Manataka® American Indian Council


Proudly Presents







Return of the Bird Tribes

by Ken Carey


Painting by Keith Powell.

Fragments of a Faith Forgotten - My First Sweat Lodge Experience
Source: Circle of The Faithful of the Stars


The day was over. I entered the twilight interior of the lodge and sat cross-legged in a circle of half naked people. Fascinated, I watched as glowing red-hot stones were, one by one, brought in silence to our circle’s center. Motion slowed. The last of the stones was set in place; the opening of the lodge sealed. I could taste the blackness, the silence, the stillness of human space. Time flowed without time, with no measure of its passage. And suddenly, there was light. Dried celery root was dancing upon the glowing rocks, swirling, sparkling like ten thousand twinkling stars in the great eternal path of the Milky Way. Memories rose from some uncharted realm within me to form patterns in the star-like glow. I felt an unnamed power. Intimate. Familiar.

I had often heard of the sweat lodge ceremony, but this was my first experience in a traditional native American lodge. The dome-shaped structure had been constructed on the slopes of Mount Shasta by a member of the Karuk tribe. Each component of the frame was built with the type of wood specified by long-standing tribal tradition.
Covered with colored blankets, the sweat lodge rested beside the ice cold, flowing waters of a spring fed river.

It would take many pages to describe what transpired in that lodge. Even in the silence before the first water was splashed upon the rocks, the words in which I attempted to clothe my understanding of what was happening had already become as elusive as if they were dead leaves, caught up in some restless spirit wind. But as the water was splashed upon the glowing red-hot jewels of the earth and the first burst of steam threw its power to the air, a rushing gust of memory seemed to blow the last of those tattered word leaves far into the depths of night. I found myself suspended in a silence, rich and enduring, a silence within which language did not so much seem to cease, as to be given birth.

When the chanting began, I knew the words, I knew the melody, the rhythm, the inflection. I knew their every meaning. Without thinking, I sang from the depths of my heart in the familiar flowing native American tongue.

Not long into the chant, I remembered—almost casually, as if it were a matter of small importance—that I had spent far more time chanting in sweat lodges than I had ever spent— well, inside an automobile.

It may sound strange, but when that realization filled my awareness, it was not as if I remembered the sweat lodges and the chanting. Such deep experience my spirit had not forgotten. It was as if I remembered the automobile—a flickering recent image soon released to the steam and the katydids and the bull frogs and the sound of water rushing over rocks in the moonlight. Eternities passed. Those of us within that lodge had fused into a single being, a single heartbeat. Time after time, water was thrown upon the glowing stones.

Without warning, flowing out from deep within me, came memory’s unbidden explosion. Suddenly there were other stars dancing in a field of midnight—not dried celery root this time, but real stars in a real sky, high above a place I loved more than I could ever say.

I was one of a circle of luminous beings gathered at another meeting. The thoughts that were shared were but part of our purpose. The very arrangement of our circle and its placement against the stars was itself designed to imprint upon us something more; so that later, if a time came when we found ourselves far out beyond all memories of earth—or slumbering beneath a blanket of history, the very image of the Circle of the Faithful of the Stars might shake something loose in us and jolt us into wakefulness. My present purpose in drawing attention to this meeting—and sharing this account of how I came to remember it—is to call those who attended it back into mindfulness of the sacred trust that the Creator of all this universe bestowed upon us at that time.

You may remember. The location of our meeting was not upon the physical surface of the earth, but upon the higher frequencies of the spirit world—a location in the earth’s upper atmosphere above the 33rd degree of northern latitude. From where we gathered we could see below us the steady rotation of the Northern Hemisphere, the passage of its oceans, islands, continents.

Those of us present at this gathering were not at that time projecting identities upon the earth. None of us was a graduate of the clash of money barons that was then manifesting as a second world war. Nor, had we known of its occurrence, would any of us have approved of such an extreme approach, for jolting incarnate projections into wakefulness was a strategy alien to our ways of thinking and, in any case, for us it was unnecessary.

We were spirits with successful experience in securing the cooperation of our human bodies, minds, and hearts during times when we clothed ourselves in form. For this very reason, most of us had not walked the earth for some time. (And among most at this particular gathering, it would require calculation to say whether that time was centuries or millennia.) A few of us had helped to guide the human family through its more recent turning points, but we were the minority.

