Joseph Rael : Beautiful Painted Arrow
Beautiful Painted Arrow is a Medicine man, healer, visionary, poet and artist from New Mexico, USA. He is both, a Southern Ute and Picuris Pueblo descendant, having been raised by both his mother’s people (the Utes), and his father’s people (The Picuris Pueblo Indians). Picuris Pueblo natives speak, besides their traditional Tewa language, Spanish (as New Mexico was formerly part of the Spanish Empire), and English. Consequently, Beautiful Painted Arrow has always been at the crossroads where many cultures intersect.
Beautiful Painted Arrow was recognized among his peoples as a visionary at an early age, and undertook training in the mystery traditions of both Indian Nations. He learned the sacred Kiva rites from his grandfather in the pueblo, and also participated in the Southern Ute Sun-dances for many years.
One of his favorite stories is when his mentor in the pueblo, Teh, took him to the sacred Kiva and conducted a ritual whereby a whole landscape appeared on the dark walls of the Kiva, as a movie does on a screen. Most amazingly however, Teh then walked right into the landscape, and went about picking herbs, while Beautiful Painted Arrow watched him from his place in the Kiva. Teh brought them back into the Kiva, showed them to his apprentice, and then ground them-up into a pulp, and gave it to Beautiful Painted Arrow to drink. Beautiful Painted Arrow was overcome with a feeling of light traversing all through his body to his very cells. It wasn’t long before Teh crossed-over, but Beautiful Painted Arrow had experienced the awe of the sacred and had been given a most precious gift which he has carried in his life with utmost reverence.
Beautiful Painted Arrow also obtained formal academic training, eventually receiving a masters degree in political science. Since then, he has dedicated his live to helping people of all nations learn to reconnect with the sacred and learn to live their lives in purposeful and beautiful ways. He has written many books and conducts ceremonies and healings throughout the world. His main goal is to promote Peace in the World through helping people find Peace within themselves and through mobilizing people to empower a common vision of Peace and Well-Being in our planet.
To that effect he received a vision twelve years ago to build Peace Chambersaround the world. These underground, oval structures, which resemble the Kivas of his Picuris pueblo up-bringing, are meant to be used by communities of people around the world for chanting and praying. There are now more than 35 built around the world in as varied places as Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Oklahoma, Ireland, and England; and many more are under way.
One of Beautiful Painted Arrows’ emphasis is on the power of sound as a healing and transformational medium. Knowing that all of physical reality is but energy vibrating, and departing from the traditional Tewa belief that the essence of a thing lies in its name, Beautiful Painted Arrow has taught and written much about the power of sound and chanting to help people gain access to the powers of the universe in order transform themselves. To further promote Peace around the world, Beautiful Painted Arrow runs Sun-Moon Dances, which resemble the Sun dances of his Ute upbringing, but are not traditional, in that Beautiful Painted Arrow’s insights into the dynamics of the sacred have allowed him to create a dance that is a very powerful engagement with the sacred, without having to divulge or betray elements of the traditional Sun-dances that are held secret by his people.
In Beautiful Painted Arrow’s Sun-Moon dance, we dance for four days, from sundown on Friday to noon on Monday, fasting from all food and water, blowing on Eagle or Turkey-Bone whistles to the sound of drumming and chanting. Through movement, prayer and effort, we gain access to very sacred realms where the veils of illusion drop-off from our being and true insights, and sometimes visions, come to the dancers.
Beautiful Painted Arrow is not a macho do-or-die medicine man, but rather a very gentle and loving man, who places people’s best interest above-all, and believes that each person needs to do whatever they need to do, but offers unconditional support and guidance. He aims to empower people to liberate themselves.
Rather than dictate dogma and impose rigorous methods on his students, he creates opportunities for people to face -and transcend- themselves in powerful ways, while assuming full responsibility for their path. One of his favorite sayings is: “Don’t get stuck in the form; after all, we don’t even exist”.