Black Hills Mystery

The Black Hills once spoke.

Indians, trappers, explorers, and traders in South Dakota’s Black Hills prior to the 19th century reported that they would occasionally hear unexplained noises — distant booms like huge drums or faraway cannon, quite unlike thunder. This booming was part of the reason that the Indians considered the hills sacrosanct and would only venture into them occasionally, furtively, catching game only at great need, and always leaving rich offerings hanging from the Ponderosa in exchange. The last report of the booming was from an expedition in 1833. No white man or Indian has heard the noises since.

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The Victory of the Sioux

Last week I had lots of opportunity to look at a map of South Dakota. Notice the shaded areas that represent the Sioux Indian Reservations. Go ahead, look. I’ll wait here…
Did you notice? A full one fifth of South Dakota belongs to the Sioux. This is an area about the size of Wales. A chunk of North Dakota is theirs, as well.

colignycalendarI wondered how it was that the Sioux had managed to keep so much territory in the face of everything the United States threw at them. Surely it was not because of our government’s bighearted generosity.

I wondered if the land there was so awful that the white folks didn’t want it. Ha! It turns out most of that land is just fine for ranching and farming. The US would have taken it if it could. (In fact, large portions of these reservations are now owned or rented by whites.) Compare that to West Texas or Arizona, where the land is much worse, but there are no reservations of comparable size.

So how did the Sioux manage to keep all that land?

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Is it Too Late to Avoid Collapse?

Archdruid John Michael Greer has a theory about the collapse of civilizations, a theory he calls “catabolic collapse”. The gist is that civilizations don’t drop from a great height immediately to the bottom of a chasm. Instead, they tend to tumble in stages, like a drunk falling down a stairway. They fall a little bit, catch themselves, then fall some more, and so forth. The fall, he says, is interrupted because civilizations are able to redirect their dwindling resources to slow their decline.

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Neurolinguistic Programming: A Linguist Druid’s Review

As I described in this previous post, one of the requirements of the Magic Spiral in the candidate year in the AODA is to learn about magic through reading and meditation. The books I selected to start with were three on “neurolinguistic programming” by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. I started with Bandler’s book, Use Your Brain for a Change, which is an edited set of lectures from the 1980s, and The Structure of Magic I & II, which were written in the 1970s. Use Your Brain for a Change especially comes highly recommended. As a linguist, I was very interested to see how linguistics would play into these techniques. I’ll lay out some of my thoughts below.

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