Ken Carey

The meeting was called to order by the Great Spirit whose body is the sun, a customary procedure that did not surprise us. Typically however, such meetings were held only for those about to embark on incarnate lives—and there were few among us with that intention. We were alerted to the unusual significance of the occasion, when flickering across the face of the sun we beheld the countenance of the Universal Mother, and indeed, when the thought transfer began, it was she who spoke, she whose very body is the galaxies. Her purpose in addressing us was introductory in nature and proved of value in preparing us for what was to come, for I think without her intermediary guidance, what appeared next might have otherwise triggered so much surprise as to cause, at the very least, a delay in the proceedings: it was none other than the white light of the Eternal One, focused in a manner rarely seen in any star.

We lived in the presence of that Great Spirit, it is true. We lived our lives knowing it as The Source from which we drew our all. Buy to witness so sharp a focus of that presence was as distinct from what we were used to as gentle sunlight is from sunlight focused through a lens upon a single spot.

In the communication that followed, the three manifestations of Being—solar, universal, and eternal—flowed in and out of one another, blending, merging, weaving the colors of their whole. At times it was hard to identify which of the Trinity was the speaker, so unified were their waves and so aligned their purpose. The Creator spoke through these three, giving us specific instruction. I will allow these to be reflected into whatever words present themselves, without effort, for in a situation like this I do not care to follow them down.

“You are being invited,” we were told, “to incarnate upon a world where illusion prevails in the minds and hearts of those whom we have created in our image and likeness. You who accept this invitation will soon find yourselves in the last days of the human species’ infancy, in a situation where the currents of fear have ruled their experience of separation are soon to end. I have numbered the days of this condition and have established the external forces that will divide the fear from the love in human consciousness, banishing the one and redeeming the other.

“I am inviting you to be my agents in this fearful culture that you might do what you can from within to complement the changes I am bringing from without. For I know that there will likely be fearful ones whose physical bodies will not survive the separation between love and fear, but I know also that there is no reason, no good reason, why even so much as a single human being should disincarnate during this cleavage.

“I have called you here because you have proven in times past that you can, to a high degree, keep your bodies, minds and hearts in harmony with your spirits. I release to you now an invitation to incarnate in these tribes who inhabit the earth. I have not asked this of you until now, for during earlier historical times conditions on earth were not as conducive to the spreading of our awareness. But the awakening in human consciousness has begun. Many are now opening to the living information. Your presence would do much to minimize the possible trauma that could occur with the changing of the age.”

I remember distinctly.

While it was being explained that what was happening on earth was like the changing of a guard, suddenly the spinning planet, which until now had seemed unremarkable except for the gentle rocking of her seasons, was sprouting an enormous wound. An ominous gray circular cloud rolled toward us with the new day, obscuring the southern portion of the Japanese archipelago.

As our vision penetrated beneath, we saw that it was supported by a black pillar, a towering inferno of awesome destruction. With each slow roll of the earth we could feel raw human terror broadcast upward, rippling through our open hearts in waves of unbridled fear. Then suddenly, rolling toward us from the west, came another. A towering column of dark red, cloud-like substance surrounding an empty void that seemed as impossible in the midst of such chaos as the chaos itself.

Immediately we slowed our time perception and zoomed in to experience this day. Into a vacuum hole, soil and water and organic life poured, tumbling and boiling, rising into billowing clouds of turbulence that rose almost to touch us.

As far as we could see, all beneath us was inhabited by swirling whirlpools and shooting balls of random fire, the likes of which I have seen only upon the surface of stars. I will not elaborate.

Into those moments we brought eternity. In them, we are still piecing together what balance—or what some would call justice—requires. It is enough to say that on that day, we experienced hell. Yet even as we did, we knew what our response to the Great Spirit’s invitation would be. Yes, we would incarnate. Yes, the time had come.

The purpose of our incarnations, it was explained, was to begin disrupting the false, underlying premises of the historical state, educating people and gently introducing the truth.

