[working draft]

A Brief Description of A Creek Accession and Ascension Ceremony
Conducted during the Harvest Busk Held at Pine Arbor Tribal Town at
Blountstown, Florida, November 1995

A Brief Overview:

The last such installation rites of an hereditary Mekko (King) of the unremoved Apalachicola Tribal Town people occurred summer, 1923(1. Many changes have taken place in Apalachicola life since then including a radical shift in the kinship system, a near loss of the language outside of its ceremonial context, a breakdown in the matrilineal aggregate and majority conversion to Christianity as a survival mechanism. The teens and early twenties saw the last wild cattle roundup, the last communal tending of large fields and the last annual communal Harvest Hunt. Yellow fever and influenza outbreaks severely reduced the population and altered the ceremonial structure. Klan opposition and economic changes scattered many families as they sought a better life than previous generations. Customs, habits and traditions were rushed into oblivion by the converted families while the minority clung stubbornly to the old philosophies and practices which centered around the Sacred Fire and Square Ground. Although diminished, it is important to note that no break occurred in ceremonial life. The Sacred Fire has never been extinguished but is faithfully renewed each year according to customary rites. The annual communal "Cry Time" at first frost continues, as does occasional secondary re-interment. Per capita land payments of the Creek Dockets brought forth thousands of people claiming Indian heritage. For most, these specious claims were rightfully voided. The wake caused by the scramble for Creek docket money, gained the South a whole new social stratum, that of the "instant Indian" and "trinket traders." To further insulate and isolate itself from this phenomenon, Apalachicola Tribal Town, rendered Ocēsvlke Pvlvcekolv in the native tongue, changed the English name of its ceremonial town site to Pine Arbor Tribal Town. To do so required calling a Constitu­tional Convention that included input from the Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole Nations of Oklahoma with special assistance given by Principle Chief Claude Cox, Robert W. Trepp and historian Angie Debo. The late Joe Floyd represented the removed Apalachicola of Oklahoma and the late Sam Wall and Thom Hyfield represented Town citizens from Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama. The late Archie Sam represented affiliated Natchez citizens. Final ratification of the name selected by former Matriarch Nvhokv (Mrs. R. O. McKenzie) took place at Wakulla Springs and was hosted by Edward Ball, Jake Belin and Joe Wilkie. Through all this, the Town was and remains a viable unbroken link with America's anci­ent Southeastern peoples and their ways. 

Preparations: "Honor the Dead"

The ceremonial Grounds were largely prepared because a full Harvest Busk was underway. Four long blasts from a conch shell had already opened the Grounds on a previous day. Cry Time, a final weeping for former rulers, the recent dead which included the future Mekko's mother and the viewing of old bones had concluded. Mourners had struck the ball post hard with clubs, axes--whatever was at hand. They spoke the deceased names for a last time publicly. Heles-Hayv and the mourners now consigned their souls to the stars, campfires of the departed. All eyes moved slowly up the ball post, caught sight of pale smoke from the central ceremonial Fire and knew it would lead the souls to the Milky-Way, pathway of the departed; within four days all could look up to search out their family's campfire in the sky, carefully noting its increased brightness. 
The way upward had been made clear for their following and the way cleared for the generation anew to take its seats over the generation old. The preparation day had also hosted a small family giveaway to honor the Mekko's mother. All her available wealth was distributed to all women who danced at the Grounds. A feast larger than any in recent memory rounded out the day in more ways than one. A grand­son of the former priest would conduct these rites. An elected tribal chairman would stand firmly with the future Mekko and assist the priest of the occasion--visibly but firmly demonstrating and supporting the duality of separate civil and ceremonial leadership.  Brother to the Mekko would carry the mats in pro­cession, place them and bind the girth mat on the Mekko when required. The offering and taking of the mats are emblematic of Pine Arbor's highest authority. There are more elaborate symbols but none of such import as simple mats.

Before the actual rites of accession and ascension on Sunday morning, the Square Grounds were swept cleaned again and symbolic white sand scattered over the ceremonial area inside the small shell midden which marks the sacred clearing and Fire Mound within its circle. The Fire Mound was attended to by leveling and reshaping; special wood was procured for the occasion. The four willow covered Arbors were finely decorated with woven sashes and other hand work. They may also be decorated with garlands of greenery and ribbons. Because of time constraints for the 1995 Harvest Busk, Arbors were only mod­erately adorned with ceremonial objects.

