossible constru ction borne from the extremes of the imagination. Both these attempts at explain ing myth lose the important point of seeing Thunderbird as a personification of energies in nature - those found in violent thunderstorms and such - and his cru cial dual nature.

and lightning and fire. but the western one was the Greatest and most senior . the harm the Thunderbird causes is mostly be . strangely. and fear and terror begin. such as the changing of the weather. he is essentially an attempt to represent the patterns of activity of a powerful. hence the expected existence of beings such as contraries. there were four. it is not surprising that his representatives were the heyoka or sacred clowns. the Thunderbird is thought of as a gre at Eagle.) Fu rther.Still. rolling clouds which prevent him from being seen. they bring life-giving rain (Thunderbird is said to be the creator of 'wild rice' and other Plains Indians crops)." Others suggest the word links the Thunderbird to wakan. swept away by ferocious storms. It is supposed to be very dangerous to approach a Thunderbird nest. and sometimes as their protector and liberator (in some myths. and berdaches. hi s conflicts with other forces in nature are then an attempt to allegorize relati onships observed in the natural order. which some people mistakenly think repre sents a stairway. but also sometimes only with the west and the western wind. (Gill and Sullivan 1992) The fact that Thunderbird sometimes appears as something that terrorizes and pla gues Indians. On the one hand. or sacred power. Largely. on the other hand. there were a variety of beliefs about Thunderbird. and many are supposed to have di ed in the attempt.such as White Owl Woman. or Waziya. manifest through the primordial power of thunde rstorms. In many stories. women w arriors. Like other Thunder Beings. from the Dakot a word kinyan meaning "winged. who produces thunder from the beating of his wings and flashes lightni ng from his eyes. to have no ears or eyes). (Erdoes and Ortiz 1984) Many Plains Indians claim there are in fact four colors (varieties) of Thunderbi rds (the blue ones are said. one at each compass point. They no more literally believed in a giant bird generating storms through the beating o f its wings. the Indians were not merely "mythmaking" in the pejorative sense.) (Fire and Erdoes 1972) The fact that they are sometimes known as "grandfather s" suggest they are held in considerable reverence and awe. It is not clear where with them worship and awe end. I sus pect that this dual nature of the Thunderbird ties it to the Trickster figure in Indian belief: like the Trickster. lightning-bolt design. or water oxen who plague mankind. (Edmonds a nd Clark 1989) The Plains Indians believed that everything that was found in nature had a human representative in microcosm. Most tribes feel he and the other Thunder beings were the firs t to appear in the Creation. Everything in nature often contained its own oppos ite polarity. the killing North Wind. the enemy bird. Because the Thunderbird in particular represented this m ysterious dual aspect of nature. Few anthropologists have sought to locate how Thunderbird may have been mytho logically linked to Trickster. he was once an Indian himself) is said to reflect the way thunderstorms and violent weather are seen by Plains people. which suggest a somewh at complicated picture. the bringer of winter storms . and that these beings ar e at war with each other. Some Indians claim that there are good and bad Thunderbirds. and that they have an especially close connection t o wakan tanka.sort of the way in which a weather map functions today. Thunderbird is himself malevolent. Western thinki ng has prevented us from seeing the reasons why Indians perceived this connectio n. who displayed wisdom through seemingly foolhardy action. Wochowsen. sometimes asso ciated with the four cardinal directions. his role is to challenge some other great power and protect the Indians . But in some other legends (not so much in the Plains). The Nature of Thunderbird In Plains tribes. (Descriptions are vague because it is thought Thunderbird is a lways surrounded by thick. carryin g off people (or reindeer or whales) to their doom. Thunderbird is an allegory. or slaying people who seek t o cross his sacred mountain. the Great Mysterious. the Thunderbird is sometimes known as Wakinyan. then Christians today literally believe in their divine being as an old man with a beard sitting on a marble throne. The symbol of Thunderbird is the red zig-zag. they bring hail. flood. mysterious force in a way that can be understood simply and easily . Usually. the horned serpents. (According to the medicine man Lame Deer. Others claim that the large predatory birds which are said to kidnap hunters and livestock are not Thunderbirds at all. the malevolent Unktehi.

s uch as the Crazy Dance or the imitation of animals. It is no t seen as just a large. exhibiting gross gluttony or extreme appetite. Hall. but were also expected to show absurd bravery in b attle. to fly off carrying small animals or children.especially the Trickster complex . the I ndian attitude toward it comes from more than just the mere fact that it is supp osed to be really big. rather than receiving some sort of supernatural inspirat ion. (Hall suggests the wingspan of such a spe cies would be several feet longer than any known birds .and see how they fit into the structure of Plains Indian myth as a whole. as well as large birds (like the Roc) in other mythic tr aditions. In every case. it would be amazing that to this point it has remained uniden tified and uncatalogued. That is. like the mastodon. provoking the enemy into giving up its discipline and cohesion with taunt s and insults.and there were times when they . the other problem with his theory is that it ignores w hat Indians themselves have to say about the Thunderbird. A species of birds that big. apparently. and re duce it to a zoological curiosity. Rather. it's nece ssary to see how they connect with other elements of Indian belief and ceremony . ma king obscene jokes or gestures. the big problem with this theory is that most ornithologists consider i t to be quite farfetched. Hall does suggest the possibility that maybe. unless it consisted of an extremely small number of members. playing pranks or practical jokes.age-graded societies. Not surprisingly. and the heyoka shamanistic societ ies. having studied the Thunderbird myths of nume rous tribes. but on the Plains it especially exhibited inversion and reversal as elements of satire . the northern plains type. (Steward 1991) The age-graded clown societies primarily consisted of older people who had been inducted into their ranks . often carried c omical or ridiculous weapons. as has been claimed in some accounts. Only by ign oring this fact could we put our Western ethnocentric biases into effect.cause it is so large and powerful and primeval. it involved ridiculous behavior. You knew when they might do something weird . They describe the Thunderbird as a spiritual. these large birds were hunted to extinction prior to the arrival of Europeans on the North A merican continent. suggest that there may well be a surviving species of large avians in America . fearsome predatory bird that people tell stories about. it's an integral part of Plains Indians religion and ritual. found among tribes such as the Ojibway. The Thunderbird is much more than that. Still. they might do something which seemed strange or contrary. These clowns were assumed to simply be playing a role appropr iate to their sodality.groups such as the Gros Ventre Crazy Lodge or the Hi datsa Dog Society. they sometimes rode their horses backwards into battle. They carried out certain expected ritual performances on proscribed days. Clowning around in Plains Indian culture Clowning.) However. could be found in almost every North American Indian society. and compared them to (mostly folkloric) accounts of unusually large birds in modern times. There were four types of clown societies on the Plains . but under somewhat regular condition s. not just physical. To understand the origins of Thunderbird myths. mocking the sacred. The northern plains clowns.big enough. and costumes of rags which made them appe ar comical. perhaps. being.certainly bigger than t hat of the turkey vulture or other identifiable North American species. If such a species existed (a situation akin to the fol kloric Sasquatch). wore masks w hich made them appear to be two-faced. and taunting of enemies or strangers. The behaviors of all sorts of clowns revolved around a few basic themes or attributes: burlesque. In contrast. strange acts of self-mortification or self-deprecation. like the icon of the Thunderbird. the military cl own societies such as the Cheyenne Inverted Bow String Warriors. would find it hard to avoid detection for lon g. military societies. All of these three types of clown societies practiced a sort of conv entionalized or patterned sort of anti-natural behavior.) (Hall 1 988) Such researchers feel the Thunderbird myth may have originated from sightin gs of a real-life flesh-and-blood avian which might be an atavism from earlier e pochs (a quasi-pterodactyl or teratorn. Origins of the Thunderbird Myth Cryptozoologists like Mark A. caricature of others.

they might often "give up" the clowning way of life. He alternates strong winds with calm ones. Western physicists describe the dual nature of electricity. and as is well know with magnetism. but it is the same face. but no li mbs. they are likely to have observ ed some of the same properties in lightning. for it is the p ower of lightning that heyokas have. Further. and when t hey feel too good and are too sure of being safe. o bscene. sharp claws. the heyoka. laughing or weeping. They were truly unpredictable. The world. and the other laughs. you were destined to be a medicine man. Moreso than other clowns. Testimony of Black Elk: the heyoka and lightning The Oglala Indian Black Elk had some interesting things to say about the heyoka ceremony. for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world. it comes in polaritie s. When people are already in despair. He also describes the bizarre items he had t o carry as a heyoka. Not surprisingly. is happier after the terror of the storm. Like Thunderbird. and the crazy antics he had to perform with his companions. One is sad with suff ering. An object can carry a positive or negative electric charge. of course. which he himself participated in. Thunderbird and Heyoka. Thunderbird is said to have sharp teeth. they really seemed t o be insane. huge wings. or sacred cl owns. All of these things suggest Thunderbird (and the h eyoka) have a curious. but when the storm of vision has passed. Thus it would have been intuitive t o link the dual spiritual nature of the heyoka (tragicomedy . but no body. as lightning kills. the world is green er and happier. Though the Indians did not have access to our modern scientific instruments. it was your destiny to become something else. with opposite poles (north and south) attracting. you ha ve noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. paradoxical. Thunderbird supposedly inspired the "contrariness" of the heyoka th rough his own contrary nature. an d to have a closer link to wakan or power than other clowns. these unique differences were seen as the result of their having visions of Thunderbird. Electricity and magnetism are thought to be aspe cts of the same force. You could become heyoka thr ough a vision of the Thunderbird. but if you had a vision of Thunderbird. And so I think this is what the heyoka ceremony is for . maybe the weeping face is bett er.were forbidden to perform their antics. the Sacred Clown It was believed among the Lakota and other tribes that if you had a dream or vis ion of birds.. and return to a non-contrary state by marrying and engagin g in a more normal mode of existence. able to seize a piece of meat out of a pot of boil ing water." (quoted in Neihardt 1959: 160) Today. or sacred cl own. it comes with terror l ike a thunder storm.. maybe the laughing is better for them. Also. they ke pt their role for life .. contrary nature. a u nique and transforming experience. but were found in almost every clan. but no mouth. Heyoka we re contraries. heyoka. While all things in nature move clockwise.. often speaking and walking backwards. They acted in ridiculous. the heyoka were at once feared and held in reverence. They often dressed in a bizarre and ludicrous manner. they were thought to be more inspired by trans-human supernat ural forces (as individuals driven by spirits rather than group conventions). the dog had to be killed quickly and without making any scar. or just of lightning or a formidable winged be ing of power. wearing conical . it is lik e a rain. were usually few in number. "When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West. and comical ways.solemn joking .jo y united with pain) with the dual nature of electricity. (Steiger 1974) While clown societies were found throughout the Plains. They were thought to be fearless and painless. and could do the unexpected or tasteless even dur ing the most solemn of occasions. especially during sacred ceremonies. you see. Black Elk describes the "dog in boil ing water" ceremony in some detail. And lastly. The heyoka were different in three primary ways from the other sorts of clowns.it was a sacred calling which could not be given up wit hout performing an agonizing ritual of expiation. The y were supposed to startle easily at the first sound of thunder or first sight o f lightning. The electron is simult aneously a wave and a particle. Thunderbird is said to move counterclockwis e. He also attempts to explain the link between the contrary trickster nature of h eyokas with that of Thunderbird.

but is just as often the victim of tricks and misfortunes. This makes him at once a culture hero. and thus were usually not expected to marry. shocking revelation and inspiration. the heyoka. who often shows up in the Feast of Fool s and other ceremonies where the social order is turned topsy-turvy.) However insulting or sacrilegious heyoka actions might be. point to the Trickster figure as a sort of important cultural "release valve. are "outlets.) For the Plains I ndians. unpredictably wild nature." allowing people to invert the social o rder temporarily as a way of promoting its continuity in the long run (avoiding its ultimate collapse. In other cultural traditions. red paint. the heyoka's sudden outbursts and disturbances were thou ght to be the keys to enlightenment . Like Coyote and other Trickster figures. people took it as an admonition to see beyond the literalness of the ritual and into the deeper mysteries of the sacred.hats. then. Paul Radin suggests that Iktomi and other Trickster figures are akin to the Grea t Fool or Wild Man of European folklore. Significance of the Trickster Figure and "Contrariness" in Plains Society Psychological anthropologists. and his "crazy wisdom" as emblematic of humankind's earlie r. It's not surprising. Symbols of authority normally held in extreme reveren ce are mocked and desecrated. and people of great medicine.) The ruler is dressed in peasants' clothes. interpreters of dreams. yet so rarely has the forethought or good judgment to use his power wisely. or drum. uncontrollable force of the Trickster figure. Despite their bizarre acts (such as dressing in war m clothes during summer or wearing things inside out). they were trusted as heal ers. he was expected to act silly an d foolhardy during battle (although this was found more among warrior clown soci eties such as the Cheyenne Inverted Warriors. . Iktomi was thought to be a hypersexual predator. Whenever they interru pted the solemnity of a ceremony. Heyoka were freed from all the ordinary constraints o f life. He is dangerous primarily because he is so powerful. or participa te in the work of the tribe. Like the flash of lightning." In American folk culture. undivided. yet their blind luck always seems to protect them from the consequences of their missteps. following his lead. (Radin 1956 ) Jung. claims the Trickster as an archetypal part of the co llective unconscious." He represents the "return of the repressed. It's also the primary weapon in most pa ntheons of the chief sky god (such as Zeus in Greek mythology. and a symbol of sudd en. thunder and lightning symbolized the vast. a bladder over the head (to simulate baldness). The heyoka was thought to usually carry various sacred items . sug gest some anthropologists." the Dion ysian aspects of life only temporarily held in abeyance by the Apollonian forces of civilization. have children. especially those oriented toward psychoanalytic t heory and depth psychology. unindividuated consciousness. they were tolerated. Iktomi is the first-born son of Inyan (rock). that the Thunderbird is connected with the strang e. The carnivals and feasts held in honor of fools in Europe. a flute. uncontrollable energy of natu re. and is said to speak with ro cks and stones. through various methods of deceit. one who frequently pursued winchinchal as (young virgins) who bathed in streams. His "anti-natural" nature was thought t o be shamanistic in origin -. Radin and others proclaim him the representative of untam ed.much like the absurd acts of Zen masters i n Japan. Iktomi and other tricksters seem to be at the constant mercy of their desires. a colored bow.a deer hoof rattle. there a re a host of legendary stories of mysterious cures or transformations wrought by someone being struck by lightning. thunder and lightning are connected with the unexp ected. and a figure to be feared and avoided.and as a contrary. Yet his pursuits and antics often wound up with him inadvertently getting hurt or w inding up in trouble. and his avatar. Iktomi is said to be heyoka because he has seen and talked with Thunder bird. Iktomi likes to pull pr anks on people. and some igno rant serf is crowned king. We talk about a "bolt out of the blue. (Hultkrantz 1987) Thunderbird and Trickster Part of the link between heyoka and Thunderbird comes from Iktomi. the Trickster figure. within the confines of culture. It's at once dangerous. and bark earri ngs. since it was assumed they were acting on the higher and more inscrutable imperat ives of the Great Mystery.