“Your role,” our narrator continued, “is to prepare people for the time when the lies that give birth to all fear-centered thinking will be banished forever from human consciousness. Though it may sound strange to you, if human populations are not prepared, it will be much more difficult for them to survive this change, so entwined are the currents of fear, not only in their thinking, but even in their very sense of self. We must help them relax with their identities and stop defining themselves as vulnerable entities, isolated and alone.”

We were told that to effectively achieve this objective, we were, of necessity, going to have to incarnate, not in protected locations as had been our wont in ancient times (having as little to do with the fearful as possible), but into the more fearful of the earth’s human populations. But we would not work on one level alone. Those who volunteered would incarnate into the planet’s most fear-promoting ruling families. This would ensure our strategic placement among those elements of humanity who were in fact expected to prove the most resistant to the powers of education.

The Creator was careful in making it clear to us that we were foregoing our traditional family bonds in order to incarnate in this way and that we were likely, upon awakening, to find ourselves in unsupportive and vibrationally alien surroundings. It was emphasized that we did not have to accept this assignment, that our role in this was purely voluntary. Even if we accepted, there was no assurance that we would succeed in entirely eliminating or even absorbing the trauma of the transition, but there would be a greater chance that more people would come through the moment of final separation with their senses intact. To alert us to this opportunity, our circle had been called to gather in the starlit skies above the 33rd parallel.

We were cautioned about the dangers we were likely to encounter in a world still very much under the control of fearful organizations.

“The real power,” the Great Spirit explained, “is in the love that is strengthening each day during this coming cycle. Our strategy now is to allow the organizations of fear to continue to dominate in appearance while we subtly drain away the source of their power—the fear of the people. This will make their final banishment less traumatic for the human family as a whole, for by then, the numbers of those who believe in them will have greatly diminished.”

We were reminded then of the many layers of fearful logic that we ourselves had shaken off during previous walks upon the earth. We were asked to take who we were and what we knew and to incarnate among the nations of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Our mission was to retain our innocence while interfacing with every known form of human organization. We were assured that the momentum of the age was with us.

“You do this not for your species alone,” we were told, “but for yourselves and for all whom your race will influence in the ages to come. Though many of you are incarnating among aspects of humankind long kept separate from your own realms of experience, you are nevertheless bound to the warrior tribes by ties that were forged by your own thoughts in eons past, ties that you have only temporarily been able to lay aside—but this you have known from the beginning.”

The Circle of the Faithful of the Stars was invited to incarnate en masse as a single global generation.

So that the transition might be as easy as possible for those upon the earth, we agreed. Our purpose was, and is, to prepare the way for the Creator’s awakening and to dissolve in the great love that we have for this blessed planet, the structures of fear that bind human consciousness.

Yes, we would enter human forms, some to incarnate in the next wave of children and others in their children’s children, and even grandchildren if needed. We would not stop until every rock of preconception had crumbled into sand. We would do all we could to help guide the world peacefully toward that moment in time when the Creator would awaken inside the human family and began to direct it as a single organism.

“The danger for you who are to incarnate into the fear dynasties of these times,” it was pointed out, “is that these structures and the energies that they embody are so very, very subconscious that it is possible that as you are born and raised among them, you will forget your very purpose for incarnating. As your generation reaches maturity, I will give you some special assistance to help you remember.”

Implanted then into the structure of our emotional bodies were nonverbal, time-released melodies that would help us to awaken even when conscious understanding was far from present. A number of us were musically commissioned and given the role of introducing the trigger melodies.

These melodies began being delivered in the 1960s through songs that —though often rather nonsensical on the surface—pulsed with powerful emotional messages of love, hope and joy. Through music many of the sleeping began to stir. The first rays of dawn were heard on the radio before many even realized that there was a sky to look toward.

Implanted into our second wave of incarnating bodhisattvas were nonverbal, time-released rhythms, designed to trigger memories of the purpose for each incarnation.

Yet our awakening is not complete until what has found form emotionally also finds form conceptually. What we know in our hearts requires the complement of conscious understanding to effectively approach the healing that lies before us.

It is for this reason that I share these thoughts and memories. This generation is now in the position to steward the earth and her resources. Will we foolishly imitate the ways of elder merchants and statesmen who are themselves only aping the ways of feudal lords now thankfully removed from power? Or will we accept the commission to remake our world in the image of love?

