By Bill Cote

Wagner, South Dakota Circular Cloud Formation, 6 / 14 / 96. Shown forming above humans holding hands in a circle. Photo courtesy: Brien Rullman Photo Taken with a fish eye lens to capture full effect. Copyright 1997 Brien Rullman

Many people have been experiencing extraordinary events leading them to seek a more unified cosmic path. Quite possibly you yourself have been experiencing such oddities.

Recently, an event took place in the sky which to me, is a sign of the changing consciousness many feel has been occurring on Earth. My wife Carol and partner John Chesire (B.C. Video), were with me in Wagner, South Dakota to film interviews with speakers at The Star Knowledge Conference, a conference where Native Americans had gathered at a high school to share their secret legends of the Star People; what some people call extraterrestrials. Like the Native Americans and other ET contactees who were led to this event by 'signs' and dreams, our video team was also led there by a series of events and 'coincidences'. It is by following such signs or synchronicities that our team has been blessed with many fortunate and wonderful experiences, including producing two NBC specials: The Mystery of the Sphinx and The Mysterious Origins of Man.

With this conference we were on route to experience another extraordinary event which we would be able to capture on film. On Friday June 14th, 1996, we decided to leave our press room early after three days of interviewing people. The intensity of information we were receiving about the reality of ETs was making everyone a little 'heady'. We decided to go to the main auditorium and hear the final lecture given by Robert O. Dean, an ex-Army Intelligence Officer. Retaining the glow of enlightenment Dean had bestowed upon us, we stumbled from the darkened auditorium after his talk into the warm evening light.

The lecture ran overtime thus, we were unable to retrieve our camera equipment from the press room before the custodian did his final lock up for the night. We decided to leave for our motel room across the street. In the yard behind the school we noticed people from the conference holding hands and forming a large circle. We watched for a moment but, thinking about how good a cold glass of beer would taste, continued to the motel. John lingered back saying, " You guys go ahead, I have a feeling something interesting is going on here."

Ten minutes later John came to our motel room obviously excited saying there was something in the sky we just had to see, come quickly. We did. What we were to witness was something so spectacular we needed to catch it on film. Realizing our feature camera equipment was locked up, we desperately ran back to our motel room and grabbed our 16mm Bolex film camera and a little disposable camera Carol had in her suitcase. We arrived in time at the school to capture on film and in stills, the eerie phenomenon in the sky.

There was a huge well defined, almost perfect circular line of cloud, forming a gigantic smoke ring exhibiting swirling features, directly overhead the human circle created by people holding hands. Was this simply a cloud that just happened to form into an almost perfect circular ring directly above the heads of 150 people who just happened to be forming a circular ring on the ground?............ I don't think so!

A retired US Navy test pilot who now specializes in photographing and analyzing clouds, witnessed the event and in his opinion claimed that this circular cloud was definitely not a natural cloud formation. Other conference attendees known for being UFO contactees, stated that throughout the entire 5 day conference they felt that ET ships were stacked in the sky above the school, "like jets above JFK Airport."

Many questions come to mind. Was the cloud created by the ETs to acknowledge The Star Knowledge Conference? Was some natural force responding to the unified thoughts of the group; as in Native Indian Rain Dances known for moving clouds upon request? Was it all just sheer coincidence?

Whatever belief system one adheres to, the fact cannot be denied that there was a very special event that happened in the sky that night. Everyone present felt a thrill and recognized the circle in the sky as a very specific sign; an unspoken communication from nature, or from some other form of intelligence.

For me the experience was an inspiring gift allowing me to realize one more time, just how great and abundant the cosmos really is. There is so much more out there than we know. Keeping an open heart and open mind I believe is one of the great keys to understanding more about our universe.

By Bill Cote




There are times in our lives when we surrender our will and simply flow with the river, trusting that we will end up where Spirit wills. This was one of those times and the river took me to remembrance.

An invitation came in the mail inviting me to attend a gathering of the Spiritual leaders of the indigenous people of the world. It was to be held in June at Wagner, South Dakota.

Why me? Why would I receive a letter like this? I taught first grade, dreamed and done some relief work for the children of the Lakota, but why me? IF it were to be, it would be. I settled into the river, floating peacefully.