The Rites: "Taking the Mats"

Woven mats are historically important to these Grounds and mats are essential for these rites(2. Paul Hornsby(3 gathered materials and prepared two specially woven mats, symbol of authority. The longest mat had dimensions which covered the top surface of an ancient bench(4 used for this and similar invoca­tions of authority and Power. The second mat was the same length but one half its width. A third cane mat was about one quarter the size of the first--just enough surface to constitute a seat for one person, the future King. It was especially woven by Sakim and its borders were completed by Mary Francis Johns(5, a Seminole member of the Grounds from the Brighton reservation at Okeechobee, Florida.
These mats were brought forth at the appropriate time Sunday morning and placed on the backbench of the North Arbor under the auspices of a senior male.   This honor is determined by the Heles-Hayv, Maker of Medicine in concert with the matriarch.  For this ceremony, Mark Cummings was chosen. He has attended Busks for over 21 years in a leadership role and makes tremendous effort and sacrifice by traveling to the Busks from his home in California; he is also the future Mekko's clan sibling and has demonstrated undaunted faithfulness to Medicine, sacrifice, and service to the Town.  

When the rites of accession and ascension were ready to proceed, all clothed themselves in their finest ceremonial raiment.  The exception was the ascending Mekko.  In former times, this participant remained unclothed during the initial portion of the rites. In this modern instance and because of the public charac­ter of the Grounds, the future Mekko wore only common sleeping attire and a ragged flannel shirt--all purposefully disheveled (6

When everyone was seated, the Heles-Hayv (as was both a right and duty) selected two Emarv(7 (ee-MAHT'hlah): Dan Penton and John Thomas.  The selection of the Emarv were based on the ceremonial (religious or spiritual) and political (civil or governing) components of the Town and earlier historical precedence. In their role, the Emarv direct and escort ritual participants to and from Arbors, make announcements to the Town at large, and accompany all prescribed actions of the Heles-Hayv and other procurators. The chosen Emarv may or may not be the same who serve as Emarv for the Ribbon Dance and other celebratory activities at the Grounds. Dan is the grandson of Sankey Godwin, the ceremonial leader and Heles-Hayv who conducted the 1923 rites under direction of his own father, James-Robert, also a Maker of Medicine. John, current tribal chairman, is the son, grandson, great grandson, great great grandson and cousin of all former tribal political leaders.  

After the Emarv were chosen, Dan addressed the Town reminding all that continued ceremonial silence was to be observed by those present. From that point, all conversation and unnecessary sound ceased; normally, a conch shell trumpet could have sounded four long blasts to mark and initiate the occasion. The shell master had other duties more pressing at that moment. Instructions given to the Emarv from Heles-Hayv were always lightly whispered--not audible to anyone else. Such silence is necessary if the ritual is to be of a primary sacred order--all actions directed solely to One-Above. A secondary sacred order is directed towards Sacred Power performed to benefit humans. "Silence is the language of One-Above, Creator but sound is the language of creation" is often quoted at Pine Arbor. 

John, the Emarv from the political component, gave no speeches or addresses because those active in political roles are not allowed a public voice in ceremonial activity at the Square Grounds; But, they may serve in any secondary support role.

Heles-Hayv stood and quietly walked around to the South side of the West Arbor, the place where the Medicine Bundles are kept and displayed at the Grounds.  Heles-Hayv knelt down in a poster appropriate to the forthcoming transformation. The Bundles were opened and he procured a small piece of lightning struck wood and four small snuff cans each containing a different powdered mineral paint (8.  Several small woven baskets, each approximately one-inch square and each containing one of the fourteen sacred herbs were brought forth. Copal incense(9 donated by David Freidel for this occasion was also brought forth. With the Bundles still open(10, he set the 4 small cans to his right and carefully opened each one. The Maker of Medicine created a small drop of paint with a moistening a finger with a little fat and touch­ing that finger to the powder in the first can; he made a small circular imprint on the piece of lightning struck wood.  This step was repeated for each of the other three containers. The resulting efforts im­printed four small colored circular dots on the small wooden splint--yellow, red, white and black in that order(11. After the lightning struck wood was marked with the appropriate colors, the small baskets were arranged in the open Bundle in a mirror image of a constellation whose Creek name is not yet known to the author. Finally, Heles-Hayv removed two other items from the Bundle. One was an ancient piece of buffalo hair dating back to the days of the eastern woods bison. The other has no known name in English but will be called a Medicine String for the present. It consists of a long thin leather thong to which is tied a series of small pieces of cloth and doeskin forming little pouches about the size of a small marble each. Their contents are not known beyond the men who handle and care for the Bundle. However, Mark Cummings noted that they have been withdraw from the Bundle only three or four times in the last 25 or so years.