Now that I have surfaced in this age, so long after the feudal lords have been removed, it surprises me to find the momentum of their ways still lingering on and attracting fresh human attention. Surely these lords must have commanded the allegiance of the earth’s people well. It seems that humans have been so long trained for subservience that they now feel insecure under their own initiative! They lapse into following the shadows of these feudal ways even when the shadows are in such short supply they must create new ones just to continue their habit. Each one searching desperately for a spiritual leader worthy of their fealty, is doing so because they are terrified by the thought of looking within themselves and discovering their oneness with the only leader worthy enough to gaze forth from their eyes, a leader so powerful there is no guru or disciple, no teacher and student, just an absolute purity of being in a specific human body, designed for a specific role in this lifetime. Are they afraid of themselves? Or afraid that their role may turn out to be the stereotypical spiritual leader they imagine. Their role is to do what they most want to do. But each one must find this out for him or herself.

The challenge before those of us who came in upon the second wave is to join with others upon remembering why we have come here, to show through our example the beauty and power of the new way, while others, gifted with a previously unknown courage are commissioned to ride the very razors edge between life and death, risking both to learn more from—and share more with both sides. Spreading new wisdom with each new glimmer of understanding, new insight with each new glimmer of the sun. We can leave behind the twilight stage that gave room for sleepy imagination to postulate that the awakening revolved around some human individual, or some human organization, no matter how beautiful or enlightened. We are called to organize in this time, not around leaders, ideologies or belief systems, but around love: love for God, love for one another, and love for our sacred world. Any one of these three is sufficient.

Those of you who were there with me, remember our circle. It is time to incarnate, to get on with the healing and educational work for which we have come.

We have been seeded far and wide across the continents of the world. We listen to the same music as we drive to work in Hong Kong, London, Tokyo and New York. We cherish the same vision of peace and disarmament as we watch children play in the parks of Cape Town, Paris, Singapore and Rome. We dream the same dreams as evenings slide across Adelaide, Tel Aviv, Rio and Leningrad. We witness the same events from Mexico City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Berlin—even as they are occurring, broadcast live, we watch them. Together. We open our eyes in the deserts, in the mountains, in the forests, in the jungles and cities of every nation.

We are today’s people. There is no one today to write our script but ourselves. History repeats itself no more than any other bad habit. And no habit, however deep or ingrained, will stand a chance of re-election where consciousness, honesty and willing determination characterize human affairs.

While this generation volunteered to facilitate the transition before us, the task is not exclusively our own. Many have helped. Many are helping. And all are invited to contribute their talents and ingenuity. There is no conflict of interest. There is simply new insight and a sense that it is time for the ages to progress.

What we see in the mirror, we do not see in the media. The world is becoming a more peaceful and far less violent place. Even into the Twenty-Teens the most methodical scientific studies will prove this, even as the Dali Lama agrees with a laugh because it is so obvious to him, as it is to all those who perceive this world for themselves, and refuse to accept the mass market descriptions sold to those still enslaved. The love in our hearts—or the lack of it—underlines every governmental decision. We cannot overestimate the blessings that we might bring to the inhabitants of the most exploited lands when our hearts are truly open.

We should not be discouraged by the seemingly slow pace of attitudinal change within our institutions. The progression of awareness that precedes awakening is subtle and not always visible on the surface. It may take some time before our thoughts are reflected in the older and more entrenched human organizations. Our government remains among these. It is up to us to put our creature comforts in second place, and join with the vast majority in proving once again that the United States system of government remains one of the most resilient and flexible of all human institutions, and can—and with our passion, will—change until it becomes as responsive to the rivers, mountains, forests and plains of North America—and to the people who love them—as it is today to the world’s corporations and the bankers who control them.

With an awakened—and truly Native American Consciousness—U.S. policy would not continue to reflect a European past. It would certainly not kowtow to short-term commercial and financial interests whose advocates, spiritually speaking, have not yet noticed the “New” in front of York, Hampshire or Jersey—to say nothing of the “New” before the Order of the Ages.

As this new generation enters into the corridors of power, it is not too much to hope that the government, which our ancestors created “of the people, by the people and for the people,” will indeed become that once again, and one of the Creator’s more effective means of expression in the world. No, if we rise up and act, it is not too much to hope for. It is something to expect.