First I couldn’t go because I taught Keepers of the Earth; an earth based science program at the Jr. University in the summer. It was a course I had written the curriculum for and I was the only one who had ever taught it. I couldn’t go anywhere in June. But the river, when you relax into it, has a way of going around the obstacles in its path. I became extremely ill, barely able to finish the regular school year, let alone continue in the 100 degree temperatures of June in Texas teaching a class the was field based. I didn’t know where the river was going, but I knew I was in it and trusted as I turned in my resignation for my summer position. Now what? I was still too ill to go to a gathering that would require a week’s worth of primitive camping in South Dakota. I shrugged my shoulders and told myself, “where Spirit leads, I’ll follow”.

A dream led me to a Chinese Herbal doctor from Beijing. Within two weeks I was up and building back my strength. Airfare to South Dakota was around $400. Didn’t have it. School district called, since I wasn’t teaching this summer, could I attend a weeks worth of class and report back to my home campus what I learned. They paid me to sit in class for a week. It was exactly the amount I needed for my airfare. I order my ticket, paid the fees to attend the gathering and waited. Papers came from the gathering. Now it was being called a “conference”. Now there were going to be breakout sessions costing more money. That was OK. I didn’t need any breakout sessions. There were going to be crystal skulls, readings by psychics. The gathering now had a name, The Star Nation UFO conference. Wait a minute! Stop the river! What was all this UFO stuff? I wanted out. What had happened to a “gathering of spiritual leaders”? All that money! Why had spirit lead me down this path? I went to bed that night, in tears, asking for understanding. I awoke abruptly in the night, hearing a voice in the room, “Judith, stay in your truth.” OK. I could do that. I could go to this gather of New Age, Psychics and UFO researchers and still stay in my truth. I could do that.

My plane landed in South Dakota. My host, Tek, met me at the airport. He ran a multicultural camp for the children of the Cheyenne and the Sioux at the base of Bear Butte. Bear Butte, the mountain of visions, sacred, rose up out of the rolling hills like a monument to time. Tek and I had known each other for a lot of years. He ran the Share the Warmth, Mend the Sacred Hoop Foundation. I had spearheaded a project at my school to raise money to buy blankets for the children on the reservation, which Share the Warmth purchased and distributed.

Tek and I had lots to catch up on, talk about. As we sat in his office, late into the night, talking I noticed a red light on his porch. I laughingly asked him why he had a red light on his porch. He answered that he didn’t. Could it be car lights I questioned? Nope, the gate, which was a long way from the house, was locked. He went on to offer a possible explanation. People come to Bear Butte to do vision quests, to connect with the Grandfather of the mouton. Some had come back described him as a red light. Tek suggested I ask the light what it wanted. Half jokingly I did. “Welcome, Judith,” was the answer. We both heard it, like wind, like a soft welcome home.

The next morning, Tek had suggested I walk up the trail on the mountain. My heart told me, stay put, sit on the deck, pet the dog, and put the visual memory of the mountain in my heart and mind. My eyes began to play tricks on me as I watched three balls of purple light dance playfully up the side of the mountain. I thought I was tired but it was such a joyful, playful array of light that I allowed myself to enjoy it and not worry that I was seeing things.

Soon we were in the car, on our way across the Badlands of South Dakota to Wagner. We stayed the first night with several other conference attendees at the Sundance Grounds. It was June and the Sundance was getting underway. The grounds were filled with participants from reservations throughout the Dakotas. I pitched my little tent off to the side, away from the sacred grounds. Though invited to sit around the circle that night, it felt wrong. Something inside me told me, no. It was like it was telling me I couldn’t do what I came here to do if I participated. This “don’t participate” message had come through loud and strong many times in the past years whenever it had to do with any ritual or ceremony. Once under hypnosis I had been asked to go to the place I had always wanted to be. I did. When asked where I was I responded, “Within the heart of God.” When the session was over someone asked me if I felt any sorrow at having to leave and come back and my answer had been odd, “ I thought we had moved past tools and ritual.” Maybe I thought that to go to conscious awareness of being within the heart of God man should need no tools, ceremonies or rituals.

For whatever the reason, I stayed in my tent that night, sky flap open, the beat of the drums going through me, into the earth. Living in Dallas, I had never seen so many stars. I was reminded of what Blue Snake, a Shawnee chief of the Easter Band, had once told me. “The white man stole the stars.”

The next morning, I packed my tent and told Tek I would find another campsite for the rest of the conference. I couldn’t explain, but everything I had felt was echoed in my dreams that night.

