Article Overview:  What happens when you howl like a wolf in Central Park with an Ojibwe Indian Shaman, attempting to invoke the Great Spirit?   Do the wary wolves come to reunite you, or do the police come to lock you up?  Find out if howling in Central Park brings the Beast of Terror or Sentinels of Vigilance?


Friday--April 25, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 590
Howling For The Beast Of Terror In Central Park

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, NEW YORK, NY--The other morning I stood in Central Park and howled mournfully, my cries aimed at driving the Beast of Terror from within.

Clinton (right) guiding my howls

        I wasn't alone.
        On the ancient rock upon which I stood was my good friend, an Ojibwe Indian Shaman named Clinton, guiding my howls so they might evoke the guardianship of the wolves, might draw them closer to protect me from myself.  The Ojibwes are part of the Anishinabe Tribe whose name means "original people" or "first people."
         Clinton had worked for many years at Manhattan's Smithsonian Institute Indian Museum near the World Trade Center.   He was there when the Terrorists attacked on September 11, 2001, and suffered the pain of watching thousands die, a number of whom he knew.  For weeks, the stench of burning bodies filled his nostrils.
       After Nine Eleven the Smithsonian cut back on staff and offered him another position in Washington D.C. which he turned down.   His children live in New York City, and he didn't want to be away from them.  

Ojibwe Shaman in action

       With us was my friend, Bryan, a fireman from the Los Angeles Fire Department.  He was visiting New York City with his wife and I wanted to show him some of the more fascinating aspects of the city.  Howling in Central Park at 8:15 a.m. on a Wednesday morning as millions of people scurried to work was indeed something he hadn't counted on when he came to the Big Apple, but, I was sure, would forever scribe itself in his New York visit memory.
         "Want to howl with us in Central Park," I asked Bryan when I picked him up Wednesday morning to join a group of friends at a mid-week meeting we held.
        "Only if it's safe.  I hear Central Park is dangerous."
        "Not any more.  It's safe.  Trust me."
        Bryan is far from being a cautious man.   As part of the EMT team for LAFD, he's seen more carnage than most generals in all the wars ever fought.   Los Angeles is one of the havens of trauma centers, for it sadly enjoys the largest number of gunshot wounds in the world.   Physicians come from all four corners of the globe to study trauma management in Los Angeles, for the hospitals have the most experience in handling a wide variety of human attacks on other humans, a sad legacy for the "City Of Angeles."

Clinton with my friend Bryan (left), a great candidate for howling

        There's another part of note about Bryan.  In his life, he's set somewhat of a record.   He's been thrown through the windshields of more than ten vehicles, and still walks and talks.   Some of the accidents were on the job, some during his time off.  In every case he was not the driver, and in a few he almost lost his life.
         He's like the guy I knew about who was a golfer and was hit thirteen times by lightening, and still went to golf courses.
         It's important, I think, to have a few "lucky friends," for people who survive such tragedies have the universe on their side in one sense of the word--because they survive--but, on the other, are walking disaster centers.
        In either case, Bryan was a great candidate for howling.
        We made our way into Central Park, just below the famous Tavern On The Green, on the west side of upper Manhattan.   Clinton studied the area and picked out a rock, one of a number of huge chunks of granite that hump out of the surface of the soil like the back of a great whale.   I felt like Ahab as we mounted the rock, three howlers in a city of more than eight million.
         "Try not to pay attention to the people or noises," Clinton said, waving his big hand at the towering buildings to the west of us.  Central Park West flows parallel with the park that runs form 59th to 110th Streets, cutting a primal verdant swath out of the belly of a city sometimes called a "rivers of concrete."
          I had never howled before.  At least, not officially with a Shaman.
          Clinton told us the story of the wolf, and, if for some reason I don't get it all accurate in this writing, I will confirm all information with Clinton for veracity, so bear with me if you're an Indian or Shaman or just know more than I about the subject.