With gratitude for all those who have contributed positively to our society, we consider the challenges, the blessings and the opportunities that come with our stewardship. Excluding no one, we ask all to join us in taking a new look at how we can work with the tools and resources at hand.

When thoughts reflect the creativity of compassionate hearts, even armed services can play meaningful roles in the mechanism of transition. They will not dissolve easily, but they might look up to their higher purpose, to the very reason for their existence; for the purpose of an army is to minimize violence. If approached sensitively, with cooperation from all who might be touched by such an action, could there be roles for newly enlightened armies in the transportation and distribution of food within and to the twenty-one African nations where our sisters and brothers are starving? And why can’t they start tomorrow? Those that hold to the service of the supra-rich will not survive this transition. Conversely, as STARSEED states, “Pacific nations will prosper.”

Is there a way we can use our American influence to minimize violence in the world and to truly promote freedom? Is there a way to direct our nation’s power independent of the financial interests that are attempting to “use” America in this new century like they “used” Britain in past two? Is there a way to put some Native American sensibility behind our existing technological infrastructure so it can serve to assist humankind’s awakening into the new reality?

We can draw strength from many things in America: from the sheer numbers of conscious beings who are interfacing daily with the eroding order, to the knowledge that for every Martin Luther King Jr. or Robert Kennedy whose expression has ever in our land been cut short, a thousand more will spring forth to resume their work more determined, more alert and better informed. It is understandable that our visionaries might occasionally draw to them animosity and remnants of fear, but this in no way diminishes what truly matters. They have helped to draw the human world another step closer toward the light. If a few such ones pass along the wayside, martyrs it would seem, for a vision not yet full, still, the vision continues on. It continues to grow in strength and power and clarity until the very breast of humankind explodes in one great expression that is simultaneously both a longing and a rejoicing.

It is from here, from within our hearts, that the power emerges to heal and transform. From you and I that a rapidly proliferating number of non-governmental relief and service organizations are showing signs of an emerging American Spirit that is very much in tune with the Mayan calendar—and no stranger to the Christian one.

There is an influence radiating from the American continents, warming the seeds of human potential like sunlight warming a garden in spring, an indigenous consciousness that touches all who inhabit these lands, supporting all our steps toward freedom and love.

Native American Consciousness swings on the swings of our playgrounds. It skates through the parks of our cities. It runs deep beneath the rhythms of our music. It permeates the very heart of our sports, both amateur and professional. It speaks of a sacred relationship with the spirit of the land, a regard for her indigenous wisdom, an attitude of reverence for this earth that provides our nourishment, supports our families and upholds the necessary structures of our nation.

The consciousness of this land that we call North America finds in us a new and more emphatic expression—and it needs room, space to grow and expand. Not geographical territory, but the territory of a much greater vision, territory of the spirit, territory of the soul.

The new frontier is consciousness.

This blessed world, this third planet from the star we call the sun, needs you and me to fulfill her awe-inspiring potential. We have an opportunity to bring to her a great gift for which she has been longing since our race first appeared among her dreams. The gift of ourselves. Awakened. Whole. Incarnate.

It is spring. The passes are clear. It is time to cross the boundaries that would arbitrarily circumscribe our potential. This land is your land. It is my land. But just as she belongs to us, we belong to her. The Sacred Hoop can no longer be denied. The circle requires completion. From California to the New York islands. From the Yukon to the Rio Grande.

As Sacagawea once guided Lewis and Clark to the shores of the Pacific, an aboriginal consciousness is awakening to guide our technology through the economic and political labyrinth of the decisive months ahead. Let us honor it. And let our incarnations continue. We are the Bird Tribes, the Ongwhehonwhe, the people of reality.



About the Author

Ken Carey lives on a remote forest farm in the Missouri Ozarks. He is the founder and administrator of Greenwood School, a private academy established in 1977 and based on principles of experiential education. He is also a co-founder of the Greenwood Forest Association, a land trust to save endangered trees.

From 1980 to 1996 he traveled the world offering seminars and participatory workshops on the topics covered in his books, which include Vision and the critically acclaimed Starseed Trilogy: The Starseed Transmissions, Return Of The Bird Tribes, and The Third Millennium. Read more: