The talking stick is a tool used in many Native American Traditions when a council or gathering is called. It allows all members to present their Sacred Point of View. The talking stick is passed from person to person as they speak and only the person holding the stick is allowed to talk during that time period. Whoever holds the talking stick has within their hands the sacred power of words.
A talking stick is used in the opening and closing of ceremonies or gatherings. It can also be used during the discussion process to ensure that all sacred voices are heard.
The role of everyone else in the circle is to listen with their hearts, to be fully present to what is being said. It can be tempting for one to begin thinking about or practicing in their head what they are going to say, so when the stick comes you are ready. In the ceremony space, we listen and speak from our heart, not from our head. Your heart knows what to say. It is our shared listening and attention that allows for more depth and clarity in the shared space. Listening is a gift to the speaker.
Listening and understanding instills respect for those in attendance. As a result, at meetings or ceremonies, no one is left out of the process unless they have no comment. This methodology becomes a shared commitment. We pass the talking stick with everyone stating their name and reason why they have come or some other specific topic relevant to the purpose of the gathering. This sets the circle for a well-intentioned meeting, even if it is for decision-making, brainstorming or conflict resolution.
We give thanks to our Ancestors for this powerful medicine.
Sun Otter Martinico