Heles-Hayv stood up and walked eastward across the Square to the Fire which is always seated on a small earthen mound called the Turtle's Mound or the Back of the Turtle. Again, Heles-Hayv was escort­ed by the two Emarv.  He then doctored the lightning struck wood with breath and placed it into the Fire. No words were spoken (12.  After presenting the splint of wood to the Fire, the Fire was given tobacco hand procured by Robert Wade and Mark Purcell. Again, no prayer or spoken words were offered since Power evoking actions are often done in silence. 

The sight of lightning struck word produced looks of awe from older Grounds members who knew that the use of such portended the fullest invocation of Power. Lastly, David Friedel's copal was offered to the Fire in silence to ensure the sacrifice would travel upwards to One-Above, the Creator. The copal pro­duced an aromatic whitish-blue smoke and an abundance of sparks in the same manner as dried sweet gum resin. Such sparks are said to be reminiscent of shooting stars, while smoke is said to represent several things: another symbol of the pathway of Power, the offspring of the milky way and the vines (also speech scrolls) around the [invisible] axis-mundi.  The Medicine String was carried in Heles-Hayv's hand throughout the offering sequence.  After the offerings, the Heles-Hayv was escorted back to the Bundle into which the Medicine String was returned; then, he was escorted to his seat by the two Emarv, Dan and John.

The Emarv then went forth to the South Arbor and motioned for the Town's musician, Henev-Maro (Richard W. Smith), to step forth. The flute player was then escorted around the Fire, Afterwards, all three exited the Grounds near the Bundle in the West Arbor and continued to walk until they were between the West Arbor and the ball post to the West of the Grounds.  They stopped and turned to face the Fire.  The Town's musician, Henev-Maro, began playing softly as he slowly walked towards the West Arbor flanked by the two Emarv(13.  All three entered though the West Arbor and continued to walk until they reached the edge of the South Arbor.  At that point, all briefly stopped and faced the Arbor, with Richard still playing softly.  After a few moments of music, all began to slowly walk towards the East Arbor; Richard continued playing the flute all the while.  Upon reaching the East Arbor, all stopped again and faced the Arbor as before--the flute still continuing. After a brief pause, all began walking towards the North Arbor where the scenario was repeated. From the North Arbor, the three walked towards and eventually around the Bird Mound in the northwest corner of the Square; playing continued softly. 

After Richard and the two Emarv circumnavigated the invisible Bird Mound, they proceed to the West Arbor and repeated the same scene as before. After pausing at the West Arbor's edge, the flute player and the Emarv processed toward the Fire. At the half-way point, they stopped. Richard continued to play for an extended time and then let the sound of the flute taper off to silence before the Fire. When Richard finished playing, he was escorted back to his South Arbor seat by the Emarv(14. While at the South Arbor, the Emarv motioned forth one of the men named Vbvske or Eric Jakubowski, whom they escorted towards the North Arbor after circling the Fire once.  When the party reached the North Arbor, the (ceremonial) Emarv, Dan, pointed towards a man sitting the Arbor called Hopoyv or Doug Alderson, who stepped forth.  Next, all walked to the West Arbor.  Each man chosen from the South and North Arbors was to be an Vfvstv, "those who attend to," (uh-FAHSH-duh, uh-fahsh-DULL-gee, plural) 15

When the Emarv and Vfvstvlke came to the West Arbor, the Heles-Hayv stood again, stepped to the Bundle, and picked up two horse conch shells(16 and placed a shell at each end of the ancient ceremonial bench. Next he placed a female Turtle to the side of one conch shell and placed a male Turtle to the side of the other conch shell (17.