The Wolf Guardian when  man and wolf were friends 

          As I recall, Clinton told me that once man and wolf were friends, and then one day original man (Way-na-boo-zhoo) turned on the wolf and scared him away because of man's violence toward himself and others.   Wary of man's wrath, the wolf dashed for cover.
            Man became unprotected in the absence of the wolf.    He was, essentially, left to his own devices--to manage his own life and security without nature's help, for his ally, the wolf, was now fearful of man's violent nature.
            The howling ceremony was essentially an effort to reunify the soul back with the wolf, to cry out for the lost brother to return and stand guard, to resurrect an old alliance that had once served both well, for when together man provided the wolf food and the wolf gave back security.
            There were other reasons for howling Clinton said.  Deep inside all of us, he claims, is great pain and suffering over losses we have suffered, the loss of love, the loss of money, the loss of opportunity, the loss of a mother or father, the loss of a child, the loss of one's faith or the loss of one's innocence.  The list he said was endless.
            Howling like a wolf, from deep within the soul where one stuffs grief and pain, brings the suffering of the soul to the surface.  It issues it out like currency to the wind, and it tells our estranged wolf brothers we are sorry we banished him, and asks for him to return to us, to serve once more as our protector, to guard us as a Sentinel of Vigilance might guard a flock of children from the Beast of Terror's harm.
             "When you howl, let the cry of pain come from as deep as possible.  Let all your breath out.   Exhaust your lungs.    If you listen, you'll hear the birds talking back.  You'll feel nature speaking as you speak to it."
            Then Clinton began to explain the ritual.   He cited a song we would sing before starting, a prayer song, calling upon the Great Spirit to help us reunite ourselves with the wolf, with all the losses in our lives.
             "Gitchi Manitou Giwichinct...Kawin Ninah Segis" (God walks with me...I do not fear).
              "Bezhig Manitou Neenah Gawendon" (I listen to one God)
             Then he told us how to howl.
             First, we would howl to the east, where the sun rises.  He said we would be crying out for the light that rises, to be aware of life itself for the dawn brings hope, belief, the new day.

 Asking for the freedom from the bondage of the self

            Then we would howl to the south, and west and finally north.   We would howl at least four mournful howls in each direction, for each would bring us gifts.    From the north, for example, where the icebergs and glaciers were, we would call upon the earth to move mountains for us.   He pointed to the rock we were standing on.
           "The glaciers once slid down over the earth, exposing it, like a whittler carves a stick, exposing the wood beneath.  It sheds off the old skin.  When you howl to the north, you are asking the Great Spirit to remove from you the baggage you carry, the old emotions, the old pains and sufferings.   You are asking for new skin.  You are asking for freedom from the bondage of the self."

           As he explained each point of the compass, and the gifts we would receive from letting ourselves be one with nature, I was able to forget the people walking their dogs around us, or the taxis beeping their horns down Central Park West, or the runners and bicycles flowing up the paths carved through the forest of trees in the heartland of New York City.  For a moment I was back as child in Oregon, sitting on the edge of the Columbia River near Cascade Locks where I grew up, a small dot on the map in geography but a place rich in Indian culture.   I could hear the water flowing and smell the virginity of the water, the flow of life coursing past as I leaned back against mossy riverside rocks forgetting that behind me was civilization, pretending that I was an Indian scout, searching the great Columbia for signs of those who might try to invade our peaceful camp.
            "Are you ready?"
            I snapped out of my thoughts and returned to the work at hand.   I glanced around.   People were moving about, some with dogs.   I tried not to think of civilization.
Then we faced the east, lifted our heads, took a deep breath, and began to howl like wolves.

Howling in New York was just part of another day

           At first I was embarrassed.   We are all well over six feet, big men by any standards.   Each of us weigh well over 200, and Clinton and I nudge the scales at around 270 each.  Our Voices rang through the park, cutting and slicing through the horns and growls of truck gears, through the cacophony of a city awakening, shuttling millions here and there.
           The dog walkers stopped and looked.  The dogs perked up, their ears keyed to the sounds from the three of us standing on the granite hump, heads angled at the tops of the trees, emitting mournful cries of a wolf disenfranchised from mankind, wary of the pain that human beings consume and often reissue upon their children, their society, the world.
           It was difficult to not glance out of the corner of my eye at people staring at the three of us, wondering what we were doing.   But, in New York City, nothing is startling, so I knew we were okay.   One could run naked through the streets with war paint splattered over the body, screaming and ranting, and no one would say a word.   New York is a potpourri of madness that makes the bizarre seem somehow sane.
          Therefore, howling in Central Park was part of another day.
          As we faced west a man and his son approached.  The young boy, perhaps seven or so, rushed toward us.  He wore a pack on his back with his school materials.    He had big blue eyes and craned to look up at us.
          "What are you howling at?"
          Clinton looked down.  "We're doing a Native American Prayer," he said.
          I was closest to the boy.   His father was standing back, smiling, proud his son was courageous enough to approach us.
          "We're howling like wolves," I said.  "Would you like to howl with us?"
          I looked at his father and smiled.   The boy glanced over at his dad who gave him the OK and the boy climbed up on the rock with us.  
         "Now, just stand here and howl deep.  Ask the wolves to come back, to return, to be our friend."
         We then returned to our howling, facing north, calling upon the glaciers to remove the scales of life, to strip us of the yokes of the past, to resurrect us.
         The boy howled with us.
         He was timid at first, but then let his Voice ring out.
         When we finished, his father thanked us and told the boy, "Now, let's hurry and get you to school."
         Off went the boy.
         Clinton had to run downtown, so we ended our ceremony.   Bryan and I walked through the park to his hotel where his wife was waiting.  We parted company, for he was leaving the next day.
         On the way home I thought about the event.
         I thought about the Beast of Terror, that part of us within that consumes our pain and suffering, that often becomes so full of pain and suffering it lashes out at others, it explodes in violence or disrespect or anger, fear, frustration causing pain for those around us.

The Beast of Terror seeks to separate us

         I thought of the wolves, once man's friends, suddenly being assaulted and rushing into the woods, like abused children, lowering their heads, jumping back whenever the scent of a human touched their nostrils, recalling the anguish humans caused them when they turned against them.
         Then I thought of the Beast of Terror.   His job was to disjoin the human from his humanity, to drive wedges of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency between human beings' Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children.
         The Beast wanted to separate us from our kindness, our tenderness, our ability to face our Fear, to thwart our Intimidations with life.    The Beast wanted us to stay in the darkness, disenfranchised with nature, with other human beings so we felt alone, insecure, unsafe, wary, victims of life itself.
          Calling upon the wolves was an attempt to unite, to strengthen, to bolster the human spirit. It was an effort to drive Terrorism from one's being, and to replace it with Vigilance--the Vigilance of the Wolf, who, ultimately, was our Sentinel of Vigilance, our guardians.   But, it would only work if we respected it, for it was wary of our wrath.
         I thought about a child whose parents beat it for no reason other than taking out personal anger against the child.   The child became like the wary wolf, ducking and hunkering, emotionally scared by the parents abuse.

I wondered how many parents knew about their children's fears

          I knew there was all kinds of abuse, not just physical.  There was the lack of love a parent gave a child, the lack of interest in the child's deep emotions, a lack of communication with the child's wolf.    I wondered if a parent who didn't tell his or her child each morning and evening how much he or she loved it, knew the pain the child felt by not knowing the parent loved.   I wondered how many parents knew their children were afraid  of the dark, the night, the closet monsters--afraid to tell their parents because they would be laughed at or told to "grow up."
         I thought of my own life, and all my Fears and Intimidations and Complacencies in life.  They were vast indeed.   I thought of unification with my own wolf, seeking its protection and guardianship.
          Then I thought about the event in the park.
          Was it just an ritual or had it really worked?  Did we bring the wolves out of hiding?   Or, did we just make fools of ourselves?
          My final analysis was simple.
          We had indeed brought the wolves out of the woods.  We had indeed unified ourselves with nature.  We had changed our lives.
          And I had proof.
          The young boy.
          Skeptics might toss of the idea of the young child asking to howl with us as just an incident, and it would be in keeping with a skeptic to think just a thought.
          But as a Sentinel of Vigilance, I chose to think of the child as a Wolf Pup.

The father let his Wolf Pup join our tribe on the Rock of Unification

         Oddly, the boy's father had stopped a few yards away and let the boy approach on his own.   The father did not encourage the boy to approach.  He let the child do it on his own.
          In a way, the father was the old wolf, still perhaps wary of mankind.
          But, he had heard our howls.  He knew we were calling upon the clan of wolves, speaking the Language of Vigilance, singing the songs of unification.
         Watchful, the father released his son to us.
         He let his son, the Wolf Pup, join our tribe.

         He let his son become our protector for a moment, to join us on the Rock of Unification, to symbolize the power of newness.
        The child was, obviously, our own innocence.  He represented the purity of the peaceful soul, that same soul I remembered when I was a child sitting on the banks of the Columbia River, watching the water flow by.

Howling out Fear and Terrorism

           The child had no Fear of us, wasn't Intimidated, and was obviously not Complacent.   Quite the opposite.  The child had the Courage to approach, the Conviction to mount the Rock of Unification, and took the Right Action by howling with us, adding his Voice in the wilderness to ours.
          Vigilance, ultimately is not about me, but about the children.  It is about teaching Children to battle the Beast of Terror, teaching children to howl at the Beast, to alert it that we are not alone, and to call the Wolves of Vigilance back to our side, to our camps, to watch over us so we might not return to the brutality of our ways.
          Yes, we had howled successfully.
          The Wolf Pup had come, fearlessly, to share in our Voice, to carry away with him our pain, and to remind us that Terrorism thrives among those who are afraid to howl.

April 24--Beast Of Protest Attacks Dixie Chicks

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