We draw the lightning as a forked zigzag. it ties into the paradoxical e nergy of thunder and lightning. the heyoka plays pranks on others in his culture not to make them feel embarrass ed and stupid. Like a good performance artist.") Lam e Deer suggests before doing this they chewed a grayish moss called tapejuta. It is good and bad. The crash of thunder can startle us and wake us up out of dreaming sleep. (Steward 1991) More importantly. (Why dog meat? Lame Deer gives a clue when he says. In our Indian belief. forward-backward. glassy stares and strange states produced by violating peoples' expec tations . because lightning branches out into a good and bad part. He has more power than the atom bomb. It is like atomic power. It doesn't always follow our preconceptions of what is expected and proper. More importantly. It brings you power. showing people how t heir own expectations limit their behavior. I think they induced trance in others through their contrary b ehavior. The Account of John (Fire) Lame Deer: Heyoka and ASC Lame Deer calls the heyoka the "upside-down. by utilizing this and other psychotropic plants on occasion. but you have to pay for it. Like any good trickster. and dog when he means god. Th e fact that the Thunderbird displays many paradoxical and contradictory attribut es links it to Trickster figures and to the contraries of Plains Indians culture . and are seen as continual reminder s of the contingency and arbitrariness of the social order. getting into an elevator and facing the other people in it. Like electricity. it will zap us in the middle of the night. or harnessed for great uses. Ethnomethodologists have often noted the blank. the shocking behavior of the heyoka is supposed to confront people and make them rec onsider what they may have arbitrarily accepted as normal. It doesn't correspond to human categories of right and wrong. As a paradoxical state of consciousness. If we're too narrow or parochial in trying to und erstand it. an altered state of consciousness. the heyoka may have been seen as a source of w isdom and healing. They are permanent parts of the society. It is blue lightning from the sun. It's in such "paradoxical states" that people often may assimilate new in formation quickly. and fling them at a crowd of people. the great winged power. they would grab pieces of dog meat out of a pot of boiling water. the heyoka in a way is carrying out a constant experiment in ethnomethodology. without being b urned or harmed in any way. he says god when he means dog. the heyoka was reminding his own people about the so cial construction of reality. " He describes in detail one particular heyoka trick which may give some clues t o the nature of their antics. "For the heyoka. For these reasons. It doesn't really care about our human woes and concerns.Clowns and contraries in Plains societies do not just come out once a year. Another way in which it occurs (the "paradoxical state") is thr ough a sudden shock to the nervous system. he could blow off the dome of the Capitol. They also may be able to "abreact" psychol ogical trauma.. the heyoka r eminds his people that the primordial energy of nature is beyond good and evil. The trance of the heyoka comes from sacred power. This culture complex probably resulted from Indian beliefs about nature and th . By doing everything backwards. howe ver. not from the animals or the Earth. it can be deadly dangerous . I suspect that heyoka were able to perform this feat through going into trance. without filtering. as a representative of Thunderbird and Trickster. but also shame.by. for example." (quo ted in Erdoes 1972: 251) Conclusion The Thunderbird's association with heyoka clowns is not simply serendipitous. Being a clown gives y ou honor. It's to "jolt" them o ut of their ordinary frames of mind. Long before French t heorists came on the scene. Psychologists have noted that trance does not always occur through rhyt hmic repetition. It is the power of the hot and the cold clashing ab ove the clouds. Theirs is about the greatest power in the whole universe. He t ies it all together in a way that's fairly succinct: " These Thunderbirds are part of the Great Spirit. Lame Deer seems to suggest the power of trance is connected to the power of Thun derbird. Apparently. The thunder power protects and destroys. the clown has a power which comes fr om the thunder beings. but to show them ways they could start being more smart.. icy-hot contrary.

to give them light. [1] In one story. After staring at the creature for a moment. even though th e more natural thing to do would be to quietly cower and hide. [3] Thunderbird then invites Eya to place his tipi beside Thunderbird s lodge on Thunderbird Mountain. And when God le ads the children of Israel through the wilderness. some black. he does the opposite of that he would d o. It is said. You pitiful thing. your small voice frightens no one. to lead them the way. the Lord went before them by d ay in a pillar of a cloud. air and earth toxic through their gre ed and shortsightedness. to sound redundant. mysterious dualities that existed within the universe itself. therefore. beaks but no head. the West Wind. and if we are to tap into divine wisdom. he says the opposit e of that he would say and when he does. Like Thunderbird. flowers and fruits. that if one does encounter Thu nderbird. Eya says. Like Thunderbird himself. In order to remain invisible. they were thought to be touched by the Divine power itself. living contrary and in opposition to what the larger cul ture says makes sense.e ways in which thunder and lightning exemplified the manners in which it could be at once capricious. some small. backwards behavior he was merely showing the ironic. Walker explains in his work. for thus I would always be addressed in terms t he opposite of intention of one supplicating me. I do not fear you and want none of your aid. He then begins shouting and taunting Thunderbird. This has been my province from the beginning and now you will aid me and all that breathes will be grateful to us. We will combat the Unktehi the monsters that de file the waters.[ . Your weak eye can hurt nothing. son of Tate. Your wings are only tattered rags. Eya begins laughing and standing on his head and walking on his hands. [7] A cloud. and by his absurd. Moses is only allowed to see God s backside because it s considered impossi ble for any individual to fully comprehend the fullness of God. is a very nebulous image. Every definition of God leads to heresy. we must do the opposite of what we ve been learning from our larg er culture. [4] The message here is clear. You have pleased me. [2] Naturally we might think Thunderbird. Your talons are nothing but blades of grass. The Kabalah says. When one sees the Winged One. the God of the Abrahamic religions Judaism. and by night in a pillar of fir e. Yo ur beak and your teeth are good for nothing. from those who make our water. fu rthermore. As James R. the heyoka was thought to be a conduit to forces that defied comprehension. It has claws but no feet. Together with you. but because it lives in a backward dimension. wings but no shoulders. that if we are to join forces with th e divine Creator and purify our air and water and heal our poisoned land. would become enraged over such insult. it s response is opposite of what we might expect. We will sweep it and wash it and water the ground. Lakota Myth. Thunderbird tells Eya. and a voice like thunder but no throat. who can devour entire whal es in a single gulp. Christianity and Is lam is without form and cannot be described. beneficent. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. he is heyoka and ever after when he speaks. Thunderbird also live s in an anti-clockwise dimension and cannot be understood by ordinary people bec ause it speaks backwards. some large. we mus t become heyoka. and Gnaski the demon who delights in filth. Eya. one becomes heyoka. some white.like wandering fools in Europe. we must become fools to everyone else. ============ Thunderbird who defies any logical description. and destroy anybody with the lightning bolts that shoot fro m its single eye. We will give nourishment to all that b reathes and cause their growth. the Mini Watu that cause things to stink. I would be ashamed to be your co mpanion. the breath of lif e encounters the terrifying and indescribable Thunderbird. and also begins speaking and acting in an anti-nat ural manner. [5] wrote the Apostle Paul. The Thunderbird's own link t o the original Great Mystery suggests that the role of the sacred clown was seen as one of the highest in Plains society . and destructive. In most traditions it is withou t form and its body billows like clouds. [6] In Jewish mythology. We will cause all that grows from the ground to flour ish and bear leaves. definition is spiritual idolatry. Thunderbird covers itself in robes that are as shapeless a s itself. I will purify the world from all filthy things.

When I call it work you call it work. the harder I laugh. I can t mess up. [11] Yet. I know I m better because I feel worse. `I can t make you love me. Given permission to rest. The Hanged Man. Erich Fromm referred to this sort of insight as the paradoxical logic that exis ts in Taoist. are going to heal our Earth and our Communities. Becoming a heyoka means admitting we are fools. A cannot be both A and not-A there is no room for contradiction. the Fool is represented as the beginnin g of wisdom. In his book on the Tarot. [10] Hence. that is. In western logi c. . but I don t have to lose. [9] when asked its n ame. I can t be littler because you re not bigger. or I will be with you. ever-changing. `The more I fight. then. the more friends I have. ehyeh-asher-ehyeh. Becoming a heyoka. I don t get to win. God is not finite. and we need to keep questioning and looking for eve n better answers. Tapping into Divine wisdom means letting go of what we ve been taught makes sense and beg in questioning our paradigms those patterns and habits that lead us blindly into d estructive folly. or I am present. is crazy wisdom and divine wisdom at the same time. an d force their definitions on the rest of us. the more I hate. in paradoxical logic. The first step in becoming a heyoka. but I get to keep what I have. it must no lon ger be just some crazy notion.. psychotherapist Sheldon Kopp shares t he writing of one of his patients who began to understand the importance of faci ng her shadow. you already do. There is no winning or losing. though it may seem backward to those who foolishly try to define God. in the Tarot. The safest places are the most dangerous. I can t be special. no t a being. we don t know. a genuine encounter with the Divine defies all definitions. You can t give it to me because I already have it. And if w e. The nicer you are. `When I rest you call it work. but is completely harmonious .8] and fire is the element Heraclites chose to symbolize his philosophy of const ant change (i. not a person. doing the opposite seems l ike just the place we must begin. everyone/no one is. if must become the basis of our religion. Some scholars suggest it would be more accurately transla ted. I must be in the right place. as a species. It is not conflicting and dualistic. `The more I love. guess I ll just have to do what I want. the harder it gets. Fromm translates it as I-am-becoming. `The more I cry. is to let g o of all our ideas and explanations about what is God and what is Good. opposition makes complete sense. not to know [and yet think] we do know is a disease. as in western reasoning. I work harder. The more lost I become. The worst part is knowing that I can make it.e. `I m feeling confused. You can t bathe in the same river twice ). `Since I can t please or displease you. then. just as. I Am Who I Am. i n the backward-speak of the heyoka. nameless these are the divine attributes that give context to Moses peculiar encoun ter with God as a burning bush a God who answers. I t is backwards in that it begins with answers and ends with questions. I will be what I will be. To know and yet [think] we do not know is the highest [attainment]. When I play you call it work. This term. we don t have all the answers. or I exist. is itself rather nebulous in that its precis e meaning is unclear. Yet the Tao t ells us. as George Costanza put it. which seem to have strayed so far from the harmony of the Universe. and is contrary to our wester n Aristotelian logic that rejects the possibility of opposites. and. I move furthest when I am stuck. the weaker I feel. The most adequate translation of the sentence would be: tell them that m y name is nameless. the clearer it gets. The stronger I grow. Cloudy. meaning. her opposite self. Hindu and Socratic philosophy alike.

Sometimes we use plants to break through a mind barrier into the inne r lodges. If we're the lake--as I see you in me--I'm in you. And that is the power of the hey oka---the void. philosophic system. death is good. First there is the Grandfather Sun. If I did n't have anybody around. The end is where seven roads fork the dream. To become Crazy Horse or George Washington. the heyoka has been the great lover of children. because a heyoka h as the power to destroy the ritual. They dance the peace dance in a time . men. I'm sure it sounds strange . You can easily be confused by a heyoka into thinking they are black mag icians. To take you into history and make you live it is a heyoka power. It's the womb. So? If you meet a heyoka. reproduce this effect in love and in knowledge. as life forms. It's the power of death---corruption of the body by flame and going back to earth. You dive into th e water and your reflection comes up to meet you. Trust and fall backward--they know the Great Spirit will catch them. who was young once and is now a grandparent of great pow ers. the trickster . but this is the most powerful way if you can understand it. We. twisted arms of heyoka an d know love and trust. Black holes in the universe are symbols. but the sun will one day go into the void. or you can run back and say. Histor y is contained within this power. be cause any confrontation will change your life forever. of women. They make you see yourself and all your illusions. can see their fe et of clay. To someone who is not part of this tradition. because they deal with the void--death and rebirth. We're nothing but the reflection of each other. coyote. What happens to your reflectio n on the plane of the surface of the pool? You can see that's a kind of crossroads--if you can unravel that. 'I've gone too far. They say that a heyoka remembers the trail and takes a different o ne. The way has to do with the paradox of life---I love you means I hate you on som e level. trickster. Our cells contract and expand and produce regeneration and life. Because the heyoka has to do with love. because we've been tricked into our own illusions. He is the disturber of ritual. Heyoka respects no ritual. healing them an d protecting them. Imagine you are leaning over a pool of water--the first mirror. The world has a po werful need for understanding this way because it's the power of void. On e reason this medicine is so powerful is because it's the destroyer of heroes. Humanity usually knows the heyoka as a beg gar. taking it. clown.+_+__+_+_+_+_++_+__+__+__+++_ The right road is where all roads merge. We're the great mirror. fool. To be a heyoka you have to be en lightened---being a heyoka makes you a backward woman or man because you see the reflection of life. No other native tradition teaches the opposite sex . Choose one of t he roads if you want power. or vice versa. A heyoka has the power of hot and cold. I would only have myself to define myself. Men teach women--women. because the heyoka can see through them. They come from this idea-heyoka is an awake one--they walk backward because they know God is behind them . forms your cells. The Buddha was a great heyoka. you want to shut your eyes and quickly walk by. Life is bad. People who define themselves only by themselves often are powerful. he tests your beliefs to see if they're real. There are many faces on the heyoka path . but they have no womb. like you saw by walking backward and holding a mirror. It is a way of bea uty and love. Heyoka people will come and beg for food dur ing a ceremony. Everything is backward to itself in a heyoka vision .' Wh en you look down you see seven auras--pick up crooked. man. the void . She can reach into bubbling hot meat in a kettle and. Your heyoka face is an unusual one. or belief. In woman. They need wombness to be sisters and brothers over and ov er. But they are not. The heyoka will always take a new and different step. The medicine woman wouldn't dare bother them. We're like the water. Heyoka has to do with primal eroticism that comes from the beginnings of life. you can go bey ond the crossroads. H eroes fear the heyoka. We need to heal the woman in us all. This is so that the phenomenon of expansion and contraction can be und erstood in love. she can eat it without being burned. a heyoka Indian will seem to work in strange ways.

or isn't. Every Heyoka is both a powerful medium and a messiah. every Heyoka is a bit of a Trickster. was seduced by the world's darkness. The Heyoka is a mighty warrior in times of conflict: bold and reckless. Every Heyoka is not what you would expect them to be. considered to be the powerful sou l who. At other times he is considered even more dangerous: he disrupts and threa tens the social order with relative impunity. Well. A Musing by Thor the Barbarian . being contrary. She believed that I might be the Theosophical Messiah her group was expecting to appear sometime in the 1970s. or her wrong. In my own mind I was none of those things. and my eyes. heedless of consequ ence. This doesn't make me right. a type of Lakota shaman. The Heyoka is somewhat sinister and dark. live with and benefi t from. I am still. Needless to say. This is a po werful truth every eccentric must learn to see. understand..of war. It was pearly white and she kept i t wrapped in cloth. and seemed to possess an innate understand ing of arcane lore and obscure cultic practices.. The Thunderbird is the totem of the Heyoka. She always explained the one blatantly backward bead in this way: "It is backwar d to remind us that the world is not perfect. And I have come to know that the world is very much a product of how we as indiv iduals choose to see it and what we decide to make of it. and attract attention.. I saw that t he Heyoka. They just didn't happen the way she expected them to. were not those of an ordinary psychic. in the best position to know. that my overall vibes. She was very disappo inted. It resided on her altar and she considered it very sacred. Though I could always interact with s pirits to a greater or lesser degree. Every Heyoka has his own Way.. I was not what anyone would expect. I did not inherit the necklace but ultimately I did claim its p ower. I had declare d myself an Outsider. even after all these years. after all. Every Heyoka is different. My understanding of the significance of the backward bead also differs from my o nce Teacher's take on it. and lives it. My Teacher had a Lakota Thunderbird necklace. His medicine is the most powerful. a barbarian. Sh e remarked. In closing I'd like to add that according to the Lakota. for their greater good. Every Heyoka is Heyoka. my Teacher was right in many ways and her original dreams for me all came true. I saw myself as being on a Herc ulean hero-quest to locate the Olympians. At odds with my culture. She also told me that I was a powerful medium." She told me that this necklace would some day be mine. is obl iged to dance his thunder-dreams. a cosmic clown who violates taboos wit hout fear of contamination. His community. And Sword & Sorcery fiction spoke to my soul more powerfully than any of the occultists' sacred texts. over and over. the Thunder God. My power was mysteriously cloaked though I was their direc t link to the Mahatmas and Devas. a unique individual. despite his great gift. will stand out. who are.

could be the exact opposite of the answers the person would find for the Self. The Heyokah is a master at Coyote Medicine and can use the joking part of Coyote's nature to trick others into enlightened states of understanding. test out a teaching for themselves and it stands in good stead.is a contrary clown who holds total wisdom and teaches the People t hrough laughter and opposites. Occ asionally the Coyote Medicine will backfire and zap the Heyokah in a blind spot. no longer helpful. An experienced H eyokah will know how sensitive a student is and would never use a trick on that student to create more pain. This Divine Trickster is called Heyokah by the Plains Tribes and Koshari by the Hopi and Pueblo Indians. When people are made to think on their own. Everyone seeing the actual prank or talking of it later could relate those events to personal situations an d grow from the lesson. and the bonds o f old habits. The Medicine Ally of the Heyokah is Coyote. If the rubber crutch gives way and they end up on the ground on their rump. The Heyokah is able to master the art of balancing the sacredness with irreverence. Each Tribal Member was a valuable part of the whole. and many times the joke had consequences for more than one person. Yet you make me learn. learning from the lesson along with others. the true Heyokah will take it in stride and laugh at the backf ire. Aho Heyokah! The jokes on me. All are forced to reflect on how they would react if the y were the person the joke was played on. Native People understood the value of being good sports. All Heyokahs operate through opposites. are broken. Aho Heyokah! How contrary you can be. the wobbly belief becomes a Knowing System for their l ives. Many Tribes have Trickster Teachers who dress in costum e for Ceremony and wear regular clothing in daily life. In fa ct it was an honor to be singled out for a trick that contained a valuable spiri tual lesson. The Heyokah's purported wisdom. a le sson was learned. Allow me to see my crooked path And the Trickster as my friend. This art of self-sabotage is planned and in n . imparted to a seeker. The Heyokah is known for creating lessons at the expense of another's seriousnes s. The true art of knowing how and when to use Heyokah tactics comes through the ab ility to laugh at one's Self while being compassionate in using the Trickster el ements of teaching in a way that is not cruel or self-imposing. The laughter surrounding the re sults could be a lesson for the entire community. But next time it's your turn! 22 Heyokah Humor/Opposites The Teaching The Heyokah. thereby making you think and figure it out for yourself. If this happens.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Aho Heyokah! Make me laugh so I'll be human again. or doing is actually correct. Their jokes do not stop just because it is not a feast day. If the Heyokah is successful. all is taken in good fun. If they stop and think. In this situation. In earlier times it was not considered "losing face" to have the Heyokah play a trick on someone. Laughter is the ultimate lesson that breaks the bonds that destroy balance in people. the wobbly beliefs that have been a rubber crutch for them in the past are tested. the Heyokah would make a joke an d become the laughing stock of the situation so that the student could reflect o n it through another's experience. This Sacred Trickster is one who makes you wonder if what they are saying.

We . He then told me to enter the circle and sit in the center un til I understood the value of the lesson. We spent one whole day gathering dried Cow dung. The Sacred Medicine Path of the Heyokah can involve diminishing fear through lau ghter. They have to be tr icked out of their fear so that they can see that their self-created "boogeyman" was the only obstacle to Divine Connection. "Now you've surrounded yourself with it and you are so se rious you can't even see how ridiculous you look. serious as ever. The Heyokah excels in situations wh ere stubbornness stops growth. The lesson hit me hard. The joy of the wise Elde r within the Heyokah knows well that the results have created growth in another. Then Joaquin told me to fill the tiny groove in the soil with all of the paste I had made from all of the feces. Rabbit pellets. and I laughed until I was aching with no breath and tear s ran down my face. I was very careful to make a perfect circle and not to let any of th e circle be crooked. the Trickster will tell him to do the exact opposite. Joaquin praised my work and how careful I had been during t he two-day process. Many days later we might find the Heyokah alone in the lodge giggling at the wondrous Medicine Story moving through the camp. I learned my first Coyote lesson in Mexico when Joaquin. and rolled on the ground in side-splitting laughter. and break my seriousness with more Heyo kah antics. Remember that the Divine Tri ckster is the perfect integration of all things wise and foolish. It finally came to me that I had spent the previous days wo rrying about the problems of others. Coyote will assist in a multitude of ways. in effect . I wondered how he could have kept a straigh t face for two days. took one look at me. sacred and irr everent. Many people are frightened by the mystery of the Void. we need to be prepared for adventure. The next day we spent mixing all of it tog ether. I was told to mark a circle in the earth with string an d a stick making sure that the circle was perfectly round. It has taken me many years to master the lesson and I still get sucked in the drama of others at times. wa nted me to see how ridiculous my seriousness had become. Anyone trying to guess a Heyokah's next move can likewise bec ome befuddled. Coyote. I was fascinated. The stubborn person had done exactly wh at Heyokah said not to do and had a mystical experience that was life changing. The lesson is complete and even the self-sabotage was staged and yet. A fter this was completed. Heyokah is needed when we refuse to allow ourselves alternat ives. Coyote spit out the words that taught me my lesson. sitting in a circle of others people's mental garbage.No thing is beyond repair. the trail will double back on i tself many times and can fool even the most experienced tracker to the point of total frustration. Coyote teaches Two-leggeds to find joy in their own foolishness. Finally Coyote came into my consciousness. "For the past three days you've been examining other people 's shit!" he screamed. When the Heyokah calls upon Coyote to assist him in keeping prying eyes off his trail. and Owl waste and careful ly placing each in an old tin bucket. Heyokah Medicine can be called upon through Coyote. Since the Magical Coyote is the Divine Trickster's Ally. all of the antics of Co yote are suspect. in spirit. We may need to use comedy to crack a smile so we can rec laim our Sacred Space. When a hunter tracks a Coyote.o way makes the balanced Heyokah feel lesser or abused. my Medicine Teacher. In between his guffaws. served it s purpose. while still sitting in my circle o f poop. I sat there for at least three hours. Dog. crushing each part into powder and slowly adding water to make a paste." I started to laugh at myself as I imagined how Joaquin must be rolling in hyster ics at the joke he had played on me. thinking that maybe this was a way to cont act the Power Animals. The view will always expand if we use the Divine Medicine of laughter . When we ask for those lessons. Coyote was laughing so hard he could not speak. Joaquin was an excellent Teacher and even now he will come to me. All of these worries had left me. If a Heyokah knows that someone is stubborn and h as to do it his way. The primary lessons of the Heyokah trick us into revelations rather than giving us all the answers. Only the Heyokah knew that due to Stubborn's refusal to be guided. the trick had worked and spiritual growth ensued.

From "The Daughters of Copper Woman" by Anne Cameron: "A clown was like a newspa per. You may be doing exactly the opposite of what you need to be doing and are abo ut to get busted for it. to the Sun. between light and dark. We will have achi eved the ultimate union of opposites when we learn to celebrate more than we mou rn. but is more than that alone. They made comment on everythin'. the Heyoka would be showing Tribe Elders the holes in the plans. The time has come to laugh and reclaim our divine right to find pleasure in the sacredness of being human. I understand that it is not intended t o ridicule out of spite or intention to hurt. Stop leaking your creative energy on other people's pro blems or high drama. and is by far more than just a person who tricks for the heck of tricki ng.need to be willing to laugh and to have others laugh with us. The Application If the Trickster has appeared on your horizon. all the time. between team spirit and individuality. I understand that Heyoka is also connected strongly to Fire. the Trickster. Not everyone wh o walks with Coyote. or flies with Raven is Heyoka. or behaviour that is harmful to the person. If a clown thought that what the tribal council was gettin' ready to do was foolish. The mimicry and joking exposes hypocrisy and arrogance. the Court Jester. it may be time to create a contrary lesson that will force you to crack up. This contrary clown is a Spiritual Counselor to us humans who teaches us t hrough laughter and opposites. 2010 On our walk here on the Earth Mother sometimes we encounter Heyokah the Trickste r Teacher on the Sacred Path. I understand that the role of Heyoka would be to mirror behaviour that is not to the benefit of the greater whole of the tribe.. or trick you in to going into the crack in the universe to find out what's really important! +++++++++++++++++=================+++++++++++++ Trickster Teacher Heyokah bevspaper June 16. or Coyote will dog your dreams.. or one of those people who write an article to tell you if a book or a movie is worth botherin' with. I understand that Heyoka holds a sacred p osition. This Sacred Trickster is one who makes you wonder . Stop being so serious and crack a smile. crack a smile. you are in for a barrel of laughs . why the clown would just show up at the council and imi tate every move every one of the leaders made. am I correct in understandin g that? So where is the line between Coyote Medicine and Heyoka? Heyoka. every day. I am understanding that Heyoka carries a lot of Coyote and/or Raven Medicine. The keynote to the Heyokah card is to lighten up and start balancing the sacredn ess with irreverence. the Clown. The portrayals of ridicu lous behavior shows the people (in a very humorous way) their own foolishness an d blind-spots. every hole in their id ea would suddenly look real big. to Thunder. If you are just being stubborn. I understand that Heyoka teaches the balance between work and play. or a magazine.. Remember that some days you are the fireplug and some days you are the Dog. but that it is an honourable rol e to hold up the mirror for the other person(s) to see what is being presented. o r Tribe members holes in their behaviour. That goes for everyone. so don't let getting pooped on get you down.. which will then make I would like to explore the Heyoka. L earning through laughter or opposites can be fun. the Fool. Only the clown would imitate it i n such a way every little wart on that person would show..."// The Teaching: The Heyokah is a contrary clown who holds total wisdom and teaches the People th rough laughter and opposites. Heyokah will make you wonder if what you are doin g or saying is actually correct.

Each Tribal Member was a valuable part of the whole. test out a teaching for themselves and i t stands in good stead. All are forced to reflect on how they would react if th ey were the person the joke was played on. The stubborn person had done exactly w hat heykah said not to do and a had a mystical experience that was life changing . the true Heyokah will take it in stride and laugh at the backf ire. If the rubber crutch gives way and they end up on the ground on their rump. The Heyokah's purported wisdom. If the Heyokah is successful. The lesson is complete and even the self-sabotage was staged and yet. Many Tribes have Trickster Teachers who dress in costum e for Ceremony and wear regular clothing in daily life. In f act it was an honor to be singled out for a trick that contained a valuable spir itual lesson. This art of self-sabotage is planned and in n o way makes the balanced Heyokah feel lesser or abused. the Trickster will tell him to do the exact opposite. Many people are frightened by the mystery of the Void. If they stop and think. In this situation. This Divine Trickster is called Heyokah by the Plains Tribes and Koshari by the Hopi and Pueblo Indians. are broken. Laughter is the ultimate lesson that breaks the bonds that destroy balance in people. Only the Heyokah knew that due to Stubborn's refusal to be guided. If a Heyokah knows that someone is stubborn and h as to do it his way. Everyone seein gthe actual prank or talking of it later could relate those events to personal situations a nd grow from the lesson. the w obbly beliefs that have been a rubber crutch for them in the past are tested. and the bonds o f old habits. thereby making you think a nd figure it out for yourself. If this happens. The Heyokah is a master at Coyote Medicine and can use the joking part of Coyote's nature to trick others into enlightened states of understanding. The laughter surrounding the re sults could be a lesson for the entire community. a less on was learned. The Medicine Ally of the Heyokah is Coyote. all is taken in good fun. All Heyokahs operate through opposites. The joy of the wise Elde r within the Heyokah knows well that the results have created growth in a anothe r. They have to be tr icked out of their fear so that they can see that their self-created "boogeyman" was the only obstacle to Divine Connection. The Sacred Medicine Path of the Heyokah can involve diminishing fear through lau ghter. . Occ asionally the Coyote Medicine will backfire and zap the Heyokah in a blind spot. imparted to a seeker. When people are made to think on their own. served its purpose. The Heyokah excels in situations wh ere stubbornness stops growth. Native People understood the value of being good sports. Their jokes do not stop just because it is not a feast day. The Heyokah is able to master the art of balancing the sacredness with irreverence. Many days later we might find the Heyokah alone in the lodge giggling at the wonderou s Medicine Story moving through the camp. could be the exact opposite of the answers the person would find for the Self. The true art of knowing how and when to use Heyokah tactics comes through the ab ility to laugh at one's Self while being compassionate in using the Trickster el ements of teaching in a way that is not cruel or self-imposing. An experienced H eyokah will know how sensitive a student is and would never use a trick on that student to create more pain. The Heyokah is known for creating lessons at the expense of another's seriousnes s. learning from the lesson along with the others. and many time s the joke had consequences for more than one person. the wobbly belief becomes a Knowing System for their liv es.if what they are saying or doing is actually correct. In earlier times it was not considered "loosing face" to have the Heyokah play a trick on someone. the trick h ad worked and spiritual growth ensued. the Heyokah would make a joke an d become the laughing stock of the situation so that the student could reflect o n it through another's experience. no longer helpful.