Emarv Dan Penton whispered instructions to the Vfvstvlke.  Afterwards, the Vfvstvlke carefully lifted the bench and its contents off the ground, reminiscent of a litter. Escorted by the Emarv, the Vfvstvlke carried the bench airborne to East side of the Square half way between the East Arbor and the Fire; they placed the bench broadside to the Fire with ends facing North and South.  After lowering and placing the bench, the Vfvstvlke stepped back one-step as the Emarv went to the North Arbor.  Upon arriving, the Emarv pointed to Mark Cummings (keeper of the mats), who then picked up the mats and proceeded to the West Arbor with them.

After conferring with the Emarv, Mark picked up the long woven mat and arranged it so that the mat rested on his open hands, palms-up(18.  Mark was then escorted by the Emarv to the East Arbor, where he approached the bench from its rear (facing the Fire mound).  Each Vfvstv approached the bench from the North and South, lifted up the conch shell and Turtle at their respective ends and stepped back.  Mark, holding the mat with palms-up, proceeded towards the bench, knelt, and evenly placed the mat on top of the bench.  Afterwards, Mark stepped back from the bench and the Vfvstvlke stepped forward to replace each conch and Turtle shell on top of the matted bench in the prescribed manner.


After the mat, shells and Turtles were placed on the bench, the Emarv proceeded to East Arbor and quietly brought forth the ascending Matriarch--Emv, Doris Adams. Emv was escorted to the North end of the bench where she stood facing the Fire.  An Vfvstv stepped forward and removed the shell and Turtle. Then he stepped back.  Emv was seated. The Emarv proceeded around the Fire to the West Arbor and quietly brought the ascending Mekko forward from where he stood under the West Arbor. He was escorted around the Fire to the bench.  The other Vfvstv stepped forward, removed the other Turtle and shell and stepped back. The Heles-Hayv was seated on the South end of the bench, facing the Fire.

Both Emv and Heles-Hayv, seated on the bench, raised the hands, palms-up, from their laps. Each Vfvstv stepped forward and placed a shell and a Turtle in each hand of Emv and Mekko. The shell was placed in the outside hand while the Turtle was placed in the inside hand. The Vfvstvlke stepped back; Heles-Hayv, gazing intently towards the Fire, began a quiet invocation from the ceremonial language which Emv quietly repeated. 

After the ceremonial recitation was spoken, each Vfvstv stepped forward, removed the shell and Turtle from each ascending officer's hand and stepped back. Heles-Hayv and Emv stood up; the Emarv separately escorted each back to their respective Arbors.  While the participants were being escorted back, each Vfvstv stepped forward and replaced the Turtle and shell back on bench in their original positions--conch shells on the outside and Turtles on the inside. When the Emarv returned from escort­ing the main ritual participants, the Vfvstvlke picked the bench and moved it to the West side of the Fire and placed the bench halfway between the Arbor and Fire mound--with the ends of the bench pointing North and South.  The Emarv again separately escorted Heles-Hayv and Emv to the bench, where they would again be seated facing the Fire. Shells and Turtles were removed from the bench and handed to participants in the same manner just described; each participant quietly recited in the ceremonial lan­guage as before. This whole process was repeated two additional times in front of the North and South Arbors with bench ends oriented East and West.

After the fourth time, Heles-Hayv and Emv concluded their part of the ceremony; they were separately returned their respective Arbor by the Emarv. The conch shells and Turtles were returned to the top the mat covered bench that the Vfvstvlke carefully lifted up again. The Emarv escorted them and the bench around the Fire to the West Arbor side. The Vfvstvlke placed the bench halfway between Fire mound and West Arbor.  At this point, one Vfvstv walked near to the Bundle, grasped the cylindrical ceramic medicine pot, returned to the bench and placed the pot in its center between the Turtles and shell.. The same Vfvstv again walked to the Bundle and obtained the short cedar blowing tube, a garfish jaw and the smallest mat that was woven from cane. He proceeded towards the bench where he placed the small mat atop the ceramic medicine pot; the cedar tube and garfish jaw were also placed on the smaller woven mat.  Afterwards, the Emarv escorted the two Vfvstvlke and Mark back to their respective Arbors.

After all ritual participants were seated, the Emarv escorted the ascending Matriarch, Emv, to the front of the Fire; she stood halfway between the Fire and East Arbor. The ceremonial Emarv informed the Town, that a Matriarch had been raised up and the time had come for the community to approve or disapprove of the choice.  Members who accepted and approved came forth and stood behind Emv. The whole congregation came forth with the exception of the Heles-Hayv who is allowed no voice in this selec­tion process. Voting by sticks (19 may also be used for this procedure. All were then seated after casting their approving vote for the new Matriarch that they did by willingly placing her between themselves and the Fire, a ceremonial action meaning trust. 

The ascending Mekko, who had remained seated throughout this portion of the rites, rose slowly and publicly discarded the rumpled clothing right down to the bright red undergarments several town's women had provided for this occasion. Even the most solemn actions are often laced with good natured but silent humor generated by the women--men willingly comply. With assistance from a clan sibling, the Mekko clothed himself in the finest of traditional clothing: brightly patterned and finely tailored long shirt, long coat, gorgets, bandoleer bag, and beaded finger woven garters were the most obvious.  The second woven mat (described earlier) was wrapped around Mekko's waist by clan a sibling and the Emarv.  A traditional beaded sash previously woven by the flute maker for ceremonial occasions secured it. A short speaking stick was stuck into the left side of the sash. Into Mekko's left hand was placed an ancient Turtle rattle crowned by a carved turkey beard and a turkey wing was placed in his right hand which he held with bent elbow to show off the plumage-- a requisite of formal announcements (20. In a voice of utmost quietness, Mekko simply announced within the West Arbor, "The Mats are Taken."  All others remained seated except the Emarv, the Mekko stepped slowly out of the West Arbor, turned right exited the Square Ground and began to slowly walk around the outside peri­meter until he had completely encircled the entire ceremonial site. Afterwards, he re-entered the cere­monial area of the Square Ground at the West Arbor and slowly coursed the inside perimeter in the standard counter clockwise (sunward) manner encircling each corner post of the Grounds and passing in front each Arbor until he returned to the West Arbor--this is one of the most ancient of ceremonial pat­terns of power in Southeastern ways.  The Emarv did not escort the ascending Mekko during this walk often call the Walk of Death and Birth or the Walk of Change21.

After completing his ceremonial walk, the Emarv escorted the ascending Mekko to a point halfway between the Fire and West Arbor where he remained facing the Fire. Again, the ceremonial Emarv announced to the assembled Town that a Mekko had been raised up. Now, it was time for the community to approve or disprove the selection--always after the fact. Everyone except the Matriarch (22 could voice their approval and loyalty to the Town or reject the choice and withdraw. As before, a vote by Fire was taken in which each who approved stood behind the Mekko and expressed confidence by willingly placing Mekko between their own person and the Fire. The disapproving would step forward and block Mekko's access to the Fire. There were no dissenting shadows cast across the Fire and no broken sticks at either's feet. None stood to withdraw from the Town; traditional consent prevailed as before. Both Matriarch and Mekko were now locked into a role of service--a service of ritual helpfulness. From such a role only death can excuse and release someone. If one retires or becomes ill, a regent is appointed until the last breath. Matriarch and Mekko--the Grounds were complete once again.

The stilled quietness of the two-hour affair had been broken only by an appropriate on-going chorus of birds until this final point at which a great shout of "Mvto!" went up from the congregation. After quiet congratulations, everyone returned to their Arbors in preparation for the Harvest Dance that would begin shortly. All other aspects of the Busk fell immediately into their proper routine as if nothing had disrupted in any manner. The entire accession and ascension rites occurred in about two hours' time marked as a deliberate, dignified, graceful and an extremely quiet affair.  Sparseness did not detract from but enhanced the simplicity and beauty publicly express by the community in congregation. To many, it was one of the most powerful and moving moments in Pine Arbor's history--it was a time when the most ancient of practices grasped hands with present to ensure the future. Many adults wept with the impact of such a simple, austere and severe ceremony in the midst of people who general have a rich ceremonial life. Dr. Bill Grantham, a Creek anthropologist from Troy State University visiting for the occasion, noted that people, corn and other common modern elements were missing from the symbology. Dr. Grantham said the affair felt almost neolithic in its simplicity but duality and a dual axis-mundi were evident in every action, especially with the preceding installation of a Matriarch on whom the Mekko was not al­lowed to voice opinion, rule or comment in any manner. Similarly, the Matriarch was allowed no comment on the Mekko--neither could accept nor reject; their equal separate roles in two separate worlds was made quite clear to all present.

