In the meanderings of my life I have stumbled upon one ‘secret’ insight into the world and another. There are those of the way of the wheel that relate to the gypsies. I do not claim what is presented here is ‘Gypsy wisdom’, but rather my understanding of those aspects I was presented with. The Gypsy follows the Way of the Wheel. Unlike the Masonic path, another way I stumbled across, which works in squares and right-angles, this is a path based on the understanding of the wheel or the circle of the horizon. From the place he is standing, the centre, the Gypsy declares ‘All that is within arms length of my body is my own. All that I see (extending his gaze to the horizon), is my home, and mine to use.’ The circle teaches the way of return. It goes round and round. There is no place home, but all places are home. There is no constant, only change, ever change, and friendship. When the gypsy draws his caravan into a circle with his friends it is for self-defence. Each can see into the van of the other and thus see that each is respecting others within that household.
For the Gypsy the great taboo is the division between inner and outer. The outer is unclean, the inner is pure. Thus for the Gypsy one never places soap with which to wash the hands next to the sink which holds the dishes. The horse is seen as a clean animal because it only nibbles at its coat in a disdainful way. The cat is an unclean animal since it washes itself all over, with its tongue. But all of this goes far beyond the way of the wheel which I intended to cover.
In contrast to this is the way of the hoop I was taught by a Hawa’aian kahuna. This teaching was very simple. I do not suggest this is the full extent of the teaching of the Hoop however. Before making a statement or taking an action consider the effect on someone standing on the other side of the circle from oneself. Consider the action from his or her standpoint. In doing so one might consider differently from one’s first position and in this way move slightly around the circle from where one began. But now one is faced with a different person, or point of view, a new challenge, across the circle, so this new one’s position has to be considered. And in this way, my friend concluded, we move around the circle.
I don’t know if this is the way of the Hula, or whether it is shared by other Native American traditions as the way of the Hoop. But it is indeed an interesting way to learn tolerance.