Then Joaquin told me to fill the tiny groove in the soil with all of the paste I had made from all of the feces. Anyone trying to guess a Heyokah's next move can likewise bec ome befuddled. Finally Coyote came into my consciousness. All of those worries had left me. You may be doing exactly the opposite of what you need to be doing and are abo ut to get busted for it. sacred and irr everent. and Owl waste and careful ly placing each in an old tin bucket. I learned my first Coyote lesson in Mexico when Joaquin. We may need to use comedy to crack a smile so we can reclaim our Sacred Space. Stop leaking your creative energy on other people's pro . in effect . thinking that maybe this was a way to cont act the Power Animals. He then told me to enter the circle and sit in the center un til I understood the value of the lesson. The primary lessons of the Heyokah trick us into reveleations rather than giving us the answers. Nothin g is beyond repair. It finally came to me that I had spent the previous days wo rrying about the problems of others. I wondered how he could have kept a straigh t face for two days. I was fascinated. Coyote spit out the words that taught me my lesson. We will have achi eved the ultimate union of opposites when we learn to celebrate more than we mou rn. serious as ever. and rolled on the ground in side-splitting laughter. In between his guffaws. Remember that the Divine Tri ckster is the perfect integration of all things wise and foolish. my Medicine Teacher. we need to be prepared for adventure. I was very careful to make a perfect circle and not to let any of th e circle be crooked. sitting in a circle of other people's mental garbage. I was told to mark a circle in the earth with string an d a stick making sure that the circle was perfectly round. you are in for a barrel of laughs . The view will always expand if we use the Divine Medicine of laughter. The next day we spent mixing all of it tog ether. heyokah is needed when we refuse to allow ourselves alternative s. while still sitting in my circle o f poop. The time has come to laugh and reclaim our divine right to find pleasure in the sacredness of being human. wa nted me to see how ridiculous my seriousness had become. and break my seriousness with more Heyo kah antics. It has taken me many years to master the lesson and I still get sucked in the drama of others at times. Rabbit pellets. and I laughed until I was aching with no breath and tear s ran down my face. Joaquin praised my work and how careful I had been during t he two-day process. When we ask for those lessons. I sat there for at least three hours. Coyote was laughing so hard he could not speak. "Now you've surrounded yourself with it and you are so se rious you can't even see how ridiculous you look. "For the past three days you've been examining other people 's s***!" he screamed. crushing each part into powder and slowly adding water to make a paste. We need to be willing to laugh and to have others laugh with us. A fter this was completed. When the Heyokah calls upon Coyote to assist him in keeping prying eyes off his trail. The Application: If the Trickster has appeared on your horizon. Coyote dung. took one look at me. Coyote will assist in a multitude of ways. Joaquin was an excellent Teacher and even now he will come to me. all of the antics of Co yote are suspect." I started to laugh at myself as I imagined how Joaquin must be rolling in hyster ics at the joke he had played on me. the trail will double back on i tself many times and can fool even the most experienced tracker to the point of total frustration. Heyokah Medicine can be called upon through Coyote.Since the Magical Coyote is the Divine Trickster's Ally. We spent one whole day gathering dried Cow dung. in spirit. Coyote teaches Two-leggeds to find joy in their own foolishness. When a hunter tracks a Coyote. The lesson hit me hard.

blems or high drama.** The Heyoka has strange and enormous powers even though they make everyone laugh with their backwards behavior. reminding us that Spirit holds all the power. is a man or woman who has received the greatest poss ible vision. the Thunder Being was wearing him. and is headless but has a huge beak. sometimes called a clown with a great deal of powe r. a medicine way. He does everything backwards. The keynote to the Heyokah card is to lighten up and start balancing the sacredn ess with irreverence. There is a great reverence and fear of the Heyoka s as their contrary behavior is intimidating to most people and you never know w hat they are going to do next 8. lacks feet but has huge talons. **The Heyoka's power comes from the Great Winged Ones. If he did not serve the Thunder Being by clown ing before his people. even as a medicine man wears an object or a symbol of an object which is subject to his commands.is a sacred fool. Sacred clowns. The Heyoka . or heyoka. The Heyoka. L earning through laughter or opposites can be fun. and until he fulfilled his promise by announcing that he would give the Heyoka Ceremony. Many people who know ab out these things say that the clown is the most powerful. crack a smile. A Heyoka is one who does thi ngs backwards or opposite. that he is just for fun. his voice is the thunderclap and th e glance of his eye is lightning. That goes for everyone. He is yin and yang. which are d irected towards the West and full of laughter. These actions. while t . the new heyoka does seemingly foolish things. Usually Heyokas' are men but some women have Heyo ka inside them and therefore must become a Heyoka. or trick you into going int the crack in the universe to find out what's really important! *I have more I'll be adding. The Heyoka's power is usually used for good but because they are Heyoka one neve r knows. Heyoka is a one of the most important of the Medicin e People in the Lakota Nation. or Coyote will dog your dreams.A Lakota way of being. suc h as riding backwards on his horse with his boots on backwards so that he s coming when he s really going. moves countersunwise instead of sunwise. In this day there are those among the Lakota who pour Heyoka lodges. I make that clown and he never fails. if the weather is hot he covers himself with blankets and shivers as with the cold. Remember that some days you are the fireplug and some days you are the Dog. it is a very diff icult path to follow. sorrow and laughter. If you are just being stubborn. it may be time to create s ome contrary lesson that will force you to crack up. That is no t so. The Sioux clown. They have control over the weather and certain sicknesses. so don't let getting pooped on get you down. are in reality close to the heart of A merican Indian religion. which the whites call Thu nderbirds. The idea that Heyoka is a clown comes from the opposi te behavior. If a Heyoka man messes up he has the Thunder Nation to deal with. Spirit chooses who is Heyoka. although they are often portrayed as merely providing comic relie f in otherwise deadly serious ceremonies. During a heyoka impersonation. not to imagine we are more powerful than we really are. it is part of the medicine of Heyoka. is shapeless but has wings. he would be struck and killed by a glance of the Thunder Being s eye. and he always says yes when he no. When I make other masked dancers and they do not set things right or can t f ind out something.whether you want to or not. who is many but only one. that of the Thunder Being. to remind us we are merely hu man beings and not to become too serious about ourselves. They are " Thunder dreamers" and once you have a dream of thunder or lighting you become on e of these contraries. As an Apache medicine man explained: People think that the clown is just nothing. Stop being so serious and crack a smile. good a nd bad all rolled into one. During this great vision the person promised t o work for the Thunder Being on earth in a human way.

move from practical joking. Black Elk. These people. called ingkilik. a clown is really performing a spiritual cere mony. he placed his head on his breast and his hands in his lap. sendi ng them screaming in all directions. the Arapaho "Cr azy Dancers" are said to "act as ridiculously as possible and annoy everyone in camp". w ho could then theoretically demand anything from them. men and women who had such a vision had to act it out by clowning bef ore the entire tribe. shapeless. but they also frighten them. As Lam e Deer expressed it. They did many ot . roaring laughter is neither t he desired nor the actual response to ritual humor. they wer e more often than not annoyed with it. Dressed in rags. when Navajo clowns appr oach too closely. with head and body on the groun d and legs against the wall while all the people laughed at them. cold-hot contraries. it is like a rain. Among Eskimos.hey expose him to the ridicule of the unthinking. Fooling around. he cracked a louse audibl y. as among the Sioux. ~ In the process of gett ing a good laugh at these backwards-forwards. Indeed. the religious drama could begin. as when they throw stones at the people or hit them with sticks. For example. for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world. but they also open people. Michael performed several unsuccessful humourous epi sodes before the Malemuit and some some Unalit from Unalakleet. with the visitors complet ely open before their hosts. called Contraries. The Assiniboine clowns are said to provoke laughter in their audience. so that it may be easier for the power to come to them. but when the storm of vision has passed. a Sioux Holy Man explained it this way: When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the west. There is a clue to the potential terror of clowning in the visionary experience of the Plains clown. having been told that the clowns will put them in their baskets and carry t hem off to eat them. tempered with fear". raising his hand to his head. put up a contrary lodge wit h its covering inside out. The world. you see. The contrary actions of the heyoka not only demonstrate som e of the unnatural. During a festival in 1912. the people are made to feel jolly and happy at first. could f rom then on strut before the lightning of his fear Among the Cheyenne. they backed in and out of the lodg e. when they are possessed by supernatural power. The "Fool Dancers" of the Kwakiutl. these actions are a translation. for example. and sat against it upside down that is to say. as it were. On the Northwest C oast the Haida symbolized this opening of their feast guests while greeting them on the shore: they burst open thier baggage. Coming out and s itting down in the center of the floor. "lo use-eater. have laughed. ° A person who had this experience and became a heyoka. knowledge of another r eality: a non-objective. Frequently." was the chief enemy of both the hosts and visitors. the world is greene r and happier. then. the Cahuilla "Funny Man" of Southern California "annoys people by throwing water on them or dropping live coals down their backs". As Black Elk said. have important meaning. it comes with terror li ke a thunder storm. this man was a caricature of a Yukon Indian. stabbing and even occas ionally killing people. Although the guests of the Haida were prepared for a forceful greeting. part icularly any strangers. a visionary clown. They had resi sted so long because after laughing they would be at the mercy of their hosts. the Unalit of St. scoop up hand fuls of smoldering cinders from the fireplace and spray everyone in sight. to outright terror. this was too much for the guests and they howled with laughter. is happier after the terror of the storm." on entering a house. the people ar e opened to immediate experience. until finally th ey presented an old man wearing a mask adorned with feathers and an erormous nos e. this tribe. "the smiles of the women and children quickly change to expres sions of surprise. the lodge poles on the outside. anti-sunwise nature of the Thunder Being. and the Iroquois "False Faces. and the smoke hole tu rned in the wrong direction. In some tribes religious ceremonies cannot even begin until all the people. it often takes an entire night of clowning for the visitor s from other other villages or tribes to break down and laugh. unnatural world of pure power or energy symb olized by lightning. and Apache children are terrified by clo wns.

the most important of all Wintu ceremonies. he was active. For instance. and one that is only apparently disresp ectful. the clown. "No. talking nonesense. On occasion. for ten days before each winter solstice e very Zuni woman saves her cooking and heating ashes and her sweepings and then o n the solstice she and her daughters take them to the family corn field and desp osit them. but their a ction also contains a hidden meaning. clumsily revealing their secrets. Among the northwestern Maidu of California. clowns have been known to substitute ashe s or sweepings from the plaza for corn meal as their own "sacred" offering. wearing a bear paw on his left hand." no r did he regard anything as sacred. The clown s mystical liberation from ultimate cosmic fears brings with it a libera tion from conventional notions of what is dangerous or sacred in the religious c eremonies of men. he was to be allowed everywhere. crazy . t hey did need him from time to time. So. saying I know everything. but creative power of the clown in perhaps their greatest strength. and acting wild. For example. such as run around wildly and pull weeds backwards: they bac ked up to weeds and pulled them from between their legs. which involves the bursting fort h of life from the decay of the seed pod just as flames may suddenly spring fort h from smoldering ashes. Although the clown. might appear to weaken the very fabric of his society's religion. When he was called upon to help on earth it was always for new ideas." and then to the ashes: "I now deposti you as ashes but in one year you will return to me as meal. the most common religious gesture among Pueblo Indians is the feeding of their katchina dancers (ancestors impersonated by initiated males) by sprink ling them with corn meal. Fr om this time on he was o help the sun cross the sky." Because of the difficulty in seeing other than disruptive meanings for specific clown actions. while delivering joking remarks about his bad singing. talkin g backwards. wa lking backwards. thus becoming one with the sacred power they most fear ed. even though it w as supposed to be very quiet there. H e was different from the other people because he knew something about himself. but t he clown thinks of a possible variation. clowns interrupt t he shaman whenever he tries to make a speech and parody everything he says. It was decided that he should live with his S un Father because he was not acting normally enough to be here with the people. At Acoma Pueblo. saying first to the sweepings: "I now deposit you as sweepings but in one year you will return to me as corn. when the people decided that they needed a harvest dance in order to get away from the continuous solemnity of the secret . by causing people to laugh at shamans and other religious au thorities. then. but are instead a symbolic demonstration of power which is itself invisible.her foolish things. although th e people could not live with such a powerful bundle of energy all of the time. The curer told him. a neweekwe clown may lampoon a Beast Priest (shaman). and since he was not afraid of anything. precedes the leader all around the inside of the dance house in perfect step with him. I shall give a second example from my own knowledge of religious symbolism. picking around. In th e Wintu Hesi Ceremony. a wolf snout on his nose. the Navajo c lown who reveals sleight-of-hand tricks is in effect reminding the people that t hese tricks are not in themselves the power which cures them. can be understood as an esoteric substitute for corn meal. Here we see the clown's creative edge: no one else ever deviates from feeding the katchina dancers the corn meal. A white man cured by a Navajo medicine man during a Red Ant ceremony asked him whether he really had red ants in his system. but he would be called upon from time to time to help on earth. whic h causes people to laugh. 3 A mong the Zuñi of New Mexico. not ants. The clown of the Navajo Mountain Chant burlesques the sacred sleight-of-hand pe rformances. Within som e Indian societies the clown is given his charter for revolution within the text o f the sacred story of the creation itself. The ability of American Indian religions to allow room for the disruptive. They were said to act l ike lightning in a storm. We have to have a way of thinking strongly about disease. the first koshari cl own "was kind of crazy." We can understand h er assertion on the model of plant germination. The clown's offering of ashes. and loudly around the altar. he may actually revitalize it by revealing higher truths. The clowns intend this immediate response.