Addenda: Dr. McCaffrey and Dr. Jakubowski also noted the litter symbology of the bench but they reminded us of something even more striking. After the future leaders left the bench for their permanent stations on the Grounds, the cylindrical medicine vessel was placed in its empty center and covered by the small seat mat on which were placed the cedar blowing tube but not the cane tube and also a gar fish jaw but not modern scratchers. A Turtle flanked each side of the pot and shells marked the outer edge of the bench. It was a visible picture of the Upper, Middle and Other Worlds with the positive axis-mundi, the Sacred Fire) seen behind the bench and the negative axis-mundi, the ball post and war post seen just off the Grounds--in its formal composition, people and corn were absent but hunting and gathering tools adorned all the Arbors. They also noted that voting by Fire really was a public assent for the system and the office but not individual approval of a particular people; it demonstrated a surrender of individual self interest in favor of the Town as a whole--trust made visible. Congratulations were given privately from person to person but not publicly. Finally, they reminded us that throughout all this, Heles-Hayv and others occasionally referred to procedural notes from the 1923 rites but after acknowledging the Fire with Power-laden gifts, Heles-Hayv did not actually participate in any role which utilized power or shamanic forces but instead was a silent, almost penitent individual until the end. Even then, there was no spoken remarks, speeches or public accolades clearly demonstrating the ability of the community to access and fully use Power without  a reliance on any individual. Deceptively simple, silent and beautiful, out of this accession and ascension ceremony arises a stream of visible symbology of great complexity and antiquity.


1. There have been Matriarchs before Emv (e-MAH) and other leaders since 1923; they ruled as regents for someone still living. No ceremonial special actions were required--only the consent of the ruled. Emv, Nvhokv, Alice and other ruled as regent for Barbara Allen Conway, mother of the ascending Mekko.

2. Bartram, Swanton and other writers give several accounts of the use of mats within a ceremonial context. Iberville's Gulf Journals describes the abundant use of mats marking the death of a king. Dr. George Lankford has also offered thoughts on the importance of mats as authority icons.

3. Paul Hornsby, in addition to being well known in the recording industry with the likes of Nitty-Gritty and Marshall Tucker Bands, is also Creek, a descendant of William Red Eagle Weatherford and a master craftsman of native American technologies. 

4. At Apalachicola's Pine Arbor Grounds, an ancient gray-green and white bench is always found at the South end of the West Arbor. It is called by many names in English depending on its momentary use: Maker of Medicine's Bench, Medicine Bench and Seat of Power. Many think this bench is a surviving remnant of the Southeastern litter formerly used; it may also be an icon for the Middle World. George Dixon and Mark Bunting saved it from destruction at the old site.

5. This mat must be woven by the participant but is always finished at the edge by someone of the op­posite sex and moiety because this seat embodies the cooperative duality of both female and male. The members of an hereditary ruling lineage must learn to weave as a prelude to governing. It is believed by so doing the future leaders will learn to handle the complexities of sorting out the numerous activities, affairs, complaints and needs of the community. "Tradition says a son weaves for a deceased mother and a daughter weaves for her father" and "A Mekko who cannot weave cannot hold a tribal town together," are old sayings at Apalachicola.

6.  It appears that the clothing chosen again represented dualities of the ceremonial year, dualities of status lineage and common in addition to noting a rare dual role as Heles-Hayv and Mekko.

7.  Marv, Emarv: Busk and war title and office. Literal meaning: "those who move among them and make them stir in their midst." The Emarv at Pine Arbor are Busk officers who act as disciplinarians and masters of ceremony.

8.  Snuff cans long ago replaced the fragile paint pots which have since been relegated to a museum.

9.  Dried sweet gum and pine resins are usually employed as incense.

10. This is the only time during day or night that the Bundle is fully opened except just prior to the Ribbon Dance when the Atasse blades are withdrawn for the Matriarch who leads the dance.