The first day of the conference was overwhelming. There were spiritual leaders there from all over the world, Maori, Ladplanders, Navajo, Apache, Lakota, Seminole, and Mayan. There were authors of books on walking spiritual paths, UFO cover-ups, alternative healing and Mayan Calendar Prophesies. Floyd Hand, keeper of White Buffalo Woman’s Pipe, Standing Elk, spiritual leader of the Lakota, a woman they called, “The Grandmother”. The Grandmother, she knew me, like she had known me all my life. I felt comfortable, at home. There were booths set up everywhere selling other peoples’ truths. I recognized it, understood that we are all at different places on the path and my place upon the path was no less valid or important that anyone else’s.

The first night at my new campsite was quiet. In dream I saw a circle, hand holding hand, with blue light spreading around the circle through our bodies, into our hands and passing continually around the circle. Then, I broke the circle and it closed behind me, as I stepped into the center. Like the spokes of a wheel the energy came into the center, into me and like a transformer I sent it up into the sky and down into the earth. I woke breathless, like I had been hit by something huge.

I shared lunch that day with Standing Elk. He knew I was a dreamer. He knew I had dreamed for the people before and sent the dreams to Charlie Little Old Man. He knew I dreamed the future, the past and I use my dreams to change the present. I use my dreams to heal others, to travel and visit, to learn, to record, and to understand and myself. When I told him of the circle and the light he said we had to do that after the last speaker at the end of the day. He said I should tell the people why we were gathered and what we were to do. Then he left and announced to the gathering that after the last speaker there would be a circle. I was terrified. I was a first grade teacher, a dreamer, not a leader, not an authority on anything. Yet I had floated down this river and found myself surrounded by others within the river who now waited for me to speak what I had seen.

The last speaker went overtime. I got stressed, scared, nervous, then I remembered the words from the dream before I left, “stay in your truth.” The dream had been my truth. The conference let out, the attendees and speakers were greeted by protesters. They were protesting Standing Elks decision to reveal the prophecies of the Star Nations to the white man. They felt the white man had stolen everything from them, the land, their dignity, the stars, and now they were trying to steal their religion, their most sacred prophesies. The protesters watched as about 180 attendees formed a circle. I stepped forth and identified myself as Standing Elk said I should do. I told them my name was Judith, that we were going to do what I had seen us do in a dream and as Standing Elk instructed I told them what I brought to the circle. “I bring to this circle the energy of the Star Kachina.” Now where did that come from! Whose words were those coming from my mouth! The Star Kachina had been in my dreams, a part of my life since I was too young to even know who see was or what the pictographs I called doodle meant. She was there with me, then, in the circle. The part that bothered me, was that now everyone knew she was there and that was sure to offend someone, somewhere.

As we joined hands and began toning the circle grew to nearly 300. Over our heads, in the sky, another circle was forming, made of clouds. “As above, so below”, crossed my mind. At one point the circle on the ground got so big we had to shift it towards a football field to accommodate everyone. The circle in the sky moved with us.

Off too the southeast was a perfect lenticular cloud, the kind Robert Dean had just offered as an indicator of a UFO. But what caught my eye most, was the protesters. They had laid down their signs and joined the circle. Then, as the circle closed behind me, I stepped into the center. I stood there, laughing. There was sound inside the circle like a thousand angels, singing, like the music of the spheres. Laughing, crying, tears, total joy, rapture?

After some time, the circle began to dispel. I looked around me. The world looked different. The people looked different. They were different. They didn’t just look different, they were different. Where did the drums come from? Someone was drumming. Someone was dancing. Someone was turning somersaults. Everyone was different. What had happened? As I stood watching, Standing Elk came over. He put his hand on my shoulder and asked me if I knew what had happened.

“For a moment we remembered what it was like to be ONE with the earth, the sky and each other. It is the joy of that remembrance we are now feeling.” He shook his head in agreement, patted my shoulder and walked away.

I knew something had happened. I knew that whatever it was, that was why the river had brought me here. The next morning there were more elders at the conference and Tek told me that Standing Elk had decided prior to the circle that he would not share the knowledge of the Star Nations. The circle in the sky had changed his mind. To him, to the elders, it was a sign that it was the right time, the right place the right thing to do. That day he shared with us ancient knowledge given to the Lakota by the Star Nations.

Then the conference was over. Tek and I headed back to Bear Butte. He dropped me off at the airport and I board my flight back to Dallas. As I sat by the window looking westward I saw the spiral of light coming up from the earth. As the spiral rotated there were points of golden light upon it. One particular point of light, whenever he rotated closest to me, would shine so brightly you could hardly see the others. From the base of the spiral, like a ribbon in a gentle breeze, thousands of lights danced westward. Spiraling upward, and moving westward were golden lights. I thought as I saw the lights, perhaps they were cars upon the highway below. But as soon as the thought entered my mind, the realization that we were above the clouds struck me. As I watched the lights, felt their rhythm, their love, their joy; their peace became a part of me. Whatever they were, they were not on the ground. I had been watching them for nearly an hour when the cloud broke and I could see the Arbuckle Mountains below.