to help his people. is also the curer of the stomach. which settles particularly in the stomach. At Zuñi. shaking the branches as he went up. where it is the chayani (ma gician or shaman) who actually makes the medicine for stomach troubles. Plains Cree. Just as t hese Apache clowns kept smallpox and other epidemics away from the people with t heir sudden terrifying laugh. For Koshari had power to do this. pain. that is. however. The Cheyenne Contraries also cure by quickly lifting people into the air. and Plains Ojibwa cl owns scare disease out of the people.. from poisoning. At Hopi the clown himself must go out there with a happy heart. Koshairi went first and then th e three mothers and all of the societies and the people in the order in which th ey had been created. The Jicarilla Apache. he is reminded to make his mind a blank. sometimes tossing him into the air. At Zia both koshairi and kwiraina clowns helped the pe ople emerge by leading them up through the four underworids by means of four tre es which they strengthened by their clowning: They told him to make the tree firm and strong. a heart withou t worry. and then either jump over him or else throw a piece of boiling-hot dog meat at him. The c lown. Navajo clowns during their Mud Dance all o f a sudden stop dancing and rush up to a sick person and lift him high above the ir heads. the Assiniboine. thereby assuming a n even more central position within the religion. as the Hopis have it. So he climbed the tree doing fun ny things. They prefer him to the chayani because he kno ws no sadness. administerin g it to them through his own mouth. otherwise he could be taken over by the terrible power of the mask and di e. did not see this sunlight world purely good. Anothe r curing method is to run up to a person very fast. By preparing the trees for climbing and making the tunnel through the earth thes e Pueblo clowns opened the way for their people to follow them out of the earth (ignorance) into the sunlight (knowledge).. before a man puts on his mask to impersonate the dead (an action which mi ght well worry him). Amon . the clown that led them out of the dark earth (thought of as perfectly spiritual and holy) was equipped with a horrible non-human laugh which scared way the sickness on the earth s surface. or sickness. By startling people in these ways clowns reverse their polarity. In this origin story we learn a basic cur ing technique which is still practiced today by clowns in many tribes. just forget about w orries . as the enemy of worry. In other creation stories from the Southwest the clown leads the people out of t he darkness of the underworld into the knowledge of daylight. The Acoma avert the possibility of the stagnation of their religion in excessive esotericism by including the clow n. as it were. Releasing oneself from worry is central to much Amer ican Indian thought. in a threatening manner. This clearing of w orry from the mind is both an ethical value and an important preventative health concept. At Acoma. At Isleta Pueblo k apyo shure c lowns used their horns in order to tunnel upwards to the earth s surface so that t he people could come out. whose special province is the cure of all diseases of the stomach the elimination of poisons from the syste ms of the victims of sorcery or imprudence.ceremonies. disease and death are primarily caused by worry. Country Chief called upon Koshari because he knew of no new way to da nce and he wanted to leave it to Koshari to arrange the dance and instruct the p eople in it. The Tewa beautifully express this ethic within one of their most impor tant Now go to your homes Without worry Without weeping Without sadness. The Zuñi neweekwe c lowns are the medicine men par excellence of the tribe. sometimes holding the head downward.. cur ing them by releasing them from any idle thoughts or worries. The clown himself is immune from stomach problems. but as containing disease.Then he told them the tree was now ready and strong and they started to ascend. the clow n takes this medicine without permission and goes among the people. causing it to harden.

Just before they eat this medicine they say. the Fox clowns. During the koshari initiation at Acoma. known for their ability to cure vomiting. [The y were] drinking urine out of bowls and jars used as privies on the house tops. reporting on a clown perf ormance at Cochiti Pueblo. The aggressive shamelessness the clowns display in their quest for food is also extended to sex. The theft of food is common clown behavior in Ca lifornia. partially masticated. as eating bits of stick and r efuse. the most important religious ceremony at Zuñi. Crow clowns simulate intercourse with a horse made of willow bark. and sometimes they displayed their own genitals. one of the old members took a dish. unmentionable water. inc luding wood ashes and pebbles. eas t of the Plains. rubbing their b ellies after each draught and shouting. has no medicine of his own. even though he is a curer.g the California Maidu. or at least they appear to be. stone and all. These clowns. noted that the whole is a filthy. For example. to the si ck person." During the Iroquois Midwint er Ceremony. touching and rubbing against their genitals. they are also powerful and potentially terrifying. obscene affair. All he has. powerful substances owned by shamans which killed on contact. and in the Southwest the koyemshi clowns tell the people at Sha lako. Alexander Stephen saw a clown snatch off another clown s breech cl out and literally drag him by the penis nearly the whole length of th dance court . and the like go fron house to house coll ecting tobacco or food. live puppies or dead. is himself and his own actions. Wa! four times. perf ormed indecent antics . and Kwakiutl clowns jest with chiefs daughters. eat both dog and child feces. They talk about. for others. Jemez clowns m ake advances toward women . otherwise. If anyone refuses then they throw dirt on them or else s imply steal whatever they want. so that the people willi ngly give them anything when they go on begging tours. when the Miwok clowns are allowed to enter any home for this express p urpose. Poor though they may be. and even perform shocking sexual d isplays in societies which are normally quite modest. The Pueblo clowns formerly wore enormous dildos. At Hopi during the Horned Water Serpent. particularly foul-smelling urine. to go out and copulate with rams. sing about. often making pointed references to sex. urinated in it and mixed this with the medicine (herbs) . In the Southeast. From an 1880 entry in Bandelier s diary we learn of a particularly intense example . and the woman who was a koshari pulled out some pubic hair and threw it in. and whoever withholds foo d from them will injure himself he will burn himself. All over North America they wear shab by clothing or even rags. eating excrements and dirt. the pehei pe clown was the chief of the ceremony of yomepa or poisons. dance the seven chuku clowns eagerly dr ank three gallons of well aged. another put phlegm from his nose in it.and moon-shaped breads which they we ar around their necks and then administer these. girdles. no matter peaches. Among th e Arizona Tewa. because they are very dangerous. or glutton. never give their medicine" to anyone except t hemselves. out-size bras. they chew small sun. this makes their bodies very powerful. Zuñis. In a word. and watermelons to their koyemshi clowns. and in California. give aw ay whole dressed sheep or deer or bushels of apples. im itating the sound people make when they are going to vomit. At Zuñi Cushing described a neweekwe clown. In th e Plains. amusing an d curing the people. they beg for and even steal food. As early as 1882 Adolph Bandelier. Creek clowns. Thus the clown. These scatalogical rites have quite naturally attracted much des criptive attention. Yuki clowns hold each other penises during their frolics. make sexual motions and even come into bodily contact wit h women. clown s are poor. cantaloups. imitating stallions during the Mule Dance. beggars wearing False Face masks and rags or a parody of women s dress ve ry short skirts. in fact everything soft enough or small enough to be forced down his gullet. enabling them to dance ecstatically for hours. or else his "medicine is nothing but commo n filth. Ponca clowns crawl up and touch a woman s genitalia in fu ll daylight . The Sout hwestern clown demonstrates his immunity by eating filth of all sorts without an y visible harm. while singing obscene songs d uring the Crazy Dance. for example. whose name means Striped Excrement. Very sweet! " The Jicarilla Apache clowns. he either uses medicine that belongs to others.

as the woman was dressed. . reported from Hopi at the turn of the century by Alexander Step hen. at the moment of laughing something is understood. as the Acomas say of the first clown. their minds cleared of whatever worries they brought with them. a well-placed. might be interpreted as revealing the higher truth of a non -attachment to shrines. I want to examine how the myths and legends of the Thun derbird tie into the sacred clowning/trickster ritual complex of Plains tribes s uch as the Lakota. alternately with a black rug and his hand. A clown dressed as a woman comes into the plaza with a basin of water and proceeds to wash her legs while displaying a great false vulva and turning around so that all the spectators can see and laugh at it. I will show how the Thunderbird is intimately connected to th is complex. He is found not just among Plains Indians. the laughter that goes with a sudden op ening or dislocation in the universe. contains an important detail suggesting an esoteric interpretation. it needs no proo f of itself. altars. an d even a United States Air Force squadron named after him." And. Of course. As the American anthropologist Julia n Steward noted. it is fortunate that at least some of them made a record of such displays (often using Latin instead of English) while they still flouri shed. and not the real act. He has also become quite a bit of an icon for non-Indians. climbs on t op of "her. all was simulated. Obscene practices were one of the principal target s of the Bureau s religious crimes code. or other religious objects. however. who is indeed laughed away. moreover. centering itself as it did o n top of the shrine. Or. and during the 1920s the Bureau of Indian Affairs indulged in one last fling at religious persecution. R. Totems bearing his re presentation can be found all over the continent. This clowning episode." and proceeds to imitate copulation with her with the utmost grossnes s right on the sacred shrine. and even of God. . Then anot her clown wearing a large false penis made of a gourd neck comes in. and attempt to explain why. It may be possible to attend a church service without so much as a smile. one of the foremost Western s tudents of Zen. Here. then while one was performing the coitus from behind. and since I received that kick from Ma Tsu. or that of others. I haven t been ab le to stop laughing. it certainly demonst rates the clown s own non-attachment. Or.of sexual display at Cochiti Pueblo: They chased after her. Thunderbird and Trickster Introduction The Thunderbird is one of the few cross-cultural elements of Native North Americ an mythology. He knew something about himself. unexpected kick from his master helped him to attain enlightenment. Blyth. as a Z en monk explained. the onlookers are opened to immediate expe rience by laughter or shock. as Black Elk put it. has said that for him laughter is a breakthrough of the intellect ual barrier. including foreigners. but also among Pacific Northwest and Northeastern tribes. Everybody laug hed. another was doing it against her head. and clown performances have never been quit e the same since. of the plaza. The naked fellow performed masturbation in the center of the plaza or very near it. so that it may be easier for the power to come to them.ones which I will sho w are probably wrongheaded. as at other clown performances. since he has also had the honor of having automobiles. they have elicited o nly emotions of repugnance and disgust from even the ethnologist. has a place for laughter. . carried her back and threw her down in the center. H.41 Such performances as this would have to get some response from everyone present. and indeed they did. liquors. When we laugh we are free of all the oppression of our person ality. funny as these are to the natives. My last example. There have been a number of cu rious theories about the origins of the Thunderbird myth . Whatever the at tiudes of ethnologists. The objections and interferences of Protestant missionaries have been unre lenting. In this paper. like Zen Buddhism. the people are made to feel jolly an d happy at first. but American Indian religion. It is the intimate association between t hese two traditions that may help explain some features of Plains culture and fo .

rolling clouds which prevent him from being seen. Still. the Thunderbird is sometimes known as Wakinyan. which suggest a somewh at complicated picture. (According to the medicine man Lame Deer. carryin g off people (or reindeer or whales) to their doom. or sacred power. because it was used to explai n the development of certain rituals and elements of society. The Nature of Thunderbird In Plains tribes. In many stories.and his cru cial dual nature. Like other Thunder Beings.) Fu rther. hence the expected existence of beings such as contraries. They no more literally believed in a giant bird generating storms through the beating o f its wings. then Christians today literally believe in their divine being as an old man with a beard sitting on a marble throne. his role is to challenge some other great power and protect the Indians . who displayed wisdom through seemingly foolhardy action. hi s conflicts with other forces in nature are then an attempt to allegorize relati onships observed in the natural order. the enemy bird. Storytelling was an art which was main tained by the medicine people with great fidelity. the horned serpents. Thunderbird is himself malevolent. (Hines 1992) Some have looked at the Thunderbird myths through the same lens of understanding applied to European mythology. sometimes asso ciated with the four cardinal directions.those found in violent thunderstorms and such . he is essentially an attempt to represent the patterns of activity of a powerful. the Indians were not merely "mythmaking" in the pejorative sense. or Waziya. there were a variety of beliefs about Thunderbird. or slaying people who seek t o cross his sacred mountain.sort of the way in which a weather map functions today. Plains Indians myth and folklore In order to understand Plains Indians folklore. and initiatory ways. and who must be slain by the brave hero. Wochowsen. the Thunderbird is thought of as a gre at Eagle. women w arriors. Aspects of the Thunderbird myth only make sense in light of these associ ations.such as White Owl Woman. the malevolent Unktehi. divert. Or the Thunderbird is simply treated as some kind o f fantastic oddity." Others suggest the word links the Thunderbird to wakan. Indian myth functioned in religious. (Erdoes and Ortiz 1984) Many Plains Indians claim there are in fact four colors (varieties) of Thunderbi rds (the blue ones are said. Usually. Few anthropologists have sought to locate how Thunderbird may have been mytho logically linked to Trickster. to have no ears or eyes). to help socialize young people and illuminate t he various religious and other roles in society. (Descriptions are vague because it is thought Thunderbird is a lways surrounded by thick. we have to realize that their my ths were not just "just-so" stories to entertain. which is what might be expected of societies which l argely lacked static. the killing North Wind. there were four. such as the changing of the weather. The Thunderbird is like the Indo-European dragon or ogre or Leviathan. like the mythical unicorn or mermaid . . Both these attempts at explain ing myth lose the important point of seeing Thunderbird as a personification of energies in nature . and berdaches. who produces thunder from the beating of his wings and flashes lightni ng from his eyes. a nd grounded in the present. a huge monster who kidnaps virginal maidens. strangely. Indian myth was always fluid. Thunderbird is an allegory. but also sometimes only with the west and the western wind. Everything in nature often contained its own oppos ite polarity. written traditions.lklore. But in some other legends (not so much in the Plains). Western thinki ng has prevented us from seeing the reasons why Indians perceived this connectio n. manifest through the primordial power of thunde rstorms. Rather. or water oxen who plague mankind. Because the Thunderbird in particular represented this m ysterious dual aspect of nature. the bringer of winter storms .an impossible constru ction borne from the extremes of the imagination. from the Dakot a word kinyan meaning "winged. p edagogical. it is not surprising that his representatives were the heyoka or sacred clowns. (Edmonds a nd Clark 1989) The Plains Indians believed that everything that was found in nature had a human representative in microcosm. mysterious force in a way that can be understood simply and easily . or make inadequate eff orts at naturalistic explanation.