11. The Medicine colors are usually given, evoked and stated as red, yellow, black and white. Some ceremonial actions require a reversal of items or procedures when Power is specially evoked.

12. Lightning struck wood is already sacred, having been marked by One-Above; it does not require the purifying administration "Breath" through a Heles-Hayv, Maker of Medicine. Lightning is an important medicine in several contexts.

13. Flutes are an alternate blowing tube (its opposite twin) and alternative bird form as suggested by the story of the flute's origin. Moreover, birds were the first in creation to receive a voice from Creator (see How All Things Came To Be.) Flutes also signal the arrival and presence of important dignitaries into a Town. Henev-Maro's flute marked the motion and pathway of Power between the ends of the axis-mundi, the Fire and ball post, which, themselves, are a form of opposite twins forming a whole.

14. Technically, the flute player should have started playing at and entered from the East Arbor with the Emarv. He would have proceeded to the North Arbor, the invisible Bird Mound and so forth in the pre­scribe manner until reaching the East once again. At this point the flute player would have played stand­ing half between the East Arbor and the Fire; then, he would have circled the Fire and moved to a similar point on the North side and continued in this manner until he had come again to the East. After playing again here facing the Arbor he would have circled the Fire and stopped to play facing the North and so forth until he stood before the South. From here the Emarv would lead him around the Fire for the last time and seat him in his appropriate Arbor, the South.

15. The Vfvstvlke (plural of Vfvstv) oversee the coordination of materials items used at Busk among their other duties such as dance masters and activity supervisors. Literal meaning: Those who attend to or arrange them.

16. Shells mark boundaries between the sacred and the secular; they are also a symbolic voice for One-Above. This is why shells mark the outer boundary of the Square and why they sit on the outer edge of the Medicine Bench. Sounding a shell trumpet often marks and initiates ceremonial action. It would have been appropriate to sound the trumpets at the beginning of the rites. They were time constraints.

17. Looking at the bench: edge, shell, Turtle, large middle space, Turtle, shell, edge.

18.  Mats are carried palms-up in a manner of supplication.

19. Stick Method: Members approving of the choice or action lay a small, unbroken stick in front of the candidate; an Vfvstv gathers and places them in the Fire. Dissenting members would throw down a broken stick at the feet of the candidate. An Vfvstv would count the broken sticks to see if a majority is represented. Such sticks are not given to the Sacred Fire but are discarded since they represent anger.

20. In 1923, an ivory-bill skin was the symbol used--not the turkey wing. Sometime during the early 1960's, a person representing himself as a game and wildlife agent for the federal government removed the bird skin from our possession. It was said that it would be returned after study and comparison. All now feel that we were conned and the person did not represent a legitimate authority. A pileated wood­pecker is an equal and acceptable substitute but apparently not to be made available to us, even as a loaned item. Should either bird become available, the entire rites would be immediately repeated.

21. A symbolic marking of one's established territory according to Dan Penton and Pat McCaffrey. It is also symbolic of the birth to death cycle celebrated throughout the ceremonial life; it may correlate with shamanic or transformational changes associated with that office.

22. Neither a Mekko nor a Matriarch can publicly vote or express an opinion about the other as they jointly represent duality--two different sides of one whole. They rule as opposite equals but never in contradiction one to another.

Compiled from discussions, notes and observations of:

            Vbvske, Dr. Eric Jakubowski

            Korrv, Daniel T. Penton

            Henev-Maro, Richard W. Smith

            Hokte Eco, Kate Taluga

            Nvwev, Cyndi Hunt-Alderson

            Hopoyv, Doug Alderson

            Dr. Pat McCaffrey

            Cato, Dr. Bill Grantham

            Mvkle, Margie Gatti

            Mekko John Thomas

            Charlie Engstrom

            Vhecicv, Marge McKenzie

            Emv, Doris Adams

            Sakim Mekko

            Visitor, Richard Milner

            Hokte Pvhe, Mary Johns

            Hoktvce, Morgan Penton

            Tvstvnvke, Mark Cummings

            Cepvne, George Fellers and several other Town 

            citizens solicited by phone.

            Our apologies for any contributor left out.

            Comparative notes from Alec Christensen, David Freidel, 

            John Hoopes and others.

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