What had happened? Why was it so important that throughout my life I not be a apart of any particular ceremony or ritual? Why had it been that everytime I started to go to a sweat something turned me back. Even at the conference, the second night, I had been invited by the Grandmother to be one of 12 woman to do a sweat to bring in the vision of peace, I had been stopped. Spirit had stopped me. There were lots of questions, but I knew the answer. I just had to get back in the river and accept it.

The protesters joined the circle that day because the message had been, “we all walk a sacred path, we are all ONE. What ONE knows all knows.” The circle had not been Native American, Wiccan, Christian or any other organized or non-organized religion. It had been spirit within each of us, touching.

As the years went by word came to me that the circle had changed many lives. It had, of itself, fulfilled prophecies. There was group from Norway who had been told they must be at the conference because the “white cloud” would be there. The Grandmother was told to be at the conference, because we would remember. We did.

Somewhere on the web there is a photo of the circle. I found it once when I searched, “cloud circle”. Now, as then, I stand in the center, laughing, moving with the river in perfect peace and trust.


Subj: hi from Brien Rullman...artist/photographer

Date: 9/13/2003




Today out the blue I sat down and surfed the net...I decided to google my name...and the photo from the star knowledge conference came up and I read your wonderful story...I had hearde bits and pieces before but there were missing parts that i had never heard before. especially the parts about Standing Elk guiding you...I asked him a million questions about what he thought it was and he would shrug his shoulders and act all innocent like who knows. It was a native American elder who addressed the conference and simply said it was a sign we were doing something good. That simple statement has always stayed with me, and when i describe the event to people that is the defining moment.

I too was pulled to South Dakota by a series of coincidences and circumstances. An art director saw an alien image that my partner had drawn and asked if he was into UFO's. She described the confernce and said they needed help...he volunteered me to do the show knowing I would be totally into it and I worked freelance and had a flexible schedule. Standing Elk called me and invited me to help document the conference. I said yes and was totally excited! being invited by a native american spiritual advisor was too cool.

I create visuals for special events and musical bands and I am always gathering images for shows. I get inspired and I shoot and sometimes I wait for the right time. I had been bored with the square aspect ratio of the video format and I was interested in doing circular images on circular screens. I had constructred 10 foot diameter screens, aluminum frame with a canvas or white spandex screen surface. so I was shooting flowers and clouds, and i was using my partners fisheye lens that distorts the image into a circle...its about a 16mm lens attachment.

At the conference I was directing a three camera document of every speaker, by the third day I had seen and heard alot of infomation my head was swimming.....complete with a couple of sweat lodge sessions with Standing Elk and some of his friends.....that morning on a whim i grabbed my 35mm still camera and shot some flowers and some clouds on my way to the conference...about 6 photos....all day I video taped the speakers and at the end of the day I was burned out...I grabbed my camera and headed out side to shoot some elements. and I heard people talking about something outside was happening...

I walked out and there was a circle of people chanting and toning and i could hear very distinctly the native american song or prayer...and above their heads was a big puffy cloud circle and you could feel the energy in the air like it was electric...the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I felt this euphoric rush....I had my 28mm lens on and i took two photos of the cloud but it only framed up a quarter of the image. I screwed on my fisheye lens and that framed up the whole circle and the circle of people under it... I took eleven photos as i circled the circle of people....then i was like no more pictures I wanted to join the I jumped in and held hands with everyone else.....more people were joining and it was a chaotic scramble to hold hands....and the cloud circle just slowly drifted away.....

I felt that i was at the right place at the right time with the right lens....and when I got the pictures developed I was psyched to see the images came out BUT the cloud was much more puffy and shaped like a donut right over our heads...the image you can see the energy in the cloud but it doesn't have the same thick puffy white cloud that I saw live...the image the circle is more transparent that what i experienced there in South Dakota.....all i saw was a cloud circle....I asked some children what they saw and they said they could see formations of ships in the sky .....I realized then that the infinite universe is out there you just have to look for it. Other people see it ....when I am ready I hope I will see it too....


Brien E Rullman

If you have any questions or comments about this article, please e-mail