the other problem with his theory is that it ignores w hat Indians themselves have to say about the Thunderbird. he was once an Indian himself) is said to reflect the way thunderstorms and violent weather are seen by Plains people.one at each compass point. They describe the Thunderbird as a spiritual.especially the Trickster complex . apparently. the I ndian attitude toward it comes from more than just the mere fact that it is supp osed to be really big. unless it consisted of an extremely small number of members. the Great Mysterious. but the western one was the Greatest and most senior . swept away by ferocious storms. these large birds were hunted to extinction prior to the arrival of Europeans on the North A merican continent. The behaviors of all sorts of clowns revolved around a few basic themes or . but on the Plains it especially exhibited inversion and reversal as elements of satire . not just physical. On the one hand. on the other hand. Rather. Clowning around in Plains Indian culture Clowning. Hall does suggest the possibility that maybe. like the icon of the Thunderbird. and sometimes as their protector and liberator (in some myths. they bring hail. There were four types of clown societies on the Plains . Most tribes feel he and the other Thunder beings were the firs t to appear in the Creation. having studied the Thunderbird myths of nume rous tribes. being. which some people mistakenly think repre sents a stairway. Hall. lightning-bolt design. Others claim that the large predatory birds which are said to kidnap hunters and livestock are not Thunderbirds at all. it involved ridiculous behavior. The Thunderbird is much more than that. the northern plains type. Still. to fly off carrying small animals or children. and re duce it to a zoological curiosity.age-graded societies. they bring life-giving rain (Thunderbird is said to be the creator of 'wild rice' and other Plains Indians crops). It is no t seen as just a large.) However. suggest that there may well be a surviving species of large avians in America . military societies. the big problem with this theory is that most ornithologists consider i t to be quite farfetched. Only by ign oring this fact could we put our Western ethnocentric biases into effect. and fear and terror begin. It is not clear where with them worship and awe end. If such a species existed (a situation akin to the fol kloric Sasquatch). and that they have an especially close connection t o wakan tanka. would find it hard to avoid detection for lon g. A species of birds that big. I sus pect that this dual nature of the Thunderbird ties it to the Trickster figure in Indian belief: like the Trickster. Largely. and many are supposed to have di ed in the attempt. To understand the origins of Thunderbird myths. It is supposed to be very dangerous to approach a Thunderbird nest.) (Hall 1 988) Such researchers feel the Thunderbird myth may have originated from sightin gs of a real-life flesh-and-blood avian which might be an atavism from earlier e pochs (a quasi-pterodactyl or teratorn. as has been claimed in some accounts. Origins of the Thunderbird Myth Cryptozoologists like Mark A. as well as large birds (like the Roc) in other mythic tr aditions. and compared them to (mostly folkloric) accounts of unusually large birds in modern times. perhaps. (Hall suggests the wingspan of such a spe cies would be several feet longer than any known birds .) (Fire and Erdoes 1972) The fact that they are sometimes known as "grandfather s" suggest they are held in considerable reverence and awe.and see how they fit into the structure of Plains Indian myth as a whole. fearsome predatory bird that people tell stories about. could be found in almost every North American Indian society. and that these beings ar e at war with each other. it's an integral part of Plains Indians religion and ritual. flood. the harm the Thunderbird causes is mostly be cause it is so large and powerful and primeval.certainly bigger than t hat of the turkey vulture or other identifiable North American species. (Gill and Sullivan 1992) The fact that Thunderbird sometimes appears as something that terrorizes and pla gues Indians. it's nece ssary to see how they connect with other elements of Indian belief and ceremony . and the heyoka shamanistic societ ies. Some Indians claim that there are good and bad Thunderbirds. In every case. and lightning and fire. The symbol of Thunderbird is the red zig-zag.big enough. it would be amazing that to this point it has remained uniden tified and uncatalogued. like the mastodon.

they might do something which seemed strange or contrary. mocking the sacred.. they were thought to be more inspired by trans-human supernat ural forces (as individuals driven by spirits rather than group conventions).attributes: burlesque. and costumes of rags which made them appe ar comical. these unique differences were seen as the result of their having visions of Thunderbird. as lightning kills. a u nique and transforming experience. Black Elk describes the "dog in boi ling water" ceremony in some detail. it comes in polaritie s. rather than receiving some sort of supernatural inspirat ion. provoking the enemy into giving up its discipline and cohesion with taunt s and insults. is happier after the terror of the storm. exhibiting gross gluttony or extreme appetite. The electron is simult aneously a wave and a particle. it is lik e a rain. of course. they are likely to have observ ed some of the same properties in lightning. they might often "give up" the clowning way of life. the dog had to be killed quickly and without making any scar. it comes with terror l ike a thunder storm. They carried out certain expected ritual performances on proscribed days. you ha ve noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. That is. The world. One is sad with suff ering. Further. but when the storm of vision has passed. Electricity and magnetism are thought to be aspe cts of the same force.. The northern plains clowns.it was a sacred calling which could not be given up wit hout performing an agonizing ritual of expiation.jo . an d to have a closer link to wakan or power than other clowns. for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world. caricature of others. and as is well know with magnetism. "When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West.groups such as the Gros Ventre Crazy Lodge or the Hi datsa Dog Society. they sometimes rode their horses backwards into battle. and the crazy antics he had to perform with his companions . ma king obscene jokes or gestures. Testimony of Black Elk: the heyoka and lightning The Oglala Indian Black. and return to a non-contrary state by marrying and engagin g in a more normal mode of existence. (Steward 1991) The age-graded clown societies primarily consisted of older people who had been inducted into their ranks . Elk had some interesting things to say about the heyoka ceremony. The heyoka were different in three primary ways from the other sorts of clowns. An object can carry a positive or negative electric charge. playing pranks or practical jokes. often carried c omical or ridiculous weapons. You knew when they might do something weird . Moreso than other clowns. Western physicists describe the dual nature of electricity.solemn joking . but it is the same face. Not surprisingly. And so I think this is what the heyoka ceremony is for .. maybe the laughing is better for them. found among tribes such as the Ojibway. These clowns were assumed to simply be playing a role appropr iate to their sodality. the military cl own societies such as the Cheyenne Inverted Bow String Warriors. Though the Indians did not have access to our modern scientific instruments. They were truly unpredictable. they ke pt their role for life . and could do the unexpected or tasteless even dur ing the most solemn of occasions. Also. He also describes the bizarre items he had to carry as a heyoka. Not surprisingly. with opposite poles (north and south) attracting. but were also expected to show absurd bravery in b attle. strange acts of self-mortification or self-deprecation. In contrast. He also attempts to explain the link between the contrary trickster nature of heyokas with that of Thunderbird. maybe the weeping face is bett er. s uch as the Crazy Dance or the imitation of animals. but under somewhat regular condition s. Thus it would have been intuitive t o link the dual spiritual nature of the heyoka (tragicomedy . the world is green er and happier. they really seemed t o be insane. for it is the p ower of lightning that heyokas have. laughing or weeping. and the other laughs." (quoted in Neihardt 1959: 160) Today. and taunting of enemies or strangers. and when t hey feel too good and are too sure of being safe. All of these three types of clown societies practiced a sort of conv entionalized or patterned sort of anti-natural behavior. which he himself participated in. When people are already in despair. you see. wore masks w hich made them appear to be two-faced. And lastly.and there were times when they were forbidden to perform their antics..

and people of great medicine. through various methods of deceit. undivided. the heyoka's sudden outbursts and disturbances were thou ght to be the keys to enlightenment .much like the absurd acts of Zen masters i n Japan. the heyoka. Iktomi is the first-born son of Inyan (rock). (Hultkrantz 1987) Thunderbird and Trickster Part of the link between heyoka and Thunderbird comes from Iktomi. and bark earri ngs. sharp claws. wearing conical hats. the Sacred Clown It was believed among the Lakota and other tribes that if you had a dream or vis ion of birds. but were found in almost every clan.) However insulting or sacrilegious heyoka actions might be. interpreters of dreams. were usually few in number. the heyoka were at once feared and held in reverence. and a figure to be feared and avoided. able to seize a piece of meat out of a pot of boil ing water. heyoka. Despite their bizarre acts (such as dressing in war m clothes during summer or wearing things inside out). contrary nature. They acted in ridiculous. people took it as an admonition to see beyond the literalness of the ritual and into the deeper mysteries of the sacred. Thunderbird is said to have sharp teeth. o bscene. who often shows up in the Feast of Fool s and other ceremonies where the social order is turned topsy-turvy. or sacred cl own. (Steiger 1974) While clown societies were found throughout the Plains. a flute. and his "crazy wisdom" as emblematic of humankind's earlie r. His "anti-natural" nature was thought t o be shamanistic in origin -. but if you had a vision of Thunderbird. Like Coyote and other Trickster figures. Whenever they interru pted the solemnity of a ceremony. huge wings. Radin and others proclaim him the representative of untam . Iktomi and other tricksters seem to be at the constant mercy of their desires. Heyoka were freed from all the ordinary constraints o f life. one who frequently pursued winchinch alas (young virgins) who bathed in streams. or participa te in the work of the tribe. he was expected to act silly an d foolhardy during battle (although this was found more among warrior clown soci eties such as the Cheyenne Inverted Warriors. They often dressed in a bizarre and ludicrous manner. yet so rarely has the forethought or good judgment to use his power wisely. All of these things suggest Thunderbird (and the h eyoka) have a curious. or just of lightning or a formidable winged be ing of power. the Trickster figure. often speaking and walking backwards. He alternates strong winds with calm ones. have children.y united with pain) with the dual nature of electricity. and is said to speak with rocks and stones. Thunderbird and Heyoka. or sacred cl owns. they were tolerated. The y were supposed to startle easily at the first sound of thunder or first sight o f lightning. and thus were usually not expected to marry. Thunderbird is said to move counterclockwis e. Like the flash of lightning. yet their blind luck always seems to protect them from the consequences of their missteps. following his lead. but no li mbs. Thi s makes him at once a culture hero. it was your destiny to become something else. While all things in nature move clockwise. but is just as often the victim of tricks and misfortunes. (Radin 1956 ) Jung. They were thought to be fearless and painless. Thunderbird supposedly inspired the "contrariness" of the heyoka th rough his own contrary nature. paradoxical. especially during sacred ceremonies. Iktomi zis said to be heyoka because he has seen and talked with Thund erbird.and as a contrary. He is dangerous primarily because he is so powerful. or drum. claims the Trickster as an archetypal part of the co llective unconscious. Paul Radin suggests that Iktomi and other Trickster figures are akin to the Grea t Fool or Wild Man of European folklore. they were trusted as heal ers. and comical ways. Iktomi likes to pull pranks on people. but no mouth. but no body. since it was assumed they were acting on the higher and more inscrutable imperat ives of the Great Mystery. you were destined to be a medicine man. The heyoka was thought to usually carry various sacred items . Iktom i was thought to be a hypersexual predator. Heyoka we re contraries. a bladder over the head (to simulate baldness). Like Thunderbird. red paint. unindividuated consciousness.a deer hoof rattle. You could become heyoka thr ough a vision of the Thunderbird. Y et his pursuits and antics often wound up with him inadvertently getting hurt or winding up in trouble. a colored bow.

uncontrollable energy of natu re.) The ruler is dressed in peasants' clothes. and a symbol of sudd en. the heyoka was reminding his own people about the so cial construction of reality. It's to "jolt" them o ut of their ordinary frames of mind. especially those oriented toward psychoanalytic t heory and depth psychology. It doesn't really care about our human woes and concerns. showing people how t heir own expectations limit their behavior." the Dion ysian aspects of life only temporarily held in abeyance by the Apollonian forces of civilization. For these reasons. If we're too narrow or parochial in trying to und erstand it. it can be deadly dangerous ." He represents the "return of the repressed. (Steward 1991) More importantly. and some igno rant serf is crowned king. the heyoka may have been seen as a source of w . within the confines of culture.by. It doesn't correspond to human categories of right and wrong. It doesn't always follow our preconceptions of what is expected and proper. It's in such "paradoxical states" that people often may assimilate new in formation quickly. They also may be able to "abreact" psychol ogical trauma. icy-hot contrary. Significance of the Trickster Figure and "Contrariness" in Plains Society Psychological anthropologists." In American folk culture. Another way in which it occurs (the "paradoxical state") is thr ough a sudden shock to the nervous system. the heyoka plays pranks on others in his culture not to make them feel embarrass ed and stupid. and fling them at a crowd of people. that the Thunderbird is connected with the strang e. the heyoka r eminds his people that the primordial energy of nature is beyond good and evil. It's also the primary weapon in most pa ntheons of the chief sky god (such as Zeus in Greek mythology. forward-backward. the heyoka. Psychologists have noted that trance does not always occur through rhyt hmic repetition. The carnivals and feasts held in honor of fools in Europe.") Lam e Deer suggests before doing this they chewed a grayish moss called tapejuta. thunder and lightning symbolized the vast. without being b urned or harmed in any way. I suspect that heyoka were able to perform this feat through going into trance. or harnessed for great uses. the shocking behavior of the heyoka is supposed to confront people and make them rec onsider what they may have arbitrarily accepted as normal. and are seen as continual reminder s of the contingency and arbitrariness of the social order. by utilizing this and other psychotropic plants on occasion. the heyoka in a way is carrying out a constant experiment in ethnomethodology. glassy stares and strange states produced by violating peoples' expec tations . Like electricity. In other cultural traditions. he says god when he means dog. Apparently. and his avatar. Like a good performance artist. for example. shocking revelation and inspiration. unpredictably wild nature. are "outlets. It's at once dangerous." allowing people to invert the social o rder temporarily as a way of promoting its continuity in the long run (avoiding its ultimate collapse. Clowns and contraries in Plains societies do not just come out once a year. (Why dog meat? Lame Deer gives a clue when he says. sug gest some anthropologists.) For the Plains I ndians. More importantly. but to show them ways they could start being more smart. then. without filtering. point to the Trickster figure as a sort of important cultural "release valve. I think they induced trance in others through their contrary b ehavior. The Account of John (Fire) Lame Deer: Heyoka and ASC Lame Deer calls the heyoka the "upside-down. Like any good trickster. It's not surprising. howe ver. an altered state of consciousness. there a re a host of legendary stories of mysterious cures or transformations wrought by someone being struck by lightning. Ethnomethodologists have often noted the blank. uncontrollable force of the Trickster figure. We talk about a "bolt out of the blue. By doing everything backwards. as a representative of Thunderbird and Trickster. thunder and lightning are connected with the unexp ected. " He describes in detail one particular heyoka trick which may give some clues t o the nature of their antics. "For the heyoka. it will zap us in the middle of the night. they would grab pieces of dog meat out of a pot of boiling water. They are permanent parts of the society. Long before French t heorists came on the scene. Symbols of authority normally held in extreme reveren ce are mocked and desecrated. and dog when he means god.ed. getting into an elevator and facing the other people in it.

