“In the early 1980s, I was spending summers in my remote little island paradise called Echachisht. I had several shamanic dreams, visions and experiences — one of which involved me sitting in my cabin singing a very beautiful and powerful Indian song until realizing the song was a frog song. Surprised by this, I thought “but I don’t not know a frog song!” And, as a result, the song disappeared from my heart, mind, and voice, and has not since returned — much to my horror at my blunder.
Then a following event, maybe a year later, when I was awoken in the middle of the night by a loud male voice telling me to “get ready, the frog medicine is coming!”
Followed by another incident, maybe a year or so later in an urban setting, again I was awoken in the middle of the night by the presence of a very large pure white frog beside me on top of the bedding. Wide awake and startled, fearful even, I slowly slid out of the bed and even though in the dim lit room I could see clearly the frog and full details of the room, I moved towards the light switch and turned on the room light where upon the large frog disappeared.
Now many more years later, I am in our Sundance arbor in the middle of the mountain desert of northern Arizona, it is the evening, and we are placing the sacred tree of life in the arbor’s centre. Many dozens of male dancers are storming about in trance labour, dust is flying everywhere, when suddenly I alone notice a small white frog frozen in the dry storm, untouched by the many stomping feet.
I go over and pick up the frog and cupped in my hands, I go and show it to our Sundance Chief. He advises me to go and show it to some local elders — and a couple of Navajo grandmothers speak in their language to a younger woman and she gets a small container of fresh water and asks me to follow her. We go off a little distance and I am directed to place the frog in a small brush of sage where upon she says a prayer in her language and pours a small amount of water on the frog.
Walking away she says to me “it’s going to rain!” and sure enough, a few days into our Sundance, the area was blessed with a downpour.
So, the Frog in the Shaman’s mouth represents the Frog song and the frog emerging from the Mother Earth rattle represents the rain maker.”
Joe David was born in 1946 at Opitsaht, a Clayoquot village on Meares Island, on the western shore of Vancouver Island. The family resettled to Seattle, Washington, in 1958—and they moved frequently during his teen years. His father, Hyacinth David, was a respected chief and elder of the Clayoquot nation, and even though he had removed his family from Nuu-chah-nulth territory, he remained connected to the village and practiced the traditional values and ceremonies.
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