During spiritual ceremony. trip youself up at the most inoportune times. predictability. It is good and bad. The thunder power protects and destroys. because lightning branches out into a good and bad part. he could blow off the dome of the Capitol. I got excited at this because it allowed for a discussi on of heyoka. or opposite manner to help us stay energetically in a good state of flow. In our Indian belief. and/or constantly lose important items. he would tell us that he based his lesson . My first teacher was such a clown. It brings you power. The Thunderbird's own link t o the original Great Mystery suggests that the role of the sacred clown was seen as one of the highest in Plains society .like wandering fools in Europe. There is much that we can learn from Native American traditions about the concep t of "heyoka. from front to back. like you don't quite belong. He has more power than the atom bomb. not from the animals or the Earth. When I asked her to concentrate on the subtleties of the jangled. If you have h eyoka power. If you've ever felt different. the heyoka is honored as a sacred-clown who te aches the value of purposefully acting in a manner opposite to our natural insti ncts so that we don't get too serious. The trance of the heyoka comes from sacred power. backwards behavior he was merely showing the ironic. but you have to pay for it. and often to your own em barrassment! You may spill food all over your shirts during meals. The heyoka is not comfortable with too mu ch linearity." that is. Th e fact that the Thunderbird displays many paradoxical and contradictory attribut es links it to Trickster figures and to the contraries of Plains Indians culture . by the way). When I pr ojected feelings of being on a tropical island. I have been learning from some Native American elders for the last 5 years about indigenous healing traditions (which is a very short time in that tradition. doing things in a backwards.. anxious energy I was sending ( as a teaching tool). she perceived it as completely calm and tranquil. you may use this type of energy naturally. and by his absurd. at the end of important talks to the people. This culture complex probably resulted from Indian beliefs about nature and th e ways in which thunder and lightning exemplified the manners in which it could be at once capricious. and vice versa." (quo ted in Erdoes 1972: 251) Conclusion The Thunderbird's association with heyoka clowns is not simply serendipitous. the great winged power. or social order. the universe will give us days to experienc e the Heyoka energy. We may even read books backwards. Like Thunderbird himself. For the most part. mysterious dualities that existed within the universe itself. Theirs is about the greatest power in the whole universe. The crash of thunder can startle us and wake us up out of dreaming sleep. but also shame.isdom and healing. Being a clown gives y ou honor. or even read from right to left. Many of us will zig while others zag. We will be taking brea th in when others are exhaling. The heyoka has an intimate relati onship with ambiguity and chaos as tools of spiritual advancement. In some Native American cultures. It is blue lightning from the sun. Even if you aren't Heyoka by nature. the clown has a power which comes fr om the thunder beings. the heyoka was thought to be a conduit to forces that defied comprehension. It is like atomic power. Lame Deer seems to suggest the power of trance is connected to the power of Thun derbird. These h eyoka moments help us to take ourselves less seriously. We m ay be happy at times when others are sad. We draw the lightning as a forked zigzag. I recently asked a coaching client to tune in to the energy that I was projecting toward her over the phone. it ties into the paradoxical e nergy of thunder and lightning. As a paradoxical state of consciousness. they were thought to be touched by the Divine power itself. beneficent. For instance. then you may identif y with the magic of the Heyoka story.. It is the power of the hot and the cold clashing ab ove the clouds. these inherent "backwa rd" urges are programmed in our DNA. and destructive. He t ies it all together in a way that's fairly succinct: " These Thunderbirds are part of the Great Spirit. it made her nervous and she felt her heart chakra close.

Even if you aren't Heyoka by nature. If you need a good laugh. If you have h eyoka power. These heyoka moments hel p us to take ourselves less seriously. We will be taking breath in when others are exhaling. This animal is full of tricks. The heyoka is not comfortable with too mu ch linearity. On certain days. he gave us each a bowl of gre en jello and whipped cream and asked us to pray to our whipped cream. The result ing laughter and ridiculousness was priceless. it helps us pay closer attention and listen more carefully. heyoka power is associated with the animal Coyote. "I get my best material from CNN.on that morning's CNN broadcast. For instance. ask the animal spirit of the coyote to come into your life. and vice versa. predictability. During another sacred ceremony. you may use this type of energy naturally. it may be best to do the exact opposite of what your empathic intu ition tells you. or even read from right to left. caused all of us to drop our ultra-serious spiritual warri or attitude and see how easily we can give our own power away. TEACHING US ABOUT OPPOSITES. The heyoka has an intimate relati onship with ambiguity and chaos as tools of spiritual advancement. you'll be suprised at how you may see yourself in what you read. This. Why is it important to know about Heyoka? Because there are times when our norma lly reliable perception and trusty intuition may be purposefully fooling us. the U niverse will give us days to experience the Heyoka energy. or social order. you will be able to discern when this might be happening for you. With time and refinement. then you may identify with the magic of the Heyoka story. like you don't quite belong. In addition being empathic and having a sensitive nervous system that is program med to pick up all sorts of nifty energy. fro m front to back. Coyotes are notorious for zig zagging and fooling even the most experienced hunters. We may be happy at times when others are sad." he would cac kle. when the spiritual and emotional energy was so h igh it seemed many of us couldn't take it anymore. You will be starr ing in your own Candid Camera episodes before you know it! Do some additional re search on this topic. In many indigenous cultures. For the most part. We may even read books backwards. What is heyoka? Heyoka has it's roots in Native American culture and is all abou t the power of doing things backwards to help us stay energetically in a good st ate of flow. many of us are energetically hard-wired "b ackwards. In some Native American cultures. these inher ent "backward" urges are programmed in our DNA. Many of us will zig while other s zag. 2008 The Power of Heyoka DOING THINGS BACKWARDS. and because of this." If you've ever felt different. I recently asked a friend to tune in to the energy that I was proj . at your own expens e. the heyoka is honored as a sacred clown who te aches the value of purposefully acting in a manner opposite to our natural insti ncts so that we don't get too serious. It's random and unpredictable. Friday. of course. October 10.

. in vision or dreams is vi sited by the Thunder Beings." "To us a clown is somebody sacred. With this duty. With time and refinement. If the T hunder-beings want to put their power on earth. it's a medicine man's job. That is no t so. He has a power. he m ust do everything in contrary to what is meant. or 'sacred clown. the sacred clown. that he is just for fun. of the 'heyoka'. powerful. she perceived it as completely calm and tranquil. "A clown's work is sacred. 19th and 20th centuries. The 'heyoka' does so precisely to push the fold of accepted reality. Moreover.the spirit nation. you do this and when you wake up in the morning." From Lame Deer Seeker of Visions: "Another kind of medicine man is the heyoka. the sacred flying ones. a vi sion about thunder and lightning. they send a dream to a man. shameful." Impersonating Heyo'ka the role of the sacred clown "Only those who have had visions of the thunder beings of the west can act as he yokas" by Mark Caron People think that the clown is just nothing. Fooling around. becomes one who is contrary to the accustomed and accepted rules of society. a clown is really performing a spiritual ceremony. the Thun derbirds.1 The Lakota. it comes from the Thunder beings. the Thunderbirds. a person who. These Thunderbirds are the wakan oyate . anxious energy I was sending." This is what makes him a heyoka.' is viewed as a very powerful and important person. there is nothing you can do about it. not the animals on earth.. and because of this. the Thunder Being. it made her nervous and she felt her heart chakra close. "The Heyoka is the counterpoint to the Thunder Beings who repeatedly dissolve the existing order and fashion a new arrangement from the p ieces. It is even harder to have one in the family. When I projected feelings of being on a tropical island. ridiculous. that the Thunder b eings commanded them to act in a silly way. According to Ogalala Sioux Eld er.2 When one has a vision of thunder-beings h e is called by Wakinyan. Every dream which has some symbol of the thund er powers in it will make you into a heyoka. the wise old people know that heyokas are thunder-dreamers.ecting toward her over the phone. It's random and unpredictable. funny. you will be able to discern when this might be happening for you. "Not all 'heyokas' are indigenous peoples. Modern day heyokas are charged to live as witnesses against the corruption of the Fourth World and to assist the shift into the Fifth World. it helps us pay closer attention and listen more carefully." "It is not easy to be a heyoka.. By this dream they appoint him to work his po wer for them in a human way." "It is very simple to become a heyoka. holy. Why is it important to know about Heyoka? Because there are times when our norma lly reliable empathic perception and trusty intuition may be purposefully foolin g us. in the 1920s these 'obscene' cerem onies involving heyokas have been 'principal targets' of the Bureau of Indian Af . you a re a heyoka. it may be best to do the exact opposite of what your empa thic intuition tells you. The 'heyoka'. "The elders speak. to sound the wake-up call. are a Native American nat ion who flourished in the 18th." "The heyokas get their power from the wakinyan. too. Looks-for-Buffalo.3 This contradiction causes many observers to feel that the heyoka pract ices are foolish and sac-religious. visionary. or Sioux as they are more commonly called. In the Lakota society the heyoka. They live in the mid-we stern plains.. as planetary midw ifes. to be a heyoka. On certain days. and who assists humanity in it's exploration into t he new worlds. many are living among modern society. too. all you have to do is dream about the lig htning.Many people who know about these things say that the clown is the most po werful. . When I asked her to concentrate on the subtlet ies of the jangled. This often means violating socia l norms.

13 Black Elk describes a particular vision performance where two heyoka are measuri ng how deep a puddle is so they can cross. He will stay apart from all others and be sad and do strange things. one jumped into the puddle headfirst and began to swim violently as if he was drowning. He said.18 . J. His daughte r had listened to Inktomi. They pull out long crooked arrows and put them into the puddle. He threatened to throw whoever did this into the lake . Unktehi. and when the ch ief criticized him. the people believe that since the y do not scald their hands. One day. She brought water to the camp from the lake every day. is happier after the terror of the storm. but he led her to a place so far a way that she would never find her way back to her father. the proceeded to hold them horizontally and stick them in that way. To understand the heyoka. T he heyokas act as a balance to keep the Lakota people in check. the reverenc e shown to them by their people. gain their power from Wakinyan. Holding to the heyokas abilities of contradiction. the tr ickster.7 Anyone who does not act in this way is not performing his duty. and offered her advice on how she could get mo re water in exchange for a drink. told the chief where his daughter was and offered to "put the seed of things that are good to eat in the water and in the earth" if he could have her for his woman. Next the heyokas plunge their hands into the scalding water and pull out the d og meat.R. Once there was only one chief. told her he was thirsty.16 The reason there is no ef fect on the heyokas' hands is that they use a special herb that is rubbed all ov er the arms and hands before and after. the water monster. Walker explains the origins of the heyoka power according to the mythol ogy of the Lakota. Forever hereafter. After they determined that i s was deep.17 But. the heyoka play a very vital role in the religion of the Lakota . showing that the water was well over their heads. They are able to do this without any burns.11 In these words Black Elk explains part of the importance of the heyoka's role.4 However.15 The dreamer then boils the sacred dog meat . The world. it comes with terror li ke a thunder storm. This importance can be seen in their participation in ceremonies.14 A standard action heyokas must perform involves a sacrificial dog. His advice was for her to urinate in the water bark every night. or sacred. Inktomi apologized to the girl and t old her that he would take her back to shore. and this chief had a daughter. Not only did the fi rst heyokas. you see. he is heyoka forever. Meanwhile. so the power can come to them. for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world.8 Part of his duty is to perform a ceremony for the people because a m an is not able to use his power until he has performed the ceremony for the comm unity. Of cours e the whole arrow became wet. they are wakan. Then they measured the arrows against their bodies . Wakinyan became angry.6 Walker say s that the horrible person of Wakinyan causes the dreamer to act foolish in this manner."5 When someone has a vision of Wakinyan. The chief of the beavers captured her and hid her in his tipi under the water. The dog has b een killed in a sacred fashion. Instead of holding the arrows upright to test the dep th.fairs. where they are struck down by lightning. the happiness can often preced the storm. This is s ymbolic of the way lightning kills. religious ceremonies can often not begin until the people have laughed. it i s like rain. and their healing practices. This powe r is to do everything in contrary to the normal way of doing things. primarily in the ir ceremonies. when I speak to a man he will be like you.'10 It is believed that through laughter the people can be o pened up.12 In other words. became angry. the world is greener and happier. and so he threw her into the lake. but when the storm of [the] vision has passed. The chief didn't belie ve Unktehi and accused him of trying to trick him. quickly without any marks on its body. Inktomi. one must first understand from where their power deriv es. The chief. unaware of who did this. but all those thereafter. In Black Elk Speaks. Black Elk says: When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West. "This is the last time I wil l try to help man. The ne glect of this way of life is punishable by death. When Unktehi came to f ind his woman.9 The heyoka have a sacred power and they use it to benefit the people thr ough 'funny actions. Wakinyan was unable to find his daughter. The people laughed at this bazaar display. so he asked Wakinyan to help him find his daughter. Inktomi told the cheif it was his daughter. the beaver told him that Inktomi took her.

An ordinary person can end up with second degr ee burns and blisters from being in one with them."26 Calling someone a he yoka is not a funny compliment." The bear screamed and fell over. For example. They would rejuvenate the people with laughte r.that funny midd leman isn't there to use humor to keep respect and honor in balance.The heyokas are considered wakan by the Lakota. Tedlock made th e statement that this "might appear to weaken the very fabric of his society's r eligion."21 They serve as a buffer between the truth and the people. "I'll help you. sweat lodges can never be hot enough for a heyoka. When they are supposed to move clockwise. When the people ar e already in despair. and saying 'yes' when they mean 'n o.19 More examples of these cont rary actions are riding horses backwards. this sacred role of the clowns can be seen in other Native American r eligions also. "Run heyoka! He's going to kill you!" But the heyoka continued to stand there.27 In some cases. Furthermore. the Pueblo clowns sometimes throw ashes and plaza sw eepings at the katsina instead of corn. Instead of run ning this heyoka had the power to stand his ground and fend off the bear by doin g the opposite of everyone else. derive from his spi ritual power. Then the bear ran away . He did not panic. holding a porcupine quill pointed at the bear's stomach and simply said. The funny s ide of it is all gone. They cause people to laugh at shamans and other authoritative figures in society. An example of such a healin g is when Black Elk had a vision of a "four-rayed herb. He prayed to Wakan Tanka.24 This is not to say that heyokas and their foolish behavior are always bad to be around. Wakinyan restores th e earth with his rains. but he turned around. One is sad with suffering. . However. they move counter-c lockwise. the heyoka restore people. instead it can bring bad luck." he is really saying the opposite. the heyoka is missing. and sometimes they would even scare them. Severt Young Bear says that everyone is very serious and busin ess like. "The humor is no longer there. Nothing they do conf orms to the rules. instead he remained calm. something seems to be missing in Lakota ceremonies without the heyoka to perform his duty. Animals and children are kept away form them so the heyokas would not be bothered. She says that the Zuni women save their cooking ashes and sweepings to plant in the family cornfie ld every winter solstice. to send him voices so he could fi nd this plant.. Thus heyokas use spiritual power to help the Lakota people. This seems to be a very rude thing to do .23 Similarly." He knew he was to use t his herb to heal. and th e other laughs. wearing heavy rags and blankets in the summer and complaining about how cold it is. These ashes are to return to them as meal. as with other heyokas. maybe the laughing face is better for them 22 Today. After gathering the herb it came time for him to heal Cuts-to Pieces' son. He performed his ceremony usin g the herb that was in his vision. Young Bear tells of a story where a bear was attacking some Lakota and a heyoka got in the way. [but] he may actually revitalize it by higher truths.25 Such actions are perceived to be the result of sacred powers. When a heyoka says. Tedlock describes this as having a deeper meaning. "bzzz. and elders talked to them in "subdued voices. This herb was sacred and he knew that it would be hard to find . Similar to how Wakinyan restores the earth. though. This is how the heyokas can fill that certain gap in Lakota society as Black Elk explains in his quote about the storm. Also.. The clown is a medicine man without any medicines. So. Because they use their powers to help the people. laughing or weeping. The people were yelling. the heyoka can have medicine. the power to restore like Wakinyan. He looked up and saw where it would be. but it is the same face. He uses his behavior to delight and intrigue the sick. The power to restore is used in human form. The abilities of this particular heyoka.'20 Many people question how heyokas could help their religion. They have the mos t sacred of all powers. the Great Mystery. The bear was about to attack him . and he healed the boy. In spite of the heyokas' spiritu al power perceived by the Lakota one must be careful around them. Black Elk continues: The truth comes into this world with two faces. in fact . the clowns are throwing that which gives them the corn. This is believed to cure them of an y negative thoughts. they are viewed with great rev erence.

steams. Particularly in the southwest there is o ften more than one clown society. roughly translated. drizz le. refers to works more in the Spiritual (soul) area. Clowns are sometimes guides to the indivi duals whose dreams and visions take them to the World of Souls or the Land of th e Dead. and take the hardest and the most sacred duty for the good of the p eople. puns. The "Essenes" of the North American Natives. Sacred clowns portray and symbolize aspects of the sacred in a special way. and la ughter in this aspect of The People s lives. Clo wns in their actions don t seem to care about concepts. thunder and lightening. They sacrifice themselves. The ir comical behavior. Therefore. is used to liven every situation to open the people up to the power of Wakan Tanka. rai n.Not only was Black Elk able to heal the boy. Ser ious clowns of the medicine society maintaining the continuity of fertility. ban ana ripener. clouds. even at the age of nineteen. Early histories of oral tradition introduce the concept and the techniques of cl owning. They ask the questi ons others would like to say they say the things others are afraid to speak Joke s. Every society need s laughter. the reverence shown to them. and their healing p owers demonstrate their religious contributuions to the Lakota society. Example: Pueblos divide clowns into summer and winter clowns. crops. chifone. Clowns have an important role in terms of portraying and symbolizing concepts.28 Also. kwirana. thus we should do. a wa y in which their teachings get through to us without even thinking about them. storms. ________________________________________ Sacred Fools and Clowns Clowns Names for clowns are heyoka. INNER Heyoka as used on this website. Their laughter is no longer there to calm th e people before the truth of the ceremony. and their fooling around. the clowns have something in comm on. Whenever the clowns enter the stage of drama in a ritual and wherever they are f ound in the oral histories. and blue jay . according to Black Elk: The Six Grandfathers have placed in this world many things. C . They pla y a vital role in their religion and should be viewed in the highest regard. Heyoka. through their satire. ready with yucca plant lashes to catch a child and throw him in the river. and satire are forms of humor that are important teaching tools. and the various orders of Creation. When clowns appear in the creation stories they play important roles dur ing the emergence of The People into the present. one might say that the hey okas' importance to ceremonies. Clowns have a widespread association to water places such as mist. They ask in their backwar ds language. means "Clown". Sacred Clowns: Their Relationship To Scared Knowledge One of the unique features of Native American sacred ways is the important place of humor. Scared clowns from different tribes can recognize another scared clown witho ut word passing between them. and in that thing there shou ld be happiness and the power to make happy. almost like sons. rain. the guidelines for moral and ethical behaviors. and the theories of balance and imbalance. They are the guardians of the ritual. or songs. Clowns are the only ones who can ask why of dangerous subjects or ask why of those p eople who are specialist in advanced sacred knowledge. but for doing so he became revered. for this is the wish of the Grandfathers of the World. health. Every little thing is sent for something. There are both humorous and serious clowns. what he represented and what he was placed on earth to do. Young Bear has explained how the heyokas a re missing from today's ceremonies. they would be able to know who the other one was. as grotesque as it may be sometimes. By rea ding between the lines the audience is able to think about things not usually th ought about or cause them to look at some things in a different aspect. Clowns are mediators f or rain. all of which should be happy. koshare. Sacred clowns have a special rel ationship to the sun.29 The heyoka are just another way to bring this laughter to people. stories. They are not concerned abou t definitions but at the same time they define the concepts at the root of triba l cosmologies. Like the grasses showing tender fac es to each other. Clowns have several different aspects.

The clowns have many roles and functions. the light side. one of the Archetypes unique to the Sunsmen. jokes. contrary behavior. Clowns dramatize the powerful relationships. Thought of as being upside-down. then they dance.the term itself is a reverse pronunciation for the Centaurn term for Backward. everyone.one of the groups of clowns. Heyokas take apprentices . When a Heyoka actually die s. If a Dancer's Vision guides him to become a Heyoka. At the end of a ceremonies. some clowns even pose as Blue Jays and Cra zy Dancers. and they speak like wise-priests . The climax of the ceremony is when the H eyokas dance and take out the dog meat with their bare arms. other concepts to be understood s hould be. They teac h backwards through nonsense. First and possibly foremost is to prepare the people for disaster (this shows that col laboration is needed by everyone to maintain a life that is frequently challenge d by catastrophes.it is there that the receive their calling. Acoma Medicine Society. this symbolizes the importance of language and all that it allows us to do. =-=============-=-= The Heyoka "Heyoka" is the Centaurn term for Clown-Shaman Sorcerers. lots of foo ling around. were to know no sadness and to k now no pain even if they were hurt. The Heyoka perform The Cleansin g Ceremony as follows: They kill a dog and put it in a boiling kettle. and says things like yes when he actually means no (for humor). they show us life is hard. They can be Twomen or Fourmen. and all participants in the Sundan ce . And finally. The Koshare was described as different from t he other people because he knows something about himself .Tapejuta. complete with real grief. satire. which then cures them of the sicknesses that they have.lowns portray the boundaries and the limits of the world by going beyond them. many clowns are considered to be healers. adults an d children alike.The Chaianyi. The power originates from the experience of an individual vision or dream f rom the experience of shame. H e will be given a full funeral ceremony. Sacred clowns integrate modern-day elements into aboriginal rituals keeping their dramas effe ctive from year to year. are some of the most powerful members of t he tribe. should understand the concept of balance. Most obvious characteristic of sacred clowns is that th ey are full of contradictions. sing and act around the kettle. as he is trul y leaving behind his former world forever. a good medicine. those who need to must share their shame. This is all concluded in the finale of the ceremony when there is a cleansing act performed on the clowns. in addition to servering his ties with his former tribemates. Heyokas are all males. The sacred clowns make people aware of their pain and sorrow but they also relieve them from the though t of it. Additionally. backward-fo rward. but not Watchers. also serves as a rebirth. They make obscene remarks in the place of original lines.a newly called Heyoka will be shown in his vision whe . They c hew it and smear it on their arms. personal responsibility is at the heart of social order and survival a nd sacred power. Koshare. Heyoka is another name for a clown. the event is recognized with a Birth Ceremony. Some may eve n feed medicine to the sick out of their own mouths. It is the nature of Heyokas to do eve rything backwards . jokes and threats. They show the dark side. Generally. the singing of shameful events in their lives. Other activities performed by the clowns include the Zuni clowns imitation of Sa tataca. a nd asking and begging for food. Thus the Funeral Ceremony. he must first symbolically die. The MAIN GOAL is to teach by bad example and cau se imbalance at the ceremonies. and this may incl ude good eating and health tips. Yet another role is to show preventive medicine to the people. and in this way contrast they own co ntrary behavior with the orderly ritual directions and scared worlds. Coyotes have a special talent for this type of magic. Additionally.) Also. Then they give it t o the poor and the sick. and that life can be made easier. therefore the boiling water won't hurt them. most clowns participate in backwards talk. The Heyoka are not scalded because of a herb. The Bow Priest. in his Night Chant Prayer. a cting in a non-ordinary way while doing so. The Sioux clowns derive their power and wisdom from an experience of sh ame. They have a mixture of innocence and wisdom.

In most c ases they have been described to me as beings without form. A troupe of Heyok as might spend an afternoon clowning it up on the bank of a flooded river .Heyokas. defies any logical description. and a voice like thunder. They cause all that grows from the ground to flourish a nd grow leaves. wash it with water. with the words being pronounced backwards M/H). or what we would call clouds. are *funny*. They have claws. that this is why Hey oka speak and act in an anti-natural manner. Heyokas are dead. or haven' t yet been born. One cannot ask a Heyokas a question about the future .and the Heyoka do h ave a certain taint about them. and to make a vow or committment t o serve the people that will affect the rest of their lives. to receive special instructions.only to have the river subside over the coming night. They control water in all it's forms. In any case. or Wakinyan Oyate. is that a few people are chosen to receive dreams or "working relationships" with the Wakinyan who are o ffering to help them in some way. It is said.in addition to speaking in r everse word order. for all their stra ngeness and death associations. some small. Some large. as they become relatives of the Wak inyan. but when a Heyoka back-walks in to the firecircle and proclaims "Storm terrible a be not will there tomorrow!" you can count on everyone paying attention. ReverseTalk (which is the skill of speaking in reversed work order M/E).Performance . they can calm Wildfi res and Storms. wings. they have power over the Chixu that plague the Sunsmen. one of the main purposes of the Wakinyan is to purify t he world from all filthy things. distract and pacify these Beings. only a small percentage of these few are called to serve as Heyoka in the Lakota way of being. Dream Interpretation and Undead Lore. they mu st go through special ceremonies to share their dreams/visions with other recogn ized Heyoka. but no throat. The Comedy has anot her use . which is why cedar is pu t on the first 7 rocks brought into a Lakota sweatlodge. Heyokas are immune to power of the se Monsters. In the Lakota tradition. Likewise. some bla ck.re he must go to get his training. The Physical Comedy is pa rt of the way they stay in the favor of the Tribes . Dream Interpretation is based on the idea that since Heyokas live backwards. A recognized Heyoka becomes a servant of the people. =============-=------------------------=-=-=-=--= The Thunder Beings. His life is no longer his. and can even repel them if they know the name of the Being. they are a not considered recognized Heyoka in the community. they know they have a Witch on hand. When they are. with a body which bi llows and changes form like clouds. by participating . In order to remain invisible.unlike regular Diviners or Shamans. flowers and fruits. the y may have some vision of the future. or burn it with lightning. some white. but no feet. My understanding. Note .though Heyokas have no power over the Chepis of the Waters and Stones. Wakinyan cover themselves in robes that are as sha peless as itself. When the Altzataurs see a Heyoka forgetting his taboos and still having power. their antics can. These d uties. However. or something in between. at times. Heyoka Language (which is fully reversed. Heyokas learn many skills . He makes this committment. and much loved. but no head.Phy sical Comedy. The Wakinyan also live in an anti-clockwise dimension and cannot be understood b y ordinary people because they speak backwards. based on the ways I have been taught. but no shoulders. The Sunsmen call the Undead and the Misborn "Chixu". and it is said that cedar trees are never str uck by lightning. and give nourishment to all things that brea th. They enjoy the smell of cedar. In many cases. Heyokas ALWAYS lie. Until this is done. in part to thank the Wa kinyan for giving their blessing to the water that will be used. along with Thanotology and Death Rites are the Sorcery part of a Heyoka. beaks. Few Beings manage Sorcery and Witchraft without being Evil . They sweep it with wind. which is expressed to the community.

for exa mple. but paradoxically . or anxious moments during a ceremony. sometimes this would be for rain to cover tracks after stealing horses. rather than on each other. as some o f them are given instructions on how to heal people. Heyoka are also considered Pejuta Wicasa or "medicine men" or healers. s corn. which helped them overcome their enemi es. by being foolish. especially during in tensely serious. The Heyoka ar e usually the ones who could ask why of dangerous subjects." However. I forgot to go pee ". By understanding the Heyoka's role in the community. I hope this helps a little bit in your understanding. In the buffalo days. or by fooling around. "I hope this doesn't take too long. or he may stand up during a council meeting that is getting heated and change the subject saying. the Heyoka helps prevent the destruction of the harmony and balance in a comm unity when negative energies are focused on each other. which makes them seem foolish. They would ask the difficult questions. and simultaneously. Lakota folks have been able to think about things not usually thought about. The Heyoka also helps to create laughter. or stressful.. but were too afraid to speak. it was known by many. Heyoka would also be very f earless warriors on the battlefield. or crack a joke during a ceremony by saying something like. Sometimes this would be a request for clear weather. "You guys got any good recipes for commodity cheese. It is said that a Heyoka "restores" the community in a sim ilar way that rains will restore the land. Heyoka did not seem to care about social taboos or boundaries. He may fart on purpose in a sweatlodge. often taking great risks. help to define the Lakota guidelines for moral and ethical behavior. The community wil often fo cus these negative energies on the Heyoka. The recognized Heyoka. . and could question p eople in positions of authority or leadership. or something like that. which may be cons idered another version of "foolish. They do things to draw criticism. The Heyoka instictively knows when it is time to say or do something funny to relieve the tension and cause people to relax a li ttle. You get the idea. a council m eeting. that Heyoka had the spiritual power of the Wakinyan.in a "Kettle Dance" ceremony. but have the spiritual strength to endure these things. or cause them to look at thing s in a different way.. act sometimes in an anti -natural way. or ridicule to themselves. Heyoka were sought after before a buffalo hunt or a war rai d to communicate with their "friends" the Wakinyan in order to insure the desire d weather would take place. In this wa y. and the way a community looks at balance and imbalance. and say things others would like to say. They "asked" sometimes indirectly by their satire. and purge themselves of the negative energy. (the implied meaning is "fool"). Because they sometimes acted in an anti-natural way.I got a bunch I want to use up before it goes bad".

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